Think Outside The Box

By: Todd Durkin MA, CSCS, NCTMB, Owner of Fitness Quest 10

I went outside the box yesterday.  I had a meeting with a guy named Cassidy Phillips.  Cassidy founded, owns, & operates a company called “Trigger Point Performance” out of Austin, TX (  TP Performance is the “premier provider of performance massage tools for a wide-range of athletes.”   I first met him about 7.5 years ago when he came to FQ10 when he was launching his company.  He was then, and still is,  one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on fascia, corrective exercise, and healing.   He has created some really neat products and does a great job getting them out there.  Some of you may have met Cassidy before at some of the shows as he has a booth and his entire system at all the big fitness shows.  Great guy and encourage you to say hello if you ever see him on the road.  Check out his website and see some of the stuff he’s doing.Anyway, back to my story.  When I was done with my 5:30 pm meeting, I was teaching my 6 pm TD Fitness class that is a high-intensity circuit. Last night it included:

Station # 1:

1.        Heavy Ropes

2.       Hyperextensions

3.       Bosu Core

Station # 2:

1.        Hex bar squats

2.       Swiss Ball BP

3.       Lat Pulls

Station #3:

1.        Single Leg Kettlebell SL Dead

2.       TRX Curls/Rows

3.       Rope Tricep Extensions/Pressdowns

Station #4:

1.       Reaction Ball Rebounder Game

2.       Rotator Cuff

3.       Ab Wheel Rollout

Station #5:

“U CALL IT” — (ie. cardio, tire flips, jump rope, functional trainer, etc.)

Well, I went outside the norm and asked Cassidy to teach a “Smart Core” station in there with his “Grid” product and to do some “corrective exercise” work.  I didn’t really know how that would fit into the whole equation during a high-intensity workout.    But I tried it and added:

Station # 6:

“Smart Core” with Cassidy

Let me tell you something:  the people loved it.  They loved him, they loved learning, they loved the change of pace, they liked getting their ailments worked on while in the middle of a workout or as part of a workout.  I had to pry people away from there after the 7 minute stations were up.  He was doing all this corrective exercise work, teaching people about their plantar fasciitis and having them work on the posterior tib. with his rollers; he was teaching them about their rotator cuff strains and giving them exercises for that; he was having them work on their hips, and doing a lot unique movements.  He was doing some “different” stuff that you don’t normally get in a class of 18 people.

Anyway, think about your “normal” routine.  Maybe you can go outside your box today and do something your not sure of.  It is here that I found “Wow, maybe I need to be doing more of this or including more things like this, even right smack in the middle of a workout that is about calorie-burning, stress reduction, energy, and feeling great.”   Something to ponder in all the great stuff that you guys do.  Maybe it’s something like this, maybe it’s adding a massage at the end of your session, or maybe something completely out of the box.  I challenge you TODAY  to do something extraordinarily different and see how your clients respond.  I did yesterday and realized that it made a difference in the experience we delivered.

What are you going to do different today to play outside the box?  That’s sometimes what it takes to be great!

Todd Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is a personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates, and inspires people world-wide. He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training, and nutrition to help transform people’s bodies, minds, and spirits. Todd trains dozens of NFL & MLB baseball athletes and provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences world-wide. Additionally, Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. He has appeared in 60 Minutes, on ESPN, the NFL Network, and been featured in Sports Illustrated, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, and the NY Times and Washington Post. Todd is the author of 27 DVD’s on strength & conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork, and business/personal growth. You can sign up for his FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the “TD TIMES”, at or

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb above with it. If you would like a Word Document of the article sent to you, please email me at and we will send to you.

FQ10 Personal Trainers On San Diego News Network…

Fitness Quest 10’s personal trainers Anna Renderer, Jeff King, and Ryan Burgess team up with San Diego News Network (SDNN) to answer some of your every day nutrition and fitness questions.

