Squat Workshop 101: The How and Why of the Squat

The How and What of the Squat

The squat is a basic, primal movement pattern that humans and our ancestors have been performing for millions of years through activities such as hunting, gathering, harvesting, cooking and eating.

Squats are the number one compound movement you can do to improve strength, athletic performance, reduce instances of injury, burn fat, increase flexibility and improve core strength. Phew. So let me get this straight, this one exercise does everything I’m looking for at the gym?! Yes!  

Squats are hard. Doing hard things, even when you don’t feel like it, trains the muscle between your ears: your mind. This builds discipline and mental fortitude which is crucial to get results in the gym. It also build discipline that transfers in other areas of your life. It helps you sticking to good nutrition habits, doing the work, and so on.

Lifting weights, in general, lowers cholesterol, improves glucose metabolism, improves insulin response and stimulates muscle-building hormones like human growth hormone (HGH). Squats are the best weight training exercise you can do because they work more muscles, over a longer range of motion and with more weight than any other exercise. It’s therefore the best exercise you can do in the gym. It’s the only one you should do if you only have time for one.

squat images

Left: Backsquat positioning Right: Front Squat positioning

Benefits of Squatting

  • Enhanced Core Strength
  • Typical squats are loaded from top to bottom, your core has to work double-time to prevent injury
  • Front Squats target midsection core strength
  • Increase Full Range of Motion and Flexibility
  • Deep squatting moves your body through a full range of motion which boosts flexibility
  • Deep squatting increases your range of motion in the entire hip complex which results in reduced back pain. Translation: squatting helps you get down on the floor and pick up the laundry basket, over and over, without straining your back.
  • Squatting reduces your chance of injury
  • By building the muscles surrounding your knees and hips, you’re less likely to sustain an injury in daily activity like climbing stairs, picking up the laundry basket, or running after a child or grandchild at the park.
  • Muscle strength and development
  • Squatting builds your glutes, hamstrings, and quad muscles – which are primary stabilizing muscles for movement.
  • Why is squatting better than using a leg curl or press machine?
  • Squatting uses every muscle, in unison, in your lower body. This helps build real world strength by using a functional movement to develop functional strength.
  • Still need more convincing?: A leg press or extension locks you into a fixed position, which takes away your body’s natural urge to stabilize itself. This can lead to imbalances between the right and left side of your body.
  • Squats are a full body workout
    • Workout programs that regularly include squats will result in stronger, leaner, toned legs including the glutes, hamstrings and quads.
  • Squats help you Burn Fat
  • You lose fat when your body burns more energy than you eat. Your muscles burn energy to lift weight. Squats burn more energy than any other exercise because they work more muscles and with heavier weights. Heavy Squats also increase your metabolism for hours post workout (EPOC). When you combine this with proper nutrition, Squats will help you burn fat.

But what about my knees, you ask..?

If you’re concerned about your knees, you’d be well-advised to refrain from other leg exercises, such as leg extensions and hack squats. Properly done squats impart far less knee strain than they do.

Leg extensions produce an intense shearing effect on the knees that breaks down knee cartilage. That’s particularly true if you flex your lower legs past the 90 degree angle at the start of the exercise or if you use too heavy a poundage. Leg extensions are an isolation exercise, also known as an “open-chain kinetic” exercise. Because of their biomechanics, they place more stress directly on the knee joints. In contrast, when you do squats, the weight is distributed among several strong muscle groups, including the thighs, hips and glutes, and not being imposed directly on the vulnerable knee joints. This is with the assumption that you do the exercise in good form. That includes not rounding your back; descending in a slow, controlled fashion and not just dropping down; and not bouncing at the bottom. Some trainers advise looking either straight ahead or up, since looking down tends to encourage your body to bend forward, which is tough on the lower back.

As for depth, that is perhaps the greatest controversy about the squat. Early squatting dissidents advised squatting only halfway down, to the point where the thighs are parallel to the floor. The idea was that parallel squats preserved the knees. On the other hand, only full squats fully activate the powerful gluteus maximus, or buttocks muscle, which greatly aids squatting power.

