1-Leg Dead Lifts: “less sore week my a**!”

“Less sore week my ass!…”  is an email quote I received from Super Client, Alicia, this past Monday following our “…killer Monday workouts…”. Continue reading

Fighting the Freshman 15 / Getting Real World Ready

60 lbs in 6-months
Way back in the early 2000’s I was honored to get to train a forward thinking high school graduate that was looking to get in his best shape for college.  This young man who is now a strong adult, desired to lose weight, get strong and get lean, which I assume would only compliment his great personality as he moved forward.   His result was 60 lbs of weight loss in 6-months.  I’d like to take some of the credit for his success, but I can’t because we both know he was super motivated to change and his nutrition was dialed in.  Plus I know that my programming then vs. my programming now was far inferior, so it really was a super motivated person, training 4x/wk/1hr each with me on strength and then doing additional cardio on his own.  He made the time for both training and in the kitchen and had an outstanding first semester and college experience.  If you’re reading this, way to go AC!
30 lbs Gained in 24 weeks
Also back in the early 2000’s I was honored to get to train another super motivated high school kid, we’ll call him J. Flavor, who was tired of being skinny and wanted to get strong, put on muscle and increase his body weight.  After his first, 12 week program he had put on 20 lbs and after his second 12 week program he put on at least another 10 lbs.  Again, it was this young man’s desire to change and get better that earned him results.  He could of have done it with anyone, but I was the lucky coach he chose.
Peak for Sports Seasons
Also back in the 2000’s I had the honor of co-starting a high school strength & conditioning program called Pride Sports Performance (Pride is the Team Name for Springfield College, my alma mater) and volunteering at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, where I had the opportunity to train super motivated high school and college athletes that either wanted to peak for their upcoming high school / college season, to get noticed by college recruiters / pro scouts or to prepare to play at the next level.  I can’t again take credit for any of their successes, I was just lucky to work with them, but each of these kids went on to have improved seasons.
Body Changes = Increased Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
And there were numerous handfuls of other awesome, smart and motivated high school and college kids who I’ve had the pleasure of working with privately over my last 12 years as a coach, who hired me not only for body changes, but for what those changes could do for their self-esteem and confidence.  How they would feel more secure in meeting new people while living away from home for the first time or entering the “real world” and becoming fully independent.  How they would walk taller and not second guess themselves when speaking or taking action, which allowed the life skills instilled by their parents, the education they’ve worked hard to accumulate and their own personal life experiences to shine through without hesitation.  
1st Impressions
If you’ve graduated from high school and had the new / scary / exciting experience of being a college freshman as a dependent / independent or if you’ve graduated college and had the new / scary / exciting experience of entering the real world as an independent (or maybe still co-dependent), you know that there are some big butterflies and that you wanted to make a great impression.  
From 147 – 185 in 1 Semester
When I graduated from high school, I weighed 147 lbs. and was a ½” shy of 6 feet.  I was SKINNY!  I knew that when I got to college, I wanted to be more attractive to the female co-eds and if I put on some muscle and weight so I wasn’t skinny anymore, I’d have the confidence and self-esteem to go with my already outgoing personality (my blog, I can boast).  What happened?  I trained every day from Monday – Friday following the good ole body building / body part routines that were sadly too common then, with next to no cardio and an occasional weekend day of shooting hoops.  I made time to get to breakfast at 7am before my 8am classes (what college kids make time to get up these days), always went to lunch and dinner in Cheney Hall (the cafeteria) and stocked my dorm fridge and cubbies with food (thanks mom & dad) so I would never have to worry about being hungry, plus I was a partier then so I had my share of pizza and beer.  Result:  I went home for winter break and weighed 185 lbs.  That’s 38 lbs of mostly muscle with some fat gained in 1 semester.  I had to get a bunch of new clothes because I outgrew a lot of things.  My waist went from 30” to a 34/35” waist and my shirts went from M-L to L-XL.  It was cool.  Academically I was kicking butt, socially I knew everyone’s names even if people didn’t remember mine (I’m great with names) and I was definitely more attractive to and confident with the females on campus.  Life was great.
Lost & Found:  Self Confidence / Body Weight
When I finished my internship (I graduated college upon completion) with the Boston Red Sox’s minor league affiliates the Sarasota / Fort Meyers Red Sox, I had lost a bunch of weight and with it some confidence.  This time I arrived to Spring Training weighing 195 lbs and when I returned up north 6-months later, I was under 180 lbs and my primary responsibility was to be the Strength & Conditioning Coach for my teams, so it’s not like I didn’t have access.  My clothes were hanging, I was tired and I wasn’t happy and I had to prepare for my boards, my National Athletic Training Association Certification.  After I passed my exams (first try), it was time to get my confidence back and my weight back, by getting in the gym and training.  This time I was at Umass Amherst as an assistant strength & conditioning coach working with their Division 1 athletes / teams.  This was awesome, I got right back into shape fast and only had to lift weight 4x/wk now to make fast gains.  I was ready for the real world and good karma had followed me once again when I had the confidence and high self-esteem to believe in myself and let my talents and work ethic shine through.
Special Offer for 2011 Grads ONLY
Circling back to the present, I now want to provide an opportunity for motivated, 2011 high school and college graduates (New Customers Only), who are looking to change their bodies, get in their best shapes and increase their self-esteem and self-confidence so their natural talents can shine through without hesitation or second guessing.  From now until midnight on Memorial Monday, I’ll be offering the following Grad Bootcamp Packages for the summer: 
Grad (3-Month) Summer Bootcamp Package (June 19 – September 3)- $97/month (Typically $246/month)

