All Good Things Must End

All Good Things Must End

Note: This post was originally an email sent just to the cool kids on our list. To be one of them Click Here, but read this first!

I had all intentions on writing this last night but I got sucked into “7 Seconds.” Damn you Netflix. Once I’m on I’m locked in like a dog on a bone.

If you’re looking for a nail biting productivity killer I strongly suggest you check it out.

Thank GOD Netflix wasn’t around in the 90s!

You know, back when a killer Saturday night meant binge watching Dirty Dancing on VHS with 4 other girls while sharing a bean bag chair and a couple pints of Cherry Garcia…

Or in my case, slamming Jolt, doing dizzy bats, and watching Major League while trying to cover your junk to avoid nut shots.Those were the good ol’ days…

Staying up late, asking Magic 8 Ball who was going to be your Johnny, where you were going to live, and what kind of epic life you were going to create…

As you’ve realized life doesn’t exactly workout the way we think it will. Life actually throws a pretty wicked curve ball.It happens to businesses too…

You spend sleepless nights watching Gary Vaynerchuk videos, creating the ideal business in your head, and all is groovy…

Except life…

…Curve balls.

In 2011 I hosted a visioning workshop at the gym. At that time we were the only gym in the area doing semi private training. Things were growing. Word was spreading about the customized training we were doing and the results we were getting…

My vision?

I wanted to be able to help more people. So I scribbled UA2 on the wall that day…

A second location. Loudoun County. It’s all I could come up with. It’s the only thing that made sense…

A year later we opened up a second location, Sterling Va, in an industrial park, on the back side of the airport.It was a beautiful facility although way too hot in the summer, and way too cold in the winter, but it was sexy, and the people…

They were amazing!

But all good things must end.

Fast forward 5 years…

Last Friday, March 2nd, I officially locked the doors and turned in the keys to UA Sterling…

After 4 days of moving and pulling up the turf flooring, apparently glued down to withstand a nuclear blast, my hands bled, my back ached, and I sat in silence on the bare concrete floor.

Cold. Empty warehouse. Wind blowing, hard enough to rip the doors off…

But I sat there in peace…

…and I remembered why I started…

To help more people…

I closed UA Sterling for several reasons.

  1. Our lease was up
  2. We couldn’t afford 3-5 more years with a 3% increase in rent each year (I’m convinced that’s one big reason most brick and mortar businesses go under)
  3. We couldn’t get proper heat and AC in there
  4. The road construction was never ending and no one wanted to deal with the nightmare traffic on 606
  5. I couldn’t find enough quality coaches to staff both locations. Believe me I searched!

But those were all minor, just whip cream on the sunday

I actually made up my mind several months earlier after reading two books, “Finding Your Why” by Simon Sinek and “Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham.

I realized I was feeling disconnected from my tribe. I couldn’t be two places at once so I was perpetually torn. Instead of helping more people I felt like I wasn’t helping anyone. I tried to change my mindset and realize my role had to change. I understood that, but it didn’t mean I had to like it. It’s not what I wanted.

Opening a bunch of gyms just didn’t excite me.

I love to coach and I love working closely with people I care about. I love helping people directly. I love innovating and creating, but not managing people and property…

Small Giants made me realize it’s ok to focus on being small and being great, and that growth doesn’t necessarily mean more locations…

Finding your why made me realize WHY building a community and a “fitness family” is so important to me…

When I was 4 years old my family broke apart. Before that we were poor, but we were whole. Then all of the sudden it was weekdays with mom and weekends with dad. Eventually leading to full time with mom, but split holidays…

And they were hell.

They stressed me out. I hated going from one house to another, driving 30 minutes just to do the same damn show all over again.

Why couldn’t we all just be together?

Under one roof, it’s all I ever wanted…

Children either mimic or complete their past. If you know me, you know how I am with my kids and my family. I’m on a relentless quest to keep the family happy and together. I will do everything in my power to not let my children go through the pain that I did.

But for some reason it didn’t stop me from doing it to my business. Finding Your Why opened my eyes to what I was doing…

No more…

The Future Of Underground Athlete?

I signed a 5 year lease at our Fairfax location and took over another 2,500 square feet that we are in the process of turning into another studio for specialty classes, seminars, movie nights, and a Gary Young photography show.

There’s another 600 square feet that we’re turning into a little lounge/coffee, juice, and on some rare nights wine, bar (pictures to come)…

We are putting a limit on our semi private training memberships (we have about 30 more available spots). We will be improving our distance (online) coaching and we will be building an online platform for the public, other coaches, and other businesses.

But most importantly…

We are focused on growing great versus growing big, and keeping a tightknit family under one roof.So if you’ve been on the fence about joining we’ve still got some room.

If you want the support, programming, and coaching but can’t get to us physically, I suggest you join our growing and improving distance training program before the prices go up.

If you just want to swing by, have a coffee, shoot the shit, and see the upgraded UA Fairfax, keep reading my emails because I’ll be sending out the date of our grand reopening soon.

Thanks for caring enough to read this far. You’re good people and I’d love to be part of your fitness journey!

As always, let me know if there’s anyway I can help…

Dedicated to your success,

PS I hope you notice when I talk about UA I say “we,” and not “I.” It’s intentional. UA is not me, it’s “us.” It’s a family. And that is why this will be the first thing I hang in our new community coffee spot.

Rise Up!

Unless You’re Easily Offended, This New Method Could Be Your First Class Ticket To Achievement

I should have seen it coming…

I pushed “send” and within minutes people started unsubscribing…


My guess is the headline because there’s no way they even had time to read it…

Lesson: Never judge a book by it’s title. There was some quality content to be absorbed…

So I’m doing the unthinkable…

Taking my most unsubscribed email ever and posting it again as a blog simply because I want people to have and use this method of getting $h1t done.

