Archive for October, 2011

Third Year Anniversary Party Recap

The third RISE ABOVE Anniversary Party was truly a wonderful occasion celebrating the continual hard work and dedication our members displayed over the past year.  I use this day to give thanks to my family, friends, and dedicated gym goers for their ongoing support in allowing me to build a gym and career based around what I enjoy most in life.

Much like how the gym has continually grown over the past three years, the Anniversary Party itself has followed suit.  This year was BIGGER and BETTER than the last.  Four teams of five participants competed in the challenging Strongman Competition.

The Strongman Competition consisted of three events including: Pull up/Push Up Challenge; performing a rep of each and going up a rep each round until no more reps could be completed.  We had two males and one female competitor making it as high as seven reps for each exercise.

The next event was a timed relay of tire flip and farmer walk (males: tire farmer walk 253 lbs., females: 2x24kg kettlebells farmer walks).  The final event was a team medley where one person did their best event.  Events included of 50 kettlebell snatches (males: 24kg, females: 12kg) two laps of the prowler (150ft.), 30 reps of overhead press (males: 70lb keg, females: 18lb kettlebells), Two laps of overhead farmers walk (males: 70lb keg, females: two 12kg kettlebells) and 75 2-arm kettlebell swings (males: 48kg, females: 24kg).

Here is a video displaying the great effort all of the contestants put forth.

I felt bad last year that so many people brought their children and they watched the competition with both a little excitement and disappointment on their faces.  To avoid that this year, I had the kids work for their hotdogs and had the first ever Rise Above Strongkid Competition.  The Strongkid competition was two events consisting of hang on the bar for max time and an individual medley of prowler push and farmers walk.

Like their parents who participated in the big event; these kids gave it their all.  We had two hang on the bar for over three minutes and some very fast times in the medley that would give the old guys a run for their money.

Each team participated to their fullest potential and the contest was tight.  All of the highlight pictures can be seen on the facebook page.

As always the key to making or breaking a party is the food you serve.  I like to cook but I am nowhere near the ability level of Chef Javier Montano and I am very thankful that he came back again this year to feed this hungry crowd.  Ceviche, steak and sweet mash potatoes were on the menu and everyone ate until their bellies were stuffed.  I highly recommend you get in contact with Chef Javier Montano either by facebook or through his website Real Restaurant Culture. Just don’t book him when I have my next anniversary party.

I am truly amazed and thankful for another great year of Rise Above Performance Training and I owe it all to the members and to the people who help me out behind the scenes.  Special thanks goes out to AJ for helping out around the gym with training and to Debra who is the creative genius behind the design and execution of all of the posters, fliers, monthly newsletters and online work that goes into the business.   I also want to thank my family for their continued support and especially to my sister for helping me with the articles for the blog and other publications.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you who subscribe to the email list.  I greatly appreciate you sticking with me as I try the best I can to provide you with simple and honest training and nutritional insights.  I would never have imagined that I would have the online following like I do and without your support my career would only be an empty shell of what it currently is.  I hope to have all of you come by the gym to visit, lift or compete at the next anniversary party.

Until then: Thanks and Stay Strong.


Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Articles 1 Comment

Second Annual One Hour Long Cycle Charity Event

For the second year in a row I picked up a 20kg kettlebell and proceeded to do clean and jerks for one hour straight.  Why would I do such madness?  It was for a great cause.

Jason Dolby, John “Wild” Buckley and Nazo of the Orange Kettlebell Club (OKC) are all rich in knowledge as they are rich in the human spirit.  They always relish the opportunity to use their passion and skill in order to give back to people who need it the most.

Last year, Jason Dolby started the inaugural event to celebrate his birthday.  In the process, he set two world records in kettlebell lifting and most importantly, raised money for Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.  I participated in the event and had plenty of support from the Rise Above Performance Training members.  We were able to contribute $500 to the cause.  You can read more about last year’s event here.

This year’s One Hour Long Cycle Event was bigger than the last and was especially emotional because all of the money went to Japanese tsunami relief.  The OKC’s own Nazo was trapped in Japan for months after the tsunami and she wrote a very heartfelt blog post about the experience; read her post here.

With the tragedy hitting so close to home, the OKC crew had an easy decision to make by having this year’s One Hour Long Cycle Charity event help raise money for the Japanese relief efforts.

The experience is both unique as it is amazing.  This year there were 38 participants (18 more than last year) ranging from recreational kettlebell lifters (like myself) to record setting world champions.  Where else can you share space and lift in the same room with some of the sports elite superstars?  Rise Above Performance Training was able to contribute $700 for the cause which is truly amazing.  I am blessed with such great members.

