OutFit Blog

Top Skills to Perfect Before a Zombie Apocalypse or Alien Invasion

posted Dec 9, 2015, 11:10 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Dec 29, 2015, 12:37 PM ]

So, here we are talking about what I consider the inevitable. Like me you're probably wondering when and where it's all going to go down. Either some toxic virus or chemical spill in some secret facility is going to bring the dead back to life or some meteor is going to crash into the earth bringing with it an army of bug like creatures bent on total world domination!! It could happen!! Okay, maybe not, but I'm sure if you're a fan of shows like The Walking Dead or Falling Skies and you like to work out there has been a few scenes where our heroes have gotten themselves into a pickle and the only way out is either to a muscle up over a fence, jump an incredible distance to safety or just plain kick ass! But alas our heroes are stuck because they didn't prepare for the obstacles that appear before them. That's right zombies and aliens are just obstacles. Ostacles to our very survival. I remember watching TWD and Michonne was doing single leg glute bridges on her bunk in the prison and thought "finally, someone training in the apocalypse".  I think it was Mark Rippetoe who said, and forgive me if I misquote, "strong people are harder to kill". It gives me chills, there it is in a nutshell. It is our duty to get strong so we are harder to kill, be it from alien overlords who want to dominate or zombies that just want to snack. In order to further the species we must get and stay strong. And if the day never comes at least we will know that if the human race was threatened we would Survive the First Wave! Oddly enough that is the name of my new website, hoping to drop it in the spring, that will cover ways to stay ripped during the apocalypse. Obviously any exercise program you wish to undertake should be approved by your health care provider. Since most of the skills I will identify are suggestions there is no set workout program. I will suggest possible routines or point you in the direction of individuals I consider experts who may have programs for you to follow. If you have any questions about an exercise technique or training in general, please use the contact page. So if like me you got all pumped when the President (Bill Pullman) gave his speech in Independence Day or cheered when Tyreese clobbered all those zombies with a hammer (my zombie weapon of choice) then I hope you work on the Skills to Perfect .... here are the first 5 
  1. Speed! This may sound a bit like the list in Zombieland but it deserves a repeat. Nothing beats above average speed when fleeing from the undead or to get away from an attack from above. And how would you cultivate this priceless post Apoc skill? HILL SPRINTS!!!! Forget long distance runs. If you want to be fast... If you don't have a hill handy you can drag something heavy for short distances or do simple flat track program. A sprint protocol to try http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1007/Three_Superb_Sprint_Interval_Workouts_To_Achieve_Y.aspx
  2. Pull Ups!! Now if you're a fan of TWD you've probably wondered, like me, why don't they just climb!?!? Trees, fences, buildings, anything higher than the walkers. Now on occasion you may see one of our heroes climbing a ladder or fence but they make it look so difficult. By adding pulling exercises into your routine twice a week you should be ready for the zombie hoard! For me the best way to increase my pull ups is to start with the fundamentals and work those reps. If you are in possession of a suspension trainer start with rows. After you can successfully accomplish 2 to 3 sets of 25 to 30 rows proceed to the bar. From there I start with chin ups. Pick a number and attempt to complete that in however many sets you need. For example, I'll set my goal to 25 reps. At first it may take me 5 rounds of 5 to complete but as I get stronger I will complete my reps using less sets. After I reach my goal of 25 (it may take awhile) I'll pick a new goal and continue to add reps to each set. In my experience a max of 5 sets is usually all I need any more seems like overkill. I also only train pull ups twice a week. All the magic happens in recovery and since I'm not a fan of shoulder pain I like to give my body time to adapt.  I also like using resistance bands to help me accomplish my reps. Let's face it we can't be 100% all the time and using bands can help shore up any weaknesses in technique by, "greasing the groove", getting your body used to the movement.
  3. Pushing strength!! This can prove to be very useful when you're up against a few deadys or maybe a skitter and there is nowhere to climb. Remember, zombies are mindless meat sacks and skitters are big bugs. Being able to hold them off, even for a moment may be all you need to make your getaway! Another thing pushing strength is good for is throwing! Being able to throw around some big rocks may come in handy in a pinch. A few rounds of medicine ball chest passes or plyo Push Ups added to a thorough pressing program can give you the power you need to live another day. And if you're too the point where one arm Push Ups are something in your arsenal the then I want you in my Apocalypse Army!!. Star off with some knee push ups if you not a push up enthusiast and after completing 2 to 3 sets of 20-25 go to standard. Using the same rep goal go to a harder progression like close grip push ups, then uneven or archer push ups. A great resource is the Convict Conditioning series. If you don't already have them!!
  4. Overhead pressing strength. Here's one that's easy to justify. Lets face it when it hits the fan you want to be able to grab your stuff and get out fast. Being able to lift heavy things overhead and carry it for distance is key. Being able to assist your fellow survivors that can't pull themselves to safety or carry stuff not only makes you the hero but since there is safety in numbers, having more in your ranks can only be good. This is when I would incorporate odd object lifting and carrying too. Take a 5 gallon bucket, fill it with sand bags or water, then lift and carry. Either on your shoulder or in front of you in a bear hug and walk. If you have something to put the bucket on that's above your head, bonus! Rep it out. Another method to strengthen your shoulders is handstand holds. Don't leave out isometric holds, they can fill in the gaps and help increase stability in your shoulder girdle. Increase weight, reps, time and distance slowly(maybe 10% a week) and before you no it you'll be carrying all of your stuff!
  5. Grip Strength!! This one hardly gets talked about but in my opinion it's on of the most if not the most important. A strong grip increases the amount of weight you can handle in just about all lifts. the only things grip won't help with is speed and pushing (although if you're something  a good grip couldn't hurt) Most people I talk to don't specifically train their grips. They believe if they lift heavy or do a lot of pull ups their grip gets trained automatically. This is true to an extent but it only goes so far. I like to train grip at least twice if not three times a week. I do a series of hangs using cannon balls and vertical bars hanging from a pull up bar for time. Progress your time when holds get easy. Sledgehammer drills are a good way to get variety and can really strengthen the wrists along with the grip. holding a sledgehammer at a specific spot on the handle and then manipulating it through your wrists natural range of motion for reps is the method I've been using with much success. 
Well, there's half of the list. Hopefully you found it informative as well as thought provoking and entertaining. I originally wanted to do a top 10 list but after writing these 5 I expect to come up with a lot more than 10. Stay tuned for my next post and get ready, you never know......

