Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Car Shopping, Common DL Mistake, Secret Project, Etc.

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1. Okay, the time has come. I need a new car. I’ve held off for as long as I could, but my car is on its last legs (er, wheels???). I’ve had it – Hyundai Elantra GT – for ten years and coming up on 186,000 miles, so I don’t have too much room to complain.  That said, I’ve had to put a fair amount of money into it to fix a broken radiator here, a timing belt there, and most recently to fix a faulty firing pattern with one of the gas lines.  As much as I LOVE not having a car payment, I really can’t say that when I’m taking it into the mechanic’s shop every few months to get something addressed.

It’s gotten to the point where the running joke at the facility is that the mechanic has me on his speed dial.

Anyways, I’ve officially started my quest for a new car which I’ve appropriately titled “Car Shopping Sucks Donkey Balls.”

I just don’t like dealing with shady people. And car salesmen – even though I may be unjustly lumping them under the same roof – are the epitome of shadiness. I just don’t like their incessant word play, hustling theatrics, and Shooter McGavin-like hand gestures.

“Hey there big guy, looking to buy a new car??  Pew Pew Pew”

If anyone is going to Shooter McGavin anyone else, it’s me.  Except in my case, the second he tries to sell me a car at MSRP, I’ll just Shooter McGavin my first into his face.

LOL!!  See what I just did there?  I reversed the Shooter McGavin!!!

So yesterday Lisa and I went out and test drove a few cars:

– Hyundai Elantra GT (hatchback)

– Mazda 3 (hatchback)

– Batmobile (ejection seat and missles come standard!!!!)

It was a close race, but so far, the Elantra is winning.

I’m still going to experiment with a few more models, but I’d really love to hear any sage advice anyone has to offer in terms of how to go about negotiating price, discussing trade ins, not wanting to throw myself through a pane glass window, or really ANYTHING as it relates to buying a new car.  Please.  I’m all ears!

2.  I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently from people asking me to look at their deadlift technique, and one thing I’ve been noticing is that people spend waaaaaaaaaaaay too much time setting up.

What I mean is that some will bend over to the grab the bar and then proceed to spend upwards of 10-15 seconds kinda hovering, fidgeting, adjusting, and otherwise thinking too much.

We’re not baking cookies here, people!!!!!  Spending THAT much time setting up is really going to dissipate the stretch shortening cycle (elastic energy of the muscles) and as a result have detrimental affects on performance.

Using a great example, check out Eric here on a MAX EFFORT attempt:

  • First off, I don’t want to hear from anyone about Eric’s back position. It’s a MAX EFFORT attempt, and things aren’t always going to be butterfly kisses and rainbows when you’re hoisting 660 lbs off the ground.  Even still, if we were to take a closer look we’d note that he’s still easily staying out of end range of motion (in terms of flexion) in the lumbar spine, and it’s still a helluva lot better looking than what most people do with 225 lbs.
  • But lets not get too far off track here. After the Trademarked EC arm swing, note how long he takes from when he initially grabs the bar to his initial pull: It’s like two seconds.  Max.

He’s not checking his foot placement, fiddling around with bar placement, running a mental checklist on his back position, or doing long division.  All that is done BEFORE he bends down to lift the bar.

It’s literally grab the bar and go.

Granted, those just learning the lift need to be a little more diligent on mastering the basics – I’d NEVER advocate that they “speed things up, ” but for everyone else, this is just some food for thought.

Seriously. Grip it and rip it!

3.  A few months ago I wrote an article over on Greatist.com titled The Reasons You’re Not Getting Stronger.

It turned out to be a fairly popular piece, and since then I’ve had a running relationship with them as well as several of their staff.

I’m not going to go into too many of details just yet – we’re still in 007 territory and can’t reveal too much – but Dan Trink and I are are going to be teaming up with Greatist.com on a pretty cool project that should 1) win us the Nobel Prize for Being Awesome, and 2) help A LOT of people take their health and fitness to a whole new level.

