Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: 10/27/14

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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one of these, so lets jump right into it.

1. I wanted to first thank everyone who’s gone out of their way to reach out and to say such nice things about the new site.

Words cannot even express how much more I love the new site, and it makes me happy to know that others out there feel the same way.

There are still a handful of things that need to be addressed both functionally and aesthetically. Like the shirtless picture montage of myself set to the background music of the Karate Kid soundtrack (You’re the best! Around! Nothing’s ever gonna keep you down!). But all in all I feel the transition to the new site has been an easy one.

FYI: I’m referring to the original Karate Kid starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. Not that Jaden Smith remake piece of garbage made a few years ago.

One thing I’ve implemented to the site that I feel many are unaware of is the Miscellany section. It’s an area where I can do more “off-topic” writing.

I know, I know…my writing as a whole lends itself to be more off-topic in nature. But I wanted there to be more of a sense of separation between my fitness writing and my nerdier other half that likes to write about progressive house music (check out my EPIC chill mix on Spotify), cheese, zombies, and my secret (but not really) obsession with movies.

As an example I went to see the new movie Whiplash this past weekend.

HERE’s my first attempt at writing a review.

I’ll be awesome if you checked it out and let me know what you think!

2. Speaking of other things I’ve written as of late, and for those who aren’t remotely interested in what I have to say about artsy-fartsy independent movies that don’t have any explosions, HERE’s recent article I wrote on MensHealth.com on a simple fix you can use to make squatting more knee friendly.

HERE’s an article I helped contribute to on WomensHealth.com on some of the best combination strength moves.

And HERE’s one where I made a cameo that popped up on the Daily Burn’s site written by Jordan Shakeshaft on gym etiquette.

3. Lisa and I were walking home from the gym yesterday when we passed this bike outside of Trader Joe’s.

Coolest bike ever?

A photo posted by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on

Like it’s even a question!?

4. Hey Los Angeles!!

Do I have your attention?

Dean Somerset and I are going to be in your neck of the woods the weekend of November 22nd for our 2-day Excellent High Five Workshop.

We’ll be hosted by CrossFit 714 located in Orange, CA and we’re expecting a baller event.

As if hanging with Dean and I isn’t enough, as it turns out we have a few fitness celebrities who are going to be stopping by as well.

Best selling author of Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha (and my former editor at Men’s Health and LiveStrong), Adam Bornstein, will be attendance. His co-author and good friend of mine, John Romaniello, may also stop by.

Master Strong First instructor and FMS instructor, Dr. Mark Cheng, will be stopping by to pwn all of us in kettlebell shenanigans.

In addition, and I think this is super cool, celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson actually signed up to attend.

Kinda cool to know that guys of his caliber and stature still make an effort to learn.

On top of that we still may have a few more appearances from other fitness big wigs to add. Nevertheless, it’s looking as if it’s going to be an amazing weekend.

For more information on the itinerary, cost, etc you can go HERE.

5. I never quite understand why some people will get super duper butt-hurt over something I write. On one hand I understand that, by my own accord and choice, I offer myself to open criticism by the public for anything I write. It comes with the territory, and I get that. I’m a big boy and I can handle it.

Sometimes I cry.

Okay, all the time.

I’m crying right now.

The point is, I wish some people would read an article – preferably all the way through – and learn how to disseminate the text as it applies to them.

Case in point: CrossFit.

I’m over the CrossFit bashing. I did it a few years back, like every other strength coach, but have more or less done a 180 in terms of my feelings towards it.

I have good friends who “do CrossFit,” and who also own or coach in their own boxes. I’ve also trained at a CrossFit gym. I don’t “do CrossFit,” but I do utilize their open gym hours.


I know, right?

Next think you know I’m going to admit to ordering a soy burger or becoming BFFs with Tracy Anderson.

That said, I still have my qualms with CrossFit. While it’s starting to get better, I still feel most (not all) do a piss-poor job at assessing (or ramping) their clientele to better match workouts to one’s injury history, or better yet ability level.

I also still adamantly abhor kipping pull-ups.

Relax. I understand that kipping pull-ups are a different beast compared to strict pull-ups…much like, as Christian Thibaudeau noted recently, a push press is different compared to a strict military press.

There’s “technique” involved to a kipping pull-up (weeeeeeeeeeeeeee), and more to the point, it’s part of the culture and is something that’s tested (in CrossFit. No where else).

Okay, fine.

