5-4-3 Hill Training Workout

Team FVT completed the San Fran Spartan Super last weekend:

And I’m not going to lie – it was HARD!!

Not so much the distance … 8.5 miles of running / hiking / walking is challenging, don’t get me wrong … but if you are in condition for it, very do-able …

Not so much the obstacles … though they were varied and challenging, we were pretty well prepared for them …

The course and the conditions are what made this one so brutal.

There were 4 mile or mile and a half hills that were just KILLER.  SUPER steep – almost everyone was slowed to a walk.  The carry obstacles – carrying a sandbag and carrying a bucket of gravel – were on the final two hills, which seemed especially mean :)  It was hot – between 90-100 degrees – with very little shade … and the water stations, surprisingly, were few and far between.

But hey – we all felt GREAT the next day for having accomplished such a feat.

And the reason I am telling you about this in such detail is because I have a killer hill workout for you to try today.

This will help you train for doing something like the Spartan Race, if you are so inclined …

Or you can just use it to get into awesome shape.

It’s from from the Metabolic Monsters workout collection - and it’ll get ya! ;)

Check it out:


5-4-3 Hill Training Workout
by Nick Nilsson, creator, Metabolic Monsters

Naturally, you’re going to need access to a hill for this circuit. The hill that I use is about 30 degrees incline and about 50-60 meters or so of distance straight up.

Round 1 – Speed/Power Training 

– 5 rounds of 95% speed sprints
– Your rest is how long it takes to walk back down
– By 95%, I mean not full-out sprints. Perform them just slightly under max speed.
– Rest 3-4 minutes before going to Round 2 or until you get relatively complete recovery.

Round 2 – Power/Explosive Training 

– 4 total rounds of kettlebell swing throws up the hill.  You’re going to alternate between two different types of swing/throws.
– First, you’ll do single-arm swing-throws with a smaller kettlebell (I used a 25 lb kettlebell).  After you heave it, run to the landing spot and repeat (start running before it hits the ground).  Do this all the way to the top then walk back down, carrying the kettlebell. That’s your rest.
– Second, do two-arm swing-throws with a heavier kettlebell (I used a 53 lb kettlebell for this). Walk to the landing spot because honestly, it’s bloody impossible to run at that point in the workout. Repeat this all the way to the top then walk back down, carrying the kettlebell. That’s your rest.
– Go back to the first one-arm swing/throws, then finish with another round of twoarm swing/throws. Rest 3-4 minutes before going to Round 3 or until you get relatively complete recovery.

Round 3 – Strength/Endurance Training 

– 3 times up and down the hill without stopping (just turn around and head straight back up) wearing an 85 lb weight vest and two 20-lb ankle weights (to hit the hip flexors). Total extra weight 125 lbs.
– If you don’t have a weight vest or ankle weights, you can do a Farmers Walk carry instead (though you may find your grip gives out partway through…in that case, take a brief rest and continue once you’re able).


WOOO doggy – that’s gonna be TOUGH!!

Enjoy ;)

And for dozens and dozens more workouts like this one, check out Metabolic Monsters by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, have a great day -

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

Posted in Motivational, Workout | Leave a comment

meet John :)

I am so proud of my personal training client John.

When he first started training at FVT, he thought he was in pretty good shape, especially for being over 50 … he was about 220 pounds or so, and though he wasn’t really doing anything fitness-wise at the time, he had worked out at various gyms and had done other fitness programs in the past.

fat john

Thing was, John would work out on his own, but he knew he would not always do it right.

Not only that, he kept getting hurt, and as a result would have to stop training and would lose much of the progress he worked so hard for.

Since starting on our program, John has made some AMAZING changes and improvements … in not only his fitness, but his quality of life!

He has lost over 20 pounds (he’s gone from a little over 220 to 196), but more importantly, he has also totally changed his “body shape”. He’s lost two pants sizes, and gained muscle in the upper body – in the arms and chest. He’s also put on some lean mass in the legs, where he wasn’t as inclined to focus on when training on his own :)

John has improved his flexibility and mobility, and is not getting injured like he was before. Which is SO important, because now he can train consistently without having to take breaks and miss workouts, and lose the progress he’s worked so hard for.

Finally, when it comes to doing active things like hiking and biking and walking, it’s a world of difference from before, in just how easy it is. John feels better and more energetic, and truly has a new outlook on life.

Congrats to you John!

We are honored to have you as a loyal client at FVT, and are so glad to be a part of the transformation you’ve made.

