October 28, 2016

Beware of Fitness Cults

Beware of Fitness Cults 

What are fitness cults, you ask? Fitness cults are fitness systems, trainers, or coaches that take advantage of weak and otherwise unfit people and convince them that their system is the only thing that has changed their lives in a positive direction, that theirs is superior to everything else.

To a weak and powerless person, this can cause the fitness cult to take on a disproportionate part of their lives and creates an unhealthy relationship with the cult or personalities associated with it.

Here’s an example:

Average Jane (or John):

Jane is 35. She never learned to to tax herself physically in any way, and hasn’t done any form of structured exercise since high school. Now, at 35 she works a desk job, is a mother of two, eats a Standard American Diet (SAD) and carries an extra 30lbs of fat around the midsection. She has very little positive reinforcement in her life, hates her job, and has no hope for anything better. In her eyes she is old, fat, and has little control over anything.

One day a friend of Jane’s invites her to a local Cultfit gym. She gets started and sees rapid progress since she also changed her eating habits, and despite the sedentary lifestyle, actually had some good genetic raw material under the surface.

A year later she has made some big changes and begins to coach others (after paying $1000 for a  weekend certification). Now, after a year she knows very little, but in the newbie’s eyes she is an expert. Since she has little perspective on what it means to be strong and athletic beyond Cultfit, and had very poor self-esteem to start with, she believes that Cultfit is the best thing in the world.

Truth be told, if you take a totally de-conditioned person eating a horrible diet and get them to do literally any type of exercise and structured eating plan you will see massive improvements initially. There was nothing special about Cultfit.

Since Cultfit gives her a little positive reinforcement and some sense of accomplishment in her life, it takes on a disproportionate level of importance. She even gets a tattoo of Cultfit’s logo on her back.

This level of blind allegiance is not lost on the head coach of Cultfit (who also has poor self-esteem) and he knows he can take advantage of this level of dedication to get her to do anything and sell anything.

Jane will drink whatever flavor of Kool-aid Cultfit serves up without question. She has no alternative, because to do otherwise is to revert to her powerless life before Cultfit. She has no way of progressing past Cultfit.

This situation is amplified, since Jane’s life has revolved around Cultfit for the past year. Cultift is all she talks about and most of her pre-Cultfit friends have become distant and alienated. Even her husband and kids are sick and tired of Cultfit.

To question Cultfit’s methodology or business practices is unthinkable. Cultift now takes more from Jane than it ever gave her.

Sound familiar? Change the names or the sex of the people involved and we could easily transfer this to many different fitness systems (actually Cult-like martial art schools are the masters of this business model).

The worst examples of this are some of the multi-level marketing companies that prey on this mentality for financial gain. The diet and supplement industry are infested with these practices.

Contrast this with what a great strength coach or teacher does: 

He or she empowers the trainee to learn for themselves. It is the coach’s ultimate goal. My Taekwon-Do master once told me as soon as you begin to think that you know something your instructor doesn’t, it is time to thank your instructor because this means he was very good at what he did. This is because your instructor inspired you to learn and had your best interests at heart.

The ultimate compliment to an instructor is to have the student surpass them. This can only happen when the instructor is unselfish and cares more about the student’s training than they do their own or the brand. This, of course, doesn’t mean the instructor doesn’t train or skips training. Quite the opposite, the instructor now has the awesome burden of students watching his every move and seeing his level of training diligence as an example. This is completely non-dogmatic, in that it is only through the student’s trust and loyalty that this model works. In a healthy teacher-student relationship this is a two-way street.

This is precisely the opposite of Cultfit. This is empowerment. This is what enhances someone’s quality of life and sense of self-worth beyond the gym and should last well after that gym closes its doors.

October 22, 2016

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Philosophy

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 2:34 pm

IKSC Programming Philosophy

Instructors in any system should be experts in the movements. They must know when to stop you and when to push you beyond your limits. They must know the best massage guns and only recommend you them when you are in immense pain to avoid you getting addicted to them. You can’t teach something you can’t do well yourself. No one respects an instructor that dishes out training that he or she has not, could not, and will not complete themselves. 

