Buying the hammer

Harpreet is chilling in his living room. He's just moved and is making the place his own. Putting up decorations, bringing new furniture and trying to build the atmosphere he wants. As he sits on the couch, he notices that there is one thing missing. His books.

Having his life completely transformed by the books he's read, he knows that having his favorites up on a shelf would add the feeling that is missing. It would make him happy to have them right there for reference and for sharing.

Luckily, he has the shelf he wants to put up as well as the nails. One problem: he needs a hammer.

He heads out to Lowe's (their customer service is first class). He asks the guy where the hammers are.

Grabs one, pays, goes home.

Harpreet bought a hammer. Or did he?

He puts up the shelf using the hammer, grabs his favorite books, and sits back down.

He smiles. Happiness.

Did he go to buy a hammer? Or the feeling he would get when he could sit there and grab a book?

You know the answer.

Why are you working?

Why are you working out?

You don't go to the gym because to lose fat. You don't go to the gym to build muscle. You go there because of the feelings you will get once those things happen.

You don't go to work and bust your ass because that's the end goal. You go there because making money will give you the freedom to live the way you want. To provide for your family. Which will make you feel a certain way.

Being aware of this does two things:

1. Allows you to make the right decisions because you know WHY you are doing something.

2. Allows you to stay focused and stay consistent through the day to day stuff. You won't get distracted 332 by cat memes and Worldstar Hip Hop videos of the shittiest human behaviors.

Perspective and awareness.

Awareness precedes change. Expand yours.





That's what the last 12 days have been.

  • Mindset Performance Institute Summit in Connecticut
  • Exploring New York City
  • Training For Warriors Summit in North Carolina
  • Coach Aljay placing 1st in Norcal Championship Powerlifting Meet
  • Coach Noel and Coach Maksym placing 3rd in their weight classes at Norcal Championship Powerlifting meet

Through the craziness and fun, I learned and grew immensely. It feels like I've been gone for years and it definitely feels good to be back with the San Jose Barbell family.

To sum everything up, I will link it to the theme of the TFW Summit:

The Ripple Effect

There are no trivial moments. Everything you say or do sends ripples into the universe that you cannot even begin to predict. You never know who you could impact. You cannot know the consequences of your actions. So we must do everything to the best of our abilities and for something greater than ourselves.This is why we're upgrading our saying of LAST SET, BEST SET to


Everything matters. Not just the first, not just the last. We MUST send the right ripples. That means when we're in the Dojo, no rep or set will be a throwaway. That means when you're making decisions on what to eat in front of your kids, family, friends you will make the right decisions. That means when you're about to get pissed and yell and be frustrated, you will breathe and respond in a productive way. You will be compassionate. You will show empathy. You will serve others. You will respect yourself and your body.

Every rep, every set.




2 Year Hippoversary this Saturday! Get your tickets if you haven't!

During the day, we will have a charity workout for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

It will be at San Jose Barbell at 11 am. It will be $10 minimum donation and all the money will go to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This is open to anyone and everyone! Come have fun and raise money for an important cause.


I have a big announcement coming up. We've really been focused on making an impact in the world and sending the right ripples. But there's a specific cause that has become very important to us. And we will be supporting it 100% and pushing to educate and help people defeat this issue. Look for more info soon.


Here are some pics from the last 12 days!





Get out of your way

It's not something new you need to know that's holding you back. It's finding out what is holding you back. You most likely know what things you should eat. You most likely know that exercise is good for you. Lift some weights, do some cardio. Get stronger, improve your endurance.

You know broccoli is good for you and that beer and cake is not.

What you need to focus on instead is this question:

What is holding me back? What beliefs or thoughts are handcuffing me?

You have to get your foot off the brake before you can move forward.

And this brake is your beliefs and mindset. And here's where you can start: do you have a fixed mindset or dynamic mindset?

Just knowing that these two exist will begin to move you to the dynamic mindset.

Now go and eat some broccoli.

the cheetah and his recovery

On the topic of recovery, I heard an interview of Brian MacKenzie (founder of Crossfit Endurance) recently. As you all know, recovery is very important to us at San Jose Barbell. On a side note, the only thing more important than recovering well is working out hard enough to need it. That's stolen from either Dr. Mike Israetel or Mr. Greg Nuckols. Both super smart dudes, and both would agree.

Anyways, Brian said some very interesting things to take into consideration when thinking about training and recovery.