And if you’re curious I’ll also share with you that infamous headline.

So without further ado, here’s the email I sent today…

It’s ok, we all do it…

And be honest. Don’t they usually stink?

Would you believe me if I told you that one of your biggest problems is that you never tell anyone when you do it?

Before going any further let me make sure we’re on the same sheet of music

Hopefully you figured out I’m talking about setting GOALS…

Did you actually think I’d write an email about farts?!

I know you’ve heard it before…

Make S.M.A.R.T goals..

The guroo life coaches PREACH…

….your goals have to be


But how has that been working for ya?

Today I’m putting out into the world my own little spin on SMART goals because, well, I think that acronym has been failing you long enough.

Today I introduce to you…

**drum roll please**

WHO FARTS BAD, or BAD FARTS WHO to be technical. WHO FARTS BAD just has a certain ring to it…

Regardless here’s what my funky new method stands for.

Keep reading because this doesn’t stink…. Ok I’m done, promise

BTW that was the headline “Who Farts Bad.”

Anyway, this is a fool proof outline for making and achieving your goals so don’t discount it because it’s a silly acronym.





Disclaimer: I don’t have my PhD in psychology and I haven’t done any scientific studies on this method but this is what works for me and hopefully will for you too.

“If you know your WHY you can endure any HOW”

Why – At UA we call it your 567. It’s what drives you to get up early and get uncomfortable. A powerful why forces you to become hyper focused on the goal at hand.

Think about it…

Almost everyone I talk to wants to lose 10-15lbs. When I ask them how long they’ve wanted to lose 10-15lbs I usually get “about 10 years” or “forever.” How come those same people, when told by their doctor that they’re diabetic or at risk of heart attack make quick work of that goal?

Because, they didn’t need more information or the perfect plan…

They needed a big enough WHY.

Half your goal – It’s great to set big hairy audacious goals, but the perfectionist in you is always watching, sitting right there on your shoulder waiting for you to come up short or doubt yourself.

Do me a favor…Strap that little perfectionist monster to a rocket and send her / him to the moon. Then set take your goal, whatever it is, and cut it in half, or less…

If your goal is to write a book. X that. Make your goal to write a chapter. Writing a book is a daunting task. You’ll feel more successful and more motivated if you just write a chapter and you’ll be more likely to finish because now you’ve got the magic of MOMENTUM!

Obstacles – List all the obstacles that you anticipate getting in your way. Of course things will come up that aren’t on your list but if you can anticipate some of your more common obstacles then you can come up with an action plan to avoid them or at least deal with them in a way that doesn’t totally derail you.

Fun – This is a big one. Especially for people whose goal is to get in shape. It’s the main reason SMART goals don’t work. If you’re not having fun you’re not going to stick with it. Now does that mean your workout has to feel like you’re getting a massage on the beach while eating ice cream and gummy worms? Of course not! But the GOAL should be fun and if working out is a necessary part of reaching your goal, well then Nike…. JUST DO IT

What if you love biking but you hate running or swimming? Newsflash… setting a goal of doing a triathlon is not a good goal for you. You’ll be miserable training for it. You’ll give up. You’ll label yourself a quitter. You’ll be less likely to set a goal in the future. You’ll sell your bike. And you’ll probably end up homeless…

…Just sayin…

Set a goal of doing a bike race instead.. Then get your butt on the road and in the gym and start training for it. FYI the point of working out isn’t to get better in the gym, it’s to help you get better at life and to help you keep doing what you love doing longer, better, and safer.

I think a lot of people forget that…

Sure when I was 21 I worked out to TRY to impress girls (you’ll read in a minute how TRY means it didn’t happen) in the weight room and on the beach. But now? I workout to impress 1 girl, my daughter Naya. If I can’t swing her around, carry her on my shoulders, and throw her up in the air when I come home I’ve failed.

My goal is simple. To have the energy and strength to be the Dad my kids deserve. That and to be the strongest, most in shape dad at my son’s preschool and future sporting events 🙂

Announce – Say it out loud it’s more likely to happen. Social media, a close friend, your spouse, it doesn’t matter just take that goal from out of your brain housing group and let it be heard. That’s when things get real…

Fun fact: If you just tell someone you’re going to do something you get a straight shot to the head of dopamine. This alone actually makes you less likely to achieve your goal. So don’t just tell them you’re doing something. Tell them you would like them to hold you accountable to the actions you’re going to take to achieve the goal.

Realistic – I’m all for big goals, but if you’re 52 and your goal is to grow 5 inches this year, you’ve got issues. Hopefully realistic is pretty self explanatory

Time Bound – A goal without a deadline is a dream. So working backwards, tell someone your goal and tell them when you’ll do it by.

Does that scare you a little? Good!

A good goal will make your heart skip a beat or two when you think about it…

Specific – Don’t just say you “want to lose weight.” Say I’m going to lose 20lbs by January 1st 2018. Out Loud. To A Friend…

Behaviors – Your behaviors have to match your goals. I told this to the wonderful woman I had the pleasure of meeting last night…

Thanks for the referral Andrea (who‘s coming back after a year off from UA to get back in tip top shape at 47 years young).

See what happens when you tell people? They hold you accountable!

Anyway, this well-intentioned woman asked if she could still go out to eat and have deserts.

“Of course” I said, “you just have to change your goal.”

Do this…

Make a list of all the behaviors of someone who achieves the goal you’re going to achieve.. example: if your goal is to run a marathon, you’re going to list all the behaviors you think a marathon runner has…

They have discipline. They take care of their body. They follow a plan. They eat healthy so they don’t gain weight. They stay hydrated.

