Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Journey to TACFIT

When the original TACFIT program was published in late 2008 i didn't pay much attention to it. I was having the time of my life training kettlebell sport (aka Girevoy Sport) and making a lot of improvement through the 4x7 periodization model.

Actually i wasn't really into kb sport per se. If you know me, i am not a fan of air-conditioned commercial or public gyms which are infested with either bodybuilding types or toning types. Therefore since a long time ago, my mainstay is training outdoor or at home, using bodyweight or portable equipment.

What i was looking for, and am now still looking for (or i would love to say have found, in TACFIT, but that still has to be proven until i finish the whole program), was a sustainable, fast, efficient, effective training program(s) and tool(s) that can be done anytime anywhere. Giving you elite fitness (attributes of strength, strength endurance, cardio respiratory endurance) and skills (complex movement in 6 degrees of freedom (dof)) in minimal time and maximal results.

Classic kb lifting (aka kb sport) was (and still is) marketed as the best (if not one of the best) tools to achieve the said goals. And therefore i jumped into the deep end of the pool to be one of the first kb instructors in Singapore (2006). Indeed it is fast, efficient and effective in giving you the results of the said goals.

I wasn't really into the sport of kb lifting per se, but it was one of the only tool that i knew at that time that fits my requirements. Other systems which included olympic lifts and/or power lifts do not interest me because of the specialized equipment required. I had nothing to lose by picking it up anyway, so i immersed myself in reps after reps under the bells, doing the competition lifts and their variations in the hundreds. It felt great. And i have the Low Intensity Days to practice my bodyweight agility and coordination which keeps my bodyweight movements polished.

I thought i had the perfect training system. Anyway i am training my whole body every workout. And it has been touted to have great carry over to other activities. So i thought.

The programs i learned at CST (Clubbell swinging, Flowfit, Forward Pressure etc) were kept in the closet.

Until i picked up Krav Maga. I haven't punched in years since my Taekwondo days. While i was proficient in kicking and supporting my bodyweight on my hands from capoeira and Prasara, i was not used to explosive movements involving the arms (remember kb sport is about as much legs and as little arms as possible). Doing just a little boxing drills made my arms very sore for days. Taking impact on my upper limbs doing the 360 defense made my arms sore for days.

Wake up call! What the heck is going on? I could jerk and long cycle two 24kg bells for ten minutes, jerk one such bell for 30 minutes or more, and my upper limbs can't even take the abuse of combative classes? I achieved Rank I of World Kettlebell Club rankings in the long cycle unofficially in my training and i can't even take hits to my body?

It's time to rethink my training program. Alright, so locking out the bells reps after reps overhead does little for my functional fitness, functional defined as suited for my activities. Am i in control of my training, or is my training controlling me? What do i really want? A sport? I need a more rounded fitness system, one that not only moves my body in the 6dof, but also to move external objects in these directions, including explosive movements.

Just a few weeks after this realization, Coach Scott Sonnon released TACFIT Commando (TFC). Time to empty my cup and let the Flow Coach fill it. Since i already am a fan of bodyweight exercise, i bought it the moment it was out. It is the best bodyweight training program i ever learned. Though i have a bigger vocabulary from capoeira, but with regards to learning how to put it together into a training program, TFC does a much better job.

Yet i was still reluctant to buy the original TACFIT program, cost being the biggest factor, and the other is the equipment required.

And then my client Chad from Vietnam wanted to have a TACFIT cert held there, and since Sascha my Krav Maga instructor has already wanted me to conduct physical training (PT) for the KM class in the future, i jumped out of the swimming pool of TFC into the ocean of the original TACFIT.

Having been introduced to various protocols used in TACFIT from various sources, Tabata from TFC and TF Rope, "every minute on the minute" and "as many rounds as possible" from Flowfit and "for time" from Trial By Fire, i was already excited about doing it even before i reviewed all the 26 workouts.

I have just finished Bravo and it is too early to say how this program would transform my fitness abilities but i have big expectations. Not only does it include kettlebell movements, which i have drilled into my nervous system for the past few years, but at the highest levels, the kettlebell required is 32kg. Some programs require the use of 1 or 2 Clubbells and the highest levels call for 35lbs or 45lbs.

At time of writing this article, i believe i have in my hands the ultimate fitness (sub)system ever created. Not only does it have bodyweight training (which is my favourite anyway), kb lifting (my love affair for the past couple of years) and Clubbell swinging (pretty much uncharted territory other than the Trial By Fire), but it has all of them or a combination of a few of them at every program. No two consecutive program is the same. To be able to complete the highest levels for every program is a big achievement with a capital "B". It will take a few years to progress to Alpha for every program.

Alright that's all i want to say for now. Meanwhile i am going to enjoy my journey through the 26 programs and post my review regularly on Rmax forums.

Oh before i forget, TACFIT certification course is going to be held in Singapore on 7-8 Dec, 20010. Right after the CST Instructor Cert and Flowfighting. Please book a spot for yourself asap if you want to be part of this revolution.

