Do you want to simultaneously develop strength, hypertrophy, power, endurance, and movement in your training? Joining me on the show today is Chris Eldridge, a high-performance firefighter and client of Rebel Performance. Chris has competed in powerlifting, strongman, boxing, and rugby, and now finds himself in a career that requires all forms of fitness, firefighting. Chris joined the Rebel Performance Training Team back in January, and his training success has skyrocketed since. He’s now hitting PR numbers across the board in all aspects of strength, power, and endurance.
He and I dive into what it means to be the total package and why it’s common to see athletes struggling to bring strength, endurance, power, and speed to the table at the same time. Chris shares a glimpse into his training background and the many wins since joining the team. We discuss single leg/arm work and its positive effect on performance and why it’s so important to have somebody else program for you, that way you aren’t overthinking and overlooking your least favorite exercises. Be sure to listen in to hear how we helped Chris unlock the true total package performance.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- [12:18] How Chris was introduced to Rebel Performance
- [15:00] Bringing the total package to the training table
- [18:27] Importance of creating attribute bars
- [19:06] Big takeaways that have contributed to Chris’s training success
- [23:10] A glimpse of what a firefighter’s uniform weight is
- [24:15] The use of single leg/arm work and its positive effect on performance
- [27:23] The benefits of having somebody else program for you
- [33:27] Bringing the conditioning variable to the table while also getting the hypertrophy and strength outcomes
- [41:57] Why you should join the Training Team
James Cerbie: Let’s jump into the episode today with Chris Eldridge. I do it just to throw you off. Like, I wish that at the Olympics they would start a countdown for people and it would be awesome.
That’s super fun to watch, by the way. It’s killing my bedtime routine because I’m usually in bed by about eight thirty. Fortunately, Mountain Time is, I think, the best time for any sporting event.
Chris Eldridge: And it’s been miserable for me trying to watch when rugby was still going on because they were playing at 3:00 in the morning. And I’m like, I can’t watch it. Could you go through? The matches are only 14 minutes long. So it’s like.
James Cerbie: Is that right? There are only 14 minutes?
Chris Eldridge: For sevens rugby sevens asleep, setting aside to seven minute halves and 15s, which everyone considers real. Rugby is 15 inside and 40 minute hands.
James Cerbie: So that’s a fast game, I didn’t realize that. Yeah, but you got to look at the same exact field size, one set of 15 players at seven players. So it’s a lot of running.
Chris Eldridge: I think that you’re running the entire.
James Cerbie: Sprinting the whole time.
Chris Eldridge: Yeah. The first time I played rugby was the Sevens tournament in Asheville, actually in the summer. And it was awful. And like I said, a transition from heavy lifting to rugby within the span of a month and then was out there in 90 degree weather.
James Cerbie: Thrown into the fire.
Chris Eldridge: It was disgusting. I thought I pulled pretty much everything.
James Cerbie: That’s true. Like the first time you really go back to sprinting, running, cutting from having not done it in a while. You wake up the next day and you’re like, who in the world hurt me with a bat last night?
Chris Eldridge: Well, like, I could squat all day and feel fine, but then I go running and stuff. So like every conditioning day that I did a couple of days ago, running the floor hundreds like yesterday I had doctors and stuff were just like, what did you do? Why did you do that? That was me. Stop doing that. They are throwing cleats on and stuff to my feet, hurting everything. Awful.
James Cerbie: Actually. I need to buy some cleats. I haven’t had a good pair of cleats since college and I have like an old pair of cleats that someone had given me. And when I first moved to Salt Lake, I found these guys are just playing pick-up flag football on a Saturday. And I was like, I mean, it’s like I’ll come play with you guys. Yeah. So I break out the old cleats, first cut like I plant on my left foot to go back to my right and like the whole bottom of the cleat just comes off entirely.
Chris Eldridge: I can see the whole yeah. I played my whole rugby career on some really cheap Adidas soccer cleats as well. I played my two years of rugby with and I actually still have them. I actually must be going out to practice tomorrow night, maybe going out and seeing if my thirty five year old body can still play a little bit more rugby without.
James Cerbie: I have no doubt you’ll get it. We’ll see. Well, let’s do this. Let’s give everybody a quick intro, who you are, what you do. Your background is so we can bring them up to speed and then obviously to sit here and just talk like rugby sports stuff all day long. Well, let’s give them a quick background on who Chris is. Give us the elevator pitch.