Grad (1-Month) Bootcamp Package (Month Start Date of Choice:  June 19, July 17 or Aug 14)- $137 (Typically $268/month)

Fighting the Freshman 15 / Getting Real World Ready
If you know a motivated 2011, high school or college graduate, who would like to be proactive and fight the freshman 15 and/or would like to enter the real world with peaking self-confidence, please refer them to me or contact me through my website, bootcampboston.com/contact or mikealves.com/contact.html.
Yours changing lives,
Mike Alves
p.s.  this is a huge deal for those looking to make a change now!
p.p.s.  2011 grads only
p.p.p.s.  last day to order is Midnight, Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2011.
p.p.p.p.s.  order now at:  bootcampboston.com/contact

Imagine what you could do if you had 2 legs!

Life can be cruel sometimes. You could be born with a disadvantage, make a mistake and be at a disadvantage or just be unlucky. Either way, what you do when you realize your at a disadvantage is what makes a difference. Anthony Robles was born with 1-leg, a certain disadvantage to those of us lucky enough to have 2 legs. His parents didn’t let him make excuses and Anthony didn’t make excuses. He just did what normal kids do. He played sports.


In high school he played defensive end for his football team and was a champion in wrestling. When he had to cut weight for football or wrestling he ran…with crutches. He doesn’t like to be called handicapped or disabled, he just wants to be treated normal, so he goes out there and does his best.

Anthony just capped his senior year of college at Arizona State by defeating the defending National Champion from Iowa, Matt McDonough and finishing his year with a record of 36-0.

The guy has only 1-leg and he beat 36 other guys who had 2-legs. Whatever your excuse, whatever your “lemon”, use Anthony’s inspiration to find a way to turn your disadvantage into your strength. Maybe you’ll even end up a champion.

Yours changing lives and with no excuses for excuses,

Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp
Newton Personal Trainer
Online Training

p.s.  Anthony plans to retire from wrestling on top and not pursue the Olympics.  He is going to get a prosthetic leg and aspires to become a motivational speaker.

p.p.s.  If you’re ready stop imaging and start realizing what you could do with your 2 legs, and getting in shape will help you get there faster, take the first step now and decide to do it.  Then get a coach, get a plan, get a team and get your dream. 

p.p.p.s.  Change Your Body Boot Camps’ Phase 4 begins Sunday, March 27.  Deadline to register is midnight, Thursday, March 24.  Sign up now at  http://bootcampboston.com

Shin Splints

Ouch. You ever get shin splints. The very uncomfortable pain, most commonly associated with your anterior shin bone (tibia). Well, often times people who are de-conditioned and out of shape experience this problem when they:

  • Go from sedentary and inactive to weight bearing and active
  • Go from sedentary and/or walking to linear, multi-directional or stop + start running
  • change running surfaces: grass to turf, pavement, concrete or wood
  • wear improper footwear: old, worn out sneakers or poorly fitting sneakers
  • have poor foot musculature (soft feet as opposed to strong, muscular feet)
  • have weak (lack of stability or loose) or jacked up (lack of mobility or stiff) ankles
  • have weak anterior shin muscles
  • have poor hip mobility (stiff hips)
  • have poor lumbar spine stability (weak core)
  • have poor recovery from activity
  • forgot their shin pads and got kicked by your partner in Krav Maga

Why does this happen?

