Author: Eric Moss
About 10 years ago I was doing a presentation for a group of free mason’s. It was a presentation that was set up by one of my clients Neal who I helped get healthy after being hit by a bus back in the 80’s.
Anyway, he had said that getting healthy is an important part of personal and character development which is why he set that up. Now in order to make things fun and capture the attention of the attendees, I twisted open a horseshoe, just like in the pic below.
What I didn’t realize is it would make one of the people there remember me for years to come. It just wasn’t the right time because his son Josh was only around 7 or 8 at the time.
Fast forward a couple years, I move my personal training studio from Parsippany to working with Lewandowski Chiropractic and then back into my own personal training studio on Main Street and I get a call from his dad asking about training his son. I’ve trained a number of youth over the years and one thing I try to make sure is that it is something the kid wants to do, and not just something the parent is pushing them into. Josh wanted to do this, and he was focused and then some.
He wanted to get into the prestigious Westpoint. And in order to do that, he needed to build up his physical strength and conditioning as well as his all around character. Westpoint doesn’t take just anybody.
When he first started training it was in the middle of the football season, which complicates things a little bit. My first order of business was to design a program to build strength that would transfer to the game. He put in the work and very quickly got to a double body weight hex-bar deadlift to a farmers carry and it immediately showed in his sport.
After the football season was done, his dad was told me that we have 3 months to get him as strong as possible as fast as possible for lacrosse. Music to my ears. I put him through a program that took his 1 rep max barbell military press we added 15lbs to it and he did it for a sub-maximal set of 8. His single arm overhead kettlebell press 1 rep max he did 19 consecutive reps with it. Got to 15 chin ups and all that helped him get the varsity spot as a freshmen…which meant he would letter all 4 years of high school as long as he didn’t slack (not that I was worried).
But Josh isn’t just brawn, he’s got the brains too getting straight A’s all across the board. I would often joke with him by saying “Josh when are you going to do something with your life?”
Josh was thriving on the program, and the strength increases he got made him hit hard. His dad would often show me footage of him playing while laughing about him manhandling other players.
Then we had a setback. Josh had been selected to be team captain and his coach wanted him to train with the rest of the team, instead of with me. I understand doing it for camaraderie, but you also have to look at the athlete as an individual with their own goals and ambitions.
And a programs’ effectiveness can be judged by the results it produces, and Josh got weaker on his program. Having worked with Josh, I knew he works hard and never complains so I know it wasn’t Josh’s fault…it was a faulty program.
They came back and I measured him to the physical standards for Westpoint and I realized we have work to do. We needed to fix the issues created by the faulty program and it had to be quick. Luckily I know Josh would put the work in and follow the program I created for him to the T. He also took multiple AP courses in his senior year and aced them to seal the deal.
Then about a week and a half ago, his dad calls me up. I knew it would be for 1 of 3 reasons, either he wanted to send me a friend of his (maybe), they actually found something on oak island (inside joke and yeah right) or he got accepted into Westpoint. I knew what it was before I picked up the phone.
And I know they credit me as a critical component to his achievement but in truth he would have gotten there with me or without me. He’s the exact type they look for, an athlete and scholar a leader and a well rounded person. In the culture of success that I foster in my studio, he was a definite contributor to that and I was happy to be part of his journey.
Congrats Josh! But just be warned, your real journey has just begun.
Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and moonlights as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strength performers more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a live show and travels across the country doing presentations on goal achievement for conferences, corporations, associations, nonprofits, and government entities as well as for schools and universities. His personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey and is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville, Butler, and Parsippany New Jersey.
Ah yes, it’s that lovely time of the year for gyms when the doors get flooded with new comers hoping this will be the year they finally do what they resolved to do 3 years ago.
I read a statistic that 90% of new year’s resolutions will be abandoned within the first couple months. Having been a personal trainer for a minute to two, I can tell you this is likely the case. People flood the gyms in January and February, then in March and April it’s much less people. And no it’s not because they achieved their goal that quickly like in my 12 week transformations.
No usually it’s because people get frustrated or overwhelmed, life gets in the way, you name it.
A lot of times I think people kind of have an idea of what to do, but it’s vague and vagueness leads to paralysis by analysis. One of the key things is to have an actionable plan in place.
In my personal training studio in Boonton, we train more than just the body. We train the mind via life coaching which I build into the sessions. When I ask about resolutions (not relating to training, because I have that part taken care of) I’ll follow it up with “What’s a framework you can put into place that can ensure success?”
A framework should have actionable steps and a lot of times the first one can be simple. As an example, one person said they want a better relationship with one of their parents. Complicated goal, simple actionable step. Find a qualified therapist who can help resolve past trauma.
In the case of learning to play guitar, you could download Yousician and simply follow the steps consistently.
And of course the only shortcut to the top is to hire a coach that can guide you, make real time corrections to make sure you stay on course until your dream becomes you new reality.
If you need my help, I offer a free trial at my personal training studio in Boonton. Right now early afternoons and Thursday mornings have availability. Just text me at 973 476 5328 to get started.
Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and moonlights as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a live show and travels across the country doing presentations on goal achievement for corporations, associations, nonprofits, and government entities as well as for schools and universities. His personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey and is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville, Butler, and Parsippany New Jersey.
How to make 2023 your year
Well, 2023 is here, the new year has arrived and if you’re like many people, getting in shape nears the top of your new years resolution list. Also if you’re like many people, its appeared at the top of your list before but remains and unchecked box on your new years check list.
This year is going to be different though because I’m going to point you in the right direction. Will this be a step by step plan? Well sorta, but more like general guidelines that if you follow you can do great.
First, let’s set a couple things straight. A common mistake people try to do is “spot reduce” problem areas. A common example of this would be doing a bunch of ab exercises in an attempt to burn belly fat. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way so don’t do it.
Fortunately though you can spot enhance muscle development. Meaning you can do more curls to improve your biceps, or do heavier hip thrusts to build your glutes (the butt muscle).
So in order to get that the sought after lean, sculpted athletic appearance you should
- Develop the muscle in order to create toned muscle. (Through training)
- Get lean enough so the muscle won’t be covered up. (Through nutrition)
In reality, when people say that they want to be toned, what they’re actually looking for is building muscle and burning fat, just not to the extreme levels of body builders.
Now in order for this to happen, you’ll need to get leaner by taking control of your nutrition. The nutrition needs to do a couple things simultaneously. It needs to create a caloric deficit while simultaneously providing enough of the good stuff to rebuild your muscles while building health. I have plans for this, and I also have nutritionists, dietitians and functional medicine doctors in my network to help out when the big guns are needed.
With the nutrition in place, we’ll train for performance across a variety of exercises that hit the main movements categories.
At the base level for lifting, this would be:
- Upper body push (examples would be bench press, military press etc)
- Upper body pull (examples would be rowing, chin ups and lat pull downs etc.)
- Hip dominant (examples would be hip thrusts, deadlifts, kettlebell swings etc.)
- Knee dominant (examples could be barbell squats, goblet squats, front foot elevated split squats etc.)
Training those 4 key lifting movements will train all the muscles involved with them. As an example in the overhead press, you’re hitting shoulders, upper pecs, triceps, glutes, abs and many others. Getting the 4 main categories will ensure you’re making effective time of training and hitting the major muscle groups along with everything in between and ensures balance.
Now, with those 4 in place we would strive to get stronger across all of them. Why train for performance? Well generally that produces better results, and better enthusiasm for training. When you are training simply for aesthetics it’s hard to quantify results. Even supermodels have things about themselves they don’t like.
Meanwhile, doing more weight than you ever had before and repping out with it is easy to compare. Numbers are numbers after all.
Taking a bench press with a weight that someone could only do once at the beginning of a 12 week cycle and being able to do it for an easy “ish” set of 10 at the end of the cycle is an obvious improvement. In addition to that the best way to improve someones physique is to improve their max strength and do reps with it.
Strength has its own benefits too, like walking around with the “I got this” mindset and strength carries over to life in general, like throwing around your kids, drumming all night long, lifting critical care patients (one of my clients is a paramedic), martial arts, playing pickle ball or just having the physical capacity to do whatever makes you happy. Life isn’t meant to be observed from a chair. Life is for living, and it’s better when you have the physical capabilities to live it to its fullest.
Now, with the basic lifting movements in place you would apply a strategy of progressive overload. As in over time you add either more weight, more reps or ideally both. Like I said and it bares repeating the best way to improve your physique is to improve your max strength for reps. Keep in mind, it’s not going to be every session. It’s going to be over time.
With my personal training clients, after I’ve screened them to see what we can safely do, I come up with some exercises in the categories listed above, establish what their current capabilities are so I can get an idea of where I can start them to progress them optimally.
Then we start below their capabilities and expand outward until we sneak past their previous limits without them even realizing it.
Applying these strategies works for both men and women, younger or more life experienced.
I’ve applied this to regular people that just want to look better, perform better and feel better about themselves. I’ve applied it to athletes. I’ve applied it to nerds (their words not mine). I’ve applied it to touring musicians that needed to improve their capacity so they don’t lose a step. And I’ve applied it to national beauty contest winners who went on to go the distance at the international level (making history by being the only one representing Team USA to not only place but to come in 2nd)
It works for them, it’ll work for you too.
So let’s recap with a couple key elements. Get a nutrition plan that simultaneously burns the fat that covers your physique while providing the building blocks for muscle and health. Get a plan that covers the 4 main lifting movement categories and have a strategy of progressive overload to maximize your strength for reps. If you do it right you can have that body you’ve been dreaming about for the past couple years and depending on where you’re starting from you can get it before summer. Just have a look at some of my success stories and see how they did.
If you need help with this, I have a free trial at my personal training studio in Boonton. Just text me at 973 476 5328 to get started.
Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and moonlights as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a live show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, associations, nonprofits, and government entities as well as for schools and universities. His personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey and is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville, Butler, and Parsippany New Jersey.