Types of Squats:

  • Front Squat, Back Squat
  • Advanced: Overhead squat
  • Modified Squatting: Goblet Squats, Goblet Squats to a box/bench, Bulgarian split squat, etc.

The front squat primarily develops the muscles of the low body including the; quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and the gluteus maximus. The front squat is by nature a more quadriceps dominant exercise than the back squat and requires more mid-line stabilization, and muscle activity in the hips, and spinal erectors.

USA Olympic Weightlifting Team, Kendrick Farris, front squat

USA Olympic Weightlifting Team, Kendrick Farris, front squat

Front Squat Basic Skill Review

  • Take time to find your starting position.
  • Find your natural foot stance with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes slightly out so your toes can follow the path of your knees.
  • Find your grip on the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Receive the bar from the rack on the front of the shoulders and step back onto the platform.
  • Keep chest up and raise the elbows high.
  • Stabilize the midline taking in a deep breath.
  • Keep the feet flat on the ground pushing down through the heels.
  • Squat down until the thighs are below parallel.
  • Keep the chest up, back tight, and the elbows high when coming out the squat aggressively drive the elbows up to come out of the bottom pocket.

How To BackSquat

Setup: Bar is level with the shoulder, or just below. Face the bar. Grab it tight with a medium grip shoulder width apart. Put it on the shelf created on your upper back by dipping under the bar.

Raise your chest – open up to the wall in front of you.

Place your feet under your knees – under your shoulders—to lift, straighten your legs.

Step back one stride with your right foot and then your left. Keep feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward with the potential for you to rotate them outwards no more than 30 degrees.

Take a big breath into your diaphragm. Brace your belly.

Squat: hinge at the hip – imagine spreading the floor in the area between your knees while moving your hips back – like sitting in a chair.

Keep your lower back neutral.

Squat Up. Then Squat back up. 

Keep your knees out and chest up. Lock your hips and knees at the top. Feel the contraction in your glutes. Then break at the hips, push your butt back to the wall behind you, spread the floor (push the area between your knees apart), and squat.

Breathe. Repeat.



Form Tips and Pointers:

How to Squat: Squat in the Power Rack for maximum safety. Set the horizontal safety pins so they can catch the bar if you fail to Squat it.

Happy Squatting!

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie – Soothe Your Sore Muscles

inflam smoothie

Workout out hard today? Sore muscles? Sip yourself into relief. The ingredients in this smoothie help reduce inflammation and relieve the discomfort of sore muscles.

1 cup (155 g) pitted cherries

1 cup (155g) frozen blueberries

1 tbsp (15 g) GINGER

2 oranges

1 cup (237mL) water (coconut water to further tickle your fancy)

  • Toss all ingredients into a high-powered blender
  • Blend until creamy
  • Pour into your favorite mason jar or mug and enjoy!

Intermittent Fasting For The Female Athlete

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is all the rage in the fitness and health worlds.

For women, there are some extra considerations to account for before deciding if IF is right for you. From my experience, the ideal fasting window for women is 14 hours, max, leaving a 10 hour eating window. Research here findings state women need to consider hormonal balance while fasting and that can safely occur within a 10 hour eating window. Personally, I’ve never felt comfortable or deemed it necessary to extend my fast beyond 14 hours.

IF gets a lot of flack from knowledgeable health professionals, as well as the opposite. IF is an additional stressor on your body and hormones so if you’re battling sleepless nights, chronic stress at work and home, binge eating tendencies, and overloading your body by consistently heavy workouts, IF may not be for you and perhaps the best thing you could do to manage your weight and health is to address all the stressors I’ve just listed – get your shit together and then and only then do I suggest implementing IF.