Chris Eldridge’s Training Background
Chris Eldridge: Well, sure. Yeah. I’m Chris Eldridge. I am thirty five. I grew up in Georgia, moved around quite a bit when I was in the Navy, lived on the West Coast, live Northwest, went to the east coast, lived in guitar for a couple of months, found Strong Man, when I was living up in Washington State, actually threw myself into that because I was like I power lived anymore. I want to be athletic and strong and computer and strong.
Man for a while moved to Texas on a whim, kept competing, went to nationals, did awful, did absolutely terrible at Nationals. But I still love the sport. And then I moved back to Georgia. Getting my degree and or trying to get my degree in exercise science started interning with the Kansas State football team as a strength coach, probably my favourite job I’ve ever had that I didn’t get paid to do. Absolutely loved it. The energy in a collegiate football weight room is the best untouchable, in my opinion.
It’s a completely different level. And watching had a kid who is 18 years old who is probably three, 15 and can do a standing backflip and squat. Six fifty in tennis shoes. It was just like, oh, this is what a real athlete looks like, and this is just natural born, ridiculous talent. So I ended up transitioning to psychology, actually, because I liked that aspect more. For me, I enjoyed the mind-set of athletes and helping kids.
Kind of learning and growing in the realm of sports. But realize there’s not a lot of money in technology if you don’t have a bachelors, so joined the fire department four years ago and finally got to a place in my career a year ago where I can finally finish my degree. So I actually just graduated like 3 days ago with my bachelor’s. So my bachelor’s in psychology will probably end up getting my master’s some point down the road. But yeah, I’ve competed in Strong Man, rugby, boxing, powerlifting.
When I joined the Navy, I originally went on a Navy SEAL contract, so I was in that pipeline for a year. So if you can consider getting beat up by a bunch of trained killers of a sport, I did that as well for a year. And I worked in the fire department and trying to just be a healthy all-around athlete and not just strong or not just fast. So the job kind of requires a little bit of everything, so it’s kind of kind of how I stumbled onto Rebel is I got.
A little tired of just being strong, and then I’ve spent a lot of time just working on cardio, I don’t have any strength. So I was like, now it’s time to trust my programming to someone else and actually be a little bit more well-rounded.
James Cerbie: Yeah, was that the big inflection point for you, because your background, you’re like the most interesting man and it’s the commercial, it’s like the most interesting man I’ve seen.
Chris Eldridge: I’ve done everything and different things. A lot of it is because I grew up with ADHD, so I got really bored really quick. And I always want to be competing or doing something because, little backstory, little sad story about me is I grew up, very, very, very unathletic and kind of a weak kid.
And I was on Ritalin as a kid, so I was like 50 pounds and no athletic ability and got picked on the whole nine yards. And then I found the gym. My senior year of high school, like a lot of people’s story, they kind of fell into reading muscle and fitness. And now I’m going to be a bodybuilder one day.
James Cerbie: Yeah. And everybody got a book for sure. Yeah. A fan favorite.
Chris Eldridge: Yep. Yep. I’ve got Arnold’s bodybuilding book and still in my library and. The classic.
Yeah. And the fun fact. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it for more than five minutes and the 15 years I’ve owned it. But I have it because I know so. But yeah I’ve just always wanted to. I grew up like a really scared kid, and so as I got older, I was like, I just want to try things. So I did the Navy SEAL thing that didn’t work out. I got out, moved to Texas and co-owned a gym.
Didn’t love the gym owning aspect because you don’t get to coach as much. It’s all about revenue. And I was like, that’s not as fun either. So I like collegiate strength and conditioning. That’ll be fun. I really, really enjoyed that. I realized I got started a little late in the game because I didn’t start college until I was twenty seven. And so I did my internship at twenty nine. And was nowhere even close to graduating, so I was like, man with GA’s and everything else, I’m not going to be making money until I’m in my 40s.
Things like that’s not for me. So the fire department seemed like a really cool avenue. I don’t want to sit at a desk. I get to do something cool every day. I get to be physical and end up helping people as well. So that was fun and. I was doing Strongman while I was interning, but. My coach at the time, my boss. Kept telling me that you’re really, really good at lifting and you’re
really good at explaining lifting to these kids who don’t care about technical terms, they don’t care about thoracic spine, they don’t care about accents.
They don’t want to hear any of that whatsoever. They want you to give them about three simple cues. And why this will help them play football and that’s all they care about. And he was like, you’re really, really good at the lifting aspect, but you haven’t done a whole lot of field work. So I was like, OK, I took that kind of as a personal challenge because I thought it was a really good coach and I was like, you know what?
