Keeping To Your Routine During Busy Times

With the holidays right around the corner, many of us will be traveling quite a bit. We will also be presented with some obstacles to stay on our eating and fitness routine. For those of you who travel year-round, you are constantly trying to balance out your eating and find a way to get a workout in.


Over the years, I have found that the holidays and traveling are two of the biggest obstacles when trying to stay on a proper routine. Time management is probably the number one reason why people have a tough time sticking to a routine. Are these excuses not to stay healthy, get your workouts in and not gravitate to eating junk out of convenience? YES! Now, I know what you are saying. It is very hard to stick to a routine due to time, the holidays, and all the time constraints put on us these days. Well, here is what I have to say.

You will always be busy. The holidays come every year, and at some point during the course of the year, you will have to travel. These are just obstacles that you need to plan for. You don’t need to obsess about sticking to your routine, you just need to prioritize.

If you make it a priority to get some good food in your body, travel with the proper gear, and carve just 21-minutes to move each day, all the travel, holiday eating, and time constraints won’t beat up your routine so badly.

Many of us go into these particular situations with the thought of already failing. We find it too hard to prioritize what we need, because let’s face it; the holidays and traveling are stressful. We are a time-crunched society and feel that we will never get ahead. So we immediately feel like we can’t keep up. We ditch our workouts and good eating habits because it is a path of least resistance.

KB green

I have talked to thousands of people about this. Most of them simply feel that it is too hard to maintain their health during stressful times. Now, I get it. It is hard to stick to your healthy daily habits, but not impossible if you simply make a plan to prioritize what you need to do. It doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t need to obsess, just invest.

Travel and the holidays aren’t an escape from your every day life or a departure from reality; they’re an expansion of it. You don’t need to view the holidays and traveling as an excuse to not move and gorge yourself. Just simply do your best to move every day and eat foods that nourish you. If it’s a holiday party, feel free to sample some of the items that look amazing! Don’t choose to eat things that you know you won’t enjoy. Pick what you like and go at it!

If you are traveling, there are so many healthy options these days. Find them and eat a lot of them! If you are in a new town, feel free to sample some of the local goodies. Just choose wisely and stick to the plan I have written below to ensure you get some good stuff in your body as well (my own habits list). For your workouts, just carve out 21-minutes each day. Do whatever you want. If you are in a cool downtown area, go for a fast walk. Most hotels have a gym, so just pop in, put something heavy over your head and move on. No gym and it’s too cold out, do some push-ups, air squats and burpees and call it a day. You can do the same anywhere if you are unable to make it to a gym during the holidays.

The point is not using “too busy” as an excuse!

Prioritize movement, prioritize protein and vegetables, prioritize sleep, and prioritize the indulgences that you deeply desire, but don’t obsess over any of it. If you get in a 15 minute hotel gym quickie instead of a 30-60 minute strength session, that’s just fine. If you sample a little “not so healthy” cuisine that’s totally okay as long as you have some protein and veggies too. If you drink copious amounts of wine, don’t worry about it as long as you drink copious amounts of water as well.

You don’t need to completely stray from your daily routine but don’t expect your behavior or your routine to be perfect either. Just stick as closely to your healthy habits as possible without any attachment to outcomes. This is how you come home after a week away and are able to get right back to your daily schedule. This is how you’re able to indulge and not feel guilty or regretful. This is what I do. Trust me, I love food, I love to drink wine, and I eat a ton during the holidays and when I visit a new town. I just simply stick to some daily habits to keep me on track.

Here’s some examples of things that help me continue my daily rituals while traveling:


  • I bring a massage ball and jump rope in my bag, and if I am driving, I have a kettlebell with me. I have the same at home during the holidays to get a quick workout in as well.
  • I plan to workout at the hotel gym each morning for at least 21-minutes. If there is no gym, a bodyweight workout is just fine. If I have a lot to do that day, I go in my basement and swing the bell around a bit, stretch and shower.
  • I adapt where necessary and go with the flow, while still staying as true as possible to my daily habits. pro-2371-2275

Invest in yourself, don’t obsess. Give yourself some wiggle room and a lot of grace. Stay as close to your routine as possible without trying to control everything. This is what I consider true consistency–the ability to veer off the path a little bit and easily get back on.

