Power Rack Exercises To Increase Strength

I have always implemented power lifting exercises into my workouts over the years. Exercises such as Dead Lifts, Squats, and Bench Press build foundational strength in the tendons and ligaments and can give you the ability to move greater amounts of weight in other exercises as a result. Years ago, my workout partner, Mike Gigante and I devised a plan to maximize our strength gains with the use of the Power Rack. We determined that starting a movement from the bars of the rack eliminated momentum and gave the tendons greater stress from the explosive movement needed. We focused on the three Power Lifting movements: Dead Lifts, Squats, and Bench Press. A normal weight training movement involves momentum in three stages: the negative movement, the positive movement, and the static contraction. The Power Rack allowed for a greater negative movement, a “touch-down” and pause on the bars, followed by an […]

A Healthy Lifestyle

When aiming for health and fitness in our lives, we should avoid a quick-fix or an instant gratification mentality. We should approach health and fitness as a lifestyle, incorporating good habits over time and allowing ourselves to make these habits a part of our daily lives. See diet and exercise from a new perspective. View it as lifestyle that will improve you from the surface, right down to a cellular level. Know that the vital nutrients and hydration that provide cells with the properties that they need will give you a quality of life and longevity. Know that you made a difference in the strength and integrity of your own cells so much so that you prolonged your life and the quality of that life. Balance is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t allow yourself to fall back into the traps of bad habits that will detract from […]

Book-End Goals!

BOOK-END GOALS! By: John M. Di Fazio II People often ask me how I consistently achieve my goals. One way that I suggest to them is to set a deadline for the goal. If you consider a particular time frame in which to accomplish your goal, it is less apt to get away from you. Just as in any work, there is a time frame for the task at hand. It creates a pace so that you can diligently apply the work needed to achieve the task or goal. If you set aside a little time each day, or each week, depending on the size of the goal, you can check off the daily or weekly tasks as you proceed. I prefer to call the time frame, “book-ends.” If you have a precise start point, and a precise finish line, I believe that it makes it easier for the mind […]

Rep-Range = Results!

REP-RANGE = RESULTS! By: John M. Di Fazio II For many years, I have alternated my repetition range from week to week with outstanding results. The main objective for my approach is the stimulation of the muscle fibers by exposing them to different types of stresses from week to week. Each week of the month consists of a different approach such as Week 1: 30 repetitions, Week 2: Super-Sets, Week 3: Drop-Sets, & Week 4: Heavy. In Week 1, I use a weight that is lighter but will still create stress on the muscle fibers, usually by the twentieth repetition. It provides a severe stress to the muscle bellies without the stress being dissipated to tendons and ligaments. In Week 2, I’ll super-set using a rep-range of 15 repetitions & 15 repetitions divided between two different muscle groups. For example, I’ll do 15 pull-ups super-setted  with 15 lateral deltoid dumbbell […]

Finding Self-Focus & Intensity Within

FINDING SELF-FOCUS & INTENSITY WITHIN By: John M. Di Fazio II When we conceive of a goal in our minds, we initially may feel a sense of euphoria, ambitious to achieve that goal. But, some goals take longer to achieve than others. It is important to do everything that we can to sustain our enthusiasm and guide our will to accomplish what we had first set out to do. I have always been a goal setter, planning, organizing, learning, gathering the items and knowledge that I need, and working diligently towards a specific goal or goals. One of the tools that I have always used in personally self-motivating is visualization. Visualization can be imagining and seeing the desired goal at its completion, or it can also be the seeing, feeling, hearing, and sensing of the day to day steps along the journey. When a goal is in my mind, I […]

The Virtual Training Experience

I have enjoyed training in gyms as a profession for 27 years. This year, all New York gyms were forced to close by order of the State of NY. While it was damaging to the Fitness Industry all over the country, this state’s handling of the Wuhan Virus Pandemic was particularly devastating to businesses, especially gyms, which are still ordered to remain closed since mid-March. We, as Personal Trainers, had to pivot quickly to find another direction in which to train our clients. My wife and I call it a Blockbuster Video moment for gyms. It has become evident that this is a moment of transition for the entire Fitness Industry. If we don’t apply the necessary changes with crucially swift decisiveness, parts of our industry may end up with the same fate that Blockbuster Video experienced at the hands of a changing and growing streaming industry. With our backs […]

