Archives for January 2009


I learn new stuff all the time. One day it might be something about the importance of glute function, one day it might be a slight form adjustment, one day it might be a new exercise. And then one day it might be that when your body tells you that you’ve had enough, YOU’D BETTER FUCKING LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!!! I had done one set of five deadlifts at 335 lbs and two sets of five at 355 lbs. Here is the conversation I had with my body while on my third set set of 355 lbs after the third rep yesterday morning:

My Body: Hey, Mitch. I think that’s enough.
Me: No. I think I’ve got one maybe two more!
My Body: No, really Mitch. That’s enough.
Me: Suck it! I’ve got one or two more!
My Body: No. You don’t.

There is a difference between pushing through a tough set and being an idiot. Guess which one I was yesterday. Anyway, I now can barely move and can’t lift anything. I am extremely pissed at myself. My workouts lately and my general physical being have really been so good and this is really going to set me back. Time will tell how much. I certainly can’t do much of anything at least until Monday or Tuesday and probably way beyond that. I’ve had this kind of thing before and gotten through it, but it’s taken a while. We’ll see. I have to remember not to be an idiot and push it before I’m ready. I was really hoping to be able to Deadlift at least 410 lbs. when this program is over. We’ll see how that goes now. I don’t know how long it’ll be before I can deadlift again.

Another side bonus is that I am going to try to go around to some gyms and see if they are hiring trainers tomorrow. It’ll look great when I come limping in there asking for a job. “No, I just fucked my back up but don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.” Wonderful.

Mitch Rothbardt
(coming soon)

The Cert, Baby!

I got this in the mail yesterday. They got it to me pretty quickly. I was very happy to see it. Now all I have to do is find some people to train. I’ve been doing some home sessions with some friends and I think they’ve gone well. One of them has had a trainer in the past, but she says that she likes what we are doing much better. I like hearing that. One of the things that I have them doing is a mobility style warm-up. I have really seen the value in this and I give full thanks to Eric Cressey for it. To me it’s really a part of the workout, just as important as any one exercise. I think this is especially true for people who don’t have a whole lot of workout experience. Actually, when I think about it, calling it a warm-up is probably not the best way to refer to it. That gives it a bit of an optional kind of tone. I should just call it a mobility circuit. I like that. I have been putting an extra emphasis on X-band walks and either bird-dogs or supine hip-extensions with them. I think it’s really important to wake up those glutes. It really seems to me that the glutes are the most neglected muscle in the body. I might be wrong, but I know, in relation to these two things, that since I have concentrated on glute function and have been doing this style of warm-up myself, I have felt great and seem to be moving around much better.
So anyway, there you go. A rambling, poorly gramaticized (is that a word?) post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Talk to you soon.

Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)
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Well, I did it. I passed my trainer’s exam yesterday. That makes me happy. Thanks to everyone who helped me out on this. Now all I have to do is find some clients. I already have one resume out and a couple of leads on some other things, so hopefully I can hit the ground running. I’m definitely pretty happy. I think good things are on the way, and also, for anyone who’s interested, my first real book in eight months is “Outrage” by Vincent Bugliosi. It’s about the O.J. Simpson trial.

The other news is that I finished the first month of my four month program. I can definitely tell that I have improved my bench. I had to make a form adjustment on my box squats so I’m not sure on those. I wasn’t stopping on the box.  I was doing more of a touch-and-go thing. I’m probably about the same on my max but I don’t think I’ve improved much. That’s OK. I’ve got to do it right. This next month I start on cluster training. With that, what you do, is a series of doubles with a 10 second rest in between them. For example, you’ll do 2 reps then a 10 second rest four times. That’s one set. You do it at about your 5 rep max and it’s like lifting your 5 rep max 8 times. That sounds fun. 
Anyway that’ll do it for today. Talk to you soon, and don’t forget to subscribe! It’s free and much more fun than the vast majority of spam emails you get. 
Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)


