34 Years, 34 Favorite Things

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I’m back in Boston after spending a few days with family and friends back in NY for Thanksgiving, and needless to say, my stomach is one massive ball of gluten. I’m not going to lie: I ate anything and everything in sight, and it was totally worth it. There’s nothing like going home and enjoying some of Mom’s good ol’ fashioned home cookin.

I’m not sweating it, though. Besides attending the 4th Annual Cressey Performance Thanksgiving Morning lift, both my girlfriend and I trained every day we were away. Yeah, we’re pretty much awesome like that.

All that said, it’s early Sunday evening as I type this post up, and we just got back from watching the latest Harry Potter movie at the local IMAX theater, and all I have to say is………..WOW. Unfortunately, we have to wait eight freakin months before part II is released.

So anyways, my birthday is tomorrow and I figured that since I’m turning 34, I’d make today’s post all about me. More specifically, 34 of my most favorite things, more or less related to fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, and hot chicks. You know, cause I can.

1. Favorite Movie: Those who know me well, know that I’m definitely a movie snob. While I’ll definitely watch just about anything, what you won’t find me watching is The Transporter 16. Yes, I’m talking to you Kevin Larrabee. Anyways, for me to narrow this down to ONE movie is pretty much impossible. But, if I had to, I’d say Boogie Nights would be my all-time favorite (GoodFellas being a very close second).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know many will think I only like it cause it shows a lot of boobies (fair assumption), but in all actuality, it’s made from one of my favorite directors, Paul Thomas Anderson. His movies are very character based, and he’s undoubtedly “invented” some of the most compelling and unique characters to date with Boogie Nights being right in the mix.

2. Favorite Day of the Week: Tony’s Techno Tuesdays – for obvious reasons. Eric’s gone? Hit it fellas.

3. Favorite Fitness Related Book (Geek Heavy)Ultimate Back Fitness and Perfornace – Dr. Stuart McGill

I’ve probably read this book 2-3 times all the way through, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve gone back and used it as a reference. Without question, this would be on the “must have” list for any fitness professional out there. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given that 80% of people at some point in their life deal with lower back pain.

4. Favorite Blogs – I have smart friends, and you should listen to them.

Eric Cressey

Mike Robertson

Bret Contreras

Brian St. Pierre

Nia Shanks

Mark Young

Dean Somerset

or you can just look on my blog roll to the right and see all the blogs I visit on a daily basis.

5. Favorite Websites (because I don’t eat, drink, breath, and shit fitness all the time):

Rottentomatoes.com

Hyperbole and a Half

The Daily Show

6. Favorite Book (Fitness Related, but not quite as Geeky): Advances in Functional Training – Mike Boyle

This book is chock full of knowledge bombs from one of the brightest and most respected guys in the industry. The section on sports hernias alone is well worth the price.

7. Favorite Thing to Say When Someone Says, “Tony Don’t You Ever Get Sick of Eating the Same Things Everyday?”

Not really. Do you ever get sick of not having a six pack?

8. Favorite Core Exercise: Pallof Press: mostly because it’s so versatile.

9. Favorite Supplement I Can’t Live Without (Seriously, I’d Die) – Fish Oil

Honorable Mention: protein powder.

10. Favorite Supplement I Take Because I Get it For Free and I Like How it Makes Me Feel – Spike Shooter.

It’s like my heart is trying to tickle fight my brain.

Honorable Mention: ZMA

11. Favorite Kitchen GizmoBella Kitchen Rocket

The poor man’s Magic Bullet, albeit at half the price. Easily the most used item in my kitchen. Makes making protein shakes a breeze. And speaking of protein shakes……

12. Favorite Protein Shake Recipe – I don’t really have a name for it, but it’s one that I stole from Nia Shanks.

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach – trust me, you won’t even taste it.

2 cups Almond milk

1-2 tbsp Chia seeds, or ground flax seeds (or both).

2 cups frozen fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, mango, whatever)

1 scoop protein powder

Cinnamon (to taste)

13. Favorite Picture That’s Badass:

14. Favorite Picture That’s Goodass (see what I just did there?):

15. Favorite Piece of Equipment to Keep in Your Gym BagValSlide

Particularly for those who are stuck training in commercial gyms, these can add quite a bit of variety to your training.

Note: you can also buy a pair of furniture gliders at your local Home Depot for half the price.

16. Favorite Protein Pancake Recipe – courtesy of my friend, Jen Heath.

1.5 cups cottage cheese

2 cups oats

12 egg whites **

2 scoops vanilla Low Carb Metabolic Drive

cup water

cinnamon (quite a bit)

Just put all the contents into a blender and “blend” them till they’re a consistent texture. Obviously the recipe above will make roughly twelve pancakes (which can be used for breakfast and/or snacks), so feel free to half the ingredients if you choose to do so.

** While normally I’d saying something like “a baby kitten dies every time you throw away an egg yolk,” in this case I’ll make an exception.

17. Favorite Exercise – this one’s easy. It starts with a D, and ends with, “I think I just shit my kidney.”

18. Favorite Self-Myofascial Release Thingamajig Besides a Foam RollerThe Tigertail

I have no idea why it’s called what it’s called, but it’s the bees knees nonetheless.

