I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my friend Steve McKinney and his son Josh for their recent success at the 2011 BJJ, Pan Am games. They both competed as Blue Belts, in the medium heavy division (for their ages). Steve got the silver medal competing in the Senior 3 division, and Josh won the gold competing in the Juvenile class.

Those of you who visit here often may recognize Steve’s name from my review of his excellent book, “Weight Training 4 MMA”. Both Steve and Josh are great examples of how using simple, safe and efficient training methods can deliver high level fitness benefits in minimum time.

Congratulations guys, I am proud of you.



P.S. Pick up a copy of Steve’s book, you’ll be glad you did.

The Art of “Resting”

By Jim Bryan*

If anyone had mentioned this to me 40 years ago I probably wouldn’t have listened. I liked activity. The truth is that you can’t keep pounding away without some down time now and then. Most of us that read this Newsletter (High Performance Training Newsletter) are into “hard” training. Do you ever just feel like you can’t get going or that you’ve been run over by a truck? We all have different levels of energy. Some feel the bone weary tiredness before others. We all could benefit from a planned layoff now and then. When you get back to training your ready to go and have that “fire” again.

Used to be when I went on vacation, the first thing I would do is pick up the telephone book for the city I was staying in. I would look for the closest gym or health club. I would get up in the morning and be waiting for them to open up. (usually around 5:30 AM) I would workout and then get back to the resort before my Wife woke up. Now, I use the vacation as down time away from the gym. I was in Hawaii almost a month and didn’t workout. My joints felt great when I got back home. AND I didn’t look any different. The muscles DID NOT disappear! If I had only known this 40 years ago. Oh! That’s right, I didn’t/wouldn’t listen to the one’s with more experience. One thing I am grateful for is that there wasn’t an Internet to go to when I was starting out. WAY to many “experts.” No wonder so many are confused today.

I did read the Muscle Magazines and something that stood out was that many of the lifters back then took the whole summer off. I remember reading this in the Hoffman Mags. And also hearing about it first hand. I didn’t believe it then. I’ve lived in Florida all my life and summers here can be very draining. But I slugged through them like a mad man. I rarely gained during the summer. I had to fight just to keep my body weight up. I had the obsession that some of you have today. Yeah that’s right! Obsession. I don’t care how long you’ve been training or how many times you’ve been published. If you continue beating yourself beyond reason, you’re obsessed.

Now, when I’m on a layoff or planned “Rest Cycle” I usually catch up on my reading. I read about training. (not the pec pumpers Mags.) I gather articles from my friends and books that they send me. I kick back and catch up. I read about research (sometimes good for a laugh) I read about Sports that I like, such as Boxing, Surfing, Strong man. I also read about Nutrition……..and usually come away confused J My interest in Health and Fitness  has been going on my whole life. I also read coaching manuals when my friends send them to me (wink, wink J)  I don’t get on the Internet while I’m on vacation. The constant bickering of the boards wears me down.

When I get back from vacation I look at my training logs. I make some notes, think about what I want to do and look at doing exercises that I haven’t done for awhile. I start back slow and use less weight. Intensity is low the first few times in the gym. I resist beating myself the first day back…….. and the second…….and the third. Pretty soon I’ve been back for a few workouts and I’m back training hard. I am having fun again. After 47+ years (and tears) that is saying something. FUN! Do you enjoy your training or are you a slave to it?

This activity can be done all our lives if we want. Train with health in mind. Forget the bloated, latest Mr. “Anything” They are not healthy. They don’t have anything to do with training for athletics. Many will not be able to work out later. Some won’t make it, and you know what I mean.

Be strong…..Live long!!

Mahalo Nui loa!

This article was originally Written for: “High Performance Training Newsletter” 8/2004

Product Spotlight

No More Moldy Water Bottles!!

Hey everyone. IHRSA 2011 has come and gone and as usual, Hybrid Fitness was there to cover the event. We got to catch up with some old friends, make some new ones, and of course see what was hot (an not so hot) in the fitness world these days. I wish I could tell you that we discovered tons of amazing new products at the show, but alas it was not to be. I’ll talk more about that in the not too distant future.

Today I want to highlight one cool product I did notice while crusing the floor at the IHRSA show this year. It is called the Clean Bottle

The Clean Bottle is modular, with a patent-pending, leak-proof , screw-off bottom. Gone are the days of trying in vain to wash out that funk at the bottom of your bottles. With Clean Bottle, cleaning and drying are easy.

Clean Bottle is made with 100% non-toxic, BPA-free plastics, making it safe to use over and over. Clean Bottle is also top-rack dishwasher safe, so you can run it in the dishwasher without fear of it breaking down.

And 10% of all Clean Bottle profits are donated to eco and cycling friendly charities that you vote for.

When you have moment, visit their web-site and if and when your order one, be sure and tell them TAKU sent you.




I want it All

I keep hearing that song by Queen in the back of my head. The one with the chorus that says “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now”. Many of my clients are very busy people and do not have tons of time to devote to exercise outside of the time they choose to spend with me.

Most personal trainers focus on strength training with their clients. They have come to think of “cardio” as some long duration, low intensity activity that the clients should be doing, but on their own time. They make recommendations like “do 30-60 minutes of cardio 3-5 times a week”. I actually know a trainer that tells his clients that in order to be successful they need to do four, 90-minute strength sessions a week, plus another 3-5 hours of cardio on their own time. Talk about inefficient.

