What’s Important About the Number “2” and Why Doesn’t Failure Exist Anymore?

As you can tell from the title of this post, the number “2” is of utmost importance.  It not only symbolizes the topic of this post and the mindset of a person, but also the reps missed for the DVRT Fit Test as part of the DVRT Level 1 Certification course I attended this past weekend in Green Bay.  It was a full Sunday as I got up at 4 am and arrived back home just after 10 pm and full of new knowledge to help fulfill my mission to inspire and educate others on how to better their lives by helping them move better, feel better, and look better.

Before I talk about how the number 2 can change the way you think, I have to give a quick shout-out to the DVRT Family which includes the other members of the course and the DVRT Master trainers that helped instruct the course, which included DVRT creator, Josh Henkin.  By the way, DVRT stands for Dynamic Variable Resistance Training and it’s changing the way we do fitness and get results because it’s a system that helps the body move better in life and sport rather than another program that makes you better only in the gym.  It was the best certification/workshop I’ve ever attended.

Now back to the number 2 and why number 2 is so important to this post.  I touched on it earlier, but part of the DVRT Level 1 Certification is a DVRT Fit Challenge which includes 5 minutes of a USB Clean and Press at a certain weight and reps all based on your body weight.

Per my body weight, I had to perform 50 reps of the Ultimate Sandbag (USB) Clean and Press in 5 minutes with a 60 lb USB.  I had 48 reps with 50 in sight as time hit 4:54, but I had no gas left in the tank and I missed the clean to the rack position on the last 2 reps.  I was toast.

Burnt toast, actually.

To see what this phenomenal exercise is all about, just check out this video:

But I was happy for 2 reasons (see, there’s that number 2 again).  I was happy because I was unable to train for the Clean and Press Challenge the previous 4 weeks due to some significant imbalances in my right shoulder/shoulder blade area (thoracic spine) as well as some gnarly ulnar nerve irritation due to my movement imbalance, but I still performed at an admirable level.  Secondly, it made me appreciate where I am at a fitness level as I haven’t competed for any type of test/challenge/assessment in quite some time.

But here’s the real kicker: I don’t consider my not passing the Challenge a failure.

This is where the bulk of my thought process for this post was created because a lot of people would look at that as a failure.  Sure, I’m upset- I missed the Challenge by 2 reps!!  However, rather than looking at it as a failure, I am looking at it as a learning opportunity (as ALL “failures” should be considered, by the way).

I learned that I need to get stronger.  I learned that I need to get better technique (I nicked up my shins and knuckles quite a bit).  I learned that I am in good enough shape to step into a prestigious Challenge such as the DVRT Clean and Press Challenge and still come out smiling (and nearly passing).  I am humbled with my overall fitness level, yet I know there’s still work to be done!

My goal is to re-test within the next week and get 50 in 5 minutes.  Another goal is to hit 65 in a 5 minute span over the next 6 weeks of training through the DVRT system.  Then I plan on doing the 80 lbs bag for 40 reps in 5 minutes.

In fact, I am so determined on accomplishing the first of these 3 goals that as soon as I was done with my Challenge I grabbed the very same USB I had used and brought it over to my station and trained with that USB the rest of the afternoon…I then purchased that same USB and brought that sucker back to Unity Fitness so I can re-test with it as well!

See! ————————————->

There’s moments in our lives where we feel deflated, even defeated.  A lot of times it’s when we feel like we’ve “failed.”  I put failed in quotation marks because I don’t look at anything as a failure anymore.  And when I say “anything” I honestly mean ANY-THING!

I had this mindset shift a couple years ago when I was investing my time into a bunch of professional development books, seminars, and podcasts as I was developing Unity Fitness.  Failure is nothing more than a learning opportunity for me now.  Life has been much, much better this way and I have become much more successful as a person and business owner.  Not only am I accomplishing more, I’m also experimenting more and learning more (if you’re paying attention, this means I’m “failing” more).

I fail every day and I’m proud of it!

