Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Don't Choke

The Guardian put up an very interesting article about choking in sports:

Under Pressure: Why Athletes Choke

If you're training, the takeaways are:

- Have a routine to calm yourself under stress

- Don't rush when you're under stress

- Train under conditions that more closely match competition.

When I did my first grappling tournament, despite my prior experience fighting MMA, I was very nervous. I went out, and my coach said, "Just like class." And it was, really. I just had to realize that yeah, it was just like class. Nothing new. No surprises. I'd been doing untimed rounds against grapplers better than me and larger than my weight class for months. My opponent had nothing that I hadn't encountered before - that's what I had to tell myself. And it worked, because, hey, it really was "just like class."

I found it a good read, and valuable even if you aren't going to compete.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Online Nutrition Coaching

I have just launched my online nutrition coaching practice.

Peter's Pro Coach

I'm taking on a very limited number of clients to start with, so contact me right away if you're ready to get control of your nutrition habits!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What Everyone Thinks My Job Is

 I'm pretty sure that this is what everything thinks when I tell them I'm a personal trainer:

Not exactly accurate, but I can't argue with Ranier Wolfcastle or Homer Simpson.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Choosing a Protein Powder

Protein is a critical part of a healthy diet - one that will help you lose fat, put on muscle, and keep the body composition that you want to have. 

Sometimes it takes a lot of protein to do that.

It can often mean eating more protein than you can easily get from whole foods such as tuna, chicken breast, beef, and so on.

It can be especially tough for someone transitioning to a different eating style. If you're going from a meat-heavy diet to a plant-heavy diet, say, or changing from pescatarian to vegan, or cutting down on your total food but trying to keep your protein up, it's even harder.

Luckily, the folks over at Precision Nutrition can help you out.

They put out good stuff - they're where I got my nutrition certification from - it's what the PN1 under my name means.

“What’s the best protein powder?” Your complete guide to choosing the right supplement for you

It's a fairly dense article, with a lot to unpack.

TL,DR? Too long, didn't read?

In that case, the folks over at Kelly Starrett's The Ready State broke it down into three essentials.

3 Considerations When Selecting a Protein Supplement

It's worth reading both articles if this is really your thing.

Need more help with nutrition? Reach out to me and we can talk about a path forward to better eating that suits you. A month from now, a year from now, five years from now, you'll wish you'd started today.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

New gear!

How much do I eat for my goals? - PN's simple calculator

Almost all of my clients have some weight goals.

They're looking for:

- weight loss

- muscle gain

and the every popular

- lose fat while building muscle.

But knowing where to start is tough.

Lots of websites will give you tools to figure out where to start but it's not always clear what step two is.

Also, you can generally skew your own results - tell the website you'd like to lose 10 pounds a week, say, or put on 25 pounds of muscle in two months . . . and get some numbers that won't really get you that.

Start Here

If my clients are going to do it themselves, this is where I like them to start:

Why do I like it?

First off, it lets you choose a broad goal - and if you choose an unrealistic one, it'll pop up a warning. Want to lose 28 pounds in two weeks? I'll tell you this is not a good option.

Second, it gives a lot of diet plan options - including vegan and vegetarian, two groups that often suffer from automated meal planning.

Third, it gives you actual portion-sized amounts and macros for each part of your eating plan.


This is a good tool. It's my go-to for clients and it's where I prefer most people start. Plus it's fun to toy around with your own eating plan and your own goals. And you can download the results easily!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Lower body strength training for Sumo

I recently found an interesting video showing some strength training for sumo wrestling.

This video features the top sumo wrestler in history - the champion with the most tournament victories ever - training two of of his kohei (KOH-high) - juniors in the same heya (gym) - out in the street. A lady even rides her bike right on through them. So, in retrospect, maybe it wasn't that unique that I used to drag a home-made dragging sled laden with home-made weights (and neighborhood children) up and down the street near my home in Japan.

Sumo requires an enormous amount of power - matches are very short - usually in the 5-20 second range - but they can a couple of minutes for very drawn out bouts. The ability to generate power from a low stance is critical, as you need to force your opponent out of the ring or force him to touch the clay with something other than the bottom of his feet.

Here you can see Hakuho (that champion I mentioned) training Ishiura and the current smallest man in the top division, Enho, with a 30 kg (~66 lbs) sandbag. It's brutal, and the video was shown in March . . . but probably shot a little earlier in the year.

Wrestlers are expected to train hard seven days a week for years. They live in their heya and work there, performing chores until they're skilled enough and senior enough to win bouts in the upper ranks of the sport. Then they're paid - and earn prize money for bouts - and are expected to help their juniors improve.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Training at Home

I am now accepting clients for home training remotely via internet conference apps. Email me at for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Online Training & the Age of COVID-19

The onslaught of COVID-19 has meant so many negative things for society, and for the lives of people affected directly and indirectly.

The need to keep people separate for their health and safety has also meant the closure of gyms and the inability of people to get to the place where they keep up their health.

I've switched my training clients to exclusively online training for the duration of this medical emergency. I'll extend it further for client for whom it makes the most sense to continue online, due to distance or circumstance.

Training remotely has its own challenges, but its own rewards, too.

The rewards are continued health and fitness in the comfort of your own home. No commute to the gym, nobody hogging the equipment you need to use, and no concerns about pet sitters, child care, and how to fit in the extra time to get to and from the session.

The challenges are the need for your own equipment in your own home. It's minimal equipment, of course, and I'm happy to say that for well under $100 you can equip yourself with everything you need to stay fit at home. You need reasonably good internet access and a phone, tablet, or phone with a good camera.

You also need a trainer for the best results. I say that as a trainer, but also as a trainee - I have my own coach, someone I've worked with for years so I can have his expert eye and objective viewpoint guide me to success. I've been leveraging my own experience teaching online classes and my 11+ years of experience as a trainer to get my clients results without their needing to get physically in the same gym as me.

If you're training at home, I urge you to at least try out an online coach and see how it works out. I offer full-service Skype-based training sessions where I program for you, coach you through the movements, and provide my expert eye to see what best suits your needs and goals. I also offer programming customized to you, for you to execute on your own time without the need for an appointment with me.

Email me at with any questions about programs and rates! I'm ready to help you get started today.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...