Can you help me with this?


If you have a few seconds, I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

And by doing so, you will actally be helping yourself too.

You see, at Rock Solid Fitness, we have been offering a FREE educational seminar on the first Tuesday of every month for years now. These seminars are open to the public, anybody can attend who wants to learn something about health and fitness.


The problem is-and this is where I need your help-we are running out of topic ideas!

So if you can think of a seminar topic you would like us to talk about in the future, all you have to do is look below this post and click on “leave a reply”. Then just type your topic in the comment box, and then click on “Post Comment”.

We will then create a seminar about your topic, which gets us off the hook of thinking one up ourselves; plus you will learn all about your topic for free; plus everybody else who comes to the seminar will benefit from learning about it.

Everybody wins!

But you have to start the ball rolling-so please click “leave a reply” below, tell us your topic idea, then click “post comment”. Thanks in advance!

Technique of the week: Static Holds

We are back with another awesome technique of the week-this time, we are featuring the ever popular, world famous Static Hold Finisher.

A static hold is holding the weight in the fully contracted position of an exercise against full resistance for as long as you can.

Your muscles have strength levels: positive (lifting), the weakest; static (holding), in the middle; and negative (lowering), the strongest.

Once you have lifted a weight until you can’t lift it any more, you will still have enough strength in that muscle to hold, or lower the weight. When you don’t even have the strength to lower it any more, you have exhausted all 3 strength levels, and you’re done. Total failure.

Static holds are a technique we utilize at our Dunedin personal training studio to tap into your static and negative strength levels, in a minimal amount of time, to increase the intensity, and therefore the effectiveness, of those exercises.

If you are stuck at a certain number of reps on an exercise, throwing in a static hold at the end of your set may be the new stimulus you need to get you over the hump and get your progress going again.

Check out the static hold finisher in action:

Be sure to check back next week, when we discuss how to tap into your negative strength level.

Until then, have fun static holding!

Technique of the Week: Partials

So every once in a while, somebody around here gets a great idea.  And last week was one of those times.

We decided to showcase one of our special Workout Protocols each week for a while.  And we are kicking things off this week with the “Partials” protocol for our first Technique of the Week.

As an Exercise Coach, one of the things you are always trying to do for your clients is prevent boredom.  Boredom is a motivation killer.  Adding variety to your workouts is a great way to keep yourself mentally fresh, and physiologically it gives your body a new stimulus to deal with, spurring on new progress.

The Partials protocol emphasizes different stages of the full range of motion during the performance of one set.  In order, you will go through a full range of motion; then you are limited to the end range; after that, you stay in the begining portion; then back to full range of motion, to finish at the point of muscular failure.

To make better sense of what I just said, check out this video of the Partial protocol in action:

So just a heads up for you, your Exercise Coach may be HITting you with this technique when you come in this week, just to spice things up for you a bit :) .

Make it a great week, and stay tuned for the next Technique of the Week!

The Secret To Goal Achievement


By Dave Durell, Fitness Coach, Rock Solid Fitness

The start of a New Year brings feelings of optimism and excitement for what lies ahead in the coming year.  As a Dunedin personal trainer, I see many people start off the new year with the best of intentions to finally get in shape and achieve their fitness goals once and for all.  Unfortunately, the majority of those people will fall short, and many will end up giving up altogether before the year is even half way over.

But some will actually achieve the goals they set for themselves.  Why is that?  What allows some people to be succesful, while other equally motivated people don’t even come close?

The difference in many cases lies in the way they set their goals in the first place.  The secret to goal achievement is to make a commitment.

Commitment is the starting point of all worthwhile achievement. And making a decision is the starting point of commitment.

You can turn any aspect of your life around, taking it from miserable failure to triumphant success, in a matter of a few seconds. You do this by making a decision, and then committing to that decision.

Commitment means being “all in”. You push all your chips to the middle of the table; you burn your bridges behind you. There is no turning back. Without commitment, very little of great value is possible. With it, very little is impossible.

Once you make a committed decision, something special happens to you. You will find an inner drive taking hold of you, propelling you in the direction of your desired value.

If you want to get in shape, the first thing you need to do is decide you are going to get in shape, and then commit to that decision. Many people set a goal of getting in shape, often in the form of a New Year’s resolution. Very few of these people actually see their goal through and achieve the desired result; perhaps you were one of them. The reason is they have not turned their goal into a commitment.

