Coaches’ Daily Workout

Training Intensely in the Female Body

I have had questions over the years regarding how to train while dealing with the normal hormonal fluctuations (menstrual cycle) that women have to contend with. Most recently it came up again, so I thought it a good topic for the weekend.

I’m going to break this down in the most basic of terms for the take home message.  Here we go!

When dealing with the menstrual cycle, there are three phases that we can look at in order to plan out the training.  Cycles typically last around 28 days and that works well in breaking down the training into 4 week blocks.

The first phase after the period is the follicular phase which last about 14 days.  For simplicity lets just say that your body is producing hormones that are preparing the follicle to become an egg.  This is a good time because the hormones present in this phase make it a good time to hit the training hard.  You feel strong, your metabolism is a furnace and you feel strong in the gym.

The second phase is ovulation where the follicle is transforming in the egg.  This from day 10ish to day 17ish. But from a training standpoint you can think of this as a transition period.  Hormones are still high, so strength and output are strong, but changes are occurring hormonally that start to diminish motor control.  So this would not be a good time to learn a complex new movement or play super competitive, athletically demanding sports.

The third phase is the luteal phase, and this is the time when the egg and uterine lining are preparing to shed and thus ending in your period, so the last 14 days.  Due to the hormonal make up during that time energy is lower and symptoms of PMS make training at previous levels challenging.

So, all right we have a rudimentary understanding of what happens and the corresponding training sensations but how do we put this into our training so that we can maximize our intensity and absorption?

Basically, the first two weeks after your period you are good to go, crank it out and hit it hard.

The third week, you will maintain training intensity but allow for some of those training days to not be on par with the previous weeks.

Once into the fourth week with full symptoms of PMS and your period, continue to exercise but allow yourself to back it off a bit so that you do not over tax your system.  This is important anyway because we should always have a “deload” week so that we can better absorb the training and refresh for the next cycle.

Super simple, but this will help to alleviate any frustrations some of you may be having when your body is pushing back right when you want to keep pushing forward!

Mark’s Training 5/16/18

Wednesday’s are my favorite training day….

Deadlifts – after warmup 5 x 5 at 300lbs on 3 minutes, pulling fast from the floor, final set – bar is loaded to 450lbs (goal PR) and pulled for max reps (10) from the knees.

Get Ups – 5 sets of 1/1 get ups with 100lb Dumbell.  Using Dumbell to challenge shoulder stabilizers as the DB is far more unsteady due to position.

Jacobs Ladder – 45s on / 15s off for 10 rounds – total feet accumulated – 780 ft, greater systemic fatigue from rest of workout slowed me down…..

Mark’s Training 5/14/18

Two primary goals for Fall of 2018 – Defend 1st place finish in the Strongfirst – Tactical Strength Challenge and get a thumbs up on the Sinister Program by Strongfirst.  This involves 10 1 arm swings with the 48kg bell every thirty seconds for 5 minutes for a total of 100, and then completing 1 Get Up per minute for 10 minutes with the 48kg bell.  So, Programming is as follows…

Pushups – 5 sets of 12,9,6,5,5 with weights 35lbs, 45lbs, 55lbs respecitively on by back.  Each set is done on 3 minutes with a tempo of 3-2-1 (3 secs down, 2 sec pause, 1 sec up)

Kettlebell Snatch VO2 Protocol:  36s on/ 36s off for 18 rounds using the 24kg.  17 reps on first two rounds and 16 reps for the remainder – building up 1 rep and 1 round per week.

Step Mill – 45s on/ 15s off for 10 rounds – total floor accumulation – 53 floors

Mark’s Workout 5/11/18

Training to defend my crown on the Strongfirst Tactical Strength Challenge Master’s Division so….

1  Pullups – 5 x at Bodeyweight, 5lbs, 15 lbs, 30 lbs, 40 lbs respectively,

2.  Single arm swings and Presses at 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off for 20 minutes, using 40 kg and 24 kg.

reps are 10 on swings and 5 on presses.

3.  Bike 10 rounds of 45 sec on / 15 sec off

Mark’s Workout 5/9/18

Today focusing on big moves

  1. Deadlift – 5×5 on 3 minutes with 70% 1RM  – 300 lbs pull quickly
  2. Get Ups – EMOM for 20 minutes with 100lbs
  3. Jacobs Ladder – 10 rounds of 45 seconds on / 15 seconds off – total feet climbed 825 feet.

Mark’s 5/7/18 Workout

  1. Pushups – 5 x 12/9/6/6/6 on 3 minutes – tempo 3-2-1

12 reps with 25lbs, 9 reps with 35lbs, all 6 reps with 45lbs

2. Kettlebell Snatches – 36 seconds on/36 seconds off for 18 rounds with 24kg

16 reps per interval

3. Step Mill  – 10 rounds of 45s on/15 s off – Level 13 – total floors: 52

Why We Do What We Do?

