These are some very exciting times for The Lab.  We hope to share some incredible news in the coming weeks…but, I can’t do that just yet.

In terms of current excitement I have to congratulate Lab Rat of the Month for July Mike O’Leary who has lost a quick 20lbs and has been absolute machine.  He is a man on a machine and I have seen in practically everyday for the past month putting his work in.  That’s what it is about, constant, focused, effort over time.  This brings results.  Look for more big things from Mike as he has the mindset of a real Lab rat champion.

A few more incredible happenings.  First Watch out for Dr Michael Evans who has just passed the 90lb weight loss barrier and will soon be our next weight loss centurion! He is at 9lbs lost and picking up steam!

ALSO, you may have heard of this guy before, Mr. Voy Andrews, his total weight loss is now at an incredible 152lbs!!! Starting at 350lbs and standing now at 198lbs Voy is now even lighter than ME!  No wonder he was co-Lab Rat of the Year in 2009!

Onto some sad news, the OTHER co-Lab Rat of the year Lisa Manfredi has just moved to Boston for job promotion and sadly leaves us behind.  She crushed it at The Lab for about a year and a half working with me 5 days per week.  She has done some of the most impressive feats of performance these 4 red walls have ever seen.  She pushed all the other members to new heights and inspired them to expect more from themselves too!  Hats off to Lisa and we will all miss her.

The year is getting hot and with so many crazy feats going on it’s going to be an interesting selection process for The Lab Rat of the year this time….so many great things going on it’s anybodies game…

Other feats this past month:

-Tom Major 11 weeks post collarbone surgery already back to setting records on the weights.

-John Sandberg bench-pressed 90lb dumbbells for 6 reps at age 62 and 185lbs.

-Celeste Vossmeyer dead lifted 155 for 5 reps (age and weight non-disclosed, she is light and beautiful)

-Dr Suggs ATG squats with 225 at 155lbs and turns 77 this month!

-Dede Catsavis-tore her meniscus in a step class at Smellbridge and working with our trainers at The Lab hasn’t missed a single day! Only pictures can describe some of the crazy stuff Shawn has had her perform so far!

-Jill Gerber 62.5kg power clean!

-Dr Jacques signed up for an Olympic triathlon!

-Dr Wilkins is getting in her workouts regardless of any pains or set backs (like amazingly obscure knee cysts)

-Kirk O’Donnell power cleaned 100kg with just weeks of training getting ready to join The SLU Hockey team

-Charlie Garavalgia breaks his wrist and gets a full workout in on the same day!

-Andy lost about 20lbs and getting stronger at the same time!

-Many, many, many more I can’t remember…

NO excuses, no barriers, if you want it bad enough, you will find a way!

You guys are all amazing and inspiring PLEASE KEEP up the great work!  Not only are you changing your lives but helping others change theirs too!

Finally, please keep Michael Marker (lost 133lbs!) in your thoughts and prayers as he gets a tumor removed from his stomach this week (fyi: he hasn’t missed a single workout!  ALSO, please don’t pester him about this as he doesn’t like 100 mothers nagging him and asking about how he is doing, just send good thoughts and prayers;). Sounds like he is going to be fine, just very scary.

Enjoy this Majuscule!

The BIG 3!


“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
– Edmund Hillary (1919)

(WARNING: I curse 3 or 4 times in this article.  If you are offended please don’t read.  After tons of thought over whether I should edit them out, I just HAD to leave them in for dramatic effect)

Based on my diverse readership list when you read ‘The Big 3’ you might have thought one of a few things:

a)      The Squat, Bench press (or press), and Deadlift?

b)      The Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Press?

c)      Biceps, triceps, and biceps…uhhhhh, doubtfully.

d)      Larry, Moe, and Curly?

e)      Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost?

f)        Me, myself, and I??

If you picked the last one you are right…ok, I will refrain from speaking of myself as the trinity for now however, what I am talking about is the BIG 3 REASON PEOPLE FAIL.  Or, the 3 MISSING INGREDIENTS to achieving what you want in the health and fitness world.

