You Can Be Fit

The person that you know that effortlessly fits exercise into their week? They enjoy it.

Our role as trainers at Core Blend is to help you find that form of exercise that you’ll look forward to. We want you to exercise for the rest of your life and the best way to do that is to make sure that it’s enjoyable. So many people are busy trying to sell the EXTREME workout, or shove you into a one size fits all box that they forget that you showing up every week for the rest of your life is the real goal.

No matter what your goals are and what you enjoy doing, we can help you. If right now you think that you don’t like working out, we can find something you do like. I’m positive of it. You can enjoy exercise and you can be fit. A lot of these blog posts run longer, but this message is about as simple as it gets. You can be fit, and we can help you get there.

IF Hugh Jackman Trained in Watkinsville

I do not speak for Mr. Jackman. If he or one of his representatives reads this article and would like to dispute it, I am open to that discussion. Full disclosure though, my lawyer can dunk and run a sub six minute mile, so I feel pretty good in any litigation.

If Hugh Jackman, the jacked actor that played Wolverine for 17 years in the X Men movies, worked out in Watkinsville, I feel very confident in saying that he would train at Core Blend. After watching him workout on Instagram, researching his personal trainer (the very sharp Dieter Roylance) as well as the facility that he trains at in Australia, I have no doubts about this. Let’s dive into the evidence.

  1. Hugh Jackman deadlifts. A lot. Here look: That is a lot of weight. I can’t tell for sure, but that’s somewhere between 445 and 465 pounds. That’s a legit lift. You know what other gym deadlifts a lot? Core Blend. We have over a dozen guys that have pulled over 500 pounds and another half dozen that are pulling over 550. Hugh would want a place with a deadlift bar. He would want a place with plenty of weight. He would want a place that had other lifters and trainers that knew what they were doing to help keep his form right. He would fit right in at Core Blend.
  2. Hugh Jackman can row 2000 meters in 7 minutesThat is a legit time. What other gym has a lot of guys that can row 2000 meters in 7 minutes or less? Obviously it’s Core Blend. We have videos of guys doing it on Youtube. You can see guys doing them on Instagram. We have 13 men that can beat 7 minutes on a 2K row. When the Wolverine walks into the gym and needs to get some cardio, he’s hopping on a rowing or ski machine with us. He wants to do entertaining cardio, he wants to push himself. He’d definitely be hitting intervals on the sled and ski and row with us. No doubt.
  3. Hugh Jackman does curls.  I won’t name any names, but there are a lot of gyms that think they’re too good for curls. A lot of facilities that would welcome someone hitting up some deadlifts and some rowing would turn their nose up at a man that wants to work on having great biceps. A lot of places that preach functional fitness don’t see the functionality in having big arms which is something that I really can’t abide. Core Blend has curl bars. Core Blend has Dumbbells from 2.5 to 125 pounds. Cable machines. Fat Gripz. Fat Bells. Fat Bars. Ropes. If you want thick arms, I think it’s clear that this is the place to train.

So what does this mean to you? Why would I take the time to prove my case that hypothetically a famous Hollywood actor would train at my facility? It’s simple. If you would like to be fit and jacked into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s then it’s time to come train like it at Core Blend.

10 Tips on Speed Training For Kids

“You can’t coach speed” is a well worn adage by coaches that aren’t very good at making athletes faster. In fact, I don’t think there’s a bigger gap in fitness between what parents think good speed training looks like and what it actually is. It’s a shame too, because there are a number of training practices that are very effective with youth athletes that are not nearly as effective with teen and college athletes. Sadly, most parents don’t get their child involved in smart effective training until they are in their mid teens, where it is much harder to have an impact on certain aspects of speed. Although I see a lot of mistakes in speed training with teen and college athletes, I’d like to focus this blog post on the specific training practices that should be used on youth athletes.

Here are the Do’s and Don’t’s of Speed Training for Youth Athletes:

Overspeed Training. Overspeed training works by having an athlete sprint faster than they are currently capable of. Towing, Band Work, Downhill sprinting, and contrast training would all be a part of this. The developing athlete’s turnover/stride rate can be increased by changing the activity of the CNS. The developing brain makes this an ideal time to make real changes to the athlete. This work is not NEARLY as effective later and is a huge priority of youth training.

