The Workout

This post originally appeared on on February 28th, 2017. I was responsible for all edits pertaining to diction, grammar, organization and structure. Maxx Holdrieth was responsible for the concept and the content. 

Greetings, Fitness Warriors,

I hope you all found last month’s newsletter, “The Warm Up” beneficial.  This week, I bring to you Part Two of my Three Part series on “Designing A Workout.”  Something tells me you’ll be more excited about this month’s topic: “The Workout.”

A quick disclaimer before we get into the good stuff: This isn’t your typical, “Back & Bicep Blaster.”

Rather, the information that follows will serve as an educational tool for you, the dedicated gym goer, to begin designing your own effective programs that, above all, create a well balanced, well moving and well functioning body.  My hope is that as a result, you will not just LOOK better; you will FEEL and MOVE better.

Now, let’s get to it.

Designing your own kickass workout should not be complicated, and in most cases (yes, even you Mr. Meathead), it does not have to be. Instead of breaking your workouts down bodybuilding style—by isolating individual body parts—consider designing them as full body routines. Personally, I hit both my upper and lower body every session, without exception (you’re welcome for that bump in testosterone). In fact, I said goodbye to chest/tricep and back/bicep days a long time ago. And so have my clients. Our workouts are always full-body/multi-joint movement days.

“Wait, Maxx, you just said designing my own workout should not be complicated, but that last sentence was pretty damn confusing!”


Trust me, things are about to get very simple. Generally speaking, there are just 7 basic human movements that need to be addressed on a weekly basis:

  1. Squat

  2. Lunge

  3. Hinge (think bending)

  4. Push

  5. Pull

  6. Rotate (think twist)

  7. Locomote (think moving forward; walking/jogging)

By incorporating these 7 human movements into your weekly routines you inevitably hit all major muscle groups and teach your body to move better.  Throughout a day, our bodies rarely move in isolation (think biceps curl).  Rather, our movements often depend on full body, multi-joint movements (think deadlift). Thus, when your workouts are ‘full-body/multi-joint movement days’, as opposed to ‘individual muscle group days’, you teach your body to move how it is intended to move.

I like to break my workouts down into circuits. When creating a circuit, I usually group 2-3 exercises together, depending on my goals. When grouping these exercises together, think of your body as an X.  You have two arms, two legs, and a core (hopefully I haven’t lost you yet).  Within each circuit, aim to pair an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise, supplemented by a core exercise.  A sample circuit may look like this:

  1. Goblet Squat (Squat- lower body push)

  2. TRX Row (Upper body pull)

  3. Ab-Wheel (locomotion- core):

Once you have constructed the first circuit, ask yourself: “What movements have I yet to cover?” Reverting back to our sample circuit, we have already covered lower body push (squat), upper body pull and a core movement (locomotion).  Working backwards, this now leaves us needing lower body pull (usually a hinge), upper body push and another core movement.  It may look something like this:

  1. Kettlebell Deadlift (Hinge- lower body pull)

  2. Push Ups (Upper body push)

  3. Med ball Low-High Chops (rotation – core)

These 6 exercises cover 6 of the 7 fundamental movement patterns of humans (lunges being the only movement not hit).  The selection of exercises used to address these movements can be adjusted to any fitness level from first time gym goer to the seasoned fitness vet. For example, your upper body push could be made more challenging by doing bench press instead of push ups, while your lower body pull could be made easier by doing hamstring curls instead of kettlebell deadlifts.

The point I am trying to make is this: pick which exercises best suit you.  Once your exercises are selected, the only things left to fill in are the sets, reps & rest.  These factors, including your exercise selection, will all be predicated on individual needs, wants, and personalized goals.  Generally speaking, however, you can’t go wrong with 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for a sip of water in between sets and get back after it. Depending upon pace, aim to complete 2-3 circuits composed of 3 exercises, per workout session.  Once completed, be sure to save a few minutes for what I like to call “The Finisher,” which I will cover in next week’s newsletter: “Part Three Of Designing A Workout: The Finisher.”

Thank you so much for reading. If you have any feedback, questions, or topics you would like me to cover in future newsletters, please email me at

I leave you with this quote to ponder regarding your exercise programing:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex…it takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

In Health and Happiness,

Maxximus Fitness

10 Habits of a Successful Student

A good friend, who at the time was getting ready to start his second semester of college, asked me for some tips on how to be a better student. So I came up with this list of ten “habits” that I think a successful student might embody. My creating this list by no means warrants me a “successful” student, nor is this list intended to be exhaustive. I can only aspire to one day actualize many of these habits, but its nice to have this list as a reminder.