First, he mentioned how humans are constantly fighting nature. Pain is the result of going against nature. If you move in a way that you are not meant to, there will be pain. If you haven't moved in a pattern other than sitting, standing, laying down, you'll be in for some pain when you try to do so. It is in your best interest to explore and learn movement.

Second, he brought up an interesting fact about cheetahs. They can reach speeds up to 65 mph when they hunt. But they are only hitting this speed every 3 days. They know you can't go all out every single day and sustain it. They're not fighting nature. They're working with it. Humans seem to think we can fight nature and win.

Recovery. It's important.  Train hard, then recover harder.

And F those hyenas...

ask for help!

if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together

- African proverb

Tomorrow, pick an area of your life you want to improve. It can be anything. Finance, health, relationships, business, a musical instrument, literally anything.

Now go out and find a coach in that area.

Here's some criteria that you can use to decide a good coach from a bad one:

  1. Is this someone you admire and would want to trade places with?
  2. Do they consistently produce results with people they work with?
  3. Are THEY constantly learning and improving? Or are they still doing the same thing they've been doing for the last 20 years?
  4. What do other students say?


Are you down to ruck?

For the past few months, a small group of us at San Jose Barbell have been going RUCKING.

rucking - to put weight in your backpack and go for a walk

Led by our very own Maksym, we've hit many different hiking trails all over the South Bay. Yesterday we went to the Stevens Canyon Trail in Cupertino.

ruck squad just killin it

It's been pretty awesome. It's probably the simplest form of exercise you can do. It's also one of the most fun. We're usually cruising around at a 17 to 18 minutes per mile pace. Everyone's having a great time and we get to enjoy the natural beauty all around us.

For me, it's awesome because of a few reasons. I've had some nagging injuries in the past so one of my main goals in my training is to become more resilient and anti-fragile. Rucking builds hip and postural stability - the major factor in becoming injury proof.

Secondly, one of the safest and fastest ways I help increase an athlete's foundation and abilities is to have him start doing loaded carries. We'll have them do farmer carries, sled pulls, suitcase carries etc. Rucking is a great way to introduce loaded carries.

The third awesome thing I've found is that it burns a shit load of calories. Three times as many as just regular walking (which by the way burns about 125 calories in 30 min for the average person)! Who doesn't want to burn fat? In fact, it's much more affective at burning fat that long distance running or jogging. AND it doesn't break down the muscle in your legs and abs as running and jogging does.

And of course...I get to come up with all kinds of awesome marching chants. Such as the one about the evil ducks and the purple billed birds. Good stuff, I know. (chanting is optional lol)

If you're trying to figure out a easy way to start getting into shape without hurting yourself, try it out. Start off with maybe 10 lbs in a backpack and start doing a 30 minute walk 3 times a week. Build up from there. You'll be pretty amazed at what it will do to your physique!

I wanna be like Mike...

Striving for excellence in all areas of life. This is the goal of each and every person who comes through the doors of San Jose Barbell. Making progress in health, how we look, in our careers, finances, our relationships, and our mental health is what we strive for. Getting to a place of effortless and graceful excellence.

However, it's not a smooth road. There will be many roadblocks along the way. One of these roadblocks is our unwillingness to pursue things that we are not talented at naturally. Can you recall a time where you didn't attempt something because you simply thought you weren't a natural? You look at certain people and attribute their success to the talents and natural ability they were blessed with. And so it's pointless for YOU to pursue it because you don't have the same gifts.

This is a cop out. Very rarely do the most talented people make it to the pinnacle of any field. The person who put in more practice than anyone else is the one who reaches the top.

Michael Jordan.

The greatest basketball player of all time. Greatest athlete of all time? He's in that conversation with a handful of other people. You could even say he was the greatest at doing what he did, compared to anyone doing anything.

Most people marvel at how talented and athletically gifted he was. Of course, we all know Michael as the greatest. It was just meant to be. He had it all.

Was that the key?

Sure we all know the stories about how he was cut from the varsity team in high school. How he didn't get recruited by his dream college. How he was passed up by two other teams before the Bulls picked him. And we can sit back and laugh at how anyone could pass up on Michael Jordan. But what we forget is, at the time, Michael Jordan was just another basketball player. Not the most gifted, not the most athletic. Simply a basketball player.