Most people don’t take the next step because they’re afraid of failure, so they’d rather not do anything at all, which happens to leave them in the exact same position they are in in the first place.  You can see how you can get nowhere really fast.  The feeling of fear is internally created, of course, as it is fueled off of possible humiliation, embarrassment, and shame.  Essentially this makes you your own worst enemy.

I didn’t always used to think like this.  I used to be afraid of trying anything new or doing too much of something due to being afraid of failure.  It wasn’t until I started learning about how regular of an occurrence failure is in everyday life that I started to accepted failure as a normal outcome.  I had to learn something from my journey though, that was absolutely certain.

So here’s how I want to help:

I ask you to take these two actions the next time you don’t do something because you’re afraid to fail: 1) Challenge yourself to do it anyway.  By not doing it you are simply accepting complacency upon yourself.  You are settling.  In order to change whatever it is that you want changed you’ll need to take that scary step forward.  You’ll figure it out as you go.  You always do!

Let’s say you do this and you end up “failing.”  I then challenge you to 2) Learn from the process aka your journey.  What can you learn from the moment in time to help make you better?  There’s always something!

Use this challenge to help you start learning more and doing more.  You can apply this challenge to anything you want; it doesn’t have to be involved with your health and fitness.  The best part is that you can take action on this almost immediately, so application is seamless.  Let me know how it goes!

Yours in health and fitness,


Recipe of the Week: Honey Grilled Chicken

We’ve all heard that abs are strengthened in the gym, but made in the kitchen.  Our recipe of the week this week tackles both sides of that coin head on.  It gives you plenty of protein to build lean muscle plus keep you full to help burn off some fat.  Pair it with some veggies and add in some brown rice or quinoa if it’s after a workout and you’ve got yourself a phenomenal meal!

Servings: 6

Here’s what you need…

  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  1. Pre-heat your grill. If using coals, heat until the coals turn gray and there are no longer strong flames, 35-45 minutes.
  2. Combine honey, mustard, lemon peel, soy sauce and garlic. Mix well. Reserve a few tablespoons of the sauce. Add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 40 minutes.
  3. Cook the chicken 5 to 6 minutes per side. Brush with the reserved sauce, and continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes per side, until chicken registers 170 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 183 calories, 2g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, and 28g protein.  **Add veggies for fiber and nutrients**

Assess Your Movement for Exercise & Preventing Injury

There are far too many people in the fitness industry focused on performance through numerical data rather than focusing on quality of life, injury prevention, feeling great, and getting results.  To ensure a better quality of life, prevent injury, feel better, and get great results, a movement assessment should be administered before you start any kind of exercise program.  I’m a big fan of “starting with why” as I introduce topics/ideas, so I’ll explain why a movement assessment is so valuable and absolutely necessary in your fitness journey, especially when just starting out.

When I first joined the fitness industry, the industry seemed to be all about fitness assessments such as how many sit-ups can you do in a minute’s time, a max press on a stationary chest press machine, a sit-and-reach test, body fat %, and a step test or treadmill.  Those assessments served a purpose, there’s no doubt about that, and they provided a majority of people with data for tracking results.  In fact, I’ll still use some of these assessments (tests) from time to time with some members or challenges.

The tests were taken from the American Council of Sports Medicine handbook and each test measures a specific component of fitness:

Sit-ups = Muscular Endurance

Max Press = Muscular Strength

Sit-and-Reach = Flexibility

Body Fat % = Body Composition

Step Test/Treadmill Test = Cardiovascular Health (Heart Health)

These tests/assessments surely measure fitness, but what they don’t measure is mobility (particularly in joints like our ankles, hips, and shoulders), balance, stability and core stability (which is much different than muscular endurance), and functional strength (squat, lunge, push-up, etc.).  They also don’t measure any underlying issues such as imbalance or dysfunction or even pain in certain movements.

This was one of my first true “ah-ha” moments (trust me, there were many, many more) during the development of my personal training career.  I used to be all hyped about the ACSM tests to see where a person’s fitness level was assessed.  That way I knew how to create the most bad-ass workout routine around.  It was a program full of bells and whistles so when we re-tested these assessments we saw only increase in the scores.