Stay tuned……….

4.  I live in a really cool city – Boston. Outside of the obvious – unparalleled history, great food, lots of entertainment, and the RedSox – Boston is also home to a plethora of outstanding fitness professionals.

In the years since I’ve been here and have seen my own career kinda take off, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet a lot of passionate and awesome people who are making a name for themselves in their own right.

One such person is Sirena Bernal.

Sirena and I are actually “neighbors” in a sense – we both live in the same neighborhood, and often joke about giving one another a high five at the local Trader Joe’s – and I  actually met her in person for the first time when she came to hear me speak to a group of personal trainers at a local Boston Sports Club this past spring.

Since then, she and I have kept in touch here and there, and she’s basically blowing up right before our eyes and becoming a superstar.

I read my fair share of blog post, and this one by Sirena:  My Healing Journey Part I and Part II, is easily one of the best I’ve read in a while.

Do yourself a favor and read them both. They’re hands down two of those most real and “ballsy” posts I’ve ever read.

Awesome stuff Sirena!

On that note, I’m going to go get my deadlift on. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning because I’m going to work up to a “sorta heavy” single vs. chains today, which will be my first attempt at anything baller in like two months. Fingers crossed my back doesn’t explode!


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

  • Dan Savage

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/confessions-of-a-car-salesman.html Read it, understand your foe and take that guy down.....to a reasonable price below MSRP. 

    July 9, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kevin

    Check out Fighting Chance (fightingchance.com) once you decide on the car you'd like.  Used it about a month ago to buy my new Honda Civic for ~$900 under invoice.  I only spent an hour and a half total in a dealership and that was to sign the paperwork.  Spent the rest of my time watching Duck Dynasty as dealers got back to me with their bids.  If you can hold off a few more weeks, the end of the month is normally clutch for snagging the best deal, especially since July ends on a weekday (slower sales days).  Well worth the $40, IMO.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Nice! I had an ex-colleague of mine email me to recommend that site too. Definitely going to check it out. So, if I'm right, I essentially go onto the site, figure out the car I want (Elantra) and then they take over?

      July 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply to this comment

  • Chris

    Will the car be new to you, or new as in fresh from the factory? Barely used cars can be bought at a fraction of the new car cost and you're not losing anything. Unless it's the batmobile...

    July 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Hmmm, I don't quite compute here? Do you mean it's cheaper to buy a car straight from the factory than it is from a car dealership lot?

      July 10, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply to this comment

      • Matt

        What he's saying is you get a much better deal if you buy a very slightly used car than if you buy knew. The value of a new car drops tremendously when you drive it off the lot. Look for a car a year or two old with low mileage and you'll likely get a great deal. Also, if you know which car you like, you might also try Craigslist. There's always a chance you'll get burned but if you're buying a relatively new car, you probably won't, and you'll likely save a lot of money.

        July 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ging8468

    Yup. Use edmunds. Email a bunch of dealers and negotiate before you go to dealer. Just tell then want to know what they will do relative to invoice. Edmunds also has forums where people discuss prices paid. You can see what deals others are getting to know if you're in the ball park.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Seems to me I need to shoot for invoice or below. I've already contacted a few dealerships, and of course, they want me to come in person to discuss specs, etc. I'd prefer NOT to do that. I like the idea of negotiating over email and then just showing up to sign paper work. The last thing I want to do is spend an entire day at a dealership.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply to this comment

  • Sammy

    I'm a "hoverer". I need to stop. Usually during that hovering period I'm praying to God that I won't mess up the lift. I've been a deadlift's bitch before. But you're right, I need to do that BEFORE getting into position. The other thing I always do now is shut off whatever is playing in my earbuds. I do NOT want to be distracted in any way. 

