Did you get better today? by Dave Durell

Did you get better today? Did you do something, anything, to improve yourself in some area of your life? I hope so.

When I worked as a Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, everyone was expected to ask themselves that question every day-coaches, players, staff members-as a means to reaching our ultimate goal-winning the Super Bowl.

Did you do something today to move you closer to “winning your Super Bowl”-whatever important personal goal you may have in front of you?

Every day you don’t get better, you don’t stay the same, you get worse. Why? Because you’re a day older. And with regard to your fitness goals, every workout you waste in the gym using unproductive methods that don’t give you the results you’re looking for is a workout you can never get back. There are no “do-overs” in life.

What are some ways you can get better today, with regard to your health and fitness? You can do one more rep on an exercise than you did last time. You can use 5 pounds more than you did last time. You can say no when somebody offers you a donut in the morning. You can drink an extra glass of water. You can eat a fresh fruit. You can skip dessert. You can park 50 yards away from the mall entrance and walk in, instead of driving around the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for a closer space. You can sit up straighter. You can lower the weight on the last rep of your set in 8 seconds instead of 4 seconds. You can go do your scheduled High Intensity  workout at Rock Solid Fitness Fl instead of going to happy hour.

What are some ways you can get better today in other areas of your life? You can tell someone you love them. You can clean your room. You can write a letter to a long lost friend. You can give someone a compliment. You can read a self-improvement book or an inspiring biography. You can learn something new. You can make an unpleasant phone call. You can confront a difficult situation. You can do something that scares you. You can complete a project you have been putting off. You can be a good example.

I encourage you to make a habit of asking yourself every evening before you retire:

“Did I get better today”?

And if you do, in fact, get better every day, it won’t be long before you win your “Super Bowl”.


How To Get Rid Of Low Back Pain

Make sure you watch this video to the very end for a very happy ending :).

This is Part 2 of our Free Monthly H.I.T. Education Seminar for June. If you didn’t see Part 1, keep scrolling down.

Quick Looks Slick, But Slow Is The Way To Go

Quick looks slick-but slow is the way to go

By Dave Durell

Walk into any gym in the world, observe the people performing strength training exercises, and you will quickly notice something about the technique used by 99% of them.


Essentially everybody is performing their exercises very quickly. They throw the weight up. They let it drop back down. Mindlessly flailing their limbs with no apparent focus or concentration, often talking to someone at the same time. They rattle the barbell plates. They let the weight stack slam together. Momentum is utilized to the fullest extent possible. There is no pausing at any point in the entire set. The only time all this high speed of movement stops is between exercises, when the average trainee rests for several minutes, often while socializing, re-setting their I-Pod, texting somebody, watching television or checking their cell phone. It almost seems like they can’t wait to get their set out of the way, so they can get to these other activities with minimal disruption.

Why do people train like that?

I think that one reason they do it is since they see virtually everybody else doing it, they assume it’s the right way to do it, and that the one guy in the gym not doing it (me) is some misguided weirdo who is doing it wrong. This is the way a lot of people make all of their decisions-they go along with the majority, avoiding the painful job of thinking critically for themselves.

Once the trainee starts utilizing this method, they discover that moving the weights faster allows them to lift more weight more easily. Although less effective from a strength and muscle building perspective, this method is more satisfying to the ego. Fast reps also produce less muscular discomfort than slow reps, and avoiding pain is desirable for most people.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is inferior results. Moving the weights quickly lowers the intensity of the activity; and intensity is the stimulus required to cause an increase in muscular size and strength. Thus, the higher the intensity is, the more effective the workout will be. To maximize the intensity of each repetition, the weight should be lifted and lowered slowly, under full muscular control, utilizing the force of muscular contraction alone without momentum.

Going slow is also safer. Increased speed of movement increases the risk of injury. If you have ever witnessed, or been in, a car accident, you already know this.


In addition, going slower makes the workout more time efficient. You put more tension on your muscles in each set, allowing you to place a greater workload on your muscles in one set than the fast lifters get in 3 or more sets.

The lifting of a weight (including the weight stack on a machine) should take 2 seconds to perform. The lowering of a weight should take 4 seconds to perform. You should pause in both the start and finish positions on each rep. Thus, every rep you do should take approximately 7-8 seconds to perform. Simply put: lift in 2 seconds; pause; lower in 4 seconds; pause; repeat.

The goal of your strength training program should be to get the best possible results in the shortest possible time with the least possible amount of effort. Performing slow, controlled repetitions is fundamental to achieving that goal.



Keep it slow to grow,

Dave Durell, MS, CCS, PTA

(Dave Durell is a Clearwater Personal Trainer at Rock Solid Fitness Florida, a Personal Training studio in Clearwater, FL.  For more information on Rock Solid’s fitness program, Click Here)

Happy Carpe Diem Day

On March 31st, 2003, a doctor told me I had prostate cancer. I was 44 years old.

That’s not good.

On June 4th, 2003, a different doctor performed surgery on me to remove the cancerous gland.

That is good.

Today, June 4th, 2012, is the 9th anniversary of that surgery, and the doctor tells me cancer is still undetectable in my body.

That’s very good.

I have proclaimed June 4th “Carpe Diem Day”. I celebrate it every year, and invite you to celebrate it with me.

