Todd Durkin’s Exclusive Total Gym Insider Tip

This article is courtesy of the Total Gym Inside Blog.

Todd is a recognized performance coach, personal trainer and motivational speaker with a heavy-hitting client roster that includes NFL players Drew Brees, Kellen Winslow and LaDainian Tomlinson as well as Chris Young, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Tim Stauffer of the San Diego Padres and Olympic snowboarding champ Shaun White.

Todd has trained the best and now you get his exclusive Total Gym Insider Training Tips only on this blog!

This week Todd shows you some of his favorite exercises on Total Gym PowerTower, which is included in many of his pro athletes’ training regimens.

To find out Todd’s Exclusive Tips, CLICK HERE.

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Excel In Academics Along With Athletics

–Nicole Morell (SportsForce)

Your academic strength is just as important as your athletic strength. Take the time to read a few tips to ensure your academic skills stand out as much as your athletic skills:

Find the time that works best for you
Figure out the time that your brain is most awake. We all had those friends who rushed to complete their homework in homeroom before school started; but for some, mornings may the best time to get work done. If you’re always exhausted and feeling a little brain-dead after school and practice, get to bed early and wake up sooner than you normally would to give yourself more time to finish assignments before you head off to school.

Chip away at big assignments
Procrastination seems to be a bad habit we all develop in our teen years. It never pays off. Instead of ignoring an assignment until the night before, work on it in small doses. Consistently working on little pieces of a big assignment will help to ease the stress of its completion. It will also help you to look at things with fresh eyes and do a better job than if you cram and do all the work the night before.

Set up study dates
Some of us prefer to work alone, but as you know from sports, things can get done more efficiently with the help of your team. This can also be true for school work. Find someone you know you can work well with and set up times to work on assignments together. This way you will have something to look forward to come study time and also someone to help you out.

Treat school on the same level if not higher
At SportsForce, we work hard to highlight your athletic achievements by showcasing your video. But as many of you already know, academics is equally if not more important in the recruiting process. Don’t put your schoolwork on the backburner. Think of all the time you devote to athletic training and work to put in at least the same amount of time towards your academics. Seeing a strong student-athlete is a great selling point for college coaches.

Get extra help when needed
This is a tip that can be applied to both high school and college student-athletes. There is absolutely no shame in going to a teacher or tutor for extra help; that’s what they are there for. In classrooms not everyone is going to be on the same page in understanding the material. If you feel lost, ask your teacher to meet with you to get extra help. You will absolutely benefit and teachers will appreciate the initiative you put in.

The Scores Report chats with Drew Brees’ trainer, Todd Durkin

At your local gym, you may have been offered a chance to try out a tool called the TRX Suspension Training, which is an innovation by former elite Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick.

As a Navy SEAL, Hetrick often found himself in remote safe houses with limited means to keep he and his soldiers in shape. Using only salvaged parachute materials, Hetrick created what would eventually be named the “Best Total Body Tool” by Men’s Health magazine.

The TRX Suspension Trainer was born.

One of the many trainers that have incorporated TRX not only in his athletes’ workouts, but also into his own workouts is Todd Durkin. Of the many athletes Todd works with during the offseason, perhaps his most recognized is New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees.

During the offseason, Brees flies all the way from Louisiana to train with Durkin and the TRX, which obviously speaks to Todd’s credibility as a trainer. And considering Brees is coming off a Super Bowl win this past February, clearly Todd’s methods work.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Todd about a variety of topics, including his work with Drew, TRX and the “Get with the Movement” campaign, which is defined as a rally cry that dares American fitness enthusiasts to free themselves of their everyday routine. It encourages people to get off their exercise machines and take a more dynamic, moment-focused approach to building their overall health and achieving personal goals.

We also asked Todd to share his favorite Drew Brees story, what specific workouts he uses to train a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and how the TRX can help everybody from the “weekend warrior” to yes, even grandma.

For more on Todd, TRX and his new book The Impact! Body Plan, please visit http://www.fitnessquest10.com and http://www.todddurkin.com.

Also for more on the “Get with the Movement” campaign, visit http://www.getwiththemovement.com.

The Scores Report: Hey Todd, how are you?

Todd Durkin: Real good! Things have been a little crazy around here, but it’s exciting with the new book coming out.

TSR: I bet! Hey, I’ll jump right into it – I wanted to first ask you about your involvement with Drew Brees and his training. Obviously he wins a Super Bowl last year and you played a role in his preparation, so can you tell our readers what you do, how you work with athletes and breakdown that overall process.

