New video up! Double bottoms-up kettlebell clean and squat press

This really gassed me. It's great for conditioning. This is a really good exercise for teaching full body tension. Squeezing the kettlebell handles helps you to stabilize the shoulder. I really like this exercise - my forearms were destroyed! 

3 Pieces of the Muscle Building Puzzle

There is a specific combination of work, fuel and rest required to build muscle. If you're missing any of the parts of the puzzle your body won't gain lean mass no matter what you do. I'm going to attempt to quickly summarize these requirements for you. Here we go!

Consistency is key when you're trying to change your body. When you start a brand new exercise program, it takes your body approximately 8 weeks to adapt to your training. Unfortunately most people don't ever see the results they want because many people drop exercise plans after only 2 months, the same amount of time it takes you to even begin to see results. Most of the "gains" you make in the first two months are just your neuro/muscular pathways growing and your brain learning to recruit more of the fibers in your muscle. In bodybuilding lingo, this neuromuscular facilitation is often referred to as "the mind/muscle" connection. Muscular and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy happens after this point and takes consistent, intense and varied activity over time. It's important to use the overload principle to progress and build mass and size. You have to constantly challenge yourself by increasing weight, reps, sets, intensity or by reducing rest time.

Other than consistent resistance training building muscle also requires proper nutrition (fueling) and rest to help facilitate the body's healing process. The act of resistance training creates microtears in the muscle fibers. The "swole" or "pumped" feeling you get after a tough session is your body sending blood to the area to clean up damage, deliver oxygen and carry away lactate and other metabolic waste. After training when at rest the body uses ingested protein to repair the damage to muscle and connective tissues. It's especially important for athletes and bodybuilders to consume enough protein for it to be readily available for the body to use. The best types of protein for these purposes come from animal sources.

You also have to rest, ideally at least 6-8 hours. This is the time when your body repairs itself! Muscles aren't built during the time you spend in the gym, they are built that night while you sleep, and the next night. Less than the ideal number of shut-eye for you will stunt any gains you may have made if you had proper rest. This is due in part to hormonal irregularities (testosterone and cortisol) caused by lack of sleep as well as the stress on your body of running when it should be in standby.

TLDR; If you're interested in building muscle you have to train consistently, for a long time. You have to do the work, get plenty of rest and eat plenty of protein. All three of these things are necessary and if any are missing you won't see the results you hope for.

New Logo? I think so!

So I haven't started color correcting or printing anything out yet but I'm 99% sure this is our new logo! I love this artwork, I think it's exactly the visual style that I'm going for and I love the ecg blip in the bicep. Comments? I'd love to hear them!

About getting fitness information online...

Many of my personal training clients are office workers. I know that some of them get fitness information online, but how much of that information is good? I was browsing through a few subreddits on popular site for about 15 minutes today and came across a great deal of bad fitness there as well. I also find some popular men's and women's magazines that get it all wrong, despite their intentions.

So how do you wade through the huge amount of information online and weed out the good from the bad? I have a few tips:

1) Understand the context of the information you're searching for and adjust the application of that material based on your individual situation.
If you're researching the current Mr. Olympia Phil Heath and decide to do the same exercise program he uses, you will end up very injured. Phil has been doing what he does for a very long time and has a lot of pharmaceutical assistance. He has had time for his muscles, bones and connective tissues to adapt to the extreme stresses he places on them and his nervous system is adapted to insane amounts of intense training. He does this for a living and you (probably) don't.

2) Reject Supplements or protocols that claim to "cleanse" or "detoxify" you. They are inherently deceptive. Your body is self-cleaning. The only things you can do to detoxify is to avoid toxins in your food and drinks, eat organic food from farms and not processed food from factories. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Popular fasts like the "Master Cleanse" claim to cleanse your body and kickstart your metabolism. In reality they are unhealthy because you're not getting the two essential macronutrients, fat and protein. The result of this are not a cleaner or leaner body. Your metabolism slows to a crawl. Your blood sugar dips and spikes. Instead of burning fat your body starts squirting out lots of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes you to retain fat around your midsection. Then your body starts breaking down your muscle to retrieve protein instead of getting it from your diet. Your brain, connective tissues like ligaments and tendons and the meniscus in your knees and discs in your back are all made from fat you ingest. Enough said?

