Posts Tagged ‘CST’

2011 is upon us and showing no sign of letting up whatsoever from the momentum of the year past. After a much needed week and a half off with the family over the holiday season (after an intense couple month preparation period and successful launch of my new training product, the Clubbell Mass Evolution), I came back to work. When I come back from having been off, it really is because I was off. I go completely offline. The computer shuts down, the phone gets turned off and I unplug. And having returned, the inbox is spilling over, there are a few loose ends to finish tying off from 2010 so I can really focus on the new year before me AND all the action required for everything that goes along with it. I imagine that is the same for many of us.

But I feel it is of the utmost importance to take a moment and reflect when reaching significant turning points, to fully draw what one can from the experience. And I just came across a very important reason for doing so.

Just before going offline, I was invited to be profiled for an article. I of course accepted, not knowing what the article was or which magazine it might be for. The request was coming from my Coach and Teammate, Scott Sonnon, and thus was fine with wherever it ws getting posted. I didn’t have much time to get into it, I had to answer the interview questions because I was going offline. The questions were very intelligent and I liked what was being asked. So I submitted and was done.

I am now back, just a couple days, and while attending to the final bits of last year and all the new bits of revving up for what is looking to be an even more incredible year than last, it’s been a little all over the place and from the outside could seem somewhat chaotic (heck, from the inside it looks chaotic ;)). Along with that, comes still being in the dark about some stuff. Then today, I see a few messages that end off with a “And congratulations on being chosen #1 trainer of the year!” Huh? Pardon? I had no idea what was being referred to. At first I almost thought it was just a really nice gesture by the individual. But I decided to do a little digging. And what do you know; I had been entered alongside 9 other trainers by RMAX International into a poll that would be voted on by the CST community for the Most Aspiring Trainer of the Year award. And as it turns out, I won.

And this is why it is so important to take a moment to take stock. Because the potential for missing this was there. And what I would have missed out on was, not finding out that I’d won, but having missed the opportunity to honour those in whose company I have been placed.

There is no denying that I stand upon broad wide shoulders, in whatever progress I have made in my growth and development, as a member of this CST community. I have always believed that no one truly does it on their own and that we learn, even if it be equivalent to that of a grain of sand and from a seemingly very negative interaction, something from everyone we come into contact with. And the fellow trainers on this list are no exception. This is what I have come to very much respect about the CST community. The caliber of individuals that it attracts. Not only does it attract these incredibly gifted, talented and innovative powerhouses, but those same trainers pour so much back into the community they’ve become a part of. Each of them to a man or woman, are imbued with a sense of service, for the betterment and progress of those around them.

My whole life has been motivated, inspired and driven by a strong sense of service to my fellow man, that we may collectively grow into the unquestionable capacity we have just waiting to be unlocked and tapped into. And to be surrounded and supported by a team of people that do the same is a blessing, gift and absolute honour.

This would be a very tough vote, as each of you brings something so unique in your expression and promotion of CST/TACFIT, that it’s difficult to differentiate the impact you have each had as individuals. Because it is precisely what you bring, as an integral piece of the whole, fulfilling a capacity that only you can bring to the table in the way that you all do, that plays such an important role in the effectiveness and impact we all have as a team on those around us. It’s no wonder it’s felt like an explosion of talent and growth amongst the CST trainers this year!

I know for myself, anything I have been able offer in service to those around me and in continuing to expand CST’s ever widening reach, ever deepening influence, it has been in large part due to the energy, selflessness, inspiration, support and encouragement of you all. I am honoured to be a part of this Team. To be a part of this collective that I truly believe will continue to be a significant part of trailblazing, shaping and facilitating growth for our family’s, community’s and our society at large.

Thank you Coach Sonnon for my inclusion amongst this amazing group of incredible individuals, in spotlighting the growth that is now going to continue blowing wide open by leaps and bounds.

Thank you to all, for your vote of confidence in my continued participation with this community and endeavour.

Boy….we thought 2010 was a huge year…..lookout 2011! 😀

Dare to Evolve,


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Last week it started….
The next few months are about going deep into the forge….

This journey only having just begun….

