I created this site because I was tired of searching through tons of different fitness sites just to put together a decent program.
My experience was something like this. I would first go to a hardcore lifting site to get a decent weight training program. Next I would have to look through an alternative health site to read about nutrition for longevity as opposed to just “bulking”.
The, if I wanted to learn how to get in serious condition for something like a sport or an endurance event I would have to visit another site for that.
I started to realize that there was a serious problem with the information in the fitness industry.
This problem starts with the idea of an industry for fitness. Fitness isn’t something you can be sold and your ability to become fit cannot be enhanced by any of the products being sold by the fitness industry.
Fitness is a natural state that anyone can achieve. That includes people that want to look like fitness models, it can be done!
What many of the mainstream fitness sites forget to emphasize is that all aspects of your health and fitness are synergistic (The word works here), working together to bring about the state of fitness most people desire.
You cannot bulk up, then cut, then worry about your health later in life. Similarly you cannot consider your training and nutrition independent of one and other.
You also can’t consider your supplementation or drug use without taking into account your training and nutrition. Finally, each one of those things needs to be considered in the context of your overall lifestyle.
Considering all the major factors within your lifestyle as “inputs” into your personal fitness system allows you to better predict it’s “outputs” – YOUR STATE OF HEALTH & FITNESS.
The main point I am trying to get across is that fitness is a system. Many of the best fitness authors realize this and teach fitness this way. Unfortunately, >99% of the fitness industry teach tactics that you are supposed to figure out how to combine on your own.
When new fitness tactics are introduced, they are rarely accompanied by instructions on how to incorporate them into your overall lifestyle and fitness plan. For example, what good is a 30 day weight loss plan if you don’t know exactly what nutrition plan to transition to after that 30 days and then after the 30 days after that etc….
Hey, I understand why many magazine, sites and books are selling fitness this way, its simple. It’s much easier to sell tactics and bullet point lists then it is to sell nuanced content.
Therefore, the purpose of MaxYourFitness is twofold.
FIRST – teach fitness as a system with it’s own set of first principles
SECOND – present the nuances of fitness in a manner that is easily digestible and entertaining
If this site can do those two things for at least a handful of people then I will consider this a success.
If you are still reading (Congrats) and want to learn about the me, you can check out the fairly long blurb I wrote below! Thanks for reading and good luck on your fitness journey!
IN THE BEGINNING
Hi, I’m Ian.
My interest in fitness dates way back to when I was pretty young. Throughout my childhood I was always active and involved in some type of sports. I remember always wanting to be outside moving around either on my skateboard or bike.
When I was younger I was even involved in a number of team sports like soccer and basketball. Since I was active I didn’t think that it was possible for me to be out of shape. I remember in physical education we did a number of fitness tests like the 1 mile run, max push ups and sit ups in a certain amount of time in addition to doing the various sporting activities they introduced us to.
As I was active all this went well until we were given a bodyfat test. I remember everyone lining up to get a bodyfat analysis from one of the nurses that worked at our school. At the time I believe they had us standing on a bioelectrical impedance body fat scale.
All I remember is that my bodyfat was higher then most of my classmates at the time. I think the average was around 13 or 14% and I remember mine being over 20%. I think I blocked it out of my memory as it was probably the most embarrassed I have ever been in my life.
Just to add some clarity, I remember stepping on the scale and having the lady working the monitor dispassionately tell me my bodyfat percentage was whatever it was, it was mid 20s. Immediately my field of vision narrowed and I was literally scarred to turn around and get off the scale.
I immediately felt like everyone had to have been laughing at me. I turned around and walked off the scale. As soon as I looked at the kids behind me in line I realized that they had not heard any of the interaction I had with the nurse. When friends or kids In my class asked me I gave them some fake answer I knew to be at or slightly above average. I think my stock answer was 16% or something like that.
I couldn’t pay attention to that, my entire self image had just been shattered. I had always thought of myself as someone who was active and athletic and here they were basically telling me that I was fat. What’s worse is that it was the skinny fat the plagues so many people in modern well fed countries. I wasn’t real big, I just had real high body fat. I was “silent” fat. Oh man, anyway, back to the story. As soon as I walked past the line of kids waiting to get their body fat measured I remember keeping the narrowed field of vision and being completely in my own head.
I was so embarrassed by this new realization of my life as a fat kid that I couldn’t think about anything else, it plagued me. I remember carrying this thought with me all day until after school when I got into my buddies car to go home. As luck would have it, his mom was driving. She was one of the school districts nutritionists and knew that they were doing the body fat tests in our PE class. After we both shared our relative scores she proceeded to tell me that “of yeah your fat huh” or something to that affect, at least that’s what my 13 year old mind remembered.
I continued to be plagued by this thought. I didn’t know what was going to happen for the rest of my life, but I knew I was going to loose all the bodyfat. And it wasn’t like I was determined to not be fat. In that instant I was determined to get strong and lean. Like the type of lean you see in a fitness model.
I remember my first foray into diet and exercise was the AB Slide. This was basically a spring loaded ab-wheel for people that aren’t strong enough to use an ab wheel.