I believe a person’s mental well-being is also one of the biggest factors when considering beginning IF. If you have esthetic or performance goals and frequently have to cut weight, track your weight, and closely monitor your macros, IF may add to someone’s obsession with their appearance and eating habits. Trust me, I know. I know the benefits of measuring out your portions and penciling down everything you’ve eaten for the day, weighting yourself every morning and tracking your cuts or gainz, and if this is something that stresses you out or triggers control issues, IF may not work for you. I read stories about Fitpro’s who went crazy (think mental clarity overload, as if there’s such a thing), interrupted their hormonal balances, experienced massive weight gains or losses only to have the changes quickly reverse due to binge / under eating. In most cases, this is NOT the result of Intermittent Fasting, it’s the result of years of stress and abuse on one’s body. With or without IF, our bodies and health will have adverse reactions to prolonged periods of stress and abuse; chronic dieting, stress, overtraining, mental well-being, under or over eating all contribute.  People have said they’ve developed eating disorders from IF and I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. If you have obsessive tendencies towards food (and life), sure, the lifestyle requirements that IF places on you will encourage a easting disorder, but IF does not cause a completely healthy, well-balanced, mindful human being to develop an eating disorder out of the blue.

Another common topic of discussion with Intermittent Fasting is the quantity and quality of your food. Ask yourself what are your goals. Why are you starting IF? Is it for weight loss goals or a lifestyle modification. Whatever it is be clear with your end result and allow it to shape your day-to-day fasting decisions. If you have aesthetic goals, managing your calories and macros is essential, and so is the quality of your food. As a weightlifter, I can’t tell you how often I used to eat donuts, desserts, massive meals, all in the name of gainz and refueling calories I’d expend during grueling training sessions. I wasn’t focused on the quality of my food, I was only focused on the quantity. Both matter, don’t forget that.

For me, I chose to start doing Intermittent Fasting for several reasons: increased mental clarity and creativity; as a graduate student I had a many early mornings spent researching and writing my thesis and I found that being fasted enhanced my mental clarity and thus, productive writing time.

Chai Power-Packed Green Smooth



Pack your shopping cart full of greens this weekend and blend up this super smoothie. This recipe features Chai seeds which deliver a powerful punch of antioxidants and protein.

What you need
2 cups organic kale
10 ounces almond milk / coconut water / liquid of choice
Handful of fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1 cup frozen mango
1 organic cucumber, with skin

Soak your chai seeds in 1/2 cup water for at least 10 minutes and no more than overnight. The chai seeds will take a gel mold consistency after absorbing the water and will blend into the other smoothie ingredients.

Put all the ingredients in the blender, blend on high until smooth, pour into a mason jar and enjoy!

Rebuild Your Body with Complexes

After months of doing variations of the same workouts with similar exercises, I was ready for something new.

I remembered a time last year when I was training more often. The hard work showed in my lean, strong physique.  I wondered: what part of my training regimen could I attribute my strength and esthetic gains to?


If I could recommend a workout that cuts fat and builds muscle at the same time, it would be barbell complexes.

Dan John’s definition of a complex is simple: they are a series of lifts back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving on to the next life. The barbell doesn’t leave your hands or touch the floor until all the lifts are completed.

Bingo. Last year, deep in weightlifting training, I was in love with barbell complexes. They were fun, explosive, and physically demanding.

One key part to training with complexes: rest. Make your rest periods longer than what you originally think you’ll need.

Let your goals determine your rep range. For a fat burning main dish with a side of serious conditioning, try doing sets of 8.

Complex A for Eights

Row x 8
Clean x 8
Front squat x 8
Military press x 8
Back squat x 3
Good mornings (I do RDL’s) x 8

Set the bar down and set your ass in a chair. I like 2 to 3 minutes of rest between sets.

Do you have a goal of adding mass? Dan John suggests using sets of three.

Why are complexes so great at conditioning, building mass, and enhancing your athletic performance? Well, the more time the body is under the bar, the more the body adapts by getting bigger. It’s the SAID principle – Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. In other words, the more demand you place on the body (IE staying under the bar for longer periods of time), the more the body will adapt to said demand. In the end you develop muscular endurance, put on mass and enhance your athletic performance.

Complex B

Dead lift
Clean – grip high pull
Clean – grip snatch
Back squat
Good mornings

Complex C

Hang snatch
Overhead squat
Back squat
Good mornings
Dead lift

How Hiking Can Teach You About Intuitive Eating

How to keep moving forward when the wind, or world (or scale), is pushing against you.