To see what these three amazing trainers have to say, Click Here

Healthy Tips By: Ryan Burgess

Fitness Quest 10’s very own Director of Football and Personal Trainer, Ryan Burgess answers everyday health questions from average Joes and Janes:

Visit San Diego News Network  Health Tips Section to hear what he has to say:

(Make sure to scroll down to the video section) Enjoy!

The When’s and Why’s of Youth Weight Training By: Brett Klika

I’m often faced with the question “When should my son or daughter start lifting weights?” Parents are often surprised at my response. “Weight training” in youth has been made into a complex enigma based on old urban myths, overzealous, uneducated parents and coaches, and fruitless convention. When one stops to evaluate what weight training is and the role it should play in athletic development, the answer to the questions becomes very simple and logical. My response to the questions is “When they need to.”

We all have grown up witnessing elite level athletes and their relationship to weight training. We start to draw the correlation between weight training and athletic success. It appears that if you want to be a successful athlete, you have to lift weights. Usually upon entering 9th grade we deem it the magical time to take our kids to the gym to start “showing them the machines” or turn them loose in the athletic weight room to get under a bar. We assume that the sooner they can start pushing the weights, the sooner they can reap the “benefits”. While the conclusions we draw in regards to young athletes and the weight room may have a small degree of merit, we are often misguided in assessing the relationship between the weight room and athletic success in youth. Two of the biggest problems I see with youth in the weight room are:

1. Coaches and parents use age and not actual physical competency as a guide to begin loading an athlete in the weight room.

2. Coaches and parents misinterpret the relationship of weight training to improving athletic performance.

We have to remember that physical development is not necessarily a point in time, it is a continuum. One physical skill develops another. Crawling as an infant helps develop the neural patterns for walking, running, climbing, etc. Squatting to standing leads to ambulation. Shaky ambulation leads to a normal walking gate, giving way to running, etc. Notice that each advancement in ability involves a certain degree of overload. The first time we go from a squat to a stand as an infant, our body is being presented with a challenge it has no idea how to deal with. The demands for strength, balance, and coordination for standing are well beyond the demands of being on all fours. The more we do it, however, the body adapts and the nueral system gets really efficient at dealing with these increased demands. Then we start moving, creating another overload. Using this example, what would happen if the first time we tried to stand up, our parents put a weight vest on us? They would have taken a task that is already difficult, and made it far more difficult. Is this going to shorten or lengthen our learning curve as to how to stand effectively? Would the weight vest advance or hinder our ability to move on to more complex tasks such as walking? What if we had a special machine that helped us go from squatting to standing, but it was only available at our house? How adaptable would our ability be? The answers to these questions would suggest that adding the extra load to an unfamiliar movement or using a specialized machine would be detrimental to our development. Weight training in our youth is being used in the same manner unfortunately.

I work with quite a few athletes of all ages that couldn’t squat, lunge, skip, do a push-up or pull-up, or crawl when they first came to me. Why would I “teach them the weight room?” How could overloading their biomechanical inabilities possibly be advantageous to them? Why would I add foreign objects to a system that isn’t efficient with it’s own innate structure? I don’t care how old they are. They need to learn to be efficient with their own bodies. Even for the first two weeks of a professional athlete’s program, I don’t use any external weight. If you overload a compromised structure, injury is eminent. With today’s youth, we often need to re-gress before we pro-gress. When kids don’t have P.E. on a regular basis or they don’t play outside all the time, they don’t develop the fundamental movement skills developmentally necessary for higher level skill proficiency. By improperly adding overload, we force them to compensate in some way for the lack of these innate skill sets. The compensation manifests as injury as well as a decrease in performance on down the road.