After getting a “report” from one of our clients about another studio and their level

of ineffectiveness, my typical reaction is one of disgust by which then fuels a rant

that many find humorous. But as I have grown softer and more reflective in my

years, I have chosen a different path.

Instead of pointing out the miss dealings of our industry and the wayward paths of

our competitors, I would like to just tell you what we do.

We train.

We plan an approach that when applied with the requisite intensity AND frequency

will improve your fitness level, without a doubt. More likely, you will get into the

best shape of your life. We are very clear about what is expected, and the

consequences of not applying yourself to the program.

We are safe.

We do the basic movement patterns, period. We are not in the entertainment

business. Even a simple bicep curl, when done with the weights, reps and form I

have seen and heard about can cause injury, so the more complex the movement,

the longer the learning curve and time needed to gain mastery. So prescribing,

jumps and highly technical moves WILL result in injury for the general population.

If someone says it is boring, I like to remind them that only boring people find life to

be boring.

We are hard.

Yes, it is hard – because that is what the body and mind need to adapt. Suck it up,


We will get you fit.

Without a doubt, and on that journey you will learn something about yourself that

no one can teach you. You will battle your demons, and place those demons on

people outside of you – until you have finally pushed through to the other side and

realize that the only one getting in your way is you. It is an amazing thing to watch

people go through that and reach a level of acceptance – and right at that moment

you see their fitness rise – powerful stuff. Because, in order to get fit, you have to be

willing to confront all of those voices telling you otherwise, quiet them and then

SQUAT them. Because you can’t be fit if you don’t squat!

We will not lie to you.

Truth is refreshing, it can suck also, it all depends on perspective. We will give you

the real answer, usually not the one you want to hear, but the real answer. We do

not buy into the notion of “that is good enough” – that is a 21 st century cop out. I

punish myself with extra of something if I ever utter those words.

Example, I was mowing my yard and did a section too fast so that the grass was

uneven. I looked over it and said “ ah, that is good enough” – I then said an expletive

and mowed it again. So, in class if you say to yourself “that effort was good enough,

at least I’m here”, crush your next interval – and likewise if you ask me how was my

effort – I will say it is a good start, but it could be better!

We keep it simple, but effective – operative word, effective!

Nutritional Eating – What?

I’m not sure if any topic has been written about more, at least in the last 30 years, than nutrition and dieting.


If you go back to your elementary school days it was a topic covered in great detail.  I’m sure you can remember the charts and food groups.


Yet, we struggle with proper nutrition as a society, why is that?


I did this the other night with my boys (they are 11), we had some leftovers from the weekend and I was also making dinner that night.  Now don’t be jealous, but I was preparing grilled pork chops with a side of applesauce (organic both of them) and sautéed green beans (organic).   I placed that meal on one plate and then heated up the leftovers of which were meatball pizza and a pasta and vegetable salad.  I showed the boys both of them and asked them which plate was more healthy and nutritious and why.


Hands down, without hesitation they chose the pork chops and green beans, as I’m sure you all did.  And when I asked why, they said the pizza and pasta salad combo was not as healthy and had a lot of extra calories.  I asked if the pizza and pasta salad combo had any good things in it and they answered yes, the cheese and sauce on the pizza and the vegetables in the pasta salad.  Then I asked what was not nutritious in the pizza and pasta salad and they answered the crust and the pasta.  Now, we switched to the pork chops and green beans.  I asked why that was nutritious and they said it was real food, you know the kind you grow.


So, fascinating right.  Good, solid answers with an understanding of what is healthy and what is not given the simple nature of the questions.  So clearly the education system and guidance at home has taught them what is healthy and not.  Also, I believe that this would happen in the majority of the households in America, for both adults and children.


So, why is it that we eat less nutritious food (we had pizza and pasta salad in our refrigerator!) and as a society struggle with weight??


My belief: affluence, abundance and choice. 


We have the money to buy what we want, when we want it.  We simply lack the discipline to eat how we should and know.


My grandmother use to talk about the “Great Depression”, and I was fascinated at the austerity they dealt with, yet she said they always had enough to eat.  They grew or raised everything: chickens, eggs, pork, beef, milk, vegetables, fruit, grains and traded for what they didn’t raise on the farm.  They ate their three squares a day of the four food groups (now a days it is five, fruits, vegetables, dairy, grain, protein foods).  The three squares a day is getting a bad rap of late, but humans like routine and it does help plan your day.  We need to only adopt this simple plan or one like it that involves healthy choices and we would well be on the way to correct the many ills that are affecting our society from a health standpoint. 


Somehow we have gotten so far away from sensible eating we need to right books about “diets” that were the norm in a less confused time.  The Paleo Diet is a perfect example.


So, discipline is the key.  Eat the five food groups from reputable sources, prepare them in a way that preserves their natural flavors, control the portions and hold yourself accountable.  Do that and then when you stray, which everyone does and should, you can manage it with little repercussions.  Imagine not spending every waking minute consumed with what you are going to eat next!  I know you do, because I hear it all day long!


Trust the knowledge you have, be realistic in your vision, and enjoy food, real food!


Hiking! The Lost Activity.

We don’t hike anymore.  Sure on occasion we amble through the trees of Central Park – but to actually plan an excursion – it is not done, at least at the frequency we should.


Why hiking?  We could go for a run or a walk and call it good so why go through the extra effort and find a place to hike?




  • Health and Fitness – if you put on your best hiking shoes, load up your camelback and head out the door and cover 10 miles on rough terrain, you will hit muscles and fatigue yourself in ways you would not thought possible.

By carrying extra load, going up and down hills, and constantly adjusting to an undulating path your lungs and muscles will be burning in the most pleasurable way!


  • Exhilarating – the feeling you have after returning from your hike is akin to euphoria. You will be hyper aware, energized, happy and completely excited about life.  The next few hours following your hike you feel like Einstein, ready to solve all the world’s ills.


  • Disconnect – nothing is better for you than to only be focused on the next step. Bring your phone, but turn it off.  Just breathe, step, listen, and see.  The few hours will feel longer and stress will dissipate.  Nothing better for the body and mind than to rid yourself of the white noise and zone in on a simple task.


  • Nature – We evolved in the wild. Something stirs within us when we get out in the trees.  If you haven’t experienced it in a long time or if you have never – go out and get yourself in the environment that made us the species we are today.  It stimulates us to think and act, and who couldn’t use a little help thinking and then taking action?? (rhetorical question)


  • I’m sure there is more! The benefits of hiking are endless.  I have never met someone who didn’t enjoy a well thought out hike.


So now, the question of where?  We are in the concrete jungle, where can we go for a hike?  Well, let me tell you….


Right across the G.W. Bridge is Palisades Park, and in the park there are numerous trails to take advantage of, but the one gem that I like is The Long Path.  It literally goes all the way to Albany!  Super easy to get to, simply take the A train to the 175th Street Subway Station and walk across the G.W. Bridge and hook up to the trail on the other side!  Follow this link Long Path to learn about the trail history and map.  You can also buy a map from the New York – New Jersey trail conference.


Training regularly at As One will more than prepare you to handle a 3+ hour hike, but I would not do much more than that my first day out. 


If you are in the city on the weekend and trying to fill your day do this:  Call a friend (never hike alone), put on some good hiking boots, fill up your camelback and fill it with you favorite snacks, charge your phone (for emergencies only!), buy a subway ticket, grab a coffee an bagel for the ride to the G.W., then set off on a day of fun and adventure.  And I guarantee you will be kicking yourself on why you had not done that sooner!!

You Know What, a Goal is Important….

Right now you are saying, duh Mark – we know that.  Yes, I’m sure you do but even the doctor needs reminding to eat his apple every once and a while.


I just had this epiphany (for the 1000th time in my life) about giving yourself a goal to focus and reinvigorate your training and fitness pursuits.  I spent the last three months kind of preparing for an event and had pretty good success with the outcome, and at the end of it I found myself once again saying – “ you know, if you would have focused harder on your training – you could have done even better.”  You don’t know how many events I have done and said the same thing!


Let’s take a look at what a goal or goal event will do for you:


  • Gets you excited! – As soon as you sign up for something you are all jazzed about it, talk to everyone about it, and immediately start planning to prepare for it like an Olympic athlete.


  • Focuses training – At least once, look on youtube, or google to see either the event or what people have done to prepare for the event.


  • Seek out more information on how to appropriately prepare for the event. Talk to people in the know (As One) and past participants on their thoughts and experiences to help you take away the unknown.


  • Try your best to do it in a group – Obligation to the group is a fantastic motivator, and makes the prep work even more fun.


What are your choices for events?


Events can be self- made or organized and there are plenty of options out there. 


Here is a quick list:

  1. Hike somewhere interesting and challenging
  2. Sign up for a bike ride
  3. Run a race
  4. Sign up for an obstacle course race
  5. Sign up for a triathlon
  6. Paddle Board Race
  7. Pick a day and create a challenge workout
  8. Do an unassisted pullup
  9. Do an As One workout as prescribed


This is just a beginning list, really it could be anything you come up with that will require you to focus and prepare.  Goal Setting

One more point, the reason I have not listed aesthetic goals is that they never seem to work in the long run.  Certainly losing weight (if you are overweight, not because you want to chase the elusive six pack) is important for health reasons and also for performance, but as the primary focus, it is easily derailed because losing weight as a goal can be frustrating and disheartening.  Losing weight should be a secondary goal to an actual event or counter-acting a health issue.


So, I encourage you to find something fun and interesting, schedule it and then prepare for it at the best of your ability.  It will breathe new life and vigor into your training regime and open you up to new possibilities!!


Let us know and we can help!