Ageless because of fitness…

Please look at my friend Guro Dan as a pilar of knowledge. Dan has been involved in fitness for decades, a bit more like Jack Lalane and an avid martial artist.


New Location! Chicago

We have been working with our friends at Chicago martial Arts Association, for almost two years.
Now we are teaching at this location! 4808 W Wrightwood, in Chicago. All current clients welcome.Deerfield students also. Last evening we had a great demo with the MMA fighters- how the art of Silat can manage a larger, stronger opponent. It was a success! They are most interested in learning the art to supplement their curricula!

If you are looking for an art that is simpler, fun, and with a proud history, come out and try Silat! lookup on Youtube! You must experience it!

Ignatius is an instructor of the martial arts including Silat. He has taught to military and law enforcement for over fifteen years.

Fitness Predictions for 2011

Well everyone, its nearing the end of another year. And for almost every fitness writer that only means one thing…Its time for my rendition of “Fitness predictions for 2011.” This is where I get to take a look at trends, concepts, fads, diets, etc, and think about what I think will happen in 2011. I can make my predictions of what I think will be the hottest new trends, and what hot trends will fade away. So, for your enjoyment, and maybe for mine too, here are my top 10 fitness predictions for 2011.

1. “Budget gyms” such as Fitness 19 and Snap Fitness are going to increase in popularity: People are becoming more budget conscious these days. Frugal is cool. And this is only becoming more popular. Couple this with the heightened awareness of adult and childhood obesity, people will seek out affordable fitness centers to belong to. Members of Fitness 19 or Snap Fitness can pay as low as $15-$20 per month, compared to $50+ per month at many of the high end chain gyms.
2. Increasingly intense workouts will become more prevalent from trainers, and instructors: With commercials for products like P90X and shows like The Biggest Loser showing people getting positive results, and working very hard and going through very intense workouts, getting a lot of attention, people are believing the also need to workout in this manner to achieve any results. Also some trainers are feeling pressured or being compared to the trainers and instructors on these commercials and programs. Now, I do believe this is a positive thing. I have always believed in intense training and thought most people do not train to their potential. Though I think its sad that media is what brought about this change. It’s too bad most trainers could not come to this conclusion themselves.
3. Muscle Confusion workouts will become more prevalent and popular: Extending from shows like The Biggest Loser and products like P90X, people will include much more variety and change up their workouts much more often. The idea of muscle confusion says if a muscle is exposed to only the same stresses it will not continue to develop and improve. But if it is constantly exposed to different exercises it will grow and improve at a much faster rate. So the idea is to constantly change the exercises to keep the muscles from adapting. I believe the variety has more affect mentally than it does physically, keeping lazy unfocused people interested in the program
4. Eating organic and natural will become more popular: With all the media attention to obesity, and fast food restaurants, people will turn to the other extreme, of eating organic, shopping at farmers markets, growing and cooking more of their foods.
5. Finding information online will become increasingly popular: With more and more information available in books, TV, and online, through personal websites, blogs, and organization websites, people will turn to researching themselves. They will turn to online for convenience, and because they will be able to search a wide variety of topics quickly.
6. An increasing number of people will begin careers in the fitness industry: Whether its because of an increased awareness of health and fitness, or because people are becoming interested in working for themselves, or because many people who have been out of work are looking for a way to have an income, more people will look to become personal trainers. This can be great for the industry is these people conduct themselves with a high standard and receive the education and training to become professionals in the fitness industry.
7. Online personal training will become very popular: Anything online and through a computer is becoming more popular. Trainers will be looking for ways to reach more clients and to maximize their income, while clients will be looking for more cost effective ways to achieve results. Either way online personal training can be a win-win for everyone involved. The trainer and client are able to communicate and work together from anywhere in the world, making both parties more accessible and more accountable.

These are my top 7 predictions for 2011 for the fitness industry. Some trends will flourish, while others will slow down or fade away. Either way I believe 2011 will be a great year for the fitness industry and everyone involved or interested in improving themselves. I’ll have to be sure to write a follow up in 12 months about what prediction were correct and what were incorrect. Don’t forget to remind me everyone. Thank you and Happy Holidays to you and your families.