Today I woke up early, loaded all my gear into my car and headed to the mountains. I piled layers upon layers of clothing to protect my skin from the blustery, gail-force winds. I spent the better part of an hour layering up, preparing my gear, and then of course, undressing for a restroom break.

It’d been almost 2 months since I’d ventured deep into the mountains and I was feigning for a fix.

I craved the intoxicating, luscious wilderness like a newborn craves its mother’s milk.

What I didn’t crave were the 50 plus mile an hour winds that managed to make airborne every ounce of snow on the ground and blast it viciously at my face.

I trudged along and attempted to find my rhythm; foot, foot, pole, pole. 3 strides in and I’m bent over, head perpendicular to the ground in an attempt to protect my face from the windy assault. 

My friend was in a hurry but not me. I continued this pattern of walking a few steps and then bracing for the windy assault; never gaining rhythm and slowly making ground.

What I’ve just described is an example of my struggle in the wild, but it also mimics a common struggle people face; a struggle with eating and weight loss.

When someone is trying to lose weight and they’re eating healthy foods, exercising, stepping on the scale regularly, yet not seeing the results they want, the uphill struggle is real.

Just like it was with my hike, the keys to successfully accomplishing your weight loss or training goals are patience, listening to your body, KNOWING your body, and giving your body what it needs. This is why I eat (and train) intuitively.

What’s intuitive eating? For me it means eating when I’m hungry, not eating out of emotion, convenience, or when my enviroment exposes me to food.

I eat what feels right and when it feels right.

Just like on my hike, I kept pushing when it felt right, I took a break to eat when my body was empty, and I adjusted my pace to fit my body’s abilities.

Does your diet support your lifestyle?

Gracious Greens: Smoothies for Energy

Happy Friday to everyone! Recently, one of my clients told me they wanted more energy and were clueless on how to get there without the aid of coffee and red bull. The first thing that I wanted to ask her was “Do you drink greens?”

Here’s my recipe for an energizing smoothie packed full of plant proteins and essential vitamins and minerals.

Gracious Green Goddess
2 cups organic spinach
8 ounces almond milk/coconut water or similar liquid
4-6 fresh mint leaves
Handful of frozen mixed berries
1 organic cucumber,  with skin

Place all your ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

Add these items to your shopping list this weekend and set yourself up for a healthy, feel-good energy week!

Satya: How To Show Up With Truthfulness

When we run from life, try to manage life, or leave our energy scattered here and there, we feel differently than when our whole self shows up with our thoughts, words, and actions congruent and unified. When we center in the moment, we can fully meet the ordinariness of life as well as the challenges of life. Dishes are met with the same contact as are arguments as are hugs


In The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, Deborah Adele focuses on the second yama of Satya or Truthfulness. When we SHOW UP for our lives, in each and every moment, we are being true to ourselves and those around us. This week, pay attention and go slow enough that you show up for everything in your life, and do things “right the first time;” never too rushed, hurried or lacking mindfulness so that you have to backtrack, apologize, or correct mistakes. Don’t run from hard tasks that present themselves. Face each moment of your life with clarity and courage.

The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele is a must read for anyone and everyone, not just yogi’s and yogini’s. Viewed as a value system for mindful living off the mat, Adele teaches the yogic principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, nonexcess, and nonpossessiveness. She sheds light on how we do these things to ourselves and others. Each Yama and Niyama is broken into short, readable sections followed by Questions For Exploration. The contemplative exercises at the end of each chapter are intended to be a way readers live with the questions. By taking time for reflection, it allows the insights to come into your life.

Ditch Breakfast: The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting


A recent article on Mind. Body. Green. discussed the often debated topic “Breakfast: The Most Important Meal Of The Day??” Whoever came up with this was lying, and that is something hard for the public to stomach. In this article, the advantages of fasting, specifically Intermittent Fasting are briefly examined. As an athlete who uses Intermittent Fasting, this article provided me with a little more information then I already had, simply reassuring the often mixed debate on the eating window I should use post workout when I’ve trained fasted. Training fasted takes quiet some time getting used to, and I always have to train first thing in the morning, or very early after waking up, allowing me to break my fast post workout around 11 (as a woman, I leave my fasting window open for 10 hours to help stabilize hormone regulation). If I can’t get to the gym first thing in the morning, I’ll break my fast before I lift with something very light, such as a banana (for the carbs and sugar) with a greek yogurt (14 grams of protein and around 15 grams of carbs). Training fasted also encourages adequate coffee consumption; caffeine directly stimulates the muscles. But coffee is a fine line, of course, as you need to keep your muscles hydrated. Caffeine simply helps some of the hunger cravings which may arise, nothing any other stimulate doesn’t do, just practice moderation.

