Strong is FAST program

Myth #1: Lifting weights is bad for endurance runners.

Myth #2: I’ll gain weight if I lift heavy.

Myth #3: When it comes to endurance training, more is better.

“Strong is FAST” is my new program that pushes the envelope in what we believe endurance training should be. When we picture an endurance runner, most of us think of an emaciated cross country kid who got his lunch money stolen from him in high school. Unfortunately, most running coaches believe that upper body strength, or any true strength for that matter, isn’t a priority nor is it beneficial. Instead, the endurance athlete is pounded into submission with volume, albeit while executed with improper technique and upon a weak foundation to support him/her self. The result is lack of turnover/range, sub-maximal genetic performance, poor strength to weight ratio and a host of injuries waiting in the fray.

My program will not only make you a faster runner/endurance athlete, it will do so with 30-50% less time and volume.

How do I know? I struggled for years with injuries incurred from high volume programs. After finding CrossFit, I gained a lot of strength and learned how to “move” properly in ways that benefited me as a runner. However, implementing it all into my program was a learning process. The Strong is FAST program is a result of that learning process.

Now I experience the “high” of being fast on the track and the trail while enjoying the feeling and confidence of being STRONG. This program combines the best of both worlds.

I can do the same for you.

Whether you’re training for a the Double Dipsea or your first 5k, I love helping others get stronger and faster while staying healthy and injury free.

If this sounds like it may be something for you, send me an email at brendonmahoney@hotmail.com.

Hope to hear from you.

Never Let It Rest,
Brendon

Getting ready for the 2nd annual Endeavor Challenge where my teammate and I took 3rd place last year.

I really like adding in weighted box step ups in to my programming for endurance events. You can load on your back to replicate a rucking response or front load a barbell to really test your core stability.

Deadlifts are one of my favorite lifts for endurance athlete. V8 glutes!

OH barbell carries are brutal and effective for building overhead strength, lat engagement and core control.

Never Let It Rest,

Brendonimage image image

I grew up believing in strength.

Being strong was good.

Strength was useful.

If you were strong, you could DO more stuff.

Strength to me was something like Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Predator…hoisting traps into trees…killing bad guys…battling crazy huge (but totally jacked and awesome) aliens.

It was Rambo, helping the small independent tribes in the mountains of Afghanistan defeat the more powerful Russian communist army.

As it was portrayed, if you were strong, you were harder to kill.

When I was in high school, I ran Cross Country and Track and not because I wanted to. I ran because I was fast and I excelled at it. What I really wanted to do was play football. But my parents were adamantly against it, having heard too many stories of ACL tears and shoulder injuries.

Even though I ran CC/track, being strong was still very important to me. Thus, when I would step on the line as a senior to run the mile, I would usually outweigh my opponents by a good 15-20lbs. I was the bigger, stronger kid and it showed. While my endurance was good enough to hold on to the leaders, my strength is what gave me the kick at the end of pass the other runners. In high school I won the national title in the mile at 4:04 and ran 1:49.1 in the 800m the summer of my senior year.

Somewhere in college and directly after I lost sight of how important strength was.

I bought into the idea that you had to weigh 130lbs to be a successful track athlete.

In college, I experienced nominal success. I earned All American status 3x and won multiple ACC championships. I was a potential contender in the middle distances but never considered one of the best, which was bothersome to say the least. My weight slowly declined. Injuries were always on the horizon.

It wasn’t until I found CrossFit and the CrossFit Endurance program that changed the way I saw myself as an athlete and a “runner”.

I COULD be strong and fast.

They were not mutually exclusive.

In fact, they were mutually beneficial!

Unfortunately the benefits of strength training were lost on the endurance community up until recently.

A recent article from FloTrack states:

Though Peter Coe championed strength training 30 years ago and Salazar is helping to make it popular again, for many years weight training was thought to be detrimental. Ever mindful of their mass, runners avoided weights fearing the possibility of bulking up. Salazar takes this fear head on and dismisses it. “It’s very hard to bulk up. I’ve never seen a single athlete of mine bulk up.”

“Bulking up not only means lifting really hard but eating a ton, and it’s very hard to gain weight. Not even a single one of my athletes have gained 2lbs. The only one’s that have gained a little bit of weight have been the girls… because they haven’t been as muscularly toned… but it’s good functional muscle that actually allows them to compete better.”