WCO Streetsport Calisthenics Classes at Outfit NJ

posted Nov 24, 2015, 8:39 AM by robert w johnson II

Outfit NJ will be holding beginner and intermediate-advanced calisthenics classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting December 7th. Right now Beginner Classes will be held Monday and Friday @ 7:00 and Intermediate-Advanced Classes will be held on Wednesdays @ 7:00. Monday and Wednesday Beginner Classes will be instructed by Streetsport Level 1 & 2 Cert Trainer Bob Johnson (me) and our Wednesday Intermediate-Advanced Class will be instructed by Guest Trainer Master Trainer Anthony Corzoneri @eastcoast-calisthenics (check him out on instagram. Classes range from $20-$30 depending on session package size. Right now for our first time participants get, 5 SESSIONS FOR $50!! Space is limited to 6 per classes so go to our contact page and email for additional information and to reserve your spot. Learn to unleash your body's maximum potential using only your bodyweight!!

The 8 Fold Path to Calisthenic Enlightenment Pt 2

posted Nov 18, 2015, 9:14 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Nov 18, 2015, 9:14 AM ]

Hey all you followers of the calisthenic way, first I want to apologize for nit posting last week. Sometimes life gets in the way but I will do my best to avoid any lapse in writing. The last post I was discussing my 8 fold path to calisthenic enlightenment. This week I want to talk about steps 5 through 8. I will be revisiting the steps as my study bring more information to the discussion. Over the last two weeks I have been researching visualization techniques and how they would fit into the 8 steps so I hope you find this weeks post informative as well as entertaining.

Let's get to it and start with step 5. Right Livelihood or the respect of life. In my interpretation, right livelihood pertains to all aspects of life or lifestyle of one self and others. This includes quality and health. I touched on some of the things I focus on to ensure this quality of life in an earlier post. My 5 most important aspects of living(or practicing) the healthy lifestyle (I will also revisit these at a later date)are: 1.Sleep. This is where the magic happens both mentally and physically. 2. Hydration. Water, water, everywhere, so drink...a lot! I can't stress how important proper hydration is for everything!! Anyhow, 3. Stress!! Learn to manage it. My new favorite technique, mindful meditation. Allowing thoughts to happen and learning to control your reactions around those thoughts. Very intense and actually quite relaxing. I also use the time immediately after I meditate to practice visualization techniques I’m learning. This practice fits in very well with step 7. 4. Nutrition. You can't out train a bad diet. Well, it's possible but it takes a whole lot of work. Your best bet, work on “your” nutrition. Everyone is different. I use a log and tweak my diet occasionally, that's what works best for me. This is another constant work in progress that I frequently have to reassess and start over. Finally 5. Exercise! But wait, how can exercise be last? Don't get me wrong I love exercise more than most but at the end of the day if the first four things aren't in place you are not operating optimally. If you're not operating optimally it may take you a long time to reach your goals. Think of those 5 things when you are focusing on Right Livelihood.