Other benefits I’ve experienced from Intermittent Fasting include higher and sustained natural energy levels, increased mental clarity and creativity, increased fat burning, and a greater exploration of my body-mind-food connection, among many other things. So if you’ve thought about IF, maybe now is the time to try it out! There are some more resources on IF on this blog to help you get started!

The debate on bcaa’s while training fasted is still out. Research shows you can get enough bcaa’s from protein. Read about it here. Where and what are some acceptable forms of bcaa rich protein? Here’s one source.

Strength And Development Phase Week 2 Training Highlights

Umurbek Bazarbayev - Snatch - 135kg

Umurbek Bazarbayev – Snatch – 135kg (Photo credit: Peter J Dean)

Back on the platform after nearly  a month of winter sickness which turned into a necessary break from olympic training. Training breaks can have their psychological perks as well as restorative physical benefits, but it also comes with a decrease in physical strength and fitness. I maintained a regular bodybuilding/HIIT training program for the month I took off, but I’ve still noticed a huge decrease in strength. All the better reason to hit the ground training hard now.

Fuel for your training: Try this Naked Summer Bean Salad full of fiber, protein, and carbs or this egg frittata recipe with prosciutto shells.

Week 2 Programming Strength and Power Development Phase


  • Power snatch + 2 Snatch- 70% x 2 sets, 75% x 3 sets
  • Jerk off blocks- 75% x 3 x 5
  • Clean pull- 93% x 5 x 5
  • Back squat- 65% x 6, 70% x 6, 75% x 6, 80% x 5 x 2
  • Core


  • Power clean + 2 clean -70% x 2 sets, 75% x 3 sets
  • Snatch hi-pull- 73% x 5 x 3, 78 % x 5 x 2
  • Snatch balance- 65% x 3 x 2, 70 % x 3, 75% x 3 x 2
  • Push press- 78% x 5 x 5
  • Core


  • Muscle snatch- 65% x 5, 70% x 4, 75% x 3 x 2
  • 3-position clean (floor, knee, mid-thigh)- 70% x 2 sets, 75% x 3 sets
  • Snatch DL- 100% x 7 x 2, 100% x 5 x 3
  • Front Squat- 65% x 6, 70% x 5, 75% x 5, 80% x 3 x 2


  • Rest- Optional light cardio day
  • Stretching/Soft Tissue


  • 3 position snatch (floor, knee, and mid-thigh)- 70% x 3 x 2, 75% x 3 x 3
  • Snatch pull- 93% x 5 x 5
  • Snatch push press- 75% x 5 x 5
  • Back squat- 65% x 5, 70% x 5, 75% x 4, 80% x 3 x 2


  • Snatch- 70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1, 80% x 1, 75% x 1
  • Clean and Jerk-70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1, 80% x 1, 75% x 1
  • Clean Shrug- 110% x 6 x 5
  • RDL- 68% (of clean) x 8 x 5

Stone and Barbell Training Facility. Family, it is so good to be back.

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PR in life translates to PR’s in the gym

3 weeks of personal ups and downs translated to three weeks of hitting my body against an unforgiving bar.

Clouds break and the sun peaks through lifting the burdens which had been placed on my body.

With the lightness in my soul came quickness in my body.

Had I known that 45kgs was 99 pounds I’d have gone for 1 more kilo. Always more. always more. When what is now and what we’ve done is always more than enough.


Stone and Barbell bro-training day


Ladies ladies, (and gentlemen)

Deadlift RDL complexes should be worked into your leg training if you’re looking to tighten, tone, define everything from the waist down. These make a great addition for any leg program, targeting gluts and hammy’s.

4 sets of 5 @ 3 times a week.

