What are your stats?

Sep 25, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Dear All,

Sorry it’s been an age since I’ve blogged, but I thought I’d get some feedback from your guys.

Here are my stats currently:

Age: 47

Height 6 feet

Weight 176lb.

Bench: 225lb.

Squat 315lb.

Kung training: 2-3x a week

Stretching: 2-3x a week

Cardio: When I can get it, admittedly lacking in that department currently

So not it’s your turn…

What are your stats and what are you up to physically?

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

JETT

Getting a Proper Spot

Jul 13, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

This seems to come up every time I’m on vacation and visiting a new gym to for a workout while catching some RNR. I’ll be in a new gym and won’t know anyone, not a big deal I know what I’m doing and I’m going to get my lift on to look buff on the beach (ok we all do it…don’t judge).

Anyway lets say I need a spot, the two exercises that come to mind for me where it’s most important are the bench press and the squat. Now how do I find someone to give me a good spot at a new gym where I don’t know anyone and certainly can’t tell who knows what they’re doing?!

It’s not as bad on a bench press, maybe you’re spotter helps too much (usually the case) or hopefully not the other option and leaves you languishing with a bar on your chest, but eventually most folks will pull that bar off your person and you can get onto your next set.

Of greater concern for me is the squat, case and point I was front squatting yesterday (gym and beach I am visiting will remain nameless) and needed a spot. You are literally putting yourself at great risk if you are going for a one rep max and don’t know who is spotting you. Make sure that they do, and if in doubt just wait till you’re in an environment where you know who can spot properly and who can’t.

That being said, I found someone to spot me, I had no idea if they knew what they were doing or not and that being the case this was a weight I knew I could handle. Long story short, I explained to said spotter that I was front squatting, at the end of my set – a double, he expressed surprise because he thought I was going to do a push press when I started the lift – the front squat and push press do have a similar start but I explained to said spotter what lift I was doing.

His follow up question to his realization that I was not push pressing (225lb. would have been a great push press), was why do you squat with bar in the front. This person/spotter did not look like a totally green gym newbie (that’s why I asked him for a spot), but obviously didn’t know what he was doing when it came to spotting; so again be careful when you’re not on you’re home turf and don’t know who is spotting you.

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

How is your Stamina?

Apr 5, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

What type of exercise do you engage in? Weights, Yoga, Pilates, running, elliptical and the list goes on. Is one better than the other?! Tough question, with no easy answer. The answer may be in another question – How is your stamina? Whatever type of exercise program you follow does it provide you the ability to sustain prolonged physical effort?

If you do lost of cardio you will have a well developed cardiovascular system but may not be able to lift heavy weights; if you only lift (body building/split routines) you can lift heavy weights but will have almost no stamina. The Yoga and Pilates genre is great for flexibility, some strength and slightly better when it comes to stamina but not great.

So what is the approach needed if you want true stamina beyond just being able to run/do cardio mile after mile?

Well from a class or group exercise standpoint it would have to be crossfit. It’s a perfect blend of strength and stamina work. However there is a steep learning curve and chance of injury. But the answer was aforementioned – you need a blend.

Good examples of athletes that have the “blend” are boxers and MMA fighters. They have a great combination of strength and stamina. Surprise, surprise I have been doing martial arts for 30 years.

My current program is 3-4 days of martial arts training, 2-3 days of cardio and 1-2 days of lifting but when I lift it is a non stop burn, sort of like a MetCon in crossfit but longer and I hope safer.

I’m not advising anyone to fight round after round, but do you have the stamina to do it? Strive for that type of stamina and I promise you, your level of fitness will be superior!!

The knees seem to be in good order…

Mar 6, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Here is quick update on my knees. I have started back with my martial arts training and all is going well, actually no aches and pains at all so far.

I recently changed my whole workout routine and will be avoiding heavy squats, with a much greater focus on functional movements and calisthenics. This type of training is surely still a test of my knee(s) integrity but more from a volume standpoint. That being said, I have been sore and tired after these workouts but again no issues with my knees.

I also just started my “kick/punch” training (12-15 rounds of heavy bag work, with both punches and kicks) and so far the knees feel good as well.

The only thing I haven’t tried is running, my cardio work has been all elliptical. Running in my last bout of knee issues was absolutely the main driving factor. Seeing as how this current regimen is working, I don’t feel like rocking the boat so l’ll stick with the current regimen.

Long story short it seems that the Synvisc One shots (http://bit.ly/2oz6x7P) are working.

