I always tell potential clients that if they give me a consistent year of their life then I will give them a year that they will never forget. Ishmael Reed, through his hard work and consistency from Crazy Progress to Crazy Progress 2 has had a fantastic year.
When you train as a part of The Fit Team you will receive something that has no monetary value. When you train with The Fit Team you will receive something that adds immeasurable value to your life.
You might be fat and out of shape.
You might be skinny and not able to gain weight and fill out your frame properly. I was a former super skinny guy with zero muscle and low confidence in my abilities. I would mask the low confidence with excessive trash talking that got me nowhere.
I looked like an absolute beanpole with a bird chest, pipe cleaners for legs, straws for arms, and a billboard back.
But when I began to train and take it seriously I began to gain muscle, become athletic, and develop extreme levels of confidence. Training properly added immeasurable value to my life.
Who does not want to feel better than they do right now?
Who does not want to look better than they look right now?
Who does not want to perform better than they do right now?
Anyone who tells you they do not is selling you pure snake oil.
I came across the word Kaizen while reading Jason Ferruggia’s blog earlier this year. It means “continuous improvement.”
When you are living life and not just existing, you are looking for continuous improvement in every area of your life.
The fact of the matter is that if you are not constantly improving then you are unfortunately staying the same or worse, you are declining like an athlete who is past his prime.
When you train with passion and you train to hit specific goals the impossible becomes possible.
Every morning when you look in the mirror you will see your hard work.
Every time you put on your favorite shirt or jeans you will feel your hard work.
Every time you lift a heavy weight that was once impossible to move you will know you earned it through your hard work.
And every time you face a challenge in life and overcome it with a mind that has been forged with hard work you will not feel defeated in the face of adversity.
We are not just training for a fad or training on a 12-week program. We are taking control of our lives and doing it forever.
Strength training is the fountain of youth. Without it, you will wither mentally and physically. FACT.
The human body is an absolutely fantastic work of art when it is in optimal condition and in shape. The body can be exceptionally strong, very athletic, and have a tremendous visual appeal. To attain that physique and to feel that wonderful feeling that being fit brings, you must get yourself into shape.
Your training and physique goals may differ from the next person.
That is fine. You do not need to train daily like a pro athlete to attain a great body and be fit. In the same breath, you also cannot just sloth around at a desk 40 hours a week and eat garbage when you get home. Get up and get active at least 3 days per week.
As people, we celebrate grand moments in our lives.
Some of us even celebrate pet birthdays. But what about celebrating when you took control of life and became strong, healthy, and fit?
What about celebrating when you said no to being a sloth?
What about celebrating when you said no to eating garbage daily?
What about celebrating when you said no to being weak minded?
What about celebrating when you said no to being average?
What about celebrating when you said no to just existing?
What about celebrating when you said yes to living a healthy lifestyle?
What about celebrating when you said yes to becoming the best athlete that you can be?
What about celebrating when you said yes to building a fantastic physique?
What about celebrating when you said yes to accepting challenges?
What about celebrating when you said yes to being an inspiration for others?
What about celebrating when you said yes and joined the Fit Team?
The Rock Bottom Theory is 100 percent true. Change in life cannot truly occur until one hits rock bottom.
I believe this can manifest itself in many ways but it is an absolute must and precursor to true success.
I’ve hit rock bottom physically, emotionally, and financially at different points in my life and let me tell you it absolutely stinks like chitlins.
But in the same breath without hitting rock bottom I would not have been able to grow into the man who can help and inspire you today in 2014.
Ishmael Reed is a man of 39 and soon to be 40 years of age in December. I have known him for about 4 years and even trained him for a short stint while I worked at Bally’s in 2009.
I ran into him in 2013. It was a warm, August Monday night in LA Fitness in my beautiful hometown of Abington, PA.
He asked if I was still training clients. I told him that I was currently training my clients at WC Fitness Studio. He told me that he needed to come and see me get into shape for real.
I told him from there that we would set up a date for a consultation and go from there. That date would be 3 days after we had run into each other at the gym. On this day we pretty much-discussed goals, the
That date would be 3 days after we had run into each other at the gym. On this day we pretty much-discussed goals, the game plan for building his physique, and performed a basic movement screen to assess his mobility and function.
During his short training stint at Bally’s, I did not get a chance to develop a long-term plan with Ish. The commitment to train was not as high from him in 2009 as it was on that night in 2013. He wanted real change and he realized that it would take stepping outside of the box to make it happen.
I was excited because Ish is an ectomorph like myself. In physique development, a fully developed ectomorph physique is the most aesthetic physique.
When you think about a fully developed ectomorph think about Terrell Owens.
But also in physique development nothing looks worse than fully underdeveloped ectomorph physique. Skinny-fat is an absolutely horrendous look. And this is the look that he brought to the table in September of 2013.