These are great full body lifts while focusing on the gluts, hammys, and a bit of the lower back.

It’s a great complex for Olympic lifters to work on their setup and the transference of weight from the balls of your feet to the heels during the first pull.
Stopping my lifts to have some ‘bro’ time meant nothing went up afterwards..Some days it’s good to go off the routine, off the ‘schedule’ of your training simply to have some fun with your friends in the adult playground.
What is bro time? Bro time at Stone is when we take some time to do vanity training, like bicep curls. My bro time was working on my ass.
What are you training today?



The Olympian and The Artist

An inspiring video for any artist or athlete.

When my world of weightlifting collides with my work as an art historian. And when my life collides with my work as a weightlifter.

Weightlifting is art.
Writing is art.
Creating is art.

Life is art.

HodgeTwins:Increase your Energy through Intermittent Fasting

One of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting is a ridiculous increase in your energy levels. I am talking, go from having mediocre energy to boss status energy levels within a very short period of time.

When I started fasting, my first meal of the day would bring my energy levels down for a few hours (approx. 1000-1200 cals consumed) but now, I may experience a slight drop in overall energy after eating, but 90% of the time, my energy is through. the. roof. It is actually quite hard to reign in sometimes, and I bounce off the walls. Like. Literally. Specifically for women, experts claim there is an increase in nighttime energy levels (I can vouch for this, especially during the first few weeks of fasting).

In addition to a very noticeable gain in my energy levels is a super level of mental clarity all throughout the day. Instead of my body and brain being bogged down processing and digesting my 6-7 (extremely healthy) small meals I used to eat throughout the day, my body and brain can focus on staying alert, productive, and clear.

Here, the HodgeTwins explain what happens to your energy levels while on IF.

Related articles


Yoga Masters

University Launches first Yoga Masters Program in US

As most of you know, I’m finishing up my Master’s in Art History early next year. I plan on looking into yoga teacher training in addition to integrative nutritional training with the end hopes of being a certified holistic life coach (while running or Co-running a gallery, and teaching young minds about the history of art). Dream BIG!

This Master’s program in Yoga is the first of its kind to be offered here in the United States.



Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. love.






My dark twisted weightlifting platform


I haven’t written about you in a while. Please forgive me. While I have kept up my training, I’ve been too busy to give you the platform on here equivalent to the platform you have given me.

Somedays I cannot see you. You ask so much of me that when I am feeling dark with despair, I will avoid you, in avoiding you, I avoid the darkness boiling within me.

You pull out the darkest secrets I keep buried in my soul. You slam them in my face like you slam into the crease of my hips, over, and over, and over again. You throw yourself up against me, pushing me to force myself up against you. I win. Sometimes you overpower me and I succumb to your monstrous strength.

Still I can not leave you for long, 2 consecutive days, max. I hate you and then I leave you and realize how much I love you. I come back to you, and you welcome me with your familiar touch. familiar sounds. I love you and you love me back. When I am in this place of love with you, we are working together, effortlessly bringing more and more weight up, faster and faster. But you haven’t given me this recently. I have been bashing my weight against you, and you are showing me your strength, your anger at me for not having given you my fullest heart, my deepest attention.

Welcome, to my twisted dark fantasy.

Training Day. Stone & Barbell weightlifting

Really great training day at Stone and Barbell Saturday. Throwing weights around with some of your friends is such a great experience. Blessed. The guys threw down some serious weight and I had a nice little milestone of a lifetime PR clean & jerk at 58 kilos.

Such a great group in there this morning, really thankful I am part of this awesome community.

2013 USAW 2nd place national champion in the men’s 105 k class, Salvatore Badali come down to throw some weights around. Fucking good stuff.

A 5 step guide to mindfulness

If you have been in a FUNK, or thinking to yourself, SOMETHING needs to change AKA I NEED to change well, I think you are at the right place.

My weeks have been full of AH HA  moments lately and in those moments I become more and more aware. In becoming more aware, it solidifies the things in my life which fuel me, my life, and my growth. I want to share some of those things with YOU today!

5 mindful practices to change your life. Starting today.  