Knees good, me good, all good!!

Time to Change it Up (No resting on your laurels)

Feb 23, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

So as I was training one of my clients the other day, it hit me that I may actually not be able to keep up with him/my programming. It was certainly bitter sweet seeing one of “pupils” doing so well but this also came on the tails of starting to feel winded while training martial arts and a realization that I can’t rest on my laurels.

It then dawned on me that since my last 10k race and my knee issues I have done zero cardio and only split routines for weight lifting. This would be great if I was a bodybuilder doing mass work in the winter but it doesn’t do much for my physical fitness and martial arts training. Am I in shape, yes certainly, am I fit…I think not currently.

That being said today was day one of my new training program and programming will be roughly as follows.

Two days of lifting focusing are minimal rest, lots of calisthenics, kettlebell work and functional movements.

Here is an example:

Warm-Up

Rope
Band
Halo
Squats
Side shuffle
Grapevine

30 Push-ups*
50 Squats*
1000 m row

3 Rounds

Chins 5 sets (3 overhand 2 underhand) of 10 sets with 30 bicycles in b/w

Complete in 50 min

*with weight vest

Other days will be filled with cardio – elliptical, some running if my knees can handle it, and as much stretching as possible (at least 3 days a week), I really want to finally achieve a lotus position.

I will also try to maintain my current Kung Fu training at 3-4 days a week.

I’ll keep you posted…

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Second Update On the Knees…

Feb 14, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

So here we are a week and a day later after my synvisc one injections in each knee (http://www.synviscone.com). I have gone from barely being able to walk to light leg training yesterday. The first couple of days I really had trouble walking, my knees felt tight and inflexible and I could not kneel.

By the weekend it was starting to get better and again yesterday I trained light legs – front squats, leg extensions and leg curls.

I will start back to my martial arts training this Friday and that will be the true test.

The ultimate benefit may yet to be revealed, but as long as I’m not having surgery I’m happy!!

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Oh Those Knees!!

Feb 7, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Quick update on my knees, I just had two injections in each knee of Synviscone http://www.synviscone.com, it is an attempt to prolong the life of my knees. It basically cushions and lubricants the knee(s).

The injections aren’t the most pleasant of experiences but it was tolerable. I had the injections done yesterday (Tuesday – 2/06/18) and I admit I had trouble walking out of the Doctor’s office, but I am feeling much better today. I have been icing and they prescribed a steroidal anti-inflammatory.

I am hoping to start my martial arts training this Friday and will be squatting again next Tuesday., basically back to full activity by next week. Ironically I hit a 315lb. squat the day I had my injections.

That being said, why did I get the injections if I was able to squat 315lb.? I have had meniscus repairs in each knee and my right meniscus is currently frayed/fraying. I really don’t want to deal with another surgery so I am taking a preemptive strike.

I’ll let you know how the lube job went ASAP…

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

The State of the Union

Jan 30, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

Here is the “physical” state of the union for Mr. JETT aka – Eric Toussaint

Height: 6’0

Weight: 172

Age: 47

Bench press: 225lb.

Squat 315lb.

Weight lifting 3-4x/week

Kung Fu training 3-4x/week

Stretching and rolling 2-3x/week

Goals for 2018

More cardio – has to be elliptical, right knee meniscus issues

Restart my ground fighting training

What are your stats and goals, I would love to hear them…

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

Do you always need to have surgery?

Jan 12, 2018 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

First and foremost, here is my disclaimer – I am not a Doctor and this is purely anecdotal.

I have had multiple surgeries for various sports/aggro life style issues over the years. Meniscus repairs on both of my knees and nerves removed from my both of my feet due to Morton’s neuromas. All of these surgeries have gone very well and were most certainly needed.

Here are the surgeries I have not had:

I have a 10mm tear in my supraspinatus in my right shoulder that my Doctor insisted I needed surgery on and told me after I mentioned a second opinion that all I would hear was I would need the surgery. I even went so far as to schedule a rotator cuff repair surgery and at the last second I cancelled.

I went on to rehab my shoulder on my own, I recommend if you are in this situation that you get the help of a good Physical Therapist (I can make recommendations). I won’t get into the particulars of my rehab but again get help from a PT, not everyone has twenty years in the health and fitness industry and I started my fitness career as a Physical Therapy aide and still to this day rely heavily upon my knowledge gained from that work experience.