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Squat, Swing, Carry, Push, Pull, Lunge – The Fundamentals of Workout Success

Strength training is the foundation of any well-rounded fitness program. It doesn’t matter if you run, bike, swim, do yoga, or any other sport there is out there to participate in. Strength training has to be in your fitness routine somewhere. A solid strength-training program will provide an array of benefits in as little as twice a week, 30 minutes for each workout. Now, if you really want to put on some muscle and burn body fat to gain the physique you REALLY want, I suggest a little more, but I realize that people simply like to be involved in other areas of fitness. In this case, the minimum effective dose will work well.

KB green

So, why is strength training so important? For one, it is the fastest way to build muscle tissue. No matter who you are, what you do, or how old you are, you need to at least maintain, or gain muscle tissue. As we age, our body naturally wants to lose muscle tissue. For you folks that are 40 and above, your goal should be to keep all the muscle that you have if you want to increase longevity, stay strong, move the way you need to, and yes, keep your metabolism rocking. By strength training the whole body, you increase protein synthesis (build muscle), and release anabolic hormones naturally (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1) to keep you feeling young and strong.

Now, you would think that since strength training is so important to overall health and performance, why isn’t everyone doing it? Why don’t they make strength training a priority? Well, I think it is because they simply don’t know what to do. With so much exercise info smashing into our face on a daily basis, we usually pick what looks fun, or do what our friends said was working for them. That is fine, I am good with that. You just need to understand that strength training is so beneficial, and can be a part of any and all fitness programs. It does not have to be difficult, and you really only need 6 different movements in your strength training routine.

• Squat
• Swing
• Carry
• Push
• Pull
• Lunge

You can do all the bicep curls, burpees, ball slams, triceps pushdowns and calf raises in the world, but they will never produce the results these 6 movements will. These movements will provide the fundamentals of workout success. You will improve your functional strength, build muscle, increase your work capacity, lose body fat, and improve your quality of life.

Over the years, I have made some workout programs so complex, way too complicated to follow, and unrealistic for my clients that wanted to do other things than just lift weights. If you are someone that is a runner, cyclist, swimmer, tennis buff, or yogini, this program is perfect for you. In just 30 minutes, two times per week, you will fill in the gaps of your training program, improve your craft, and reduce the risk of injury. Not to mention, look better naked.

Without further or do, let’s take a look at your workout combo options.

The Workouts

Squatting, swinging, and carrying heavy weight are all fantastic methods to put on muscle and torch body fat. Combine them all into one workout, and you have a bulletproof workout to ensure that you gain strength and transform your physique in no time.

So, why are squat, swing, carry combos so beneficial at putting on muscle and strength, while helping fat loss? Let’s quickly look at the benefits of each movement. swings

Goblet Squat – Popularized by legendary strength coach, Dan John, this has become the sidekick of the traditional back and front squats with the barbell. The goblet squat is very useful when you want to do some extra lower-body work, but need to give the joints and nervous system some recovery time from heavier loaded squats. They also help improve mobility in the hips, thus helping you out with other lower-body movement patterns. They feel good on the joints, and hammer your quads in the process.

The offset kettlebell squat is great for working the core and balancing out the body.

The double kettlebell front squat is the hardest of the three, and will demand every single ounce of effort from your body to complete.

Kettlebell Swing – The kettlebell swing (KBS) is great for strengthening the entire backside of your body; the perfect complement to the goblet squat for total lower-body development. They also allow you to perform them at higher reps, making them a great fat loss tool. The ballistic motion of the movement also helps increase power development. The KBS is your all-in-one fat loss, muscle building, endurance boosting, and power enhancing exercise. If I had to pick one of the six exercises as my go-to, the KBS is it.

Note: Only perform the 2 KBS if you have experience with swinging bells.

Loaded Carries – Another exercise popularized by Dan John, loaded carries will build your grip, arms, and core, and teach you to maintain a high level of force output for extended periods of time. Carries are the bridge between being strong and having great strength capacity. The loaded carry has been the missing link to many strength and conditioning programs around. The amount of work capacity it demands is incredible. Simply carrying heavy weight in various ways (above the head, rack position, farmers carry, suitcase carry) will wake up some the core and upper-body muscles that you never thought that you had.

If you want to learn more about the beauty of the loaded carry, please read this article by Gray Cook.

The Squat, Swing, Carry Workouts

I have developed three different combos that are sure to hit every major muscle group in the body in different ways.