To wrought all that is unnecessary by hammer and heat, that it might unveil more of what lies within….

With my tool of choice….
Via my system of choice….
Where I begin will not be where I finish….

Time for an Evolution….



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Today I saw a great video by my good friend and fitness professional/physical culturist/life liver, John Sifferman. He was performing CST’s Prasara Body-Flow to soothe his two week old son. Yes, while holding him. If you have Facebook, you can come check it out on my “Wall”. It was great to see and reminded me of a post I wrote a couple years ago on the old blog, Gym Jane, and felt it was still very relevant. So reposting it here for you today. Enjoy!

“Isn’t it great watching a baby, or young child, learn to move? It always seems to bring about such joy, laughter andamazement in those of us adults watching.

The other day, I was putting myself thru a session of training specific movements from Scott Sonnon’s Body-Flow: Freedom From Fear-Reactivity materials.  This stuff is great! In a nutshell, overcoming our blockages due to fear of making mistakes or facing the unexpected, thru movement exploration. Most of these specific movements are also basic components for Prasara Yoga.

You might wonder how relevant doing some movement exercises are to emotional blockages. The next time you head out, go for a walk, to work,  shopping or social gathering, take a moment to be aware of how those around you are carrying themselves, physically. How they are standing, walking, reaching, sitting. What you will most likely see is a wide array of variations. Then take a moment to reflect on the perceived state of mind those individuals are in. I know you can’t know for sure, this is just a little exercise. But you will most likely be able to infer quite a bit, just from the way people move. Even with friends and family, you can see the difference from day to day, depending on their mood. That’s because our body expresses physically our mental, emotional and  spiritual  states. Those states of being start to build habitual patterns of movement, which often develop into restrictive patterns of movement.  Then because we are limited in our movement and trigger pain when moving outside of that range (a positive survival mechanism from our body to help us identify what needs attending to), it starts to conversely affect our mental, emotional and spiritual states. Thus begins the cycle.

So by going thru specific movements that challenge our range of motion and habituated movement patterns, in a space that is meant to allow for mistakes to be made andunexpected events to occur, we create a break in the cycle. Why start with movement? Take a moment to think about how many times you’ve said ” I’m going to change  (habit), now.”  Now think about how “easy” it was to start and follow thru. Or about the amazing, immediate “results” and “success”. Okay yes, I’m being cheeky. But really, it’s dang hard! We can all relate how often we go thru that, if not on a daily basis.

To start with movement; a physical, tangible practice that doesn’t take a whole lot of thinking, just a get down on the floor and start doing it, start playing, provides an opportunity to successfully release blockage, with tangible results. And although the movements may appear simple at first (and don’t make any mistake, they are), you will probably be very surprised at how bound up, tense and hesitant (read: afraid) you are to allow yourself to  perform them. There’s that fear thing. You’ve now just stepped out of merely performing physical exercise and stepped into the arena of unhinging, unblocking, unbinding….everything.

So there I was, doing my Body-Flow practice, with my sons Olee (3 yrs) and Will (6.5 mths) taking part. Olee immitating me and spontaneously creating his own movements, rolling all over the place. Will, army crawling around at surprising speeds, and learning to move forward once he’s gotten up on hands and knees, followed by subsequent face plants. And both are doing it with the biggest smiles on their faces. It reminds me this is supposed to be fun. It reflects that we are all in a similar stage of physical discovery. Wait a sec…..that means for me it’s re-discovery. I’ve had this already. And therein lies the difference. They are just going with the flow, allowing it to lead them thru the process of unlocking their innate gifts. I’m actually a step behind, as I’m having to first learn to get out of my own way, to remove the walls and obstacles damming up my natural gifts and abilities to just go for it.

“Body-Flow is not something to be acquired, but rather something you will learn to avoid interrupting.” -Scott Sonnon-

Go for it, start the crawl, get out of your own way. You may be surprised to find what has already been there all along.”

Dare to Evolve,

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Recently I tested for my Black Belt. Well……my imaginary Black Belt.

