Martial Arts for Life

On A Quest To Be The Best!

Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You…

I saw this posted on Brad Vaccaro’s Sports Conditioning Blog (originally published in the NY Times / Written By S. Copperman). It’s an interesting read about a style of exercise that has grown exponentially over the last 5 years. Crossfit is popular with folks who are fond of extreme  & hardcore training methods. It has limited appeal to the average person who is looking to shape up due to what many experts deem “an unreasonable injury risk” with the exercise routines. Read on…

Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You

While many gymgoers complain that they might not survive a tough workout, Brian Anderson can speak from experience. For his first CrossFit session, he swung a 44-pound steel ball with a handle over his head and between his legs. The aim was to do 50 quick repetitions, rest and repeat. After 30 minutes, Mr. Anderson, a 38-year-old member of the special weapons and tactics team in the sheriff’s office in Tacoma, Wash., left the gym with his muscles sapped and back pain so excruciating that he had to lie in the driveway to collect himself.

That night he went to the emergency room, where doctors told him he had rhabdomyolysis, which is caused when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. He spent six days in intensive care.

Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. “I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit,” he said.

In the last year this controversial exercise program has attracted a growing following of thousands nationwide, who log on to for a daily workout, said its founder, Greg Glassman. Participants skip StairMasters and weight machines. Instead they do high-intensity workouts that mix gymnastics, track and field skills and bodybuilding, resting very little between movements.

The emphasis is on speed and weight hoisted, not technique. And the importance placed on quantifiable results has attracted hard-charging people like hedge fund managers, former Olympians and scientists. But some exercise experts are troubled by the lack of guidance for beginners, who may dive into stressful workouts as Mr. Anderson did. (He had not worked out regularly for two years.) “There’s no way inexperienced people doing this are not going to hurt themselves,” said Wayne Winnick, a sports medicine specialist in private practice in Manhattan, who also works for the New York City Marathon.

Other critics say that even fit people risk injury if they exercise strenuously and too quickly to give form its due, as CrossFit participants often do. For people who like to push the limits of fitness and strength – there are many police officers, firefighters and military personnel in the ranks of CrossFit athletes – the risks are worth it, because they consider it the most challenging workout around.

The short grueling sessions aren’t for the weekend gym warrior. The three-days-on, one-day-rest schedule includes workouts like “Cindy”: 20 minutes of as many repetitions as you can of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. “Fight Gone Bad” entails rotating through five exercises, including throwing a 20-pound ball at a target 10 feet away. And only veteran CrossFit devotees even attempt, and few complete, “Murph,” a timed mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and then a second mile run. (A weighted vest is optional.)

Mr. Glassman, CrossFit’s founder, does not discount his regimen’s risks, even to those who are in shape and take the time to warm up their bodies before a session.

“It can kill you,” he said. “I’ve always been completely honest about that.”

But CrossFitters revel in the challenge. A common axiom among practitioners is “I met Pukey,” meaning they worked out so hard they vomited. Some even own T-shirts emblazoned with a clown, Pukey. CrossFit’s other mascot is Uncle Rhabdo, another clown, whose kidneys have spilled onto the floor presumably due to rhabdomyolysis.

Mr. Glassman, 49, a former gymnast from Santa Cruz, Calif., walks with a slight limp because of a knee injury, and at 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds admits he should lose weight. He began developing CrossFit more than two decades ago, but he says that he spends so much time running the business now that he no longer regularly does the routines. At first his program was a hard sell to clients who weren’t keen to climb ropes or grapple with gymnastic rings.

Then in 2001 he launched and began publishing a monthly journal and holding seminars at his California gym. People from around the world have come to learn Mr. Glassman’s techniques. Today CrossFit has more than 50 affiliates in 21 states and 5 countries, Mr. Glassman said. And has 25,000 unique visitors a week, according to WebSideStory, a Web analytics company in Seattle.

Mr. Glassman’s followers call him Coach and share a cultlike devotion to his theories.

“We are all drinking the Kool-Aid,” said Eugene Allen, another Tacoma SWAT team member who introduced Mr. Anderson to CrossFit last summer. “It’s hard not to catch Coach’s enthusiasm.”

Devotees say CrossFit has enabled them to challenge their bodies in ways they never thought possible. Eva Twardokens, 40, an Olympic alpine skier in the 1992 and 1994 Games, said years of CrossFit training have enabled her to bench-press 155 pounds, 20 more than she could when she was training for the Olympics.