But what about that back pain they talk about from time to time?  What about that nagging ankle they get when the run?  Or the sore knee after a day of walking?  Those aren’t assessed in the ACSM fitness tests and they could be missed during the medical history questionnaire (assuming the coach/trainer is even going through that with a new client/member).

Here’s where most of the growth of a trainer occurs: after 2 years in the industry.  I say that because the average personal trainer only stays in the field for 2 years (some statistics are showing 18 months).  Once you’re in the field long enough, you start to create a better appreciation for your initial consult with a client because you want to know more about them so you can make more of an impact with their program.

I soon found out about the Functional Movement Screen and the enormous value it placed in my hands as a coach.  I became certified through Level 1 FMS which meant I could now screen for mobility and stability (flexibility), core strength/stability, balance, and functional strength (squat, lunge, push-up, etc.) AND identify any potential underlying issues such as muscular imbalance, movement dysfunction, and/or (gulp) pain in less than 15 minutes.  This was a GAME-CHANGER for my personal training career.  So much so, that I believe the FMS should be administered to each and every  individual, active or inactive, to make sure we can be proactive in the development of their health and fitness while simultaneously preventing injury.  The best part is that the FMS works for ANYONE and EVERYONE.  No matter what age, what sport, background, job, etc!

(Note: if you’re curious or interested in completing a Functional Movement Screen, I would like to offer a free consultation that includes a free Functional Movement Screen, just click on this link and fill out the form.)

The Functional Movement Screen made program design even more personal than ever before and it gave us an indicator of something other than fitness assessments to look at.  The FMS created a functional assessment to help people move better and feel better.  The FMS also provides a feedback to the client as he/she can feel the results of moving better and feeling better.

For example, if we were to test muscular endurance and you score 40 sit-ups in a minute on your first test and then 46 on your second test, there’s no doubt that you improved your muscular endurance.  But what if your back was sore each time you finished the test?  What if you couldn’t hold a plank for longer than 30 seconds?  Is that really a sign of muscular endurance?

Another example: what if you sat down on the chest press machine and pressed 1.5x your body weight 6x and then you did the same weight 10x the next time you tested your muscular strength.  Again, there’s no doubting you gained strength, but does that really matter when you can’t do a full push-up?  That fitness test doesn’t seem so cool when you are asked to throw out some push-ups and you can only do a couple before you have to switch things up.

The value of the FMS has taught me a lot on how to assess movement quality and to make personal training programs even more specific, especially when compared to how I used to assess new clients/members.   Ironically enough, I’ve seen worse FMS scores come from people who came from training at other gyms who do NOT assess movement quality in their clients.  It’s ridiculous!  Furthermore, I am not the only coach who has come across this issue as I have several peers in the industry who have noted similar findings.

If a coach truly wants to help better a person’s health and fitness, an assessment beyond a fitness assessment is needed.  You are getting a disservice without one. (A reminder: click here for your FREE Functional Movement Screen so you can get assessed.)

I still use a couple of the ACSM fitness assessments from time to time, like for challenges or for additional fitness assessments.  I get the most feedback out of a member’s program than I do anything else.  I can see all I need to see in the progressions of their workouts and their performance in and out of the gym.

So let’s say you don’t have access to a coach that provides a FMS.  That’s OK.  I wanted to make sure you at least could do a self-assessment of sorts to make sure you’re not going to do your body more harm than good in the long run.

Below are four key assessments you should do ASAP to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.  For your benefit, the videos also provide feedback responses like what you should be feeling (or not feeling) as well as how to assess and conduct each movement.

Assessment 1: Toe Touch (multi-segmental flexion/lumbar flexion) – Assessing the ability to posteriorly weight-shift as well as flexibility of hamstrings and other muscles.


Technically, this is episode 1 of our project Dynamic Udity Fit.

The ability to touch your toes is far more important than you think. The inability to do so can lead you down a road of pain and limited ability.

Find out more by checking out our first episode on multi-segmental flexion (hip flexion) and why it matters to everyday life and your exercise performance aka results.