With the athletes I work with, they need to be able to do 30 wall squats (facing the wall, toes as close to the wall as possible), 40 seconds of perfect push-ups, 40 second static lunge holds, 2 minute plank, and 20 TRX pull-ups with their back flat on the ground before I consider adding external load to their program. If an athlete has trouble doing any of these movements, I re-gress to more fundamental movement patterns in order to bring up their general ability. Once they can do all of the above, basic movement patterns no longer provide a significant neuromuscular challenge. In this case, I look for means to increase this neuromuscular challenge. Adding load in the form of weights to these biomechanically efficient movements can create this challenge. As long as I use the above criteria to add load to exercises, I’m not really concerned with an athlete’s age. As long as they are biomechanically efficient with movement, in order to improve, they need added load. Adding this load needs to be incremental and the athlete must still be able to maintain proper movement mechanics. There is no relevant literature contraindicating youngsters from following a developmentally based resistance training program when it is addressed in the above manner.

While strength training can get an athlete stronger, facilitating better movement, it cannot teach an athlete how to run, jump, cut, swing, etc. The only direct way to get better at these skills is to practice these skills. Strength training has a more indirect relationship in regards to improving athletic skill. An athletes’ time and energy are finite. As coaches and parents, we need to decide how to allot time and energy effectively in order to develop well-rounded, effective athletes. If I want an athlete to be better at a sport, they need to practice proper execution of the skills and tactics directly involved with that sport. In order to improve the effectiveness of these skills and tactics, I would work on general athletic skill such as proper running, jumping, cutting, etc. In order to help facilitate these movements more effectively, I would utilize strength training. Notice that strength training is actually 3rd on the list. It is still essential, but when I look to see how to directly improve performance, it is tertiary to game tactics and athletic skill development. I would organize my training to reflect this, depending on the specific needs of the team and age of the athletes. Remember, the younger the athletes, the more indirect and general physical training should be. Also remember that running, skipping, etc. can be overload to a young athlete, therefore improving strength. Improving performance involves strength training and the weight room, but it is not merely strength training and the weight room.

So my answer to “When should my son or daughter start lifting weights?” can be summarized as the following. Adding overload to an activity is only effective when the activity is executed properly. If a youngster demonstrates proficiency in an activity with their bodyweight, you can add incremental overload. Jumping to a 45 pound bar is not a good idea. Use dumbbells, weight vests, medicine balls, etc. Teach integrated movements like squat, deadlift, pull-ups, push-ups, etc. Proper technique is always criteria for advancement. Compromising technique at a young age in favor of heavier load ONLY leads to injury and decrease in performance down the road. When it comes to how much time should be spent in the weight room, remember that the best way to improve athletic skill is to practice athletic skill. Use strength training to help facilitate improved execution of athletic skill. Weight room lifts can be, and are, a sport unto themselves. Use strength training to help your sport, don’t make it a sport unto itself.

Last but not least, utilize resources and educate yourself as a parent or coach. Break the trend. Train youngsters to be happy, healthy, pain-free adults.

Coach Brett Klika is the Director of Athletic Performance at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He specializes in youth fitness and athletic performance, overseeing a staff of 8 strength coaches developing programs for over 300 youth per week, both athletes and non-athletes. In addition to coaching, Brett currently authors for a variety of publications, produces DVD’s on fitness and athletic performance and presents around the world on topics in fitness, wellness, and sports performance. Brett can be reached at .

No Fear Is More Then A T-Shirt

It seems these days that “hope” is en vogue. I hear many people talking about how they “hope” to keep their job, “hope” to get more clients, “hope” the economy rebounds, or “hope” they’ll be in a better place in a year or two. Some of these people have crystal clear visions of what it is they hope for while others just have a general idea. But at the very least, they all have something floating out “there” that they want.

I hate to burst your bubble, but “hope” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While hoping for the best and setting goals is important, if you don’t act, you won’t achieve. It doesn’t matter what you’re striving for. It could be a career change, a PR in the gym, a spot on a team or in a club, a dream vacation, or losing weight. Whatever it is, these things don’t just happen. You have to make them happen!

As much as this may seem like commonsense, most people stay more on the “hope” side than the “achievement” side of the coin for this simple reason—they don’t act! This lack of action can be attributed to one of our most primal emotions, an emotion that holds a tremendous amount of power—fear. Fear can lead us to act in many different ways, many of which are good and necessary for our survival. Unfortunately, however, fear can also lead us in a direction that opposes our goals and ambitions.