Welcome to Kedra’s

Hey everyone. Thank you for visiting my corner again. I have been thinking of a follow up topic to write about for my next post, and could not decide on what I would like to cover. But then something amazing happened in the last 2 weeks. My 11 month daughter started to take her first walking steps. I could not believe how time has gone by so fast, nor could I believe how quickly she had grown. It doesn’t feel long ago at all that I was amazed when she first rolled over, and now she is walking all over the house.
Through all this, as she is taking her first steps, and taking more and getter better at it each day, I cannot help but watch her and think that at this very moment she is probably the most biomechanically sound as she will be in her whole life. I can’t help as I watch her take each step think about what kind of changes are occurring physically and neurologically. I think about the muscles in her feet flexing and learning to grip the floor, and in her ankles learning to balance and hold her weight. I think about her feet are getting stronger and able to better bear her weight, about how her core is getting stronger and now able to stabilize her and she moves, and about how much more coordinated she is becoming each day to be able to synchronize all the movements and muscle contractions involved with taking a step.

Right now I discourage my daughter wearing any type of shoes, especially if she will be walking on them. Because now, as her brain is teaching her body to walk, it is teaching her the correct way to move and walk. The correct way free from any muscle imbalances or compensations all of us have plaguing our bodies. Right now the appropriate muscles are receiving the appropriate proprioception from her brain. Her brain and body should not be developing compensation patterns yet.

Shoes prevent the muscles from fully developing and prevent the child from fully learning the coordination and muscle pattern involved with walking. Shoes add extra support, and remove forces our feet, at that age especially, need to experience. Anytime forces not meant to be there are added, or forces meant to be there are taken away, the body needs to compensate and adjust its muscle pattern accordingly. If a child were to learn to walk with shoes, their walking skills would not have the ability to develop fully, and could mean gait issues down the road. Could be something that would show early, or could be something that would just compound into other compensation patterns, until finally something “breaks” and the person now has an injury or condition that no one can decide what the cause is. Allow the child to develop as much as possible first before adding or removing any kind of external forces that would cause the body to have to adjust. Just because the child looks cute in the shoes, is not a good enough reason.

MMA for corrections environment! Johnnie Siller

One of my top students training with me now is a corrections agent. I get questions about what to do in situations where in areas of law enforcement, one cannot be allowed to strike another man, lest he be in danger of his life. With policies and procedures and the weight of these on an employee of local government, this can be a great responsibility. I have heard many a story where inmates become difficult to manage be cause of their strength and speed. Here is where the arts can neutralize these attributes.

Johnnie and I met at his local health club. He had mentioned beign in a dangerous position at work with inmates and being overcome at one point. And that he was looking to find a trainer to guide him in joint locking. How fitting for me to find him! How the universe brings need and service together.

Since we began Johnnie seems to learn quickly the arts of Silat and Kali. He’s great with questions and has great insight. We also work on the techniques of seeking peace, derived from my background in Scientology as well as some visualization practica from kung fu. We teach to find the peaceful way, and to visualize movements found in nature. One example is the swinging branch. Instead of place an attack in mind, that can usually cause stress and anxiety. we picture a large branch, representing a swinging arm. We then focus ourselves making contact with it and moving it away. I strictly believe this simple excercise can help anyone that has felt stress and would like to create another ‘visual environment’ for them to practice the arts.

I also believe that this was the way the majority of the arts were practiced, thinking of other things and not the actual breaking of an arm or leg. And then, there were those that deligthed in these thoughts. I’m sure there are many who feel that it is best to train with much destructive visuality, b as for me personally and in my training spaces, we will seek the peaceful way.

Until next time, think on the best thoughts adne we wish everyone a safe week,


Ignatius Lopez is a martial artist and combatives instructor in the Chicago area. He has trained law enforcement and military personnel in several applications.