Matt Haberl of Dynamic Physiotherapy
Jacob Dorshorst of CrossFit UDX
Unity Fitness La Crosse

Posted by Jordan Rudolph on Thursday, January 26, 2017

Assessment 2: Shoulder Flexion (overhead mobility) – Assessing the ability to press/pull or reach overhead safely and efficiently as well as the flexibility of the lats, triceps, and other muscles.


Episode 4- Stop fighting yourself with overhead lifts!
This week we take a look at shoulder mobility and how this can affect your ability to push more weight or set you up for further shoulder or back injury. Assess your shoulders Now!

Posted by Dynamic Physiotherapy on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Assessment 3: Prone Press-Up (multi-segmental extension/lumbar extension) – Assessing the ability to extend the torso and upper body without impinging the back (lumbar spine) and as well as the flexibility of the hip flexors and quadriceps.

Here's another episode in our project Dynamic Udity Fit, this time covering the assessment of multi-segmental extension (a prone press up) to look at hip extension.

If you recall, we covered multi-segmental flexion in one of our first episodes so now we're going through the other primary hip movement.

Perform this assessment to check for restrictions in low back, mid back, hip flexors, and more.

Finding restrictions in these areas could lead to future injury and decreased performance. If there's any pain noted, seek a medical professional (like Matt Haberl of Dynamic Physiotheraoy) for assistance!

Next week Matt, Jake of CrossFit UDX, and Jordan are going to start diving into more movement-based and performance-based exercises! Stay tuned!

Posted by Unity Fitness La Crosse on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Assessment 4: Single Leg Balance –Assessing the ability to balance on one leg with motor control and other key elements of movement.  This exercise is particularly important for any single leg exercise you may do, which includes step ups and any kind of lunge.


Struggling with progressing your lunges, step ups or single leg squat exercises?

A key element to these single leg exercises is your balance. If your body is struggling just to keep it from falling over your ability to build strength here is nearly impossible. Additionally this often leads to knee pain which further prevents progression.

Take a look at this short video from @unityfitness @udxcrossfit

Posted by Dynamic Physiotherapy on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

As I previously noted, these assessment are more or less tutorials with a step-by-step approach on what to feel for and how to assess yourself and your movement.  If pain is noted in any of these, it is in your best interest (and highly recommended) that you seek a health professional to seek future treatment to rid yourself of pain.  Pain can lead to further injury and compromised movement patterns through compensation.

These self-assessments are crucial to your long-term success and injury prevention.  I recommend you do them as soon as possible to help find areas that you should be focusing on as well as maybe some other areas to find modifications until a correction is implemented.  If you have any questions AT ALL please feel free to contact me at jordan@unityfitnesspro.com or just simply follow this link for a free consultation and movement screen.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, with better information comes a more educated product.  Now that you’ve been educated, it’s time to implement and take action on your movement and results!

Recipe of the Week: Santa Fe Salmon Salad

Eating healthy does not need to be boring. Grilled salmon, crispy greens, tender corn, crunchy peppers, a sprinkle of cheese and a few slices of avocado make this healthy salad something worth repeating. In fact, the flavors in this dish are so delicious there is no need for dressing!  This recipe will be a hit at home AND make all of your co-workers jealous!

Servings: 2

Here’s what you need…

  • 2 (3.5 oz) salmon fillets
  • Santa Fe seasoning blend (2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/8 teaspoon clove, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/8 cup low fat cheese, grated
  • 1/8 cup canned red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Here’s how to make it…

  1. Coat the salmon fillets with Santa Fe seasoning. On a pre-heated grill, cook for 8-10 minutes on each side, until flaky and cook all the way through. Remove from heat.
  2. On 2 plates arrange a bed of lettuce, topped with half of the tomato, corn, cheese, peppers and avocado. Place the fillet on top.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 252 calories, 12 fat, 225mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, and 24g protein.


