Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beacon of "Light"

So I'm ripping through the end of my body weight beach workout the other night and three young dudes come up to me. One guy who was a beach lifeguard says, "So sir, is this what you do to stay into it?" Of course, it doesn't take much of an opening for me to start talking up health--or any opening for that matter! We had a great conversation about health stuff. He's got a new daughter being born this week. I urged him to make sure she didn't become obese like so many other kids. He got to thinking about all this and after walking away came back to ask more questions about core training. In a few seconds I was able to assess that he had some significant inflexibility in his low back and hamstrings. I gave him some homework. He was happy as a clam. I'm proud to say at this point in my life that I KNOW I can make a huge impact on someone in just a few minutes--I strive to be a beacon of LIGHT in the sinking abyss of obesity that so many suffer with daily. I'm great at getting into people's heads--even if they don't like it! I just tell the truth about health--that is all. Simple. Straight up. Bottom line. That's how I "role" as my good friend Kevin Rail would say...now Kevin is another story I'll save for later. This guy is ON FIRE for health man! Are you? Seaside fit this week and on my MTB, Coach RJ

Friday, September 21, 2007

Box Gyms

So I went to the "Box Gym" in Huntington Beach as planned last night (on Main Street). I don't like going into this place. It's so crowded with equipment that I could hardly find space to do my own warm-up! Newer gym designs have a lot more open floor space for the functional stuff that requires more moving around on balls, with tubing, plyos with body weight, etc. This place is also a filthy environment even though it's a "major" gym chain which freaks me out because of today's MRSA infection issues--NASTY! Regardless, I've been in an iron mood the last week. Now, I of all people don't need ANY equipment to get a great workout, but, sometimes I'm just in the mood for old school iron. Nothing wrong with that! It's all good! The gym is a weird place in a way. I think it is actually good for me to get into these big box gyms once in a while to see what is going on. No wonder people get confused! Hell, I had to scratch my own head a few times. Example! A guy goes over to the Smith Squat Rack machine which if you don't know helps "track" the bar up and down in a fixed position--let's say a "stable" position and movement. But! He gets under it with a Stability Ball and proceeds to do a chest press. I found this puzzling...the Smith Machine "stabilizes" but the Stability Ball actually "destabilizes." It was an oxymoron exercise--or maybe he was an oxymoron! Maybe there was no flat bench available and the guy was forced to use the ball for his chest press--so he had no other choice. Who knows! There was a trainer training an obese guy. The client was doing multiple Olympic bar shrugs. I found this puzzling. When I work with obese people, I try to rev their metabolisms with interval workouts and working more of the larger muscles along with smaller stabilizers that keep their movement patterns clean so they don't get hurt. The shrugs are pretty old school--not a whole lot of functional or metabolic benefit to an excessive amount of shrug strength. Great for body building competitions, but most people are not body builders even though they use that general program design. Weird to me, so probably very confusing to others that know enough to think about it! Alas, it was all good though. Everyone in there was moving, and that is the main thing. Back to SIMPLE tonight! Heading to the beach to do a body weight only workout! Old school Jack LaLanne stuff--lots of push ups with some of the cool core stuff I do. No more Box Gyms this week! From my own "Muscle Beach" tonight, Coach RJ

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where's RJ? Watching!

Well I'm in Huntington Beach this week. I was at PickUp Stix, my favorite "fast food" place eating my usual Buddha's Feast veggie lunch with tofu, and one of their employees walked by with a back belt brace. Not a medical brace--but one of those over-the-counter models that was a craze about 10 years ago. Not be be redundant, but those things don't prevent your back from getting hurt! She was also morbidly obese, but that's another topic. If you want to protect your back from injury, do some core exercises targeted for your deep spinal stabilizers instead of slapping on a belt over flapping flesh! Continuing on outdated stuff, someone jogged by me the other day wearing one of those rubberized sweatsuits. Now if you're cutting weight as a wrestler, I guess this is one thing, but if you're trying to lose "real" weight, take that damn thing off! You're just going to dehydrate which slows down your pace which gives you less metabolic benefit which means you'll lose less "real" weight that you can actually keep off after you drink more water! Plus it was hot in Cali this week, and those things can be dangerous! Off to the Box Gym tonight...been doing a little more lifting this week. From the Beach, Coach RJ

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We're #1 in the Nation!