19. Favorite Recent Quote I Heard – courtesy of Jen Sinkler who overheard it from another strength coach.

I can’t teach you mental toughness, but I can make you wish you had it.

20. Favorite Mobility Drill – Squat to Stand with Reach

I like bang-for-your-training-buck exercises, and this one hits the nail on the head. Not only does it hammer hip mobility and help to groove solid squat technique, but by adding the “reach” component you also hit the t-spine as well.

21. Favorite Book That’s Training Related That EVERYONE Should Read (Not Geeky At All)Never Let Go by Dan John

Whether you’re a fitness professional who trains people to pay the bills, or just a regular weekend warrior who likes to lift heavy things, you can learn a thing (or kazillion) from Dan John.

22. Favorite Seminar or Conference to Attend – Perform Better Tour

Outside of the fact that you have just about every top name in the industry under one roof making you feel stupid (in a good way, of course), is the fact that this is hands down one of the best events to help build professional (and personal) networks within the fitness community. The guys (and gals) at Perform Better do a bang up job, and you’re an idiot if you don’t go out of your way to attend at least one event per year. Do yourself a favor and click HERE to find out when they’re near you.

23. Favorite Article I’ve Ever Written (So Far) – (De)- Constructing Computer Guy

Part I, and part II. Given that most people reading this post right now are spending upwards of 8-10 hours per day in front of a computer, this two-part series should be right up your alley.

24. Favorite Cookbook That I Can Actually Follow – it goes without saying that John Berardi and his team over at Precision Nutrition are the go-to source for anything dealing with nutrition. More specifically, however, is their cookbook, Gourmet Nutrition, which is catered for those who follow a healthy lifestyle but don’t necessarily want to eat foods that taste like cardboard with a twist of old people fart.

25. Favorite Cookbook That I Just Bought My Girlfriend Because She’ll Actually Use It and Cook Me StuffSpice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The author of this book, Ana Sortun, actually owns a very popular Mediterranean restaurant here in Boston called Oleana, which both me and my girlfriend ate dinner at this past summer. All I have to say is unreal.

What’s cool about this cookbook is that instead of dividing everything into categories like poultry, seafood, or red meat, here all the recipes are divided by spices. So, for instance, if you want to try recipes that emphasize turmeric or “the three C’s” (cumin, coriander, and cardomom,” then you can easily do so. It’s pretty unique, and I can’t wait to see what Lisa cooks next week!

26. Favorite Comment Made To Me During the Thanksgiving Morning Lift at CP (no homo)

Tony, your ass is looking bigger.

As many of you may (or may not) know, I’ve got the knees of an 80 year old man. For the better part of the past five years or so, I’ve been dealing with some pretty significant anterior knee pain which has limited my ability to squat (heavy) for any length of time.

As of late, though, we’ve been incorporating some new exercises that Eric took from the PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) that have really helped our athletes and clients, not to mention me personally.

Maybe down the road, I’ll get into this in a little more detail, but suffice it to say it’s been invaluable as far as helping me get healthy.

As a result, my knees have been feeling infinitely better lately, which has allowed me to squat with more frequency.

Compound that with a healthy dose of barbell bridges and barbell hip thrusters, you can see why people get drunk off my hump. My hump (ha), my hump (what), my lovely strength coach lumps. That’s what I like to call science.

27. Favorite Reason Why I Love CP: training environment. If you were to ask me what’s the missing ingredient as to why many trainees never make as much progress as they ought to, without batting an eye, I’d say training environment. There’s something to be said about surrounding yourself around like minded people, and people who are a lot stronger than you. How are you supposed to psyche yourself up for a big deadlift day your gym won’t even allow you to use chalk, Miley Cyrus is playing over the stereo, and there’s a Jazzercise class in the middle of the gym floor?

Do yourself a favor and find a new gym. Even if it’s only for one day per week, it will make all the difference in the world.

28. Favorite Youtube VIdeo Starring a Double Rainbow and a Dude That’s Batshit Crazy:

29. Favorite Fitness DVD of the Past Year: Muscle Imbalances Revealed

Sure, I’m a little biased because a few of my friends are featured on the dvd (Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, and Dean Somerset), but I can’t help it if I have some smart friends.

30. Favorite Conditioning Tool: The Prowler

They don’t call it getting the “Prowler flu” for nothing. I think one of the best descriptions I heard about the Prowler came from Mike Boyle, where he stated that heavy sled pushes are basically a more “functional” leg press.

31. Favorite Book Non-Fitness Related: my all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. More recently, though, when I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius a few years ago, it really stuck with me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

32. Favorite Thing To Do When I Train at a Commercial Gym: You know how every gym has that guy who performs his seated rows with way too much weight? Am I an a-hole if I like to walk over, add about 40 lbs to what he’s doing, and then do the same thing, except without the epileptic seizure?

33. Favorite Youtube Video of a Girl Totally Bitch Slapping the Dude in the Corner Squatting 1/4 of the Way Down:

34. I’ll save this last one just to say thanks to all of you who routinely visit this blog everyday and support my work. It’s always nice to know that there are people out there who actually like what I have to say, and more importantly, don’t think I suck. That said, I don’t see any reason why 2011 won’t be just as kick-ass as 2010 was – especially when the new website goes live. Thanks again for continuing to stop by every day, I really do appreciate it!

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