Learning From Our Kids

The primary difference between training adults and youth is that training youth is all about giving them something physically constructive to do with “all that energy.”  For adults, it’s all about giving them some energy by giving them something physically constructive to do.

Youth are little fireballs of energy.  Adults are constantly looking for ways to get energy.  Imagine that if at 40, you had the energy you did when you were 10!  While there are certain neural and physiological factors that create a difference, let’s look at some practical behavioral differences that could help explain the contrast between energy levels in adults and youth.

Kids Sleep:  Young kids go to bed at the same time every night, usually close to when the sun goes   down.  They have a pre bedtime ritual (brush teeth, get in pajamas, read stories, say prayers, other “calm down” activities.)  Adults often go to bed at different times every night with no clear pre-bedtime process of calming down.  Kids don’t go to the playground complaining about the crappy night of sleep they just had.  Poor sleep patterns have been linked to a host of health problems.  Develop a pre- bedtime routine to supercharge your sleep.

Kids Laugh and Giggle:  Kids are always looking for an excuse to laugh or giggle.  When’s the last time you had a real belly-laugh?  When was the last time you got the giggles?  As adults, we have to search for these opportunities to be silly.  There is quite a bit of research on laughing and health.

Kids Move:  It can be somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” phenomenon, but kids are constantly moving.  Some argue it’s because “kids have more energy.”  That is true to a certain degree.  However, creating energy in our bodies is like a perpetual motion machine.  When we move, we create energy.  When we have energy, we want to move.  Our body depends on circulation to create and distribute materials to our cells to create energy.  No movement, no energy.

Kids Don’t Force Toxins Into Their System:  Your car stops running well if you use bad oil, fuel, or other low-grade or downright damaging materials for operation.  Your body works the same way.  While kids can develop poor nutrition habits (facilitated by adults), the amount of downright toxic substances they directly ingest is normally 0.  I’m talking about alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), smoking, excessive caffeine, and other “adult” vices.  As adults, we know these are not good for our system, but we take them in anyway.  If something isn’t good for your vehicle and you put it in the gas tank anyway, what happens to the car?

Kids Play:  When was the last time you performed a physical activity without an essential, directed outcome?  “Play” is physical creativity.  It helps our body and mind develop the way they should.  Unfortunately, even the amount of play our youth participate in is now limited.  When you watch kids play, what do you see?  Probably a mix of movement, social interaction, and probably some laughing to boot!  Find some play outlets as an adult.  That may mean playing with your kids, joining a sports league, or merely shooting hoops by yourself.

The list could go on.  The point is that as children, we naturally separate ourselves from the things that damage our mind, body, and soul.  As adults we are almost forced to have an affinity for them.  This affects many things, including our daily energy!  I have a saying, “If you want to feel like your 20, act like you’re 7”.   Sleep, move, laugh, and play!

 Brett Klika C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a world renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. In his 14 year career, Brett has accrued more than 20,000 hours of training with youth, athletes, executives, and every day people.  He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, an d personal correspondence.


5 Moves MMA Athletes Should Be Doing

I really enjoy developing programs and circuits for my clients and athletes. Over the years, I’ve incorporated every tool you can imagine – dumbbells, barbells, tires, sleds, prowler, TRX, Ultimate Sandbags, Kamagon Ball, Home Depot hardware section creations, and many more.

The more experience and knowledge I acquire, the more I am starting to conform to the “less is more” theory. While I love experimenting and trying knew methods and tools, when it comes to the movements specifically; there are some essential exercises that I will always incorporate into my fighter programs. The variations will change up a bit depending on where we are at in the program, but you will always find them in there.

This is not an exclusive list. I took some liberties with the article and made my choices broad terms. I did pick one of my favorite exercises for each movement I selected though.

Here are my current ‘top 5’.

1. Hip Dominant

My choice: Kettlebell Swing

For lower body training, it is crucial to include hip dominant strength work. The hips are one of the most important areas of the body to train. I love training hip extension with sandbag cleans, tire flips, barbell deadlifts, and kettlebell swings. I realize these exercises will focus on a different fitness component; deadlifts for strength, cleans for power, and bell swings for power endurance. For this reason, I include them all into a full program. Since “power endurance” is critical for MMA, I really like the swing for this category.

2.  Upper Body Push

My choice: Pushups With Sit-Through

I love bodyweight exercises and pushups have been a staple bodyweight exercise for years. When done properly, pushups force you to really engage the entire body. This variation below will add an additional challenge to the shoulder joint, your obliques, and your hip mobility. Keep the entire body “stiff” and engaged throughout the movement to protect your lower back and shoulders.