When people get stuck before even starting, fear is often the contributing factor. They are afraid to fail, afraid to make a mistake, or afraid they may get ridiculed, made fun of, or tormented by others who don’t understand or appreciate the individual goal. When fear takes the reigns during this stage of the game, people will place roadblocks in the way of their goals, often on a subconscious level, so they don’t even realize they’re doing it. You see examples of this all the time. People will throw out negative statements such as “I don’t have the resources” or “I don’t have the support” or “it’s just not in the cards for a person like me.” By saying and believing in statements like this, an individual can now shift the blame elsewhere when they fall short of their goals.

The best way to break free from this chain—get over it! Realize that you’re in control of your life and stop making excuses. Success in life has less to do with what happens to you and more to do with how you react to it. What do you really have to be afraid of? So what if you fail?! I firmly believe that you can learn more about yourself from one serious failure than a continuous string of successes. So what if you make a mistake?! Last time I checked, nobody is perfect. Even the experts have had their fair share of trials and tribulations. Look at all the coaches and athletes on this site. I think the majority of them would agree that they would not be where they are today had it not been for some sort of mistake or setback along the way.

So what if others try to cut you down?! The higher up the mountain you climb, the harder the wind blows. Stay confident in your direction, and don’t listen to the detractors. What others say to or about you matters so little in comparison to what you feel about yourself. Remember, at the end of this journey we call life, the only person you’ll truly have to reconcile with is yourself.

Conquering fear doesn’t just stop at the first step. No matter where you are in life, it can sneak up on you and stop you in your tracks, knocking you back down to depths you didn’t even imagine. Fear, in this sense, comes from having your eyes set too far on the horizon or too firm on the rearview mirror. You lose your focus for the moment. Goal setting is paramount to achieving something, but if you were to think of all the things you want to achieve over the course of your lifetime, it can be very overwhelming.

Getting stuck looking in the other direction can also hold you back. If you reflect too long on your successes or failures, fear will creep in with thoughts like, “I don’t know if I can achieve that again,” “I couldn’t stand the humiliation of failing twice,” or “This is as good as it gets; I can’t top this.” What’s in the past is in the past. It’s behind us, it’s done, and it can’t be changed. Don’t let what has happened or hasn’t happened to you hold you back from trying to move toward a more prosperous future. The only thing that is guaranteed is each moment that we have, and when you string together successful moments, you will soon find yourself experiencing a successful future. Make a pact with yourself that you will make the right decision on a moment by moment basis starting now, and you’ll be on your way.

I’m not saying that you should throw on one of those old “No Fear” T-shirts, walk around like a hard ass, and act like you aren’t afraid of anything. What I am saying is be mindful and respectful, knowing full well that progress is going to require action and an awareness of subconscious roadblocks. You need to learn how to walk the line between having hope while not relying on it. One of the best examples of this was given by Vice Admiral James Stockdale, who survived seven brutal years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, Mr. Collins asked VADM Stockdale if there was anything that stood out about those who didn’t survive their captivity versus those who did.

Stockdale’s response was, “Oh, that’s easy—the optimists. They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. They eventually died of a broken heart.”

Stockdale then added, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Penultimate achievement, sometimes our very own survival, is contingent upon facing the moment, whatever it may be. You must find the resolve to “succeed” with every decision you make, but once you’ve made your choice, put it behind you and take the next step forward. If you hit a wall, take a step back and attack again. Make your plan and act by inching closer toward your goal every single day. After all, some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and achieve them.

Ryan Burgess, CSCS, is the director of football development at Fitness Quest 10 ( in San Diego, California, where he has trained hundreds of youth, high school, and collegiate football players as well as dozens of NFL athletes. In addition, he works with San Diego high school football coaches, implementing cutting edge, effective, and safe training programs both in season and out.