Tariq Kassum, 31, a research analyst in New York, found both the workout community and the variety of difficult exercises he was looking for. Online, where some participants record their workout progress, people cheered him on as his upper-body strength increased. When he started CrossFit, Mr. Kassum was unable to do a handstand, but after a year with the program he can do push-ups from that position. CrossFit exercises can be made more or less intense based on a person’s abilities, but the workouts are the same for everyone, from marines to senior citizens. And some critics say that is a big part of what’s wrong.

“My concern is that one cookie-cutter program doesn’t apply to everyone,” said Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise. He said people in their 60’s who have osteoporosis, for example, may not be able to do an overhead press, pushing a barbell over one’s head.

CrossFit enthusiasts are also criticized for being cavalier about the injuries they sustain, including chronic soreness, pulled muscles and even some separated shoulders. Norma Loehr, 37, a vice president for a financial services company in New York, was sidelined for a week after she strained her back doing “Three Bars of Death,” 10 sets of 3 lifts using barbells that weigh up to one and a half times as much as the person using them. She realized the barbells were too heavy, but she didn’t want to waste the seconds it would have taken to change plates.

Mr. Glassman said that he has never been sued by an injured client and that paramedics have never had to treat one of his clients in his gym. But he acknowledged that as many as six CrossFit participants have suffered rhabdomyolysis, which often sets in more than a day after excessive exercise.

After they complete the workout of the day, hundreds of people post their times and the amount they have lifted on the Web site, making CrossFit a competitive online sport.

“When I first started the program, I could barely do a pull-up, so I was embarrassed to post,” Mr. Kassum said. “Now that I can do 20 or 30, I’m on there every day. People on there are animals.”

Those people include Kelly Moore, a 42-year-old Wisconsin police dispatcher and former powerlifter who is 5 feet tall and 117 pounds and has eight-pack abs. Her self-reported statistics have become the stuff of legend on, inspiring both praise (“Pull-ups with a broken hand? You rock!”) and amazement that she beats most men on the site. (“I’ll be chasing Kelly until I die. At this rate, literally.”)

CrossFit has an especially large number of police, firefighter and military participants. Members of Navy Seals, Air Force Pararescue and Special Forces groups also do workouts. And though it is not recognized as an official military regimen, CrossFit has drawn the attention of people in charge of military preparation. Capt. Timothy Joyce teaches CrossFit to marines in the Fleet Support Division in Barstow, Calif. And Capt. J. T. Williams, the chief standards officer at the Canadian Infantry School, where officers are trained, helped run a six-week trial where half of the participants followed the school’s fitness program and half did CrossFit workouts. He declared CrossFit “very effective.”

In recent months a group of New York CrossFit athletes have tried unsuccessfully to find a home gym. Joshua Newman, the group’s organizer, said gym managers expressed concerns that they took up too much space, or even that their fast and furious pull-ups would break the apparatus.

“They used too many pieces of equipment at one time, and we got a lot of complaints from trainers who didn’t like being on the floor with them,” said Eric Slayton, the owner of New York Underground Fitness, a Midtown gym that Crossfit New York called home for a few weeks. “They put too much emphasis on getting things done in a certain amount of time and not enough on form.”

But for Mr. Glassman, dismissals of his extreme workouts merely help him weed out people he considers weak-willed. “If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don’t want you in our ranks,” he said.

Martial Arts for Life

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs

Martial Arts for Life

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You…

Interested vs. Committed

Have you noticed the abundance of weight loss & fitness advertisements that continue to bombard the general public?

These are advertisements for products that include pills, diets, meal plans, workout DVDs, books, gym memberships, and fitness gadgets. The question most people ask is, “Does any of that stuff actually work?” The answer is, NONE of it works and ALL of it works. Yes, you read that right. The simple fact is absolutely nothing works unless you are COMMITTED to getting a result and most people are merely INTERESTED. Let’s take a look at the difference…

This is actually really simple. People who are INTERESTED in achieving a goal will do whatever is CONVENIENT to achieve that goal. What that means is folks who are interested in losing weight, getting back in shape, etc. will go to the gym or take a fitness class if they have time and it fits nicely into their schedule. If they are tired or have an opportunity to do something that is more fun or exciting they will choose that over exercise. “Interested” men and women will eat healthy as long as it’s easy and convenient for them (and how often is that?). This type of approach to diet and exercise is why 1 out of every 3 people in the U.S. is overweight (34% according to the Center for Disease Control’s most recent statistics).