The goal of any legitimate instructor is to build clients’ strength and conditioning levels, while preventing future injury. It is the de facto purpose of exercise. Intelligent program design and proper knowledge and supervision are vital to minimize injury risk, with maximal benefit.

There is a fine line between training that provides ample hormetic effect, and that which causes injury and excessive stress. Coupled with improper nutrition, rest, and recovery, what might be an extremely effective program can quickly overstress a focused and motivated person. The goal is to train smarter, not harder. Any idiot trainer can make up a “hard” workout, but not any program will make a client stronger and more resilient.

Valid reasons to include an exercise are:

* Proven to build strength and prevent injury.

* Place a huge metabolic demand on the system.

* Build functional, useable range-of-motion (and prevent injury in end-ranges).

* Increase balance and coordination.

* Increase force coupling ability, motor unit synchronicity, and motor unit firing rate.

* Build neuromuscular efficiency.

Dumb reasons to include an exercise are:

* It creates soreness.

* It is hard to do and learn.

* It looks cool on video.

* “I saw it on TV.” (i.e. CrossFit Games, UFC Unleashed, etc.)

Purpose Behind Each Movement 

It is important as an instructor to ask why you are doing each exercise programmed into a session. “Because is looks cool” is never a valid reason, and it is not just for entertainment purposes. “Enter-train-ment” is not good work, even though it is rampant in the mainstream fitness industry.

Building Strength -vs- Demonstrating Stunts or Feats of Strength

The goal is to build strength progressively through quality movement, increased resistance, force production, injury resistance, and work capacity. Each training session should be about building those things, not making every training session a competitive event. Save that for the competition floor or playing field. No one care if you “win” your workout.

Time-Tested Tools and Movements

One thing that is true in fitness is that the longer a piece of equipment or exercise has been around, the more likely it is to be effective. Bodyweight exercises like pushups, burpees, squats, lunges and pull-ups have been used for conditioning for eons, and pretty much always work. Kettlebells, barbells, medicine balls, rowing, and sled pulling are certainly not new, either.



Exercises with a high injury risk are to be avoided. Olympic barbell lifts like the clean & jerk and snatch are appropriate for a very small percentage of the population, and even then, only under the supervision of a certified and experienced weightlifting coach. For most of the general population they just aren’t necessary and the risk far outweighs the reward.

A strength and conditioning program is not a sport. Athletes use a strength and conditioning program to prevent injury, not risk injury by performing stunts. Clients will not train if they are injured.

In addition to the obvious liability risks, the damage word-of-mouth can do as a result of injury is devastating. By contrast, IKSC’s fundamental exercises have a proven track record of low injury potential, and improving client’s performance and quality-of-life in many ways.


It is important that selected exercises are easy to learn and teach. Remember that as trainers, we love to delve into the minutia of each exercise and movement. Clients are usually not this way. It is important that they spend the time allotted to working. Athletes have limited time for strength training in relation to sport skill training.

Tudor Bompa’s 6 Basic Laws of Strength Training for Athletes

Prof. Tudor Bompa is regarded as the father of sports periodization training. As a strength coach, Bompa coached 11 medalists (including two gold medalists) Olympic and world championship competition. He himself was an Olympic rower. IKSC uses his 6 Basic Laws of Strength Training.

1) Develop Joint Flexibility.

2) Develop Tendon and Ligament Strength.

3) Develop Core Strength.

4) Develop the Stabilizers.

5) Focus on movements, not individual muscles.

6) Don’t focus on what is new, but on what is necessary.

IKSC’s 3-Level System

IKSC’s tiered group training system is broken into three basic levels. Level III is generally the most technical and most challenging, Level II is intermediate, and Level I is a very basic, beginner workout.

The higher levels generally entail more volume or more weight, but this is not always the case. It is more that they just require the client have more familiarity with a wider range of exercises.

The ultimate goal is to allow a group with a wide disparity in ability to train simultaneously with equal results. As you begin to build rapport with your regular class attendees, you will begin to gauge your programming for them each day.


