Thoughts of Dan John

Not too long ago I sat down and read Dan John’s Never Let Go for a second time because I enjoyed it so much the first time. Dan John is a legend in strength training, having compiled over 30 years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach.

Dan John

One of the things I really like about Dan is his ability to keep things simple. With everyone talking about their crazy periodization schemes amongst many other things, Dan simple; become brilliant at the basics and keep adding weight, getting stronger and stronger.

With that being said, I thought it would be good to share my five favorite quotes from Never Let Go, a book that I think anyone with an ounce of interest in fitness needs to read.

If it’s important do it everyday

Pretty straight forward but couldn’t be truer. If your mobility sucks, some mobility work everyday may be a good idea. If your tissue quality sucks, grab your foam roller and roll out a couple of times everyday. If your grades in school suck, study more everyday. If your terribly out of shape, do something to get in better shape everyday. I could keep going, but this can and will apply to almost every area of your life.

Two great principles of strength and conditioning. Everything works. Everything works, but only for so long.

Here is something I feel a lot of people really miss the boat on. Doing 3 sets of 10 reps is great and will work, but at some point its going to stop working and you’ll need to make some changes. Conditioning three times a week might spark some fat loss, but at some point you will stall and will need to make some changes. Everything works for a varying amount of time, but everything stops working at some point.

Look at your goals. Look at your behavior. Does your behavior match your goals?

Brilliant. How many times have your heard someone talk about the goals they have yet you watch their actions and realize they don’t match their goals in any way, shape or form. Goals are great and important if you want to accomplish things, but in order to do something bigger and better than what you currently have, you are going to have to change your behavior to match those goals.


Measure your progress in the weight room one of three ways. 1) Your deadlift max is up. 2) You did more REAL pull ups. 3) Your three jump score increased.

I think the deadlift is a great exercise, especially the trap bar version. Furthermore, if your deadlift number is getting better and better, I will guarantee that you are getting stronger and stronger and developing total body strength. The same goes for pull ups. They are hard. Not many people are great at them. But the thing is, I’ll guarantee that the kid that can do the most pull ups is probably also one of the strongest kids you now, can squat and bench more than most everyone else – its funny how things like that work.

Here’s my ultra-secret diet regime: Follow Mom’s first rule!
• Eat breakfast everyday
• Be sure to eat three meals a day
• If you’re hungry an hour or so after a meal, you didn’t eat enough protein
• Water should be your major beverage
• There’s nothing more fiber can’t cure

Spot on, don’t even need to add anything to this. Eat three to four meals a day and don’t skip breakfast. Focus on protein and drink plenty of water and make sure you get enough fiber – chances are you don’t.

Never Let Go

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 2/20

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

Boring Work15 Static Stretching Mistakes by Eric Cressey

8 More Training and Recovery Tips by Ben Bruno

6 Most Important Training Discoveries by Charles Staley

Conditioning When the Weather Stinks by Jim Wendler

To All the Internet Critics by Mike Boyle

The Curse of Knowledge by Mike Boyle

Bodyweight 300 Challenge & Two Other Sick Workouts by Jason Ferriuggia

Motivational Monday

About a year ago, May I think it was, I had the opportunity to meet Andrea Hudy, Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Kansas, who was extremely nice and gracious spending time talking to me and answering any questions that I had, something that not many ‘big time’ strength coaches are willing to do with younger up and coming strength coaches.

Coach Hudy was the first woman to be the Director at a major Division I University and maybe more impressive is the fact that she is in charge of Men’s Baskebtall at Kansas along with overseeing the entire strength and conditioning program. Hudy was just recently named the 2013 NSCA Strength Coach of the Year and ESPN did a special on her on College Game Day this past Saturday and I thought I would share. Oh, and before taking the position at Kansas, Coach Hudy won seven National Championships at UConn as the strength coach for both Men’s and Women’s Basketball – not too shabby.

If any strength coaches out there think they have obstacles that are too big to overcome, look at Coach Hudy. A woman is dominating a man’s profession to the point where she is being acknowledged as the best in the country – pretty impressive.

12 Steps to Set and Achieve Any Goal

Anyone that knows me knows that I am always reading something, whether it be related to strength and conditioning or related to personal development. I recently took the time to read Goals by Brian Tracy and wanted to share with you his 12 Steps to Set and Achieve Any Goal.


#1 – Have a Desire: What Do You Really Want?

  • Step number one is all about having a desire, an intense, burning desire for your particular goal. The desire needs to be personal in nature meaning it is something that you want to accomplish and not something that others may want you to accomplish. For many people the question is, What do I really want to do in my life and with my life?

#2 – Believe That Your Goal is Achievable

  • Step number two is all about you  believing, deep in your heart, that you not only can accomplish and attain the goal but you deserve the goal. Having faith in yourself is essential and something that all high achieving individuals have. These people intensely believe in their ability to accomplish anything that they set their minds to and goals that they have set for themselves.

#3 – Write Your Goal Down

  • This is probably something that most everyone has heard when it comes to goals yet most of us still don’t do it. People that accomplish great things have clear, specific, detailed goals and plans that they write down and review regularly. Write your goals down and put them somewhere that is easily visible to you on a daily basis.


#4 – Determine Your Starting Point

  • Step four asks you to determine and analyze your starting point. You need to ask yourself, Where am I now? and more importantly you need to answer that question honestly. This allows you to set goals at are both believable and achievable.