Now create your behavior action plan…

To stay disciplined I will – Set my alarm for 4:30 and lay out my running shoes and outfit the night before.
To take care of my body I will – Get a massage a month and take 2 epsom salt baths a week.
To follow a plan I will – Hire a coach or hit the interwebs for general programs
To eat healthy I will – Get healthy ready made meals delivered
To stay hydrated I will – Drink 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water each day…

Attitude – I could write a whole book on this so I’ll save it.. In the Marine Corps the first thing our weapons instructor told us on the rifle range was this…

“Keep a PMA at all times.”

PMA = positive mental attitude. If you don’t think you’ll hit your target, you won’t. Simple as that. Change your attitude and change your life.

Now to conclude my WHO FARTS BAD method of achieving your wildest dreams…

The most important step…

Decide – The first and most obvious way of interpreting this is to compare deciding to trying or wanting. If you try to do something you don’t actually do it. If you want something, ok good, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.

BUT, when you DECIDE to do something, it’s done. Nothing left to talk about. Think about it like a relationship..

Boy TRIES to leave girl. Does it happen? NO

Boy WANTS to leave girl. Does it happen? NO

Girl DECIDES to leave boy. Does it happen? Hell Yeah. Bags packed. Facebook status changed.

The second way you need to decide is by choosing just ONE GOAL. Don’t try to do 10 things at once. When it comes to goal setting, be a sniper rifle not a shotgun.

If you made it this far I hope you take this and become WHO FARTS BAD master! If you attempt this on your own please when you get to ANNOUNCE, shoot me over an email justin.case@undergroundathlete.com.

I want to be on your team!

Now I’d like to ask you…In January 2016 I did a goal setting workshop at the gym. It helped a ton of people have a really successful year. I’m considering doing it again this year as an online workshop / webinar so that I can help more people…

Would you be interested in virtually attending? It would include walking you through all the steps here (this was just the outline) and helping you get crystal clear on what you want, why you want it, and how you’ll achieve it.

Reply back or text 5714187050 with “add me” or “heck yeah” or “sure it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye” and I’ll let you know when I’m ready to do it.

Don’t worry, it will definitely be before 2018 to help you start the new year off with a bang.

I know this was a bit long so thanks for reading. I hope it helped!

Have an outstanding Tuesday!

Dedicated to your success,

PS. If you read my last email and thought I was seriously upset about being called “not a brunch guy,” I was not. It was total sarcasm and proof I need to improve my written communication!

PPS. If you don’t want to wait for the goal setting workshop / webinar and you’d like to set up a one on one goal setting success session with me, just reply back to this email and we’ll get it on the calendar.

PPPS If you’d like to get this kind of awesome and possibly offensive (in the best way) stuff delivered weekly, join the inner FREE by signing up HERE.


Basics of Program Design: Balancing Pushes and Pulls

Basics of Program Design: Balancing Pushes and Pulls

“I read part of it all the way through” – Samuel Goldwyn

Here’s hoping that you read all of this all the way through (if nothing else than for the picture of the cute puppy balancing). Program design encompasses far too much to
attempt to cover in a single blog post. I do, however, want to talk about the importance of balancing some of the variables that go into it. Anyone can just throw a single workout together
without too much trouble, but that doesn’t mean that day will be good, nor does it mean it will fit into the rest of the week well either.

No, not that type of balance, although it is cool too.

An easy concept to think about is balancing upper body pushes and pulls (think bench press and rows respectively). A good starting point for a lot of people is to have a pull:push ratio
of 2:1, or even 3:1 in some cases. Eventually the goal would be to get this ratio closer to 1:1 over time though for most. What this means is for every horizontal or vertical push you do, you
should do twice or three times as many horizontal or vertical pushes (mouthful of jargon I know, so let me simplify). A vertical push/pull is done with your arms overhead, such as when doing overhead presses or pulldowns respectively. A horizontal push/pull is done with your arms goingforward or backward, such as during DB bench presses or rows respectively. So, for every “chest” or push exercise you do try to do two “back” or pulling exercises as a rule of thumb.

Most people benefit from prioritizing pulls in training because of the nature of society currently. Lots of people sit all day at work with potentially poor posture, go to the gym only to
train the mirror muscles (the chest, biceps, abs, etc.), etc. Below is an example of two upper body days to make this easier to see visually.

Day 1
Bench Press 3 x 6
1 Arm DB Row 3 x 10ea
Seated DB OH Press 3 x 10
Lat Pulldown 4 x 10 ea
Chest Supported Row 3 x 15
Rear Delt Fly 3 x 15

Day 2
Bent Over Row 4 x 8
DB Bench Press 4 x 8
½ kneel 1 arm cable row 3 x 10ea
Cable fly 3 x 12
Sled row 3 x 10 yards
TRX body row 3 x 12

There are times and reasons for deviating from a balanced program but that doesn’t mean it should only be that way. A few exceptions (but not all) are:

  • If you are a powerlifter or olympic lifter
  • You have a lagging body part/area you want to add mass or strength too
  • Have an injury and can’t train a certain part of your body

Powerlifters and Olympic lifters must train in specific ways that will allow them to excel at their sport. Powerlifters for example, must prioritize the big 3 (bench, squat, and deadlift)
which can mean other things don’t get given the same attention. There might be less single leg work done, less upper body pulling (think rows, pull-ups, etc.), among other things.