3. Upper Body Pull

My choice: TRX Rows

When it comes to upper body strength training, I love pulling movements. There is too much focus on the pushing movements and the anterior chain of the body. This is true for every population, from our “desk jockeys” to our professional athletes. We need to incorporate more pulling exercises to help with posture, grip, and backside strength. Some of my favorite tools include dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, heavy ropes, and the TRX. TRX rows are great because there is a quick learning curve for first timers and there are plenty of variations for all levels. I like to have my athletes perform their rows from directly underneath the anchor point with their hips extended to incorporate the lower body as well.

4. Torso Rotations

My choice: Superband Torso Rotations

While I am not a huge proponent of mimicking the exact movements of your sport in strength training, especially with heavy loads, I do see the obvious value in working those same muscle groups to have them strong, powerful, and more injury resistant. Torso rotation exercises have great carry over to the sport of MMA. I’ve used tubing, slosh pipes, Kamagon Balls, medicine balls, and superbands for these movements. I like using the superbands because you can really encourage the hip movement with proper band placement. I want the movement to involve the whole body, from feet to fingertips. To do this, I have the superband coming across the ASIS, which will almost force the lower body recruitment for proper technique.

5. Sprint Work

My choice: Hill sprints

These definitely fall into the “love/hate relationship” category. They don’t take very long to complete but they should still push you to your physical and mental limit. Treadmill, stairs, track, beach, resisted, hills…there is an endless list and some are more effective than others; especially from a biomechanical standpoint. I prefer hill sprints, especially on a softer surface like grass if possible. MMA athletes endure enough pounding throughout the week from all the sparring and joint locks. If we can incorporate conditioning sessions that are “joint friendly”, their body will thank us.

Final Thoughts

If you look at these five movements, we really get an entire body workout; a couple with an upper body focus, a couple with a lower body focus, and they will all increase the heart rate, which is the most important muscle we have. This could have easily been a “Top 20” list as there are so many effective movements out there. I feel this list includes exercises that will give you the most “bang for your buck”. If you want to get stronger, more powerful, and have more “gas in the tank”, integrate these variations into your strength and conditioning program today.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, CA. He earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University and completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU. Certifications and specialties include the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, NSCA-CSCS Certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, Spinning certification, FMS training, and CPR/AED instructor status. He has appeared in multiple fitness videos, manuals and magazines; produced his own 2-DVD Set on strength & conditioning for combat athletes, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program, and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.

What I Learned At Fitness Quest 10

I recently completed my summer internship at Fitness Quest 10, and was asked to summarize my experience there. I could write a book about everything I did and learned this summer so instead I chose to write my top six moments:

6- I have to start it off with coaching and spotting the NFL players. I saw first-hand how hard these elite athletes have to train to be where they are. It was definitely memorable.

5- Training other coaches and trainers at IDEA inLos Angeleswas really exciting. I was in charge of the agility ladder and later in the day the battle ropes.  I had to coach up to at least 50 trainers on how to perform the set drills. Keeping up the excitement and yelling for an hour was not as easy as I thought but I got through it and all-in-all was a success.

4- Coaching the summer camps was great but the best part was just socializing and learning more about the kids from the Quest 10 Kids camp to the Elite college aged camp. The kids came every day with a smile (sometimes tired but with a smile) and were ready to work. They were there every day to get better, and our staff reassured them to keep working hard.  There was even a moment when the interns and campers got into some intense boot camp football games. Even Kyle (Director of Marketing) got out of his office and showed some of his football skills.

3- I could have put this group with the summer camps above but since it was an offsite camp I felt they deserved its own number. TheScrippsRanchHigh Schoolfootball team was a great coaching experience. Coach James and Matt led the workouts accordingly but I was there for three weeks coaching aside them. The most important key I learned from coaching there was how to communicate with a team of large numbers. At times the older kids would get out of hand but in the end they all trained extremely hard. As a collective group they were probably the most athletic camp so far which gave the coaches the opportunity to really push them to train harder.

2- The coaches and faculty at FQ10 was amazing. From the beginning they were helpful and welcoming. The culture there is more like working with your family rather than co-workers. All the coaches are experienced in their field so whenever I had a question they were quick to answer it. Coach Brett was extremely helpful and was always a great resource to go to. We spent more time with Coach Jeff then anyone else. We coached both Quest 10 Kids and Varsity Speed camps with Coach Jeff. I personally learned a lot from him, from how he would set up his warm up, how he designs his circuits, and the proper warm up. He mixed up the warm-ups in every camp so I was exposed to a lot of drills and fun exercises. I could write all day about everything I learned from each coach so I’ll just end it here. Thanks Coaches!