It is one thing to simply train and another to give money to a cause, but when you combine the two the experience is multiplied to the highest degree.  I cannot wait until next year’s charity event and I truly hope all of you consider picking up a kettlebell and joining me.

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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Articles No Comments

Sources with High Vitamin D

I have observed that there are plenty of people interested in Vitamin D, its health benefits and best supplements to take to reach optimal levels.  As you may know by now I am an eat first supplement if necessary person, so the intent of this article is to give you the basic facts about the health benefits of Vitamin D and the best sources with the highest contents found so you can decide if you need to supplement or not.

Vitamin D has many health benefits necessary for optimal function and health including:

  • Absorption and transfer of minerals across cell membranes including; magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as calcium.
  • Controlling levels of calcium in the blood. Low calcium levels in the diet will draw calcium out of the bones and into the blood thus resulting in bone loss.  Vitamin D and calcium are both needed to maintain proper balance.
  • Effective antioxidant properties
  • Reduction of cataracts
  • Maintains proper synthesis and release of insulin to control blood glucose levels which helps reduce the risk of diabetes

These are just some of the benefits of Vitamin D, and the benefits are significant enough to concern us that being deficient may bring with it several health concerns.  One of the biggest concerns with Vitamin D deficiency is the association of low vitamin D and several diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and Crohn’s disease along with many cancers like skin breast, prostate and colon.

With its various functions, getting enough Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health.  However, some have stayed away from known sources of Vitamin D for fear or toxicity.  According to the Weston Price Foundation:

Vitamin programs usually omit vitamin D because of concerns about toxicity. These concerns are valid because vitamin D in all forms can be toxic in pharmacological (drug-like) doses. The dangers of toxicity have not been exaggerated, but the doses needed to result in toxicity have been ill defined with the unfortunate result that many people currently suffer from vitamin-D deficiency or insufficiency.

Even if you have fear of toxicity, supplementation may be unnecessary due to the number of ways to obtain Vitamin D and therefore toxicity from supplementation can be avoided.  I will list the five sources that are some of the best sources of Vitamin D.


The most varietal food source containing Vitamin D is found in seafood.  Did your mother ever give you a big, hearty teaspoon of cod liver oil before you went to school?  You most likely didn’t like the taste, however she was doing you a great favor because cod liver oil ranks really high on the list of vitamin D sources.

One small serving of cod liver oil can contain anywhere around 750-900 IUs of Vitamin D.  The RDA guidelines are around 200-400IUs daily.  This range is considered low by some researches including the Weston Price Foundation who suggest that people were consuming around 3,000-6,000 IUs before the establishment of the western die; so if you follow their guidelines then you will be all set after one serving of cod liver oil.

I suggest that you get a good cod liver oil brand that is considered pure and high vitamin.  The one I take is from Radiant Life (I do not make any money off of this suggestion).

If you really enjoy your seafood and want to add a little more Vitamin D to your diet, other seafood considered to have substantial vitamin D levels are: Atlantic herring, oysters, catfish, sardines, and mackerel.


The meats with the highest levels of Vitamin D usually come in the form of different liver varieties and organ meats.  Also look for grass-fed beef and lamb as your best source for higher Vitamin D content.


I always get a little upset that people throw away the yolks when they cooks eggs thinking they are somehow bad for them.  Hopefully this will shed some perspective on the situation.  Egg yolks contain anywhere from 24-35IUs of Vitamin D; whereas egg whites contain ZERO!   It’s true that most of the protein is found in the egg whites but the rich vitamins our bodies need are found only in the yolk.  So either keep the egg intact or mail the yolks off to me so I can eat them.

Sun Light

Us humans have the ability to produce vitamin D from cholesterol catalyzed when our skin is exposed to the sun, however it would take a large amount of sun exposure (approximately 24 hours of UV-B ray exposure) to produce the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D; you would get a massive sunburn before this even happened.

However, don’t get discouraged.   Minimal exposure to the sun a few times a week can help add some more Vitamin D towards the optimal levels.  According to the Weston Price Foundation, sun exposure of hands, face and arms for 10-20 minutes, three times a week, provides 200-400 IU of vitamin D each time or an average of 100-200 IU per day during the summer months.


The necessity for optimal levels of Vitamin D in our bodies is obvious for disease prevention, hormone stabilization and maintaining a strong, healthy body.  Unlike other vitamin sources Vitamin D is primarily obtained through seafood sources and organ meats.

With sun exposure contributing only minimal amounts of Vitamin D synthesis, it is important to eat a diet rich in seafood and organ meat.  Also, supplementation with high quality cod liver oil may be necessary to reach these optimal levels.



Weston Price Foundation

Boston Globe: Vitamin D deficiency tied to a host of dangers


Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Nutrition No Comments


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