If someone’s chest is lacking in size and strength, then it could be a good idea to add more volume (sets x reps x weight) to that area for a time. Regardless of the reasons for focusing
on this area it will undoubtedly throw off the balance of the program to an extent. This is why it’s might be beneficial to do from time to time but not for the majority of your training

With few exceptions, you can almost always train with an injury (unless you’re in a full body cast or something severe). If you hurt your right leg then that means there is still plenty of
upper body work that can be done. In addition, there is plenty of single leg work that can be done on the left leg as well.


See, I wasn’t kidding about the cute puppy balancing

When looking at a program to examine whether it is balanced well or not, you can’t just look at one day, but instead you must look at the entire week (AKA microcycle). Better yet,
ideally you would look at the whole month and even the year (depending on how far ahead you plan). When looking at an entire year of training most of the time spent training should be done with balanced programming (barring the exceptions above).

Are you a competitive power lifter who does a ton of pressing and not quite as much pulling? Cool, no worries. Spend a month or so after a meet working on increasing your pulling volume before going into another couple months of powerlifting specific training. Got a body part that is lagging behind in terms of muscular development? Just allocate more volume towards that muscle group for a month or so before going back to a more well rounded program. Programs don’t have to be 100% perfectly balanced all the time, nor should they be. But it’s an important thing to keep in mind when writing programs for yourself or someone else.

Rise Up!

Are Fitness Trackers Worth It?

Are Fitness Trackers Worth It?

Let’s play a game.. I’ll say a word then you say the first word that pops in your noggin..

Ready. Set. Go!

Peanut Butter…



Best Gym…


Pretty easy right.. Without even thinking I know you just rattled off
Protein (If you said cookies we need to talk)
Underground Athlete


Fitness trackers have become so dang common that I can break the ice with most people by asking them how many steps they’ve taken that day.

I’m not a big fitness tracker guy but, like coffee, sneakers, buffalo wings, and french onion soup, I’ve tried enough to feel comfortable sharing my opinion with you.

Here’s what I’ve discovered

The iWatch

I must preface this by saying me and watches don’t have the best history. I buy a lot of them and wear none of them. My cousin had a Citizen watch when we were in high school and I thought it made him a complete baller. Once I could finally afford a watch that wasn’t casio I bought myself a solid gold Citizen.

It didn’t make me a baller..

Fast forward 20 years.. My wife washed my Apple nano and I said she could make it up to me by buying me the new iwatch.

Mistake… I should have just had her replace the nano or taken me out for sushi!

The only reason I wanted the iWatch was for the heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking capabilities. It was cool for about a week and I felt pretty hipster, but it took too long to check my heart rate and it wasn’t as accurate as I would have liked (doesn’t everyone wear a polar heart rate monitor and an iWatch at the same time to compare data?) Plus the fact that the battery had the lifespan of gnat = not for me.

Enter the…


I thought I just needed to simplify my life so I bought a fitbit. The fitbit had what I wanted in the iWatch without all the fancy stuff that confused me. It told me how many steps I took and it let me talk trash to my wife which is always a bonus. I had fun with it for about 3 weeks until it died on me. I wrote the company and they sent me a replacement at no cost. Points for customer service. Two weeks later it lost it’s novelty and it has remained on my shelf ever since. I will say that it was nice to have the sleep monitoring, but if that’s what you’re looking for there’s better options in the market.. Overall if you like simple things, you’re not too competitive, and you only care about seeing daily activity but not necessarily effort, fitbit might be for you..

But don’t be this couple

Or the guy we saw on a 5 hour flight that looked like Arsenio Hall the. whole. time.

Polar H7

When it comes to heart rate monitors Polar is always a solid go-to, quality product, reputable, and versatile. The Polar H7 pairs up with just about everything in the gym. There are some nice apps you can use with it like Polar Beat, Polar Flow, and Polar Team but there was just something missing for me. As much as I tried to love it, I couldn’t… We even used the group heart rate tracking system in the gym for some time. It was cool, but we needed more.



Myzone Fitness Tracking we use for personal training

I always reserve the right to change my mind, but as of right now May 2017 I’m loving the MyZone system. It’s been everything I’ve desired in other fitness trackers. If I had to analyze it I would say that MyZone satisfies all of my basic human needs.
It gives me certainty. It’s consistent, always works, and the battery life is ridiculous!
It gives me uncertainty by allowing me to set up challenges and connect with everyone in the gym so we can encourage each other 90% of the time and talk trash 10% of the time.
It gives me significance by promoting me to the bronze badge from the iron badge and allowing me to collect “likes” on my workouts… What did our egos do before there were likes???
It gives me love and connection… All the members of UA are connected through this little fitness tracker and it’s kind of built a supportive community inside an already supportive community.
It give me growth. It makes me want to challenge myself to improve every week. It allows me to set goals for yourself. It also recalibrates and gets more accurate the more you use it, so that’s cool.
It gives me contribution. This month we are doing a MEP challenge. MEPs are the little points you get for having your heart rate elevated. Every MEP is a bragging right. They’re like gold around the gym. So this month we’ll be doing a workout where we’ll add up everyone’s MEPs and donate 10cents to charity for every MEP.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about you should go back and read my blog on the human needs here

The coolest part of the myzone system is that you are connected to everyone in the gym and whenever someone walks in the gym I can see if they’re nervous because their high heart rate pops up immediately on the screens. I kid… The for seriously best part is that it can be used in and out of the gym. I can coach people through heart rate zones in New York by just logging into the app and seeing the details of their training. It also stores all the data on the device so you don’t need to have your phone with you while your hiking, biking, etc…

In our group classes we set target heart rates for each exercise which is nice when you want to make sure everyone is pushing hard enough. It also let’s us individualize our group training. Someone who’s more conditioned is going to recover faster and be able to repeat an exercise faster than someone who may not be as conditioned. So as cool as it is too see people’s heart rates going up into the red, it’s also cool to see heart rate recovery rate improve as people’s fitness level improves.