When I was a young naive trainer I scoffed at the idea that I was a motivator.  Hell no!  I am a diet and exercise expert!  I am not Richard Simmons!  I don’t dance around and clap and jump up and down to get people to sweat to the oldies, but maybe some classic rock?  I am a very serious student of the finer points of biomechanics, training programs, and macronutrient balances…

10 years in the field fly by and I realize that I need about 1/10th of all the knowledge I have acquired to be successful in this field to get people to change.  I LOVE to study and acquire knowledge in this field.  However, when I learned that motivating others and eliminating barriers to action where infinitely more effective than dumping loads of knowledge on people I finally started to see massive success in my clients.

Don’t get me wrong there are LOADS of misinformation and crap out there in every magazine, news story, and even exercise/celebrity/weight loss crap competition on TV, however, most people are actually very well educated and know some basic principles of health and fitness….

What they DON’T have is what I consider the ‘Big 3’:

a)      Motivation

b)      Time

c)      Energy

(oh hell, add in DENIAL too, but The Big 4 just sounds ridiculous and I am not re-writing this).

And then there are always special personal barriers other than the top 3 just mentioned.  Which f you read on you will see are easily eliminated when the Big 3 are handled.  I  challenge you to come up with and excuse or reason that wouldn’t fall under these 3 core areas.  You may claim that you don’t know what to do or don’t know how to exercise?

Let me offer this:

Limitations in knowledge are rarely the true culprits.  You could argue that all you need to know is, ‘move more’ and ‘eat less.’  Simple right?  Well, one thing I have seen here is that most underestimate what they really eat, and OVER estimate how hard/long they actually worked out.  But, this is not the main issue at hand.

Let me share a brief story of two men I have train and helped pull off substantial weight losses.  Both lost over 100lbs in under a year, both where right at the age of 50, and neither one were frequent exercisers when we began.  However, they were drastically unique and different from each other…


My self image as a trainer (Mick): “You’re gonna eat lightening,and crap thunder!”

I would like to think that my magical incantations of exercise brilliance where the true secret weapon at hand.  However, to me it became a pretty simple formula which came down to the BIG 3.

Real conversation between Voy (lost 152lbs to date) and myself:

Voy: (walks into the gym) “Good morning”

Me: “What hurts today Voy?”

Voy: ” Lets see, my hamstrings, chest, upper back, calves, hmmmm, I guess actually everything is pretty sore today.”

Me: “Perfect, lets begin.”

Voy: (Looking at me rather strangely and confused wondering why I had even asked)

Me: “Ok, set 1, here we go…”

Voy: (performs set)

Me: “Great, again, this time harder”

Voy: (realizing he has no choice, grabs bar and continues)

Me: “Fantastic, do it again, this time more aggressive.”

Voy: (just barely catching his breath)

Me: “Perfect, you look ready, you can breath, again please.”

Voy: (looking at me as if my head was in flames)

Me: “I said please, do it. Doooo, it.”

Voy: (resumes his sets)

This process continues day in and out everyday of the week all year long.  Next thing you know presto-changeo Voy is a ripped badass at age 50.


Mike’s story is a bit different.  He likes jokes.

Mike: (walks into the gym) “Good morning”

Me: “What hurts today Mike?”

Mike: “My eyes from having to look at you so early in the morning.”

Me: “That’s cute, here is the barbell, now go, do it.”

Mike: (finishes his set) Hey, have I ever told you the one where…”

Me: (Butting in) “Again Mike. Set 2 here we go, do it.”

Mike: (finishes his set, catches breath)

Me: “Stop me if you have heard this one.  Knock, knock”

Mike: (foolishly falling for it) “Who’s there”

Me: “Again. Do it. Harder.”

This goes on 60 minutes per day 5-6 days per week every week of the year.  Mike has lost 133lbs and diabetes in record time.  Ok, my job isn’t REALLY that simple (and there is much more to a good trainer than this for God sake), but without these elements, it is futile!

And, the magic formula worked again.  Accountability to the Big 3.  THAT is what I do.