    July 9, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      I can understand being "gun shy" if you've been hurt deadlifitng before. But at the same time, spending THAT much time at the bar is going to be detrimental in the long run. If that's the case, however, in YOUR case, I'd spend a decent amount of time working with submaximal loads really homing in on technique. Maybe try to shoot for 2-3 times per week of 70-75% 1RM and get a SHIT-TON of singles in. So, it may go something like this: 70% 1RM 8-10 singles with 20-30s rest in between each rep Maybe do that twice per week. That way you're getting 16-20 QUALITY reps in every week. And with singles, you won't have to worry too much about form deteriorating. Something to think about.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Reply to this comment

  • Sirena Bernal

    Oh, I'm also a little biased towards the Elantra...it was my very first car ever!

    July 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Russell Demczak

    Edmunds is a good call. You could also visit Fitzgerald Auto Malls website once you know what car your want, and simply print out their price and make whatever dealership you are at match it or you walk. Yes I'm sure someone out there will do better than Fitzgerald's price on occasion but as far as simplicity and hassle-free you can't really beat the time investment there.....

    July 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Cassiagentilcore

    Tony - you are right! As an early follower of Sirena's, I look forward to the day when I can say "I knew her when." I don't think it will be long now.Good luck with the car purchase - it's all a mystery to me.

    July 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Knuckles712

    Hey tony. Have you decided on the model of the car? How you feel about Toyota’s ? If you don’t have any qualms about Toyota’s, consider a variation of the corolla, they will go for miles as long as they are well maintained. This is where the log book becomes important. Consider how big you want the engine to be, 1.8L, 2.2 ect. You could ask your mechanic for help. Hope this helps. Good luck on the search.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:34 am | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Yeah, I've heard a lot of great things about Toyota too. For me, outside of the warranty that Hyundai offers, they also provide more with their standard options. I don't want to just get a "standard" car with no perks. I understand that Honda and Toyota go for miles - and the Elantra ain't half bad either - but they're plain cars that don't come with a lot of options, unless you want to pay more for them, ya know?

      July 10, 2012 at 7:59 am | Reply to this comment

      • Knuckles712

        Honda's can go for miles, if they have undergone exceptional maintenance. I suppose you are looking for the middle ground, great options with reliability. I hope you find THE car.

        July 11, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply to this comment

  • TonyGentilcore

    UPDATE: Just went on fightingchance.com and ordered a package for the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT and the 2012 Mazda 3 5-door.  What an awesome site!!!!

    July 10, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply to this comment

  • job

    Tony, I love and appreciate your site.   I sold cars for a while in college.  It was....horrible.  But I will second the use of Edmunds.  I actually used it selling too, to know what things would actually go for.  And regardless of what they tell you, it's so much better selling to someone who has done their research.  They're not going to buy a $20k invoice car for $25k, but you don't have to explain why they're never getting that car for $10k. You probably do have to actually sit down with the salesman to get a firm price, no dealership I knew of would EVER actually stick to anything online or over the phone, which was obnoxious.  But if you know firmly what you want to pay, and that cars have gone for that, it should be pretty easy.  Remember there's two negotiations usually, you and the salesman, and the salesman and his manager.   I used to basically negotiate for a while, and if we got somewhere that I knew the deal would get done, I'd go up to sales manager, he'd tell me to tell the customer some nonsense about how they were still way out of the range of possibility, write down a new number, and send me back down.  Then I'd go back, tell him what the guy said exactly, then say we're going to sit and chat for a while, so it looks like we're working, then I'll go back but don't worry we can get it done at this number.  

    July 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jtbutler

    Tony I just graduated with my master's and my current car is at the end of the road as well. Be careful of the Elantra if one of the main variables in your decision is off its fuel efficiency. It looks as though the MPG of the Elantra has been greatly exaggerated by Hyundai (I was strongly considering getting one myself before this came out). http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/10/business/la-fi-autos-mileage-lawsuits-20120711 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/09/us-hyundai-elantra-lawsuit-idUSBRE8681DH20120709

    July 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply to this comment

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