Mobility: Developing athletes have great flexibility (typically), but must work to get their mobility to where it should be. Learning how to control positions rather than “falling” through them is key for maximizing efficiency as well as safety.

Focus on Safe Movement Patterns: Youth athletes should be taught how to apply force and from what angles. This ensures that they get into good positions and don’t get hurt.

Rehearse with Cone Drills: Cone drills can be used to rehearse movement and confirm that athletes are getting into the proper positions. This is especially useful for youth athletes, but with every rep we as coaches need to make sure that the athletes are getting into safe and efficient positions.

Use Plyometric Drills: Developing athletes need to learn how to produce force quickly and maximize their own strength prior to beginning true weight training. Plyometric Drills focusing on short ground contact time are an ideal way to do this.

Use Drills with Reaction: Great speed and agility in sports involves decision making. Put the athletes in situations where they need to decide where to sprint and how, as opposed to just letting them do rehearsed movements. (Expanded on below in the “Don’t Rely on Cone Drills” and “Don’t Rely on Ladders” below)

Have Fun: Kids are kids. Everything should be fun and enjoyable so that they want to do more. Competition with others will also get them to push to their fullest.

Do Too Many Reps: Too many reps will turn it into conditioning rather than speed work and the young athletes will get too tired to be effective learners. Conditioning can look like speed work, but it isn’t. If the athlete starts to make mistakes out of fatigue then they are probably working too hard to learn movements. These fatigued movements will also not be as fast and explosive as we would like.

Rely on Cone Drills: Sports are chaotic and too many cone and ladder drills don’t allow athletes to react to what they’re seeing. Rely instead on drills with human movement or decisions. Cone drills often rely on rote memorization rather than decision making. Equip the athletes with the tools to move properly and let them make decisions.

Rely on Ladders: Ladders don’t teach quick feet, they teach feet that don’t move anywhere. Good technique on a speed ladder is to touch in different positions while not applying force. The feet must apply force every time they touch the ground. Speed ladders teach the OPPOSITE of what we need athletes to do. Every plant should have a purpose, not leave the athlete motionless at their center of gravity.

Raise the Bar: How my Friendship with Reese Helps Me

If you know me, you know that one of my closest friends in the world is Reese Hoffa. He’s had a huge influence on me both professionally and personally in a myriad of ways that I probably don’t even realize. If he hadn’t seen something in me and given me a shot at writing his workouts in 2011, it’s likely I don’t open up a gym in 2012. If I don’t open up that gym, I don’t meet most of the groomsmen in my wedding or my wife. Without his faith, I am probably stuck in a job I hate, rather than writing this blog post from my office while my dog takes a nap at my feet. He’s a great husband and shows me how to be a better one and a great friend, showing me daily how I can be a better one of those too. You might know someone like Reese and I hope that you learn lessons from them too.

However, your friend isn’t the best in the world at what they do, and that’s something that Reese brings to the table. When I was in college, I read about Reese Hoffa. He was in the middle of a phenomenal run that ended with him being ranked in the top 3 in the world for 10 years in a row. He was a mythical type of being to me. I knew that he wasn’t a regular guy because if he was he wouldn’t be the best in the world. I remember seeing him eating at a Mexican restaurant and being amazed that a guy like that would be eating in the same place as me, a regular guy. He was the best in the world and he was doing something that a regular guy like me would do.

Fast forward a few years and my perspective is different. I still think Reese is great, but now I see that he’s a regular guy just like me. That doesn’t diminish who he is or what he accomplished, but it does make me think that I could do the same thing. Reese worked incredibly hard. He wasn’t a world class athlete as a high schooler. He wasn’t a world class athlete in college. He worked multiple jobs and pushed himself to be his absolute best and never let any limitation hold him back. There’s no reason I can’t do the same thing. There is someone in the world that is better at training than everyone else, why can’t it be me? Why can’t I operate the best gym in America? I think it’s easy to look at someone successful in their field and think there’s something different about them. They were just born lucky and that’s why they’re in that spot, but I know the best shot putter in the world so I know that isn’t true. Reese earned his spot. He wanted to be the best in the world and he did it. Being the best gym in Athens is not enough for me. I want to operate the best gym in the world and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Being friends with Reese has made me raise the bar on what I expect from myself. I can’t sit back and delude myself into thinking that I can’t be hugely successful because I’ve got to watch Reese do it.