That being said, I eventually went on to benching 255lb., I would also not recommend the bench press to anyone with shoulder issues, but thats just me being stubborn. Either way my point is that I didn’t get the surgery and I seem to be doing pretty well.

Another issue I am dealing with currently is another meniscus tear in my right knee. Often times a popliteal cyst develops with this condition. Extra synovial fluid in the knee generated due to the irritation in the knee becomes encapsulated by a coating that comes off the tendons and forms a cyst in the back of the knee. When that cyst gets big enough it starts to become uncomfortable. I went to see my Doctor about the issue and of course he recommended if it continued to have a meniscal repair.

I decided to hold off. I got a cortisone shot, I had the cyst drained by another Doctor, modified my workouts, rehabbed the knee on my own (again go to a Physical Therapist for your rehab), and the issue has calmed down. I will also be getting Synvisc One shots in both knees in the very near future as preemptive strike (http://bit.ly/2DlEpLH). I am back to my martial arts training and hope to be squatting 315lb. by Spring.

Is my path the right way or the wrong way, it’s neither it’s just my path. All I am suggesting in this anecdote is that you seek second opinions when facing surgery, not just from an Othopedic Doctor but a good Physical Therapist as well.

When all you have is a hammer, everything look like a nail. In my experience I didn’t always go with the hammer.

I hope this helps and please feel free to ask me questions about my experience and also feel free to ignore everything I have said as well.

Train Hard, Train Safe!!

The Manhattanization of the Independent Personal Training Industry

Aug 13, 2017 Eric Toussaint 6 Comments

There has been a change taking place within the industry and it has come to my hometown or should I say the hometown of my business JETT Training llc. For as many years as I can remember I have run JETT Training within the walls of Fitness First in Bethesda, MD while paying a fair and actually quite modest “trainer fee”.

This pass month – June 2017 with very short notice Fitness First was forced to close. Seeing the change in the winds I always kept my foot in the door at a gym a few miles north of Bethesda, Team Eckenrode Gym and Fitness. This is currently my new venue and I am very happy with the owner and the management.

Now to my point, as the rapacious development efforts in Bethesda are coming to fruition, Fitness First was squeezed out. When development of this type takes place the only types of gyms that can afford the new high rent are corporate gyms. Corporate gyms as rule do not allow independent trainers.

So where do the independent trainers go to practice their trade. I am extremely fortunate to have found a home at Team Eckenrode http://teameckenrode.com, however there are those of my colleagues that are still undecided, and others that have decided to become trainers at corporate gyms. I really don’t recommend the corporate gym option for several reasons. Your clients will no longer be yours, they will belong to the corporate gym and if you leave you can’t take them with you as there will be a non-compete and a proximity clause. You will also be working twice as much for half the pay (best case scenario if you are lucky).

That being said independent trainers as in most big cities are forced to exist in the nooks and crannies of the industry. Small boutiques studios, friends and or colleagues that own Yoga and Pilates studios, martial arts studios etc. There is no formula here and most of these relationships/studios are hard to find and tend not to be as well equipped as actual gyms. But if there is a will there is a way, and there are many a trainer that have had great success with this approach. The other option is to do strictly in-home training, which works quite well but many training hours are lost in transit.

On the client side of this equation, it can be a tough transition if the new venue of choice doesn’t offer all the amenities that they were used to in a gym. There may be no classes, no childcare, no towels etc. There can also be geographical challenges, I personally stand to lose five to six clients as a result of my change of venues. However this phenomenon is nothing new and many clients are already used to not having everything under one roof and are already taking an a la carte approach to their fitness needs or as I call it the “Manhattanization” effect on the fitness industry. What does Manhatanization mean, well to the gym industry it is what happens in all the larger cities, as mentioned earlier the independents exist in the nooks and crannies and clients have their fitness needs met in an a la carte fashion.

I think at the end of the day, independent trainers need to always be on the look out for places to train their clients because nothing is forever and your base of operations could change at anytime. If possible try to find a gym that is independent friendly and tell every trainer you know to join ASAP, there is strength in numbers. That is the situation I am in now and if the owner decides to close up shop the 50-60 independent trainers have a strong chance of rallying together to finance a new gym/base operations. Don’t wait until you have no options, always have a back up plan and talk with your colleagues about how you would handle a forced change of venue.

I will also add in this bit of advice always treat everyone in this manner – “I may work for you one day, and you may work for me one day”. You never know what the future holds and the more friends you have in the industry the more options you will have.

Good luck and God bless to all you independent trainers out there!!