TD: Absolutely. I’ve been working with Drew now for eight years and we’ve always had a program that pushed him to be the best he could possibly be. Obviously with him winning the Super Bowl in February, it was the highlight of his career and my career as well. There were many folks and many things that played a factor in that and one thing I can tell you is that Drew is an extremely hard worker and everything that he’s earned he’s worked for.

TSR: You don’t have to go over everything Todd, but can you breakdown what specific workouts you would have a player like Drew do? What kind of training would you put a quarterback or any NFL athlete through during the offseason?

TD: As far as the quarterback is concerned, a lot of my emphasis is on the core, as well as shoulder and joint integrity. I do a lot of shoulder work with my quarterbacks. If you really want to emphasize those two areas compressively speaking, then if you were to watch one of our workouts it really is from feet to fingertips. We work on everything. The first 10 minutes or so is simply spent on a dynamic warm up, then we do a lot of movement training like foot quickness, speed and lateral movement, then of course we have our core training and joint integrity program. We do a lot of strength and conditioning, and of course flexibility plays a major role in No. 1, staying pain free and No. 2, performance enhancement. Our workouts are typically about 90 minutes long and this past season we had nine NFL quarterbacks here at my facility training and 30 NFL athletes overall training in preparation for the 2010 season. My job is to push these guys to make sure they can be their very best and part of what I do is always staying ahead of what they’re accustomed to. So even if they’re used to using things like the TRX in their program, I always have one or two moves to challenge them. We’ve got a whole plethora of tools that we can use to challenge them to be great.

TSR: I think the typical fan like myself assumes that NFL players generally use the “caveman” type of exercises like the bench, like the squat, etc. But it sounds like you don’t limit your players to only those exercises and you challenge them in a variety of ways, whether it be the use of the TRX or what have you.

TD: Diversity is the key for anyone – not just a pro athlete. If you want to be great, you have to diversify your workouts. I love old school exercises such as the bench press and such as the squat. That is a part of the program, but the key word is “part.” If you were to watch one of our workouts, you would see some traditional exercises, but a lot of what I do is training movement and not just pressing a weight. We will rarely sit on a machine – a lot of it is free weight. A lot of it is high intensity training where we’re using super-setting back and forth, complex setting, and exercises that are going to keep the tempo up so it’s working on their strength and their conditioning at the same time.

TSR: Give me your favorite Drew Brees moment from the last couple of years.


TD: Man, there are so many! Wow, well one of the best stories about Drew is the oft-told story about how he came back from major shoulder surgery when everyone doubted whether he would come back at all. Drew never doubted that he would be back in the NFL again after he suffered that devastating injury in 2005. That’s always one of my favorite stories. I guess one of the more recent stories that I can share is when Drew won almost every ESPY award in July and we went out and had a great time afterwards. But of the athletes, there was only one person up the next morning at 7AM and that was Drew Brees. And that’s consummate Drew. I was training him in the gym at 7AM the day after the ESPYs – the morning after there were a lot of parties and hoopla afterwards. But Drew is so disciplined in his approach that despite his busy schedule with appearances, endorsements, community involvement and everything he does, he never lets those things be a distraction. He continues to do what he needs to do to be in the best shape of his life and compete at a world-class level.

TSR: He seems like an incredibly humble guy and that story is a testament to who he is. Getting back to that story about his shoulder injury, it’s amazing to think that when he was a free agent that offseason, that the Miami Dolphins could have had him. That’s where he wanted to go, but they went with Daunte Culpepper instead and Drew wound up with the Saints. Obviously that worked out for all parties involved – great story.

TD: Yeah, well they read the medical reports and the medical reports had many, many question marks about whether or not he would come back. So when you read a report that says he may never be able to throw a ball again, let alone play in the NFL, and you’re investing millions of dollars in that player, if you judge that strictly on the report then you don’t take the guy. But if you look at Drew Brees – who has the mental mindset of a champion – like the Saints did, well they truly were the winners in the long run.

TSR: Well said. Talk to me about the “Get with the Movement” campaign, what’s your role in it, what is it and what’s in-store from here.

TD: One of the biggest things that I use, and not just with the athletes but all of my clients, is the TRX. The reason I like the TRX is because it combines strength conditioning with joint integrity and core strength all at once. The TRX is a simple tool to use, but it’s not simple in the fact that it’s easy. It’s simple to use, yet it’s extremely challenging and it’s great for all levels. Male/female, young/old, skinny or fat – you can use the TRX. I travel with it and I use it when I’m on the road – that, and a super-band typically. I can fuse it into one of my boot camp workouts or use it right here at the facility. The “Get with the Movement” campaign for me is about going for greatness. It’s about people believing in themselves and realizing that training and conditioning is the absolute foundation of success in anyone’s life. If you want to be world-class and you want to be extraordinary in your life, it starts with your physical conditioning. And when one commits to physical conditioning, they can overcome challenges and adversity and then anything is truly possible. The “Get with the Movement” campaign is simply a message to inspire people to be their best and to live extraordinary lives.

TSR: Talk to me more about the TRX. You said that this could be used by anybody – including “weekend warriors?”

TD: Oh, yeah – absolutely. We have our kids on it, we have our moms, our pops, our grandmas, our grandfathers, our pro athletes and our “weekend warriors” and fitness enthusiasts on it. The reason that is, again, is because it’s challenging. You’re using your body weight and most of us have enough weight on us to provide us with a great workout. It provides the ability to challenge yourself in many different ways, simply by the way you position your body by using the TRX. So the “weekend warrior,” we often find, goes out to compete, whether it be flag football or soccer, or softball, or tennis, or golf, and they often get hurt or injured. The TRX is often a built-in system to help guard against injury. It’s going to strengthen your body and it’s going to be appropriately challenging for all folks.
June 5, 2010: Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints practices during the Saints mini training camp in Metairie, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

TSR: Perhaps what’s most interesting to me about the TRX is that it incorporates everyday movements into your workout, yet strengthens your muscles as well, so you’re getting a workout with it too. It’s all about using functional movements not only to get you strong or whatever your goals are, but also helps you in everyday life.

TD: Absolutely. Amen to what you said – you’re 100% correct. I often say bulk is for the beach and movement is what we need to be focusing on now. What we need to make sure is that from feet to fingertips we’re strong and flexible. Most of us aren’t in great shape and when I say that, I’m talking about both metabolically and aerobically. You know, one could be strong and have bulk, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in great shape. If you’re looking to lose 20 or 30 pounds, or you’re looking to get your body stronger, more fit, change body composition, etc., then TRX is a great tool that you can use whether it be at the gym, in your house, or at the hotel room. You can use it to get your body to work out at the appropriate level. Again, I often combine my TRX with a jump rope or some body weight exercises because it’s all you really need to get the results you want. I have a world-class facility and we have world-class athletes in here all the time, but you’d be shocked to see the simplicity of some of the tools we use to get the world-class results that we typically see year after year.

TSR: Functionality is the word that keeps coming to mind when I listen to you talk about the TRX. It sounds like a very cool tool and something that everyone can use.

TD: Absolutely. Well, I think we all want better function, which is a great word. Whether it’s a world-class pro football or baseball player looking to improve their performance on the field, or whether it be the “weekend warrior” that’s looking to improve his recreational skills at whatever game he’s playing, or whether it just be a mom or pop that wants to lose weight and improve energy, the TRX allows one to use a very simple tool to get great results without hurting oneself. So many times people go back into the gym and they’re excited to use the weight that they used to do when they were 18 or 20 and they realize they don’t recover like they use to. Their joints hurt, their knees hurt, their back hurts, and they don’t know what to do. Well, the beauty about the TRX is that you can very simply adjust the level of intensity by the way you position your body. You can work your body in 20 minutes or less and get a great workout in, so once again, it’s a tool. It’s a tool that one can incorporate into their program to improve function and to help out their performance – whatever that means to them.

TSR: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you today, Todd. I know you’re very busy, but one last thing – how can our readers find out more about you, what you do not only with Drew Brees, but other athletes, and of course, TRX.

TD: The best way is fitnessquest10.com, or todddurkin.com. We’ve got a lot of video on our sites and I do a monthly free newsletter where I inspire, motivate and educate people all over the country.

TSR: Excellent, well thank you again for joining us today!

TD: Hey, you’re a great interviewer – that was easy, man. What’s your background?

TSR: (Laughs) I do mostly sports, but the fitness content intrigues me as well, so this was great for me to talk about all areas.

TD: Well, I talk with a lot of people and you can tell who’s skilled and who’s not and you’re definitely skilled.

TSR: I really appreciate that, Todd – thank you.

TD: You got it, Anthony – take care!

TSR: You too! We’ll talk to you again soon.

Are You Ready For Some Football?: Todd Durkin’s TRX Workout

You probably prep for football season by hauling out your lucky jersey and making sure there’s a six-pack in the fridge, but the guys on the field have done a heck of a lot more than that. To find out what it takes to move the chains, we asked Todd Durkin — who trained more than 30 NFL players, including Drew Brees, at his San Diego gym this summer — what goes into a workout. “It’s feet to finger tips,” he says.