What those people didn't know is that Michael Jordan had the growth mindset that allowed him to get better everyday  until he became...Michael Jordan. Nothing was viewed as a success or a failure. Everything was feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions.

There is no hiding your mistakes and weaknesses. There is only a deep hunger to find a coach to get feedback from and improve.

There is no resting in accomplishments. There is only a deep hunger to improve what is already great.

There is no hesitation in attempting new things.

Who else would risk their ego and greatness by trying to play a sport that they haven't played since high school? For anyone who can see the value of the growth mindset, Michael's baseball attempt truly shows how strong his growth mindset was.

Most pro athletes would NEVER put themselves in such a vulnerable position. This was the greatest basketball player of all time. And here he was bumming around on the lowliest of minor league teams, trying to make it to the MLB. There is something huge to be learned from this. Most of us will never put ourselves in that type of position.

So what does he attribute to his undeniable place at the top of the sports world? His mind. He believed that his mental toughness and willingness to accept feedback and constantly improve is what sets him apart. At any give time, he had multiple coaches in various areas helping him to make improvements in his game. This same mindset has allowed him to become the first athlete to reach a net worth of $1 billion. A constant ebb and flow towards improvement. More practice. More feedback. Never protecting the ego. Always looking for the truth and being fearless.

What to do:

1. Focus on what is IN your control. Those are things you can get feedback on and improve.

ex. Carried extra bodyweight your whole life? Instead of focusing on thoughts such as "I'm just fat because it's in my genetics, " start thinking about things you CAN CONTROL. How much do you eat? What kinds of foods do you eat? How much do you move each day?

2. Get a coach and get feedback. Want to get better at business? Find a mentor who can give you feedback on your habits, practices, and decisions.

3. Understand that there is no such thing as a failure or a success. Every result is a piece of information. A PIECE of information. You can now use it to adjust your efforts and zig zag your way to the destination.

4. Be patient. Success is not a straight line. It's a zig zag. Michael Jordan didn't win his first NBA championship until his 7th year as a professional. He didn't become a billionaire until almost 30 years after he entered the business world.

5. Be around people who understand the following:

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. 

Now go do something that scares the shit out of you.

Movement FIRST

In our quest to gain greater strength, better performance, and more aesthetics, we tend to forget one big thing: Quality movement comes FIRST.

Here are some examples that everyone can relate to:

Super strong lifter who threw out his back picking up something that weighs 10 pounds off the ground.

The weekend warrior who is constantly in pain.

The person older than 30 who accepts back pain, knee pain, etc. as a part of life. 

The high school athlete who just constantly feels beat up but fights through it cuz, hey, no pain, no gain right?

All these people have one thing in common. They don't prioritize MOVEMENT. They push through pain and the only progress they see is if they have more weight on the bar.

You can get very strong. That does not mean you have quality movement like a human being should have.

Ok, so what to do???

Prioritize the control and movement of your lifts. Make your body move in all kinds of ways. Don't JUST squat, bench, and deadlift. Go for a walk. Get on the ground and do crawls, rolls, and movements on your back.

Go out and play games. I love a good game of kickball or ultimate frisbee.

Yoga is great recovery.

A nice relaxing ruck (hiking with weight in your backpack) perhaps.


Lift with your muscles, not your ego.

Building strength on top of shitty movement is a recipe for nagging pains, less than stellar results, and tons of disappointment.


1. Vary your movements - GO PLAY

2. Master your movement using correct technique and form. Consider it a practice, not exercise.

3. Then, build strength on top of your good movement.



I'm going to start as soon as finals are over...

Those of us who fall into the trap of waiting for the right time. Pay attention. There's no such time. There are things we need to do and things we want to do. Life gets in the way and we tell ourselves and those around us that we will get to them.

There are a few people out there who have it. They just get shit done. But I'd be willing to bet they would tell you they have similar thoughts to you and I. Sometimes, they don't feel like doing things. They would much rather relax or stay in bed. That bed is SO COMFORTABLE!

But here is the SMALL difference between them and the rest of us. Success comes simply from doing the things you need to whether you feel like it or not. That's it.

Doing the things you need to whether or not you feel like it.

COMMIT: Staying loyal to what you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.

You want to do all these things but you're bitching about how hard it is? If you want to go on a camping trip, it's going to be some work getting all the supplies and materials all gathered. It'll take work to figure out where you're going, driving there, organizing, etc. Check the weather.

