Two positives don’t beat one negative – The weight loss saga

Two positives don’t beat one negative

If I asked you, “what is one positive change you can make in order to reach your weight loss goals”? I’m sure you could think of at least three or four. “I could drink more water”, “I could get an extra workout in this week”, or a big one, “I’m going to start eating breakfast”. But what about if I asked you to list off the negative choices you are making every day that are holding you back? “How much time you got?” might be your response. It’s so much easier to talk about the changes that we know we should make, then it is to talk about those things that we are doing and maybe have been doing for a long time that we know (or maybe don’t know) that we shouldn’t be doing. It’s much easier to think about the positive things we could do to “counteract” the negative choices we are so used to making.

I’m guilty myself of eating something, or doing something with the forethought of, “I’ll have this extra cookie and just work a little harder in the gym tomorrow”, knowing full well that, that isn’t how it works. It’s in our nature to indulge ourselves. It feels good to treat ourselves to something. However, when that treat becomes an everyday occurrence, that treat becomes the negative that’s holding us back.  I’ve had the “what’s your focus this week” conversation with many of my clients. We focus on eating breakfast, drinking more water and eating more veggies. But what we never talk about is those little “dust bunnies” in the dark corner or under the rug that are sabotaging their success (hint hint to my clients ;). These truly are the habits that are holding you back and habits are hard to break. The phase “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” pops into my head when I think about this.  So let’s shine the light on those little things that we choose to overlook and realize that they really wont’ be that missed once we see the changes that they are getting in the way of. Maybe it’s that “left over” Easter chocolate, or that “little” bag of cheesies, or that “small” bowl of ice cream during your favorite show before bed. Let’s acknowledge these things and work them out of your routine. Now here’s the hard part; I don’t want you to replace these little habits with anything, just get rid of them. If your goal is weight loss, Calories are king, and at the end of the day if you’re are taking in more Calories than your body uses in a day, boom, weight gain. Or at the very least, not weight loss. So here’s my challenge to any of my clients reading this and to you as well; make a list of 5 things that you are doing that you know you shouldn’t be doing. Now this might be tough and that is kind of the point, but be as honest as you can. Then pick one that you know you can avoid or not do 90% of the time for two weeks. Then write yourself a note, something like; “I will not eat (or buy) any cheesies for the next two weeks” and put it everywhere you can think of to remind yourself. If the problem is that it’s already in the house (ie Easter Chocolate), get rid of it! It’s a fact that if you have food in your house you WILL eat it eventually. Take it to work, take it to your kids sporting event, throw it away if you have to. Make the choice and get rid of it. What’s more important, your health, or getting your money’s worth out of some chocolate?

Now I’m not saying to not focus on the positives or totally forget about them. If you can fill up your water bottle and have it close by and drink it more, fantastic. However, don’t use the positives as an excuses to ignore those things that are actually holding you back. If you want to see change, and I mean for real, forever kind of change, it’s time to start being honest with yourself and your choices, because in the end, adding two positive will never beat the one negative that is holding you back.

Thanks for reading everyone.


True core training….It may not be what you think.

True Core training….It may not be what you think.

The topic of today’s post may be somewhat controversial, however we must always challenge the norm and be open to changing the things that we “know” to be true. So with that in mind, the best way to train your core isn’t crunches, it isn’t V-Ups, it isn’t hanging leg raises and believe it or not, it’s not even the mighty plank. Ok first some terminology. What is your core? Well, cut off your head, legs and arms and you’re on the right track. Abs, Core, Trunk, and Pillar all refer to the same thing, the muscles that make up your torso, from your glutes to your pecs and from your hip flexors to your traps and everything in between. So I will from here on out use all of these interchangeably with each other.

Conventional knowledge says that we need to isolate our core training as a separate body part just like the rest of the body and we should do it at the end of our training session. Well, conventional knowledge has missed the mark so badly here that, if we were to replace “core training” with “Driver training”, there would be so many accidents that we would be left with no choice but to walk everywhere. Let me explain. First, the concept of isolated muscle training is a relatively new concept when we talk about physical fitness, and really wasn’t popularized until Arnold Schwarzenegger came on the scene and body building took a mainstream spotlight. Now this is not a can of worms that I want to open right now but let me just say, if you haven’t yet read some of Grey Cooks work, do it. One of my fav quotes of his is, “Train movements, not muscles. Train patterns not parts”. More on that in a minute, but let’s get back to Pillar talk. The idea of doing a bunch of crunches to get a strong and “ripped” core might make sense to you now, but it’s time to unlearn what you have learned. Think about what your core is responsible for doing: It keeps you up-right while walking around, it helps transfer energy from the top of your body to the bottom and vice versa. It controls Spinal flexion, extension, rotation and movement side to side, among many other things. So spending hours doing crunches (spinal flexion) only trains the core in one plain of motion. But the biggest job of the trunk is one that very few people know about because it’s something we don’t have to think about. The core is reflexive. It responds to movement, to keep our bodies under control. If you slip while walking, your core helps to keep your feet under you. When you swing your baseball bat and you have to adjust to a curve ball at the last second, your core is there to help this happen or when you sit up from your lawn chair and the back support slips, your core keeps you from totally falling out of the chair (provided it’s not impaired by the margarita you are trying not to drop ;). There are so many muscles that impact your core function it is impossible to train each one individually.