MyZone is first fitness tracker I’ve owned that really does make me want to be more consistent with my training. No one wants to miss an opportunity to miss getting some MEPs

We’ve got an Underground Athlete bowling night coming up and I guarantee some people will be keeping score with MEPs rather than PINs

So are fitness trackers worth it? I’d say yes…if you can find one that fits your personality.

If you want my vote on which one to get it’s MyZone, but if you have multiple personality disorder, a big bank account, or you’re a gadget hound like Gary Young buy them all 🙂

Rise Up!


Are you goals adding value to your life?

Are you goals adding value to your life?

How much thought do you put into the goals that you make for yourself? Do you
currently write down goals for yourself at all?

As Benjamin Franklin once said “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Not all goals are created equal, nor are all coaches and gyms created equal. Great
coaches help you understand what your goals truly are and pushes you to be able to reach
them. Poor coaches push their own goals on you and don’t give you the push you need to get
to the destination you desire. Whether you want to have 6 pack abs, do your first pull-up, or I
don’t know, do the most shake weight reps in a minute…having a coach can make all the
difference in helping you reach YOUR goals.


Are well thought out and specific goals better than vague and meaningless ones? Yup.

Can a good coach help turn those well thought out goals into reality? You bet ya. Am I excited
to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2? Heck yeah! (I mean come on, Baby Groot is
adorable…but I digress.) Creating goals using the framework of S.M.A.R.T. goals can be a great
starting point to getting more from your goals. This acronym stands for

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

Specific: Specific goals have detail and are well defined, they aren’t just vague
statements. Don’t say “I wanna lose weight” as your goal, instead say “I want to
lose X amount of pounds.”

Measurable: Measurable goals are ones that have an easily understood way of being
measured. Squatting 405 pounds is a measurable goals since all you have to do is load a
bar to know you lifted 405 pounds.

Attainable: Attainable goals are ones that you can actually complete and achieve.
An example of one might be to lose 1 lb of weight in one week, while being on
the moon next week might not be.

Realistic: A realistic goal would be a goal that is realistic for your current life situation.
If you travel for work every week then going to a gym in your hometown 4 days a
week might not be realistic.

Time-Bound: Time-bound goals have a specific time to be completed by that holds you
accountable. Don’t say “I want to do a chin-up at some point,” but instead say “I
want to do a chin-up in 3 months.”

A good goal will hit on most of the S.M.A.R.T. framework, while a great one takes all of
these parts into account. Let’s say you write down a goal to exercise 7 days a week in hopes to
lose 5 lbs this month, but you currently struggle to exercise twice a week. On top of that you
have 4 kids, your mom is sick, a stressful work situation, and you have to walk your pet fish
twice a day (random sure, but that’s a commitment for sure).

That goal probably isn’t realistic for your current life situation nor would it be attainable. Start with a smaller goal that you know
you can achieve, and use that achievement as momentum for working towards a bigger goal.

An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal could be to lose 4 lbs of body weight (specific and measurable)
in the next 4 weeks (time-bound and both potentially attainable and realistic). This structure
can be a great starting point to make sure that the goals you create are well thought out and
effective, but it can be taken a step further.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 5.51.12 PM

Coach Adam Feit mentions in the book Conscious Coaching: The Art & Science of
Building Buy-In (By: Brett Bartholomew), that goals should also follow the acronym P.I.E
(purposeful, impactful, and enjoyable).

Purposeful: Purposeful goals have meaning to you and add value to your life. I could make a
goal to be able to pet 5 different puppies in the next 2 weeks, but is that purposeful
(some might argue it has great purpose)?

Impactful: Impactful goals add value to your life and can, well, make an impact in your life.

Petting puppies is all well and good, and definitely should be done, but how will that or
another goal impact your life in a beneficial way?

Enjoyable: Enjoyable goals are ones that you can have fun in achieving. If your goal is to
improve your cardiovascular endurance but you absolutely hate running, then maybe
riding a bike will be more enjoyable and easier to stick too.

Know the why (purpose) behind the goal you are trying to achieve. Do you want to be
stronger so you could help your family if there is a fire or other emergency? Outstanding! Want
to be able to run your first marathon? Awesome, but what value does that add to your life? Do
you want to lose body fat to fit into those old swim trunks/ swimsuit you used to wear? Great,
but let’s take it a step further. How would fitting into those clothes be impactful or purposeful
to you? What impact would that have on your life?

Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great idea but make sure they are P.I.E. goals as well.

Starting with these frameworks in mind ensures your goals align with your core values and are beneficial to your life.

Rise Up

Coach Tommy Royer

Winneconne, WI - 1 March 2016: A bag of Goldfish baked crackers in cheddar flavor.

7 Tips For Parents Trying To Lose Weight

Remember this….

Waking up Saturday morning at 10am and thinking hmmm what should I do today? Go workout, go for brunch, do a run in Georgetown, bike the W&OD? So many options….
And then one day…


You’re having a baby..

Fast forward a year and a half. You’re filled with love. You’ve never been happier. You can’t imagine your life without this little human.

Unfortunately you’ve never been so out of shape either!

Why does this happen? Well it’s not some metabolic disorder that only effects adults who watch Barney and Teletubbies. Life changes. Your stress level is high. Your quality of sleep is low and you seem to have a never ending supply of mac & cheese, cheddar gold fish, and Annie’s organic fruit snacks at your finger tips.

