Weekly Fitness Reads: 5/16/16


We eat most of our extra calories without realizing it. Being mindful might be the most important skill in eating for fat loss. It’s not easy though. Here are 13 science backed ways to limit mindless eating.


The posterior chain consists of the low back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. It’s basically everything you can’t see in the mirror. While a nice backside can be easy on the eyes, there are also some very important reasons other than appearance that we should focus on this area more than the mirror muscles. This piece does a great job of explaining why and how to train the posterior chain.


The picture is often bigger than we perceive. Lots of mindless snacking happens in the afternoon. But why?

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Deadlifts: The Best Friend in Romantic Comedies

You know the trope: The best friend who always gets pushed aside for some rich douche-canoe with great hair.

In the end though, the leading lady realizes that her best friend is actually everything she ever wanted. The best friend can provide her everything she needs to be the best, happiest version of herself.

“Jeff, have you ever actually seen a Rom-Com?”

Don’t be silly. Of course I haven’t.

The deadlift is your best friend.

The deadlift is right in front of us so we often ignore it. But when we look at what we really want:

-Less gym time

-Joints that don’t ache

-A great ass that makes us feel mega sexy all the time

-A lifelong physical resiliency that allows us to go on any new adventure we want

-Oh yeah, and to feel more comfortable without a shirt

The deadlift gives us these things. Once we realize that, we easily and organically fall in love with it. We realize we were wasting our time with that jerk Chad.

Chad is expensive and takes up a lot of your energy. Chad requires a lot of maintenance and attention. He often makes us feel worse about ourselves when we realize we’re not happy even though we should be. Everyone says he’s perfect after all. He gives us what we think we want. He gives us what society tells us we want. These things are superficial. Chad will never give us what we value.

Chad is cardio.

hamster wheel

Chad is also a hamster, apparently

There’s nothing terrible about Chad. He’s a bit of an asshat, but he’s not a sociopath or anything. He’s simply not “the one”. He doesn’t help us grow, like our best friend can.

That’s not to say you can’t still be friends with Chad if you want to. However, the best friend will give you much more of what you need to feel awesome, confident, and complete in the other areas of your life.


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Weekly Fitness Reads: 4/4/16

Social Sabotage: How to Respond to Criticism About Your Food and Exercise

Everyone on a fitness journey has experienced this to some degree. This a fantastic write up on the social hurdles that make fitness even harder than it already is. Unsupportive (often unintentionally so) social situations present the biggest detriment to success. The flip side of this is that the right group, the right community, has the biggest positive impact on success. I’m not saying to ditch your friends if they don’t know how to help you. I’m simply recommending you seek out people who are going through the same journey as you. That’s a different discussion though 🙂

Building Core Control with “The Bear”

I’m mortally terrified of bears. Any physical form of defense, outside of using tools, a bear can do better than a human. Think about it. They’re better evolved for running, swimming, climbing, you name it. And they’re certainly stronger. And they have claws and teeth. When I heard the name of this exercise I did have a moment of dread. Upon further exploration I came to realize this bear was not something to be feared, but to be celebrated.

5 Fat Loss Mistakes That Most People Miss

Most of the problems we have with fat loss are a matter of implementation. And implementation is a balance between strategy and perspective. I know that sounds vague and unexciting. This is because what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. We’re different people, with different lives. That said, there are some strategies and tips that work often and are worth a try. Just remember that this is all an experiment.


Learn more about sustainable, non-obsessive, no bullshit fat loss at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/

What Juvenile can Teach Us about Kettlebell Swings

Just in case you don’t remember the 90’s or are but a wee babe who was not yet thrust from your mother’s womb, Juvenile is a rapper whose claim to fame was a romantic love ballad entitled, “Back dat Ass Up”.

Now, ignoring the way this song objectifies women to an insane degree, this song can provide us some wisdom with regard to Kettlebell Swings as well as any other movement in the Hip Hinge(read:deadlift) category. I mean, the woman in the thumbnail is basically performing a perfect hip hinge.

The truth of the matter is that most folks I see doing KB swings aren’t even making an honest attempt to back their ass up! Or if they are trying they are doing it unsuccessfully. And, truth be told, backing that ass up is the key to a glorious Swing or Deadlift.


Common errors

Error #1-Squatting: Now I don’t take a super hard line stance on this one and Jordan Syatt has a wonderful counterargument in favor of including Squatty-Swings. However, when I program Kettlebell swings it is to strengthen and groove the hip hinge movement pattern. Furthermore, the knee dominant swings he argues for are a bit different than what I discuss here; if you compare the stills of squatty swings, notice he still pushes his hips back a decent amount.

Error #2-Too much spinal flexion: In non-nerd speak this means that your back is rounding during the swing with the result being a less back friendly exercise as well as one that doesn’t achieve our goal of performing a full body lift that builds explosiveness, a strong metabolic effect, and hams and glutes that won’t quit. Yes, “kettlebooty” is a thing.

In both of these instances, no one’s ass is being backed up and the result is at best an exercise that doesn’t fulfill the purpose behind doing said exercise, and at worst and injurious lift which continues to perpetuate the myth that kettlebell swings will wreak havoc on your back.

With that in mind check out the following pictures and pay close attention to what my ass is doing ;p

Let’s take a look at what backing one’s ass up looks like. Warning: the following section will contain numerous lines pointing to my ass. Haters gon’ hate. Pay close attention to where my ass is in relation to the wall in both pictures.

Standing position

Standing position

Proper hinge

Proper hinge

The first picture is just meant to be a point of reference for my ass position; I am not actually performing a swing during although my hip position is the same as it would be during a swing. Note the length of the red line in both pictures. This line is the distance from my ass to the wall. In the second, the line is way shorter as I have backed my ass up toward the wall.

Notice that as I hinge in this picture, I back dat ass up and my butt gets closer to the wall. During this transition, I maintain a rigid neutral spine. The torso muscles will definitely get some work during this lift but the back should not create movement, that’s your butt’s job.

This technique will help ensure that your hips are loaded like a slingshot and that your back stays in neutral throughout the lift.

Now after I back my ass up, the next part of the swing is the pop my hips forward into the standing position squeezing both my quads and my glutes simultaneously. Sorry, no picture 😦 My camera doesn’t do action shots well.

Now let’s look at a swing with a rounded back.

round back swing

Spinal Flexion. For swings, no bueno.

Ass is not backed up. It’s slightly closer to wall, but not by as much as the “Proper Hinge” photo.  In fact, you can’t even see my ass–it just looks like it’s part of my back. You not only want to bring your buns closer to the wall, but you want to showcase that shit like you’re talking a #belfie.

Now, let’s look at the squatty swings. I’m going to show them in the way I see them done most often and not the way Jordan Syatt does in the article linked to above.

Squatty swings

squatty swing 2

Squatty Swing

Note that in this picture my ass does not get much closer the the wall, especially compared with the second picture; it just goes up and down. Juvenile would be bummed. This results in no horizontal power, which is what will propel the kettlebell upwards. That means that when people do “swings” this way they end up using their arms to get the kettlebell to chest level. THE SWING IS NOT AN ARM/SHOULDER EXERCISE. Your ass and hammies should be the muscles that snap the weight forward and up.

The swing is a pretty complicated exercise. I can’t cover all of the nuances in this post, however listening to the conventional wisdom of juvenile is a great start to making the swing a more effective and safer exercise.