4 mixed Tabata rounds. Alternate between both exercises for each 4-minute interval. 4-minute rest between intervals.

Level III

Double kettlebell 1/2 Snatch and Hindu pushups.

Level II

2-arm swings and regular pushups.

Level I

Jog in place and hard plank holds.

October 18, 2016

Eating Fat to Burn Fat: Metabolic Flexibility

Eating Fat to Burn Fat: Metabolic Flexibility


Jim Beaumont -Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSC); Sport Nutrition Specialist; Primal Blueprint Certified Expert; WKC Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Coach. (208) 412-6079.

Class Goal

Introduce advantages of utilizing fat instead of sugar as your body’s primary energy source (ketosis).

Nutritional Ketosis

Nutritional ketosis begins when your body switches from burning glucose (sugar) to burning fat as its primary fuel source. This is not to be confused with a dangerous medical condition called ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to keep excessive ketone production within healthy ranges. This only occurs in Type 1 diabetics and very brittle Type 2 diabetics with pancreatic burnout, or extreme longterm alcoholics.

Your body will make enough glucose to run via gluconeogensis to run your brain. You don’t necessarily have to eat carbs to function effectively. While in ketosis, your body’s primary energy source is beta-hydroxybutyrate (B-OHB).

Fat burning (we’ll just call ketosis that from now). Is the body’s preferred state. Throughout over 90% of our evolution this is how we operated. We did not have a consistent and reliable source of carbohydrate until fairly recently.

Different Ketogenic Strategies

1) Standard Ketogenic Diet: Very low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein. 75-80% of calories come from fats, 5-10% from carbs, and around 20% from protein.

2) Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: Carbs are strategically timed to remain in ketosis for the vast majority of the time. Usually, this entails only consuming carbs right after exercise, and it might entail introducing high-carb meals on select days.

3) High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: This method works well in conjunction with strength training. Protein is generally in the 30% range, carbs around 5-10% and the rest fats (this is basically where I am 90% of the time). This does very well to keep body fat in check and is very satisfying.

Benefits of Being a Fat Burner

1. Proven weight loss without deliberate calorie restriction…”Carbs drive insulin; Insulin drives fat.”

2. Healthy blood sugars though increased insulin sensitivity.

3. Low levels of inflammation and lowered blood pressure.

4. Better skin.

5. Effortless appetite control.

6. Potential resistance to cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, premature aging.

7. Ketogenic diets are currently being researched to help epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and assist in recovery from brain injuries (look these up if you don’t believe me).

8. Increased endurance performance. Endless energy supply for athletic purposes. Dual fuel sources.

Foods to Avoid to become a Fat-Burning Beast

* Added sugars of all kinds.

* All grains and starches (pasta, bread, rice, corn).

* Fruit. One small piece per day is about it.

* Diet products or low-fat foods.

* Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, etc.)

* Most root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.

* Man-made fats like soy and canola oil, trans-fats, and seed oils.

* Most alcoholic beverages.

Preferred Beast Foods

* Meat, eggs, and fatty wild fish.

* Small amounts of full-fat cheese.

* Cream and grass-fed butter.

* Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts.

* Avocados.

* Low-carb veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, red cabbage, onions, peppers, etc.

* Healthy oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil.

* Spices


* MCT oil. Helps increase ketone production. Instant energy.

* Caffeine. Why not? Helps to mobilize fatty acid stores.

* Magnesium. Preferred types are magnesium glycinate, aspartate, and citrate.

Side Effects

Ketogenic diets are very safe.The main downside is what is called the “low-carb flu.” It is generally over in about 4-5 days. This can include brain fog, low-energy, nausea, some sleep or anxiety issues. Plenty of water, extra salt (up to 5000mg per day), potassium, and magnesium are the best ways to combat this.

Additional Information

Here are some easy additional resources.


Peter Attia, M.D. – “An Advantaged Metabolic State: Human Performance, Resilience & Health” 

Dr. Stephen Phinney – “The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis” 


The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living: Jeff Volek, PhD, R.D. and Stephen Phinney, M.D., PhD.