More often than not, the path we take is the one of least resistance.

"Man work is super crazy this week, there's no way I can work out."

"Dude, it's so rough with kids. I have no energy when I get home."

"Bro, my girlfriend is driving me crazy. I just wanna relax."

"Shit, after finals, I'm gonna get after it."

You ain't gon do shit!

You'll come with excuse after excuse. Next thing you know, it'll be 5 years later and you'll look and feel worse than before (you'll be at the same place if you're lucky).

If you had just stopped waiting for the right time and committed, you could have reached unimaginable heights. Do you have any idea what 5 years of training at 4 days a week will do to your physique and health? You'd look like a god.

But nah, you made bullshit ass excuses that you BELIEVED WITH YOUR SOUL.

And somehow, you always managed to find time for birthday parties, going out to the bars, taking vacations.

Hmm...funny how that works.

Here's one tip:

Stop hanging around the people you hang around currently. I'm sorry, just stop. If they're weekend activities consist of going out to bars, watching a lot of TV, eating crap food...well you're probably going to look and feel like a person who does those things.

Join an active community. Yoga, a gym, hiking, whatever. You will passively start making changes and you'll begin to make your health and body your highest priority. And why should it not be???? Give me one good reason. It affects EVERYTHING.




You're going broke

Alright...I lied, it's not guaranteed. But don't leave yet!

The only reason it's not guaranteed is because you'll make it too complicated. You'll confuse yourself and then feel lost. Inevitably, you'll fall back into old habits. Don't get lost. The science is simple. People are soft, fat, and weak for TWO reasons:

1) A lack of physical exercise.

2) Tons of calorie dense, nutrient deficient foods.

Two things! That's all you need to focus on. But how do you put that into actionable takeaways?

Here are two questions you can ask that will guide you to take this off the screen and into real life:

Does this food have tons of vitamins and minerals? Also, can this be found in nature?

Look, I know it's f'ng delicious. There is nothing better than getting into that box of Kirkland White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies at the end of a long day.

But hold your horses! Let's ask our question.

Part 1: Well, there's 3 macadamia pieces in that cookie so I guess you got all the minerals (selenium, magnesium, calcium, iron) you need and a dash of healthy fats. But didn't get shit. You got a lot of sugar and fat.

Part 2: Scientists haven't found the elusive Kirkland White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookie tree in the wild (yet).

If you find yourself answering with a no more often than not, it's time to make different decisions. I'm not saying never eat a cookie. Just be aware what your body will look and feel like if you answer no 90% of the time. Strive to answer this question with a yes 80% - 90% of the time. You're gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it.

Did I move my body today?

Simple right?

Did you do anything besides sitting, laying down, standing, and transitioning between them?

If not, go! NOW! Stop reading!

Go outside, roll, crawl, climb, run, jog, lift something, whatever! Simply make it a priority to get 4-7 hours of  movement each week.

No time to exercise?

Then you should prepare yourself to make time for doctor visits and going to the pharmacy.

Exert yourself. Butterflies have to struggle to get out of that cocoon. That struggle, however, is exactly what  strengthens the wings and promotes blood flow so it can fly.

The butterfly could not fly without that struggle! Let out your inner butterfly!

Here's an important concept before I let you go out and release that butterfly.

“Little hinges swing big doors."
- W. Clement Stone
Identifying and introducing the smallest change that will swing the biggest door (aka have the biggest positive result) is key. Most people go about trying to overhaul their entire lives and habits all in one go. Then they're surprised when they fail at all of them. If you cut all calorie containing drinks from your day, you would lose a huge amount of body fat right away. All from one small change. Then stack another habit on top.
For your movements, it can become daunting with all the exercise options available to you. Enter the kettlebell.
One of the most time effective, fat blasting, and muscle toning pieces of equipment you can own. Here's an awesome case study of Tracy Reifkind and her amazing transformation. She changed to nutrient dense foods and introduced her body to the kettlebell.
You don't need a lot of space. You don't have to have a lot of time. You can get a lot done very quickly and then get on with your day.
If you don't know how or where to get into kettlebell training, we're running our 5 Week Kettlebell Summer Shape Up!
The program starts very soon and there are limited spots. Learn how to safely and effectively swing a kettlebell. We're looking for 20 warriors who are ruthlessly dedicated to finally burning that belly fat and bringing sexy back for summer 2015!
 kb swing

The problem with training more often...