So how do you train the core you ask? Well by mimicking

The Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish Get-Up

movements that you do in your day to day life, with precision and perhaps additional resistance. Remember, “train movements, not muscles. Train patterns not parts”. What does this mean then? Instead of holding a plank for 4 mins, hold or carry weight beside you, in the rack position or maybe overhead for 4 mins. Instead of doing 12 different variations of the crunch, try the Turkish Get-Up. I have been asked so many times “what’s the best core exercise?” and my response gets so many eye rolls is almost funny, but for the foreseeable future it will always be the Deadlift. The trick to core training is that every exercise that you do, is a core exercise. I personally haven’t done a specific “ab training session” in my own training in years! Instead, I suit case carry something heavy for 1 – 10 mins, I crawl, I roll, I do Turkish Get-Ups, I swing a kettlebell, I deadlift, I do pushups, I do pull-ups, I do overhead presses. Everything that I do, I focus a tremendous amount of attention and effort on control and “owning” every position. And let me tell you, I have never had a better “ab workout” then carrying a 60 Lbs kettlebell for 10 mins! Now to qualify the effectiveness of my training I’ll say this; As part of my job I have to do a fitness test every year and part of this test is max number of full sit-ups in 60seconds, and having not trained a full sit up, I can do over 40 in 60 seconds. I can hold the plank position for over 3 mins. I have a “strong core” by actively avoiding all of the things that we have been told to do. My time is valuable and I would rather not have to spend an extra 10-20 min at the end of my workout doing crunches and side bends to get a “complete workout”. As a disclaimer, isolating your pillar with specific exercise does have a place, but it’s more in the realm of rehab from injury or working to correct movement dysfunction.

So how do you get a sexy and ripped 6 pack? I really hate to break it to you, but it has everything to do with what you do in the kitchen and so very little to do with how many crunches you can do or how long you can hold the plank.

So when you are thinking core training, remember, walk tall and carry something heavy.

Thanks for reading

Matt Kingstone

Teach a person to Fish. A new twist on an old adage.

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life. This has always been a philosophy of mine when it comes to fitness and exercise. I’ve always tried to teach my clients and students, what we are doing, how to do it and why. If one of my clients goes on vacation or tries another trainer’s class or just wants to go it alone, my number one goal is that they can hold their own. The same holds true for the MY Body Transformation Experience. This is a weight loss Experience that I have been running for just over a year now. Through the Experience, participants receive nutritional counseling and meal plans from a Registered Dietician, professionally designed group fitness classes, accountability through food journaling and regular weigh-ins and measurements as well as the support of regular meetings with the group and myself. This format is not new and it is not based on any fads or gimmicks. The Experience is real people, learning how to eat, move and live in order to create a sustainably healthy lifestyle to reach weight loss goals.

The Experience works, if you work the Experience. And through it you have all of the information and support that you need to be successful. However, the true test of the MY Body Transformation Experience is when someone feels ready to take the step to move away from the group. Can someone take the tools that we’ve worked on during our time together and put them to use in a way that helps them remain successful? When someone moves on from the group I have mixed emotions. I’m excited for them, I’m nervous for them, but mostly I’m also proud of what they have accomplished. Reaching weight loss goals takes work and dedication. And stepping out of the comfort of the group takes courage. I work hard to give my clients the best support that I can, and if a graduated “Transformationer” has a little stumble or needs support or a ‘re-charge’, we are here for them. But one thing is for sure, giving someone just enough to keep them coming back, but not enough to soar on their own is a sure-fire way to ensure failure for everyone involved.

If you have been trying to find a weight loss program or method that doesn’t leave you hungry for food or starving for information. Something that leaves you feeling empowered and confident in your ability to manage your health and weight, then maybe the MY Body Transformation Experience is for you. Visit Here for more information or email

Thanks for reading


Remember this feeling!