I know because I’ve been there and I’m still fighting my way out. In the process I’ve learned somethings that can help you keep the back fat and muffin top monster away…

I’ll share them now. You can thank me when you’re snapping those selfies on the beach this summer 🙂

1. What’s Yours Is Yours. What’s Mine Is Mine

Kids are picky eaters and sometimes you’re forced to buy things you’d never have in the house if it was just you, cheddar goldfish would be a perfect example. Keep all that stuff in one or two cupboards or in a separate closest. Dedicated certain shelves in the refrigerator to kids food. Now make that off limits for you. Put up little sticky note stickers or whatever you have to do to stay away.

Winneconne, WI - 1 March 2016: A bag of Goldfish baked crackers in cheddar flavor.

2. Done Is Better Than Perfect

I geek out over program design. I love to overthink periodization I would put together some brutal 4-5 day programs for myself. I’d do triphasic training, conjugate method, wave loading, and french contrast all specifically tailored to my body, my injuries, my weaknesses etc… That was all well and good, but I realized something once I had kids… I couldn’t train like I used to. For one I didn’t have the energy, so although it looked great on paper, it wasn’t happening. Two, I was missing training days because of emergencies, sickness, parenting schedule conflicts etc.. I needed a new strategy. That’s when I decided to just make it a goal to get daily exercise in. It didn’t have to be perfect. It didn’t have to be at the gym. I just had to make sure my heart rate got elevated every single day and it didn’t even all have to happen at one…

3. Clusters

We use cluster sets in the gym to build strength. It’s when you take a heavy (near max) weight and do 1-3 reps, rack the bar, weight 10-30s and do another set of 1-3 reps. This way you can accumulate more reps (volume) with a higher intensity (heavy weight) than you’d be able to otherwise. They’re awesome to do and I highly recommend using them in your training, eventually…. For now lets just cluster our workouts. Sort of the same concept. We’re breaking up the workout into smaller more manageable bites. With kids you don’t have an hour at home just to do a workout. But, you might have 15 minutes 4 times during the day. Here’s a simple 15 minute workout that you could repeat 4x or 5 if your kids decide to take a nap.

Set 1
Jumping Jacks x 30s
Air Squats x 50
Mt. Climbers x 30s
Air Squats x 40
Plank x 30s
Air Squats x 30
Burpees x 30s
Air Squats x 20
Seal Jacks x 30s
Air Squats x 10

Set 2
Substitute The Air Squats With Push ups (knees or incline would be fine)

Set 3
Substitute The Push ups With Total Reverse Lunges

Set 4
Substitute The Reverse Lunges With Squat + Overhead Press ( use dumbbells or anything with a little weight to it )

4. Make A Promise

Warning: This Is Evil…. I did this one to my wife and she hated it, but it worked like a charm. She was doing whole 30 a couple months ago and she was trying to not eat any sugar. At that time my son also became obsessed with Batman and wanted a Bat mobile. We weren’t about to go out and just buy him a bat mobile, mainly because the next week he’d probably like Spider-man and want whatever he drives around… Anyway… I came up with the brilliant idea that mommy would promise to buy him a bat mobile if she didn’t eat sugar for 30 days. Every day after that my son would check in and make sure mom didn’t eat any sugar that day.. You can’t lie to your child and when you really do want to give them something that they want so bad.. win-win-win… 30 days later she didn’t have sugar and he had a Bat Mobile, which now sits in the garage because he’s obsessed with Power Rangers.

5. K.I.S.S

Nutrition is the real challenge not only for parents but for everyone struggling to lose a few lbs. I’ve food prepped, counted calories, counted macros, done the ketogenic thing, the paleo thing, the carb back loading thing, the meal planning thing, the intermittent fasting thing etc.. The one THING that they all had in common is they were all impossible for me to keep up with long term. The one strategy that I’ve used that’s easy and effective is carb cycling. You could over think that too if you choose but I like to K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid). One day you have carbs the next day you don’t. It’s that simple. Now the way I do it now is I have carbs on strength training days and I go no carb on conditioning days.. If you want to dig deeper into this method that works you can download the recharged E-book on the right hand column.

6. Smarter Not Harder

To some people an hour on the treadmill ie hamster wheel seems like a good idea, not to me, but to some people. I recommend you throw that strategy away with the dirty diapers. Instead work your way over to the free weight section or if you’re home get some dumbbells and do complexes. This is a quick and effective way to maintain strength ( or even improve it depending on your fitness level) work capacity and shed fat.

Here’s How:

Choose 3- 5 exercises you can do with dumbbells or a barbell. The ones I like best are…
Bent Over Rows, Pendlay Rows, Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Cleans, Front Squats, Squat + Press, Back Squat, Overhead Press, Push Press

Now that you’ve selected 3-5 exercises that you’re comfortable performing choose a protocol.
6×3,3×8,and 4×6 are my personal favorites.

Take 1 minute rest between rounds.

Let’s take the 6×3 example. Here’s how you do it… Do 3 reps of each of the 3-5 exercises you selected without putting the bar or dumbbells down in between exercises. So 3 Rows, 3 deadlifts, and 3 front squats x 6 rounds with a 1 minute rest in between.

Your heart will be on fire. Your muscles will burn and you will be hating life… If you’re doing it right.. The good news is it doesn’t last long and IT WORKS.

7. Drink

Sometimes those little ones just push you to your limits. Fear not, have an extra cup of black coffee in the morning. It’s OK! Quality coffee ( My Favorite Being Ethiopia Yirgacheffe ) is loaded with antioxidants. It’s proving to be good for Alziemers, Parkinson’s, and colon cancer, but more importantly for this blog…fat loss. Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boos metabolism 3-11% and increase fat burning by up to 10-20%. Now just don’t go do what most people do and take that to mean it’s ok to order a grande double frap double whip etc etc Just black coffee!