While we definitely have worked miracles of exercise science in this Lab most of them have been in the realm of human compliance.  While I definitely have my preference in what and how to do things many people in this world have been EXTREMELY successful in this arena when sufficient doses of the following are used:

1)      Motivation: Having a goal, making a plan, and sticking to it.  Focusing on it each and every day all day and not just when you want to or when it is convenient.  Ever work your tail off and look back and wonder why you are not getting what you want from your program?  Perhaps you take your eye off the ball when it ALSO counts.  For example, you may kick ass in the gym yet go home and eat like crap, have to many drinks of alcohol, or sleep only 5 hours.  ALL, can ruin your efforts.  Your behaviors of the entire day must correlate in taking you either closer or further away from the goal.  I challenge you that if you can find an emotional reason WHY you want this goal there is NOTHING that can stop you from achieving it!  We ALL have barriers and reason why we don’t get what we want but how many of us find those reason and kill them!  Whatever your motivation is rooted in, from looking better naked for your husband, winning an Olympic medal, or simply remaining independent into old age motivation begets ALL success.  With focused motivation you will have no bullshit excuses, and no bullshit arguments why you can’t.  You will say them out loud and realize how petty and easy to fix they are.  Not a broken collarbone, torn meniscus, diabetes, or cancer will stop you.  No crap genetics, financial status, or knowledge base will be an excuse.  When you know WHAT it is you want and why, you will get real honest with yourself on what it is to do, and then get BUSY eliminating every barrier in your path.


2)      Time: If you successfully found the what behind the why to your MOTIVATION you will find the TIME.  People tell me they ‘don’t have time to eat.’  Really?  This always makes me want to reach over my desk and shake them silly.  I have eaten cans of tuna in bathroom stalls in under 30 seconds in hospitals before in order to not miss a planned meal.  I have carried around protein bars in my pockets in order that I never go too long without getting a planned meal so I don’t end up ravenous by not sticking to small frequent meals.   I never go ANYWHERE without food.  And I am no saint.  Many people have done WAY worse than that to stick to their plans.  This is NOT a barrier that I personally will ever accept from someone as I have yet to meet someone with a more twisted schedule than myself and many of the successful clients I have trained.  If you want it, you will find the time.  Why spend the time and money on only part of your plan when you need the WHOLE plan to succeed?  Furthermore, what will get you there faster, just doing enough to maybe succeed with the plan, or everything you can and then some?  Whether it is a babysitter, getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, doing shorter workouts more frequently, or rearranging a few activities in your day figure it out.  If not, you’re simply the cause of your own failures, how silly.  I train surgeons who are on their feet for over 12 hours per day and on call for days on end and I see them at 9:00 pm in the gym after they awoke at 5am. It goes BACK to motivation.  If you fail to MAKE the time to do this, and I mean daily and regular time, the most PERFECT workout plan on earth will not save your ass.  P90-1-million-triple-X will only give you out what you put IN.  And as I said before if you like most people overestimating how much you put IN to that workout, you probably need twice the time you are currently doing.  Working out 3x a week trying to lose weight?  Double that to 6 and see what happens…trying to get HUGE like Arnold with 3 ‘workouts’ per week with your P90-pile-O-shit-x? Riiiiight, then you are just another sucker and maybe you should wait for the release of  the new Ultra-P90-pile-O-shit-x…seriously, in 10 minutes per day you will be ripped and huge (funny story: I just found a shake weight in the trash can by my apartment…the irony)!

3) Energy: “We are what we repeatedly do.”- Aristotle (384BC-322BC).

Read that again and again. You are what you repeatedly do.  You are a slow, lazy, lethargic bastard because you don’t workout.  You don’t have energy because you never use any, and you have no idea how to develop it.  Your baseline output is the same as a growing blade of grass.  NOTHING is easy at first, but with sufficient 1) MOTIVATION and 2) TIME put in you will have built MOMENTUM and ACQUIRE 3) ENERGY!  This is a cause and effect relationship.  A gust of ‘energy’ wind is not going to come by and stimulate you into action…YOU are the windmill that creates the energy and must turn it on.  Once you turn it on it will help sustain itself.

Nothing is going to be handed to you here.  If you are the, ‘ just give me a pill type’ then please just stop reading (don’t worry, the article is almost over).  If you are the action taking, take control of you own life and destiny type, put these 3 simple pieces in place and the answers will reveal themselves as you go.  Happy trails!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
– Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

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