FullSizeRenderCongratulations! You made it through the first week. Now remember this feeling

Maybe you’re a bit sore, maybe a little tired but you feel great! You might not be able to explain why you feel so good, other than to say “I feel alive”. Now remember this feeling. Think of five or six words that describe how you feel and put them in places that you will see them. If things get tough or you run into some challenges, you need to be able to remind yourself why you MUST continue or get back to what you’ve been doing. We can easily forget how things make us feel, especially if it makes us feel good, its human nature. It is also human nature to take the path of least resistance, which for a lot of us, is not exercising or being active. But if you are easily reminded of how much better you feel moving, sweating and enjoying it, the more likely you are to keep it up through the whole year.

The human body was made to be used. Aches and pains are more likely a result of disuse than an effect of use. An 18th century physician Tissot said “Movement as such may take the place of many remedies, but all the remedies together can never take the place of the effect of movement.”

Keep moving, keep it simple and keep it at the top of your priority list. Your body will thank you.

Thanks for reading

Matt Kingstone

5 ways to keep your steam this New Years

Well it’s that time of year again. The time of the New Year’s resolution. And for those of us in the fitness industry to score on jokes about all new face that will be in the gym for a couple of weeks until people fail and lose steam and things get back to “normal”. It’s such a sick, predictable cycle that really isn’t that funny. It’s tragic. We are in the middle of an epidemic of obesity and disease and we need to focus on keeping people coming to gym, not waiting for them to quit.  So with that in mind, here are some tips to help keep you going and moving forward on your journey to health and wellness:


Whether you want to believe it or not, your resolution is a journey, so think of it as such. In fact, it is the greatest journey you will most likely ever experience in your life. You will have highs and lows, but when you hold your hands in the air when you have reached a goal there is no better feeling. So stay focused.


There is something in our culture that tells us that we are capable of anything that we want and we can have it right now if we just do all the right things. And this is true, to an extent. However, if you are starting out on a new journey, it is very easy to get carried away and bite off more than you can chew. Take it one step at a time. Don’t commit to working out 5 days a week when you know in your heart of hearts it will be tough to get in more than twice. It feels much better to over shoot a goal than come up short. Be realistic and set yourself up for success. Choose no more than one or two things that you can do 90% of the time. Nail that one down and then add on.


We all get so discouraged when we come up short. Like it’s some big surprise and we are the only losers to fail at something. But at some point we all will miss the mark. It’s how you respond that will determine your success. If you get disheartened and negative when you slip and give up on yourself you will never succeed. It’s natural to be disappointed, upset or even angry when things don’t go according to plan, but suck it up, this is life. Pick yourself back up, show yourself some compassion and forgiveness and start again. Remember, it’s a journey.


If you are trying to quit drinking but all of your friend’s hangout at the bar, you better find new friends. If you are working to lose weight, get more fit and be healthier but you are the only around you who is committed to making that happen, guess what, you will fail. (I wish you all the best and if you succeed in this situation, I’m over the moon excited for you, but you aren’t setting yourself up for success). Now I’m not saying you have to ditch all of your friends, but what I am saying is make sure the people you spend your time with know what you are trying to accomplish and are willing to support you. But also, have a look around at the gym you go to. Statistically 80% of the people there are in the same shoes as you and might be looking for the same support.


It is so easy to flounder and feel totally lost when you are trying to reach a new goal but aren’t sure what to do to reach it. There are many options out there to help you find success. (Shameless plug 😉 The MY Body Transformation Experience is one of those options. Through the MBTE you will be provided with Professional help, Accountability and Community to reach any weight loss goal that you have. You will be working side by side with others that are working towards similar goals through an Experience that includes; professionally designed and lead group fitness classes, a consultation with a registered dietician, 21-days of meal plans for your specific calorie needs, group and one on one support meetings with professionals in the field of health and change, food journaling and feedback and regular check-ins to see how you are progressing and what, if any, changes need to be made. In short, you will be provided with a plan. A no gimmicks, no fad, proven and sustainable plan that will teach you how to maintain a healthy and fit body for the rest of your life!

There are so many people out there that try every year to reach that one goal and fail. The fitness industry is getting rich off of these people. What if this year is the year that you succeed? What if this the year that you end the cycle? It isn’t as hard as it seems and you don’t have to do it alone. With all of the people striving toward the same goal, there is no reason for any of us to come up short. Visit for details on all of the services that we provide to help you set, plan for and reach this year’s resolution.

Best of luck and Happy New Year. Enjoy the journey, be realistic, stay vigilant, keep your circle tight and find a plan. You can do it!