On a Roll
Before they do anything else, they’ve got to get cozy with a foam roller. They use the firm cylinder to perform self-myofascial release, a technique that helps get out the knots, allowing the body to have a wider range of motion.

Move Along
Then it’s time for the dynamic warm-up. “It’s skipping, hopping, jumping and lunging, and it’s often done barefoot,” says Durkin, who likes to make sure every muscle is wide awake. That segues into agility drills, such as running or leaping around cones and bounding on one leg back and forth over a line.

Core Curriculum
Powering up your middle is critical for athletes (and everyone else), so Durkin has an arsenal of core exercises. One of his faves is a plank with your feet elevated in the straps of the TRX, a suspension-training tool. To make it tougher, keep your feet together and swing your legs like a pendulum, first toward one elbow and then the other. (Along with Brees, Durkin is part of team of exercise experts promoting TRX’s “Get With the Movement” campaign for functional fitness. “For both athletes and non, it’s a killer workout,” he vows.)

Join the Circuit
Tired yet? No reason to be ashamed. “A lot of my athletes in the first few weeks don’t even get to weights,” says Durkin. But if they still have any energy, it’s time to string exercises together into supersets, which always work complementary parts of the body. Durkin, a former pro who was also a quarterback at William & Mary, blames the injuries that plagued his career on training just what he calls the “mirror muscles.” “You can’t forget about your back,” he adds. Expect 4-6 circuits per workout.

Grand Finale
That’s what Durkin calls the last gasp before hitting the showers. “Imagine that it’s the fourth quarter, with two minutes to go. You still need mental focus,” he says. So he might throw cards in the air and the players have to catch them in one hand. Or, they’ll need to finish up with three sets of treadmill sprints. He can always dream up something to test even the toughest players in the league. “You never want to believe you’re on the top,” Durkin says. “I’ve got to keep my guys hungry.” And after all that training, they’re ready to devour anyone who gets in their way.

Photo courtesy Fitness Anywhere

Article courtesy of Express Night Out

Stressed Out? Eat Up!

By: Tara Coleman
Courtesy of the Total Gym Inside blog

You are so stressed out and busy that your sleep is either long and restless or solid but way too short. So you wake up and start pounding coffee to get going. There’s no time to eat so by the time you get around to it you are starving. Hunger in combination with the elevated stress hormone cortisol cause you to crave foods high in sugar, fat and salt. Poor sleep, caffeine side effects and blood sugar imbalance from poor nutrition leave you feeling tired, moody and unable to concentrate.

As Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritonist who write for the Total Gym Inside Blog states, this is a cycle in which too many of us find ourselves today. There are, however, several things that you can do to stack the cards in your favor and regain control:

  1. Cut out the caffeine after 2pm. OK, I know that I just lost half of you! I’m not saying get rid of it all together, just switch to decaf in the afternoon.  Caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours, so even if you are one of the people with a caffeine tolerance it will negatively affect your sleep.
  2. Increase your B-vitamins. B-vitamins support the entire nervous system as well as our stress response. They also aide in energy production so you will feel a natural increase in energy. Food sources include: liver, soy, broccoli, beans, lean meat, sprouted grains, salmon, nuts and eggs. You can also supplement with a B-50 complex found at your local health food store. Always take B-vitamin with food and don’t freak out when your urine turns neon yellow!
  3. Don’t forget to eat, especially breakfast. I know I sound like your grandma but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It will start your day off with good fuel and help you focus. Stock your pantry and office with easy options like oatmeal so you can make sure that you always have something on hand. While I’m at it, don’t forget your jacket and would it kill you to pick up the phone every once in a while? (Sound like grandma?)
  4. Make sure everything you eat contains protein. Protein supports brain function, which in turn impacts mood, behavior and concentration. It will also give you sustained energy and decrease sugar cravings. No need to go Atkins with your protein (in fact, please don’t!), instead just include some protein with every meal. Food sources include: fish, meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, tofu, dairy, soy, beans and rice.
  5. Add in some Magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Not the kind that causes you to speak gibberish and pass out, but the kind that helps pull your tense shoulders from your ears and quiet your mind so you can sleep. It is also one of the minerals that Americans are most deficient in. I recommend supplementing with a high quality Calcium/Magnesium Citrate before bed. It will also help with muscle soreness from all the exercise you may be doing to relieve stress!

Here’s to leading a calmer, happier life!

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist living in San Diego, CA, and the newest spokesperson for Salada Tea. She will guest blog on Total Gym Inside twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave us your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.