I have no idea what your goals are. I have no idea who you look up to in your field. I do know that they’re regular people and you could do what they’re doing. If you’re reading this and think I’m wrong, then it’s because you don’t have a friend like Reese.

Strongman Event, July 29th-Georgia Log Press and Deadlift Championships at COREBLEND

We are hosting a Strongman Event at Core Blend on July 29th at 11am.

The 2017 Georgia Log Press and Deadlift Championships

Entry fee is $50 and entry deadline is July 8th.

Mail completed form and entry fee (check made payable to Leah Della Torre) to:

Leah Della Torre
Core Blend Training and Wellness
1260 Greensboro Hwy
Watkinsville, GA 30677


Download the entry form here: Georgia Log and Deadlift Championship Entry

Hoffa Inv Meet Results 1/28/17

Thank you to all the athletes that supported the latest Hoffa Winter Invitational.


Full meet results are listed below and can be downloaded here: Winter inv results.

Girls Shot Put Middle School
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
Flight  1  
  1 Hailey, Lula             Hoffa Throws         10.77m  
      10.11m  10.44m  10.77m  10.13m  9.82m  9.84m
  2 Rogan, Neely             Hoffa Throws          5.82m  
      4.49m  5.82m  5.22m  5.37m  5.22m  4.96m
Girls Shot Put High School
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
  1 Tabor, LesLeigh          Unattached              12.43m  
      12.18m  12.26m  12.16m  12.10m  12.43m  11.97m
  2 Chandler, Cody           Hoffa Throws            11.98m  
      11.28m  FOUL  FOUL  11.41m  11.98m  11.94m
  3 Joyner, Javon            Unattached              11.16m  
      10.64m  10.49m  FOUL  10.85m  10.93m  11.16m
  4 Igberaese, Chelsea       Unattached              10.95m  
      10.95m  FOUL  FOUL  FOUL  FOUL  FOUL
  5 Richards, Savann         Hoffa Throws            10.02m  
      9.88m  9.19m  9.60m  9.53m  10.02m  9.08m
  6 Brown, Sydne             Hoffa Throws             9.97m  
      9.71m  9.52m  9.18m  FOUL  9.97m  9.54m
  7 Cruz, Gie                Unattached               9.54m  
      FOUL   8.42m  9.07m  8.92m  9.54m  8.93m
  8 Mixon, Jessica           Hoffa Throws             8.82m  
      7.56m  7.89m  8.59m  7.98m  8.82m  8.04m
  9 Ransom, Ashley           Unattached               8.74m  
      7.83m  8.74m  8.55m  8.50m  FOUL  8.48m
 10 McColskey, Jennifer      Hoffa Throws             7.96m  
      7.06m  7.26m  7.96m  6.85m  6.89m  7.30m
Women Shot Put Womens open
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
  1 Machovec, Anna           Unattached              13.26m  
      12.82m  13.26m  FOUL  12.74m  FOUL  13.24m
Boys Shot Put High school
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
  1 Kazimov, Ridvan          Unattached              13.66m  
      13.02m  13.18m  13.66m  13.50m  FOUL  13.37m
  2 Still, Steven            Unattached              11.12m  
      9.12m  9.83m  11.12m  9.83m  9.78m  9.87m
  3 Herndon, Austin          Unattached              10.79m  
      10.59m  10.79m  10.55m  FOUL  10.51m  10.34m
  4 Patterson, Zack          Unattached               9.55m  
      9.10m  8.36m  9.41m  8.63m  9.19m  9.55m
Boys Shot Put Middle Schoo
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
  1 Watkins, Adam            Unattached              14.04m  
      13.96m  13.33m  13.22m  13.19m  14.04m  13.84m
Men Shot Put Mens open
    Name                    Year Team               Finals 
  1 Miller, Ashinia          Unattached              18.80m  
      FOUL  18.23m  18.80m  FOUL  18.76m  FOUL
  2 Fitzgerald, Carter       Unattached              12.25m  
      11.80m  FOUL  11.65m  FOUL  11.67m  12.25m
Men Shot Put Masters Mens
    Name                    Year Team              Finals 
  1 Davis, Sid               Unattached               8.66m  
      8.57m  8.66m  8.42m  FOUL  FOUL  8.36m