1- Finally, my friends that I came to know over the summer. There are six of us so we came up with a fitting title as the “Super Six.”  Big shout out to Big Tone, LP, Sean, Kelsey and CD! I want to thank all of them. I really learned the most from them because I would see them from 8:00 in the morning to sometimes 7:00 at night. We were our best critics and still worked really well together.  Last week we finished our summer together with a dance that Jeff asked us to do. Everyone should check it out on YouTube, I guarantee you’ll love it. This was the best summer ever and I wish the Super Six the best of Luck!  Oh and like Big Tone says “Get Big or Die Tryin.”


Adrian Vera

The Wonders Of Pilates

Ahhh, the Glorious Gluteus Medius! Such an important yet overlooked and forgotten muscle. The poor little chap is usually lost in the spotlight to its larger sibling Gluteus Maximus :(.  If we just paid this muscle a little bit more attention and gave it a little more TLC, we could not only avoid possible injury to the low back, but also to the knee, ankle and even the shoulder! We could also experience much more strength and fluidity in movement and become much more dynamic and efficient in sports and life in general. Bold statement I know, but I am standing by it.

In my opinion the Gluteus Medius is the most important muscle in the lower body.  The reason that it is so important is because it is one of the main muscles that control rotational forces throughout the hip.  The Glute’s are very important muscles that become weak, and the Gluteus Medius is probably the number one culprit. So many injuries are caused by a lack of controlled rotation and force in the hip/leg.

Why is correct rotation of the hip so important you ask? Well, if you take a look at the lower body you will find that the hip is the main part that wants to and should rotate. The lower back does not like rotation nor does the knee or ankle. In fact if you look at common knee or back injuries allot of them are caused by forced rotation of the lower back, knee or ankle. The muscle that controls that rotation is the Gluteus Medius and some of the other smaller deep hip rotators.

When athletes have a complaint about their lateral knee pain, more then likely this is caused by a tight IT Band (Iliotibial Band). If you have ever used a Foam Roller on the side of your leg then I am certain that you are more then aware of how tight and problematic the IT Band can be. Well, the IT Band is the muscle (or fascia actually) that comes to the rescue of the weak Gluteus Medius. What the IT Band is trying to do is to control the motion of the leg, which is far better and more efficiently done by the Gluteus Medius.

How do shoulder injuries have anything to do with the correct function and power of the Gluteus Medius you ask? Well, if you look at many sports that have anything to do with hitting or throwing a ball (Baseball, Tennis, Football), over 50% of the balls speed should come from the trunk, the back, hips and legs. Let me say that again OVER 50%! This means that before the shoulder gets involved in the throw or hit of the ball, the body from the shoulder girdle down should generate over 50% of the power that gives the ball its speed and force! If your Gluteus Medius is not working to do this then the result can not only be a less powerful movement (pitch, throw or hit). Make since??

If the Gluteus Medius does its job then the shoulder, knee, ankle, back and the WORLD are a much better place!

How can Pilates help?

Pilates will teach and help to create new muscle memory and patterns. Your brain holds onto incorrect muscle patterns that are developed through improper movement and or over use. It is important to teach the Gluteus Medius to get to work and to stop being so lazy. This is done first and foremost by working with its current range of motion and firing capabilities and being able to distinguish and tell when you are using other muscles incorrectly to compensate.

We have allot of fun tricks and methods in the Pilates room at Fitness Quest 10 to help you awaken that Gluteus Medius and turn it into that powerful and functional Hip Rotator that it was born to be!  Hope to see you in there soon!

-Stephanie Scarbrough
Certified Pilates Instructor & Massage Therapist

Stephanie Scarbrough was born and raised in sunny Southern California. She is a Certified Pilates Instructor and Massage Therapist.  Stephanie moved to Salt Lake City Utah after high school to attend the 1,000 hour Massage Therapy Certification Program at U.C.M.T. After graduation Stephanie moved back to California where she continued her nine year massage career mostly in Chiropractic offices focusing on Injury, Deep Tissue and Sports Massage, but has also worked in Spa’s, Private Practice and was an Instructor of Massage Therapy at Concorde Career College in San Bernardino, California.  She discovered Pilates as a form of rehabilitation for her injuries and feel in love with it. Stephanie then attended The Sheppard Method 450 hour Pilates Certification program in Los Angeles California. She is certified in Pilates Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Latter Barrel.

Napoleon Complex. How much is enough?