I always wanted to play rugby. And I found a local team at 49 years old and it was like, yeah, I’ll go play rugby. And so I played rugby for two years. And so it thankfully challenged me in that way because it taught me a lot as well. It also involved breaking my leg in three places. So that part wasn’t super fun and it was at practice, not in the game, not anything cool.
Cleat got stuck in the grass and hit me in the side of the leg and three breaks in my leg later. Yeah, yeah. That’s a settlement. But yeah.
James Cerbie: So to circle back here. So you’ve been with us at Rebel for…
Chris Eldridge: Pretty much since January.
James Cerbie: January of 20…?
How Chris Was Introduced to Rebel Performance
Chris Eldridge: Of this year, 2021. Before that I had bought one of the programs, Glycolytic Bulls. And so that’s how I first heard about Rebel. And then through the emails and stuff through Rebel, I started kind of research and more. I was like, it’s programming for me to still get to be strong, but I also get to pretend I’m an athlete again. So they kind of piqued my interest because I was competing in anything anymore.
And I was like, I need something. I need some kind of challenge because I’m that guy that I don’t want to just go to the gym, to go to the gym. Sometimes I don’t want to just go and lift and do a bodybuilding split. It’s super boring to me. A lot of people love it. I just need to feel like I’m being useful. And so far as my career being a fire-fighter. I mean, obviously, kind of the general public expects us to be in really good shape for when they need this kind of a break glass in case of emergency professional kind of a death thing for the people that felt.
Exactly. You would be surprised with how many people in the profession don’t view it that way and don’t care about their health. And I can go down a rabbit hole. They want to have really poor sleep habits. It’s really, really bad people don’t think that sleep health is real, but. They think that it’s well, I get plenty of work out by running calls on us doing this training and they don’t realize the effect it has on your heart.
Going from sitting at a resting heart rate of 50 to all of a sudden the tones drop and you’re one hundred and seventy beats a minute, which like that and the kind of effect it has on your heart over time. They don’t recognize it. They don’t think it’s a real thing. It’s that old school mentality of just tough it out. Just do it. So that’s kind of what brought me to rebel is wanting. I knew I was strong enough to do the job, but I wanted to be able to do the job for a long time and in 20 plus years when I retired to still have quality of life.
James Cerbie: So back here early, 2021 when he first came on board. And your history as well. It’s like I feel like you’ve been on this journey of wanting to be this really well rounded, total package athlete that you want to be strong, you want to be Jack, do you want to be well conditioned? You want to be powerful, like I don’t want any of these things and just isolation.
I’m greedy and I would like all of these things. One hundred percent. Yeah. So it was one of the primary problems and this is what we hear from a lot of people is like getting any one of those things in isolation they feel comfortable doing. And I have had success with where it gets more difficult is when it’s like how do I actually bring all of these things to the table at the same time and still actually feel really good while I do. So what you say, that’s a fair assessment of where you were before you came on?
Bringing the Total Package to the Table
Chris Eldridge: Yeah, absolutely. It was I would go through spurts where I would want to be the biggest, strongest guy in the room for nothing, really, but pure ego sake at this point. Yeah. And I’ve always been pretty good at doing that because, again, just in my personal opinion, getting big and strong is one of the easier aspects of fitness, if you will. You kind of have to go in there, lift the weights, eat the food.
Yeah. And a lot of people can get there. There’s a lot of really big, non-functional human beings. And then I would go through this whole thing where I did the charity boxing thing. I ended up dedicating like nine months of my life to just boxing. And I pretty much cut out all lifting and showed up to the day of the match. Feeling really weak. I just didn’t feel strong whatsoever, so one of my strengths, which was being strong, I took away from myself. I have pretty good conditioning, but now it ended up being of no use to me because I just weakened myself.
And so then it was like, I want to get stronger again. Maybe I’ll play rugby and just get really fit again. And finally, I was just like, I am just beating my head against the wall at this point. Like, I want all of these things. And I know a lot of people have constantly said you can’t serve multiple masters, but. I will say as a huge plug to you guys that in this program I have felt probably stronger than I was when I did strong man overall, functionally strong then when I did Strong Man.
And I actually have cardio and conditioning now because when I did Strong Man, it was pretty pathetic to try and watch me do anything that required cardio for more than about 10 seconds. It was pretty bad. Yeah. And I’m sure my blood pressure was ridiculous. In fact, I know it was I would go to the doctor and they would be like, oh, you know, you’re really in good shape. You work out blah, blah, blah.
