TJ's Gym Weekly News 07/11/2019


July 4th in Corte Madera

Holiday workouts are always a treat, and this year, some of CM’s finest, including Coach Annie, wore just the right workout attire.


Message from TJ:

"I feel the need...the need, for speed!" (Awful Top Gun quote)

You see the "X" in almost every single strength session we do. Today I explain why, as we age, speed training is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

If you go swiping back to Snapchat or Instagram right about now, I can't blame you. You're probably too young to care about this, even though it's just as important for you as well, because we all age.

If you were about to swipe over to Facebook though, boy oh boy is this article for you. That's because, well, you're old if you're heading over to the Book. Sorry.

The good news is that you've got some time on your hands. You're not chasing little kids or taking selfies. I've got some articles hyperlinked in here, as well as a great message from coach Nick.

So, sit back, pull out those reading glasses, enlarge that font, and let's talk about speed.

The X in tempo training stands for "Explosive." That type of movement that engages our fast-twitch muscle fibers. The fibers responsible are as important as any other fiber or tissue in our body, but it's the ones we stop using first. As we age, we aren’t as excited about being super fast for anything. We fear injury and embarrassment. Just look at those videos of older folks getting crossed up by some kid on a basketball court. Arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather, just fell prey this week. Man, I love those videos.


I've written about sarcopenia, the natural loss of muscle mass as we age. We use a slow negative tempo during our training to help with hypertrophy or lean body mass gain. The X movement is key for strength building though. We need both, size and strength as we age.

This NY Times article about falling down as we age cites a recent study showing that deadly falls have doubled from 2000 to 2016. Yikes.


The rate of deaths after falls is rising for people over 75, a new study shows. But falls are avoidable for most of us.

The article also gives suggestions on how to prevent falling, like lifting weights and getting off of unnecessary medications. The author then shoots herself in the foot by suggesting that frequent trips to the bathroom will also help strengthen people who age with all that sitting and standing.

Here is a great article on the importance of lifting weights quickly.


We also include short-distance running, rowing and biking, in our programming. This article from Peak Performance does an incredible job of breaking down the science of sprinting as we age and all its benefits.


If you're someone who enjoys hiking or long walks with the dog, PICK IT UP! Tufts University published an article saying that walking quickly has not only great physical benefits but also cognitive ones.


Finally a message from our head coach and programmer, Nick Laplant, on lifting with speed and explosiveness.

One of the most powerful tools in any coach, trainer, or programmer’s arsenal is variation. It can be presented in a myriad of ways: for example it can be presented as exercise selection, exercise order, weight, volume, tempo, all of which can be mixed and match to pursue a certain outcome. Now this sounds wonderful, but many coaches get lost in the abyss of variety and lose focus on the goal. I'm not saying too much variation is the worst thing ever, just that variation for the sake of entertainment is a losing battle. So what does the science say if our goal is to simply to be better? I'm talking GPP General Physical Preparedness or what Cross-Fit would label as being prepared for the unknowable (a slightly catcher yet more dramatic version). We find that massive variation isn't really that essential. In fact too much of it can be detrimental. So how much variation do we need to progress? Assuming that you're reasonably intelligent and you've chosen an appropriate volume of the big four (squat, bend, push, pull), then it can be as simple as reps, weight, and tempo.

So why did I distill this Pandora’s box down to weight and tempo? Well it has to do with the programming cycle that we're in right now. SPEED! We are trying to create more powerful humans and the outcome we want is FASTER! So how can we manipulate the least amount of variation to achieve the desired outcome of speed? The answer is sub-maximal weight and a tempo designed to challenge you, yet also allow you to display those the traits of speed. I could get into the science and say you must have a weight on the bar that allows the bar to move 1.4 m/s during a MVC (maximal voluntary contraction) blah, blah, blah, but it really can be as simple as tempo. Often overlooked, tempo can drastically change the meaning of a workout. Most would be confused when they see "Back Squat 60% of 1RM for 3reps @21X1". The first thought is often "well that's not hard". And you'd be right if you only thought in terms of absolute ability to move weight a desired distance. But, the moment you really pay attention to that X, that big beautiful X, you start to understand the point. How fast can you truly stand up with that weight? It does stand for explode.....And how many times can you do it until you notice a drastic decrease in that explosiveness? This is the challenge, the variation presented to you for a majority of the strength work in the next 2-3 months. So when you see that X, challenge yourself to move with speed and explosiveness. I find that visualizing something powerful and explosive before a lift really helps me. My two favorite visuals are the scene in Free Willy-you know the one, and the space shuttle launching!

Registration FOR youth Summer fitness!

Our youth summer session will run from July 8th to August 23rd. Please see image below for most up-to-date schedule!
In order to accommodate summer travel, we are offering 10-class packs ($240) and 20-class packs ($420). These classes will expire on August 23rd. We will be making the charges during the week of July 4th, once we have finalized the schedule and have determined the viability of all classes based on numbers of registrants.
We also offer drop-ins for $25. Please make sure to check in on the schedule HERE after the week of the 4th, before your child decides to drop in. We will also send a follow-up email to announce our final summer schedule.
Please email to get your child registered! We will need to know which days and times your child will attend.

Copy of Youth Fitness (1).png



Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Throwing Hands (1).png



YOU CAN STILL JUMP IN! THIS challenge is about consistency OVER INTENSITY, not about winninG.

Copy of Untitled (5).png

Copy of Welcoming New Members! First class free for MARIN BOCCE BALL PLAYERS! (1).png

Check out our specialized programs for sports teams.


Running Strong: strength for endurance athletes

Join any time with our new flexible membership options!

Email with any questions.

Program Foundations:

•Injury prevention/Consistency

•Efficiency/Muscular Power


Running Strong  (2).png

We’d like to get as many 60+ year-olds in Marin moving as possible! Athletes can join at any time; we pro-rate based on start days.

We’d like to get as many 60+ year-olds in Marin moving as possible! Athletes can join at any time; we pro-rate based on start days.


Spread the word to your friends and family ages 60+.


You can always find updated announcements AND WEEKLY WORKOUTS on our HOME PAGE.