#5 – Determine Why You Want It

  • Step number five is all about you deciding why it is that you want this particular goal. According to Tracy, “The more reasons you have for wanting to achieve your goal, the more intense will be your desire. Reasons are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.”

#6 – Set a Deadline

  • Step number six asks you to set a deadline for achieving your goal. You can look at setting a deadline like it’s a target and we all know that you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. If you have a huge, major goal that you want to accomplish you may find it easier to set a handful of smaller deadlines that will eventually lead to your ultimate goal. Either way, a deadline is a must if you want to achieve any goal.

#7 – Identify the Obstacles in Your Way

  • No matter what you goal may be, there are always going to be some obstacles in your way. Step number seven asks you to determine the obstacles that are standing between you and your goal. Most of the time it is you that is holding yourself back from reaching a goal. As Tracy says, “Average and mediocre people blame their failures to make progress on the people and circumstances around them. But superior people always look into themselves and ask What is it that is holding me back?

#8 – Determine the Additional Knowledge and Skills You Need

  • Step eight asks you to determine the additional knowledge, skills, and information that you will need in order to accomplish your goal. Does that mean you need to go back to school an earn a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree? Does that mean you need to attend some seminars and learn from what the top-level performers are doing? “To go beyond your current level of accomplishment you need to acquire knowledge and skills you have never had before,” says Tracy.

cont ed

#9 – Determine the People Whose Help You Will Need

  • No matter what your goal is you are going to need the help of other people to achieve that goal. Maybe it is a personal trainer to help you finally get into better shape. Maybe it is a mentor in your chosen field that will teach you the things you need to know to excel in your field. Either way, in most cases, relationships are everything. Find out who can help you reach your goal and then do everything you can to make these people a part of your life.

#10 – Make a Plan: Put It All Together

  • At this point it is time to actually make a plan to accomplish your goal. “A plan is an organized list of tasks that you will have to complete to get from where you are to where you want to go,” says Tracy. You’ve figured out where you are starting from, why you want your goal, set deadlines, identified obstacles that will have to be overcome, determined the additional skills and knowledge that you need to acquire, and determined the people who you are going to need in your life to help you out – now put it all together and make a plan.

#11 – Visualize Your Goal Continually

  • Step number eleven wants you to visualize your goal each and every day as it has already been attained. Act as if you have already achieved your goal and feel what its like to have accomplished the goal. All the pride, joy and satisfaction you would have for accomplishing the goal will be rushing through your body, giving you more and more intense desire to keep pushing forward until you actually do accomplish your goal.

#12 – Never Give Up

  • The final step is to back everything you do with intense persistence and determination. Promise yourself before you even start that you are not going to give up on the goal no matter what happens because it is that important to you. When difficult times and the obstacles that you knew where coming do show their ugly face, make the decision now that you will continue to persevere and reach your goal.

Goals by Brian Tracy

For anyone looking to pick up Goals, which I highly recommend, you can get it on Amazon for a very cheap and reasonable price.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 2/13

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

Boring Work

8 Blast Strap Exercises for Serious Upper Body Muscle by Ben Bruno

7 Ways to Get Strong Outside the Sagittal Plane by Eric Cressey

When to Specialize by Mike Boyle

A Logical Argument Against the Tracy Anderson Method by Dean Somerset

Smart Overhead Pressing by Dean Somerset

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Box Jumps by Tony Gentilcore

Training Percentages Made Simple by Jordan Syatt

Instructional Youtube Videos by Bret Contreras

4 Ways to Write Faster Programs by Mike Robertson

Punch the Clock Workouts by Mike Robertson

Conditioning…What’s Best for the Athlete by Shelton Stevens

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

“I don’t have time to be healthy.”

That is one of the most used and abused statements that strength coaches and personal trainers hear over and over again. It may the one of the universal excuses that people use when they don’t reach their goals of getting into better shape or the reason they don’t even try to get into shape.

But in my eyes, it’s just that – an excuse.

I am fully aware that there are many people who are busier than I am, but I like to feel that I am relatively busy. Between classes and everything that comes along with that, working at UNH, being a USA Hockey Official, and someone who tries to have a social life, I find time to make time to be healthy. Oh, and I make it a priority to read an hour a day on something related to strength and conditioning or personal development.

How do I go about making sure to find time to work out and make healthy food choices? To be honest, it’s all about planning ahead. Every night before I go to bed I try to figure out what my next day is going to look like. Look at what team responsibilities I may have at UNH, what hockey games I may have to officiate, and depending on the time of the year I may have to take classes into account as well.

Once I figure those things out, the first thing I do is plan where I am going to find time to work out. I make it a priority to find time and I also recognize how much time I am going to have to work out which allows me to plan ahead for the workout itself. Let me repeat that, I make it a priority.

The next thing I do is figure out when I am going to have a chance to grab something to eat – which is basically the most important thing in my life since I am a fat kid at heart. Am I going to have time to make breakfast? Will I have time to run to a store and grab something healthy to eat at any point? Should I throw together a couple of protein shakes to get me through the day? These are all things I ask myself going when planning the day ahead.

When it comes down to it, I make it a priority to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Am I perfect? Nope. Do I eat crappy foods from time to time and miss workouts? Yup. For the most part though, I make healthy food choices and make it a priority to workout 4-5 times a week, consistently, week to week and month to month.

Anyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle but you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable and make it a priority. You only have one body, treat it accordingly.