3) Check the sources - If the article or site is talking about research studies, do they provide links? Are these links to peer-reviewed medical journals? Don't trust wild claims about information from scientific studies if those studies aren't provided or if the author is unable to provide them if you ask. Anyone giving fitness information online should have credentials to back it up or be able to point you to those studies to show they have read them.

4) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. How does it hold up on further investigation? Over time? This is specifically for ridiculous things like "The Cookie Diet". C'mon? Really? This is also true for weightloss programs that help you lose weight without exercise. This isn't doing you any favors and it doesn't take into account the loss of muscle you experience trying to lose weight without resistance training. Who wants to lose muscle?

The difference 4 years makes...

Once upon a time, I had to SQUEEZE into these jeans.

I just can't stay motivated!

We all have days we want to skip a workout because we're just not feeling it. If you're not feeling motivated it can be tough to get out of the door and into the gym. You can't let this excuse hold you back!

Take this list and print it out. Hang it on your fridge or a mirror. If you don't have motivation go through this sucker and find a tip that will work for you! I've listed 52 ideas so there's one a week for a year!
I'd love to hear your ways to motivate yourself! Comment and let me know what works for you!

1. Make a new year's resolution
2. Make a bet
3. Ask someone to hold you accountable
4. set a specific goal with a date
5. Join a gym
6. Buy yourself a new workout outfit
7. workout at a specific time every day
8. Find a workout buddy
9. write your goals on your bathroom mirror
10. register for a race
11. make a vision board
12. run with your dog, or a friends dog
13. start a journal or blog of your exercise
14. Change up your routine by finding a new exercise
15. Take photos to document your progress. Take a new photo every other week and track your changes.
16. Make your workout a game, with a goal to go heavier, more intense or longer than last time
17. Schedule an appointment with a personal trainer
18. Sign up for a group exercise class
19. reward yourself after a hard workout with a massage
20. Commit publicly by posting about your workouts on social networking sites
21. Just show up. Sometimes getting to the gym is the hardest part!
22. Watch exercise videos. Sometimes just seeing other people working out with give you motivation to get out there yourself!
23. Make a list of the benefits you've experienced from exercise.
24. Make it a rule never to skip two workouts in a row.
25. Join a charity fund-raising fitness group. You can train and raise money for a good cause!
26. Listen to music or books on tape when you exercise.
27. Prepare your workout clothes before bed and make exercise the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning.
28. Make a list of common excuses you use not to work out, and a response to each of them. Use it when you feel like skipping your workout.
29. Get a calendar and give yourself a gold star each day you work out. Reward yourself when you hit every scheduled workout for a month.
30. Try a friend's workout routine and have them try yours.
31. Get a pedometer and see how many steps you take in a day. Make a game to take more steps than you did yesterday. Active people usually have at least 10000 steps a day.
32. Subscribe to a fitness magazine or online newsletter
33. Take measurements. A tape measure is a good way to show you progress.
34. If you've been logging your workouts, look back on old workouts to see how far you've come.
35. Find a mantra. Lots of people have phrases they repeat to themselves to keep motivated.
36. Change your scenery. Do your workout in a different place.
37. Having a tough day? Use your workout to relieve stress! Being upset or angry at someone can be a great motivator to turn up the intensity in the gym!
38. Plan for special occasions - weddings, class reunions, or big dates are a great reason to exercise!
39. Find a winter sport you love to stay motivated when it's cold outside!
40. Think about the health benefits. You'll be less likely to get sick or run down if you're in better shape!
41. Make yourself a priority! Often times we don't exercise because we have other things that need our attention. For you to be at your best you have to take care of yourself too!
42. Get started today! Don't wait until a specific date to begin your quest for health.
43. Going out of town? Make sure any hotels you stay at have a workout room and take advantage!
44. Make it a habit! Once you have a pattern of exercise for 3 or 4 weeks in a row you'll really start to miss it on the days you skip.
45. Buy an outfit that you really love but doesn't QUITE fit. Use this as your goal and get to work!
46. Take time to meditate every day about your goals. Set new goals as you achieve them!
47. Take baby steps - sometimes even small gradual changes will make a big difference down the road!
48. Find a photo of someone who inspires you to be fit (children, spouse, friends) and put it somewhere you’ll see it often. When you see it, imagine new fun, active things to do with that person.
49. Look for one article talking about or photo of your favorite activity each day to keep it fresh and exciting.
50. Climb Spencer's Butte (or any hill or butte you’d like) and record your time to the top. Make a specific goal to improve your time in a month.
51. Watch an inspirational movie or have a Rocky marathon!
52. Put your money where your mouth is! Pay yourself to exercise… Put a dollar in a piggy bank every time you exercise and crack it open once a year and have fun!