How do you turn a goal into a commitment?

“No matter what”

You turn a goal into a commitment by stating your goal, then adding the words “No Matter What”. For example:

“I will work out 2 times a week for the rest of the year, no matter what”.
“I will not eat dessert with dinner this month, no matter what”.
“I will stick with the Rock Solid Fitness training program until I gain 10 pounds with the same size waist, no matter what”.

Adding the words “no matter what” to a goal transforms a mere desire into a committed decision, thereby increasing the chances of reaching the goal to practically inevitable. This is the power of commitment.

Take a moment now to reflect on why you want to get in shape. What do you think being in shape will do for you? How will it improve the quality of your life? Why is it important to you? Answering these questions will help you successfully make your way through the myriad of distractions we all deal with in day-to-day life and get your workouts done.

Withstanding the distractions

As you begin and progress through your workout program, there will be a lot of “whats” that try to get in your way. The key to staying on course and ultimately getting your body to look and feel the way you want is to create a mental environment where being in shape is among your highest values.

You must make the achievement of your fitness goals a top priority in your life, more important than any of the other time-consuming activities that you might be confronted with. No matter what, you have to get that workout done!

Right now, that might sound like an easy thing to do. But what will happen when day-to-day living sets in? When an old friend comes in unexpectedly from out of town for only one day and wants to meet with you? When somebody at work calls in sick and the boss asks you to stay late? When one of your friends has an extra free ticket for the big game tonight? What will your decision be then? How can you remain committed to your workout program in the face of such temptations?

You do so by reminding yourself what you want to accomplish through your program and why it is important to you to accomplish it. This mental self-conditioning will help you withstand the pull of the daily distractions that are part of life.

So embrace the “No Matter What” philosophy, Stand firm in your commitments, and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals and dreams.

Dave Durell is a Dunedin Personal Trainer and co-owner of Rock Solid Fitness, the premier personal training studio in the Dunedin area.  He has formerly worked as a strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

An End of the Year Letter to Our Clients

Hello! First off, I want to say thank you for being a valued Rock Solid Fitness client. You’re the reason we love coming to work every day, and the driving force behind our studies and efforts to become better trainers.

To those of you who achieved your goals this year: congratulations! There’s no better feeling than watching your body transform and get stronger because of your hard work and dedication. Keep it up!

To those of you who are feeling a little disappointed about how your fitness goals panned out this year: don’t give up. There’s nothing we want more than to watch you succeed- to sit in that discovery room with you and have the InBody tell us you lost 20 pounds of fat, or to hear you tell us your back feels much better because of the strength training. It hurts us to listen to you as you disappointedly admit that you haven’t changed your eating habits, or that you’ve just been too busy to come to the gym, and that’s why, yet again, you haven’t met your goals.

Don’t let this year be another year of disappointment. Every day is an opportunity for you to change your life. If you don’t change today you’ll be the same tomorrow. You can make results or excuses, you can’t make both.

Have a wonderful 2016 and know that we’ll be here to help you reach your goals every step of the way.

New Year’s Resolutions Part II

New Years Resolutions

Its two weeks until New Year’s Eve! Those New Year’s resolutions are becoming more pressing in our minds as the countdown to the New Year gets closer, and we want to empower you this year to successfully change your body and reach your goals. Last week we discussed the importance of recording your efforts on your journey to a healthier body. In particular, the importance of recording your workouts was covered; however, that’s only part of the puzzle here. It’s just as important to record your nutrition and eating habits, as well as accurately recording the changes in your body.

First, let’s tackle recording your nutrition. As many of you who regularly read this blog may know, keeping a nutrition journal is the secret weapon to fat loss. A study involving 1,700 people found that those who kept a food journal actually lost twice as much weight than those who didn’t. Would you rather lose ten pounds, or twenty pounds? Twenty of course! Keeping a nutrition journal is not that hard once you get in the habit.

However, keeping a nutrition journal isn’t just for those looking to lose weight. I’ve been trying to gain muscle all of my life and I wasn’t that successful until Patty convinced me to keep one. I found that I was eating about two thirds of what I needed to eat to reach my goals, so of course I wasn’t making progress. After I started keeping a food journal I started gaining muscle again for the first time in years, and I actually put on about ten pounds of muscle.

