Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: 7/23/12

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My bad in getting this one up later than usual. Better late than never, right?

1. First off let me just say that my most sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to the people most effected by the tragic events this past weekend in Colorado.  In a way we’re ALL affected, and it just saddens me that so many people had their lives forever changed by such an egregious and pathetic individual.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to go through something so surreal, and there’s really nothing I can say that will help heal those who lost loved ones and are currently suffering.

Suffice it to say, I’m sorry.  Deeply, deeply sorry.

2. To that end. I did go see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday (along with the rest of the world), and all I have to say is:




It was everything I expected it to be, and more.  I don’t want to say too much in case there are people reading who haven’t seen it yet, but lets just say it was epic to the epic degree.

Admittedly, I don’t think there were as many “memorable” scenes compared to The Dark Knight, but Christopher Nolan did an amazing job and this was a solid (SOLID) film.

What’s more, did anyone else destroy the back of their pants when they saw the teaser trailer for next summer’s Man of Steel?

Here’s hoping that both Zach Snyder and Christopher Nolan can undo the walking pile of cow dung that was Superman Returns.

By the looks of the one minute and 34 seconds above:  they TOTALLY will.

3.  Soooooooo my girlfriend is in Europe for the next month. Serving two purposes: A). as a present to herself for attaining her PhD, and  B). as one last hurrah before she enters the “real world,” she left for Germany this past Tuesday to visit an old high-school friend of hers, who’s husband is stationed there as part of the military.

Lisa has been planning this trip for months, and as I type this post she and her friend are exploring the hills of Tuscany (Italy) and then heading back to Germany to spend the next few weeks doing whatever it is that two grown women do.  Presumably having pillow fights, braiding one another’s hair, and drinking copious amounts of German beer.

Before she left Lisa made sure to stock the fridge with at least one week’s worth of prepared meals and also gave me a laundry list of things to do while she’s away.  You know, the staples like water the plants, feed the cat, and take a shower.

And of course, no laundry list is complete without a note saying “DO NOT FORGET TO DO THE LAUNDRY!!!!!!!!”

Like a champ I’ve been on top of everything this week:  cat is still alive, plants are still green, and I’m down to one pair of clean underwear, but I have things under control.

The fridge, however, is empty! While I did hit up the grocery store to buy the basics, there’s no longer any prepared food in sight.


How messed up would it be if in a few weeks when Lisa comes back, I look like Christian Bale’s character from The Machinist?

Okay, that’s not going to happen.  I hope.

No but seriously, I’m scared.

4.  Back update.  I ended up working up to a pretty pimp set of conventional deadlifts at 515 lbs (at the top when you factor in chain weight) for 1×5, and 2×3.

The last set was arguably my best set of the day.  Bar speed was pretty fast and my back didn’t bother me at all.

Dean and I are still playing it a little conservative on the programming front, but needless to say, I’m ecstatic with my progress in only a matter of four weeks.

Four weeks ago I couldn’t even sneeze without dropping an f-bomb.  And now I’m hitting 500+ lb deadlifts like the Tony of old.

5.  The following rant is a direct result of reading THIS article from John Romaniello, who has a much more eloquent way with words than myself.

As a health and fitness professional, I like to think that I have pretty good grasp of what the latest research has to say on a variety of topics related to my field.

As an example:

Heart disease:  cholesterol has little – if any – effect on one’s predisposition to having a heart attack. Inflammation – more specifically, endothelial dysfunction, and how to control it, along with suppressing inflammatory markers like c-Reactive Protein – is the main thing to keep your eye on.

Taking it step further  – with regards to the world I live in (strength and conditioning) – you have numerous studies coming out weekly on what the best approach is for making people bigger, faster, and stronger.  Likewise, there’s a plethora of research stating which muscles do what, how fascia effects EVERYTHING, and what we can do as coaches to help make our athletes (and clients) better.

I like research.  I hate reading it, but I understand that research is an important component of what I do and how I go about writing safe and effective programs.

I just really, really, REALLY get irritated when people attempt to use research to explain EVERYTHING.

Sometimes what works, works. Who cares how.

Not everything can be explained in a controlled lab setting by dudes in white coats who haven’t lifted anything heavier than a Bunsen burner in the past decade.

Note: I actually know some jacked up lab nerds, so I’m not throwing all of them under the bus……;o)

I don’t need research to tell me that throwing my face into a brick wall will probably hurt a little bit.

I don’t know, I just find it comical when people debate things like whether or not to keep the chin tucked when deadlifting or squatting or whether it’s better to hold an isometric contraction for three seconds or 4.345424965399 seconds.

“Well, where’s the research?” they’ll say.  “Back it up!”

Don’t get me wrong, I think research is integral – I use it every now and then to prove a point*** – and it helps “govern” our industry, but not everything HAS to be explained in a lab, does it?