This workout is one I use to make sure that my clients can get everything they need in our time together. This plan combines heavy weightlifting with interval style “cardio” training, alternating between the two. Depending on the current needs and abilities of the client there may be from 3-5 exposures to each. The strength training is done in three set mini circuits where in you choose a pushing movement a pulling movement and a lower body movement. The interval training is conducted in four minute blocks using mixed modalities in which the work to rest ratios are varied during each exposure. Rest between the strength and interval bouts is the time it takes to walk from one area of the gym to another. During the strength movements you may vary the rest from 30 – 90 seconds depending on how heavy you wish to train and how challenged you wish to be.

If you are an athlete looking for a great GPP plan for any sport or activity give this style of mixed mode training a try. If you are a trainer who usually just does strength training with your clients, surprise them with this brief and brutal workout. I guarantee you or your clients will see and feel a difference in performance in no time.

Remember the circuits below are just a few examples of 100s you can create. Use these as a template and see what kind of workouts you can come up with. You are limited only by your imagination and the tools you have access to.

Example of Mixed-Mode Hybrid:


Strength Circuit 1. 1 x 6-10 reps each

  • Chin-up or weighted Chin-up
  • Dip or weighted Dip
  • Single leg Squat off a box Bodyweight or weighted

H.I.I.T. Mode 1. Four minutes


  • Concept 2 – (20 sec work / 10 sec recovery)

Strength Circuit 2. 1 x 6-10 reps each

  • Dumbbell Row
  • Dumbbell Bench
  • Dumbbell CDL+S

H.I.I.T. Mode 2. Four minutes

  • L.B.E. (exercise bike) 30 sec work / 30 sec recovery

Strength Circuit 3. 1 x 6-10 reps each

  • Dumbbell Alternating High pull
  • Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder press
  • Dumbbell reverse lunge

H.I.I.T. Mode 3. Four minutes

  • Stair Sprints 20 sec work / 20 sec recovery

Strength Circuit 4. 1 x 6-10 reps each

  • Hanging Knee raise (weighted if more then 10 reps can be completed)
  • GHD raise (weighted if more then 10 reps can be completed)
  • Cable rotations



High Performance Training

What’s in a name?*

By Jim Bryan

I happen to like this name and it better explains how I train. Whether you call your training High Intensity Training, HIT, High Tension Training, (I like this too) Hard Training or any number of names or none at all. I think most of us reading The High Performance Training Newsletter train in a similar fashion. We may focus on different aspects but we have more in common than we have differences. Actually, the last statement could be applied to most anyone involved in a Strength Program. Why is this all so confusing to some? I’ll give you some of my ideas. Over the years I have noticed that some involved in the HIT movement have put off potential  Strength Trainees, with an (I’m sorry I can’t say it any other way) arrogant attitude. Where this comes from I’m not sure…. and it’s not needed. Some of the more vocal 3rd and beyond generation want to tie intelligence and HIT together. In other words if you don’t submit to HIT your stupid. Personally, I could care less how anyone trains. The fact that you are working out with weights gains my respect. Just because someone can read Strength Training Studies backward and forward, gains no extra points with me. Especially if they spend most of their time on discussion boards instead of training. LOOK! You should have some muscle to show for your time spent. I’m not saying everyone will look like Mr. Universe but you should have SOME muscle. Even training with no knowledge can put muscle on you if you add weight and stick to it long enough. The arrogance is not needed and is not productive. I cringe every time I see the Internet HIT Experts going at each other.

Different goals also contribute to the confusion. Most here are involved with training athletes not bodybuilders. I have to confess that I no longer care much about body building as it exists today. I Can’t make any sense of it anymore. I feel that a Strength Athlete should have some muscle, be able to use it, and be in good condition. Higher intensity training will help in all of these areas. Keeping things efficient makes for better use of time. The training template is easy. #1 Training should be safe. #2 Training should be efficient. #3 Training should be hard and increase in difficulty as trainee gets stronger. #4 Cut down on rest periods in weight room. #5 Exercise choice is yours. There are no “Instant Hero Exercises.” #6 Free weights or Machines? Your choice. Neither guarantee success. Hard work brings success. That’s about it, as I see things. Pretty damn simple. Coaches are doing this without knowing it might have a name like HIT. Brief, Hard training. What a great concept! I wonder if anyone’s thought of it yet?

Do you HAVE to train to failure to still be in the “HIT CLUB?” Who cares? People worry too much about failure training. People continue to argue who’s idea of failure training is correct.  I say give it a rest and let the Internet experts argue about it. We have training to do.

This is just my opinion but I don’t think there is any one expert on High Intensity Training excluding Arthur Jones. Arthur experimented and actually went into the gym (unlike some of the experts). He has left no one, as far as I know, to carry on as the “Head of High Intensity Training.” Some of his ideas have changed over the years, some haven’t. There is only one Arthur Jones. That’s it. He was unique and I’m sure he had far more he could share but we’ll probably never find out. He grew tired of the effort needed to educate.

As far as the readers of HPT News go, We are doing far more right than we are doing wrong. New things come and go and some are quite intriguing. But one thing I know for sure, “There are no magic bullets, when it comes to training.” You have to get off your ass, get into the gym, and struggle against the weight. God willing you can come back again and again and know that you are not alone. It’s easy to bitch on the Internet but it takes character to face the iron and steel.

“Molon Labe!”

(This article was originally Written for the High Performance Training  Newsletter 3-1-06 )