No Fear

It seems these days that “hope” is en vogue. I hear many people talking about how they “hope” to keep their job, “hope” to get more clients, “hope” the economy rebounds, or “hope” they’ll be in a better place in a year or two. Some of these people have crystal clear visions of what it is they hope for while others just have a general idea. But at the very least, they all have something floating out “there” that they want.

Ryan Burgess, CSCS, is the director of football development at Fitness Quest 10 ( in San Diego, California, where he has trained hundreds of youth, high school, and collegiate football players as well as dozens of NFL athletes.

To read the rest of Ryan’s blog Click Here.

Fitness Quest 10 & NBC’s “Losing It With Jillian Michaels” Partner Up To Change San Diego!




Families, this is your chance to have America’s top health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels move in, kick butt, and change you and your loved ones’ lives.

Saturday, January 23, 2010- 10AM to 4PM

Fitness Quest 10
9972 Scripps Ranch Blvd
San Diego, CA 92131

Visit for more details!

Read Below the Official Press Release of Jillian’s New Show:

Losing It With Jillian: Jillian Michaels To Rid Families Of Their Excuses and Empower Them To Transform Their Lives In a New Life-Changing Series

From Reveille, the Producers of “The Biggest Loser,” Executive Producers Michaels and Giancarlo Chersich (Empowered Media) and Executive Producer Ellen Rakieten (“Oprah,” NBC’s “The Marriage Ref”), Series to Also Feature Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.  October 20, 2009 — NBC has partnered with popular health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels (“The Biggest Loser“) and Giancarlo Chersich (Empowered Media) along with “The Biggest Loser” producers Mark Koops and Howard T. Owens of Reveille and former “Oprah” executive producer Ellen Rakieten for a riveting new life-changing alternative series “Losing It With Jillian.”

In the series, Michaels invades a different family every week to give them her own characteristic brand of tough love.  She will get to the bottom of the issues each family member faces — ones that affect their health and happiness — and will arm them with the tools necessary to make life-altering changes.

The series will also feature celebrity chef Curtis Stone who will enhance Michaels’ efforts by ridding the family’s kitchen of all unhealthy foods and educating them on proper nutrition, healthy ingredients, cooking tips and recipes.

The announcement was made today by Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

“Jillian is the world’s leading lifestyle expert with a signature style all her own,” said Telegdy.  “Increasing numbers of families seem to need a motivational boost, and we know that Jillian is an awesome force of nature who will help them transform their lives from the inside out.”

Michaels added, “When your health is out of balance everything else suffers  finances, relationships, work and family dynamics.  I’m moving in with families across the country, getting down and dirty and rooting out bad habits in every corner of their lives that are preventing them from health and happiness.  Get ready America because I’m heading out and you never know, I might just end up on your doorstep so watch out!”

“It’s time for Americans to stop making excuses for being unhealthy and take back their lives.  Jillian is going to show them exactly how to do just that starting in their own homes,” said executive producer Mark Koops.  “This is a natural addition to the Reveille brand of powerful, inspirational series.”

“I love the idea of Jillian crisscrossing America to actually move in with families in desperate need of her tough love wake up call. It’s the knock on your door that could save your life,” said executive producer Ellen Rakieten.

The eight-episode series for 2010 will feature Michaels, the renowned fitness trainer and wellness expert, as she helps unhealthy families to move off their collective couches and put their lives back on more rewarding tracks while Chef Stone helps with proper nutrition.

Michaels’ dramatic confrontations will produce inspirational results and ultimately, through her tough love approach, she’ll help these families realize that they can finally take control of their lives and make a change for good.

For information on how to apply to be on the show, go to

“Losing It With Jillian” is produced by Reveille in association with Empowered Media.  Jillian Michaels, Giancarlo Chersich, Mark Koops (“The Biggest Loser,” “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins”), Howard T. Owens (“The Biggest Loser,” “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins”) and Ellen Rakieten (“The Oprah Winfrey Show,” NBC’s “The Marriage Ref”) are the executive producers.