…To make it to the next level, strength training is a must.

http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/250603-Outdoor-Track-and-Field-on-Flotrack-2013/article/21661-To-make-it-to-the-next-level-strength-training-is-a-must#.U8Nq5LFU2So

What does your current training program look like?

I currently create strength templates (and running templates) that coincide with the endurance athletes running program to make them stronger, faster and a more injury proof athlete. If you’re interested, I would love to help! Send me an email or catch me on FB or Twitter.

Never Let It Rest,

Brendon

 

8 week “Fit 2 Fight” Program

Posted: June 23, 2014 in CrossFit
Now that the Army is really cracking down on fitness standards, I’ve been asked to write a plan to get back in shape and/or help crush the APFT standard.
As the new Master Fitness Trainer of Bravo 184, I’ve created an 8 week “Fit to Fight” program designed for the beginner of mostly body weight movements that will help any Joe get in serious shape with testing along the way to show progress.
While this is geared towards the beginner athlete, it can be modified for the veteran. For instance, you could sub horizontal rows for pullups and add weight to the squats by holding a dumbbell.
Please let me know what you think and please post your results!
*EDIT
It’s important to have goals. I designed this program specifically for those individuals who have failed prior APFT or are not making tape measurements. As you can see, it’s not super secy, at least the first month. Your first 4 weeks is just about building the basics with repetition, pushups, pullups,/rows, situps squats. Most of the guys I designed this for don’t have full pullups, proper pushups or core control.
That said, I haven’t posted video’s of what a proper squat, pushup or pullup looks like. There is a ton of information on the internet, please google it!
The second month we start getting into more fun stuff while sticking to the basics. Again, the goal is getting you to not just pass, but CRUSH the APFT while making you a stronger, faster and “harder to kill” soldier ;)
Never Let It Rest,
Brendon

To Basic and back again…

Posted: May 13, 2014 in CrossFit, Military

“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
~ The Hobbit

If you need a new perspective on life, I invite you to join the military.

If you feel like there is something more than this cushy (and safe) reality we live in, I invite you to join the infantry.

Many people talk about what they “shoulda, woulda, coulda done”. Others go out and do it. I am proud to say that I joined the latter.

The last 4 months I attended Army BCT (Basic Combat Training) and Advanced Infantry Training. To be honest, it was nothing special. Thousands of men in our country’s history have come before me. Most men CAN physically do it. However, what makes it a special experience are the mental demands required from each individual.

Being immersed into a a culture that tells what you what to do AND expects 110% effort was a new experience. Although being an athlete my whole life helped regarding following directions and executing, it was another experience altogether being held accountable for the actions of those around me, being confined to a very narrow set of tasks and not having contact with those I love.

In the Army, you quickly learn you’re only as strong as the man to your left and right. We hear this kind of saying all the time in the civilian world too, whether it’s in sports or business. It’s meant to instill pride, motivation and espirit de corps in the group. However, in the military, you’re not playing a game for points. It’s life and death. A lack of discipline will kill the man next to you.

Mortality is a hard thing to grasp. Defending and taking it is another. Nothing can completely prepare you. Thus, you have the NCO (non commissioned officer) or Drill Sergeant who is there to teach what it means to operate under high levels of stress. Their job description is to make every infantryman a warrior and they accomplish this by “bringing each potential soldier just to the breaking point mentally and physically”. Through sleep deprivation, training in foul weather conditions, PT, and all other creative means, the NCO accomplishes his goal. The more amount of “suck” involved in any task, the better.

4 months of minimal contact with the outside world (we were allowed to receive letters after the first 6 weeks) while being placed under high amounts of mental and physical stress will change a man.

Here’s what I learned:

- The Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage. Of all these values, INTEGRITY is the greatest and creates the foundations for the others.

- “A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
~ George Patton. There is tremendous value in making a quick, decisive decision rather than waiting and second guessing yourself. Make a decision, stand by it and execute. If it turns out to be wrong, adjust course accordingly and continue moving forward.

- Move with a purpose. No walking. Run or move quickly in everything you do.

- Stay disciplined, complacency kills. That also means taking care of your equipment, making sure it’s secured at all times and in proper working order.

- Stay motivated. Find ways to motivate yourself to perform, get through the day, night or any other unpleasant situation. Small steps are the only way to mentally cope, whether that’s making it back to your bunk at night or just getting to the next meal.

- Lastly, and certainly not least, I learned the true value of freedom. It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our American life and what you truly miss when you have it taken away. I missed my daughter, my fiancé and my community. They were the ones that filled my mind the most when I was missing home or sad and everyone else felt the same about their own loved ones. It is a nice awakening of what is truly most important in life.

Next time you see a soldier, please thank them. They uphold and protect EVERYTHING our country stands for, without their own political bias. They have endured and sacrificed to be “guardian’s of freedom and the American way of life.” The “American way of life” encompasses all colors, creeds, religions and political views.

Never Let It Rest,
Brendon

Muscles don’t grow without stress.

Math problems aren’t solved without erasers.

Endurance isn’t established without pain.

Character cannot be made without hardship.

Stress, hardship, pain, toil. These are all forms of suffering.

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The New Year is upon us.

How will you leverage your mistakes and past failures from liabilities into assets?

The New Year is significant because it represents new beginnings. We tend to forget though, that each new day brings new beginnings as well.

If you can keep a perspective that ALL HARDSHIPS are gifts, that they will surely pass, and that they are there to teach us new skills and learn more about ourselves, we can dedicate ourselves to forward motion, one step at a time.

Failure is a teacher. In the end, you have “more data about what works and what doesn’t.”

You have the power to control your thoughts. Once you commit mentally, actions follow.

Don’t let past mistakes ground you. Use them for what they are; a learning experience, and let them go. You can’t move forward if you’re always looking back.

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.” – Shane Caniglia

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Here’s to making 2014 and every day of your life exceptional, as it should be.

Never Let It Rest,
Brendon

I was tired.

I didn’t want to train.

Instead of accepting the fact that I was tired, I started making up stories in my head. I got on the rower for my warmup and kept thinking, “I’m too tired. I’ve had a hard week. I can take it easy. Maybe I shouldn’t train today.”

Being tired was my excuse for staying in my comfort zone.

And then I became aware of what I was constantly saying to myself…”I’m too tired…I’m too tired”. It became a self fulfilling prophesy!

Once I became aware that I was actually entertaining my demons rather than exorcising them (ha, lame pun), I immediately became stronger. I made a choice to listen to them or not.

I thought about Sebastian Coe, who’s father used to tell him, “No matter how fast the race is, you can always go faster.”

It reminded me of the 20x factor.

The premise of the 20x factor was developed by Navy SEAL Marc Divine. You are capable of 20x more than you think you are. It’s centered around your belief system, behaviors and attitude.

Belief System

Our belief system is based upon our own personal experiences and background. We all see the world through a different set of eyes. It’s important to remember that we all have a decision in how we view each situation. Creating self awareness in how we handle tough decisions or conflicts can give us insight into the best method of resolving them. Monitor your internal dialogue to gain some insight on your hard drive’s belief system.

“Most weak beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies because the belief leads to behavior that reinforces the belief…” Marc Divine.

Behaviors

Behaviors are a product of your belief system and thus create your habits. Monitoring your belief system (internal dialogue) will inevitably shed some light on what your habits are and why you do them! Behavior factors are the connection b/t mind and body. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

Often times, changing your behavioral system will change your belief system. Getting in shape, eating the right food, losing weight, gaining muscle foster a hard work ethic and yield confidence in oneself. Doing things that you weren’t physically able to do before can have terrific positive effects on your internal dialogue.

However, your attitude determines the balance b/t the two.

Attitude

Your attitude, whether positive or negative, happy or sad, determines how you interpret the world. Do you play the victim, where bad things ALWAYS happen to only you? Or do you choose to see situations as merely life experiences, neither good nor bad? Depending on your attitude, it will shape your actions/reactions (behaviors) and your belief in yourself and others (belief system). Again, your internal dialogue is a great indicator.

One reason I love martial arts (inparticular Taekwondo) is that it teaches discipline of mind and body. The 5 tenets of Taekwondo are: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, indomitable spirt. Two of those things are pretty much the same thing!

Rule of thumb: Attitude. If you possess a “don’t give up” attitude, anything is possible!

“Often times the race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to he who endures till the end.”

Never Let It Rest,
Brendon