After 5 years of studying Tae Kwon Do from two martial artists I truly respect and who to this day, I consider among two of my most significant mentors during my teenage years, I was invited (encouraged;) to test for my black belt. In our school, one did not request to test for black belt. Neither was there a schedule upon which you knew, after this many hours or this much work, you could test. You tested when they essentially felt you had already earned it. You were just required to show it formally, the final “pressure of the test” an acceptance of the honour and sealing the next step being taken.

Although my formal martial arts training didn’t start until I was 15 yrs old, like many of us I  imagine, my martial arts training began when I was young. It began with watching the Karate Kid and an assortment of other martial arts films. Hahaha. That’s okay. Let it out. On the surface it may seem kind of silly. But know that for many who read this, there is truth in it. Included were various medieval films or books, wherein knights and warriors upheld a code (whether established or personal) to which they dedicated their lives. With my upbringing and the blessing of an amazing family, a very strong spiritual foundation was also being laid.

So the principles traditionally upheld by martial arts were developing within. And lucky for me, they did not stay in the realm of theoretical. I was put to the test every single day. Whether it was in facing the extreme environment I grew up in or fighting for my life. Yes, “fighting for my life” might sound a little excessive. But on many an occasion it was the truth. Ego was squelched. Character was forged. Focus and drive ignited. And tempering it all into a productive maelstrom so it didn’t tear me apart. So when I finally came to Tae Kwon Do, I met with a physical expression of the internal process I’d already been undergoing for years.

The totality of what martial arts was “traditionally” used to develop, holds immense value for me. It means alot. More so than the style of the art practiced or the rank held within it.

As anyone would be, just getting the vote of confidence from those I admired and trusted, was uplifting and made me excited at the idea of testing for my black belt. In the end however, I didn’t test. There was another opportunity I was being invited to take part in, which when it came down to it, was also very important to me. And it wasn’t necessarily going to come along again. Whereas I knew I was a martial artist for life. The black belt will come. Well the next chance I had to test came around, simultaneously following in it’s shadow, a similar endeavour to the previous one that made for a very difficult decision. But just as before, this was in service to others and my black belt…..well, my black belt was for me. Once again, no test.

To this day I never did test for it. Do I regret it? Not one bit. I went with my gut and it was right on the money. Interestingly enough, I came to a sudden realization about a year ago.  That in part, though unconscious at the time, was the fact that I didn’t want to test for my black belt. Though others felt I had, I did not feel I earned it. For me, the black belt is a symbol of the time, sweat equity and commitment to mastery put in. And I had always felt like I wanted to put more time in, that I could do so much more and go so much further in my practice then I did. But I was involved in so many other activities, that the time just didn’t permit. And I hadn’t made it a priority. But finally, I got my chance to follow through in the way I’d always wanted to.

I’ve been training in Circular Strength Training (CST) for the last 2.5 years. I’ve been a trainer of CST for the last 1.5 years. When I came colliding into it, like TKD, I found a physical practice that complimented my internal process. Only this time, I knew what I wanted to put into it. I have trained myself in CST every…single….day, for the last 2.5 years. I have worked very hard to continue my mastery  of this system. With the realization last year that I felt I hadn’t earned my black belt test, also came the understanding that my CST practice was in fact my martial art. Everything I was pouring into it (and what I am continuing to gain from it) mirrored what martial arts is to me and has to offer us in our growth. And with that, acknowledging that, should my certification as a CST Head Coach with RMAX International eventually come to fruition, it would represent, for me, my black belt test.

I did not force my development through the Coaching stream. I pursued it further as I felt moved to do so, allowing my internal gauge of whether I’d put enough in, in my eyes, to at least attempt certification. After that it was up to my coaches. Frankly, I was detached from the result, as it wasn’t the title that was important. A few weeks ago, I came to my “black belt” test. A rigorous 5 day examination, for my attempt at CST Head Coach and TACFIT Team Leader certifications. My goal was to put my best foot forward, regardless of the end result. It wasn’t about earning my certifications. It was about earning the opportunity to test and that I did so to the very best of my current abilities. I felt I followed through on my end, and that made it a success. It was one of the most fulfilling weekends of my life.

And the best part about all this? It wasn’t just for me this time. Well it was for me, but it included doing it for all those I have trained, train and have yet to train. My further mastery of this system will continue to improve what I can offer others in their path to bettering their lives.

