striking arts

A Week to Remember for ETT

The past 7 days have been somewhat of a whirlwind. The craziness started last week when a buddy of mine asked me if I had any workout plans that would burn a 1000 calories. I told him that I did not, but assured him that I could construct a workout that would allow him to achieve his calorie goal. He came over Tuesday, spent about an hour and 20 minutes in the ETT dojo, burned over 1100 calories, and is now my first official personal training client.

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The next day, I had a coworker who I provide striking training tweet at a local radio personality about ETT’s training system. The radio personality, Carmin from the Mike Calta Show, is participating in a local celebrity boxing match next Saturday. My coworker suggested that Carmin use ETT to help her prepare for her match. She jumped at the idea immediately. I followed up by calling into the show Thursday and spoke on air with Carmin and the host Mike Calta about what type of striking training ETT could provide her. Before I knew it, I had scheduled a training session with Carmin and was able to talk about ETT on a popular local radio station. If that wasn’t crazy enough, I had training sessions with Carmin and the coworker that tweeted her that very day!

IMG_0563The awesomeness didn’t stop there. Today we had one of our best ETT Group Training sessions. The weather was perfect once again and we had the largest group of individuals take part in the workout since it’s inception. I am still reeling a little bit about all the good fortunate that has been heaped upon ETT this week. It has made me realize that ETT is growing into the productive community that I hoped it would. I understand that the positive events that took place this week will most likely not be the norm. I will continue to stay humble and driven to provide everyone with a fitness community that supports them in their quest to live a healthier, happier life. Thanks to all the current members of the ETT community for their continued support and stay tuned for bigger and better things coming from ETT in the near future.

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Girl Power

This past Sunday’s ETT group training session was truly memorable. We had perfect weather conditions and four willing & eager participants. Four willing & eager FEMALE participants. I put emphasis on the all female class not only to call out the “men” that decided to sleep in, but also to highlight the importance of women learning basic striking techniques. It’s important to know how to properly punch, kick, and/or knee someone if you ever have to physically defend yourself. However, I believe the confidence and reassurance of knowing how to strike is much more valuable to adult women than to adult men. Recent statistics and advertising campaigns have highlighted the vast problem of physical and/or verbal abuse perpetrated against women worldwide. I am confident that empowering women with knowledge of the striking arts will help them understand that they have the ability (mentally and physically) to defend themselves from victimization. I know that ETT or workout programs similar to it will not solve the issue of abuse against women entirely, but through personal experience I know that it is a step in the right direction. I have been fortunate enough to train with female fighters, train under a female instructor, and am engaged to a woman that has known how to defend herself from a young age. All these women have two things in common: they know how to fight AND they don’t take crap from anyone. 11008522_1621292938104552_4390300908723624768_n

A Change Will Do You Good

I love interval training because it allows you to complete multiple exercises from different disciplines in the same workout. You could do an upper & lower body workout, a push & pull workout, or a sport specific workout. I combined treadmill sprints with striking combinations in the workout below in order to train toward my fitness goals. Periodic variations in your workout plan will keep you engaged and dedicated to reaching your fitness goals.

ETT Exercise of the Week Ep. 2

We are back with another great ETT exercise that will get your butt in gear, literally. This week’s exercise combines sumo squats with alternating knee strikes. The wide stance and outwardly angled foot position of the sumo squat puts a ton of focus on the muscles of the inner thighs (adductors) and the butt (glutes). Combine these squats with knee strikes that would make a Thai kickboxer proud, and you have a lower body & core exercise that would be perfect for your next workout. This exercise will also build your cardio but as with all ETT exercises, we want you to focus on form over volume. Don’t forget to warm-up before you begin your workout and modify the exercise to match your fitness level. If you use this exercise (or any ETT exercise) in one of your workouts, let me know what you think about them in the comment section below. Now go burn some calories!

The Community is a Reality

This past Sunday was the first time in a long time that I would describe the weather here in Tampa as truly enjoyable. Temps were in the low 70s, humidity was essentially nonexistent, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. The setting for the first Elemental Training Tampa (ETT) group class was almost too good to be true. I set up the mats while Shannon wrote out the day’s workout on the whiteboard. The post workout snacks were arranged on the table and the soundtrack for the class was pumping – I believe it was the 80’s cardio station (which ended up being pretty popular). We were visually prepared, but right before the class participants arrived a thought crept into my mind that made me wonder if I was mentally prepared. The thought was, “Can I do this?”

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I have taught fitness classes in the past where I was frequently responsible for creating the exercise format for the class. What I had planned for Sunday was nothing I hadn’t done before, but in a way it was. In the past I was simply an instructor representing a larger entity, but on Sunday I was representing myself and my creation, ETT. If I was unable to provide an engaging workout and/or atmosphere, it would certainly hurt future interest and the word of mouth I was relying so heavily on would most likely be less than complimentary. The pressure that I created for myself was a little unnerving, but the feeling only lasted a moment, because I suddenly remembered something: diamonds are only made under constant pressure. Once I came to that realization, I essentially welcomed the feeling of pressure because I knew it would help motivate me to create and lead excellent group workouts. These feelings all took place over the span of 10-20 seconds, and the thought of, “Can I do this?” quickly changed to, “I am going to do this.”

Soon after my little mental epiphany, the class participants began to arrive. Before long I had eight individuals standing in a single-file line facing me waiting for instructions. An hour of class flew by in a blink of an eye. I’m sure I flubbed some words, spoke a little too quickly, and my voice definitely cracked like a 13-year old boy at least twice, but I knew that I had led a great workout. After the training session ended, everyone grabbed some healthy snacks and began chatting with each other about the class they just completed, other workouts they had performed, races they were going to take part in and other fitness related topics. When I saw that, I knew that ETT no longer existed only online. The fitness community that I had been hoping to create was coming to life right in front of me.

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The feedback about the first ETT workout has been extremely positive and given me some good ideas for future ETT workouts. The next ETT group training session will be held on October 19th. Check out ETT on Facebook for more details. HIT IT!

The Inception of Elemental Training Tampa

fatfaceSimilar to many people my age, I grew up participating in organized sports and playing outside for fun. This trend of staying physically active continued into high school and college thanks to intramural and club sports that did not discriminate against someone with average athletic ability. Unfortunately, once I graduated from college and opportunities to stay physically active were not as readily available, my physical health and state of mind started to suffer. I was less active, eating poorly, and participating in other unhealthy vices. I was in the worst shape of my life.

Determined to change myself, I walked into a local martial arts school with the hope of regaining my physically active lifestyle. Not only did I regain my former lifestyle, but I learned something that I could never have learned simply lifting weights at a gym.

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Jeff Morris Photography

Studying different facets of various martial arts was both physically and mentally engaging, but the striking arts provided something that I had never experienced before. Punching focus mitts, kicking heavy bags, and knee-striking Thai pads not only improved my physical fitness, but also boosted my confidence, lowered my stress level, and gave me a sense of accomplishment like no other exercise regimen. The benefits that incorporating striking exercises into a complementary training program can provide ANYONE has led me to create Elemental Training Tampa (ETT). The purpose of ETT is to create training programs that combine basic striking techniques with a variety of plyometric, resistance, and core exercises to help individuals reach their fitness goals. This blog will provide ETT workouts that anyone can perform in the comfort of their home along with posts about nutrition, public fitness venues, and eventually information about weekly FREE group ETT classes. Even though striking is often referred to as a science, it’s my mission to help people master the essentials so they can take ownership of their fitness. HIT IT!