But have you ever looked at your blood pressure? And I’m like white coat syndrome. I just get nervous, do my blood pressure a couple of times. It’ll be good blood pressure. We’re fine. We’re fine. And I just kind of always wrote it off because I was in my late 20s, early 30s. It was like, I don’t have bad blood pressure. I’m in great shape. And it’s funny, when I actually started doing more conditioning and stuff and focusing on what I eat more and taking care of my body and relaxing more, I don’t have high blood pressure readings anymore. I’m going crazy.
James Cerbie : Yeah, I know, because, like, you’re just watching your progress from afar, getting to chat with you in the damn thread, seeing you post heroic. It’s like you’ve been crushing it for all of twenty, twenty one.
Chris Eldridge: It feels good man.
The Importance of Creating Attribute Bars
James Cerbie: Everytime I turn around, Chris is posting a PR. It’s like oh there’s a strength PR. Oh, there’s a jumping/power PR. Oh wait there’s an endurance PR and that’s what I mean. That’s what we want to create. Right. Like when we think of these things as attribute bars as you mentioned, I think what a lot of people struggle with is like, okay, well I want to improve my endurance, but then they just ignore these other people and they disappear.
Right. And so there’s a way to go about doing this correctly, where we’re constantly moving these as far as we’re not letting any of them just fall back down to zero. Exactly. And so what I would be curious to know, if you think about what training’s been like with us versus what it was like beforehand, are there any, like, really big takeaways, nuggets that jump right off the page, you in terms of, like things that you’re doing now that are very different than how you had done them in the past?
Like, what are some of the big differences you feel that have contributed to the success you’ve had this year?
Chris Eldridge: Yeah, so there’s a couple of different answers to that is, one, it seems like a group of coaches and I mean, you’re really the only one I’ve personally worked with one on one, but a bunch of coaches that actually care. They’re not just sending you out a template. And I’ve had plenty of online programs. I’ve done different templates from juggernaut to the cube method to you, you name it. And I’ve met some of those guys.
It’s stuff like some are strong and stuff like that and all really, really nice guys, but. They’ll send out templates and that’s kind of it, you’re kind of left, fill in the blanks, do the program, figure it out yourself kind of deal. There’s not really a way to communicate. And then with you guys, it feels like coaches that actually want to see people succeed. And besides that, it’s. Kind of being given the green light and the OK that you don’t have to use a barbell for everything.
Big Takeaways That Have Contributed to Chris’s Training Success
And that was huge for me and I’ve always considered myself pretty open minded with my training. I’ll try anything if it makes any sense whatsoever. And I even own a safety bar at my home gym and would use a little bit for accessory work. But I was like, no, you want to get strong, you have to squat with a straight bar. It’s just what you do. You have to do it and you have to deadlift with a straight bar and you have to bench with a straight bar.
There’s no other way to do it. That’s the way they’ve been doing it since the olden times. Everyone does it, but kind of just be given a green light from intelligent coaches being like you don’t have a straight bar over which right now, probably for the first time in 15 years, is the first time I don’t ever touch a bar in training. It’s a safety squat bar which my back, my knees, my shoulders, everything.
Love me for far more bar for deadlift feels so, so much better. And as far as benching, using the football bar has been tremendous on my shoulders as well. Just overall, my body feels better. Still aches and pains from pushing yourself and all that stuff that’s going to come to getting outside your comfort zone. But really just being given that green light to if you don’t ever touch a straight bar, you can still get really, really strong.
And that’s then that’s what I’ve done. And it’s been tremendous because I would beat my head against the wall trying to get really good at the barbell back squat. And finally it was like this. It hurts. It doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel comfortable doing it. I never have. And I had a decent squat. It was nothing fantastic, but it never felt good. I hated it. I would be like, I don’t want to do this.
My shoulders would hurt. My wrist would hurt my knees, my back, you name it. And I really do. And hammerings Swelbar it’s like, oh, this is what a squad can feel like. Oh I can do kettlebell, Godbold squats and get the same effect. What. So that for me has been one of the biggest differences is kind of given the free rein to think outside the box a little bit and kind of catch up with the times of I mean if you look at any collegiate weight room or NFL weight room, most of them aren’t doing a lot of actual barbell backs, squats.
None of them are deadlifting. I know that from my days coaching, we wouldn’t deadlift. We would take the really tall, lanky kids, especially basketball players or tall receivers. And if they weren’t great at swotting due to their leverages, we would just have them triple our deadlift and they’re still going on the field and crushing it. And so it was finally just my brain catching up with stuff I knew and finally being given kind of permission. And then the single leg stuff and the single arm stuff has been night and day difference because I’m in that profession where we’re in weird positions all the time.