This humble attempt, for whatever it was worth, is dedicated to my TKD instructors Vlado Brisjc and Dana Rasiah, who saw in me perhaps more than I saw in myself. This is my following through and not leaving in vain, an invitation to go beyond. Thank you.

It is dedicated to my current coaches, Scott Sonnon, Ryan Murdock, Ryan Hurst, Brandon Jones, Joe Wilson and Jarlo Ilano, who have, each in there own unique way as dictated by their gifts, been instrumental in guiding me along, giving me the nudges that helped me stay on the path to exponential progress and growth, both personally and vocationally. Thank you.

Finally, it is dedicated to my Team. Fellow CST Head Coach Candidates John Wolf and Jeffery  Larson. To our fellow Coaches and Instructors, all going the distance with a common vision of bringing something to the world that goes beyond us as individuals. It gets there through us and what we each uniquely have to offer. But we do so together. Keep crushing it!

And yes, I earned my Black Belt…..well, my imaginary Black Belt. 😉

Dare to Evolve,

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Far too often, at least in Western society, the focus of ones goals is on the end results. And the value of the work put in to get to that result is based on what those results yield. Yet we don’t always reach our intended goal.

Does that diminish the journey towards that end? Just because we don’t get where we had hoped or what we did achieve was deemed by others to be less than satisfactory, does that make the learning, the triumphs, the tests, the failures and the discoveries along the way obsolete? Of course not.

If anything, the journey holds for us the treasures of greatest value in a quest for riches, not the chest of gold at it’s end. The magnificence of a storm builds for days and weeks, drawing on all the elements of the earth in conjunction with one another, performing essential process’s to life. The thunder and lightening are merely the show.

This excessive focus on the intended success of one’s goals cultivates a culture fixated on failure. Yep failure. Even though we’re all zoned in on what level of success we will achieve, we will fail far more often than we succeed. It’s just part of the learning process. Required for our growth. And so we see far more failure, which we have learned over years of conditioning, as negative and to be avoided.

But what came of all those hours and days, weeks and months, the years, that you put in? What amazing revelations, inspirations and actions were made along the way? How did what you encountered evolve the original intention of the journey, for the better?  Embrace the journey and the “failures” that come with it.

As a part of my own embrace of the process, I’d like to share a Prasara Yoga Flow I created, “Thor’s Hammer” Flow.  It’s still in the process of refinement and I had thought to share once it was completed. But that was with my gaze looking towards its end. To really delve and gain what I may from the process of its creation, I need to embrace the process and all its “imperfections” (and let you in on it:).

Embrace the journey….

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Perfect bodyIn follow up to the last post, regarding undergoing a physical transformation, the goal is to gain weight (no, this won’t be a burger binge ya’ll, health is still the number one priority here).

I’ve never been a fan of “gaining mass”. Never interested. Actually, it makes me angry. For those who are into “bodybuilding”, this is not geared to you. You train with that purpose in mind. For me it revolves around the Fitness Industries manipulation and mis-education of the general public as to what it means to be fit and healthy, using the bodybuilding paradigm. It is a misrepresentation that is so hyper-focused  on outward appearance, that other aspects such as health, vitality, mobility, energy, function (all of which a strong, graceful physique spring forth from) are left in the shadows to collect dust. Yes, I’ll admit, we’re slowly shifting to incorporate them, but it’s still mired in the muck that leads people to fail at achieving the goals they’re being led to believe are attainable in the way it’s being marketed.

With that in mind, I’ve stayed clear and always been much more focused on enhancing function and attributes (speed, endurance, strength, power) for greater performance in my chosen physical activities. And the methods to gaining mass, in conventional training terms, never aligned with those goals.

That has seen me maintain a weight of approximately (literally within a couple pounds) 170 lbs for the last decade. The only exceptions were a couple times when I got sick and dropped some weight and a period of 6 SEAL pushupsmonths where I put myself through the training regime of the U.S. Navy S.E.A.L.s ( minus the screaming instructors) and as a consequence hit 183 lbs (heaviest I’ve ever been). A training regime, however,  that’s not so optimal for health and longevity.