But that doesn’t make it a good fit for most of the people who are doing them.

For me, if someone can’t do a STRICT pull-up they have no business attempting a kipping pull-up (even if it does allow them to do “more”).

Joint distraction forces on the shoulders and lumber spine notwithstanding – and there’s a SHIT-TON of it – it’s just common sense in my eyes.

If or when someone can do (several) strict pull-ups, maybe, MAYBE kipping pull-ups can enter the conversation. But if I were going to be honest with myself: I still think they’re, for lack of a better term, dumb not my first choice. And most people aren’t close to being appropriately prepared to handle them in the long-term.

This is something I’ve stated repeatedly – in both the article linked to above, as well as continue to do today……..

Strict pull-ups BEFORE kipping pull-ups.

Which is why I find it perplexing that I still get hate mail from CrossFit coaches (or participants) saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I’m just a hater despite them AGREEING WITH ME! 

I don’t get it.

All they see if me dissing CrossFit, and they take it as a personal attack on them and their box.

Stop being so butt-hurt! If what I write doesn’t apply TO YOU or what you do with YOUR clients, then don’t get so offended.

I’m not saying you have to agree with me. And I certainly don’t want to insinuate that everything I write is the Golden Rule. It’s not. Except for anything I write about Matt Damon and how awesome he is. It’s pretty much fact. No debate.

*Puts fingers in ears*

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. I can’t hear you.

All I ask is that you pause for a second and read what I’m saying.

It’s akin to when I write something like “dips aren’t a good fit for people with a history of shoulder issues,” and then someone inevitably shoots me an angry response “WTF Tony!!  I do dips all the time and my shoulders feel fine! You suck!  And your cat is ugly!”

I’m obviously not referring to YOU, and what I’m writing doesn’t apply. And my cat is a beautiful, beautiful princess!!!!

So, angry, fails to see my point CrossFit coach, here’s the deal: if you’re someone who advocates strict pull-ups before kipping pull-ups, congrats….we’re on the same page. No need to add me to your Billy Madison People to Kill list.

Obviously, I’m not referring to you. Deep breaths. Relax. It’ll be okay.

However, if you’re a coach who blindly has all of your clients kip, and many of them (not all) are dropping out like flies due to various injuries to their shoulders and backs, well then I have to ask….why?

For the elite of the elite – and for those best prepared – fine, kipping pull-ups okay.

But for everyone else, why?

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

  • Kyra

    Tony, you're my favourite fitness/entertainment writer going around! I would dearly love it if you'd come to visit Australia, as your sense of humour would be very much appreciated here. Oh and the fact that the information that you put out is amazing. :)

    October 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well it just so happens Kyra, I'll be there this coming March! I'll be presenting in Ballina in mid-March one weekend and (hopefully) in Sydney the following weekend. Stay tuned for more info (just need to finalize a few things before I make an official announcement).

      October 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Reply to this comment

      • Mark Dawson

        Hey Tony, I'm in Australia too and would love to see you visit us. Would be happy to help if you needed it with itinerary or contacts too. You've picked a pretty sweet spot to go in Ballina!

        October 29, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Reply to this comment

        • TonyGentilcore

          I keep hearing that Ballina is a sweet place. I can't wait! Thank you so much for offering to help. I guess all I can ask is that when I do announce the trip, TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!.......;o)

          October 30, 2014 at 9:15 am | Reply to this comment

  • Brent

    What exactly is the purpose of a kipping pull-up? I've never understood it. Does it have some functional carry-over to anything in life? Have never heard a good rationale to doing it other than looking like a crazy drunken fish. I do a cost-benefit analysis on everything I do in the gym. If the beneft doesn't outweigh the cost, I toss it out. Pretty simple really. While Kips may have some benefits (burn calories, strength, mobility, neuromuscular coordination, Tweetable, etc.) the costs of the exercise far outweigh it (injury, embarrased on Youtube etc.). I just don't get Crossfitters. You didn't create functional, O-lifts, burpees, med balls etc. you just popularized them and decided to take pieces of a good program and just haphazardly throw them together and call it a sport. Funny thing is, if you criticize them, they just fire back and say things like we assess our clients, progress them accordingly etc etc. Awesome. Congratuations. Your not doing CF anymore. That's just smart training. Lose the label and create your own identity. I realize you make a buttload of money with the brand, but I honestly wouldn't want to be associated with a brand that tries to be everything to everyone. Color be befuddled. Except for Paleo. That's like bulletproof science :) Website redesign is awesome Tony. Just waiting for a subsection to the site for some WOD's I can do :)

    October 28, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      That's my question too. I "get" that it's a regular event in CrossFit, but other than that, I have no idea what the advantage/benefit is.