A Glimpse of What A FireFighter’s Uniform Weight Is
If no one’s ever listened to this is ever thrown on fire gear, it is miserable. So we loaded up so fully loaded up with the jacket, the pants, the boots, and the helmet is about 80 pounds. So throw in a tool in your hand, an ax or a Halligan or whatever, you’re adding another 10 to 15 pounds. So you could say on average, sixty five to 90 pounds more than what you weigh. Plus you’re fully insulated. So you are just in a Santa suit this entire time and the mobility and dexterity in it is non-existent.
Your arms aren’t moving. Much of this trying to bend over to touch your toes is hysterical to watch a lot of people. It’s a complete game changer for sure. And so you’re in weird positions trying to knock down doors, trying to crawl through floors and search for people on your hands and knees and low visibility and stuff like that, climbing ladders, doing whatever. You’re never in a normal plane of motion that most people deal with every day. So getting single leg strength and single arm strength and more stability overall has made my job easier.
James Cerbie: Yeah, I think, like, the unilateral work is so big and something that people don’t do because it’s not sexy exactly, but it’s not sexy, too. It’s like it can really crush egos on the front of it. It’s because you give them pretty much no weight. You have these big, strong guys and they pride themselves on the fact that they are big and strong and powerful. And then you put them on a unilateral movement with a low load. And then it’s like they’re just like they got the shakes, they’re all over the place. They just get crushed.
Chris Eldridge: That was me trying to get me into, like a single leg or something. I look, it’s pretty hysterical. It’s pretty funny even to this day. It’s hysterical to watch.
The Use of Single Leg/Arm Work and Its Positive Effect on Performance
James Cerbie: But you can swallow your ego and dove in and commit to doing that work. I can promise you like the benefits you’re going to get coming back out of that are going to be enormous. It’s you and I’ve talked about this before, whereas this flywheel effect. Right, like a single leg, like a one on one leg. Ardell, it’s not really strong and it’s definitely I can get you jacked. Right. But what he is doing, it’s improving that movement competency, that proprioception, that sensorimotor work.
And then what you realize is when you come back to the big shit we care about, like sprinting, jumping, trappe our deadlifting, it’s like you’re just feeding the fire with that type of stuff. Yeah. So yeah, huge recommendation. We’ve talked about it before, but like swallow your ego, get into your training and do it because it will, you will reap the promise, you’ll reap the rewards. Oh absolutely.
Chris Eldridge: I’d say that’s one of the best, one of the really funny things. And being at the gym that I met, which is very they, they’re very honest about it. They’re an old school powerlifting gym. They have a lot of record holder lifters and stuff like that. And I mean, there’s some tremendously strong guys in there who I’ve never seen do single leg work and never really seen any of them do anything besides squat, if I’m being honest with you. But really, really great atmosphere, great guys. But the looks I get when I’m in, they have like a small little back room where they shut you to the corner, right?
Yeah. So they have a group that does track runs. They do the discus, put all that stuff. And actually one of the kids went to the Olympic qualifiers actually. Oh, cool. So they’ve got this little back room and I’ll go back there and do my jumps and jumps and all that stuff and the awkward looks I get from these giant mammoth human beings of me sitting there doing single labron jumps and stuff like that. They’re like, it’s wrong with you.
Why are you doing that? And it’s fun. I’ll transition from that to go deadlift a decent amount of weight and can do it on short rest period. And then you have I respect now you’re you can still be strong and still do this stuff. So it’s pretty interesting to watch. But it was hard for me to transition into single day work. I always knew I needed it and it was just like but it doesn’t feel good. And I don’t like doing it, so I’m not going to do it.
The Benefits of Having Somebody Else Program For You
James Cerbie: Yeah. So that’s one of the biggest values of offloading programing and having a coach because all of us have those tendencies or even for myself, if I write my own programing, I’m going to avoid the things I need to be doing because it need to be doing the things that you probably don’t really like. And so you if someone else is going to write it for you and then the people in our population and our culture and our group, at least it’s like if it’s on paper and someone’s telling you to do it, like people are going to execute and do it exactly right.
Like it’s not a question of if they’re going to do it. It’s like if they’re left to their own demise, it just never gets on the sheet of paper of what am I going to do today.
Chris Eldridge: Exactly. I would either not program stuff I didn’t want to do or I would program everything that I could possibly think of. And it would be like a four hour session. And I’d be like, and by the time I got halfway through it, all the other stuff that I still need to do, I’m like, I have the energy for that. And it would end up being the stuff I don’t like doing would get cut out. And then I would just be back to square one.