The only thing I feel after yesterday’s Eagles game is disappointment. I never thought they would have an easy time with Arizona but I did think they would win. They had a lot of chances and there were a lot of mistakes that they made that could have turned things around for them. (The refs also missed a couple of real killers.) Greg Lewis’s drop, McNabb throwing behind Baskett, McNabb underthrowing Baskett, the defense in the entire first half. To be fair Warner was outstanding and the Card’s playcalling really kept the Eagles defense off balance for the first half, but it is a disappointment.
In my opinion they probably have two more contending years with this nucleus. They’ll need to figure out what to do with Runyan and Tra Thomas, but they shouldn’t lose anyone else, I don’t think. I’d like to see them add some size in their secondary, upgrade their skill position offensive depth and get a tight end who can block. There is no reason they can’t be back here next year, but after 5 trips to the NFC championship and only one win to show for it time is running out.
Below I list the four losses in order of disappointment:

1. 2002 loss to Tampa Bay. This is the gold standard of devastating, frustrating and disappointing losses. They had beaten Tampa convincingly something like four times in a row, including knocking them out of the playoffs the previous year and beating them earlier that season. In the franchise’s history Tampa had never won a game in temperatures below 35 or 40 degrees. It was the last ever game at Veteran’s Stadium. Philly’s defense was dominant that year. Tampa had shown a definite propensity for folding under pressure. For these reasons it simply never occurred to anyone that Tampa could come in and win the game. Add the fact the Eagles got out to a 10-0 lead pretty quickly and it seemed like this would be our day. A long pass to Joe Jurevicious got Tampa back into the game. I can still see Levon Kirkland chugging along trying to catch up to him. Releasing Trotter in the offseason hadn’t really been felt until that one play. I am still convinced that if they play that game 100 time the Eagles win 95 of them. This one still hurts. Devastating.

2. 2009 loss to Arizona. On top of everything: the Cardinals? Really!? The Cardinals!?!?

3. 2003 loss to Carolina. The Eagles were battered this year. Westbrook was out. The game before was the famous 4th and 26 play that saved the game against Green Bay. (See below). If not for this play and the subsequent Brett Favre meltdown, the Eagles don’t even make it to the championship game. Green Bay, Ahman Green in particular, pretty much dominated the Eagles, but McNabb brought them back and brought it into OT. This Eagles team had about four games that year that, in the third quarter, I saw no way for them to win and they did.

Also, Carolina was a good team and they were playing well at the time. The killer here was two-fold:

a. We had lost the previous two NFC Championship games and we were getting anxious. (more anxious than usual.)

b. The way we lost. This will forever be known as the “Todd Pinkston played like a pussy” game. Now, I was never as down on Pinkston as a lot of Eagles fans. I always appreciated him for what he was. A fast receiver with pretty good hands. Good for a long play but certainly not one to go over the middle or make a tough catch in traffic. In this game, however, he let 5’7″ Ricky Manning, Jr. push him around like a little girl, causing, I believe, three McNabb interceptions that at the very least Pinkston should have been able knock away from Manning, if not outright catch. Pinkston was visibly intimidated even though he had at least 4 inches on Manning and was just as fast if not faster. His play in this game single-handedly caused Reid to trade for Terrell Owens in the upcoming offseason. Pinkston redefined the term “coming up small.”

4. 2001 loss to the Rams. This game was really OK. The Rams were the defending Super Bowl Champs and everyone figured they would win it again. (They did wind up losing to the Patriots). Marshall Faulk was hands-down the best player in football at the time. The Eagles actually led at the half mainly because Mike Martz forgot that he had the league’s best player in the game on his team. In the second half he remembered. The Eagles still hung tough but the Rams were just the better team. It was a tremendous accomplishment just to get there that year.

I guess we should know better as Philadelphia sports fans then to think we could actually have two teams in the finals in one year. What do we think this is? 1983?

Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

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One Week Away!

Well, I’m one week away from my test. I take it next Friday morning. I’ve been studying hard and I think I’ll be OK. This weeks emphasis was learning formulas. Specifically the Karvonen formula (a formula to calculate ideal exercise heart rate) and how to calculate BMI. I have to learn how to calculate BMI even though its an absolute joke. For example my BMI tells me that I am borderline obese. Whatever. I will be the dancing monkey and take the test the way they want me to.