Here’s one more tip parents.. It’s not a fat loss tip but just a general one. Don’t be so hard on yourself tip… This parenting thing is tough. Give yourself some permission to mess up and credit for your successes. Set realistic goals and remember sometime just maintaining is progress worth celebrating..

Rise Up!

PS We’ve revamped our Fit Mom program and we’ll be doing a test run with 10 moms in May. If you’re not a current member at UA and would like to be in the pilot program you can apply here

How You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Goals

How You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Goals

You have needs. I have needs. We all have needs.

Pay attention, understanding your needs and recognizing how you satisfy them could bring a big ah-ha moment. If you’re meeting your needs in a destructive way (or a way that doesn’t align with your goals) it is my goal that after reading this you’ll be able to modify you’re behavior to satisfy the need in a way that brings you closer to the life you want to live..

6 Basic Human Needs

1. Our first human need is the need for CERTAINTY. Certainty comes in many forms, comfort, security, and stability being the most common. If this need is not being met, your brain will direct you to do anything possible to get it. Like all needs, they can be met in positive or negative ways. Some ways people positively meet their need for certainty would be saving their money, being very organized, creating routines, or being in a good relationship. On the other side, people negatively meet their need for certainty by being controlling, using food for comfort, negative labeling, excessive cleaning or organizing, or even depression or sadness. When people act sad, or tired, or down they usually get sympathy or attention. They’ve become so good at this game they don’t even know they’re playing it.. Need to feel attention, love, or significance…act sad or depressed and they can get it every time with absolute CERTAINTY. Think about your life. How do you meet your needs for certainty? Is it work, cleaning, food, controlling, money, children etc etc

2. Certainty is crucial and we’ll do some crazy things to make sure we have it, but we also have a need for the opposite, UNCERTAINTY. Variety..excitement..risk etc. It keeps life fun and helps us grow. It makes you feel alive. Uncertainty is related to the sense of arousal. My wife meets her need for uncertainty in a positive way by painting walls new colors, changing curtains, and remodeling the house. When you see someone turn to gambling, drinking, cheating, or overeating often times uncertainty is one of the needs they are attempting to meet. Think about it, how do you meet your need for uncertainty? So many people that struggle with weight loss meet their need for variety with food.

3. We don’t just want to feel like we matter. We NEED to feel that way. We need to feel SIGNIFICANT. If you don’t feel like you matter to your partner, your family, or your friends, you will find a way. This could happen in a number of different ways; fighting, coming out and saying it “I’m not feeling appreciated” withholding sex, controlling behavior etc etc. If you don’t get significance at home you’ll get it somewhere else and probably avoid being home. A common place for people to go for significance is their work. The workaholic that ignores his family may be doing it because he values significance more than any other need and he wants to be where he feels valued. This means he will be at work more. It’s what feeds his biggest need. People will turn to depression or anger to feel significant as well. They might start fights, cry, or bully to feel significant. Do you feel significant at home? Do you feel like you matter to your children, your spouse, and your family? If not, where do you get your significance? Is it from food? Some people get so much attention being overweight they are fearful they might lose that if they lose the weight. It’s like the women that keep having kids because she loves the attention the baby bump gets… “can I feel it” “you look so good”….. where do you feel the most significant in your life? What do YOU always do to get significance when you need it?

4. Most people value two needs over all others and have one primary need. Usually it’s either significance or LOVE AND/OR CONNECTION. The need is for love OR connection because love, for so many of us, is almost unattainable. It takes being absolutely vulnerable and giving all of yourself without asking for anything in return. If you treat love as a transaction ie by giving love you expect love or something else in return, you haven’t reached all that love has to offer yet.

Instead of being vulnerable many people find it easier to put up their guard and meet their need in a negative way. Binge eating, gangs, drugs, alcohol these are all things people commonly turn to for connection. Where do you get your need met for love and connection? At what level does it meet your need 1-10, 10 being couldn’t be met any stronger…If it’s negative, what can you do to meet your need in a positive way?

Like I said, most people can’t get to love so they settle for connection. We all have a past and somewhere in that past usually at a very early age you made an important decision. In fact you made many decisions, you decided how to deal with conflict, how to get attention, how to deal with pain, and how to love. In our breakthrough 60 day challenge we went DEEP into exploring these decisions and facing them head on. If you really want to get a better understanding of yourself I strongly suggest jumping into our next breakthrough challenge or you can join my breakthrough academy HERE where I go more into the mindset stuff.

5. The final two human needs are “higher level” needs. If all your other needs are being met at a high level you might actually feel as if GROWTH is your primary need. There are some people however that barely need to experience any growth at all and they’re perfectly content. Why do we continue to study, read, and learn once we’re out of school? We all have a desire to become more than what we currently are. Growth is addictive. If you’re reading this post you probably value growth pretty highly. How is it that you meet your need for growth?

6. Our last need is CONTRIBUTION. If all our other needs are being met in a positive way we are going to feel a need to help others. As a human being it is natural to want to help, to be part of the solution instead of the problem. Our sense of identity is expanded and our ability to connect on a deeper level is enhanced through contribution. It helps people to be part of something bigger. How do you RISE UP and contribute most? Your relationship, teaching others, leading, charity work?

Almost everything we do is meeting one of our needs. Maybe at a high level. Maybe at a low level. When we get into trouble is when one thing satisfies 3 or more needs at a high level. Since we deal with a lot of people that have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight before, let’s take the example of binge eating as an addiction. Do you know someone who gets sad or lonely and eats? They are connecting through food “comfort food.” What about variety? Know anyone who just loves to try different restaurants, foods, deserts etc? They’re meeting their need for variety or uncertainty through food. If they get stressed and eat. They know with certainty that food will always be there. If they don’t feel significant they probably talk about their struggle with being overweight.. in turn getting sympathy – a not so healthy way to feel significant.