The other side of the coin is folks who are COMMITTED. Men and women who are committed to their health, fitness and weight loss goals will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve these goals whether it is convenient or not. You will not hear committed people complain about not having the time or energy to work out. They will get up an hour earlier to go for a jog or give up an hour of leisure time to workout. Committed people will discipline themselves to eat healthy a vast majority of the time and enjoy unhealthy food and beverages in moderation. Now, what type of results would you expect committed people to get in terms of their health, fitness, finances, relationships, etc?

When it comes to your health and fitness don’t be INTERESTED, be COMMITTED!

This article was written by Rich Brugger. He holds a Strength Conditioning and Weight Training Certification from ISMA and is Black Belt Master Instructor. He co-owns and operates Martial Arts for Life in New Providence, NJ with his wife Michelle (a certified personal fitness trainer, a certified nutritional consultant and Black Belt Instructor).

Martial Arts for Life

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs

Martial Arts for Life

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April 14, 2011 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is your body type?

One of the things to consider when formulating an effective diet and workout plan is body type. When formulating a workout and nutrition plan for our students we always consider their body type. Read on and see if you can find your body type…

Endomorph: Typically endomorphs have a slow metabolism and gain both muscle and fat fairly easily. Their body is characterized by a “round appearance.” Endomorphs typically have a short and stocky build with strong muscles. Due to their propensity to gain fat, endomorphs must get regular cardiovascular exercise in addition to resistance training in order to maintain a healthy body weight and stay fit. This body type must avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Crash diets are also off limits.

Mesomorph: The mesomorph body type is characterized by a naturally athletic physique including a large bone structure and large muscles. Naturally strong, mesomorphs often find it easy to both gain and lose weight when desired. Mesomorphs respond well to any type of resistance training. A balanced regimen of strength and cardiovascular training is recommended for mesomorphs.

Ectomorph: Characterized by a small frame and bone structure, ectomorphs are thin, have a fast metabolism and find it difficult to gain weight and muscle mass. Ectomorphs looking to gain muscle require a huge amount of calories. Short, intense workouts focusing on compound movements are necessary to gain strength and mass. Despite their fast metabolism, ectomorphs should still avoid empty (unhealthy) calories. Bruce Lee is a great example of an ectomorph.

It is important to note that many folks have a combination of two body types. For example mesomorph / endomorph or ectomorph/mesomorph. Remember that regardless of your body type it is possible to build a healthy, sculpted physique with the proper diet, exercise plan and coaching.

This article was written by Rich Brugger. He holds a Strength Conditioning and Weight Training Certification from ISMA and is Black Belt Master Instructor. He co-owns and operates Martial Arts for Life in New Providence, NJ with his wife Michelle (a certified personal fitness trainer, a certified nutritional consultant and Black Belt Instructor).

Martial Arts for Life

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs

Martial Arts for Life

| Thai Kickboxing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Thai Kickboxing Won’t Do For You…

Admittedly, our “Thai Kickboxing” program won’t do everything for you…

  • It is NOT the right program if you are interested in heavy-duty, combat self-defense – or want to compete in tournaments.
  • It is NOT the right program if you want to wear spandex and throw thousands of random punches and kicks with no rhyme or reason.
  • It is NOT the right program if you are looking for extremely traditional Martial Arts training centered upon Easter religion or philosophy.

So — what WILL our “Thai Kickboxing Program” do for you?

  1. Martial Arts for Life’s proven system will dramatically improve your cardiovascular endurance, increase muscle tone, and not just give you the kind of body that you can show off at the beach – but the kind of body you can use.

  2. We will show you proper technique in a classroom with a fully-padded floor taught by certified instructors to eliminate the risk of injury. In fact, our entire program is designed to protect your knees, ankles, & lower back.
  3. You will learn real self-defense techniques. Our team will show you the proper way to execute punches, kicks, knees, and footwork – should you ever need to use these techniques to defend yourself.
  4. Perhaps best of all, this is taught in a “team-oriented” class environment that is built upon the principles of respect and courtesy — so there’s never any of the nonsense that you’ve encountered in “fitness kickboxing” classes as the gym or rec.

…one more thing…we provide classes taught by EXPERT instructors – each with well over a decade of experience. You’ll never find an aerobics instructor that took a weekend certification on “cardio kickboxing” teaching your class at our Academy. We also provide you with a certified nutritional consultant to make sure you reach your fitness / weight loss goals.

