Spotlight on Jarrod Thalheimer

Every now and again I am impressed and pleased with the results our clients achieve. Don’t get me wrong I feel this way with every success that is realized by someone we work with. But sometimes I feel compelled to share this person’s story with you.

3 Conditions for Every Workout

So we’re into the second half of 2011. We’ve celebrated all the North American independence days and summer is in full swing.

Are you where you want to be?

Have you lost 1/2 the weight you wanted to this year?

Or are you half way to your strength goal?

How’s the rehab on that injury coming along?


Fallen Off Track with Your Fitness?

Have you ever lost something and felt the sting of this loss?

Maybe it was an emotional loss? Or a financial loss? Or something physical that had a lot of sentimental value for us?

It could also be something as simple as a flipper.

Like the one I lost boogie boarding yesterday.

I didn’t mean to lose it. But I had been out the day before and noticed the locals used flippers to build up more speed and catch the wave.

So I grabbed some flippers and headed out. The first wave I caught was pretty powerful and I could feel the wave tugging at my foot trying to pry the flipper away.

I was using my other foot to hold on to the half-off flipper to no avail. I felt the flipper release from my foot completely and it was gone.

I continued boogie boarding for a while and when I was finished I noticed my wife standing on the shore holding a flipper. Apparently a lady had found my flipper walked out of the ocean and handed it to my wife.

So what’s the moral of this story?

When you feel that something has happended that has put you off your path towards health, fitness and performance don’t despair.

Things usually have a way of working themselves out.

And if you ate too much chocolate over the weekend and need to see some ways to get exercise when you feel like you’ve lost all your forward momentum check out the following video where I show you how to to exercise with no gym or equipment.


I hope this video gave you a few ideas of what can be done with some space and some creativity. Don’t ever think all your efforts are lost because of a few changes in the overall plan. And you’ll find working with non-traditional equipment will be challenging and stimulate new gains.

Keep pushing forward,

Chris ‘always moving forward’

How to Get Safe & Quick Results in the Gym

Why do you go to the gym and train?

Is it for a performance goal? Or maybe it’s aesthetic and involves achieving a particular look? Or maybe you’ve been injured and are looking to stabilize a vulnerable joint, eliminate a compensation and return to play.

Whatever it is you are working towards there are probably a few constants that apply to everyone.

This would be that we are all want:

1. Maximum results
2. In the least time possible
3. In the safest way possible

But there is a common mistake being made when it comes to training that prevents maximum results, takes longer than it should and leads to injuries.

This mistakes is that people tend to use improper loads. By loads I mean the amount of weight on the bar or the dumbbell being used.

I know it’s a generalization but women tend to use weights that are too light. This is for fear of getting injured but also probably an even greater fear that they buy into the myth that lifting heavy weights will make women big and bulky.

This is simply not the case. Some of the strongest women we train with are anything but big and bulky.

And guys don’t think we’re without fault.

Guys tend to lift more weight than they can handle because they buy into the myth that the only way to get bigger and stronger is using heavy weight. They ignore the science behind the process of anbolism (getting bigger) and try and use weights that they think will get them to their goal sooner.

So what’s a guy or girl to do?

How much weight should I use to challenge myself and still be safe?

Well the first step would be know what you reasonable handle for 10 reps in a particular exercise.

Knowing this we can quickly and easily figure out what load we should be using to on each set of almost every exercise we use. And I’ll explain in a moment why I say ‘almost’.

How can we know this?

By using a 1 RM calculator. RM stands rep max and 1 RM is the amount of weight we could move 1x for that exercise. To figure out your 1 RM perform 10 reps of a particular exercise and then plug this number into a 1 RM calculator. A quick google search will provide a tool to convert your 10 reps into a load you theoretically could lift once.

Depending on the calculator you use there could be a range of percentages for 10 reps. This percentage could range from 70-75% of your 1 rep max in order to complete 10 reps.

So which one is it? 70% or 75%?

The more experienced of a lifter you are the lower the number you can use.

And this applies for almost all your lifts except deadlifts where you don’t set the bar down and relase your grip on each rep. This is because if you don’t release the bar on each rep there is the tendency to bounce the bar off the floor for every rep after the 1st.

This will give you a false sense of the strength you believe to be developing because only on the 1st rep do you do a true pull from a bar at rest on the floor.

So look to test your lifts to see what you can do 10 times. Then plug these theoretical maxes into your training program and you can quickly figure out what your loads should be for everything from 1 upto 15 reps.

There will be less guessing each time you walk in the gym. Every weight you touch will feel exactly as it should it on the last rep. Challenging but not so difficult you alter your form or can’t complete a set.

Chris ‘always moving forward’

6 Best Simple Tips for Safer, Quicker Workouts

To me a workout is successful when I achieve results. This is probably no different than anyone else.