Now John made his transformation by training hard, training smart, and training consistently – about three hours per week, total.

He’s also made some simple – but POWERFUL – changes to his eating habits, that have made ALL the difference.

If you would like my help in making similar changes, I recommend you start here:

=> John’s Training + Nutrition Plan

This is the training and nutrition plan that John followed to make this dramatic body transformation – and still follows to this day as he pursues new goals.

If you have similar goals to John, I recommend that you get this plan and follow it to a “T” -

I think you will be blown away by the results!

Thanks -

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

PS - Check out the workout and diet plan John followed to make his transformation here:


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NFL Squat Workout (don’t try this at home)

jj watt back squat

It was the winter of 2003. I had just finished my senior year of college football and was getting ready for the draft in the spring.  I had two college all-star games coming soon, prospects of the NFL combine, and pro scouts scheduled to visit my college campus in a couple of short months …

And at this point in the game, a players stock can rise or fall a huge amount.  Shaving a tenth or two off your 40 time, adding an inch or two to your vertical jump, adding a few reps to your 225 bench press rep test can mean moving up several spots – or in some rare cases, even rounds – in the draft.  Which can amount to, well, a lot of dough! :)

So I was FOCUSED.  I experienced some of the the HARDEST workouts of my life at this point in time … and I also made some of the most amazing gains …

See, my trainer knew I had strong legs and was a big back squatter.  But he also knew I typically lifted heavy … and that strength endurance wasn’t my strong point (at the time).

So, one day when he was feeling especially mean and I didn’t have any events/tests/etc. on the schedule for a couple of weeks, he put me through his 10×10 back squat workout.

It went something like this:

– Pick a weight you can back squat 15 times MAX.
– Do 10 sets of 10 with it, resting exactly 60 seconds between sets.
– Also, make sure to use a 3-0-3 tempo during the sets – that is, take 3 seconds to lower the weight and 3 seconds to lift it.  So 10 reps should take you a full 60 seconds to complete.
– Collapse, vomit, lose consciousness, etc.

Sounds so simple … but oh is it so hard :)   I had the deepest soreness I’ve ever experienced in my legs after this workout.  I did it with a training partner – and he threw up not once, not twice, but three times – during the session!

Pushing yourself mentally and physically like this every once in a while – being safe and using good judgement of course – I think is a GREAT thing for your long term progress.  You not only test yourself from a fitness standpoint, you test your MIND – which is at least as important when it comes to reaching your ultimate training goals.

So keep training hard.  Don’t give up.  And talk soon -

Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

PS - If you are looking for “NFL level” mental toughness … but you’re not planning on playing pro football anytime soon … I recommend you check out:

=> Strength Psychology

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weak, small, and afraid of EVERYTHING

Mike Gillette was one of the smallest and weakest kids in his class who grew up in a household over-whelmed by domestic violence and substance abuse.

Yet, he overcame all this to become a real life action hero.

It’s a life which includes time spent as:

– An army paratrooper

– A SWAT commander

– A member of the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame

– A counter-terrorism consultant to the Department of Homeland Security

– A bodyguard to Fortune 500 executives and film stars, like Sylvester Stallone, and…

– A record-setting strongman who has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Guinness World Records

He has over 25 different use-of-force and weapons systems instructor designations to his name. He’s been an in-demand tactical trainer for a literal alphabet soup of elite government agencies – FBI, DEA, DHS and TSA (in fact, he literally wrote the training manual for those last two).

You’d look at all those accolades and, like me, think to yourself “man, he must have been BORN a hero…”

But you’d be wrong.

You see, when Mike was a child he couldn’t have been further away from the person he is today.

He was small. He was weak. And he was afraid of EVERYTHING.

His personal story is one of weakness transformed into strength.

Because mental strength isn’t genetic. You’re not born with toughness of mind.

No. Mike developed a tough mind by dealing with what life threw at him.

He knows what it takes to go from your ‘today’ self to your tough-minded ‘warrior’ self.

Listen to an interview with him at the link below – I LOVE listening to interviews, and this is one you don’t want to miss:


- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

Learn the 3 Psychological ‘Shortcuts’ Used by Special Forces and Secretive Government Agencies that Rapidly Transforms Ordinary Guys into Tough Minded, Nerves of Steel, Combat-Ready ‘Warriors’

Posted in Expert Interviews | Leave a comment

44 Best Burpee Exercises Ever! [video]

This is one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos:

My friend Funk Roberts demos 44 different burpee variations in it.  A few of my favorites are:

– One arm battle rope burpees
– Super wall burpees
– Ghetto fence burpees
– Kegger burpee jumps
– Lebert side hop burpees

Hope it gives you some cool new ideas to use in your training routine.