Step 6. Right Effort. This I relate to consistency. Just about anything done consistently will yield results. Stick to all the principals in step 5 and with consistent practice you will achieve your goals!

Step 7. Right Concentration. This is where mindful meditation comes into play. Something I like to recommend to all my clients is to take 10 minutes or so a day and just sit with their thoughts. Allowing them to come and go, using their physical body to bring them back into focus. After, I recommend they visualize themselves attempting and achieving an exercise they are working on. Consistent practice (step 6) leads to results.

Finally, Step 8. Right Mindfulness. This talks of being able to control ones own thoughts through practice of step 7. I relate being mindful and deliberate in thoughts to being mindful and deliberate in movement. Before your body executes a specific movement the brain must be able to get there first. Just think of how many athletes go through the process of visualizing everything they will do before they compete. This can help just about any athlete perfect a movement pattern be it a gymnastics routine to a difficult shot in golf, before the athlete ever takes to the mat, course etc.

I hope this post topic gets you to think about your current practice and gives you a few new ways to look at your practice. Good luck and have fun along your journey to Calisthenics Enlightenment.

I'm thinking my next post should discuss what to do to prepare your body for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse!! All the exercises you can do to prepare to survive the first wave!!

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me through any of the ways on my keep in touch page. Until then keep training hard.

The 8 Fold Path to Calisthenic Enlightenment Pt. 1

posted Nov 4, 2015, 11:14 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Nov 4, 2015, 11:14 AM ]

The 4th Noble Truth of Calisthenics states that training suffering can end using the 8 Fold Path to Calisthenic Enlightenment. So for this post I will explain the first four as I think they should be. Remember this is my humble explanation. I don’t think the Buddha worked out that much but if he did he would probably be diesel.

The Eight Fold Path to Calisthenic Enlightenment:

1. Right View. This one can be explained a healthy vision of reality and the path of transformation. In other words, Setting realistic goals. Now this can be compared to S.M.A.R.T. I wrote about this on my tumblr page. S for specific, M for measurable, A achievable, R realistic or relevant, T for time. Setting realistic goals can help you keep that healthy vision. One way to maintain your right view is to write down your goals and keep them somewhere you can see them daily. The fridge, nightstand, mirror etc.

2. Right Intention or Attitude. Pretty self explanatory, unless you are willing to commit to a fitness lifestyle you will have difficulty attaining your goals. A good attitude will allow you to get back on track if life throws you a hiccup and derails your journey. I find an exercise log can help keep you on track.

3. Right Speech. When life does throw you that curve ball it is important to keep positive in your speech both internally and externally. I have had instances where an illness or injury has derailed my progress. My thoughts drift to me losing all my current gains and I have become an out of shape failure. In reality however, I only needed to get back to my workouts and my progress continued and once I got back to it I realize that was all negative thoughts and not reality. It is also a bad idea to criticize others because like I found out it can happen to anyone at anytime.

4. Right Action. This is the development of a good calisthenic foundation. Proper knowledge of the fundamental movements and their progressions will help you along your journey. This education can limit your incident of injury by giving you the patience required to master the more advanced movements. This patience along with intention may actually decrease the time it takes you to achieve movement mastery.

In next weeks post I will review the second 4 of the 8 Fold Path. I hope that this post entertained as well as educated some. I'm more of a trainer than a writer so forgive any grammatical errors, I'm sure there's a few. Feel free to comment or ask questions and follow me on instagram, facebook, tumblr, G+ and twitter @outfitnj

The Four Noble Truths of Calisthenics!

posted Oct 28, 2015, 8:53 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Oct 28, 2015, 8:53 AM ]

Four Noble Truths on the Path to Calisthenics Enlightenment

I've often described calisthenic training as being mindful in your movements. Similar to being mindful during meditation. So, just for fun I'm going to list my Four Noble Truths of Calisthenics. Each exercise from beginner to advanced relies on the proper firing of your muscles in a specific sequence. From pushups to front levers, all moves require a set up before attempting to accomplish them and then total body awareness throughout the movement. During mindful meditation you concentrate on breathing, allowing your mind to go where it goes, periodically bringing it back by focusing on breathing once again. This practice allows you to purposely be present in your experience right now. Similarly, when performing calisthenics it is also important to focus on breathing as well as visualizing yourself performing the movement. This allows you to be totally aware of the movements you are attempting without the clutter of whats around you or what is in your head. If your practice is solid your body works as a system, each muscle fires in the proper sequence and you are successful while being aware of each individual muscle firing enabling you to produce more force and complete the move. Just as being mindful through meditation practice allows you to gently redirect your attention away from distraction, being mindful during exercise allows you to filter through the haze and give 100% to the task at hand. Now, my comparison should not be taken to seriously but when you think about it one could draw many similarities to Buddhist practice and serious calisthenics training. For one thing, calisthenics to me is more of an internal practice with an emphasis on the mind body connection. As opposed to lifting weights and having my energy focused on external loads.