  1. THINK OF LEARNING LIKE INVESTING MONEY. Lets say you put $10,000 into a mutual fund on Jan. 1 of this year, and I put in only $1,000. Each month after that we both put in $1,000. By the time the year ends, you are not just going to have $9,000 more dollars than me. You are going to have exponentially more money than me because of compounding interest. Think of learning in a similar fashion. The more time you put in up front when it comes to learning a subject, the more knowledge that you will accumulate over time. OR, think of learning as a snowball effect. We are both on the top of a mountain. You have a snowball a foot-wide, I have one 3 inches-wide. We both push them down the snow-covered mountain. By the time they reach the bottom, yours wont just be 9 inches bigger; it will be massive in comparison to mine.
  2. SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH THE CONTENT UP FRONT AS POSSIBLE. Meticulously read the table of contents of all assigned readings, and the first page of every single chapter before reading any specifics. Think about meta-concepts, such as how the book is organized, why its organized that way, and what the purpose of each chapter is. ALSO, spend a significant amount of time with the syllabus (assuming your teachers use a syllabus). Get in the teacher’s head, think about why he or she structures the class the way they do and what the main take-aways of the course are.
  3. SIT IN THE FRONT ROW OF EVERY CLASS. This will force you to pay more attention than if you were to sit in the back of the class.
  4. ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TEACHER; VISIT THEM AFTER CLASS. The teacher is the teacher for a reason: she/he knows more than you. The more time you spend in their presence, asking questions, the more you will learn.
  5. TAKE NOTES. This sounds obvious, but let’s be real, humans are fallible creatures. We think our memory is precise, and always accurate. It’s not. We forget. A lot. Taking notes acts as the best counter I know to our forgetful tendencies.
  6. KNOWLEDGE IS WEIGHTLESS. There is no limit to how much you can carry. Don’t be afraid to feel hungry when it comes to learning.
  7. When you are assigned written assignments, DON’T BE AFRAID TO KILL YOUR BABIES. This is just a metaphorical way to say, edit, edit, edit. Your first draft of anything will never be your best. Send your writing to trusted friends, peers or the professor herself to revise, critique, and cut what is unnecessary.
  8. FIND A STUDY BUDDY OR STUDY GROUP. The writings of Epictetus, the father of Stoicism, are incredibly repetitive. Why? Because he believed repetition is essential to learning anything. Having a peer with whom you can discuss what you are studying in the classroom acts as positive reinforcement for your learning.
  9. ACTUALLY READ ALL ASSIGNED READINGS. This is just reinforcement for what you already know to be true. Do not assume that you can skate by without reading what your teacher assigns. Assume that there is a method to his/her madness (because if they are a good teacher, then there probably is a method!)
  10. HUMBLE YOURSELF. Anytime you start a new class, or a new concept, condition your mind to believe that you know absolutely nothing at all in regards to the subject at hand. Think: “I am a novice. I am an infant. All that I know is that I have a burning curiosity to know more.” This might be the most important of all habits.

Stream of Consciousness

This is a poem I wrote on April 4, 2017. I wrote it in pen, in my journal, and then translated it to this page. I did not make any edits to the original copy; its my version of “free-styling.”

Let me write this in pen
So it cant be erased.

You should read what is about to follow
Every. Single. Day.

You are not important.
You are not special.
And your thoughts and feelings contrary to these two points
Is what leads to delusional living.

You are one in seven billion
In counting.

And you can count on that.
Always, cause' its not changing.

In fact, you are becoming less important
and less special
every single moment.
If there is even any special 
or important left to reduce.

[There has to be a but.]

You are one in seven billion,
The only one in seven billion.

Find what makes you the only one
And savor it
Rest in it,
Be IT.

You can either feel bad
about your lack of importance

What an amazing sensation it is to feel insignificant.
Its not painful, nor pleasurable.
It does not make me joyful, nor sad.
It simply is. Its what is. Its the Truth.

Its not afraid of success
because its not afraid of failure.

How can you not be afraid of success
if you are afraid to fail?

But that feeling of insignificance
That is the remedy to fear.

The rivers of the world have been flowing 
long before you were here.
And they will continue flowing
long after you are gone.

Remember that, and don't forget. 

The distractions will make it easy to forget.

The social media. 
The facebook, the twitter
the instagram, the snapchat.

Your "profile"
Your "followers"

Nobody is following you.
To follow implies to lead.
But who is leading?

Hard to say—
No, its hard to see.

Hard to find a single leader
I'd call mine, 
I'd call my own.

When I get like this,
incisive of our society
I'm in my zone.

The only problem is,
that when I'm in my zone
I feel alone.

I guess that's why they call it my zone.
Cause' if its mine it cant be yours.

My zone.
Find your own.