It's important to have supportive people around you. When you are trying to change your body it requires a good amount of dedication and discipline. Sometimes if you feel weak or depressed or frustrated or are just having a rough day, having a supportive person there who understands what you're trying to do can be the difference between make or break.

This can be especially important when you live with someone else. Sometimes your wife/husband/significant other/roommate brings things into the house that are tempting or otherwise not in line with your idea of healthy eating or your macros. Sometimes you have to eat out for a business dinner or a special occasion. It' easy for this to throw you off if you've been in a good groove.

Sometimes it's hard to find time to fit your training into your schedule. Once again this can be complicated by other peoples schedules too. This can be a sleep issue - maybe you're not able to get to bed as early as you could because someone is up late playing video games or making noise.

There are a number of other ways that not having a good support system for your body change can really interfere. One thing that can help is to sit down with that person or persons and explain to them why you are doing the things you are doing. Whether it is a dietary restriction, a time restriction or just a pattern that is going on that prevents you from being the best you can, sometimes talking to that other person and asking them to help and support you is necessary.

It can be tough to have that conversation but once you do it can make a huge difference. Sometimes people don't realize how difficult it can be to make real physical changes or don't even realize that something they are doing is making it tough for you. Take a chance and ask for their help! Explain you want to be the best you can so you have more healthy energetic time to spend with them. Having them there to support and help you can help you stay consistent when you're having a hard time by yourself! Communication is key!


When I was a kid I really wanted to be the Flash. He was the fastest man on Earth! He ran through walls and up the sides of buildings, dodged bullets and could probably run fast enough to go back in time. Unfortunately as a kid I never really ran much, not like I do now. Once I started running as an adult I realized I would spend the rest of my life trying to be faster. As a result I've spent a lot of time researching how to become faster. Let me tell you what I've found - there are all kinds of ways to be faster!

You can have faster fast twitch muscle response and therefore more explosive movement. This comes in handy for jumping such as the types you do in basketball or volleyball. You can be faster on your feet. You can run faster for distance, sprint faster, or a combination of both. You can also cycle faster, perform other sport or exercise movements faster or just increase from a slow walk to a faster walk.
All of those things are ways to be faster and there are a lot of ways to train for each depending on which type of speed you are interested in.

One way to increase speed is to shave off bodyfat. Luckily one of the best ways to shave off bodyfat is also a great way to increase speed - sprinting. Sprinting will make you run faster because it uses a different type of muscle fiber than the type you primarily use while running for distance. You will still use some of the same fibers and those fibers will become stronger and more efficient and increase your speed. Sprinting also doesn't last long enough to put your body into a catabolic (muscle-burning) state the way that endurance running can, so it's better for your body composition overall. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn at rest. Therefore if you sprint you not only burn lots of calories but you make yourself stronger and you really put your body in the perfect state hormonally and metabolically to torch your fat without burning away any muscle.

Another great way to make yourself faster and to really train your fast twitch muscle response is Olympic weightlifting. Olympic lifting is comprised of a number of explosive pulling movements and catches using a heavy weight. Many of these are also utilizing hip hinge movements, heavy weights and explosive power and as a result they also torch bodyfat and make you strong as an ox. You'll sprint faster, jump faster, and move faster in lots of other ways.

Increasing muscle mass and burning fat are the keys here! Working both fast twitch and slow twitch systems will make you better, stronger and faster overall. It's all about recognizing the goal and programming appropriately to get you there.


Who doesn't like the idea of being stronger? It's great to be able to carry all of the groceries into the house in one trip. It's nice to be able to carry your children or pets or smaller, weaker hiking partners when they get tired of walking. It's a great feeling to know that no matter what challenge you face physically, you are confident you can perform competitively. You can out-perform and outlast your challengers. When you're strong you fear less. When you're strong you can handle more without breaking. In addition to the obvious benefits of maneuvering through space being easier, putting on lean muscle mass protects your health in a number of ways. With more muscle you have a higher metabolism and your burn fat faster. With more muscle you have a higher insulin sensitivity. With more muscle you have a higher chance of surviving an extended hospital stay.