Thanks for reading

Matt Kingstone

Power to the Partner – A Key to Successful Change

Power to the Partner

 Quite often change is hard. This is especially true if that change is “difficult” in nature. I can’t think of a better example of a “difficult” change than adding healthy decisions into your routine. Beginning an exercise routine, making better food choices and choosing to be active on a daily basis are the best changes any person can make to improve their quality of life. However, these changes can be very hard.  Exercise isn’t always fun (I know, shocking), especially if you are trying to  do it on your own  or are trying to follow a routine out of a magazine. And really, if you are the only one in the room, who’s going to know whether you eat those veggies or not? Well if you do it right, your partner will.

I have been in the fitness industry for a while now and have watched countless New Year’s resolutioners come and go. Every year the army of people who want to change or improve their, Health, fitness level or body composition come marching in the doors of whatever gym I’m in at the time. And more often than not, even in the first week, that army decreases in size substantially. The harder someone comes out of the gates, the shorter their march to success. That is a rule that I have become used to, not to mention frustrated by. There are exceptions to every rule however, and I would like to give you a few examples of some New Year’s Revolutioners who were able to remain successful. And if the title of this post is any clue as to what each example has in common you know where I’m going with this. And you know what you can do to help yourself be successful.

#1 The Dude effect

I work on the Navy base here in Victoria as a Fitness Instructor, and I have the privilege of working petty closely with many of the members of our Forces. And believe it or not, Fitness New Year’s Resolutioners exist there too. At the start of this year we had a trio of guys start to come to our Fitness classes, in fact they were coming 5 days a week! They attend a high intensity bootcamp style class three day per week, a spin class twice per week and a flexibility class twice per week. Flex and spin happen back to back. As the rule stands, that should have lasted at most two weeks, well it actually should have been less considering the gusto with which they came out of the gates. However, here we are, mid-march and the same three guys are going strong, in fact they have recruited a couple of friends that now come with them to many of the classes. If one doesn’t want to come, the others “drag” him along and vice versa.

#2 The Van

I also run my own Personal Training and Fitness Coaching business here in Victoria (King Cobra Fit Personal Training). I always do my best to ensure that my clients are getting what they need from our sessions, are seeing the changes they expect and if I’m doing my job right, having fun while they do it. This is how I retain my clients, but sometimes having fun isn’t enough. There are close to 10 ladies that I have had the pleasure of working with for, some of them, close to two years now. They come to at least two group sessions per week and some come to three sessions per week. One of the services I launched this year is the MY Body Transformation Experience. This is a body composition change Experience that focuses on long term changes by providing support with Fitness and Nutrition as well as the Emotional aspect of this life change. One of the ladies participating in the Experience shared that, she has attempted similar changes before with only an average of two weeks of success, but at the time of our meeting it had been 8 weeks and she was still on track and working hard. I asked her what she attributed the extended success to this time. Her answer was “the van”. You see, two to three times per week, One of the ladies drives to each of the others houses and picks them up to come to class. Every week they drive to the gym together, sharing how they are feeling or commenting on the workout that day or the meal plans they have received, or whatever other topics a group of ladies speak about that a trainer isn’t privy to. Over the last year in fact, they have had to add a second vehicle to get everyone to the gym. Again, when you have a group coming to get you, you had better be ready when they get there, or you’ll get a honk.

I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out, but the point is, both of these successful groups have one thing in common and that is built in, friendly accountability. If you know that there are others counting on your support and your comradery, you are far more likely to show up, period. On the other side of that coin, if you know that there are others going through the same experience with you and they are there to support you, you can draw strength from this kind of interdependence.

Now I’m not trying to tell you that you can’t do it alone, there are some parts of the journey that must be walked alone. However, starting a change can be scary, especially if you are trying to do it alone. So, if you would like to make a change in your life, and it is something that you can share with a friend, do it, your chances of success go up dramatically.  One of my clients used this Woody Allen quote the other day and I think it rings true here.

90% of success is showing up.”

Having a system for you and your friends to follow is another important key to your success and is a topic for my next post.

As always, thanks for reading and until next time

Matt Kingstone

King Cobra Fit

Tone Deaf

“Tone” deaf

 I think there comes a time in every educated Personal Trainers blogging career, if you can call it that, where we feel a strong urge to talk about the mythical creature, Toning. And while I’ve always tried to separate myself from the “mainstream” Personal Trainers out there, there is just something about having a conversation with someone; client, friend, passerby which, when the phrase “all I really want to do is tone….” dribbles out of the persons mouth I want to turn and walk away. I liken this feeling to the dietician when they hear someone say that they are following a low-fat diet. Or something else that seem obvious to you but clearly not obvious to others. You think to yourself, “there is so much information out there, how does this person still think this?” I would like to connect a few dots here. The same person who says that they want to tone is that same person, who in the same sentence quite often will as also say, “I just don’t want to get bulky” (another very popular blog post to be sure). These thoughts/beliefs are not this persons fault. The amount of misinformation that is out there is incredible. In order to sell copies, your favorite fitness magazine will avoid phrases that might scare a potential reader off. Would you read an article or click a link that read, “Top 10 ways for women to add muscle”? Most of you would not. But in fact the concept of “toning” means exactly that.