But beyond tht there are a couple of other things that constitute a successful workout. And these are workouts that are safe and quick.

I don’t want to get hurt when I workout. And I and want to be in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.

Because when you think about training is a means to an end. We train to look better, feel better and perform better. Sure I enjoy the process but for me it’s more about the end goal. I’d rather get in great shape for skiing in less than an hour and enjoy the rest of the day on the hill than spend hours on end wandering the gym room floor.

That being said here are 6 Tips for Safer, Quicker Workouts.

Tip #1 – Load the plates the correct way

Weight plates usually have two sides. One side is smooth with nothing on it and the other side is slightly hollowed out and has the numbers printed on it. When you load the plates on a bar make sure you position the smooth side facing out.




This side faces in.

Why is this important?

For two reasons. The first is that when you unload the plate you can wrap your fingers around the edge of the plate so that there is no risk of it falling on your toes. Secondly, the collars to secure the plates fit better on the smooth side of the plate.

Tip #2 – Set the bar to the lowest height

This tip applies when working out with someone else particularly in the squat rack. It may seem rather obvious but you’d be surprised the number of times I see people mess this up.

Imagine a guy 6’2″ and a girl 5’7″ doing squats. The height of the bar should be positioned so that it is set for the shorter person. It is much easier for a tall person to squat a little bit to unrack the bar as opposed to the shorter person finishing their set and getting up on their tip toes to rack the bar.

Tip #3 – Load the smaller weights first

This tip applies as well when training with someone else. Or it works also when training by yourself and performing two sets with different loads.

Imagine again our guy and girl from above doing bench press. If the guy works with 225 lbs and the girl with 95 lbs this could mean a lot of changing the weights between sets. And typically the guy likes to think he knows his way around the weight room and will take the lead in loading up the bar.

So this guy puts 2X45 lbs plates on each side of the bar to make up 225 lbs and does his set. Then he stands up and takes off the 2X45 lbs plates and replaces them with a 25 lbs plate on each side. And this is done for every set the couple will do.

Instead they should make up the girl’s weight first by placing the 2×25 lbs plates on the bar. Then a 45 lbs and 2X10 lbs plates can be added to each side.

Doing it this way involves less lifting in between sets and so more energy to put into your lifts not changing weights.

Tip #4 – Putting on/Taking off collars

Some people really struggle with putting on and taking off collars.

It doesn’t have to be that hard. The easiest trick I can share with you to place one hand at the end of the collar where you will squeeze and one hand on the collar at the bar.

As you squeeze the arms of the collar together with one hand slight the collar along the bar with the other.

Tip #5 – Setting the bar for bench

When you set up to bench make sure the bar is position as close to your chest as possible. You still only want your eyes under when bar when on the bar. But some racks, especially if you’re training in a power rack, allow you to roll the bar towards your chest a little bit.

Doing this reduces the amount of distance you move the bar horizontally upon lift off. This makes for a safer and energy saving start to your lift.

Tip #6 – Setting up with dumbbells

I’m always amazed at how cumbersome people can make working with dumbbells look. As they try and position the weights to the starting position they shift and change their set up so much it must be hard to maintain focus. And this doesn’t even consider the demands put on the training partner as a spotter.

Instead here are a couple of tricks I use that work for me. Feel free to incorporate them into your workout.

i. When doing a seated vertical press start with dumbbells balanced on the ends on your thighs. Position them closer to your knees than your hips. Let your spotter know when you will start then kick up each knee one at a time to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders.

ii. When doing supine (on your back) presses start seated with the dumbbells on your thighs but closer to the hips than than the knees. Let your spotter know you are ready and then lean back while bringing the duumbbells to the starting position.

With both of these methods try them first with a spotter and keep the dumbbells in tight to the body.

Well there you have it. 6 Tips for Safer, Quicker Workouts. And when you think about it if your workouts are safer than you are staying healthy and not getting injured. And if you can do more work in less time you are going to get better results.

So look to incorporate these tips to extract better results from your workouts.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                            ‘always moving forward’

The Top 5 Reasons Nutrition Should be Your Emphasis for 2011 Health, Fitness & Performance Goals

Over the next few days you’re going to see an emphasis on nutrition with respect to the content you receive.

Why nutrition?

Well because it has such a HUGE impact on the results you achieve. 

I mean we can put emphasis in our workouts. We can do more resistance-based workouts.

And we can also put more efforts on our recovery by doing more stretching, foam rolling, immediate post workout shakes and get adequate sleep at night.

But if you want the absolute best bang for your buck and return on investment than nutrition is the best place to start.

With that in mind here are The Top 5 Reasons Nutrition Should be Your Emphasis for 2011 Health, Fitness & Performance Goals.