Well my football boys became #1 in the NCJCAA polls this week! A bit nerve wracking after months of conditioning them physically and mentally...but the hard work paid off, and now we are off and going strong. It's great to work with young men and a program that still values character, good sportsmanship, and a blue collar work ethic. Special congrats to Seth Damron for that game winning endzone catch in the final seconds! This week, I'm very proud to say from the gridiron that I'm "Coach" RJ. GO GADES!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stevie Vai

I saw Stevie Vai at the Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood last night. What an incredible guitar player this guy is! No one can do with Vai does with a guitar. It's refreshing to see someone so dedicated and passionate to their life's purpose. As Vai said, he brings ALL people together with music to make the world a better place. God Speed Stevie as you finish your world tour in the US and South America. If you like guitar, check out Vai one day...sit...listen...feel...IN-joy. Rockin' in Hollywood, Coach RJ

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


On the morning of 9.1.01, I was getting ready to leave and teach my college exercise class when I heard the first plane news. We didn't know at 5:30 AM in California that it was a major airliner or that it was intentional. I announced to my class that a plane had hit the towers. A student got a call minutes later that it was a LARGE plane. By September 12th, it was painfully obvious. My first reaction as usual was to resort to fitness and health. The way I see it, when you are weak or perceived as weak, someone somewhere is going to kick your ass. When you have a nation in general that is fat and out of shape, then I'd say that is weak. It was no surprise we got our asses kicked. My message on the 12th was and still is to Get Fit and Be Strong. Actually, it was because of 9-11 that I began using this tag line on ALL my handouts and ALL my webpages. It's a reminder of what can happen when you are weak--you get your ass kicked. My oldest daughter Alicia was also a student at Barnard College and Columbia in NYC that day. I did not know if she was dead or alive for hours, and when I did find out she was out of the Ground Zero area, did not know for days if she was still going to be in immediate danger of being killed. These are my reflections today. Alicia is alive and well. I'm still telling people to get off their fat asses and get in shape before we revisit 9-11. America is still fat and horribly unfit--and weak in many ways. Some things have not changed much. I hope some things DO change and quickly. I hope you listen. From the frontlines of corporate WELLness, Coach RJ

Sunday, September 9, 2007


You know I've caught a lot of crap for doing what I believe in over the years. I do what is best for American wellness--period. It's not always popular or politically correct. This method has NOT always been the best career move. In fact, it has literally cost me thousands of dollars and financial security; however, I have pressed on for what I believe in, and finally things are coming around and "fast" (about time after 10+ years!). Before I moved to Atlanta, the local high school district in Cali wouldn't even give me an interview as a Health/PE instructor despite all my credentialing. When I moved at Atlanta, after a whole year of trying to find a good teaching job, the best offer I had was sharing a freakin' trailer and half day English teaching job with another teacher. Not ONE of the Georgia coaches or admininstrators would let me help the PE or sport programs. Last night, the California community college football team I've been working with since 2004 beat the #1 team in the Nation in the final seconds of the game--a game in which many old timers said was THE BEST game they have ever seen. BC Renegades @ #2 Nationally vs. El Camino @ #1 and being the defending California State Champions last year. So who's laughing now? I can tell you it has been damn frustrating at times pursuing my passion for what I believe to be optimal health and wellness and the best way to fitness condition both athletes and corporate clients...but by God it's working. You have to BELIEVE. There is a spiritual strength that keeps a warrior getting up off the mat until they are dead. I'm not dead yet. I still believe in what I'm doing and how I do it. Thanks to everyone that has been with me over the years doing all my "crazy" exercise programs. People that don't know my programs and me laugh it off and don't give me a chance. So who's laughing now? Me. From the anaerobic threshold "Zone" in Cali this week, Coach RJ!