James Cerbie: I was going to say the number of times. Earlier in my career, when I was in Prague between twenty two and twenty five, the number of times where I was like, I’m going to sit down, I’m going to write my own program, I’m going to write myself. That’s just awesome. Perfect program. It’s like to sit down on a Sunday morning. I finish all my client stuff. I got like a nice pot of coffee, like everything out. And I’m like, right. And then you get a couple hours in and I’m like, I am just drastically overthinking this. You get like three into the program and you’re already changing shit. That’s like.
Chris Eldridge: Oh, exactly. Like this isn’t feasible. Like my body doesn’t want to handle this. This is awful. No. Not doing this anymore. Yeah. Offloading my program is huge. And it’s funny you talk about having someone else do the programming. So obviously my fiance Ailina does the programming with me and she did a couple of years before I had met her, had done a bodybuilding show and stuff like that. And she knows what she’s doing in a weight room.
She hadn’t really ever benched or swatted her deadlift a whole lot, but she knew what she was doing. And if it was me telling her to do it, absolutely not. It was you get out of my face. This is stupid. I don’t want to do this. But as soon as you said it on train, heroic, she was like, OK, yeah, I guess we’re supposed to do that. I’m like, that’s weird.
James Cerbie: Yet the couple thing is not a good idea. It’s not good. Don’t bring it into that.
Chris Eldridge: If I can be it can be tough man. I will say the first few sessions put me and her head together because I very much put my head down and grind through it. I don’t care if I’m hot and miserable, it’s only for an hour or two and I feel great afterwards. That’s me. And so most of the coaching I’d always done would be in a collegiate atmosphere. So you don’t have to be super nice to the kids that are 17, 18 year olds.
All the parents kind of hand you the reins and obviously you’re not berating them and treating them like crap. But you can speak very, very bluntly to them. And 90 percent of them will be like, OK, ok, ok, OK. Yeah. And I took that same approach with my fiancé and it was terrible. Yeah. There would be times where she would just be like; I’m just going to sit here. I’m not even going left anymore.
This is awful. I don’t want to do this with you. And finally I learned I was like, you know what, and I’m going to let her do her thing. When she wants advice, she will ask for it. And now she’s become one of the best trading partners I have. It’s been absolutely fantastic because it’s fun to watch her love and enjoy the programing, to engage in a lot of self-confidence through it and not to delve too deeply into it.
But she dealt with a lot of emotional abuse from her past relationship that made her fall out of love with the gym and out of love with herself. And it’s fun watching her be on this program and hitting and just generally feeling good in the gym again and not hating being there, but like laughing and joking and dancing around the gym and like being really proud. And now she’ll come to me like, hey, we record this set where before she never wanted to see herself lift.
She would just be like, well, you count for me. But now she’s like, if she’s hitting the top instead, she’s like, hey, do you mind recording real quick? And I’m like, Oh, I’m so proud.
James Cerbie: Look at you. You actually see her now slowly.
Chris Eldridge: And she’s been crushed and she’s just I love to see it and she’s just happier because of it, man. And it’s really, really, really cool to see.
James Cerbie: It’s funny because my wife and I have a really similar relationship, like I’m pretty blunt, but I coach her, which is not not really what she needs. So, yeah, so she was like, you’re going to work with it. Like we’re going to put you on like a build up of Keiran here. That’s amazing. You guys are going to crash. Yeah. She was like, I’m so glad you did that. This is such a better setup than you. Ready to tell me what it’s.
Chris Eldridge: It’s hysterical. So it’s funny man. When I decided to actually join the Apex program back in the beginning of the year, she was kind of floundering on what she wanted to do because she had done like little bulls with me and she really, really enjoyed it. And I was like, hey, I kind of want to transition because I want to be a little bit more well-rounded. And I was like, so what is it you want to do?
And she was like, Well, is that program something I can do with you? I was like, I mean, yeah, we can, we can sign you up as well. And you absolutely can do it with me if you think that is something you want to do. Because I had her kind of look through it and take the little survey you send out to see which program fits best. And she was like, honestly, I just want to lose some weight and I want to feel athletic again, because she played volleyball growing up in Massachusetts and stuff and then ended up breaking both of her ankles.
And so kind of just I she was like, yeah, I’ll do this program with you. I think it’ll be fun. I’ll be out of my comfort zone. And that’s 100 percent how she fell into it was just like, yeah, I mean it seems like it will hold me accountable, so I’ll do it. And now she absolutely, absolutely loves doing it. So it’s been pretty cool, man.