Improvised Training: Back To Basics

Photo: MGM/ CREED II IMPROVISED TRAINING: BACK TO BASICS In situations such as these, we improvise our workouts. Without access to gyms or larger gym equipment, we get back to basics wherever and with whatever we can find. We find that pull-ups. chin-ups, push-ups, and dips at a park can be just as intense and effective of a training session as weight training is. Hitting a heavy bag non-stop for thirty minutes can be an unforgiving shoulder workout. Filling athletic bags or backpacks with books or bricks for a modified dumbbell row is another great idea that we implement while gyms remain closed. For legs, the same athletic bags or backpacks with books or bricks can be used for lunges and stiff-leg deadlifts. Squat jumps and sprints can be added to engage the muscle fibers in a different way than traditional weight training. We can also make this a great […]

RESULTS: Consistency vs. Fads & Trends

One thing that I have always disliked about the Fitness Industry is its susceptibility to trends and fads. So many fall victim to looking for the next new thing as a miracle that’s somehow going to be the magical technique that will give them the edge, or shape their body into their dream physique, or give them chiseled abdominal muscles, or make dieting easy, and so on… The rapid-fire diet fads and exercise trends that now seem to be a yearly occurrence come and go fairly quickly. While many techniques of exercise and diet may be effective when applied, far too many people are mixing and matching elements from different philosophies, plotting a course that is often counteractive to the desired goals that they may be seeking to achieve. If they would just select one method of training and one method of diet, and stay the course with both, many […]

The One Thing That We Can Control

In times such as these, when so much is out of our hands and out of our control, there is one thing that we can control. That one think is our attitude. If we keep our cool in situations like this, we can focus on the positive things like clean eating and exercise, instead of retreating into the laziness and the comfort food-downward spiral. This is the area of our lives that we have control over. And, in the midst of all the chaos of a work-stoppage, an economic slow-down, and a self-quarantine, there’s one thing that we finally have. We have TIME. We have time for family. We have time to read. We have time to garden. We have time for a walk on the beach. We have time to write. We have time for home improvement projects. We have time to organize. We have time to prepare. We […]

Resistance Training

The aesthetic of a well conditioned body is an excellent achievement. It takes time to develop muscles with resistance training and proper nutrition. Many people tend to view the aesthetic benefits of resistance training as the primary purpose for this type of exercise. There are so many other benefits that accompany the development of our muscles. As we age, resistance training, when performed regularly can increase cardiovascular vessel wall strength, increase blood flow and circulation, promote better balance, condition and strengthen tendons and ligaments, increase bone density, and improve mental health through the release of natural endorphins. A short 20-30 minutes of either weight training, band resistance, medicine ball & body weight calisthenics, or Dynamic Tension, performed 4-6 days per week can improve us in all of these areas. I personally do 6 days of resistance training and 7 days of cardiovascular exercise per week. As of March 1st, 2020, I have not […]

Forged In Fire

I know the title sounds frightening, but bear with me for a moment. I’m referring to the person who we become within the process of achieving goals. It may sound harsh to compare ourselves with the forging process, but sometimes envisioning ourselves in a different state of being will help us to better realize the truth of the transformation that occurs when we find qualities such as discipline, courage, and commitment. It takes all of these qualities to endure the often arduous journey of transformation that occurs when we set out to achieve a goal. At first, we are like a piece of flawed ore, awaiting shape, awaiting structure, awaiting formation. Some goals may require more temperance than others, but within the fire of our will we take shape and we begin to form into our good visions. We hammer out our impurities in the fires of the forge. From […]

‘Round & ‘Round, We Go…

‘ROUND & ‘ROUND, WE GO… BREAKING VICIOUS CYCLES IN THE NEW YEAR It was a difficult year for me, personally. I unexpectedly lost someone with whom I shared a very close bond with at a very special time in my life. I’ll admit, that it has shaken me up and has made me feel lost to my core. I’m a very strong person, physically, spiritually, and mentally. My mental discipline is probably my greatest asset. So, for me, these last few months have been unexplored territory in regards to my conscience and soul. Usually, I have the strength to ignore pain, in whatever form it takes. I have always felt emotion with intensity. This loss has irrevocably damaged my soul. I will persevere, but with a heavy weight upon my shoulders. While heart wrenching, this experience has illuminated many of my own inner strengths. It has brought out my empathy, […]