I know what you’re thinking: It all sounds “Too good to be true,” right? Well don’t take MY word for it…

“Tonight was my fifth class at Martial Arts for Life in New Providence. After each class I am reminded of how out of shape I let myself get! I feel great after each class and I find myself wanting more. I spent 3 months in Marine Corps Bootcamp and I feel that the workout I’m getting is equal to that of Paris Island (minus the yelling). The respect and encouragement from Mr. and Mrs. B does not go unnoticed. Also, the respect and excitement from all the classmates is very motivating. I find myself pushing my body more & more and enjoy every class…

P.S. What a way to let off steam” – Mr. Mike L., New Providence NJ

….here’s one more rave review of our Thai Kickboxing classes…

“About a year ago I started to burn out from my day to day gym exercising. I would go to the gym and run or lift weights or do a spin class…but something was missing. I hit a wall and I was not sure what to to, until I began researching martial arts. I found your program and I have never looked back. I ended up quitting the gym and started training 3 days a week and not only do I feel better mentally, but my body has started to change. I feel like I look more toned and in shape then I ever have before, even when I was running 4 days a week. I love this program…” – Ms. Melanie H., Chatham NJ

Actually…there is just ONE catch…

If after you visit Martial Arts for Life you know that everything I talked about in this blog is true, and you wish to join us – we still may not let you. Even though we are allowing a few people to try us out for FREE – our Academy has qualifications that each new student must meet.

As you may have already heard – we operate like a private training facility (unlike your average gym or health club) and don’t just “Surrender to anyone with a check book or Visa card.” You really need to be the kind of results-oriented person that is serious about improving yourself.

If this sounds like you and you’re ready to reserve your spot – call us right now at 908.464.2836 or register online here.

Martial Arts for Life

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Reports Evaluates Fitness Gadgets

Consumer Reports (CR) recently tested a series of fitness
devices that are being sold on television infomercials.

CR tested devices selling for $50 to $100. They measured
muscle activity and calories burned as panelists used each
device. Nine staff members also tried each machine. Finally,
they asked each manufacturer for evidence to support its claims.

Are your curious about the results? Read on…
Ab-Doer Xtreme $150

What it is: Chair with rotating handles for low-level torso
resistance, plus “Fat Blasting” DVD.

The reality: It engaged abs less effectively than no-equipment
exercises. The DVD workout burned calories at a rate similar
to a 3-mph walk. Most said the back pad dug into their back.

Ab Lounge XL $210

What it is: Mesh chair that mimics the motion of a jackknife
sit-up, plus aerobics, stretching & exercises DVD.

The reality: The signature jackknife move engaged the target
muscles, but for most tested muscle groups it was not as tough
as a full jackknife done on the floor. Most panelists thought
it was too bulky to buy.

Red Exerciser DX $160

What it is: Swivel chair with adjustable resistance to work
core muscles and workout videos.

The reality: The “core twist strides” in the infomercial and
some advanced exercises in the video engaged obliques at least
as much as comparable floor moves but may not work abs as well.
Panelists said they felt as if nothing was happening.

The Bean $50

What it is: Inflatable device for working abdominal and oblique
muscles and workout DVD.

The reality: On average, results were similar to those with
no equipment. The “3-in-1 Super Rock” exercise, for example,
worked about the same amount of muscle as a floor crunch with
pelvis tilted. Panelists said it was comfortable but not very

Bun & Thigh Doer $300

What it is: Exerciser that focuses on small muscles of the
thighs but can also work arm muscles. Comes with color-coded
resistance bands and workout video.

The problem: One of the red resistance bands unhooked itself
from the frame striking our staffer on the upper thigh. We
confirmed the design flaw on two other units. Due to risk of
injury, we don’t recommend this device for anyone.


Unfortunately, these results are typical; hundreds of
hard-earned dollars spent on fitness gadgetry that promises
results but delivers frustration. Trust me, if all it
took was 5 minutes a day on one of these contraptions
to look like a fitness model, everybody would be in phenomenal

Unlike “extreme” fitness gizmos our program promises to deliver
results. May I share some feedback I received from one of
our students?

“Dear Master & Mrs. B.,

Once again I have entrusted my physical fitness training to
the fine instructors of Martial Arts for Life After my injury-shortened
Tae Kwon Do training, I decided to embark on a new type of
training. Thai Kickboxing class is a great mix of fighting
techniques & conditioning.

Since starting Thai Kickboxing I feel better. I HAVE LOST 14
LBS. IN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS, my clothes fit better & I Have a
lot more energy and I feel stronger…

I really enjoy working with your whole staff will continue on
my journey…


Chris Keneally”

To learn more about our Thai Kickboxing program for adults please visit our homepage by clicking here.

Martial Arts for Life, New Providence NJ

Teaching Martial Arts and Lifes Skills to Families in New Providence, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Chatham, and all of Northern Union County New Jersey.

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Martial Arts & Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment