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Unlocking the Power of Calisthenics and Strength Training in Martial Arts
Episode 419th January 2024 • The Unlimited You • Victor Almeida
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Explore the essentials of calisthenics and strength training in this episode of 'The Unlimited You.' We delve into resistance training, basic to advanced calisthenics, and their significance in martial arts. Learn about enhancing push-ups, building stability with static holds, and the mind-muscle connection. Perfect for martial artists or anyone seeking to improve their physical prowess. Join us for a journey into physical mastery and holistic training approaches!


Master Victor: [:

we talked a little bit about the definition of strength. So what this

comes down to is something called resistance training.

Now resistance training means

that you're able

to either. Move

an external load. It

could be your own body or it could be another object

like a dumbbell, but it also means that you're able to resist force. For example, if someone's pushing against


can you avoid

being moved So these are the two basic components

of resistance training.


the unlimited you welcome back

today we're going to talk about calisthenics and strength training kind of telling you what they are basics advanced versions and you know the essentially what some people would call like the foundation of physical mastery because you're learning how to

activate and one of these muscles as you're doing these So to kind of give like a basic understanding,

what would you say is? calisthenics

and strength

people who don't know.

That's a great question. Yeah. So on one of our previous episodes,

we talked a little bit about the definition of strength. So what this

comes down to is something called resistance training.

Now resistance training means

that you're able

to either. Move

an [:

could be your own body or it could be another object

like a dumbbell, but it also means that you're able to resist force. For example, if someone's pushing against


can you avoid

being moved So these are the two basic components

of resistance training.

Now, there's different

ways we can provide resistance

on the body. So in the examples

that I gave You can use a dumbbell, you can do curls like that, or you can use the weight of your own body.

Like in the other

example that I gave.

So when we do

resistance training exercises that only incorporate

the weight of our body as

the means of resistance, that's called calisthenics.


don't need really any equipment to do it. It's kind of like your own body is a portable gym. Yeah. I

guess you

can also add like bands Yep.

I guess, I think you call that loaded? Well, so we talked a little bit in one of the previous episodes about how bands are a little bit different from free weights when

it comes to the [:

bands, the more that they stretch, the more resistance That you're getting, so there are certain

applications where bands


think are a little more effective and certain Applications where calisthenics are a little bit more effective certain applications where free weights are a little

bit more effective But training

all of these things is what's going to be most effective.

Andy Freebird: Absolutely. I agree.

Master Victor: And,


know, there's a

lot of basic calisthenic movements we do in martial arts training. For example. We definitely

do a lot of push ups. A lot of push ups. And squats.

Those are kind of the two big ones.

Yep. And

you know, I mean, we can get a little bit more complex, but those are kind of the two fundamental ones

of martial arts.

I would say so.

What would you say are some other basic calisthenic movements that people can do? Sure. Well, so with the push ups, you're getting the upper half of the body.

optimized for

ng the lower body mechanics, [:

And so the third basic calisthenics exercise is going to be

pull ups.

Andy Freebird: ups. difference

Master Victor: though, push up,

squat, you can do anywhere. Pull up you need something

to grab

hold of so you can pull up. Yeah Yeah,

but there's a lot of ways you could do that in nature. Obviously use a branch on a tree provided that it's strong enough to support weight. Yeah,

absolutely. And, you

know, find a jumbo gym at a

middle school or

something. Yes,

That's a really good way to do it a lot of the pro calisthenic athletes will actually

just train at jumbo gyms and playgrounds and stuff because it's Like has parallel bars and pull up bars and all the things they need kind of progressing that

you can do dips,

which is essentially working your triceps for more pushing exercises.

Yes, and

those are those are kind of Integrating a bit of squatting


would you say that's more of like an advanced calisthenics movement?

Andy Freebird: Or kind of in the

Master Victor: that's a really good

question. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's more advanced. It's like, as you pointed out, sort of a hybrid of the two movements.

it kind of starts like a pushup

and it

ends like a squat.

You point out dips also,

it's a really good exercise. So dips have

some similarities to pushups you're

developing that pushing strength,

working on the

pectoralis major and minor of the chest, anterior deltoid of the shoulder, tricep break out of the arms.


you also have your feet

as a point of contact on a push up. So in that way, the


is similar to a pull up where the only point of contact

is your hands.

There's much more of a balance


aspect of

doing dips

because you have to control your

body much more than a And

this is for the, you know. Lift it up lifts at the gym. We have the bar and you can do the modified version where you put

your hands here and you lift your butt forward like a bench to bench.

saying, you're going to get [:

less weight

is applied. Yeah, I'd like to speak a little bit about burpees to

as far as the practical

application. So yeah, out of these moves we talked about The one that I

feel is going to transfer the most to martial arts is actually the burpee because as you talked about I think in the previous episode you don't you want to get up as soon as you can and

kind of like re establish your dominance and your strategy when you're fighting, when you're sparring. So, the

burpee is like the

ultimate get up quickly move. Yeah. Right.

You're trying to get off that ground as quick as possible.

If you're just

working on a

push up, you're not going all the way back up to standing. And if you're doing a squat, you're not starting on the ground. Yeah, absolutely. And when we do,

Burpees during our training,

we don't let them

put their knees on the ground.

It is, you drop

down to a spider man like pose


shoot your legs out and do a push up.


you're working on That exact movement of being able

to spring up really fast. Yes. Because if you ever fall down

self defense situation, the [:

And any jiu jitsu practitioner will tell you this. You learn jiu jitsu to learn how to get up and get away. That's the whole point. Moving into some advanced

movements, like once you progress yourself in your, let's say your pushups a lot more,

how do you

take that further?

That's a great question. So the first question you want to ask yourself is

what adaptation are

you trying to develop that's going to enhance your

pushup because you could make your

pushups more explosive, for example. You

could train plyometrics, which would be you're pushing up as fast, as hard as you can. And you could try to catch some air time.

You get enough air time. You could throw a clap in there before you come back down Make two claps, would be really advanced. yet one in the front, one in the back,

Come back

down really

advanced. Maybe you spin a whole 360 before

you come back down


sitting around. This is going to be great for

martial arts because now

you're explosively throwing those fists, right?

You could [:

your push ups to be stronger by adding weight with a weight vest

Or putting a plate on your back

and doing it. Now, if you do this with a plate on your back, make sure you have a spotter.