Perform 5 rounds of the following circuit. Your goal is NOT to put the kettlebell (s) down until you finish the prescribed number of reps for each movement in the circuit. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.


5 goblet squats
15 kettlebell swings
40-meter goblet hold carry


5 offset kettlebell squats each side
15 kettlebell swings each arm
40-meter suitcase carries each arm


5 double kettlebell front squats
15 double kettlebell swings
40-meter farmers carry

When To Do Them goblet

Perform this workout 1-2 times per week. To start out, just perform one of these complexes per workout, once a week. When you improve these movements, you can combine them with a push, pull, lunge workout, and complete the combo in 30 minutes.

Push, Pull, Lunge

We could get away with just the squat, swing, carry combos and experience great results. The push, pull, lunge combo adds variety to the workouts and helps improve your upper-body strength. This combo will hit every possible muscle in the body.


In life and sport, we push things horizontally in front of us, and vertically above the head. These two movements will provide plenty of stimuli for the shoulder, chest, and triceps. If you do them right, you won’t need any isolation exercises, such as triceps work and shoulder raises. Push-ups, dumbbell bench press, and the 1-arm kettlebell press are the primary three that we will use.


Just like the fundamental human movement of pushing, we pull things towards us horizontally and vertically. All of the back muscles must be worked in order to keep the shoulders healthy, improve posture, and balance out the upper-body. Chin-ups, 1-arm dumbbell rows, and inverted TRX rows will be the focus.


The lunge is an exercise that has been in every fitness circle around. From group fitness folks, to boot campers, the lunge is an exercise that seems to pop into the programming. Unfortunately, this exercise is harder than people make it out to be. While it looks like an easy exercise, it is actually an intermediate, maybe even advanced movement for many people. The funny thing is that hardcore lifters wrote off the lunge as a “soft” exercise.

Well, the verdict is in the middle. The lunge is a great fundamental exercise that has great carryover to athletics, builds great stability in the hips, core and knees, and works a ton of muscles at once. Remember, the more muscle worked at one time, the better the fat loss and muscle building capabilities. We will focus on the reverse lunge, walking lunge, and lateral lunge.

The Push, Pull, Lunge Workouts

There will be 3 different workouts. Perform 3-5 rounds, depending on your level. Just like the squat, swing, carry workout, pick only ONE (1) circuit per workout.


10 TRX rows
10 push-ups
10 reverse lunges each leg

Add weight when the reps are too easy.


8 one-arm dumbbell bench press
8 one-arm dumbbell rows
8 lateral lunges

All sets are done for 8 reps each side.

Advanced pull up

5 one-arm kettlebell overhead press each arm
5 chin-ups or pull-ups
10 walking lunges each leg

Make Strength Training a Priority

Improving your strength base should be something you make important in your workouts. It doesn’t take long, and it doesn’t take a ton of different exercises. Focus on the fundamentals and focus on doing them well. The results will follow.

In Strength,


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Confessions of an Overeater

I have something to confess. I am a HUGE overeater! Yes, a trainer of 14 years and training facility owner LOVES to eat! Big shocker, right? But who doesn’t love to eat?

Well, I think I have a few skeletons in my closet that I need to clean out. People who know me will tell you that I can eat an unreal amount of food, and sometimes it is BAD food.


1. When I go out to dinner with my wife, I want to get the bread basket, appetizer, maybe two of them, a salad, a large main course, and sometimes desert. My wife hardly eats half of her meal, so I eat the rest of it along with all of my meal. The server often comments on how much I just ate in disbelief that all of the food is totally destroyed.

2. For dinner, I will often eat a meal large enough for 2 people. Less than an hour later, I will start looking through the fridge and pantry. The “second dinner” usually consists of one, or more of the following:


  • 3 bowls of my kids cereal, low sugar, but still, it’s cereal
  • If a chocolate bar is around, I will devour it
  • 2-4 pieces of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with coconut oil and peanut butter
  • A pint of ice cream, or two that my wife and I will share
  • 4 scoops of Progenex Cocoon protein powder and an apple
  • And maybe some of the leftovers from dinner

While some of these are healthy options, does my body really need it? Probably not.

3. I once ate 6 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers and a Biggie fry after a long day of tailgating. I was still hungry 2 hours later.

4. When my wife and I order pizza, we will get 2 large pizzas. My wife eats maybe a quarter of one of the pizzas, I eat the rest.