So how do you get stronger? It takes hard work. It takes consistent, repeated, self-inflicted struggle. Hard work, lifting heavy weight and sweating puddles is what makes you stronger. Physical and mental dedication and perseverance will get you running, cycling, hitting the gym and doing what it takes to reach your goals. To get stronger physically you have to be strong mentally. You have to stay strong and do it often and keep at it a long time to see lasting results. If it was easy everyone would do it.


I recently read an article on T-nation called "Set a PR Every Day" and I really liked what it had to say because it's close to the way that I approach my own training and the training of my clients. The article is here: Set a PR Every Day

What I took away from this article is that every workout should offer me an opportunity to perform better in one aspect of my training. Whether that's a stronger focus, intensity and drive, heavier weights, higher reps or more sets I can always find something to improve and make myself stronger. I love this outlook because it creates positive neural connections to exercise and allows me to have a good training day even if I'm feeling a little weaker or more tired that normal. I can simply drop my weight to what I can do with good form and then increase my reps or sets to allow myself to walk away from that workout with a win.

Another part of my philosophy in making myself better than before is not comparing myself to other people, but to my own performance and progress. As long as I'm a little better than I was yesterday I walk away happy. I strive to compete against my own times, my own strengths and push forward toward my own goals. It's all about me being stronger and more powerful than I was and making myself better and better all the time. That's not to say that some competition isn't healthy because it can be a great motivator as well, but when dealing with body image and keeping things in a positive way I don't focus on the competition.

When performance of a sport is concerned body image is less of an issue and fitness is less of a focus. With sports the training focus shifts to improving performance and preventing injury. I believe both of those things are equally important. By establishing a healthy movement pattern and strengthening healthy patterns that already exist the athlete prevents injury and increases functional capacity. In addition to sports performance this definitely makes activities of daily life easier.

Better and better.

Attitude is everything

Whether you're training for fat loss, putting on muscle or improving your game, changing your body is a mental and physical challenge. Keeping your attitude positive and keeping your level of determination high and your eyes on a goal will take you a long way, even when your body is exhausted. Drive and focus are necessary to squeeze out those last few reps of a set when you're using a heavy weight. Visualizing yourself running across the finish line can help propel you that last mile even if your legs want to give up. You mind is a powerful force and learning how to keep a winning attitude will take you a long way.

On the other hand, a negative self defeating outlook can slow or halt progress, degrade performance, even cause depression and sickness!
So how can you change a negative attitude and maintain a positive one? I have a few suggestions:

1) Listen to how you talk to yourself, especially when things aren't going well. Anytime you say something negative think of two positive things to counter it.

2) Surround yourself with people, images, places, ideas or things that take you closer to your goals. Don't spend time listening to the haters. Try to spend time with positive people and eliminate as much negativity from your life as you can.

3) Deal with stress by getting enough sleep, eating well and getting the proper amount of exercise. When you are not hungry or exhausted and you feel strong and confident it's much easier to have a good attitude.

4) Keep your eyes on the prize! Set a goal and use it to propel you forward. Every small step toward that goal will reinforce your positive change!

5) Draw inspiration from others if you have to. Watch a Rocky movie marathon, your favorite sports, or another motivational video and use it to help you get your head in a better spot. Call a friend or family member who is always positive.

6) Acknowledge where you are and where you've come from! You're taking steps and making progress. Recognize and celebrate the small victories.

With a winning attitude you'll make bigger strides in whatever direction you point yourself, with less effort.

Introducing Better, Stronger, Faster Fitness!

Welcome to the inaugural post of the Better, Stronger, Faster Fitness blog!

My name is Mike Welch and I'm an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. Better, Stronger, Faster Fitness is the online and media arm of my personal training business. I do exercise programming, fitness coaching and one-on-one personal training via Skype as Better Stronger Faster Fitness. If you live in or near Eugene, Oregon I also provide personal training in a private studio at Genuine Fitness LLC in West Eugene.

I specialize in weight loss, lean muscle gain, performance improvement and corrective fitness. My passion is making you Better, Stronger and Faster. Stop by and see me in person, or keep watching this blog for original content articles, video posts and other surprises!