Yoga:  It comes to me when I know I need to be still with my mind. To stretch my body and tap INTO my inner voice by listening and feeling every square inch of my body through intentional movements. Setting my daily yoga intention to BE in every moment my practice gives me. I know yoga can changes lives, because it has mine

Meditation: Practicing mindfulness. Sitting in silence. Sit. in. Silence. HOW TO: COMMITTING to a practice of 10 minutes a day, for 30 days. After 30 days of mindful meditation, reflect. Have you felt an overall improvement in your moods, your energy levels? Have you experienced heightened periods of consciousness? I promise you the answer to all of those questions will be YES. If you find in the beginning of your practice your mind tends to wonder, be gentle with it. Guided meditation can help you with your practice. Here is a resource: http://www.meditationoasis.com/

Exercise:  Daily. Tap INTO the POWER you harness by USING your body, by DEVELOPING the muscles in your being. Your body is THE VEHICLE which carries you throughout your journey. How to: COMMIT to working out 3-5 times a week, for 6 weeks. Apply the reflection process for exercise as you did for your meditation practice. If you don’t know where to start in regards to exercising, here is a step-by-step guide to get you started (yes, for women, but plenty of resources on there for men as well): http://www.simplyshredded.com/the-ultimate-female-training-guide.html

Laughter:  Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Do not forget that. Keep a light mind, heart, and spirit with you. Laugh with the heart of a child. ENJOY your LIFE, RIGHT NOW. It is not about “When I get the big promotion, when HE/SHE asks me out, when I lose the 20 pounds” I will be happy. It is about NOW. The quote that rings true here: “It is about the journey, not the destination.” It is not in the end result, in the finish line, in the ‘accomplishment’ that we are after, it is the period in which we spend in-between the beginning and the end of our individual goals in life in which we are truly living. Divinely. We can not forget that IN THIS MOMENT we are THE BEST we can be.

 Love: I heard something a long time ago that has stuck, “Love the things which are easy to love, and stretch to love the things that are hard.” Love your career, love your smile, love your friends, love your enemies, love YOURSELF, PHEW- isn’t this one sometimes the hardest?! Do not harden your heart to its given power, to its DIVINE purpose which is to LOVE. When you look at your life with LOVING intentions, you FEEL the energy of love PULSING throughout your body. Keep this with you and use it to remind you to love, always.

its the journey

As I was writing this I sat and watched a ladybug land on my hand. As I gently moved my hand over, back and forth, allowing myself to watch this TINY BEAUTIFUL creature navigate its way around the surface of my hand, I felt its tiny little legs crawling over my skin, saw its vibrant red shell bobbing all around my hand. I noticed my breathing slowing down, I noticed the crickets, grasshoppers, birds and the LIFE buzzing ALL AROUND ME, RIGHT NOW, with this tiny little insect navigating its life, ON MY BODY. And just like that, its wings opened up, and it fluttered away. I strive to experience life, every moment, as intensely as this one. Life is about BAZILLIONS of these tiny little moments.

Do not forget that this life is here today as a gift meant to be lived, loved, cherished and released from us just a easily as it came to us.

HodgeTwins on Intermittent Fasting!

Who knew the BOSS HodgeTwins did Intermittent Fasting!?

I learn something new errrrrrrrrrryday.

Watch the video then down below, check out my experiences with IF so far.


  • I’ve been on IF for 3 weeks and I am LEANING out. I have gone down 2-3% body fat and am making strength GAINS.
  • I have been doing 10/14- 10 hour eating window which opens up after my morning workouts, and 14 hours of fasting, which starts around 10 at night (as I’ve mentioned, it has been suggested women allow for a longer ‘eating’ window to encourage hormone stabilization)
  • Also, eating this late at nite may not be best for everyone, you have to see what works best for you. I don’t go to bed until around 11ish, and eating this late COULD be problematic for some bodies, not mine. This is something you have to listen to your own body and evaluate the lifestyle. I lift early every day, maintain an extremely active lifestyle, so eating and then passing out does equate to me gaining weight. Ya follow?
  •  To kick the hunger which gets POWERFUL: Some mornings are hungrier than others, and on those days I utilize straight up black coffee and a heaping spoon of coconut oil. Kicks the hunger.
  • Calorie Counter app for Smart phones: Save meals, quick access to entering up and managing micros for the day.
  • Protein intake: I try to get .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. Some days I go a bit under, but then other days I go over, I believe it is all about balancing things out.
  • Biggest meal of the day on leangains IF is post workout. I make sure to get at LEAST 1000 calories in on this meal. This sometimes takes up to and over an hour.
  • Encourages binge eating: If you have binge eating ‘problems’ IF may not be good for you as it almost encourages you/forces you to binge eat, especially if you are an athlete, as I am. I have no problems with this, but if I ever ‘slow down’ athletically, I may have to break this binging habit.This same ‘problem’ also applies to the REDIC amount of cookies I am eating. Yes. I am eating a FUCK ton of cookies.