Reason #1 – We may eat up to 20 times more than we train

It’s not uncommon these days for people to have their three squares a day, a post workout shake and a snack or two. This works out to 6 meals a day times 7 days and you have 42 meals a week.

The average gym goer visits their gym less than 3 days per week. This is the average of people who have gym memberships! Many others get a lot less exercise than this.

So if someone were eating 40 plus meals a week and training two times a week it’s easy to see where there is huge opportunity to make substantial gains and improvement by modifying their nutritional plan.

Reason #2 – We always consume

Even if you’re the most serious, dedicated athlete out there, there will still be times when you’ll take a day of rest.

But most of us aren’t professional. Or that serious. Or that motivated.

And there will be times when we are sick. Or injured. Or travelling. And therefore not able to train at all.

So while the outputs may slow, or stop altogether for brief periods, the inputs do not. We still eat.

There is therefore that much more reason to be aware of the quality and quantity of the foods we eat.

Reason #3 – Calories go in a LOT faster than they go out

If you own a caloric tracking device you know how hard it is to burn 400-500 calories. It doesn’t matter if you do sprints at the track, lift weights or do intervals on the rowing machine this is a lot of energy to burn and it can be quite uncomfortable.

Compare this to a Cold Stone PB&J milk shake which has, get ready for it…2100 calories!

But don’t despair…go run a marathon and you can burn this off in about 4 hours or so.

Any takers? Didn’t think so.

So just to summarize…one is uncomfortable and burns a relatively small amount of calories in 60 minutes or longer.

The other is a treat, tastes good, is bad for your health and can be consumed in 15-30 minutes.

 Reason #4 – Reducing sugar intake spikes fat burning

Do you remember the article I sent you a while back on the relationship between blood sugar and fat burning?

Basically as you decrease the amount of sugar in the blood your fat burning potential goes up. Way up!

So while all different types of exercise are important for stimulating your metabolism, building lean body mass and burning fat, reducing your sugar intake will have the most impact.

Here’s the link to how this allowed someone just like you lose 22 lbs in 7 weeks with no diet or exercise intervention!

Reason #5 – The research sides with nutrition

When we look at the impact of exercise and nutrition on fat loss/weight gain studies, nutrition exerts a stronger influence. Consider the following.

Researchers at Loyola University compared African women in the United States and rural Nigeria. The North American women weighed 184 lbs on average and the African counterparts 127 lbs.

The North American relatives weighed 45% more!

Initially they speculated the difference to be to activity levels. When they measured daily caloric output there was no significant difference.

Nutrition accounted for a 45% difference in the mass of the two groups of women.

So what does this all mean?

It means that if you are serious about your health, fitness and performance than you should be making nutrition a priority in your plan. In the coming days I’ll send you more tips, strategies and resources all related to nutrition.

And if you like deals and saving $$$ then you’ll want to watch your email closely in the next week or so for an incredible offer that pays for itself many times over. Plus you’ll get incredible results.

Now go look to see how you can incorporate these 5 rules into your daily plan to fast track your results for 2011.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                ‘always moving forward’

5 Rules to Know What Weights to Use

Today was a great morning. Why? Because when I was at the gym for a couple of sessions the gym was hopping.

And I don’t mean the cardio side of the gym which is normally busy but the weight room side. This brings a smile to my face as it makes me feel the message is starting to get out there to the masses that intense resistance-based workouts is the way to go for weight loss, sports performance or general fitness. Period.

While part of the crowd had to do with it being a Monday morning in January it was still encouraging to see a shift in training approaches taking place.

So what about the rest of the people there?

Why are there still so many cardio kings & queens? Well part of it is mis-information and believing that cardio will yield the best return on their investment. But part of it has to do with intimidation. Or not knowing what load to use.

You see many people would rather go to the gym and feel productive by walking/running on the treadmill than to venture over to the weight room side and feel lost.

So how can you feel confident and safe when selecting your weights for your training session? Here are 4 rules.

Rule #1 On Selecting the Correct Weight – Consider the muscles doing the work

If the first thing you can answer is what part of the body you will be working or what movements you will be performing you will do a better job at choosing the correct weight. For examplen if you were performing a squatting exercise you will be able to handle a heavier load than an exercise for the triceps. Duh, right?

You’d be surprised though to see the number of people that use the same dumbbell to squat with and then go straight into a triceps kickback.

Rule #2 On Selecting the Correct Weight – How familiar are you with the exercise?

What is your max bench? Deadlift or Squat? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answers to these. Unfortunately most coaches and trainers wouldn’t be able to answer this either. Sad, but true.

The point is that if you know exactly how much you can handle on a particular exercise then you should be able to train more aggressively and challenge yourself safely. When you’re not as familiar you have to start a little more slowly and figure things out as you go.