Me on test day

I am actually looking forward to it for a few reasons.

Number one: I’d like to get this going. I have a few places to call once I pass and hopefully I can get a few clients from them.

Number two: I really can’t wait to read an actual book with an actual story again. Pretty much the only thing I’ve read over the last six or eight months is the ACE Personal Trainers manual.

This week I have to make sure that I know the tight and weak muscles concerning posture issues (lordosis, kyphosis, sway back, flat back and scoliosis) and a few other things I have to nail down. I really think I’ll be OK but I am a little nervous and I can’t wait until it’s over. Between that and this weekends game my heart is all a-flutter.
Talk to you soon.

Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

January 23rd

Well. Here it is. January 23rd is the date. I officially signed up for my test last night. I think I should be OK. I do have to dumb myself down a little, although the real trick is knowing how much to dumb myself down. For example, I was taking a practice test this morning and the situation was what you tell a client if their knee is hurting after a session. One of the choices was “Tell him to ice his knee.” Now, this would be a thing I would certainly tell someone to do, except that as a trainer in this certification council we’re not supposed to give medical advice. Obviously if they blew out their ACL I wouldn’t be trying to give them advice but I didn’t know how far to take it. Anyway, I left it blank and the book said to tell them to use the ice. Oh, well.

This is permitted

In any case I am looking forward to it. I will be taking Mondays off for the forseeable future, so I’m hoping to be able to maybe use this thing right away at one of a few places that might be looking for a part-time trainer.

Also, I’m sure the Biggest Loser premiere last night will have some fitness types buzzing over the inclusion of a 63 year old couple. I’m all for people of any age doing what they need to do to get healthy, in fact research has shown that people in their 70’s and 80’s can benefit from weight training, but asking two people of that age to compete with people in their 20’s and 30’s is, to me, very questionable. This was born out when the 63 year old man collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital after really not even doing anything. The show has received some criticism over some of the things that they have these people do but this does seem a bit questionable.

Anyway, back to the original point, for the next two weeks or so, there will be a big time review going on. I can’t wait to get this over with. I haven’t read a normal book in way too long. I, of course will keep all of my loyal readers updated. Talk to you soon. Oh, by the way, bears riding horses.

Bears riding horses

Mitch Rothbardt
(coming soon)

Three workouts in

Well, I am three workouts into the Maximum Strength program and I can honestly say it’s absolutely kicking my ass. The first exercise of each day is the main strength exercise of the day and they have been as follows:

Workout 1: 5 sets of 4 box squats at 345 lbs.
Workout 2: 5 sets of 4 bench presses at 225 lbs. (drop to 215 for last two sets)
Workout 3: 4 sets of 6 front squats at 225 lbs.

That’s probably heavier than I’ve ever lifted for a stretch. It’s very different when you are timing your rest periods, because then you really need to drop weight from set to set. With this program you need to rest long enough to be able to lift the same amount from set to set and it has a very different feel to it. My rest times have probably been between four and five minutes. That’s a lot longer than the one to two minutes I am used to, but I seem to really be feeling these workouts more. I suppose I’ll get more used to that as I go along.

I also think I really understand now when I hear all of the top trainers saying that they never design their own workout programs. I think following this program has really given me an understanding of a different way to train that I couldn’t have gotten by myself. I don’t think I would have had the ability to write a program for myself that would have pushed me this hard. Last week I read an excellent blog post by Tom Venuto that you can read here. He wrote initially about Oprah and her weight troubles, but he brought it around to how if you make yourself accountable to other people than you can really push yourself harder. When you do a program written for you you do feel a certain accountability to whoever wrote the program.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say right now. I’ll hit the gym again tomorrow and keep going from there. I leave you with our buddy Rezazadeh front squatting 617 lbs. Dude is a little strong.

Mitch Rothbardt
(coming soon)