Tools in the Trainer’s Belt: The Right Tool for the Job

Let me start this post off by saying that the metaphor of a tool belt may be a terrible choice for me to use. The work uniform I’ve worn 6 days a week for the last 5 years has consisted entirely of elastic banded shorts. I rarely wear shoes in the gym and when I do, they’re a pair of sliders. I’m positive I’ve never owned an actual tool belt. As a trainer though, I have a giant tool belt. Depending on the situation, I can pull out powerlifting routines, bodybuilding routines, group circuits, one man (or woman) circuits, group competitions, cooperative workouts, stretching, injury prevention, mobility, sport training and a variety of other workout methodologies depending on the situation. I think that any good trainer SHOULD have a lot of different areas to draw from so they’re ready to get good results with any client that walks through the door.

Be smart with your exercise selection and you’ll be happy with your workouts.

The issue then comes from using the wrong tool for the job. I see people trying to use a hammer to drive in a screw all the time in the fitness world. The fact is, some tools are just better suited to jobs than others are.  I think that for the majority of situations, dumbbells work better for hypertrophy work than barbells. Good lifters make subtle tweaks to exercises to allow themselves to “feel” the exercise to a greater degree. If I’m targeting growth in my biceps I’d much rather go with a DB Curl than a Barbell Curl. I think barbells work fine, but personally I’m going to select a better tool.

I think Olympic lifting is a poor tool for conditioning. I feel the same way about deadlifts. Can they be tiring? Absolutely, but I think that rowing, skiing, pedaling a bike, or pushing a sled is a much better option. I want to be able to encourage someone to push as hard as they can without fear that they’ll compromise form and hurt themselves. The rowers and skiers are also very low impact and give automatic feedback every single stroke so there is no opportunity to delude yourself. If you see a 2:01 pace, you’ve slowed down from the 1:55 you were pulling at. There is no way to deny that one. I love it. Can olympic lifting serve as conditioning? Absolutely. Can you dig out your swimming pool with a spoon? Absolutely. You’re just not going to catch me doing it.

A few simple rules for my thoughts on which tool is right for you.

  1. Trying to get stronger? Select a compound exercise where the limiting factor is your strength in the area you’re trying to bring up, i.e. don’t select a heavy overhead squat to make your legs stronger if your shoulders are going to be the limiting factor.
  2. Trying to get fitter? Pick exercises where you can focus primarily on pushing harder. Don’t select exercises that are overly complicated and will exhaust you mentally or are likely to get you injured if you move the wrong way.
  3. Trying to work on hypertrophy? Select an exercise that you can “feel”. Don’t feel the bench press in your pecs? Don’t use it to try to bring up that muscle group then.

All Roads Lead to Rome: Many Ways to Get Fit

In the heyday of the Roman Empire, it was said that all roads led to Rome. They built all the roads, so it made sense. I have a similar feeling about fitness. Maybe not ALL roads, because I think there are a few trends in fitness that are awful and terrible and a waste of time, but this is a more positive post. I think that with real dedication on your part: powerlifting, weightlifting, body building, CrossFit, bootcamp classes, and a bunch of other methodologies will work. Sure, some will leave holes in your fitness that need to be filled. Maybe in addition to your spin class, you need to add a little weightlifting so that you can take care of your muscles and your cardio. However, with a good instructor or plan and the right motivation, I think there are a lot of ways to get fit.

I am not a fan of people dogmatically defending their ONE TRUE way to fitness and throwing out the merits of others. With that being said, as a trainer, I have a road that I know better. It’s the one I’ve driven most. I know the rest stops, I know which roads you can speed on and which roads you better slow down for. I know where to stop, which restaurants to eat at, and what to order. I know my road like the back of my hand. I’m aware that there are other ways to get to your fitness destination, but I’m most confident in my way. It’s the way that I’ve trained hundreds of people with a wide variety of goals and histories to get into the best shape of their life.

So what is my way? What is this road I know so well? I like big lifts. I think they make people more capable of performing tasks in their day to day life, while simultaneously building the most muscle across their entire body. Most of my training sessions start with something like a deadlift, bench press, squat, overhead press, or a clean. I also think that bodybuilding is a fantastic tool for zeroing in on certain areas that need additional attention, so I usually follow up the big lift with more focused accessory work. Bodybuilding is great for isolating one area to focus on. Bodybuilding is great for muscular hypertrophy, something most people are looking for even if they don’t realize it. Finally, and arguably most importantly, bodybuilding can be a lot of fun. I think that circuits are a fantastic way to get in cardio while also keeping sessions enjoyable and interesting. I’ll get into how I construct circuits later, but in general I want simple exercises that have a VERY low risk of injury and make the heart and lungs work hard. I want to be able to encourage effort without fearing that as they fatigue that they’ll get more likely to hurt themselves. That means my circuits mostly involve the rowing machine, the ski machine, the bike, and the sled and never involve doing olympic lifts or deadlifts for time.

That my route, that’s my formula. Are there other ways to get fit? Absolutely, but if you come into my gym, that’s likely what I’ll have you do. It’s worked for me. It has worked for my wife. It has worked for busy moms, teens that are trying to get stronger, and retirees that are getting back into fitness after neglecting it for years. I used a modified version of it to train Reese Hoffa for his third Olympic games. It is what I know best and feel most confident using on others. If I’m giving you advice on a rowing machine, you can trust that I’m basing it on a lot of time rowing. If I give a new cue to you on the deadlift, you can have faith that its been tested on hundreds of clients over thousands of hours. Like I said, there are a lot of other things that work, but that’s what I like to do and it’s why I’m so confident that if YOU come into my gym I’ll get you results.

New Year Resolutions

It seems popular on the internet these days to mock people setting New Year Resolutions. “If you really wanted it, you would have started in December” has a grain of truth to it, but I’m an optimist. I think that this could be your year, even if you entered 2016 with big plans and they didn’t go your way, I’m not ready to give up on you. I have owned Core Blend Training since 2012 and worked as a trainer before that and have seen a lot of people that were really successful with their new goals and a few that weren’t, so I’d like to share a few commonalities amongst people that made goals and hit them.

  1. They set specific, realistic goals. Don’t just say that you’re going to get into shape. Define it. Are you going to lose ten pounds? Add 10 pounds to your squat? Take a minute off your 5K time? If you’re going to be able to hold yourself accountable you’re going to need to have a standard. Further, it needs to be something that is attainable. Have you slowly gained 25 pounds over the last 3 years? Don’t expect it to come off in a month, and don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t. If every day you are closer to your goals than you were before, then you’re moving in the right direction.
  2. Have a plan. This is where it’s time for me to plug my gym’s services. If you want to get stronger, get fitter, lose weight, gain weight, we can help. We have great trainers, a fantastic supportive environment, the best possible training equipment, and a variety of ways to help you reach your goals. Obviously the personal training is personalized, but even within our classes, we have plans that focus on gaining strength, losing weight, doing a little bit of both, etc.. To be successful you’ll need to have a plan that is designed to actually reach your goals. You’d be amazed at the number of people that I’ve seen over the years get frustrated with results from working really hard at a plan that wasn’t designed to help their specific goal. A cookie cutter program only works if that’s how you want your cookie cut!
  3. Stick to the plan. Stick to the plan longer than you think you need to stick to it. Decide that you are not going to deviate from your plan for at least two months. Give your body time to really adjust to this new routine and see what happens. One week, two weeks, isn’t long enough to see if it’s going to help or not. Give yourself some time. You deserve it.
  4. Remind yourself of why it REALLY matters. I’ve read the stat that 92% of resolutions fail. I think that as things get hard, it gets easier to come up with excuses. Come up with a compelling reason for you to reach your goal that will be stronger than your desire to quit. I’ve heard people explain to me that they want to live longer than their parents did. I’ve heard people say that they want to be able to play with their young children. I’ve heard people say that they want their spouse to be shocked by how they look at the pool. I can’t tell you what your reason should be, but I can tell you that you’re going to need one. After all, if it was easy, you would have already done it.

And there you go! Once again, I’m optimistic for your 2017. I’ve seen too many people succeed to think that you have to fail. There are people that stick to their resolutions and you can be one of them.