Day 1 was nothing special. Ish had big time back issues. His job combined with of lack of proper training had led to the weakness and pain that he had developed in his lower back. Initially, it was so bad that he was beginning to consider that he would even need surgery.
But I assured him that the first option needed to be building muscle and strength in his entire body and focusing on mobility in order to relieve the pain. I will tell you that in the early stages of his body reconstruction that Ish was no stranger to the foam roller or the lacrosse ball.
Personal training is not all about degrees, certifications, book smarts, and experience. While they all have their own important value, one of the major keys to being a successful personal trainer is exercising patience.
I have very high standards when it comes to clients because there is so much potential in these folks. This can be a gift and a curse.
When Ish walked in the door performing body weight squats was painful. Heck even bending over was painful!
When a client has all of these limitations you must be patient or unnecessary injuries will occur. Even if you play your cards right a freak injury could occur. Going through progressions step by step will reduce the chances of those injuries.
The Fit Coast Offense runs best at a brisk and intense pace. But I will not run it at game speed until someone is up to speed. This takes time.
The months of September and October 2013 were rough but we made it through. There were a lot of growing pains and a lot of ugly reps.
By November we were in rhythm. In December the same man who could not deadlift 225lbs on day 1 was now pulling 385lbs for a single.
The same man who could perform 1-2 hard chin ups on day 1 was now doing sets of 12. The same man who had pipe cleaners for legs was now beginning to fill out those wheels. At the 4 month mark, the same man had evolved.
The next 4 months would bring new challenges.
Anyone who knows my training style knows how much I believe in the power of sprints. It is the ultimate move! But for a man who had not run fast in decades, Ish was in for a surprise!
In February 2014 we began to sprint outside. It was an absolute beast of a winter in Philadelphia but we dealt with it. Remember when life hits you, hit back!
Everything was going well until the unfortunate injury bug hit. Ish suffered a groin strain while squatting.
It only takes one bad rep to get injured and that was what happened. He descended too fast into the bucket and his groin paid the price. This knocked out sprinting for him out for the month of March.
As April came and the groin had healed he began to sprint again without discomfort. The addition of the sprints allowed him to attain his leanest look towards the end of the April when we took his 8-month progression pictures.
The summer was a progressive 3-month run as his strength and athleticism continued to improve drastically. Again when you sprint with regularity on a track or hill, you are able to truly destroy body fat and continue building muscle without losing your physique.
That was what we did until July until unfortunate back strain knocked him out of performing the major lower body compound moves for about 2 weeks.
This back strain affected Ish mentally. For the first time during the year he began to miss sessions. His overall frequency dropped from a consistent 4-5 days a week to an inconsistent 2-3 days a week for about a month.
This mental funk is something that every trainee will deal with in their lifting career. If you have never been injured then it will hit you even harder. Ish had never suffered any injuries during his life when it came to sports or training is concerned.
Fortunately, it was just a blip on the radar. However, it did cost him some leanness going into his final pictures.
I detail all progress as far as strength and conditioning is concerned but also I keep track of injuries to make the point that no matter how solid and smooth your training program is, small setbacks can and will occur.
I’ve been injured and it can deflate you if you let it. The important thing is knowing how to train around injuries and knowing how to keep making progress without re-injuring yourself.
At the end of August, we did the 1-year progress pictures and the results were astounding. Ish now has a physique that we will take to the stage in May 2015 for the Mr. Natural Philadelphia Bodybuilding Championships.
His weakness, which was his leg size and strength is now respectable. I will say that his first year in the Fit Coast Offense and training in a progressive fashion has led to crazy progress.
I am very hard to impress but I am impressed with what he has done.
Yes, the fat loss and strength/muscle gains are great but what really impressed me was the consistency of his training and the change of mental attitude.
Injuries derail most people and it gives them an excuse to fall off the wagon and then try to justify it when they are called to the carpet about not training. Ish stayed the course even when things didn’t look great at the moment.
Being consistent is vital to success. I’ve trained with many people over the years. The most common reason for a lack of progress is a lack of consistency. This was not an issue for Ish.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the last year I have seen this man training. When you have an attendance record like this it tells me that you want to succeed.
The majority of trainees still continue to believe that the only thing that matters is losing weight. Weight loss is a piece to the puzzle but it is not the most important piece at all. The goal of training is physique reconstruction and performance increases.
Ish started at a skinny-fat 182lbs and now is a lean and muscular 175lbs. The reason for his dramatic improvement is not that he lost weight. The reason for the improvement lies in the fact that he gained muscle and strength but also lost body fat.
When you focus on the right things you are guaranteed to develop a better physique. To those who live by the scale please begin to focus on improving your performance and your nutrition and your physique will undoubtedly change in a positive manner.
It has been a great pleasure to train Ish and we will continue to train as we prepare for Mr. Natural Philly. Remember no matter where you start you must realize that great progress and success will come to you if you work hard and stay consistent.
I’ll holla at you next time,
The People’s Trainer
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