And if you like this video, be sure to check out Funk’s newly updated Spartan Training System as well:

=> Funk Roberts Spartan Training System

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Personal Trainer

Posted in Videos, Workout | Leave a comment

How to Unlock Tight Hips

You might think that I do kettlebell workouts myself, or work with training clients for the majority of my days … but the reality is that there is a LOT of work I do behind the scenes … from writing, to checking / responding to emails, to talking on the phone, to flying to workshops / events … that ends up putting me in a seated position, more and more all the time.

And I am a full time fitness professional.  Odds are, if you’re reading this email, you probably have it much WORSE that I do! :)

Sitting for extended periods turns out to be very BAD.  In fact, more and more research is pointing to the fact that sitting all day is one of the WORST things you can do for your health.

Now if your work puts you in a seated position for much of the day, it is what it is.  You may not have an option to NOT sit.

But you CAN take measures to combat some of the negative effects.

One area of the body that suffers a lot is the hips.  The hip flexor muscles, such as the psoas, are some of those that get it the worst.  Not only will this affect performance in your workouts, it will actually cause you pain and long term problems.

So if you are in the same boat as me, and end up having to sit a lot … and as a result, KNOW you have tight hips … and you are looking for a simple, easy to do routine you can put in place to work to improve the problem … I recommend that you check out:

=> Unlock Your Hip Fexors

I picked this program up a few months ago, and it has been helping me a lot.  It outlines a great routine that you can do to help combat some of these issues that come up due to sitting all day.

Since starting it, I not only am moving and feeling better … I have put 35 pounds on to my max deadlift and over 10 reps on to my all time best 5 minute kettlebell snatch test time!

Bottom line is this.  You may HAVE to sit all day for your job … but if you value your health and workout performance, you can and should take measures to help – starting with something like the Unlock Your Hip Fexors program.

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Personal Trainer

Posted in Miscelany | Leave a comment

4 Diet Tricks to Expose Your Abs FAST

Do you ever feel like no matter HOW hard you diet and exercise, you still have bloating, water retention, or stomach fat hanging around?

Well, there are 4 “tricks” you can use to eliminate this – and expose your abs, FAST!

Get the complete 3 Day See Your Abs program here


4 Diet Tricks to See Your Abs

1 – Water manipulation

Increasing water intake in a very aggressive manner for a short period of time …

And then slightly dehydrating yourself afterwards (in a very healthy manner) …

Can make your skin look “tighter” in the stomach area (or in any flabby body part).

2 – Sodium Manipulation

Believe it or not, increasing sodium for brief periods of time, followed by decreasing sodium directly afterwards can have a profound effect on how flat your belly appears to look.

3 – Carbohydrate Manipulation

Because your body holds nearly 3 grams of water for every gram of starches or sugars you consume, carbohydrates can easily be manipulated to make your midsection look flatter.

4 – Fat Manipulation

By using LOW fat intake for a few days, followed by HIGHER fat intake at just the right times you can increase your body’s insulin sensitivity to minimize water retention and bloating.


There you have it – 4 diet tricks to see your abs.

If you ever feel like no matter HOW hard you diet and exercise, you still have bloating, water retention, or stomach fat hanging around … these simple tricks can help you FINALLY eliminate ALL of these things … and see your abs, fast!

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

PS - Everyone is RAVING about the 3 Day See Your Abs program I mentioned briefly above … click here to learn more and see what all the fuss is about :)

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[video] Boost Your Deadlift by 55 Pounds in 30 Minutes

One exercise that I REALLY hope you’re including in your workouts – whether you’re trying to get stronger, leaner, or even more confident – is the deadlift.

I believe that EVERYONE should be doing some form of deadlifts. They work the whole body, and can help you:

– Get a stronger core
– Get six pack abs
– Strengthen every muscle in your body from head to toe
– Improve power, speed and athleticism

And so much more!

=> For a complete course that teaches you how to deadlift safely and effectively, check out the Basement Badass program here (on sale now)

Now we recently hosted a workshop at our gym where we took folks who were relatively fit, but without a lot of deadlifting experience … and in the 30 minute session, we were able to increase one participant’s max by 55 pounds!!

How did we do it?

By focusing on a few simple technique tweaks.

Here were the big ones we covered:

5 Tips to Boost Your Deadlift by 55 Pounds in 30 Minutes

1 – Set up with the bar right above the middle of your feet

When you reach down to grab it with your hands, your shins should end up touching it.

2 – Take the slack out of the bar when you set up and get ready to lift

This will feel a bit like you’re pulling up on the bar and driving your feet into the ground at the same time. Another way to think about it is like you’re wedging yourself between the bar and the ground.

3 – Get your back back flat

Your shoulders should be down and back, your back flat, and your upper back tight and positioned right over the bar on your set up.

4 – The bar path should be straight up and down

NOT around your knees, out in front of your body, etc.

5 – Start with the double overhand grip for as long as possible.

At some point, when the weight gets higher, you’ll have to switch to the mixed grip.  But the double overhand grip is most symmetrical and easiest on your body.

Check out this video for a breakdown of the tips above (and a few more):

So there you have it – a few simple tips that will go a LONG way towards boosting your deadlift.

If you’re like participants in our workshop, you might even add as much as 55 lbs to the lift in your next training session!

And don’t forget – for a complete course that teaches you how to deadlift safely and effectively, be sure to check out the Basement Badass program at the link below:

=> Basement Badass (on sale now)

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified StrongFirst Barbell Lifter

Posted in Videos, Workout | Leave a comment

(video) New ABS Challenge Workout

Got a great new ABS Challenge workout for you today from master trainer Jeremy Scott.

Three exercises in this one … you’ll do 15 reps of each exercise, 4 rounds total:

– Ab wheel rollout
– Hanging leg raises
– TRX atomic knees

Watch the video that shows you how to do it here:

And if you liked this ABS Challenge, you’ll LOVE Jeremy’s full 28 Day program – more info at the link below:

=> The 28 Day ABS Challenge

Have a great day!

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

Posted in Videos, Workout | 1 Comment

Boost Your Test by 20% With This Simple Movement? (takes 2 mins)

Here’s something I think about every day – when I get up in the morning, when I get ready to lead a group through a workout, before I start my own training session …

If you act strong and think strong, you will most likely feel strong. 

This dude agrees:

Seriously though – when it comes to improved posture, there is real science proving a positive chemical reaction in the body.  A study by graduate students at Harvard and Columbia University concluded that displaying a power-pose absolutely had effects on how the body functions.  It was found that high-power posers experienced elevations in their testosterone levels (about 20% on average) with decreases in cortisol levels. This also increased their feelings of power and tolerance for risk, while low - power posers exhibited the opposite pattern.

In other words, if you’re slouching with your head down and arms closed off, chances are your feelings of self-confidence and power are at rock bottom.  You don’t feel like a winner, and therefore you won’t be a winner.

Holding a power-pose will boost muscle building testosterone levels, lower your stress causing and fat storing cortisol levels, and increase your feelings of power and risk.  All of those traits are vital to achieving peak physical and mental performance.

This is why if you’re an athlete looking to perform at a high level, you always maintain a strong posture showing your opponent or onlookers that you’re ready and up to the challenge.

This is not just for show, there are real hormonal implications involved.

So how do you carry yourself?

When you walk into a room, into the gym or on the field, do you stand tall and confident with your head held high, shoulders back and chest forward?  Or do you look down at the ground with your neck bent forward, back rounded and arms crossed?

Maybe you never gave it much thought before … but now that you know how critical this “power pose” is, it’s time to act.

The study found that by holding a strong, powerful posture for just 2 minutes, that it had tremendous impact on the subject’s physiological, psychological and behavioral state.

Here’s How to do the Movement and Quickly Get Yourself into a Position of Power:

NOTE: You can do this movement from a standing or seated position.  Example below based on seated.

– From a seated position, first tilt the pelvis forward creating a slight arch in the lower back which immediately helps to raise the chest.
– Then pull the shoulders down and back with your arms at your side.
– Next, lift the head and slightly tuck the chin making yourself as tall as possible.
– From this position you should now feel your back, glute and abdominal muscles working to hold you in this strong alignment.
– Begin by just holding this position for 5-10 seconds at a time and progress to holding it up to 2 minutes.

To sum up, holding yourself in a position of power is not only great to increase your feelings of self confidence and strength … it can actually help you boost muscle – building testosterone levels as well.

So start acting strong and being strong – and you most likely will BE strong.

Want to increase your testosterone even more? Use this morning routine of 10 exercises to boost confidence, improve breathing and increase your energy & T levels.

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
Certified Personal Trainer
Master of Science, Human Movement

Posted in Miscelany, Workout | Leave a comment