Happy fasting folks. And have fun LEANING the fuck out while building and developing SEXY MUSCLES

Disclaimer: Oh, and don’t be irresponsible and follow my advice without doing your OWN research and talking to doctors if you know you need to be consulting them before doing IF or working out. This is my OWN personal experience with IF, and my research is based off talking to others who fast, online sources, and a few books. LISTEN to your own body.

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

Feelin like a PIMP dusting the DIRT off my shoulder.


Backsquat 79 kilos. MAXIN NEXT WEEK SON!

Snatch 2 x 2 LIGHT WEIGHT

Drop Snatch 2 x 2 @ 35 kilos,

2 x 2 @ 40 kilos

Fuckin dropping weights. Picking them up. Doing it again. 174 pounds on my back can’t even HOLD ME BACK!

Boss living, boss lifting. Get yo SHIT pumped today



Lessons learned from the platform

1. Do you.

If this means blowing off socializing in order to throw weights around, or to catch up on recovery sleep, DO YOU. If they are good friends, they will understand that you are doing what is necessary for you to perform at your best, don’t let anyone hold you back.

2. Find your Flow.
Find something that gets you in the zone. This is a state of mind where you are completely absorbed in the moment. For me, this is when I am adjusting my grip, taking a few breaths, setting up my lift..Everything melts away. . I am in my zone.  Find MANY things that transport you into this zone. It releases endorphin’s, the drug of choice for happy people.

3. Your body is your temple. Respect it. Love it.
Treat yourself kindly. Give it proper food, sleep, and nourishment. Meditate, do yoga, be loving to the vehicle which physically propels you through life.

4. Take chances. Often. Usually big ones.
Load up weight you aren’t sure you can clean,Travel to new places, read different books, whatever. GO. OUTSIDE. your COMFORT ZONE. It is only when we get truly uncomfortable do we open ourselves up for possibility of something great, be it growth, love, a new PR, whatever. Just do it. NO one EVER experienced GREATNESS without great effort. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Buddha…

5. be a boss.
Seriously. On and off the platform. In and out of the classroom. the office. at home. in the gym. Fucking be present, and give your best lift attempt at life. It’s fucking awesome.

Today’s lift

  • snatch wrmups
  • snatch 2 x 2 @ 70%
  • For fun: Clean & jerk to within 10-20% of PR weight. 4 x 2 @ 45 kg
  • 2 x 1 @ 53 kg

Video: Sara: c & j 45 kg, 50 kg.
Aaron: pwr snatchin 70 kg
Post knee surgery/recovery, power snatching like a BOSS. Endlessly grateful he’s introduced me to this beautiful sport.

Schoolin’ life

Deloading in anticipation of maxing squats in about 2 ish week. Kinda nice, lifting light and letting it POP.


Clean warmups

Clean+Front squat+Clean+Jerk x 4

hang snatch hi-pull 3×4

Front Squat @ 84% 2 x 3

Complex barbell work was 10%lighter than last week, and then still a bit lighter than it ‘should’ have been according to the catalyst programming. But, I also shouldn’t be doing a volume/intensity squatting program on top of my heavy daily lifting.

Oh well. Work hard play hard, right?

Go lift some weights. Repeat.

**I promised team videos, and they be coming. I’ve been lifting at odd hours due to grad school crap/work. Patience, young grasshoppa