And i would like to invite you to join me in my trainings as i go through the programs to prepare for the cert.

Drop me an email at

And i recommend you to pick up the TACFIT program or TACFIT Commando. You won't regret buying them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Be Conservative

It has come to my attention that people coming for my classes, or people who start a physical training program, inevitably try to do too much on the first day. This is a sure ticket to burnout.

The reason being you think that the workout is too tough for you, resulting in you not continuing the program.

Defeats the purpose of you starting it in the first place.

A more reasonable approach would be to follow the 4x7 (or 7x4 if your schedule revolves around the weekly cycle) periodization model:

Day 1: No Intensity RPE 1-2
AM: A long session of Intu-Flow joint mobility.

Day 2: Low Intensity RPE 3-4
AM: A long session of Intu-Flow joint mobility (as above)
PM: A long session of Prasara Yoga.

Day 3: Moderate Intensity RPE 5-7
AM: A long session of Intu-Flow joint mobility (as above)
Workout: A short session of Intu-Flow joint mobility, followed by a Moderate Intensity workout, cool down with a short session of Prasara Yoga.
PM: A long session of Prasara Yoga (as above, optional)

Day 4: High Intensity RPE 8-10
AM: A long session of Intu-Flow joint mobility (as above)
Workout: A short session of Intu-Flow joint mobility, followed by a High Intensity workout, cool down with a short session of Prasara Yoga.
PM: A long session of Prasara Yoga (as above, optional)

Repeat the 4-day cycle 7 times for a total of 28 days. Every time you are on a High Day, increase your work load (usually volume) to increase the intensity one notch. Maintain it for the next Moderate Day. And repeat the whole process for each cycle.

In other words, your first workout must be a Moderate Intensity one. This would prime your body (and brain) for the High Intensity session to follow.

Another very important reason is you want to ensure that your technique is sound (RPT 8-10) for all your workouts. The Moderate Day is the time for you to practice your technique. When fatigue is minimal at the beginning of the workout, your technique would be superb. But as fatigue builds up towards the middle and end of the session, your technique would be harder to keep at a high level. If your technique is not stable, if you have not practiced is sufficiently, it would deteriorate, putting you at risk of injury. And we don't want injury.

There is no rush to hit a High Intensity on the first day. You need to restrain yourself and follow the intensity wave of no-low-mod-high. There would be days when your energy is high and you want to hit a High Intensity Day, but you need restrain yourself and follow the prescribed program for that day. If you have followed instructions properly, you would be rewarded with seven High Intensity Days in a month, ie seven performance peaks. Yes, not three, not four, but seven. Does that sound good to you? No other program promises such improvement as this.

Alright that's it for today. Let me know your experiences with the 4x7 by posting a comment.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TACFIT Mass Assault Level 4

Fially finished Level 4 of Mass Assault.

Check out the video here:

Comments on specific exercises:

RDL Curl (L4) is very demanding on the balance.

Bridge Press Alternating Stabilized (L4) is tough but not that tough. A fun exercise for repping out. After blasting your arms and shoulders with it, the Bent Press (L4) is a welcome treat. Less brute strength from the arms and using more skill to lockout the weight. Even if you wanted to, your arms would be spent from all the pressing.

Bent Over Row Alternating Stabilized (L4) is a beast. I feel that it is the toughest in terms of strength used. Every part of your body is just screaming for mercy from the exercise.

Dragon Stance Lift Up (L4) is crazy hard on the balance.

Clean and Arm Cast (L4) is another fun one which can be done in high reps. A good mix of ballistic and grind in one exercise.

On the other note, the question that i assume is on everybody's mind is "how much muscle have you gained"?

To be frank, my program hasn't been ideal, with travels and lack of proper equipment. However, i did gain a kg, from 57+ to 58+kg. Not bad if you consider the unideal situation. If i had the proper equipment, i believe i could have gained a little bit more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Clubbell Mass Assault Level 3

I am back home and resumed my mass assault 4x7. I only displaced my schedule by one cycle, not two as mentioned before as i took a few days of No/Low for the days i was on the road.

So here is Level 3:

Comments on specific exercises:

One Leg Romanian Deadlift (L3) is unexpectedly easy.

Bridge Press Alternating (L3) is slightly harder than Bridge Press Twist (L2). Not as big of a jump as from L1 to L2.

Ditto for Side Press (L3).

Bent Over Row (L3) is much harder than Incline Row (L2). Since it is not possible to use the barbell grip without hitting my face. The reverse leverage grip makes it tough on the grip and overall tension demand.

Split Stance Lift Up (L3) is hard. Looks easy since it is not a stepping lunge, but because you are rotating >180 degrees, the stabilization demand is much more.

Clean (L3) is easy, slight rest for the grip and body.

As an aside, on the days i was away i designed bodyweight analogs to the original program. I'll upload videos of this after i finish my main cycle.

Next up Level 4. Finally, after several disruptions this 4x7 would be completed in 1.5 months.