As I write this, my 1RM on the deadlift is 385 lbs (stop snickering). My 3RM on weighted pull-ups is bodyweight plus 105 lbs. I would say my pull-up numbers are respectable, the deadlift numbers, not so much. I’m hoping a couple months of Jim Wendler’s “5/3/1 training program” will help. My goal? I would like to start that deadlift number with a 4…405 sounds nice. At 170-175 pounds, pulling 405 is respectable strength in my eyes…isn’t it?

How much is enough?

I’ve felt this way for a couple months now…eyeing that “400” barrier and it got me to thinking, “how much is enough?” Do I need to lift nearly 2 ½ times my bodyweight? When I pull that 405, will I become that much faster, or jump much higher, or be much more injury proof? Maybe 385 is enough…

The importance of goals

It comes down to your goals. Everyone is unique, everyone responds a bit differently to exercise modalities, and most people have different goals and different things that motivate them. For me, I train for life. I train to stay healthy and to have the ability to take a grappling class or muay thai class without any problems. If I want to hop into a pick up soccer game or shoot some hoops, I should be able to without any troubles or be sore for the following 4 days. Like I said, different goals for different people. Different strokes for different folks. Many of my “everyday population” clients would like to lose a couple pounds; they sit at a desk during the week and need to get through their daily activities of purchasing groceries, taking care of the kids, and playing in a weekend softball league. How “strong” do they need to be to reach their goals? Another client of mine, UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, competes in a sport of weight classes. Our strength training goals are to have him injury-free, quick and as efficient as possible, and as strong as possible without packing on too much mass. If you are a strongman competitor or powerlifter, then the answer to the “how much is enough” question is dealt with differently. There is no limit here. Moving as much weight as possible is absolutely functional to your sport.

I have no words…I mean, really? My hat’s off for the determination.

Big picture

Let’s look at a typical client that is married with 2 kids and has an office job that has him seated for 8 hours per day. The heaviest things he’s lifting in a typical week are the bags of groceries, taking the trash out to the curb (he’s a good husband), and picking up his 4 year old for a hug. If his primary fitness goals are to lose 5-10 pounds, stay healthy, and run in an upcoming 5k, does he need to pull 3x his bodyweight? Because of his busy schedule and seated posture 40+ hours per week, I think our main points of focus should be on his nutritional habits and maintaining consistency with a full body strength training program. I realize that being stronger will boost metabolism, increase fat loss, enhance self-esteem, and trigger loads of other fantastic benefits…however, a healthy, 40 year old client will receive these benefits pulling 1½  or even 2x his own bodyweight from the floor.

Ironically, I recently came across a great thread exchange between two people who I admire, Bret Contreas and Rob Panariello. They touched on this very topic and brought up some great points.

Link here


Is this a small man’s cry? Admittedly, perhaps a little bit. At the end of the day, I realize what my “big picture” fitness goals are and I’m feeling pretty good with where I’m at. The take-away here is that your program and methods should be developed around your realistic goals. Follow this important rule and you will be fine. I will admit I’d still like to pull that 405 before the year is out. Damn ego.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, CA. He earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University and completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU. Certifications and specialties  include the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, NSCA-CSCS Certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, Spinning certification, FMS training, and CPR/AED instructor status. He has appeared in multiple fitness videos, manuals and magazines; produced his own 2-DVD Set on strength & conditioning for combat athletes, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program, and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.

Coaching Tomorrow’s Elite Athletes

Hi everyone, it’s Adrian again! As I said previously, I’ll be writing about the summer camps we have here at Fitness Quest 10. This week I’ll be talking about the FQ10 Elite Camp.  My last blog post was about the camp for our young athletes, but this week is about our camp for our oldest athletes. This camp consists of athletes ranging from senior year of high school up to individuals in their 2nd year of college. At their age, these athletes have keyed on one sport. Since these athletes play at higher levels than all the other camps, we schedule the class four days a week rather than three days a week. The first day of camp we test them on vertical jump, pro shuttle, 20 yard dash and the 300 yard shuttle. After they go through testing, we give them their personal workout schedule that they will go through during the duration of camp. The program is designed by our athletic director, Brett Klika. He has designed the program where the athletes work as a team on upper body plyometrics, lower body plyometrics, strength training, acceleration mechanics, and agility training. In our upper body plyometric modules, the athletes always work with some type of medicine ball. Lower body plyometric vary from hurdles and bands to simple squat jumps… it depends on the athlete’s workout schedule.

The elite athletes definitely have the most demanding workout.  Their conditioning is so exhausting, but we always try to add some type of fun element to it. Elite kids make it very competitive so it’s almost not even a game, but the goal is still conditioning. One unique characteristic of the elite camp is that they all share the common goal of getting better. They are all highly motivated athletes striving to become better athletes. As a whole, they finish strong and I’ve noticed that they like to push each other. Well, I kept this blog short and sweet! Have a great week everyone!


Adrian Vera

Shove it! Top Pushing Moves

By Doug Balzarini

Over the years I’ve made clear my preference to posterior chain/pulling movements over pushing exercises. I feel that, for the majority of the population, the benefits of backside exercises far outweigh their anterior chain counterpart. Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like pushing exercises. In fact, pressing and pushing are staple movements in all my programs. They are essential for a well balanced routine.

Whether you are a professional MMA athlete or an “everyday population” client, make sure you include effective, functional pushing exercises into your workouts. The list could go on for pages with all the variations and various tools that one could use…I’m going to share four of my favorites.

1. Chest Press

The chest press is the “go to” exercise for developing the pecs, anterior deltoids, and triceps muscles. If you want a well-rounded routine, you should include some form of a chest pressing movement into your weekly program. In the video below, you will see the ‘Dumbbell Floor Press’. Compared to the traditional bench press, you will lose some leg drive with this variation; however, I feel it’s a bit safer for the shoulder joint and still extremely effective for developing strength and power in those upper body pushing muscles. Exercise in video below: Dumbbell Floor Press

2. Pushup

I love bodyweight exercises and pushups have been a staple bodyweight exercise for years and years. Search on YouTube and you can find hundreds of pushup variations out there…some I question the reasoning behind and some I love. When done properly, pushups force you to really engage the entire body, testing you from feet to fingertips. This variation below will add an additional challenge to the shoulder joint, your obliques, and your hip mobility. Keep the entire body “stiff” and engaged throughout the movement to protect your lower back and shoulders. Exercise in video below: Pushup with Toe Taps

3. Get-Up Variations

Kettlebells and sandbags are my tools of choice when talking about the get-up. This exercise is a great full body exercise in terms of both strength and mobility, especially for the glutes and hips. I included it in with these “pushing” exercises simply due to the fact that we are pushing our bodies away from the ground and working the anterior chain a great deal. It is essentially a static press exercise for the shoulder.

My two get-ups of choice:

Sandbag ½ Get-Up  

This is the closest “crunch exercise” you will see in my consistent routines. As long as you lead with movement with your chest and roll onto your elbow and post up onto your hand, you will limit the spinal flexion that occurs during the movement. Check it out in the video below.

Full Kettlebell Get-Up

I love this version for shoulder-health reasons. When performed correctly, you must keep your shoulder “packed”, which will ensure the scapula is stable on the thoracic spine and the surrounding muscles are fully engaged. It helps keep the shoulder strong and safe. Be sure to include Get-Ups to ensure you are getting a true core workout.

Exercise in video below: Sandbag ½ Get-Ups

4. The Prowler

The prowler is the best tool for developing both pushing power/acceleration and metabolic conditioning at the same time. The Prowler, and all its variations, is a lock to always make my list for best equipment on the market today. The exercise below is the most standard movement you can do with the Prowler. Simply load up the weights, grab the handles, get in a proper forward lean position, and get pushing. I like to incorporate the Prowler into a circuit, as a stand along exercise, or as a finisher at the end of a workout (see “finisher” article here). Be careful not to get the “Prowler Flu”!

Exercise in video below: Prowler Pushes

To see these exercises in more detail, as well as 100’s of other movements, click here.

“Everyday Population”

Proper pulling/posterior chain movements are a must if you fall into the “9-to-5 client” category. As long as your program is sensible, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t include a couple pushing exercises into your weekly routine. Incorporate with proper flexibility exercises for the chest, hips, and ankles (another article in itself) and you are on your way to reaching your goals.

“MMA Athlete”

We want to build both the strength and endurance in your front side. “Long strong” is a favorite term of mine in the industry. It refers to your ability to stay strong in the later rounds of a fight; to have the will and endurance to fight on…a lot of that is mental preparation and a lot of that is proper strength training. Incorporate these movements into your routine and you are more likely to stay “long strong” and have your arm raised in victory after the bell rings.

Make sure you incorporate pushing exercises into your weekly routine to ensure you are maintaining balance in your program.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for the Alliance Fight Team in Chula Vista, CA. A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, a Spinning certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, FMS training, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in 8 fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers.

For more information please visit www.todddurkin.com, www.fq10.com, and www.dbstrength.