I've seen way too many videos of the plate. Yes. And where's it going to land on your hand?

45 pounds on the hand. That's going to break

your hand. Yeah.

So make sure you just have somebody there that can grab that plate if it starts to slide.

Yeah. And then

you can also



your pushups for

hypertrophy by kind of slowing that tempo down, getting

more tension in the chest

if you want it to

grow more.

So you can see there's all different ways. That we can change the pushup to make

it more challenging

to get various results out of

it. You want more endurance?

Yes. Do high rep sets, for example,

you would say the slowing down one

would be like a 10 second push up where you know, five seconds going down, five seconds going up. So you utilize more of that control.

Yeah, so typically what you want to do When you're trying to induce hypertrophy, which is meaning just to make the muscle

thicker, bigger, right?

Is that you want




be a little slower than coming back up. But one thing to keep

in mind if you're trying to grow a muscle,

never ever do it explosively.

When you're doing that concentric portion where you're lifting the weight.

don't ever explode.


do it under

control, but lower it slower than


So you're separating explosive muscle growth versus strength,

yeah. Well, so this actually comes down to the individual fiber types in your muscles There's some genetics behind And what the

fiber composition of a person's

muscles are going to be given any muscle,

but it's also adaptable.

So the more that you train your chest for being explosive, the fiber types will start to adapt. You start training it to be more endurance focused. The fiber types will actually start to

Andy Freebird: and

Master Victor: can happen is to create the hybrid

fiber type.

Yeah. Both.

Exactly. And really important is to train both because you

want to be fast and you want to be strong.

Yes. Just

one or the other. Right. [:

working for pushups we also do pike pushups,

but in the air, just working towards essentially

handstand and also the planche pushups. Do you want to speak about those as well? I would love to. And that's an excellent point that you just brought up. I wanted to touch on as well.

So one

of the ways that you

can make a pushup harder is changing the angle of your body. But what's going to happen is it's going to start to shift which portions of your chest and

which muscle groups

are being targeted when you're training. So

basically the more that you're having your, you know, feet higher, your hands lower, it's going to train more of the upper chest, and more of the shoulders.

the opposite, the more that you kind of have your hands down here, like a dip, it's going to get that lower pec fiber more. And more of that

triceps as well. And that's the kind of motion you get while you're doing the dips as Yes, absolutely. And as far

as growing

the chest, Those

down pressing movements tend to grow the


but they won't target that upper chest as well.

So the best thing is to do all of these angles, then you're stable, you're strong on all of them, and you'll have even.

development of the muscles.

Andy Freebird: Yeah, I

Master Victor: you did also ask a little bit about some of these static holds as well. so if you want, I can go into that. Where would you say, before you go into it, where'd you say like

planche pushups fits into all of that?

That's a, that's a great question. So, the planche, for those

who aren't familiar with it,

it's a gymnastics move

where you have your hands on the floor as your base of support. And that's your only point of contact. Your whole body's off the ground. However, your body's not vertical like

a handstand,

It's actually out horizontally.

This makes it really hard because

your feet are so far

away from your point of contact that there's incredible torque happening and you need very, very strong shoulders

and core

to be able to support your body weight in that


can be done statically [:

Something that surprises people often when they learn this

is that the dynamic version

is actually easier.

it's easier because you don't have to hold



high torque position at the top the

whole time.

Right. When you come back down to the floor, it's like you're getting a break.

In between every rep. Okay.


I guess this is a good transition into those static exercises



So, you might, you

might think you want to work on

developing the planche first and

just holding that. But from my

understanding, now the planche pushup is not something that I've personally worked on. I did have a straddle planche hold at, at one


probably a little rusty on that. I could probably get it back in a few weeks if I really practice but I never personally worked

on the.


pushup. What I have learned from talking

to other people

though, is that a lot of people get that move first.

what you want to do to develop that move

is essentially just

placing them lower and lower [:

You know what I mean? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, so I would probably practice both But how would

you say the the static is different than the dynamic For example, like wall sits or you know holding your squat in

a certain level like if I'm just sitting here And I'm holding my squat at this level. How would that

benefit you differently? Okay. So

that's that's a great question. So we're talking about

here is

two different types of muscle contract. So

what we're calling statical is this is known as an isometric

contraction, which

means that your muscles are partially contracting,


completely. And then you're just trying to hold that part of contraction.

So similar to a squat, you could come down in the squat and just hold it

at the

peak point of tension.

You're not

e. Or you could rest all the [:

a planche pushup or a planche, you have one that's

purely isometric and one that's combining isometrics with this dynamic concentric and eccentric movement, meaning that you're pushing up and pushing down.

So you

kind of get a hybrid workout almost like utilizing the core

and the rest. Yeah, exactly.

The main benefit of working on these static holds, people might wonder,


the point? Is it just because it looks cool

And it does look cool. Let's face it.

Andy Freebird: think, you

Master Victor: Do you remember the first time you saw someone do a planche, it kind of blows your mind. Yeah. Right. The first time I saw it, I didn't actually know that was possible, but these

things are possible. You just need a progression to get the benefit


we use is the table practicing horse

stance. And

this is a very Important stance.

tart burning you progress we [:

a good and a bad

thing of developing it because

you're, you're developing

the strength at a very


place and it only gets strong right there.

Yes, absolutely. But it's not throughout the whole rest

of the movement. So where the static hold is going to develop your ability

to hold that


position at that one

very specific place longer.

It's not necessarily going to help your squat. Yeah.

And that brings

me back to what I was going to say about what's the point of these holds.

Is it just because they look cool? It's actually because it builds stability in the joints. So with like a plank for example, your spine is

a series

of joints.

And if you can hold that position right here, right, this is peak sharing force.

So what that means is like when you're balanced like this, you know, for anyone that can do a handstand people that can't do a handstand, they usually think it takes a lot of strength. It really doesn't. It just it's balancing.

Yeah. But

the more that you start

to angle

like this, the [:

So if you can hold your whole body out like this, your spinal integrity, meaning the ability for all your vertebra to stay together to be really high, you'd be way less prone to injury. the same thing with a horse stance, all

the joints

involved, they have way. better stability, you're way less prone to think about like that, especially for, guess the opposite

of the planche would be the front levers. Yeah. It's like upside down planche. Yeah. That's, that's very interesting.

I didn't think So for those that don't know, it basically looks just like a planche, but as Victor said, you're upside down. And in

this case, you're holding

exactly a

bar. And we tell a very short story here. Victor set up

this awesome pull up dip

bar, pushup combo at this event we were at and a couple athletes came by Oh yeah. and one on each side.

Now if only one had done it, it would've tipped the whole thing over.


awesome site. Yeah, that was [:

By doing laying down, doing footer kicks, scissor kicks

to build that

lower core strength, building the upper core strength because you're having

to hold your legs,

all of the weight of your legs with your abdomen. And all of that is That's being held by your

arms. Yes. So it requires

very, very strong core

and shoulders as well.

Incredibly strong core. And I agree with Victor that the front lever is probably the hardest

of these

moves. The only one harder would


be the full planche. The difference between straddle planche just

means your legs are out and full together. And this also, you can

use these terms for lever. If

you have your legs apart,

your feet coming out to the sides, put

them closer

to center.

Gravity It's a little bit easier, right? They're not as far from the

point of contact.

And we can, I guess, transition into

strength training where, you know, what are

some basic


I guess most people

probably already know, but. And for those that don't. Sure. Yeah.

Well, so we just talked about calisthenics and I think that's the best one to start with because

in a previous episode

we talked about how you want to be proficient in martial arts before you start weapons training. And I feel this is a great analogy for training with other forms of equipment, like weight training

or using machines.

If you don't

already have control over your ability to

move your own body, you should develop

that first. Yes. Right. That way you'll be able to progress way faster and with way less injury. Exactly. Absolutely. Like, deadlifts,

for example.


If you

don't have the ability to spine still,

which you learn when you do push ups. You learn it when you do squats. You don't want to be

wobbling around all over the place. You're

mostly going to hurt yourself when you

go to deadlift. Yeah. So that's an excellent example.

So I'm going to use the example of a bench press versus a

push up. Okay. You could think of a bench press almost like an upside down push up.

han pushing yourself off the [:

pushing the weight toward

the ceiling, right? But

the main difference here, the reason that

the push up is more athletic

of a movement. Is that you have

to keep your spine straight and activate your core.

You're literally activating your posterior chain, meaning the muscles on the back side of your body, from head to toe.

the whole time.

When you're doing a bench press, your whole body is basically

relaxed. Except for the muscles that are moving the bar, your pecs, shoulders, triceps. Of course, you're gonna brace with your core, but not anywhere near the way that your core is going to have to be able to push

Now, I've heard a difference for,


where they will secure their feet onto the ground and create.

Tension throughout their feet all the way

to their chest.

Absolutely. So it's like a tight spring then unload through your bench press. Yep. Is that

different than what you described A little bit. So if you actually look at

the position you're in on the bench press, first of all, what Victor's talking about is something called


It's something you want to be careful with on

bench press because although it will allow you

to lift heavier. if

you're not careful, your butt will lift up off the bench.

and that's dangerous for the back. It's dangerous for the back. And also if

you plan on competing, you're immediately the lift is not good. It's one of the rules that your butt can't lift up.

So that we talked about is because the low back is arching. Right. So your point, your base of support, your points of contact can

be the feet,

the butt, the upper back, right?

So you have

this arched position that's actually protecting these vertebrae, right?

Cause they're not actually in contact.

with the


but in the

pushup, all your spine, all your vertebrae is straight, so you're having your whole posterior chain, all your back muscles, all your core muscles, even your deep core muscles activating similar to a planche or a lever to keep everything straight.

Whereas on

It's in this like extended. [:

is going

to wear you out faster Yeah. and pushups

are far more exhausting than bench presses,

unless you're doing like massive weight.


if you're doing massive weight,

you know, it has a much

more of a

drain on your

nervous system. I see what you're overall. But overall. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that makes you know, as you get stronger in your pushups, say you get, you're able to do 30, 40, 50 pushups. When would you say it's important to start incorporating the strength training? that's a really good question. So I'm going to answer this question as it applies to any exercise, because this is kind of a good rule of thumb, even if it's

not a pushup. Once you can do 10 to 12.

but I would actually target [:

really perfect, clean reps.

That's important.


not sloppy waving your back as you're

doing pushups, but yeah, like a board. Yes, exactly. Okay. Yeah, that's

really important.


it's also important, I think, when you do get to. specific place in your training that you're not just doing

strength training on your chest,

You're doing.

lat pulldowns, you're also exercising your core, legs, entire body, because let's just say you're doing Yeah.

Yeah. Push ups, for example, and you're not

doing any kind of pull ups. You're not doing any kind of back exercises Your whole chest is gonna start caving

in like this from contracting. Do

you want to speak a little bit about like the balance and the importance Yeah, Sure.

So I have, also a certificate

certification for corrective exercise.

A lot of times the problems people have

in [:

even if you

do train all these things, They have imbalances.

Yeah, so it's almost like you have

to do it knowing that even if you do it, it's still not gonna be perfect. Yeah. Yeah,

And even if

you don't do it, you probably have some imbalances Oh for sure

Reaching always with the right hand.

I'm will for non athletes Those imbalances are extreme for exactly the reason you're talking about like people have one arm that's

dominant and they're always, you know, working in front of themselves. They start

to hunch like you pointed out

Andy Freebird: Absolutely.

Master Victor: What would you say are some examples of Advanced

strength training exercises?

like what would be

something that most

people don't do or don't think about

should? Interesting question. I think what I would say is that

what most people don't do and probably should is incorporate

These [:

of resistance training rather than just gravitating toward one.

Most powerlifters are terrible at


and most

calisthenics athletes are not particularly strong in the

big three lifts of

powerlifting, which

is bench press, squat and deadlift.

So I would say.

if you're an athlete, train all of these

different modalities of

resistance training will optimize

your ability to compete and perform Interesting. Okay.

Yeah. As far as advanced strength training, I try not to overcomplicate things. Yeah. The

truth is, if you want. To develop pushing strength

as quickly as possible, Bench press. If you want to develop leg strength as quickly as possible, squat. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, but what most people do is rush into these things without, like I said, a calisthenics foundation.

and they're you know,

they don't have good mobility and flexibility to begin with. Those are limiting factors. So get those things checked off first.

n also targeting strength by [:

smaller sets and, you know, circling in their

hypertrophy where you're getting stronger. You're also building muscle mass and you're stretching, but doing all of these things collectively. Absolutely. because they all kind of feed into

each other and holistically synergize each other. Yes. I also want to put power lifting. I actually want to say I'm putting that in the advanced category.

If you don't have basic you know, athletic skills,

like the ability to, you know,

do 20 pushups or

Do 10 pull ups.

I'd probably start there.

I wouldn't even consider powerlifting yet because you need to be able to move more safely and have stronger joints

and just overall better health. Yes. Okay. And, you know, for

the accidents that

can happen,

how do you prevent accidents?

Like you're lifting too, too,

much or like, you know, how do you, how do you keep that from, from happening? Is there a So what you're really trying to do is you're trying to keep these things at a minimum. Yeah, even if you train as intelligently as possible, you're going to get


kind of little micro [:

We're trying to avoid a traumatic injury that's going to take a long time to recover or maybe not ever recover All right. So one

thing we want to keep in mind is prioritizing

form first and foremost, and the heavier the weight is. The more important that that I would also say, be mindful of progressing in strength, particularly with power lifting slowly because connective tissue like your tendons and your ligaments,

they don't thicken and strengthen

as quickly as the muscles do.

That's a good You might feel like, Oh, I can

bench press 300 pounds now, but


you go to do it and the connective tissue holding

maybe your infraspinatus in place.

gets compromised, tears off bone, needs surgical reattachment. Now you're never going to be able to back press as easily. Yeah. That'd be horrible.


you want to avoid

that. Right. Okay.

And would you say that like resting in between


Is important here.

Oh yeah. You

a little bit more into like [:

you should rest in between your sets for types of workouts? Sure. Yeah. Yeah. So

really what you want to do

if your goal is like strength or skill training.


you wanna rest as long as you need to be able to duplicate the quality of your first effort.

And you can like

understand if you're doing too little or much

of a rest. But just

doing a simple experiment, like do a

set of pushups, set a timer for a minute, do another

set of pushups. Did

you do the same number or did you gas out a few reps less. If

you gas out a few reps

less, you probably need to rest a little longer. The only exception to this, I would

say, you don't need to be as mindful of this with hypertrophy training.

Yeah. You're right. If you get short rest

periods with hypertrophy training. You're going to get more

tension in the muscle

and the research being done on how much weight you actually lift or how many reps you do with hypertrophy shows that those factors aren't that

important. The

main factor in growing the muscle is how much

tension you actually get in it. So shorter rest

ter for that. that's another [:

And you bring it all the way down to not relax the arm and to keep the tension in the exercise throughout the entire movement.

Yeah, that's a great point. Sometimes you want to do that and sometimes you don't. Okay. So


you're trying to grow the muscle,

you want to do exactly what Victor said. You want to keep the tension

the whole time.

If you

see pro bodybuilders train, sometimes what they'll do is they'll never actually lock the joints out.

When they bench press, they'll stop like here

with a

slight bend

in the elbow so that they're getting a little more tension once you're locked here.

It's more of a balancing act. yeah, exactly.

It's almost like a rest up there. But there is

a time where you

don't want to maintain the tension.

The best example

I'll give is the deadlift.

Okay. So the reason it's called the deadlift isn't because you feel like you

want to die afterwards

or because it's

going to make you better at

lifting a heavy dead body.

It's actually because you're starting from a dead pause,

meaning that you didn't get to load the spring first. Every time you

do a squat, when you come back

d you're taking advantage of [:

This is why sometimes people will squat more weight if they drop, if they drop quickly. Cause they almost bounce out of it. Or

maybe you've seen a bench press or

bounce off their chest,

which is why I'm powerlifting you actually have to pause it here for the lift to be valid. So sometimes we actually want to release the tension so that we can develop more

powerful, concentric.

You could try this with a pushup. Every time you come to the ground, go limp.

then push off as hard

as you can.


Interesting. That's a good point.


do the amount of sets



into play. So,

you know, I

know sometimes

some people back in high school, used

to do three sets But a lot of recent studies have


doing four or five more sets

We're yeah, not on the I guess not on the reps, but how many sets you do and how does that play a role?

lot of interest in and have [:


There is no magic number of sets.

People want

to just find that perfect template that's going to get them whatever result.

What it really comes down to is your body's

ability to recover.

So a good general rule of thumb,

if you haven't done a particular exercise


even if you're

already an athlete and

you're fit, just do one set.

You don't

know how it's going to affect you. Especially yeah, gauge it the next day. Now as a general rule of thumb,

you should be recovered within about 48


So two days from the workout, whatever

muscle or movement you did. You should feel ready to go again.

If you're not, you

overtrained. Yeah. Now the fastest rate at

which we can develop strength, hypertrophy, whatever these

things are,

is going to be the maximum amount of training

that our body can recover from in 48 hours. if you're never, ever sore, you're probably under training. But if you're sore more than a day or two, you're overtraining. Keep in mind this

ncreases over time. progress [:

able to do one or two sets, Maybe a week or

two later, you add another set. one

of the things that can

really affect your soreness level, I guess two things, stretching after you exercise,

and then also taking the right nutritions like protein and hydrating

after your exercise

can significantly reduce your soreness level

Andy Freebird: and

Master Victor: Yeah. I don't know if you want to speak about that a little bit.

We'll have a full episode on nutrition, but sure. I'll get the basics. Yeah. Yeah. Because recovery is paramount to success in progressing in strength and resistance training. Now there's a

few supplements

you can take that

will help you obviously protein,

like you said, but I would say as well, college and peptides.

are really going to help you.


you try to eat collagen proteins, they're not that bioavailable. So you want to get them broken down into the peptides already. The reason you want this is that that's

actually what your tendons and ligaments need to

repair [:

Hydration, like you pointed out. Resting, meaning like don't go

and use your body and burn yourself out


things like massage

promote blood flow, and I would say last but not

least, vitamin C, vitamin C has

been shown to dramatically decrease Soreness speed up recovery and has actually been suggested that maybe

it might

even impede hypertrophy because it reduces soreness and helps you recover so fast that it actually is like reducing that damage of the muscle that thickens it. maybe not the best thing for getting bigger. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Interesting.


Master Victor: and

you know, when,

when we do exercise, let's say you do

Arms one day

A lot of people may

want to oh, I want

to get big, giant biceps. Let me do a bunch of curls every single day.

Yeah, you know there

there's some exercise programs that I've seen that they

literally have you do that.


you say that's a good thing

or a bad thing? There's more than one way To pedicats.

Yeah. It

comes down to total weekly training volume

because you have people on one camp that are like you

fewer sessions and a ton of [:

then you have other people that say you should

train a higher

frequency, and maybe even every day, but the total Workout is shorter and the number

of sets is a lot shorter.

Yeah. And he's generating really similar results. I mean, I've done 6 day a week training, 3 day a week training.

I've done 1 day a week training. I've had almost

the same results with all 3. Okay. I just

increase the duration of the workout and the total volume if I have less days per

Andy Freebird: week.

Master Victor: Would you say there's


greater risk of injury if you're doing


big strength workouts on one muscle group repeatedly throughout the do arms two days in a row, it's more likely Probably going to hurt myself because I've just ripped those muscles

and they're

slowly rebuilding.

well So it definitely comes

down to how hard you're training and what specific style of training

you're doing.

I wouldn't recommend doing High weight training

on the same muscle group or movement

more than once a week Yeah Also, I would advise if

you're going to

go into [:

Maybe you go in the gym, you

say today I'm going to get better at bench press,


bench press,

Maybe spend an hour just

doing bench press and taking long rests, you know,

three minutes, maybe even five minutes.

working up.

to a,

maybe a two or three rep set, obviously make sure you have a spotter and somebody that is strong and experienced in spotting. Now

would you also include the secondary muscle group? So for example, bench press would be the chest and also the triceps that day. So there's two different schools

of thought.

I'm in the camp that is where you're headed with this, where you kind of train the other integrated muscles.

That other people are just more old school.

They're more minimalistic. They just go in and they just deadlift or they just bench press.

What you're

talking about is called power building, where essentially

you hybridize power

lifting with more [:

exercises. maybe after you do the bench press you get on the cables and you do the flies like this To really build up the chest.


maybe do some triceps

push downs to work on this, but I wouldn't then say, okay, now that I've done that, let me go deadlift. Yeah. Now let me go squat really heavy. Like your body's going to hate you for it.

I agree with that. Absolutely

Andy Freebird: Absolutely

Master Victor: And as you're exercising,

Your brain is getting more used to sending these signals to utilize those muscles.

We call it a mind muscle connection.


for example, like, Let's

say when you do a normal

pull up on a straight bar you do pull ups on the rings.

how is the mind

muscle connection different? Especially in

control and stabilization

And how does that

Increase through doing calisthenics


That's a great question too.


He said that

you have to

put the mind into the muscle

that you're training. Basically put your

conscious awareness

into that area so you can actually

feel the muscle expanding, stretching out,

and then

Feeling that tension build as it contracts, the fibers shorten and trying to solidify it much as possible in studies that have been done on

this, most people have the most

ability to do this in their biceps. Interesting. However, if

Andy Freebird: show off those arms.

Master Victor: you look at something, we know this from like squatting in front of a mirror is a good visual cue. So if you can look at something. But I would think that a pro bodybuilder versus an average person a similar ability in almost any muscle,


of the rings or pull up as a [:


There's almost like a dance that's

taking place. So first

you have your positioning,

which is like,

where are your hands?

You know, where's

your body? Are you in the right position

and the right stance,

Just like in martial arts.

But then you

have sort of the movement

aspect towards like, what muscles

do you

need to activate?

When do you need to activate them? What muscles are you

trying to relax?

When do you need to relax them? You have the factor of breathing. How are you gonna brace your abdomen?

How are you going

to expel that air

as you

Exert And what's your, your head space as well. So your goal is just to make these movements more

and more and more efficient as you

go, the whole entire body is

becoming better

at responding to what you're trying to do

Andy Freebird: with it. Absolutely. And I

Master Victor: I especially liked the, the analogy using of visualizing yourself, sending that energy to that specific.


s an activity where I should [:

We have

energization exercises where we


the Mandula Mangala sending that energy and Shaking, you know, let's say you squeeze your forearm. You squeeze it to the

point where it starts shaking,

You're energizing

all of that arm. know,

you're, you're waking up

recharging your battery this way and it allows

you to bring that awareness to, Oh, squeeze a little bit more here and here and here and here, where before maybe you're only getting a

part of that muscle activated

and your awareness is increasing the more you do it.

Yeah, yeah.

That's, that's a really good way of explaining it.

For example, I'll get it would be

trained the back. like

we talked about the biceps, you can see.

So that

seems to be why most people have the

strongest capacity contracted. You can't see your back. And people often have

a really difficult

feeling their back and track [:

We've all seen those guys in the gym that have a huge chest and arms. They turn around and there's no back development at all.

So one of the tricks you can use with muscles that haven't woken up yet are hard to sense is

to close your eyes actually

cut off everything external. If it's muscle you can't see.

And really try to peel those back muscles moving.


Andy Freebird: And if

Master Victor: y'all want to try this real quick

and We can do

one of these very,

We can do this while see, while seated, if you're driving, don't close your eyes please. Yeah, definitely keep your eyes on the road. One of our ex energization exercises,

Like, if we close your eyes,

and you imagine.

And you're gonna shake,

you're gonna squeeze the left forearm and the left calf at the same time.

And squeeze it tight enough that it starts shaking, and then let it go. And one more time, squeeze the left calf, squeeze the left forearm.

You can

feel it vibrating,

feel your brain

sending [:

you're talking about, where you're closing your eyes,

you're visualizing it and you're Bringing all

of your awareness to that one specific area that you're tightening up, and then we're going to increase that mind muscle control. Yeah, and for anyone

interested in this,

this concept

is called

muscle control, as we just said.

and it was actually popularized by a guy named Maxick

in the early previous century and he wrote many books on the topic. His body was incredibly muscular, developed and strong,

and the basis

of his training wasn't weightlifting. you just taught us how to do. He practiced

being able to expand and contract his muscles with his mind strongly as possible. He also lifted weights,

but he said that

this was actually the main basis

of his through meditation. Paramahamsa Yogananda

that that's probably

one of the most valuable exercises in

learning how to send energy

different parts of the body [:

these subtle

muscles that we don't use, especially like the middle back.

I have a hard time squeezing the right side of my neck and I've been working on that because the left side squeezes really hard but the right side not as much. Oh, so you kind of detected a bit of an imbalance. Exactly.

And by doing that, I'm like, Oh, I need to work more on sending

balancing out my body.

Now, as you know, you progress through training. I

feel like a lot of people are like,

they start looking in the mirror, they, you know, and that takes.

You know, sometimes a few months before you can really see a visual effect, what would you say is a good way to progress, I guess,

track your progress in your

training and then how important it is to set goals

in that progress tracking?

Okay. That's a really, really good question. Now, when it

comes to tracking progress, are you talking about hypertrophy progress? Let's call it

strength and [:

Okay. So strength

is something that we can't physically measure. And so what we want to do is

we want to

periodically test our strength

by doing a one repetition max.

Or if you

wanna be on the safer side, you could do a

two rep max. Mm-Hmm. . And then you could infer from that two map two rep max, we could put that in a one rep max calculator.

it'll be pretty accurate.

The more reps you do, if

you try to put that in a one rep calculator, it gets increasingly less. Now you don't want a one rep max all the time. It's a


strain on your body and nervous system. Yeah. And

this is when you absolutely need a

spotter and if you're strong and you're squatting a one rep max, make sure you have more than one

spotter as well.

but so periodically you're going to check in,

you're going to do a one rep max test

and see Okay. If you're measuring hypertrophy, actually a tape measurer

is your goal because you're going to be one of measuring

like your waist, ideally you're going to be wanting your waistline to.

, right? But you're going to [:

to measure

your thighs, your chest, your bicep to see are those

actually getting bigger. That's going to be a lot more accurate than stepping

on a scale

and just telling you how much you weigh.

Because as Exercise.

let's say you

do have a little bit of fat that fat's

gonna be burning and you're gonna be putting on more muscle and that muscle per

let's say size


It's gonna weigh a

lot more than your fat.

So rather than

You know, losing weight, you might actually be gaining weight, but

Andy Freebird: you

Master Victor: probably have lost a lot of fat and you're Yeah.

So the tape measure is just allowing us

to determine

where is that weight being lost or you know, in the right places. Cause if

my arms are getting smaller and

I'm getting a big old belly, I'm probably doing something wrong in my training and nutrition. Yeah. And I guess the. Those goals

depend on what you're going for,

for, if you want to look better and look bigger, you're probably going

to be

measuring these [:

Well, let's say for,

Martial arts, we usually

establish a pushup count. We

start off 20 pushups is our white belt requirement. And once you get

to. I

think brown belt like 75 pushups, being able to do

a certain amount of pushups

as you're progressing.


and so here we have another example, which is endurance that is also not physically measurable.

Yeah. So by physically measurable, what I mean is like, you know, measuring your bicep. Yeah. Now what Victor's talking about is called

an AMRAP, as many reps as possible, and that's

how you're

going to want

to test when your endurance

is at

a pushup,

pull up, do

as many as you can.

How'd you get?

try it again.

A few weeks later, did you get more? Exactly. And

if you're training, that

number should be progressing.

It shouldn't be going down.

And if it is, then you're

doing something wrong or you're not exercising with good form. There is one factor though that I will point out

u're rapidly gaining weight, [:

will make these bodyweight exercises harder.


you might think you're

getting worse

at them cause I've

experienced this.

You're actually getting better at

them. Yeah, absolutely.

So as you're tracking,

let's say your pushups,

If you track your weight too.

yeah, definitely, definitely track your weight. I'm not saying don't track your weight. What I'm saying is that if you're going for a burgeonby also using the TAY measure, it's going to help you a lot.


And I've noticed,


know, when I've

lost weight, I can do more pull ups. Oh yeah, for sure. I didn't get weaker, but I lost a little bit of mass, let's say and fat

or maybe it was water weight. Who knows? different days.

but I could,

I could tell I was lighter.

I could do like

two or three more pull ups.

Yeah. Yeah. I've been experiencing that

myself. So,

pounds less muscle now. [:

going for, at least in

martial arts, we want to maintain that mobility while.

keeping that strength And that's a really important balance to

Andy Freebird: mind. Yeah.

Master Victor: And where,

where kind of is that sweet spot is something to really consider because obviously the bigger


heavier you are, the more

powerful you can be,

But you're gonna slow down.

And that's

something that

is really important when you're getting into

this kind of

training is you want to know where you want to go.

So that you can set the proper goals and track your progress while you're

getting there to know if, Oh, I'm working too much on my strength.


I'm doing too much

hypertrophy and I'm not getting enough strength.

So you want to make

sure that you have

the right goal set and the right,

training. You know, training program,

is where we come in to make [:

Otherwise you're going to be doing like 50 pushups, building a strong front body and becoming all lopsided.

And then, you know, you start having these body pains that you don't know where they came from before.


Yeah. Something I'd like to add onto that is that making progress is exciting.

So unfortunately people have a tendency to lean into what they're already good at and away from what they're not.

It's really important to be self accountable and really put your weaknesses at the

top of what you're focusing your Yeah. That's important.

Especially like if

know you

can do some push ups should work on more your lower body. If

you've never done squats before. Okay, so remember what I said about the guy That's got the big chest and arms no back.

Well, you

know legs either.

Yeah. So that's the

number one offenders You know don't skip leg day That's my favorite.

Leg day is my favorite.

I would say leg day is the true test of mental fortitude. You need a lot more of a

Powerful will to get through a leg


all of these really

enhance your martial arts training.

because stronger of a push up you faster you can exert that power, let's say you can Push yourself up to a standing position which would

be incredible. punch

faster. You can deliver more power into each strike. Let's say you can do a squat

squat jump tuck over You know, a four foot fence.

You're gonna have more explosive

power while you're delivering these kicks so

the, the strength training and the calisthenics become essentially a foundation in progressing.

In making the martial arts effective, where if you're, I think you mentioned

this last time, if you're just stretching

you're probably going to get [:

to defend yourself

is going to start to go down

because, at some point

big people have a very big advantage

when it comes to self defense. That's true. grappling, if they can get on top of

you and

you are not strong enough

to be able to establish, you

know, some kind

of better, positioning, like it's kind of done,

You're, you're done. Absolutely.

You won't even be able to breathe. Yeah. absolutely.

And as you're training, you know, a lot of people that they get kind of used to a routine, like, You know, I do 40 push ups every

day and oh, I run three miles every day and then they'll hit this plateau where their time isn't getting shorter.

They can't

progress as much.

What would you say


Andy Freebird: are

Master Victor: good ways to overcome hitting these

or to avoid them altogether. [:

if I gave a

single answer for that,

you just wouldn't

be acting. So


plateau is a little different there.

you know, what's causing you to, your progress to halt might be something totally else from what's causing someone else.

To halt their progress in the same thing

So you want to really take

a close look at your

training, your

nutrition your recovery You start there and say is there anything here that I could be

doing better? You know, maybe instead of getting six hours of sleep, let me try to get eight hours

of sleep at night


thing I've noticed personally is overtraining.

Some people don't realize

that overtraining. Yeah, right So like for me

if I give myself maybe two or three days of recovery

after I rock climb, for example, I feel like I can go again. I feel normal.

but in fact, if I

wait an entire week I'm much better at climbing. Yeah.

So it could even

and myself come in. reach a [:

it's going to be very easy for me to figure out what is

causing this and how do we break through.

Andy Freebird: And,

Master Victor: would you say that rotation of routines

and exercises is also critical to this? yeah, that's a great point. One

of the things that can cause plateauing stagnancy of just doing the same things over

and over again. When I progressed the most in pull up endurance, what got me to break through my plateau was

every set I completely changed the way I was doing

the pull up. Maybe the first set

doing chin ups then maybe I'm doing neutral close out here Maybe I do wide on the next one and after I did that just a few weeks I was able to hit 27

pull ups, no problem.

Before that, I think I was kind of plateaued around like 20.

huge increase just from changing things


ou using more of your bicep. [:


changing and

rotating your grip?

Yep. each bride is gonna bias a little bit more one muscle versus another. Mm hmm did

adding weights to these things also help change, like, let's say you, you did, strength training for a week and then

going to hypertrophy training for another week

or three weeks in a row How would that have an Well the body responds to what you're doing to it Yeah, so, you know if you're trying to do a ton of pull ups your body's going

well, I guess he wants

to do more pull ups

We should create this

adaptation, but if you're trying to be stronger, it's going to do that in regards to strength. What I found was that when I started really prioritizing strength training as far as pull ups,

you know, I put a belt on and put some plates on the belt and do pull


I got way stronger


it made doing a bodyweight pull up feel like

I weighed

as much as a feather,[:

but I couldn't

actually do that many.

Interesting. Because I wasn't enduring the training. So you really need to train all these

things. Like, when I

could do 27 pull ups, I couldn't do

90 pound pull ups. do 90

pound pull ups, I couldn't do

27 pull ups. That's really interesting. Yeah. So you want to, essentially, do both. Yeah. Unless you just don't care about one adaptation or another. Just understand if you don't,

it's like use it or lose

it. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

I've noticed my, my strength on my

lat pull down has increased and my first, I want to say, five pull ups.

Or a lot easier feeling almost feather like,


my, my endurance is still the

exact same. So I, I've literally felt that.

Yeah. it's misleading because you think you do these first few reps and you're like, Oh, it's easy. This is easy. I got this. And then you're like,

oh wait, no, I don't. Yeah. Yeah.

Absolutely. And. where to exercise like


at least my

urrently I'm teaching online.[:

they have to get their own, their own equipment train with us. That's essentially

like, having a



dumbbells or a bar.

And we, were essentially

having them get a pull up bar of some exercise the back.

You say

there is? it's

better for joining a gym? Or getting your own equipment, know, where, where do, where do you stand

on there as far as like much

the majority of the people listening So if you want the best results possible, I would join a gym and I

would get some basic.

At home equipment, the reality is

you're going to get

a better workout in the

gym because you just have more tools

at your disposal. But sometimes we don't want to go out. Sometimes we're just don't have the time. Yeah. If you have


at home, then there's just no excuse. So I have a ton of equipment at home

and I have multiple

gym [:

if you have never worked out


make sure you, most gyms

have at least. an introductory like assessment program where they have a personal trainer who just walks you through

a little bit of


but if you've never


exercises like this

before, really important to have someone there to correct your form so you don't

Andy Freebird: injure yourself.

Master Victor: Yeah That's really important. And I'm

glad that you brought that up because now with social media and YouTube

and everything like that There's all

these programs online that

you can take and it's wonderful that people have access to this information. But this hands on approach

is really important for a beginner because you want somebody there that's cuing you you might not be aware in the moment that you're doing something that is throwing

your whole form off. If you have

a professional there, they're going to

point it out

to you

and help you [:

I've seen some people trying to do deadlifts and their spine is fully arched like this and we're just, they're

going to pop their back out.

Right. And nobody's

telling them. Yeah. They don't

know. They do think that's how you do a

deadlift. that's how injuries happen.

So if you're going to jump into,

you know, going to a gym or buying equipment, let's

say you get

one of those phone apps. There is a chance that

you might end up injuring yourself because you don't have someone there guiding you.

and that's where Our training comes in really handy where

can walk you through doing all of these

things in that format

Like, let's say you're doing

a kick I'm gonna tell you exactly what your body posture needs so that you don't

overexert and put too much

Strain on

a certain ligament and

pull something.

Yeah. And, you know, that becomes really important.

Andy Freebird: Yeah.

Master Victor: That one on

one mentorship is really important because it's not like we're saying that these programs aren't good.


of them are great Yeah

It's just that you need that one on one similar

to like

you wouldn't necessarily feel like you could drive a

car if you read a book about how to do it If you had somebody helping teach you like an instructor You'd feel a

lot more confident. At least the basics, at least the basics, There's not many

basics to go around. it's like, once you get the foundation, you probably take

it on your own, you know? Oh, for sure. Yeah. And I think a truly good trainer is really more of a teacher. You know, they want you to take those training wheels off and

leave, the

nest and take flight.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And do you have any personal experiences through Through weight training, either in like making really quick progress or through injuries that you want to share. Mmm. Yeah.


Andy Freebird: Like

Master Victor: Quite a few, but I'll limit it to like one or two here. So


started doing all this stuff because when I was I sometime around

19 and 20. And

I kind of like finished growing into

an [:

adult body. I developed some kind of a connective tissue disorder. I may have mentioned this before I have it throughout my whole body, in my hands.

It's known as Dupuytren's. Disease.

It's also known, I think,

as Viking's disease

or the curse of the Vikings.

It pretty much only happens in people

of Northern European

descent males.

connective tissue in my hands thickens into these kind of notes that if I don't practice flexibility

and strength over time, my hands

are just going to

stay closed, which is

not ideal, obviously.

So I can't, I never imagined that I would be

able to

do any of the things that

I've done and can do today.

I'm telling you guys this because no matter where you're at, you're going to be dumbfounded if

you stick with it

After a relatively short period of time, even just half a year, like

six months, you're going to

turn around and be, whoa, I had no idea I was capable

of these things. I started

strength training in high school

for football,[:

Andy Freebird: and

Master Victor: you go to anybody who plays football and they, throw you in the weight gym and they're like, go lift

get strong,

you need to move people.

Andy Freebird: So

Master Victor: I went from like a little stick of a sophomore to my senior year, had

all these stretch marks.

on my thighs in here on my shoulders because I gained so

much mass so fast.

So I

ended up stretching

my skin and that's

definitely something that a lot of people don't

consider when they're


is Oh, I'm going to get bigger if I do

strength training or

hypertrophy training

Now for women, especially, I kind of want to point this out just because

you lift doesn't mean

you're going to

look all bulky

and strong.

it depends on the type of lifting you do And it depends if that's

your goal,

because if you don't want

to look all

bulky and big, then you don't have to be, you can still be strong and sexy

compromise that. And that's [:

out there doing a lot of. Bulking. Do it gracefully. Be patient with yourself.

And there's a type of cream

that you can put on that reduces.

Yeah. Interesting. I totally forgot

the cream, but I'll

look into it. and try to bring that information back maybe for the nutrition one.


one of the important things is when you're lifting give

yourself time your body

is going to be putting

on this mass

And it usually you get stretch marks here on the shoulders

Yep, and out here I

literally have them all the way down the entire bottom and side of the

chest. Yeah

And it's the, let's say that you

have a lot of fat you're trimming that fat and

it's pushed the

skin out and it's

going to be

a lot more skin,


And one of the things that people can do to, let's say like you

don't have too much fat



and tighten everything Yeah. Where if you're doing, you know.

Strength training a lot of abdominal exercises. It's going to help tighten especially like while you're aging You have that flap under

here doing

push ups and yes is

going to help tighten that skin and keep

everything nice and there's two worlds where

if you do it too

fast, you're gonna get stretch marks If you don't do it

and you're losing weight, you

might get flabby skin as well.


I personally kind of use stretch marks as a badge of honor. Yeah. But if you're worried about that cosmetically, I think like, yeah, the cream sounds like a really good move.

Yeah. And I

forgot the name of it,

but yeah. And as far as

strength training, right, you know, like you said earlier, if you don't use it, you lose it. Where I think

if. I don't lift or train for

more than two [:

half weeks. if I take a longer than a two week


I feel myself getting immediately.

I think

the longest I've gone

is two weeks. And after that, like I immediately start

to see a difference when I go back to the And that's something that is not only applied


strength, but also technique

as well in

martial arts where. you want to make progress, you have to

keep training.

If you want to maintain progress, you have to keep training. And this is especially important to reiterate

because, know, these things aren't like, it's not a three week magic program. It's not a seven week or a 10 month magic program.

It's a lifestyle you're creating

for yourself. maintain your health, to increase your health, and

if you stop, you've stopped working on your

health and it's all just going to go back to whatever you're

choosing to do. You

want to sit there and look at the, you know,

going to be better at that. [:

then as soon as they shoot the movie, let themselves go again and they look and feel terrible because they had in their mind one singular goal, which was to film the movie. The goal needs to be, I want to be healthy my whole life. Yes. that's not the goal, it will evaporate. As soon as you stop eating healthy or training or focusing on recovery.

That's why diets and these

Andy Freebird: you know,

Master Victor: really

short exercise programs, They may work, but they're not going to work long term

because they're not getting to the core

of the issue, which is establishing a foundation your physical well being, And that comes from maybe when you start off, you're

only going to the gym once or twice a week, and then you start to feel better.

You start to see the results and

then you start, Oh,

maybe I want to go three, maybe I want to go

four or five days now and keep that going,

to see greater results just [:

than the person who, you

know, did it

for 13

weeks straight and



This effect seems to be kind of like a pendulum swing thing where. When somebody is on one side of something and they really wish they were on the other side, they try to just swing straight there and it's not realistic. it's so

hard that

they don't

want to keep it up.

Yeah. So, you know, the numbers show this, the data shows this, the more aggressive a weight loss program is, the faster and more extreme the weight loss is, the more likely they are to gain it back and the faster they gain it back. That makes

Cause they didn't learn how to actually eat healthy and eat the right amount. They just basically tortured themselves for a few weeks. Yeah. And that's not something that you can actually do your entire life.


last thing I

kind of want to ask you before we wrap things up.

is let's say you've been, training hard and like you just

have an off week and

you can't go in

there [:

you know, 80

percent max or whatever you're trying to get strong, like,

Andy Freebird: you know,

Master Victor: is it okay to go in there


You know, do you like a 50 percent training, you know, maybe just do a little bit of cardio, you know, how would you say those like

interim weeks

So when it comes to training something's better than nothing,

you know, and I think

like I'm a fairly quick patronistic person Sometimes people won't do something unless they feel like they can give it their all and do it perfectly If you have the mentality

with fitness.

you won't progress very far at all.

Do what you're capable Maybe everything is sore except for your quadriceps. So get on the leg extension machine, a couple sets of that. Just do what you can do. If you're feeling tired and sore, maybe you do need to take a

rest day, but

don't wait until like every condition is absolutely perfect just to train.


Andy Freebird: like

r Victor: for example, maybe [:


Those are my favorite you

know, a lot of people

often also neglect their neck. neck exercises.

Oh, yeah well

I'm Mark Lartz. Yeah. That's, that's very important. Taking a strike.

If you're in BJJ

getting off the ground with your neck and being able to utilize and rotate that.

Yep. Also the larger the circumference of the neck is harder it is to put for a person to put you in a chokehold. In addition to that in boxing, head movement is very important for avoiding getting punched in the face. Ducking. Yeah. Yeah. But it is something like Victor said, people don't train very often.

Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. That's

very important.

Andy Freebird: Any,

Master Victor: any last words for, for

today? we

kind of covered like all the bases here. Yeah, thanks everybody for uh, you know, tuning in Have an open mind

Andy Freebird: and you know, hopefully

Master Victor: you learn something today that's going to improve quality of training quality of your life. Get

your [:

Get your swole on. And if you all

want to check out more of our podcasts,

make sure to


hit the like button, and


can find us on our website,


com. And

we'll see you on the next episode

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See you next time.