The (my) Four Noble Truths of Calisthenics are:

1. Suffering is an inescapable part of training.

Haven't we all experienced this? The struggle, disappointment of failure to land a certain move or the occasionally soreness or pain caused by doing to much or getting injured!

2. Suffering stems from our desire to avoid the difficult parts of our training.

How many of us have decided to skip training or skip an exercise because of time, difficulty or just not being in the mood?

3. Through mindful training we can end our desire to avoid.

When we focus on the completion of our fitness goals using the Calisthenic Eightfold Path we can put an end to our Calisthenic suffering.

4. This is the one the describes the practice that can end our Calisthenic suffering hrough an Eightfold Path. These steps are 1.Right View 2.Right Intention 3.Right Speech 4. Right Action 5.Right Livelihood 6.Right Effort 7. Right Mindfulness 8. Right Concentration. 

The similarities to calisthenics seem fairly obvious but I will be breaking them down in next week's post.

Why bootcamp style workouts may cause you to plateau.

posted Oct 21, 2015, 8:46 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Oct 21, 2015, 8:46 AM ]

If you are like me you've probably tried all different types of exercise to reach your fitness goals. One method I have tried in the past is the  bootcamp style workout. You get together with like minded fitness enthusiasts with a wide range of abilities and go through a series of exercises programmed by your local fitness expert. You sign up, buy your session package and you begin. After a few weeks of working out and after the initial soreness you feel fantastic. You've dropped some weight, you're stronger and your athleticism starts to improve. Then after a few months or so you notice that your improvements begin to slow down and sometimes come to a halt. Some of the new exercises seem more difficult and the exercises you did in the beginning seem to easy. Now if you're lucky the class you are in progresses along with your abilities. Unfortunately in a bootcamp situation trainers can modify the exercises but can't necessarily progress the exercises to stimulate change in all of his/hers clients. Try as they may it's just incredibly difficult to cater to each clients individual needs, especially if their classes have many participants. So if you're a fitness novice you can miss out on some well needed personal instruction. Also, if you are a novice the intensity of the routine may cause some soreness or the exercises may be difficult at first. On the other hand if you are an advance exerciser your training may begin to stall because the exercises may not progress to meet your ability. Now if your goals are simply to lose weight or increase your general fitness at a reasonable price then bootcamp may be exactly what you are looking for. However, if you are looking to push your physical abilities to their max then small group training or one on one may be exactly what you need. At Outfit we specialize in Streetsport calisthenic training. Through one on one and small 4 person group training our trainers are able to give attention where it is needed, slowly progressing clients through the exercises as they meet certain markers for progression. This allows the trainers to limit injury by only letting clients perform exercises they are able to do. Using your own bodyweight allows you to work on your own at home, the beach, a local park or anywhere. Giving you the convenience, safety and variety to help you achieve your fitness goals. So if bootcamp isn't giving you all you need maybe try some intense bodyweight training to reach your goals. 

Why Body Weight?

posted Oct 14, 2015, 11:09 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Oct 14, 2015, 11:10 AM ]

Why body weight training? 

After years in the fitness industry and trying just about every method out there, from power lifting to body building I've gravitated to the body weight realm and all I can say is what took so long? For years I was plagued by the occasional minor injury. Mostly shoulder tendinitis, low back and knee pain. The trifecta of body pains for those of active into our late 30's, 40's and 50's. For the longest time I just accepted it as an inevitability. No pain, no gain, right? Well, about a year ago I had enough and after all I had read by Al Kavadlo, Mike Fitch etc, I decided to regress back to the fundamentals. I got rid of the weights and started my journey to calisthenic enlightenment.  Since then my journey has taken me to places that traditional weights could not. I have more control of body and have increased my over all strength, energy, balance and agility. In September I decided to make it official and I received a certification specializing in Streetsport from the World Calisthenics Organization. Now I possess the skills to help others achieve the fitness goals using only their body weight and the progressions tested by the WCO. What are some of the benefits most trainees can expect? Joint and connective tissue health. Tendons and ligaments receive oxygen and nutrients slower than muscles so your chances of injury with an external load is increased. Body weight training takes care of strengthening connective tissue while training the muscles. Body weight training trains the body as more of a system engaging and working your core where weight training tends to isolate the muscles trained. Body weight training is very convenient. You carry your gym with you wherever you go! Exercise intensity is based on angles. Increase the angle, increase the intensity. If you want your push ups to get tougher raise your feet. Since your entire body is engaged in most exercises body weight trainees tend to burn more calories. Since there are no external loads to manipulate body weight training is safer. Probably my favorite is all the cool moves you can master with practice. Instead of overhead presses, handstand push ups or instead of bench pressing, one arm push ups for example. There are so many reasons I didn't list but I recommend everyone follow me on instagram and try some of the work outs (with permission from your DR. of course) I have put up and see for yourself. Out Move, Out Play, Out Perform, Outfit!!

WCO Streetsport Calisthenics classes forming

posted Sep 27, 2015, 1:00 PM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Sep 27, 2015, 2:13 PM ]

Outfit is forming small groups for our Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening beginner and intermediate calisthenics classes. Classes are taught using WCO's proven progressions and techniques. Class times are 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 Monday and Friday and 7:00 & 8:00 Wednesday. Make up classes will be held Saturday afternoons (times TBA). Classes conducted by WCO Streetsport Certified Trainers. Sessions are 45 min in length. Rates are posted in our training rate section. Any questions please use the contact page. Let us help you attain your fitness goals!! Stay tuned for class start dates!

Patience in Training

posted Jul 2, 2015, 1:22 PM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Jul 2, 2015, 1:22 PM ]

I was working with one of my younger clients today, taking him through a fairly intense bodyweight routine when my client asked me “how long do I have to work at this until I master the advance exercises”. It never occurred to me that some people may find basic bodyweight exercises boring. Of course I think the basics are the bomb diggity but others may not. After about 15 min of explaining the benefits of bodyweight training I could still see a bit of skepticism in the eyes. My final comments were “all in due time. Would you try to build a skyscraper on sand?” When you decide to use bodyweight training to get strong you must be patient and master each prerequisite exercise to build a sturdy foundation before progressing to the next. Several months ago I could barely do a hand stand and now I’m close to a free standing hand stand push up. Obviously everyone is different and we will all progress at different rates but if you focus on mastering the prereqs you will see incredible gains in strength and mobility. You just have to be patient!!!

Happy New Year!

posted Feb 19, 2014, 11:04 AM by robert w johnson II   [ updated Feb 19, 2014, 11:04 AM ]

Happy New Year!! 
Well, 2014 is now into it's second month and with the winter slowly melting away most of us are starting to awake from hibernation, leave the house and get some exercise. If you're anything like me getting motivated to exercise is perhaps the last thing on your mind. There is so much going on in our daily lives that finding the time to exercise seems low on our list of priorities. Whether it's work or family exercise sometimes doesn't get the attention it deserves. What it usually comes to is getting to the gym sporadically if at all and doing a group of exercises you read about in a magazine or maybe some routine you did back in college or high school. What usually happens is individuals do to much of the wrong thing to soon. This along with way to much cardio and a highly calorie restrictive diet can derail anyone's fitness plans. I know, I've been there. Since 2006 I've managed to loose and keep off 40lbs. 
The first step in achieving any goal is to lay out a good plan. First thing is to get checked out by your physician. After you get the green light get out and move. Every day! if you have some experience with weights give some light to moderate weight routines a try. Remember form is paramount. Or if resistance training is new to you take a walk. Everyday. Get some consistency. If after 30 days you're feeling good start to add some resistance. Basic bodyweight movements (squats, pushups, lunges etc.) is a great place to start . After you've developed a good base you might start to add some load. Don't forget that 80% of getting fit usually consists of diet, recovery and sleep and 20% is the actual exercise.
 If all of this seems complicated or to much of a hassle, and considering the obesity epidemic is effecting 36% of adults and more than doubled in children in the past 30 years, it can get a bit overwhelming. Maybe it's time to find someone to take all the guess work out of fitness. Most trainers can take your goals, abilities and schedule and develop a comprehensive program for you. They can also offer advice on proper eating based on universal standards.
 Statistics show that fit individuals are more productive at work and tend to manage stress and enjoy life more than those who are sedentary. They also suffer from less chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes.
I will be addressing some topics related to fitness in a weekly blog related to exercises, eating and stress management. Please feel free to email me any questions and I will do my best to answer them. I would also like to offer my services as a personal fitness trainer and small group trainer. Email me to set up a face to face or Skype one on one session. I also offer individualized goal based email training. 

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