I remember my family getting annoyed because they could hear me using the ab-slide on the floor of my room. They could hear the noise of the spring and the wheels of the slide on the floor (my room was up-stairs).
After using the slide for a while I definitely gained a bunch of strength but knew I needed more so I started reading anything fitness related I could get my hands on. I started off with the normal bodybuilding routines that everyone sees in magazines. I quickly realized that I would need to start doing some type of weight training.
My first attempt at doing weight training was to as my dad if he could give me his old bowflex machine. For all of you who don’t have first hand experience with 90s fitness marketing let me introduce you to the Soloflex.
I knew that if I had the soloflex I would be able to get in the craziest shape I wanted!! While this was completely bogus, it didn’t matter. My mom wouldn’t let me have it. She was worried it would stunt my growth so I would have to wait until the 9th grade to start lifting weights in high school.
In the mean time I started running, doing calisthenics and pretty much anything else I could to improve my physical appearance. I even remember running to our local park and using some of their playground apparatus to do some of my own bodyweight workouts due to my lack of equipment.
When 9th grade rolled around I started playing football, was on the swimming team and eventually ended up getting into a number of sports: basketball, wrestling, waterpolo. The thing that really stuck with me was the weight training.
As soon as I had the money I spent it on a weight set for my home and any supplement I could get my hands on. I remember exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to just look like Johnie Jackson. I was sure this was what I wanted to look like because he was close to my height and was one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world.
After seeing how Johnnie Looked and how he trained I realized that I didn’t want to look like a fitness model. I figured I could skip that whole thing and just look like an IFBB pro bodybuilder. I started doing Johnnie Jackson’s 4 day split as it was written out in one of the muscle magazines I found it in.
Luckily the program actually wasn’t that bad. I ended up getting in way better shape and blowing a bunch of people at my high school away with my new appearance. It completely escaped my 15 year old mind that naturally rising levels of growth hormone and testosterone had to be credited with some of my quick transformation.
Regardless of the factors that led to my new level of fitness the idea that I could consciously choose to change something in my life was cemented in my mind. I didn’t want to be out of shape. I kept working out and looking for new solutions and I found something that worked.
From this point on any overall sense of learned helplessness I might have developed could not compete with my own confidence in self determination. The year or so I had in the gym made me absolutely sure I could accomplish things that I worked at. It was awesome. It was so awesome, it blew the pain I had felt as a 13 year old out of the water, totally worth it. Looking back, I was very fortunate to have learned such as valuable lesson at such a young age. Had I not been out of shape, I would have never had the opportunity to learn that lesson in the same visceral way. Changing my body was truly life changing.
PAST TO CURRENT
As high school went on I played and competed in a number of sports. I slowly increased my level of fitness over the years and continued to expand my interest in physical training. Over the years I have been certified by a number of organizations. I worked as an NASM certified person trainer and corrective exercise specialist as well as a Crossfit level 1 trainer.
The greatest sense of satisfaction I have had since high school has come from sharing what I know about fitness to help my friends and co-workers.
My career in the military allowed me to work with all types of people. Many of soldiers I worked with had very little knowledge about training and dieting. In the military physical fitness is a nearly universally acknowledged as being an integral part to your worth as a person. Whether or not it is right, in the military, people judge you based on your fitness.
Luckily for me, I had this area of my life very much handled during my service career. In fact I was able to get above the ARMY’s perfect score on every test I ever physical test I took while on active duty in the military.
While the military’s regular physical tests are not difficult to max, their special operations selections are. While I was on active duty I started to gain a reputation for being skilled at developing plans for preparations for these events.
I also became experienced in preparing for events and tryouts as I tried out of a number of units in different branches of the military. These different units had requirements including the following for physical screeners.
2.0 mile run
1.5 mile run
1.0 mile run
5.0 mile run
6 mile ruck march 45 lb. dry weight
12 mile ruck 45 lb. dry weight
18 mile ruck 45 lb. dry weight
500 meter combat side stroke
Maximum push ups
Maximum pull ups
Maximum chin ups
Maximum sit ups.
Just for some context, I remember my fastest training run for one of these events was done with a 60 lb. dry weight pack over relatively flat ground. I completed an 8 mile ruck run with this weight averaging 10:15 minutes a mile for the 8 miles.
What made this challenging is that I was constantly trying to figure out how to combine training for some of these relatively extreme events while maintaining or gaining strength and muscle. The challenge for me was trying to balance the stimulation and recovery needed for so many different types of events.
In order to balance out training for the above events while trying to progress on my main gym lifts and my physique I worked with some of the best online trainers available, from tri-athletes to powerlifters and even pro bodybuilders I spent a large amount of time and money to learn from some of the best people in the industry.
Through out my career in the military I was fortunate enough to be able to share what I learned with many of my soldiers, co-workers and clients. Through out the years I have maintained an insatiable interest in maximizing human performance naturally.
After going through my own personal journal and helping others along the way one thing stands out to me.
The human body is made to be strong, lean, powerful, flexible and mobile. Visually, a correctly trained physique looks fantastic. The body knows what to do under the right circumstances.