(Recipe courtesy of Fit Pro Connect)

6 Insider Tips on How to Start Working Out

We’re in the first part of January.  Most New Year Resolutions are in full swing, yet it’s also at that time when those Resolutions start to take a backseat leading to the eventual disappearance all together.  For those that are still going strong and looking to get their Resolution going, particularly in the category of health and fitness, I wanted to share some tips with you to help get you started (or to help keep you going)!  If you have goals like:

  • Lose Weight
  • Get Healthy
  • Start an Exercise Routine
  • Get Toned Up

Then you are most definitely in the right place!

First, who am I?   I am the owner of a private personal training facility in La Crosse, WI with a mission to help inspire and educate people through health and fitness journey by helping them move better, feel better, and look better.  Unity Fitness is incredibly different than any other fitness center/gym in La Crosse because we build your personal program for you that individualizes everything from your workout routine with personal training and classes, personal nutrition, personal support, and accountability.

My personal belief is that you deserve what works for you because it’s designed for you, your goals, lifestyle, and experience and that everyone should have a coach (fitness expert) to help guide them along they health and fitness journey.

After working with hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 5 years, I’ve worked with those that have never stepped foot in the gym to those that live in the gym.  Most of my experience lies with those that have never stepped foot in a gym though – so I have a lot of offer on how to avoid certain traps and keep the results going for you as you get started!

Tip 1: Get Specific and Emotional About Your Goal

I recently had a talk about this at a seminar we hosted at Unity Fitness.  To sum it up, choose your goal and then ask yourself “Why is that important to you?”  If your answer doesn’t create an emotional stir, a pit in the stomach, and/or build your motivation, then your goal needs to be stronger!  Once you find the appropriate goal – WRITE IT DOWN!!  Write it down and keep it somewhere you can see it every single day, multiple times a day.

Final Thought: Get S.M.A.R.T. about your goal by getting Specific, find a way to Measure progress (track, monitor, and accountability), create short-term goals on how to Attain/Achieve the goal, set Realistic standards for yourself on how you’re going to make this goal happen and if it’s right for you, and finally: set a Time-Table/Deadline.

“A goal without a deadline is just a dream” – Napolean Hill.  Let’s make this a reality!

Tip 2: Focus on One Thing at a Time

This is a tricky one because you’re going to want to make so many changes so quickly that you may get a bit overwhelmed, which is a surefire way to fall off the wagon after a few short weeks.  Focus on one thing at a time, like making it to the gym 4x/week.  Don’t worry about what you should or shouldn’t be doing just yet, as just getting to the gym is the WIN here!  If you have access to classes, try different ones.  If you have access to cardio equipment, go test them out and see which one you like best.  If you invest in a trainer/coach, show up to meet them as often as you can and follow their guidance.  After you do this successfully for a couple weeks, then you can start looking into more specifics (if you have a trainer, he/she will help build this program for you).

Final Thought: You focusing on ONE THING and one thing only will most likely lead to you making positive choices in other areas (like nutrition).  Once you get your one big goal down, then you can start giving attention to the next big goal.  An example, once you find yourself heading to the gym 4x/week, maybe your next goal is for your nutrition and you choose to eat a vegetable in every meal.

Photo Cred; Ashley Goodwin Photography
Tip 3: Drink More Water

I know you’ve heard you should be drinking more water.  When you start to exercise more frequently, your body starts using water in your body differently (i.e. sweating, muscle use and function, recovery, etc.) so you cause a bit of an imbalance with the water in the body.  You never want to be at a point where you’re thirsty.  That means you want to be drinking water consistently throughout the day and in every meal.  The absolute minimal amount of water you should be consuming is half of your body weight (your body weight in lbs divided by 2).  I usually coach our members at Unity to get a gallon in per day.

Final Thought: Certain foods and ingredients can cause you to lose water inside the body.  Alcohol, caffeine, and other substances can decrease water inside the body, which means you need to hydrate even more to stay balanced.  Set an alarm in your phone every hour for every day as a quick reminder to drink more water.

Tip 4: Find a Friend

You can either snag a friend you already have or meet someone at the gym.  Either way, the friend will help hold you accountable and give you some more ambition while you’re at the gym.  Be careful though, you’re going to want to find a friend that is as motivated as you are.  Chances are, if you meet your friend at the gym, he/she is most likely motivated.