October 14, 2016

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning: Crawling and Rolling Drills

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 7:15 pm

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning:
Crawling and Rolling Drills

Roll from front to back to (stomach to back). Do each roll three times in each direction.
1 Roll over with head only (don’t use your legs or arms to help). The eyes lead.
2 Roll over with arm and head only. The eyes lead.
3 Roll over with head, arm and leg. The eyes lead.


On hands and knees, crawl in each direction for one minute. Eyes always focus forward.

1 Crawl forward, making sure that the opposite hand and knee touch simultaneously.
2 Crawl backwards, making sure that your opposite knee move at the same time.
3 Crawl laterally.
4 Crawl in a square. Four “steps” in each direction.

1 Leopard crawl: This is almost identical to baby crawling, but keep your knees off the floor and hips even with the shoulders. Your head stays up with the chest pushed forward. Take small steps at first—this uses every muscle in your body. Crawl forward for one minute, and then crawl backwards for one minute. Take care to keep the opposite limbs moving simultaneously.
2 Spider-Man Crawl: This demands strength, balance, and constant attention to alignment. THIS IS NOT A “bear crawl.” Hips stay below shoulders. Do not allow the spine to sag or hips to rise. Head and chest stay high. Eyes forward.

Hunger, Hormones, and Appetite.

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 2:30 pm

Hunger, Hormones, and Appetite.

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning

Jim Beaumont CSC, Certified Sport Nutrition Specialist, Primal Blueprint Certified Expert. (208) 412-6079

This is a brief overview of the way the hormones insulin, leptin, and cortisol work and how they relate to appetite and body composition.

Hormones: A complex subject, but let’s focus on a few basics for now.

This brief summary will be in the simplest, plainest terms, and be provided within the context of fitness and body composition. It is not presented to treat any medical condition, or assist with any serious health concerns. For those concerns, anyone…with a shred of sense, will consult a licensed physician, not a strength coach and sport nutrition specialist.

Many nutrition programs focus on calories, strict meal plans, and ratios of macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats). This is partly due to a lack of knowledge of some basic hormones, but it also reflects on the fact that humans’ hormonal responses to types of food, or the lack of it is a complex and confusing subject. It is a lot easier for a fitness professional to give a strict caloric number than explain this relationship.

Hormones are Chemical Messengers.
Things like fat storage and muscle building are controlled by hormones. For now, we are going to focus on only a few: Insulin, leptin and cortisol. These three are key hormones that must be addressed when discussing fitness or body composition. Every bite of food you eat affects your hormones. Calories are much less important than hormonal response.

Insulin is there to maintain blood sugar levels and body fat. It also works to shuttle nutrients throughout your cells for repair and maintenance (and for building muscle and recovering from hard training).

When it comes to body composition, consider insulin your fat-storage hormone. It converts excess blood sugar into fat. Any blood sugar level above what your body requires causes your insulin levels to spike, and excess blood sugar to immediately be stored as fat.

Let’s say my blood sugar is a number, 100 points. My body is happy there. It doesn’t want to be less or more. If my blood sugar raises, say to 200 points after eating a Snickers bar or slice of bread, my body will secrete insulin to bring the blood sugar back down to 100, where it wants to be.

So, my blood sugar went from 200 down to 100. Where did that extra 100 points go? It went straight to my fat cells – into storage- for later in case I need it for energy. The problem is, most people don’t need the extra energy. They are storing fat for a famine…that never comes.

Insulin makes fat: That’s what it does. More insulin, more fat storage. Less insulin, less fat storage. Insulin is elevated for approximately three hours after eating or drinking anything that causes insulin levels to rise. High insulin levels stop any fat burning and keep your body in fat storage mode continually.

If we eat sugary carbs (all carbs are sugars) on a regular basis, our body has to constantly secrete insulin (and store fat) to deal with the excess blood sugar. The better our body responds to insulin and the better it is at regulating blood sugar, the less fat we store.

In other words, the more insulin sensitive we are, the less fat we store and the better we can get nutrients where they need to be.

The problem is that our insulin sensitivity decreases the more we bombard ourselves with excess sugar. As a result of this, more insulin is secreted and the more fat is stored.

In the case of type II diabetes, type II diabetics are not able to make enough insulin to keep blood sugar at healthy ranges, and must get shots of insulin to keep the sugars down. Diabetes is one of the world’s biggest health problems and ties into obesity and high blood pressure. Just Google “insulin resistance” with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. and you will find connections.

Increasing insulin sensitivity means less fat storage, better nutrient transport, and more stable blood sugar.

Leptin lets our bodies know how much “fuel” we have stored up for energy or tissue repair. It also helps to regulate appetite.

Leptin is like the gas gauge in your car. It signals that you have enough nutrients to conduct your activities or to build muscle. If your leptin sensitivity is high, then your gas gauge is working correctly and your body knows you have enough fuel. If not, you think you need to add fuel, because our bodies are programmed to keep the tank full. Thus, you are hungry when you don’t need to be.

In normal, healthy people if leptin is present and receptors are sensitive, feeding is inhibited. Leptin also helps your body access stored bodyfat as fuel…if you take more than four hours between meals. This is because insulin levels will be elevated after eating, and the hormone insulin is thought to block leptin.

In essence, if you go more than four hours between meals, your body gets a “snack” on stored bodyfat. Taking 6-8 hours between meals is preferable.

The more often we eat, the less sensitive we are to leptin. The receptors “wear out.” Your “gas gauge” doesn’t register correctly.

I practice intermittent fasting for up to 24 hours about every week or so in order to increase my leptin sensitivity (more on that another time). I don’t blanket-recommend this, however. This is a personal choice.

Having a basic understanding of these hormones will help provide a reference for the nutritional recommendations I make. This is useful for those who want to understand the reasons I recommend things like banning grains, sugars, dairy, and excessive fruits from your diet, and why I do not subscribe to the idea you need to eat frequently throughout the day, like many fitness personalities recommend.

Think of cortisol as your body’s “stress hormone.” This can be a good thing or a bad thing. When you are placed in a stressful situation, cortisol elevates in order to give you more focus, energy, mental clarity, and injury resistance. This is supposed to help us get through a short-term crisis. We can handle it in that context. We are simply not built to have this hormone “turned on” all day, every day as many of us do.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels induce insulin resistance, poor carb tolerance, increase hunger, and increase abdominal fat relative to other areas of the body. Ultimately, this leads to poor glucose tolerance and more hunger, which leads to more indulging and a reduced ability to handle the food (especially carbs), which leads to elevated blood sugar and weight gain.

Elevated cortisol levels are caused by many things in society that our ancestors simply didn’t have to deal with. This puts us at odds with our DNA. These things include:

* Inflammatory diet. A typical American gets about 70% of calories from foods that that were not available 100 years ago.
* Constant exposure to screens
* Stressful work conditions, commutes, and 24/7 availability
* Exposure to bright light after dark
* Over exercising
* Toxic relationships
* Chronic health conditions
* Social media and 24 hour, instant news media
* Lack of quality sleep

Tips to Increase Insulin Sensitivity (Things you can start doing immediately).

1. Reduce total carbohydrate load to 50-150grams per day, with these carbs coming from vegetables and limited fruit. If fat loss is a goal, keep that on the lower end of the scale (50-100grams per day). A competitive athlete or bodybuilder can handle more than this, because those carbohydrates are used as fuel.

2. Do not start your day with a carb source. This is when your body is the least insulin sensitive. This sets up a roller coaster of high and low blood sugar throughout the day. Instead, start with meat, eggs, fish and nuts.

3. Take fish oil.

4. Make sure you are getting enough magnesium and zinc.

5. Try to get the majority of your carbs after training for the day.

6. Start each meal with a protein source.

7. Don’t drink calories. Your body expects to chew food in order to receive nutrients. The only general exception to this are things like bone broth (or a post workout shake for additional nutrients for someone that does not have a fat loss goal).

8. Eliminate all grains and sugar…and DO NOT substitute with gluten free alternatives.

9. Get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Repeated nights of poor sleep can severely compromise insulin and leptin sensitivity and elevate cortisol levels.

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