The most common reason they experience this is because their feet are soft from wearing soft shoes. Their ankles are weak and stiff from previous ankle sprains or sitting too often and for too long. Their calves, Achilles tendon or entire lower leg musculatures are tight from also sitting too often and for too long. They lack mobility in their hips (too stiff, not a good dancer) and their core is probably weak (unstable and soft like a bowl full of jelly). You could go further and say their thoracic spine is stiff (upper back), their scapulo-thoracic joint (shoulder blade) is unstable and weak and their gleno-humeral or shoulder joint is stiff and weak. The whole kinetic chain is usually messed up, but not in all cases.

What do you do?

Here’s an 11 point action plan I use in my Newton (Boston) Change Your Body Boot Camps to correct shin splints for my participants from acute symptomatic treatment of the actual pain on your shins (ouch!) to the long term resolution of your issue, sometimes it’s even instantaneous relief, just ask Flo.

1. Ice massage with an ice cup (paper cup filled with water and frozen) rubbed over pain site for 10min (if cold sensitive, take off and put back on when tolerable)

2. Foam Roll calf and Achilles tendon. Turn foot in & out.

3. Foam Roll peronneals on the lateral aspect of the lower leg. This is the Curt Shilling muscle from the blood sox or sock days of 2004.

4. Foam Roll the shins

5. Lacrosse ball roll on foot

6. 3-Directional Flat Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally towards big toe & pinky toe)

7. 3-Directional Incline Ankle Mobes (straight over 2nd toe, diagonally over big & pinky toes)

8. Frontal Plane ankle mobes (pronation & supination)

9. Active Shin Stretch

10. Active Gastrocnemius Stretch

11. Active Soleus Stretch

Give it a whirl and post a comment below to let me know how it works for you.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Boston Boot Camp

Newton Boot Camp

Change Your Body Boot Camps

Self Image

Self Image

There are 2 areas I am rapidly learning about to help my clients achieve their goals. Nutrition is one and psychology is the other. I’m confident my strength and conditioning programs do what their designed to do and am working to master these other 2 areas.

Nutrition involves building a network of go to experts to send clients to or ask questions of, as well as learning answers to basic questions/problems and creating systems to ensure success.

Psychology is a whole other world. Here I need to get into my clients heads and understand what they’re thinking, why they do or don’t do what they do (wink) and how they see themselves.

I’ve got a handful of self improvement resources I’m utilizing and a current one is a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

Dr. Maltz was an renowned plastic surgeon who was mystified how some patients could have instantaneous personality change after surgery and others would not. The others, would still see themselves as blemished even though the particular area of dislike had been improved. These patients could even view before and after photographs of themselves and still see no change.

Poor Self Image

Dr. Maltz discovered they had a self image problem that plastic surgery could not correct. I’ve only just begun the book (re-reading Chapter 2) so I can’t give a full review, but you may already see what I’m hoping to learn. I’m hoping to learn how to spot people who have a poor self image and learn how to instantaneously change it (or as soon as possible).

Upon dialog with my human blog inspiration client, Lisa, about this topic, I learned about Physiognomy (pronounced with a silent G). Physiognomy is the assessment of a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics. Basically not only do people judge themselves, but they also judge other people as well.

You: “Duh, Mike! I could have told you that.”

Me: O.K. You’re right. I guess I wanted to share the new vocabulary word.

Anyways, (I’ll get to the point now), I suspect if you can change a person’s or your own self image, not only will it be easier for you to make and accept lasting physical change, but you could potentially alter an observer’s perception of you.

Example: If your countenance or facial expression at rest is one of a frown, sneer or saddness, people may draw the conclusion that your a walking dark cloud and to choose to stay away from you. On the flip side if your countenance at rest is one of a subtle smile or mysterious look, people may draw the conclusion that you’re a happy, attractive or interesting person and be drawn to you.

Not that you judge (wink), but what is your first impression of these countenances?

So in conclusion.

Sometime in the near future I hope to become excellent at instantaneous and sustainable self image corrections for myself, my clients and people I come in contact with. I hope to use this to alter the physiognomies or first impressions of other people. This combined with superior nutritional, strength and conditioning programs should result in a whole lotta people who love themselves and their new bodies/lifestyles.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp

p.s. Speaking of Love, check out what Flo loves.

Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 9:42:36 AM
Subject: Yay Boot Camp!

Hey Mike,
As challenging and hard as it is, I LOVE boot camp!…I’m always surprised by how great I feel at the end of the hour, ready to go and energized for the day.

Just wanted to let you know. 🙂