Bringing the Conditioning Variable to the Table With Hypertrophy and Strength
James Cerbie: I love it. All of it. And then I do want to circle back to the conditioning because that’s. That’s one of the variables, everything goes as far as the people have a really hard time figuring out and bringing to the table while still getting the strength and purchasing power outcomes. And so I’d be curious to know how we have the conditioning laid out. So how it’s different from what you’ve done previously or just like what have been some big takeaways for you there, like whether it’s how we lay out the trading week, whether it’s actually doing those like lower intensity sessions, the highs sessions, whatever it’s going to be.
Chris Eldridge: Yeah. So having the two lower intensity conditioning sessions, which is actually the ones that typically end up doing it. Work is the way my schedule is, if I’m off for two days and I’m on for one day and I don’t try to lift at work. It just never works out. I’m at our busiest station, so we’re running about 10 calls a day and then a couple more after midnight. So I’ve always had the thought process of I like to be fresh while I’m at work as best as I can, because you never know when that call is going to come in, where you’re going to have to be under again.
So I don’t want to be completely wrecked and destroyed and be like, oh, hey, you’re going to have to climb 10 stories. Early in my career, I did that I would just crush myself with workouts and stuff because the fire service has this weird mentality of as far as conditioning goes, you should just throw your gear on every shift and do some kind of silly cross that line with full gear on. And I bought into that mindset and I was like, oh, I’m getting conditioned to be in my gears.
It’s great. That’s wonderful. I was just wrecked. I hurt every day. I didn’t feel good. It was just absolutely obliterating me. And so I started doing more research on it. There’s a firefighter up in Bridgeport, actually, I’m friends with on Instagram, you might know him. He’s very, very strong. And he put out a pretty cool little post a year or so ago talking about the training adaptation to being in gear versus basically limiting yourself.
That’s like asking somebody to go to the gym and hit PR’s while wearing a weight vest and all of this stuff. You’re not going to get the same output. But if you can hit a really high output and then you throw gear on, it’s going to bring you down to level.
The level it brings you down to is still higher than where you were before. And that sort of resonated a lot with me that you don’t need to because trying to deadlift and squat and stuff and gear is not a thing you don’t have that range of motion.
People end up hurting their backs, constantly trying to bend over and stuff, and it’s not functional. So that’s what my conditioning was, just throwing on gear all the time. And then finally, when I got to your guys program, it was conditioning that to me. It just made sense. So to the two lighter days that are thrown into the program right now, I still get a good sweat going. I still can feel my heart rate moving, but just like this isn’t in there to focus on nasal breathing and stuff.
I do that and I do. I walk away feeling better every time. And the hard conditioning days are miserable, not I’m not going to lie there awful, especially this current surgery right now of three three workouts and they’re brutal and even the versus murderer’s row. It’s awful, man. So we did it. Probably not the smartest way to do it, but we did it this past Sunday in 90 degree Georgia weather, humidity outside. And it was really stupid and it hurt.
I had my watch on the whole time and my heart rate stayed at about one 80 the entire time, like I was just dying. It was awful. So like we had we had the sled and everything at the house and I threw on four blades and it was like, oh, OK, cool. And I’ve got an uneven driveway and like halfway through trying to drag the four plates, I was like, no, this isn’t happening. So I drop it down to two plates on there, and even that was miserable.
But I will say that even though I felt awful and I don’t really run any more, so with the four hundred meters that were there, I was like, I’m going to take a distance on our street. I’m going to run to it and run back and just kind of see how I feel. But I haven’t really run because we don’t do a whole lot of running in this program and I normally try and we like.
James Cerbie: The tempos and stuff is running.
Chris Eldridge: Yeah, exactly. So I’ve kind of avoided it because after I broke my leg playing rugby, if I do anything more than like one hundred, 200 meter sprint, my lower leg muscle around my tibia will start to swell up really, really bad, almost like compartment syndrome. It would not feel good whatsoever. And I would feel like somebody was squeezing my tibia trying to break it from the inside and it would just hurt and I would have no function in it because breaking my leg kind of screwed up the motion of my ankle a little bit too I don’t have quite as much mobility in one angle, just the way the leg in the bone in an upsetting.
And so I try not to do a whole lot of running because that constant pounding would absolutely kill me. And it’s funny, I went and did, even while exhausted being four hundred meters, I timed it on my watch and it been 400 meters and for the first time in. I broke my leg in twenty sixteen, so the first time in, what, five years I had zero pain while running, none whatsoever in my leg, and it used to be like even doing the single leg jumps and stuff.