Why is keeping a food journal so important? Here are several reasons:

  1. You learn about nutrition and the foods that you eat. You learn how many calories are in your favorite meal, that there are too many calories in four servings of ice cream, and that there is twice the amount of fat than protein in almonds (yet we still consider almonds “protein”).
  2. You learn about your own eating habits. Maybe you find out that you eat way too much at night, or that you skip breakfast three times a week, or that you eat at restaurants more than you thought.
  3. It keeps you accountable. How likely are you going to eat a whole bag of chips if you know that you have to write down 1,000 calories worth of chips in your book?
  4. You learn what works. When you do lose those twenty pounds, don’t you want to know exactly how you did it? Recording your eating habits and calories will tell you exactly how you did it so that you can stay at that healthy weight, or if you somehow slip in the future (which we all do), you’ll know how to get healthy again.

You’re now recording your nutrition and your workouts, and your body is changing. That’s awesome! But what exactly is going on in your body? Isn’t it important to know how much muscle you’re gaining, or how much fat you’re losing, as opposed to just seeing a number go up or down on the scale? It is! Research has shown that the more muscle you have, the longer you are likely to live. Also, having more muscle will keep your metabolism high. If you were to lose twenty pounds, but half of it was muscle, then you would be setting yourself up for failure in the future because of your decreased metabolism.

The Inbody 570 can help you with learning what changes are going on inside of your body. The InBody 570 tells you exactly how much muscle and fat you have, as well as your hydration levels, basal metabolic rate, and visceral fat. For the clients (and trainers) who are looking to change their body this is one of our most important tools. Here are a few success stories with the InBody:

Bill (for the sake of the blog we’re calling him Bill) was unhappy with his weight. He had slowly been putting on weight for the past few years and was now at the heaviest he had ever been, so he decided to come to Rock Solid Fitness to train with us and do our nutrition program. Instead of just using the scale to measure his results, we put him on the InBody every few weeks and guess what happened? He actually gained two pounds of muscle, while losing 17 pounds of fat! It was great to see that his efforts in the gym and in the kitchen had led him to lose just fat, and even gain some muscle.

Lauren (for the sake of the blog we’re calling her Lauren) was a tiny woman who had gained 4 pounds. Although it was not much, she was a little discouraged and confused, as she had been feeling better, her clothes were fitting better, and she was living healthy. The InBody cleared this up for her: she had actually lost two pounds of fat and gained four pounds of muscle! (The other two extra pounds were water).

For myself, I’m on the InBody every few weeks. If my results are going in the right direction, then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. However, if my results are not what I want them to be, then I know what I’m doing isn’t working and I need to make a change in my eating habits or my workout routine. This is the InBody’s power of keeping us accountable.

You need to let a device such as the InBody 570 be your gold standard of measurement for the changes in your body. If you’re not looking at your body composition and just numbers on the scale, you can be missing half of the story, and your results could be misleading, such as Lauren’s.

This may be a daunting thought for some of you (empowering for others), but you are now fully in control of how you look and feel. Once you start recording your workouts, what you put in your body, and then learn how that affects the changes in your body, you have the power to take the reins in your health journey. Want to lose twenty pounds? You can make controlled changes in your diet and then see what works and what doesn’t. Want to gain five pounds of muscle? You can make deliberate changes in your workout routine and food consumption, and then see what the effects of your changes are. You are in control! Happy early New Year’s!

Guest Post: The Main Event

Here is a guest post from one of our clients, John Dunn, from our 2015 Client Appreciation Party:

2015-12-11 08.15.52

The time for smack talk had ended.  By the time the rowdy crowd of 70 assembled, the event had taken on epic proportions.

The Thrilla in Manilla? Forget about it. Alien vs. Predator? Not even close. Even Zoolander’s Walkoff couldn’t come close to matching what was about to go down in the Rock Solid parking lot on a cool Friday night.

Fueled by a thirst for revenge, the crowd was treated to several rounds of raffled giveaways – but all talk was for the main event: The chance to get even with one of five Rock Solid Fitness trainers. The highest bidders would get their revenge. They could turn the tables for one glorious session and train their trainers. And three charities in Pinellas County would reap all the proceeds.