90% of the issues people face with their bodies are due to them exposing themselves to unnatural environments at work and at home. For many people relieving this un-natural environment is as simple as making a few small changes to their lifestyle.
For other people, they need a complete lifestyle and activity overall. Regardless of where you are starting you probably have the ability to reach a level of fitness that will blow your mind.
Most people have the ability to look absolutely fantastic, a 10 out of 10. It’s true, there are many expectations that people have for their fitness that are not realistic. The biggest faulty expectations come from looking at the physiques or performance of the genetic elite or people that are on drugs.
This makes sense, this happens in nearly every field. I was a victim of this type of thinking when I first got into fitness. However, it didn’t keep me from surpassing my own goals and expectations.
Most people need a change of mindset when it comes to fitness. The ideals that people hold up in terms of health and fitness have more to do with what they are being sold then what they actually want.
When people take the time to think about what they really want, it is rarely the same as what they are being sold in magazines or on the internet.
Regardless of your current level of health or fitness I hope I have something to offer you in terms of new information, useful material or discussion. One area I admittedly have little expertise in is drug use during training.
While I will talk about drugs on this site, it is not to teach people how to use them. I will talk about drugs when pointing out the problems people experience when they use inappropriate training programs designed for people using performance enhancing drugs. I think this is too important a topic to gloss over as it is responsible for more misconceptions and false information then just about anything other topic in fitness.
If you are interested in using drugs I will be discussing them as far as reliable sources of information for learning more. I have nothing against their use and will most likely use some type of performance enhancing drug at some point in the future.
As I have a deep interest in natural or over the counter health and performance enhancement and have spent most of my professional career serving in the military I have decided against the use of most drug.
Whats The Focus of This Site, How is This Different?
My goal for this site is to help as many people as possible to naturally maximize their physical appearance and performance. Since that is pretty broad I look at that in terms of three main areas of interest:
Natural Hormonal Optimization
I was first introduced to the concept of naturally enhancing your hormones through the work of Rob Fagin in his book “Natural Hormonal Enahancement”. By Rob Faigin. When I was a 2nd Leuitenant in the US ARMY I was looking for ways to combat the detrimental effects of long distance endurance training. His book was exactly what I was looking for and taught be how explosive exercise along with specific dietary strategies could be used to increase the output of anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone. I later was fortunate to stumble upon the testshock training manual and AnabolicMen.com. The information and plans was a breadth of fresh air compared to most of the training information I was reading. It reminded me of Rob Faigin’s book and inspired me to dig deeper into natural hormonal enhancement. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to work for The guys at Anabolicmen while I was transitioning out of the military.
Movement re-training and optimization
After being into fitness for a number of years I had an inkling that flexibility and mobility was important but wasn’t really sure why. After getting a number of injuries, one sustained while in a selection and assessment for US ARMY special operations (it’s ok I passed!) I began to take this stuff more seriously. Around this time, the ARMY was real into Functional Movement Systems (FMS) and I dug into the work of Grey Cook and his functional movement assessment. Basically their FMS has 7 movements that are used to judge the quality of movement in any individual. I like this system and began taking it seriously when I realized how large the worldwide following is for Grey Cook and his functional movement system. If that isn’t enough, most of the US Special Operations community uses FMS as well. My favorite system that grew out of his FMS is the Ground Force Method (GFM) which takes a series of movements based on the movements infants engage in. These movement allow any individual, regardless of age or movement restriction to re-learn nearly every movement patter in the same way they originally learned these movements, from the ground.
Relative Strength and Work Capacity
High levels of strength and work capacity at a light weight is the holy grail of physical fitness. In order to have the ability to exert high levels of relative strength over any period of time in order to sustain a high work capacity, you need to have the above two, hormonal optimization and movement, nailed down. This has to do with the coalescence of all of the bodies system’s to produce what conditioning coach Joel Jamieson calls Biological Power. Basically this is when you have optimization of all the bodies systems, endocrine, cardiovascular, neuromuscular etc… so that you can have a wide range of force expression abilities over a range of time. Joel is the expert when it comes to putting this all together as he has honed his abilities training some of the world’s best Mixed Martial Arts fighters.
How Will These Three Areas Help Me?
These areas alone won’t help you without application! However, the many free articles, downloads, audios, videos and coaching programs I offer take these three areas into account and keep them in mind throughout each program. By going through them and understanding / applying the material you will see results. I really believe that maintaining or improving these three areas is the only way to maximize health, fitness and longevity.
While you may have a different focus for your fitness over different points into your life, those three pillars of your fitness are the ones that you can never afford to neglect. Everything I built on this site will help you to expand your ability in one or all of those areas.
Finally, all the training, dietary and even mindset material on this site keeps physical appearance and physique as a primary concern. Nothing about fitness is more functional then looking good. It’s THE most functional aspect of fitness. On this site it’s a primary goals and assumed to be one of the primary concerns of the readers. If that is not you that’s fine. Hopefully you can find something useful or at least a link out or reference to something that is. Thanks for reading my story and mission statement for the site. Happy reading!