Kedra’s Corner- Total muscle fiber activation Part One

I am going to write about something that I am sure will cause a stir among many people reading this.  There will probably be some people thinking I am going against everything they have been taught, and going against what they teach their clients.  Let me start with a very common scenario that actually happened to my wife.  She was working out at a small, chain, gym near our house.  She had just finished a set of lat pulldowns when a gentleman came up to her and offered his advice on her exercise form.  He preceded, to tell her that she should perform the exercise much slower than she was, his recommendation was a 4 second count for the positive and for the negative.  Really?  This coming from someone who, most likely had never seen her workout before, nor does he know what type of training program she is on, or what goals she is trying to accomplish.  The point of this example is that when asked how to perform a certain exercise, most people or trainers, will advise the use of a lighter weight, and a slow controlled movement.  Their reasoning is that this will help isolate the muscle, while preventing injury.  And, as many people will say, isolating the muscle will “work it better” and strengthen the muscle more.  I’m not going to mess with the preventing injury part.  I’ll save that for another day.  But I will say if you are not working hard, yes you do reduce the chance for injury.When you are working with a weight that is light enough to perform a 4 second positive and a 4 second negative, let’s say for example in a seated row, how much muscle recruitment are you really getting?  There are many fibers within a muscle belly.  When the muscle has to contract against a force, fibers are recruited to contract and move the weight.  A muscle fiber does not “lightly” contract.  It either contracts or it doesn’t.  So therefore when a muscle has to move a light weight, it does not need to recruit many fibers to move.  So even though, your lats are contracting, there is only partial fiber recruitment happening.  What needs to be recruited are stabilizer muscles to control that weight through a long slow path of motion.  The amount of stabilization and body control needed to keep the weight moving at a slow steady speed takes some neural activation.  Your brain will have to use fine motor control, and make small muscular adjustments to perform the movement.  To me, this sounds like a lot of neural training going on, and not much muscular training.Now, let us say you are performing the same seated row, but now with a much heavier weight.  As I pull my arms back to perform the motion, there will be much more fiber recruitment in my lat muscles, because more fibers will be needed to move the weight.  Ancillary muscles will of course be involved.  If the weight is heavy enough, and the lats become overloaded, more weight will be taken on by the ancillary muscles, resulting in even more fiber recruitment.  Stabilizer muscle will also be recruited to control the weight, but they would not need to make the fine adjustments they would to steady the weight during a slower movement, because the weight would move through its range of motion faster.  Neurologically, the brain does not have to focus on fine motor control.  It can focus on firing neurons to activate muscle fibers needed to move the weight.

But what does all this mean to you, and why might heavier weights be more effective?  Let us look at your “average gym goer” whose goal is to lose weight and “tone up.”  What is the basis to losing weight and toning up.?  This means losing fat and building some lean muscle that would now be more visible due to having less body fat.  How do we cause the body to lose fat?  The first, and really the most important rule is the body must burn more calories than it takes in.  Since we are not talking about diet here lets address calorie expenditure instead calorie intake.  How does a person burn calories?  What burns calories in our bodies?  Muscles burn calories.  So, wouldn’t be safe to assume the more muscles, and muscle fibers, involved in a given movement, the more potential for calorie burn?  The more calories burned, the more body fat lost.   I believe everyone reading this has trained with both light and heavy weights.  After performing a set with light controlled movements, where is your heart rate?  Mine is slightly increased, and then returns to normal fairly quickly.  Where is your heart rate after performing, say a very heavy set of seated lat rows?  Mine is through the roof, and stays elevated for a while, and I am fairly out of breath as well.  This would lead me to assume lifting with heavy weights also has a cardiovascular benefit as well.  Also if more muscle fibers are involved, that would lead to greater muscle damaged, and more muscle fibers needing repair.  This would result in a stronger muscle, capable of performing even more work, and, if hormones and nutrition are conducive to it, a larger muscle.Together these results, increased loss in body fat, increased cardiovascular health, and increased muscle size and strength, are pretty much what most people are striving for.  Using heavier weights will allow people to realize their potentials they would not normally realize.  It would break down neural inhibitions that prevent most people from reaching higher levels of performance and fitness.Now I am not advocating working out in a manner that would be unsafe or beyond a person’s capabilities.  What I am advocating, is rethinking where your limits, or your client’s limits are.  I am advocating working out in a manner that challenges the body, increases our perceptions of what we can handle, and ultimately gets results.  This article was not meant to tell you what to do, or to say I what believe is the only way to train or get results, or even that this type of training suits everyone.  What it was meant to do, was make you think, and rethink, open your mind, evaluate, and apply whatever you feel is applicable to you and your training.  The more we know, the more we can achieve results in ourselves, and our clients.
Rich is a fitness enthusiast and professional and lectures throughout the midwestern United States.

New column-Kedra’s Place!

We will now present an incredible privilege afforded our audience, a trainer in the flesh! We know how important it is for everyone to have the most recent research and advances in nutrition and weight training, and so we here offer our readers this excellent opportunity to meet our new association with Rich Kedra CSCS. his first article will be included shortly. And again, thank you for sharing with us your questions and personal commentary.

Ignatius Lopez, Chicago