Now if this person is meeting the need for uncertainty, connection, and certainty at a high level with food it’s an addiction. And the only way to break the addiction is to recognize how it happened in the first place. Now you can come up with positive ways to meet the need for certainty, uncertainty, and connection.

I’ve seen so many times where someone in a bad relationship is struggling with these exact things and then they get into a good relationship and it all seems to magically work itself out. They lose 50lbs and they feel great again.. It wasn’t that their last workout program was magic, it’s that they finally have a healthy life that meets their basic needs in positive ways.

At Underground Athlete we actually used the six human needs to develop our model and culture.

CERTAINTY – We design custom training programs every 4 weeks (give or take a week) for each person. They can see what they’re doing ahead of time. They know what coach they’ll be working with and what to expect every session ie group warm-up, custom strength and conditioning, group finisher

UNCERTAINTY – We have “finishers.” You never know what to expect in last 10 minutes of every workout. They’re fun, crazy, random, and sometimes even exhausting.

SIGNIFICANCE – We like to do awards at parties and spotlight the people that are really working hard and reaching their goals. Perfect time to brag on our winner for the Recharged 28 Day Challenge. If you haven’t downloaded it yet you can do that on the right hand side of this blog. Gene won the $500 prize by dropping 5 inches on his waist, losing 23lbs, and 6% body fat in just 28 days. Boom! What a kickstart. Keep up the good work Gene. Happy for you!

Check out the progress Gene made on during the Recharged 28 day challenge!

Gene 28 day

LOVE AND CONNECTION – We rise together and we fall together. When someone at the gym goes through tough times we try to recognize that and rally behind that individual or in the case of this past weekend we got together to celebrate the engagement of 2 of our rockstar UAers. Congrats Paul and Jackie!

UA Power Couple.


GROWTH – Blogs, seminars for members, live Q&A sessions are all ways we try to not only coach, but also educate. Our coaches also keep a constant growth mindset. It’s what makes us the best in my humble opinion 🙂

CONTRIBUTION – We give back as much as we can. We want to be part of something bigger as well. We have developed a culture of contribution. Facebook check ins go to charitable causes. We do fundraiser classes for local charities. We get together for plane pulls, tour de cures, and anything else we can feel good about.

Thanks for reading…Hope you learned a little about yourself and a little about what makes Underground Athlete tick.

Leave a comment below and join us on Facebook because comments, friends, likes, and shares are cool

Rise Up!

PS If you’d like to dive deeper into the stuff we cover sign up for our bi-monthly white paper newsletter HERE

51242997 - finger about to press future button with blue light over black and grey background. concept image for illustration of change or strategic vision.

Reach Any Fitness Goal By NOT Focusing On It

Have you heard?

There’s a new car coming out that claims to have headlights so powerful that they can light the path all the way to your final destination! Doesn’t matter if you’re going 5 miles or 500..

This car will light up every bump, every pothole, and every roadblock so you can always be prepared.

51242997 - finger about to press future button with blue light over black and grey background. concept image for illustration of change or strategic vision.

Unfortunately this isn’t the newest Lexus. It’s my latest invention and I think it’s safe to say it will NEVER happen.

But do you really need all that?! You do just fine with your normal car and  normal headlights. You know, the ones that shine just 20-30 yards in front of you..

How is that possible?

You’ve learned through years of driving that if you just stay focused on what’s in front of you, what you can see, you’ll eventually reach your destination.. You’ve also learned that you’ll probably make some wrong turns and when you do it’s OK you’ll still get there…

See where this is going??

Driving at night is life, it’s business, and it’s fitness…..You need to have a destination but if that’s what you stay focused on, you’re in trouble!

Set it and Forget it

Once you can visualize the destination you’ll want break down the trip into smaller chunks. You don’t know exactly how many of those 20-30yard chunks it will take to reach your goal, but you do know that if you just keep at it you’ll get there. You also know that if you speed you could get there faster, but it’s a lot riskier.

When I drive back to New York sometimes I’m driving North, sometimes east, sometimes west. Why? Because I asked someone who’s done the drive and they told me it’s the best route..

Best route could mean fastest, safest, best view etc

To be able to recommend the best route for someone you have to know what that person values.
For some people it’s variety..
For others it’s speed.
And some people don’t even care how long it takes as long as there’s no risk..

This is what coaches / trainers are for..

In our gym we want to get to know you so we can help you figure out where you want to go (goal). A lot of people come to us with no destination in mind. They really don’t know what’s “realistic.” So we take you through an assessment “inspect your car” and make sure it’s going to be a safe trip. If you need a tuneup before getting started then that’s what we’ll do…From there we break down the voyage (macrocycle) into small 3-6 week blocks we call programs (mesocycles) which are made up of individual workouts (microcycles)..

After each program we do a check in to make sure we’re still on the right road, but lately I’ve noticed some people getting passed the first 20-30 yard stretch and getting frustrated that they haven’t reached the destination yet…

Great coaches don’t have secret methods. Great coaches know how to map out the best course for each client. They know when to push the gas, when to pump the breaks, and how to keep you on course..


You’re bound to have some flat tires on the way, but if you’ve got a great coach in your corner, if you can stay focused on what you CAN see instead of what you CAN’T see, I guarantee you’ll reach your goal..

And then??

Then you’ll realize what your coach knew the whole time… you were thinking too small.

Now let’s sit down and do it all over again..

But this time think bigger!