***quick aside…the Year Long Training Plan 2.0 has a 1 rep max calculator that walks you through how to figure your max lifts. It also has a template to plug these values into your workout sheets so your loads are already calculated for you.***

Rule #3 On Selecting the Correct Weight – You use a training journal

Do you deadlift? I’ll assume you do. What was the heaviest load you used on your last set? How many reps did you do? How did it feel? How long ago was that?

If you knew the answers to these questions it would be a whole lot easier to figure out how much load to use. Using a training journal, or the YLTP 2.0, ensures that you can track and progress your loads naturally rather than by your best guess.

Rule #4 On Selecting the Correct Weight – Aim to finish strong

When we lift we don’t want every one of our sets to be 100% effort. Intense training doesn’t mean to try and set a personal best every time you touch the bar.

Instead our goal is to warm up adequately and thoroughly enough that we can give our best effort on our last set. Personally if I’m doing 5 sets of an exercise the first three will be submaximal and gradually building. The fourth set will be more intense and challenging but leaving enough to still do better on the last set.

Rule #4 On Selecting the Correct Weight – How it looked & felt

One of the most basic lessons to learn with training is to listen to your body. When it feels good you run with. When it doesn’t you re-check your form. Sometimes you’ll reduce the range of motion and maybe the load.

But what you always want is for your last rep to feel and look as good as the first. Consider the speeed and tempo of the movement. Consider how the load feels on the targeted muscles. If there is a significant change in either of these on the last rep compared to the first you should reduce the load.

Rule #5 On Selecting the Correct Weight – Leave a little in the tank

Training is about stimulating the neuromuscular system to ellicit a response for growth and repair. This allows you to come back stronger the next day. I like to say ‘better to be 7% under your threshold then 1% over’.

There are no bonus points for overdoing it and actually this will set you back more than it will push you forward. And as long as you note in your training journal how the last set felt you’ll know to try a step up next time if it wasn’t enough of a challenge.

Keep these points in mind the next your wondering what weight to use. And you want a done-for-you program that takes the guesswork out of the equation message me about the Year Long Training Program 2.0.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                 ‘always moving forward’

How the Price is Right helps your training

Hey there: It’s Hallowe’en weekend and in the past I’ve given you some strategies as the ‘best’ treats to eat this weekend. Or I’ve given you extra workouts to do before heading out for a night of partying but today I have something different in store for you. But before I get to today’s tip I want to let you in a little experiment I’m running.

The experiment is the Collins Health Project. What this involves is a behind the scenes look at the healhy and not so healthy things I do. Yeah I admit it. Every now and again I like to enjoy a beer, some pizza and maybe even some ice cream. But I have a standard to maintain, as do the rest of you. And of the best ways to make ourselves accountable is to let others what we are doing. They will support us and give us a pat on the back. And at the same time they will let us know when something is out of character given what out stated goals are.

So with that in mind I’m going to video portions of my workout? I’m going show what I’m eating, how much and how often. You’ll get to see what I do to relax during my down time. This will serve two purposes which are to help me get in the best shape of my life and secondly to help you steal some ideas that may help you as well.

Stay tuned because some of the first footage you’ll see from this Hallowe’en weekend will be unique but hopefully serve as a great launching pad for the rest of the project. Now on to the tip.

Did you ever watch the Price is Right? I remember watching this a kid when we would visit our grandparents in Edmonton. And besides all the crazies who dress up for the show (sorry if you’re one of those crazies) but the games were really well branded and memorable.

I remember one game in particular where you had to guess the price of the prize. And there was a band that represented an upper and lower limit for the price. When they lit up your price behind the band you saw if it fell within the range of the band.

So how does this related to your training? Well think about the upper limit as the intensity, duration, frequency and type of your training. And the lower limit represents your rest, regeneration, tissue quality and nutrition. The two ends of the range are always connected. As the upper end of the slide rises the lower end gets pulled along.

But what most people do is start up with a training program and don’t put as much effort towards the lower end (the rest, recovery, tissue quality and nutrition). So this begins to put strain on the body.

With this strain there are a number of outcomes including fatigue, over-reaching, over-training and potential injury. Things that nobody wants.

So remember as you carry on with your training to think of the Price is Right game. As you are going to push harder and step up your workouts you need to make sure you are putting equal attention, if not more, to the other end of the spectrum.

Here’s the other cool thing. When you take some active rest and aren’t trying to extend the upper end of the range, continue to put as much emphasis on your nutrition and rest. This will allow your body to ‘catch its breath’ and optimize its potential. You may have experienced this if you’ve ever lost weight and looked your best while on vacation. You’ve minimized the stressors on the body and allowed the balance to swing in favour of ‘rest and digest’.

Have a safe and fun Hallowe’en. For anyone joining us for stairs tomorrow I may be dressed a little differently. (pics to follow)

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ‘always moving forward’