2015-12-11 08.37.19

More than one potential bidder had these words seared into their brains during their time at Rock Solid Fitness:  “Slow it down. Up in two, down in four. Can you give me one more.”

Yes, revenge would be sweet.

Naturally, an event this big would spark rumors. Was a ringer brought in to drive up bidding? Did one of them skip town? Any side bets for the trainer who brought in the most money? And was any of it even true? Let’s just say neither Vegas nor the Seminole Hard Rock casino would touch this action.

Finally DJ/Auctioneer Michael McGuigan whipped up the crowd for the auction. As he did, a low flying helicopter swooped overhead. TMZ? Who could say?

Trainer Jake “Hasn’t had a Twinkie in 13 years” Kehlenbeck stepped forward to face the mob. A Rock Solid Fitness trainer since February, Jake worked three years with the strength and conditioning coach for the FSU men’s basketball program. The crowd wasted little time, and not more than three minutes later, Clothes for Kids had a cool $100, and Jake had a date with payback time.

Next up, Shawn Deignan, a Rock Solid trainer since 2012. An exercise science grad of USF, Shawn also is a certified high intensity trainer, the niche specialty of Rock Solid Fitness. Here’s where things turned ugly. Perhaps responding to rumors that Shawn was the perpetrator of the ringer caper, Jake stepped forward to throw him under the bus. Shawn was the architect of many of the dreaded exercise cards, including the notorious “Death Abs.” The murmurs throughout the crowd spoke volumes. Chalk up another $130 for Clothes for Kids.

After that you could almost feel sorry for Drew Carpenter, a certified personal trainer and Rock Solid veteran of about two years. But, all sympathy for this devil evaporated with the revelation he most enjoyed working clients on the leg press. How many reps could the winner get out of him? It was worth every penny of the $210 donation to the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation to find out.

2015-12-11 08.17.49


There was one rumor that panned out. Charity Henry, the newest of the RSF trainers, was a no-show. The book on her from those in the crowd is she “kills you with kindness and reps.” There was some talk that she thought the donations going to charity meant her, not real charities. The other talk was that she went into hiding somewhere in Kentucky or Tennessee. But that did not deter the blood lust of the crowd, which ponied up $80 for the Chi Chi Youth Foundation.

But it was the finale that really brought out the client’s taste for revenge. Patty Durell, RSF’s co-founder and matriarch was the final sacrificial trainer. She threw fuel on the fire when she expressed her love of the leg press machine. And it ignited the masses to the tune of $400 by the time it was over. That should provide plenty of meals for the newly opened Dunedin Cares.

So, by the time the party of pain concluded, everyone’s thirst had been quenched: Five lucky bidders raised $920 for three grateful charities, and the right to get the revenge they so eagerly sought.

There was even an educational moment: We learned (don’t ask how) that the AFLAC duck quacks through its’ butt. Who knew?


The Charities

So, you missed the event, either because you had other plans, or you’re not a client of Rock Solid. But you can still contribute to one of the three participating charities:

Clothes for Kids: The mission is to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income or in crisis, school-age children in Pinellas County, free of charge. Clothes To Kids envisions a community in which every school-age child has quality clothing so that he or she may attend school with the confidence and self-esteem needed to achieve academic success.

The Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation: a not for profit 501(c) 3 organization created to help at-risk youth achieve academic, social and economic success by remaining engaged in their education and acquiring the practical skills to excel. The Foundation supports the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy, which is a Public Private Partnership School that serves fourth through eighth grade students who are not achieving at their grade level, have low self-esteem or have difficulty adjusting to their academic environment.

Dunedin Cares: collects and distributes non-perishable food items to Dunedin residents that need that extra help during turbulent times. They provide each recipient with a bag of tasteful and nutritiously healthy food.

New Year’s Resolution Part I

New Years Resolutions

Well folks, it’s about that time! The end of the year is coming and we’re scrambling with holiday parties and buying presents for our families – we’re crazy busy. But, New Year’s resolution thoughts have slowly started to creep into our heads. New Year’s resolutions provide hope. Hope for more productivity, more time spent doing things we enjoy with the people we love, and healthier bodies!