      October 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Reply to this comment

      • Brent

        Interesting how Crossfit and Paleo seem to make their living on one-upping the fitness industry. Why do pull-ups when you can supercharge them and make them more fun and dangerous! Why stop at eating adequate amounts of protein, veggies, healthy starches etc when you can eliminate grains, beans and those darn nightshades all together! Regardless of the health benefits of doing so (if there are any is another debate), we aren't at that point in the world yet. Were still in kindegarten when it comes to our health. We can't even eat regular vegetables, and were worried about whether or not organic is healthier!? Most people's can't even do a regular pull-up, and were coaching kippings? SMH. None of this stuff should even be in the equation right now. I'm gonna jump on the cool exercise trend and start marketing explosive plyo deadlifts. Cuz regular 'ol boring deadlifts are decent, but let's face it, pretty damn boring so why not take it one step further to really make it fun and potentially incredibly dangerous? I personally think crosspaleo has an incredibly distorted view of health (I actually just recently read an article from a prominent paleo guy who stated that Paleo is taking the world by storm. Yeah, Africa isn't buying it dude, mothers are still spitting in their child's mouths. Nice try.) More like hyperbole is taking the world by storm. I think they appeal to so many people because they exploit the crap out of people's lack of education, and people's odd desire for pain as a form of pleasure. I just don't get it. I deal with clients all the time that judge the quality of their workout on how sore they are, or how high their HR is, or how many whateverthehells they did in the gym. I don't know what it is. It's almost as if people need to be constantly entertained in life. It's never enough. It always has to be exciting and new. Squatting is too boring I guess, so why not do it on a BOSU ball! If I was all smart and stuff I'd write a book on why we do this lifting and health thing. Why you have to treat it as a journey and not a destination. Why you actually have to have a purpose. Without it your just spinning your wheels jumping from trend to trend (or stupid to stupider). It would include zero exercises, zero pictures, just words, theory, philosophy. It would be gluten free so there's that though. And sell zero copies. I commend you Tony for keeping it balanaced on CF. Definitely some good facilities out there, but I would never call them CF, just like I would never call someone who eats meat and potatoes Paleo :) my 2 cents. fine it was 4 dollars! :)

        October 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Reply to this comment

        • TonyGentilcore

          Brent - thank you for taking so much time to write such a thorough (and passionate) response. I agree on most things you're saying, but my "rant" wasn't meant to shit on CrossFit altogether. Sure, there are things I still don't like about it, but it's unparalleled as far as what it's done to get people excited to train, What they do RIGHT is their sense of community they instill amongst their members. That's powerful stuff, and I can't bag on them for that.

          October 29, 2014 at 8:08 am | Reply to this comment

          • Brent

            Totally understand Tony. I'm all for community as well and getting people excited about fitness and health in general. Can't knock that. But at the same time, I can't help but point out many parts of the industry that thrive on community, sexy testimonials, flashy marketing, scare tactics, half-truths etc. to build their business. I'm thinking of Biggest Loser, Tracy Anderson, Food Babe (just to name a few). All have very powerful brands and an even more powerful community full of people who are pumped about health and fitness. I can't defend this flavor of community though because it is deceiving and exploiting people for profit. While CF isn't that bad, they still should hold themselves to a higher standard if they are serious about fitness. Unfortunately too many businesses and brands try to be everything to everyone and in the process their lack of a clear vision and purpose makes them easy targets for those that take the health industry seriously. CSP would never let this happen as you guys expand your brand. You hold yourself to a higher standard. All for community here, but it has to built on a solid foundation of integrity. I'm not into the cheerleading part of the industry. I'm no Debbie Downer, but too many people lead with this, and to me is just a cover for their lack of integrity, and/or intelligencea and clear vision for what they are doing. Sorry for going down this rabbit hole. I'm done. Sometimes I just have to rant and your kind enough not to rip into me. Tofurkey smoothie for you Tony if I ever make it to Boston one day! :)

            October 31, 2014 at 2:21 am

  • Shelley

    A workshop in LA with fitness celebrities!! OMG - is Tracy Anderson going to be there?!?! Just kidding. Love the new site.

    October 31, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Reply to this comment

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