One leg would look ridiculous compared to the other because I had no real strength in that leg. And now when I do the jumps or even running, there is no more pain, so there is definitely a method to the madness. And even though we don’t do a lot of running. Running 400 meters did not really gas me like it used to. It is like, oh, I can do this, I can run again and my conditioning is so much better when I put gear on it.
Just those easy days that you guys program, they do enough to keep me in that one 20 to one 30 heart rate down to where that’s kind of where I normally function when we’re on calls and in gear and stuff is about one thirty, one forty because I always have an Apple Watch on me. So I always after we were on a fire call, I’ll look and see what my heart rate was the whole time because I’m a nerd like that.
Yeah. But I can function in that heart rate zone and feel really good still and still be able to do a really high output. And bring my heart rate back down very, very quickly, which has been fantastic and I feel a whole lot better doing it because I love it, I read line pretty quickly, like I can get to a one 80 heart rate really easily. And I know we. Talk about Max, heart rates and stuff, for whatever reason, I can get to one lady right there for a pretty long time.
Not healthy. It’s not a good thing to do. But I can do it because I’ve never been a super great athlete. So I’ve always was like, I’m just going to charge ahead and I can operate at one eighty for a while, even though I feel like I want to pass out. So it’s nice that I can operate in these zones and I just feel better in my resting heart rate has gone down, my blood pressure has gone down, all my blood work and we get it done every year or all of that has gone down.
And they were all super impressed, all the doctors that we deal with every year, like somehow. Four years and you’re getting older, you’re thirty five, your mid-30s, and you have significantly better blood work than most people that work here. And I was like, that’s a pretty big one. That’s the older I’ve gotten. I care more about that kind of stuff. I care about the really, really good blood work, because that’s going to be the rest of my life.
I’m not going to be big, strong and fast at 80 years old. Nobody really is. It’s a few freaks out there, but it’s not going to pay me any service to be able to squat. Five hundred pounds when I’m 80 years old, it’s going to do me absolutely no good. But being able to have a quality of life and that’s fully functioning is pretty fantastic.
James Cerbie: I love that I love a man that I think that’s a good note for us to wrap this on. So if anybody listening that has maybe been on the fence about whether or not to jump on board during the training team, come hang out, throw down, work with us for the next 12 weeks or longer, what would be your advice or recommendation?
Why You Should Join the Training Team
Chris Eldridge: So it’s actually funny, man, I, I have people because I do like to post stuff on my Instagram and stuff like that to get people, especially people I work with, to kind of get out of the mindset, their end of doing bodybuilding splits for our profession and try and get them to be a little bit healthier and get a lot of them that will last me what program? What is real, what is real available. And I’ll refer them to your social media pages and websites and all that stuff.
But the advice I would give most people in that I have given people is just to trust the process. One hundred percent similar to Nick Saban at Alabama. It’s just trusting the process and it ends up working even if you don’t feel it sometimes. Don’t wreck yourself on all the accessory work. Don’t go with the feel of your body and trust what is written in the program. Even if you don’t think you’re doing enough, it accumulates and you are doing enough and you will feel better and feel more athletic.
It’s also just a great community of people that actually are happy for each other so much. Social media is kind of negative in the lifting world. A lot of times there are no negatives like all that. Swapan didn’t look deep enough of blah, blah. There’s none of that that goes on. It’s just people being happy for each other and people accomplishing the common goal, which is fantastic.
James Cerbie: Beautiful man. Well, Chris, thank you again so much, I know that you just came off a long shift at work, so thank you for taking some time to jump out with us today. Absolutely, man. Beautiful dude. People, let’s, uh, I’m trying to think, like, do you want to give people a way to follow or reach you on Instagram, if not sure. Yeah, it doesn’t make any difference to me. I’ll leave that up to you if you have found work and people find you.
Chris Eldridge: So my Instagram handle is boogieman like Michael Meyers. Greatest movie of all time. It’s @boogyman_511 at Instagram. It’s the only social media that I have. I don’t dabble in any of the rest of it, but yeah.
James Cerbie: Absolutely beautiful. Fantastic. All right, everybody, have an amazing week. Go through the following on Instagram and yeah, we’ll be back next Monday, I believe next Monday we’re going to have some more Olympic lifting talks with a coach that I really like and respect. The great and powerful Rufus will be a little bit more of a defense of Olympic lifts, so that one should be pretty good. So stay tuned. Thank you again, Chris.
Chris Eldridge: Absolutely.
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