Can you imagine how it’s going to feel when you lose 30 pounds of fat? When you don’t struggle to put on your shoes? Or when you put on those 15 pounds of muscle? It’s going to be awesome! This is an exciting time of year, but if you’re serious about changing your body you need to take the right steps. You need to turn yourself into a scientist, and your body is your own personal experiment. Take ownership of your body, your actions, and your results. You have total control over what you put into your body, and what activities you do. Also, like any good scientist, you need to have objective results. You need to be measuring three things:

  1. Your activity
  2. Your nutrition
  3. Your body

Your activity and your nutrition are the two factors that are affecting your body, which is the thing we most want to change, but it’s important to know how you made that change and what works for you. Today we’re going to be talking about how you should measure your activity, and then next week we’ll discuss how to measure your nutrition and the changes in your body.

Measuring your activity should be dependent on your goals and how bad you want to achieve them. If you’re serious about reaching your goals and are willing to put in the work, then your recording should reflect that. For instance, at Rock Solid we’re serious about our clients getting results, so we measure every single repetition and every single set they do in our gym. This is so that each time they workout with us we know if they’re getting better or not. If they are, great, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. If not, then we’ll change up their workout or discover that maybe they haven’t been eating or sleeping enough and we can talk with them to help fix the problem. We have also standardized each exercise, meaning that the repetitions and seat settings are always the same. We do this standardization so that we can ensure we are comparing apples to apples.

For those of you not working out at Rock Solid, and are serious about getting results, we encourage you to be just as meticulous with your recording as we are. Record every rep, set, and seat setting at the gym. Also, if you’re running or swimming or doing other activity, record the distance, time, and any other factors that may reflect your performance.

For those less serious about reaching your fitness goals, still record, although it does not have to be so in depth. If you are just starting out, you could write down on your calendar when you went for a walk or a jog, or when you went to the gym. Do this so that over time you can see how consistent you are. If you’re looking at your calendar and you see that you walked three times each week for the past month, great job and keep it up! But if you see that you only walked once or twice the past month, you know that that is an area you can improve in.

So remember, if you actually you want to succeed and reach your New Year’s resolution goals of changing your body you have to record your efforts. The purpose of recording is to hold yourself accountable, as well as to see what works and what doesn’t work. Recording your workouts can help change your body, but it’s only one of the components. Next week we’ll talk about the nutrition component, as well as the actual measuring of the changes in your body (hint: there’s more to it than just pounds on the scale!). See you next week!


Eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, waffles, sausage, fruit, oatmeal. Mmm…breakfast. Breakfast is a beautiful thing, but way too often when I talk to people about their eating habits they tell me they skip breakfast! How can you skip out on any of the above mentioned, delicious foods?!


“I’m not hungry.”

“I don’t have time.”

These are the two most popular excuses, but at Rock Solid we’re not big fans of excuses. So let’s put away with them and figure out how to eat breakfast anyway. But first, why is breakfast so important?

Breakfast…break-fast. When you wake up in the morning you’ve been fasting, or not eating, throughout the night. So breakfast is when you break that fast, and fasts are no good for muscle building or high metabolisms, which are both essential no matter what your goals are.

Breakfast will help you kickstart your metabolism and make it easier to control your eating later in the day. Sumo wrestlers actually skip breakfast and work out on empty stomachs so that later they can eat a maximum amount of calories that will lead to maximum fat storage. Do you want to look like a sumo wrestler? No? Then eat breakfast!

So you know you need to eat breakfast, but you don’t have time. What then? Well let me share my breakfast habits with you:

Every morning I eat the same thing so I don’t have to worry about what I will eat the next day. I eat a bag of almonds, oatmeal, an apple, a banana, a granola bar, hard boiled eggs, a piece of bread, and a few slices of ham. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s really very simple.

Every Sunday afternoon I cook enough hardboiled eggs for the week and then bag the eggs, ham, bread and almonds in their separate bags. In the morning I heat up oatmeal in a to-go coffee cup and then grab everything and throw it in a plastic bag. Everything is already bagged and I can eat it in the car and finish it when I get to work, so it takes away the, “I don’t have time,” excuse.

So there you have it. If you want to build muscle, kickstart your metabolism and avoid looking like a sumo wrestler, eat breakfast. And if you don’t have time, prepackage everything and take it on the road with you. Happy eating!