Although we choose to make the change, the process, at least initially, is not always attractive or desirable. And really, neither is the “standard” we are constantly being hounded into believing should be our destination. Therefore, I’ve chosen a goal that has negative associations for me. One that has a process which I’ve found, for the last 15 years, to be undesirable and unattractive.

It is also a goal that is really hard for me physically. I’m a lean dude, and for all the eating and training that I do, very difficult to put on that weight. And I recognize for those who go through the process, that a hard part of a physical transformation, IS the physical transformation itself (everything else that comes along with it aside).

Fitness-FoodAlright, a tough goal with negative connection to it. Now, the food. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a 6-8 meals a day kind of guy. Became habit, as well as part of the common training wisdom, especially if training  hard (not to mention if you’re trying to gain muscle mass). As we’d mentioned in the last post, physical transformation usually also requires a change in eating patterns. A change which usually flies in the face of how we’ve eaten for years. So I’m going to make that change. I’ll be changing my eating patterns from 6-8 meals a day to eating only 3 meals a day.

I have the goal, the change in type of physical activity (to encourage muscle gain) and the change in eating patterns (also for gain, but in a completely counter-intuitive manner) . I will not be performing “bodybuilding” routines as we know it. I will still be training purely through Circular Strength Training , continuing to develop quality of movement and athleticism through a system that promotes health-first fitness and pain-free longevity. And there is no ridiculous “in 10 weeks” time limit, as transformation is a lifelong process with constantly new layers being revealed along the way. But I’ll say we’ll see where I get in the next year and check in from time to time with an update.

Finally the numbers. Thought I’d forgotten? The more specific you can get with your goals the better. “Gain muscle mass” is too generic. So I’ll set a number to strive for. Because 183 lbs is the heaviest I’ve ever been, I wanted to go for something higher. This needs to be challenging right? So my aim is to gain 20 lbs of muscle which would put me at 190 lbs.

Only, I did my official weigh in on Oct. 29 and came out at……160.5 lbs! I’d been fighting a stomach flu for two weeks prior and apparently it took a little more out of me then I thought. I’m still sticking to the end goal of 190

lbs, which means I now need to gain 30 lbs. With that:


October 29, 2009


Weight – 160.5 lbs
BodyFat % – 11%











Anyone want to join me in a transformation?

Dare to Evolve,

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What is truly involved with a physical transformation? To be absolutely honest….I don’t know.

butterfly_cocoonI’ve never had to undergo one. Moving through the process of an emotional transformation? Been there. Mental transformation? Done that.  Spiritual transformation? Check. Actually, all of these never end, and if I play my cards right, never will. But a significant physical transformation, I can’t say that I truly understand what that’s like to go through for someone. I’ve been fortunate enough to have instilled in me from a young age, habits and patterns that allowed me to stay healthy, energetic and active to this day.

As a trainer, I help others make that transformation. You want to lose weight, trim down? No problem, I can help you do so. Everything I’ve incorporated in my life and continue to improve upon, works. It will get you to where I’m at physically; lean, strong, mobile.

Only it’s not that black and white, is it? Because a physical transformation is only one piece to the puzzle. True transformation includes all aspects of ourselves, the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. They are all inextricably linked and each plays a role in the expression of the other. So how can I be optimally attuned to the needs of those I assist, when I’m missing one of the spokes to the wheel? And the primary modality I’ve chosen to do it through, at that?

Among Circular Strength Training Instructors, Coaches and Head Coaches there is a saying, a standard of integrity which dictates: You cannot take someone where you haven’t been.

As part of my commitment to continue bringing the best tools and the best coaching to helping you achieve your goals, I’ve recognized the need and decided to undergo a significant physical transformation myself. To go through the process, so that I understand, not theoretically, but internally.

If one is undergoing a physical transformation, it involves a change in how we eat and a change in the level (or type) of physical activity we partake in. Just not as simple as it sounds, because what we are in fact changing are patterns and habits that have been cemented in over the course of a lifetime. In order for this to have the desired effect, this transformation is going to have to be so completely different from what I’ve been doing over the course of my lifetime.

And completely different it shall be.  Stay tuned….

Dare to Evolve,

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