Carpe Diem is Latin for “seize the day”. Being diagnosed with a terminal disease, and subsequently getting it taken care of and receiving a second chance at life, gives one a new perspective on how very precious each moment of life is.

I believe that every person’s highest moral purpose is the achievement of their own happiness. Whatever you need to do to achieve yours, I encourage you to “seize the day” and do something today to move you one step closer to it.

As my fellow cancer survivor Lance Armstrong would say-every second counts!

Seize the day,

Dave Durell, MS, PTA, Master HIT Trainer
Rock Solid Fitness FL


The Fallacy of Functional Training – by Dave Durell

The Fallacy of Functional Training

by Dave Durell

In the past few years, a fitness craze has been sweeping the industry-the operative word being “craze”.

They call it “Functional Training”.


I have witnessed this craze reach epidemic proportions in the fitness world, to the extent that many people equate this type of training with the field of personal training: in other words, so many trainers are training people this way, people think that so-called Functional Training is what personal training is, and that’s all it is; that they are one in the same.

I’ve had it.

In this article, and I’m sure in many more ways to follow in the future, I’m going to define and explain what is meant by the term Functional Training, point out the flaws in both its theory and methodology, and give my opinion as to why I think it’s a joke.

As my reference point for the definition and explanation of Functional Training, I will use the apparently impartial source Wikipedia.

Wikipedia defines Functional Training as “a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life.”

Wait a minute-isn’t that the goal of any form of exercise? The function of skeletal muscles is to produce movement. Therefore, any exercise program that strengthens the muscles will improve the body’s ability to move during “the activities performed in daily life”, whatever they may happen to be. High Intensity Training, as well as many other forms of exercise, can and do result in stronger muscles. Functional Training advocates give the impression that if you train with machines or conventional strength training equipment you are going to end up weak and uncoordinated. It doesn’t work that way. Strong muscles produce strong movements, no matter what your “activities of daily life” might be.

Wikipedia: “Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation. Physical therapists developed exercises that mimicked what patients did at home or work in order to return to their lives or jobs after an injury or surgery. Thus if a patient’s job required repeatedly heavy lifting, rehabilitation would be targeted towards heavy lifting, if the patient were a parent of young children, it would be targeted towards moderate lifting and endurance, and if the patient were a marathon runner, training would be targeted towards re-building endurance.”

First of all, by definition, rehabilitation patients are not functioning at a normal level-if they were, they would not need rehabilitation. As both a Personal Trainer and a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, I can tell you first-hand that there is a BIG difference between rehab training to get back to a normal, functioning state, and trying to increase your levels of muscular size and strength beyond normal levels. For a person who is not injured or impaired to train with rehab techniques in order to get bigger and stronger constitutes context-switching and is ridiculous.

Furthermore, What if the marathon runner also has young children and works as a furniture mover? Does he do 3 different routines, or just one routine that is 3 times longer? I don’t know about you, but I don’t perform the exact same “activities of daily life” every single day. Does that mean I need to change my workout program every time I train, depending on what I’m going to do that day or the next day? Do I need to lift heavy weights the week I’m going to help my friend move, and lay around at the gym the week before my vacation in the Bahamas?

Continue reading


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Located at Rock Solid Fitness FL in the Time Plaza at 1969 Sunset Point Rd., Suite 11, Clearwater, FL 33765
727-282-1800    www.RockSolidFitnessFL.com

April 2012 Seminar Highlights

Our April 2012 Free monthly seminar was titled “How To Eat What You Want And Be Fit”. The topics discussed included: how to determine your daily calorie needs; how to eat what you want and still lose weight; how much protein you need to build pure muscle; the truth about carbohydrates; how to burn fat even on days you don’t workout; and much, much more.

We all had fun (I think) yelling in unison some key phrases, such as “muscles are the calorie burning engines of the body”.

In addition to the seminar, we presented the “Client Of The Month” award to long-time member Terry Gale–nice job Terry!

We had a nice turnout, and the clients in attendance who needed to purchase more sessions got 10% off the night of the seminar (shameless bribe :)).

Next month, our topic will be “The Truth About Cardio”. Hope to see you there!

Rock Solid Fitness offers personal training in Clearwater Florida.

Is Sarcopenia Ruining Your Life?

“Muscle is the absolute centerpiece for being healthy, vital and independent as we grow older,” says Miriam Nelson, director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.

Muscles are what keep us moving and strong.  They are also the calorie burning engines of our body.  So, having more muscle means we burn more calories, 24 hours a day.


Most people lose 1/4 – 1/2 a pound of muscle per year after the age of 30 and about 1 pound per year after the age of 50.  This is called sarcopenia.  The diagram to the left shows two women that have the same BMI (Body Mass Index).  Even though the size of their thigh circumference is the same, what is under their skin is quite different.  The dark area represents the muscle and the lighter surrounding areas represent the fat and skin.






When sarcopenia happens, less calories are required and burned (because of a decrease in lean muscle mass) and typically fat is gained as a result.  When people lose muscle, they lose strength.  A loss of strength makes all movements and activities more difficult, as well as creating less support of your joints, leading to aches and pains.

The only way to stop and even reverse this process is to build muscle.  The only way to build muscle is to strength train.

Get your muscle back and get your life back.  Start strength training today, NOW!