Final Thought: The key to a good workout partner is accountability.  You can set up a similar schedule, try new classes, equipment, or trainers together, and you can go grocery shopping together to help each other on the outside of the gym.

Tip 5: Don’t Start Out Too Fast

One of the biggest motivators about exercise is the feeling you get after you’re done (to an extent) and the power you feel at having the control and the ability to do something that can change your life.  That feeling is going to drive you back to the gym, but if you go 110% intensity day in and day out, it will eventually lead to a burn-out because your body isn’t use to the external forces of exercise (just yet).

You can to develop and grow into a routine over time, but trying to change your last X amount of years of inactivity in a workout isn’t the way to go about.  This lifestyle you are getting into is a journey – appreciate it!  Remember, just getting to the gym right now is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT!

Final Thought: Going at 110% intensity is different than going at 110% effort.  You can perform well through all your fitness realms, however, that doesn’t mean you should always try to perform maximally.  Rather, you should strive for performing optimally every day.  If you work yourself so hard that you can barely rinse your hair in the shower or struggle to sit halfway down on a toilet, you’re not doing yourself any favors because now you’re missing days at the gym.  Not to mention you’re not going to want to feel like that every time you go in for a workout, which will prevent you from wanting to go to the gym!  3 days of soreness isn’t a sign of a great workout.  I’d argue that it’s a sign of poor programming and poor recovery more than it is your intensity.  I want you to be able to function at an optimal level each day and if that means having you able to workout 4x/week to get you started I am considering that a win!

Tip 6: Warm-Up!  Please, Warm-Up!

There’s plenty of mixed reviews over the last 10-15 years on what a warm-up does or doesn’t do and if it prevents injury or not.  One thing is for sure, you can gear up your body AND your mind with a warm-up.  Research shows that an increased heart rate, which leads to elevated blood flow, higher brain function, and primed muscles will lead to higher performance.  Better performance means more results.  Better performance also means less likely to have an injury.

Warm-up should consist of anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.  You should have a good sweat by the time you’re done and your heart rate should have been elevated.  The least you can do is walk or bike at a fast pace for 5 minutes.  The more specific you get, like mobilizes, stabilizing, and activating your body, the better!

Final Thought: Too many people skip the warm-up.  That means too many people leave easy results on the table.  Always, always, ALWAYS warm-up.  If you’re going to a class or have a personal trainer, the coach should be able to help you warm-up and sometimes you can get really specific with warm-ups as they can be dependent on what type of exercising you’re doing that day.  Take the warm-ups as serious as your results.  We know the warm-up helps you with performance, but the least it could do is get you mentally dialed in for the workout you’re about to do.

After working with hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 5 years, those are the 6 insider tips I wanted to share with you to help you along your fitness journey.  These tips are often overlooked either because of excitement through changing your life or not knowing these tips (but now you do!).

On that note, remember not to try to change your entire life over one workout.  Remember why you committed to joining a gym in the first place and use that as motivation.  Fitness isn’t a world where you can make up for lack of exercise or a bad weekend in a single workout.  It’s a journey.  A lifestyle.  It’s incredible.  Appreciate the journey and you’ll be far happier while seeing more results as you continue to better yourself every day.

Bonus Tip: Tip 7: Hire a coach or trainer, at least to help get you started.  Far too many people feel they can do tasks on their own, but you will achieve so much more if you have guidance and expert help along the way.  If there’s a leak in our sink, sure we can fix it, but we could also call a plumber to have it down in a quarter of the time and effort we could.  Fitness is the same way!  If you’d like a better idea on how to start working out, we’ve got just the program for you.  It’s called the 21 Day Jumpstart program and you can start at any time.  If you’re looking for how to properly warm-up, taught how to do exercises by a fitness expert, get personal nutrition coaching, and results-based programming, our 21 Day Jumpstart program is what you’re looking for.  Just fill out the form below and I’ll be sure to reach out to you soon after!

[contact-form-7 id=”682″ title=”21 Day Jumpstart”]