Tuesday, August 9, 2011


August may only be second to February on my list of hated months. But why hate August, it is still summer right? Sort of, I guess, but mostly I feel anxious, school is starting.......the school bus, surprise quizzes, homework, other kids that had that growth spurt I never had, kids I picked on the year before now picking on me, waking up early........oh the pain!
To make matters worse I felt my only protection was to swaddle myself in my new school year armor; the fall wardrobe, which in the heat of september only made me sweaty, in addition to being anxious.
Part of the reason I quickly dove in to my long pants and shirts was that I always felt uncomfortable with myself. I was envious of the kids who just never cared how they looked or at least wouldn't sweat their ass off because they were afraid of getting made fun of in some way for wearing shorts. I wish I had my Barefoot Bootcamp back then, I would have been in awesome shape..... My white New Balance high tops accentuating my sinewy calves, My Maui and Sons shorts draped perfectly around my trim waist and my OP t-shirt just hugging my perfect pecs and biceps. This is now attainable to all of us through the dynamic fitness class known as Hal's Barefoot Bootcamp..........sign up now!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Train smart for competition

It happens all the time when training for an event as demanding as the spartan races, I push myself so hard in training that I’m injured, completely burnt out or both by the time it comes to the actual competition. To prepare for the spartan sprint race in Tuxedo I didn’t alter my normal training regimen and was pretty pleased with my results. But thats not going to fly this september in staten island, I’m going to need what I brought to Tuxdedo......and then some. I’ve really been pushing myself these last few weeks to increase my endurance, the fantasy of coming even close to Hobie drives me through each intense workout. I often think.... what’s Hobie doing? what does this one say about nutrition? What about this fitness guru, what’s he saying? There’s no question that there’s useful information out there but adhering to someone else’s training program to the letter is somewhat akin to taking someone’s meds because you have similar symptoms. I believe that when it comes to preparing for events such as these, an eclectic approach is best. You are your best coach, listening closely to the cues your body is giving you. For me this means recovery time is as important as intensive training time. I have a bad habit of trying to train through an injury, or rather not altering my training appropriately when injured. Sometimes I’ll almost unconsciously target the area of my body that’s injured (maybe I should discuss that one in therapy). I’m really attempting a different approach this time.......more rest, better nutrition, smarter training. I will keep you posted on my (hopefully uninjured) status.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NY Spartan Race. 6/4/11

The spartan race sprint is 3 miles of brutal hill running, rock scrambling, obstacle scaling, javelin throwing and gladiator avoiding hell and it's the most painful fun I've had in a long time. I finished in the top 10% of the elite division and my clients Courtney and Margaret finished 1st and 9th (I'm blown away). This was a wicked tough race and all facets of my training were utilized. The aspect of Inside Out Training that that was most beneficial to me during the race was the mind-fullness that I always preach to all my students. Be aware of your energy levels, your abilities and your rate of recovery, training smart is the best way to become a winner. To me training smart means "I buy the whole package", strength, flexibility, agility, power and speed, and with these in your arsenal you'll never be a loser. To me, not being a loser is not letting myself down no matter what place I finish, it's knowing that there were no "holes" in my program and confirmation that I'm training effectively for what I want to excel at. I compete against myself, pushing as hard as I can, comfortable in my own abilities I find myself encouraging other racers, because that's who I want to be, and what I want to receive from other people. This is where I'm most at home, helping coaching and supporting, simply because I want the same things and hope to be treated the same way. This is winning at life, the person I want to be. There are more races to come, I feel re-invigorated and motivated for the next event, now I've got something to train for!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

staying positive.................

Sounds easy, but for me it can be very hard. "Acting as if"is easy, wearing the cloak of positivity and forward progress while not truly feeling it inside. I strive to have my inside feelings match my outside projections but usually for short of my high expectations. although this projection is a giant step toward actually feeling good, I can still feel the inner gnawing and the turmoil that stirs within my gut. And by the way, whoever is stirring the gnawing and turmoil: Could you please put down that knife and switch to wooden spoon? Thank you.
What I've come to understand is that my coping mechanisms are unhealthy and this is certainly not a revelation, But at the same time it helps to recognize that this way of coping is also habit, ingrained over a lifetime. Positive habits take time too, but they don't necessarily have to take another 40 yrs (ok, 41). My negative habits are simply the path of least resistance. Positive habits take strength and a focused awareness on the positive to truly create powerful intent. I want great relationships in all aspects, to be as fit as I can be,and to have my financial needs met, to name a few. All of these great things first require a spiritual path that is as uncluttered as possible, this path is not the one of least resistance but one of perseverance, hard work and commitment. Bring this to your workout and your success is guaranteed.

Monday, April 25, 2011

limitations lead to creation

Beautiful day yesterday, sunny, 70 degrees, perfect for a run.
running shoes,i-pod, fueled up and hydrated. I felt great and was cruising along e. river park when about a mile in, that familiar feeling started in my lower right calf, to describe it more succinctly, it's a little like a hot poker is being thrust in to my lower leg. To make a long story short.....run over. This injury has been plaguing me for a year now and is not going away. I stretch, I strengthen, I ice, I heat, I wrap, but nothing seems to help. It was time to face the hard truth, which is that I'm not a runner, never was and doesn't look like I will ever be. Somewhere between the end of last summer and now I've come to accept certain physical limitations, one of which is the above mentioned. Last year I near flogged myself for every busted run, but I'm not going to do it anymore. I experienced my "flat tire" right in front of a great outdoor work out area in e. river park, pull up bars, dip bar, monkey bars, slant boards and some low hung rings make for a great workout. Throw in some jump squats and jump lunges, grab a loosened cobblestone as an awkward dumbbell and do twists, sots presses and fingertip curls. This was great and I was exhausted. This is the type of workout that helped inspire me to create my inside out training system. No rules, no boundaries, no waiting for equipment, just use what's at hand and get at it. Go as long and hard as possible and results are inevitable. To experience this burn come to my barefoot bootcamp, Monday - Friday at 12 and 4, Saturdays at 12:30.

Monday, March 21, 2011

just another post.......

Instead of just staring at this blank screen I figured I'd just tell you that I was staring at it so I'd at least have some words in the space that was previously empty. What can I say to inspire, motivate, or otherwise have you hire me to help you get in shape? I can tell you what to eat, how to lift weights, what to lift and how many times a week you should do cardio, but what I can't give you is the drive you need to make the changes. I find motivation in all kinds of places, but sometimes my biggest motivator is my lack of self acceptance. I know what you're thinking........we're supposed to accept ourselves on all levels, love ourself unconditionally, but for me a certain amount of dissatisfaction with my physical appearance works for me. It"s my refusal to wade in the pool of mediocrity and complacency. I don't just want a flat stomach I want a six pack, I want to kick ass in the "spartan race" on June 4th and not just finish, I want to see what the results will be if my nutrition is near perfect. With that being said, each day is a day to perform at my best on all levels, to re-committ to my program and not settle for less than my highest expectations. On the flip side of this is my reality.......which is that I'm very human and subject to all the things that distract me from those lofty goals. So what do I do to avoid that middling state and stay sane at the same time? I look at each day as practice, and like I've mentioned in other posts......"skilled people were not born with their skills", they work their ass off. I try not to avoid the tough challenges, I strive to meet them head on, and most importantly, all I need to do is give my best effort, have some patience and be consistent. In retrospect, I've come from writing about my lack of self acceptance as my motivational tool to the patience I have for myself. Here is where my humanity lies, In the contradiction of it all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

meditate your way to a six pack

Anyone who reads my blog may be wondering why I'm always writing about all this spiritual stuff and to be perfectly honest, I sometimes wonder why I can't just stick to writing about bench pressing and squats and be done with it. I guess I can't because that's not who I am, I know the direct connection to being centered mentally and how that automatically translates to being in top physical condition.
I've dabbled in meditation before but was never able to sustain a consistent practice, but over the last few months I've been able to sit down and meditate for at least 10 minutes a day and the results show. My practice has been focused on stress release and less about trying to attain a higher consciousness. When I focus my breath on the most pressing issue which is usually stress or anxietyI free myself from it. I have a clearer purpose of what it is I'd like to accomplish during my day and find the strength to move forward. In turn I sleep better, conserve more energy, have time and focus to eat right, train right and live the way I want to live. So focus on your breath, be still and get ripped.

Friday, March 4, 2011


steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. ... This has been on my mind all day today in reference to phone call I had with a friend. My buddy was telling me about another personal trainer with many accomplishments both physically and academically, and not just in the field of fitness either. I know people or hear of people who've accomplished many things and I must say that I admire it. Were these people born with these gifts? Was there a certain drive that planted itself within their hearts, minds and souls in the womb? I don't know, because to tell you the truth I don't have it, I'm part of the "skilled people weren't born with their skills" group, the practice makes kinda good but not perfect click.
The reason I'm writing about this today is because hearing about this other trainer did elicit a reaction, which as I said earlier was admiration, In addition to that I had a sense of my own ability to achieve whatever goals I truly want to attain. In the past I would have thought of this guy as an asshole......without even knowing him, "probably got rich parents" I'd think and run with that and use it as an excuse not to move forward with my own plans.
I've changed, not due to wishing I would change but because of action, of trying to the best of my ability to practice what I preach, to show up no matter what, treat others as I would be treated, train each client as if they're my only one..... and all that other good shit. Do I do this perfectly? No, but I really do the best I can. That's what I'm expecting readers of this blog to do, the best they can, not the best that they think others might believe is their best, but they're true best. Set yourself free.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I felt it on Saturday while teaching my IOT class and it certainly wasn't all my doing. The energy was coming from my students, and it was ignited through physical training and mental focus. I was surprised, and the fact that I was surprised, surprised me. In other areas of my life I believe in community, but for some reason never really thought of this class as one, but I was wrong and happy to be wrong, especially when it's a gift of positive energy running through a group of people with one goal. I'm not necessarily talking about a goal of weight loss or increased endurance, I'm talking about short term goals that exist in the moment, like doing a kettlebell clean and press with good technique or getting just another inch from your hamstrings while holding an open scissor. I feel the sense of accomplishment radiating from my students which in turn drives me to be a better teacher, so my students help me as much as I help them...... I had forgotten and was happy to be reminded.
What if the energy of accomplishment flowed outward into other parts of your life? What if those small victories pertaining to technique turned into the larger ones of reaching a weight loss goal? What if your life began to change due to a different perspective? I don't know exactly what would happen but I can assure you of one thing....... it would at least be different.

Monday, January 24, 2011

addressing the hip issue

Many of my clients including myself suffer from what's commonly called piriformis syndrome. The piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and referring pain along the course of the sciatic nerve. This referred pain, called "sciatica", often goes down the back of the thigh and/or into the lower back. Patients generally complain of pain deep in the buttocks, which is made worse by sitting, climbing stairs, or performing squats. The piriformis muscle assists in abducting and laterally rotating the thigh. In other words, while balancing on the left foot, move the right leg directly sideways away from the body and rotate the right leg so that the toes point towards the ceiling. This is the action of the right piriformis muscle.
I've found that in addition to stretching and myofascial release, strengthening of the adductors, extensors and flexors of the hip have been a great benefit. I do this by simple using ankle cuffs with a rubber band attached. I do the following program every 3rd day and stretch the piriformis, perform myofascial release on the glute medius, piriformis and I.T. band daily.
All the following exercises are done with the ankle cuffs on

1. Side step slowly for 10 steps in each direction, paying special attention to the foot stepping inward (that would be the left foot while moving to the right), this is a good opportunity to allow the abductors of the leg to work eccentrically. Do 3x.

2. Work the extensors of the hip by doing leg lifts (these are for your glutes, so your heel is moving backward toward the ceiling, I recommend leaning on something in front of you to keep your balance. Go slowly, try not to allow too much slack in the band as your heel moves up and down and really try to keep your hips square, this allows your glutes to work more effectively. Do 3x

3. Work the hip flexors by lifting the leg in the opposing direction, your toe is now moving toward the ceiling. All of the same rules apply, especially squaring of the hips, but this time place your back against a wall so you can support yourself in the squaring of the hips without over compensating. Do 3x.

I'm finding this routine very beneficial in terms of pain management and increasing my strength and awareness while running. I have a goal of 25 miles a week this summer (that's outside, so the pounding increases exponentially) and I know the only way I'm going to get there is to keep my hips strong and healthy. I'll keep all updated with progress as life rolls on.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Well, I'm still limiting my intake of meat and feel pretty good for doing it. I also got back on track as far as limiting my junk food intake and just feel a hell of a lot better, I can't handle the dairy or the processed carbs. In place of it I'm eating fruit and I know that there's sugar in fruit and I don't care........ I still haven't found anyone that gained enormous amounts of weight from eating too much fruit. In addition to that, I need snacks at night and if it's not fruit it's going to be something a hell of a lot worse.
Anyway, let me address the title of todays blog which is realignment. Due to my oblique strain I found myself completely out of whack on my left side, for today I'll address the shoulder issue. I definitely have some muscles in the shoulder which are not activating correctly and some muscles which have become excessively tight. Basically I'm unable to bench press and can't even do any wide push ups at all. I tried all the rotator cuff strengthening exercises but found no relief, I needed something to stretch my shoulder while lessening the activation of the large shoulder muscles. This is nearly impossible unless you have assistance and even though I work with a lot of PT's one is rarely available or that I trust enough to assist me. Some months back I remember leafing through a rehab magazine here at the studio and came across an advertisement for "the rotator". It looked interesting, simple and affordable and could tell right away from the design that it looked like it would work. I ordered it and let me just say that in the 4 days since I've had it, it's helped me 100%. Before stretching with the rotator I couldn't press a 30 pound DB 6 times on my left side. 3 days after using it not only did I feel the difference but I was able to press a 45 lb DB 15 times. I'm confident that I'll be getting back to my normal training weight very soon. This is a great device........It really works.
Coming up, I'll discuss the hip issues that are coming up for me and if I'll actually follow up on my threat to do some acupuncture.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I gotta make some changes...........

There's a couple of changes I'm making to which the title of this blog refers. I'm only going to write about one of them today and that one is about nutrition. Let me re-phrase that because what the word nutrition conjures up for me is images of guys in white coats wanting me to drink putrid green colored shit, or that crap they sell in delis that's thinly veiled as good for you because it's in a green container and there's a cartoon smiley face fucker on the bottle and it winds up giving me diarrhea.
Lets just say I need to make some changes in what I'm eating because I haven't been feeling too well lately, maybe just bloated, I just know that something was up and I needed to address it but sometimes it takes some time for me to figure out what might be wrong. I realized it the other day while I was preparing my food to take to work with me...... I'm eating too much meat, I'm not processing all this too well, thus the bloated feeling. At least this is what my internal self is telling my external self to do in order to achieve some balance, because balance is what I'm striving for in all areas.
So I did a few simple things:
1. Im leaving the meat out of that meal I bring to work with me, it's now just a sweet potato and broccoli (minus the turkey).
2. I'm not cooking meat at all at home.
3. I'm eating egg whites as my main source of protein (as a breakfast, and a meal I eat later in the day)
This is certainly not monumental by any stretch of the imagination but it does open me up to eating some different stuff,and as they say, variety is the spice of life, or so they'd me have me believe (whoever they are).
More importantly though, I feel somewhat rejuvenated, a little lighter........ I'm taking some action. So for now I'm going to stick with this program of a little more complex carbs and a little less protein, see how it goes and adjust as needed.
Next blog will be about how I'm attempting to re-align myself after the injury I sustained in jiu-jitsu. Be well!

Monday, January 10, 2011

class has begun.

The first IOT class took place last saturday 1/8/2011, it was a great success. I was really proud of all that attended. This is not an easy class, especially the kettlebell aspects and I was very impressed with everyone's willingness to venture in to unchartered territory with this stuff which included KB swings, KB cleans, KB clean and press. It's my hope that as I progress all will progress with me and we'll soon find ourselves in a studio of our very own dedicated to IOT.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

changes are afoot

I made a tough decision the other day, I gave up my jiu jitsu practice for the time being. The reason's are both physical and mental and even though I believe there are good reasons, I feel a little like a quitter. Basically I'm finding that I can't heal, the injury I sustained to my oblique, even though about 90% healed has had a devastating holistic affect (as all injuries usually do). My shoulder is hurt, my jaw is clenched (TMJ), I'm developing chronic piriformis syndrome....... not good. Emotionally I'm unable to let go and take each training day as it comes because of my physical issues, I'm stuck thinking about what may happen in class and worried about the after affects. This is a recipe for continued injury but I'm stuck due to the injuries themselves and I can't let go mentally because the physically issues have become chronic.
So for now I'm done.
On the flipside of things, I think about what to do to rejuvenate myself, and what my gut is telling me to do is to go back to bikram yoga. To get the stretch and the warmth, that drained flexible feeling that I only get from 90 minutes of intensity in a hot room, I'm going to push myself today to go to my first class in about a year.
I always give myself a hard time when I'm going through a change like this, instead of quietly adapting when it's time to do something different. This is a lot of what healthy fitness training is about, to adapt to yourself and listen to your body before severe injuries occur, to make the changes that your body and soul require. To change from the inside out.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


What should my new post be about? New year resolution? I could give a shit about it, new year......let me try to do some different positive stuff for 1 day instead of the old habits that keep me stuck (mind you, this would be an accomplishment but I wouldn't see it that way, I'd already be beating myself up for not doing it everyday). For instance, this blog, I should be writing every week.......only 2 posts in December (lame), I should be making a weekly video about some exercise technique or other, but I don't, I've been waiting for the NEW YEAR!!.......when everything changes, oh joy it is all different now. Wait......no it's not, it's the same shit, the same struggles, getting older, taxes, errands, blah blah blah.
Again what strikes me about all this is that I lack consistency in the areas of my life that I really want to change. For me, it is about my business, for you, it may be your physical condition. If I want to move forward I must do it consistently otherwise nothing changes, except for the level of my frustration. You see, for me, I don't give up on my goals, I keep them tucked away in my brain and as time passes and I move further from achieving them the more my frustration builds. Knowing this about myself means that continuose effort is required for me to live with myself harmoniously. Wow, that sucks, I gotta work on letting go too!
Normally my last blog paragraph has a neat conclusive statement where I try to tie everything together, I just don't have it today, today I will leave it open ended, take it as you like.