5. Since meeting my father in-law he has had to double his groceries and ingredient list when we come up north to visit. I always thank him and tell him how much I love his cooking. I eat everything he makes, and eat a lot of it. I think this is the only reason why he likes me since I am his biggest food fan.

6. When I was young, my brother and I would go on “food trips” where we would pre-plan each fast food restaurant that we would go to. We would count to the last penny to how much food we could buy with the money  we had. It was an all out fat ass eating journey. No wonder we both went through our “fat kid” phases.

7. After many of my bodybuilding shows, I would gain 15-25 pounds within 2 days. I would eat whole boxes of cereal, 1/2 gallons of chocolate milk, and donuts for breakfast, along with whatever else I could get my hands on. Pizza, burgers, you name it, I would eat it. No holds barred. The extreme dieting always pushed me to the limits and when I was done, I was ready to eat!

I could go on and on with my eating stories, but I think you get the picture. I can eat a lot of food and I might have a problem. Well, maybe not a problem, but I tend to do things in extremes.

I have an addictive personality by nature. When I enjoy doing something, or feel like I can do something well, I dive right in and do it to the extreme. Take my career and training for example; at 20 years old I started with the intentions to do whatever it took to become successful. I noticed that I was kind of good at it, so I let it consume me.

The same goes with bodybuilding. However much it took to workout and diet to look the way that I wanted, I would do it. The mass gaining phases of the sport was also enjoyable. As long I ate enough of the right nutrients, I was allowed to eat a ton of food. This let my inner fat kid come out to the extreme.

Somewhere down the line, I started to realize that the extremes were too tough to manage all of the time. Going from one extreme to the next was tough. Eating a bunch of food and then thinking I could out train a high calorie diet to maintain my 6-pack just didn’t cut it mentally or physically.

That is when I really started to understand nutrition and eating habits. I had tremendous knowledge about nutrition, supplementation, and working out. Putting it to use consistently and developing the habit was and is the hard part.

This is how writing my book all started. I wanted to share the key fundamentals of creating good eating habits that I did always practiced despite my extremes. Below is the table of contents so you can get a better picture of what I talk about in my book.

Prelude: A Nation Of Nutrition Overload

Introduction: My Journey

Chapter 1: The Fundamentals Of My Nutritional Doctrine

Chapter 2: Fundamental #1 – Reducing Nutritional Deficiencies 

Chapter 3: Fundamental #2 – Controlling Food Portions and  Macronutrient Breakdowns

Chapter 4 Fundamental #3 – Meal Frequency 

Chapter 5: Fundamental #4 – Supplementation 

Chapter 6: Fundamental #5 – Workout Nutrition 

Chapter 7: The Power of 3/Intermittent Fasting Eating Protocol

Chapter 8: The 30-Day Challenge

Chapter 9: The Power of Changing One Habit at a Time

Chapter 11: The Choice Is Yours

Frequently Asked Questions 

Overeating is something that I still do once in a while. Now that I am older and more aware of what is good for my body, I don’t go to the extremes as often as I once did. Even when I did go to the extremes, I always followed the guidelines that I describe in my book. I always made sure that I was putting quality nutrients in my body, everyday, despite the ocasional binge eating.

Even before I started to write my book, I have balanced out my good and bad nutritional habits. It’s just not worth it to continue to damage my body and have to regroup in order to feel better form the binging.

I have also taken a different approach to exercise. The “more is better” approach in order to make-up for the extra caloric intake is also something I do not practice. I know that as long as I get a good workout in, 4-5 days per week, and eat the way I should 90% of the time, I will be just fine. I love to workout, and would workout more if time permitted, but I understand that it’s quality, not quantity. Just like it is when you are eating.

Life balance is something that we are always trying to strive for. Many of us may may never find that balance, which is totally OK. When is comes to eating and exercising, you need to find that balance as much as possible. Exercise enough to improve health and fitness, eat well enough 90% of the time and enjoy the foods you love 10% of the time. Get some sleep and take a vacation.

It will be a constant job throughout your life to do this. The biggest thing is to never give up and always put your health first. Devleloping strong habits one at a time is the key. Get started on your habits today. Don’t wait for a good reason to start because YOU are already a good enough reason!

To learn more on how to find your nutritional balance, pick-up a copy of my E-book. The Grinnell Lifestyle: My Nutritional Doctrine

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