6.  And finally, for those who are addicted to behavioral economics (like me) and are looking for an awesome book to read, I HIGHLY suggest Dan Ariely’s new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty:  How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves.

I’m a huge fan Ariely’s work having read his previous two books (The Upside of Irrationality, and Predictably Irrational), and this one doesn’t disappoint.

If it’s any consolation, I read it in two days and much of what it covers is applicable to the fitness industry.

Yes, I’m talking to you internet guy who claims he’s 5% body fat and deadlifting 700 lbs.



***The best example I have is a brief story from when I first started training people back in 2003.  I had just started working at a commercial gym in Syracuse, NY and was helping a young female client with her deadlift technique.  We literally completed her first set – like, EVER – of deadlifts. It didn’t look pretty, and I was about to make some comments when one of the AEROBICS INSTRUCTORS high tailed it over to ask what I was doing.

“You shouldn’t be performing those like that,” she chimed in.  You’re placing way too much strain on her spine and you’re going to hurt her!”

While I wanted to drop kick this woman in the liver for going out of her way to not only interrupt my session, but doing a fairly good job of compromising my expertise in front of my client, I handled it as professionally as I could.

I said, “thanks, I have it under control,” and went on to complete my session.

Afterwards, however, it was game motherfuckin on.

I went home that night and looked up at least ten different studies demonstrating how ground reaction forces during AEROBICS classes placed waaaaaaaay more “stress” on the spine than lifting a barbell off the ground.  I also chimed in with some spinal biomechanics, and invited her to come and talk to me anytime she wanted to chat about how to train clients.

Needless to say, we didn’t exchange X-mas cards that year.

I WIN!!!!!

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Clement

    Did you really own that aerobics instructor with those facts? You're my hero, Tony. Also, with regards to TDKR, it wasn't wOw. It was WOOOOOOOOOOOW. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker still stands alone at the top, though.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Wordsmith42

    Tony, I have that book, and it is up next. Just finished "Made To Stick." If anyone has not read that book, they are doing themselves a disservice.  RS

    July 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Prakash

    TG you should have gone with the drop kick option.....seriously! Or maybe do a Joe Pesci from Good Fellas!  What an absolute b*y&&tch!  Talk about unprofessional - she could have waited and discussed it with you after you finished your session....

    July 24, 2012 at 5:26 am | Reply to this comment

  • Michael Richards

    it's always the damn aerobics instructors!

    July 24, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lars Krogstad

    "#¤% I knew it! I just saw the Man of Steel trailer just now, and it confirmed what I have suspected since the Avengers took off. Read it here, and remember where you read it first: There will be a Justice League movie coming real soon. Just after the Flash, Wonderwoman, and freaking Aquaman. And Green Lantern, unless they want to use that piece of shit they made with Ryan Renolds. This might seem like good news (if you don't mind EVERY movie coming out is about superheroes), but there is an unwelcome implication: The Batman franchise will have to be rebooted. From scratch. Really soon. Which will piss all over the Dark Knight epos, and will forever be compared to this recently concluded trilogy. God, Hollywood can suck sometimes

    July 24, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      You know, I never thought of it that way. While I knew that the Batman franchise would have to be rebooted again at some point, I never thought it would be within a decade. Shit.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mike A.

    Do you think Charlie Weingroff dies a little bit inside every time he see's Superman fly around in cervical hyper-extension?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      LOL. Nice one Mike. By the way, are we doing that little thing you asked me about a week or so ago or what? For those wondering why I'm being borderline creepy here, there's a reason why I'm being so cryptic. Patience. Patience. So, MIke, what's the dealo?

      July 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Lauryn Cessar Sacha

    I had a "that guy" trainer moment last week and thought of you Tony.  I was at a gym I don't normally go to, just finishing my dynamic stretching when this jacked up dude approached.  Started woo-ing me with tales of how he could make me such a great boxer.  I explained that I have a trainer (I consider Nia to be my trainer in these moments as I follow Beautiful Badass) and wasn't interested.  For the next 5 minutes he tried to get me to sign up by promising the exact opposite of what I told him my goals were.  Finally got away and shook my head as he immediately approached another female.  Some trainers suck. 

    July 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • deansomerset

    If you film those videos I asked for and send them over, you may be able to start pulling for singles again. Get on it, Gentilcore!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ivy

    Your thoughts on item five reminded me of a brilliant article in the Christmas issue* of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) by Smith and Peck: "Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/  ** It's well worth reading these two pages of research, but after much hilarity they conclude that "Individuals who insist that all interventions need to be validated by a randomised controlled trial need to come down to earth with a bump." Thought I should make a small effort to return the favour of providing entertaining/useful reading :)   *The Christmas issue always carries stories that might otherwise win an Ig Nobel Prize." ** Happy to send the pdf along if this link doesn't work for you.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply to this comment

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