In order to have that perfect beach body, we must add muscle to our bodies, period. Muscle is important to any fitness or body composition goal.  Let me put it this way, under your skin, and other soft tissue, you are a stickman. Think about that for a second. We all have the “same” skeleton. If you want to have “sexy” arms or a “firm” butt you have to put something between your sticks, aka bones, and your skin. Your choices for this are simple: you can either fill it with fat or muscle. The conversation about plastic surgery is beyond the scope of this blog so we will pretend that option doesn’t exist. You tell a woman that you have a great new program for her that will help her really pack on some lean muscle mass and fill out beautifully, that woman will leave a roadrunner plume of dust behind her as she runs away. Why are women so afraid of putting on muscle? It seems like in the mainstream media, there are two styles of “fit” women depicted. One is lean and slim (to which most woman will say “eat a cheese burger”) and the other is a muscular strong looking body builder or Crossfit champion. And because that is all we see in the media, that’s it right, one or the other? Obviously not! There is a happy medium and it exist in the realm of “toning”. The problem is that most people have it backwards. They think that toning is hard and getting muscular and “bulky” is easy. I invite you to, politely, ask the next muscular female you see, how easy it was for her to attain that figure. I promise you that there are more hours of hard work in the gym and even more time and effort in the kitchen  in that physique than you can imagine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that realizing your personal fitness and body composition goals will be easy, it opposite in fact, it will take hard work and dedication, however, anything worth having takes work. What I am saying is that you should not be afraid to build a little muscle in order to get there. I don’t know where muscle gets such a bad rap, but I’d like to drop some knowledge on you. The more lean muscle your body has, the higher you metabolism will run and the more calories your body will have to use in order to just survive. And that is even at rest! A little more muscle means that you can burn more calories sitting on the couch! More muscle, generally, means you are stronger. If you are stronger then life in general is easier. Jars open with ease, moving the couch to find the pen you dropped is a piece of cake, the groceries come inside in one trip not two. So don’t be afraid to get away from the low weight, high repetitions that you have been using for the last four years and challenge yourself with 10 more pounds or a weight that you can move 6 – 8 times instead of 20.

There are many different components to fitness, and if improving your general fitness level is your goal, having a myopic approach to improving it, will always sell you short. So get off that toning routine, forget about the “burn” for a few weeks and pick up a dumb bell or kettle bell that makes you grunt a little. You have to get strong to be strong.

Once again, thanks for reading,


PS (for the fitness pros out there)

After writing this I have come to a realization. It’s not the word “toning” that I have an issue with, it’s the mentality that it brings with it and the stigma that it re-enforces. I encourage all of the trainers who read this, let’s take back the word toning. Let’s re-educate and inform our clients, friends or passersby to the true meaning of the word. Empower people to feel confident in training the way the body wants to and was designed to be used. Build strength, add muscle, and get toned!

21Days Later: A Challenge

21 days later: A Challenge

 Over the last few months I have extended 21 day challenges to my clients. Statistically it takes 21 days to create a habit, so the idea was to challenge them to focus on one thing for 21 days that may otherwise be a behaviour that could be neglected. I have also taken up the challenges and the experience has been an eye opening one.

To date the Challenges that I have laid out have been A) To drink 8-10 cups or 2-2.5L of water everyday B) To eat 6-8 servings of veggies every day and the latest challenge C) To be mindful of your self-talk and if you notice it going to the negative side attempt to put a positive view on it. The latter I believe to be the most difficult so far.

It is quite shocking though, how focusing on something as simple as drinking enough water in a day can prove to be more difficult that you might think. Now I won’t pretend to be some 21 day guru and claim to have met all of the challenges so far with ease. To be honest there have been some days with all of the challenges that I have failed miserably. But I really think that the awareness of failure is a win in and of itself. The whole concept is to bring attention to healthy behaviours that can have a positive impact on your health and wellness. The process of realizing that work has to be put into certain areas to improve your health and wellness is huge step. Much can be learnt from failure. And the biggest lesson to be learned is not to give up. Just because you’ve had one bad morning or day or week for that matter, there is always time to turn that day around.

Another part of the challenge is to identify road blocks, things that have kept you from meeting your daily goal. Once we pinpoint things that get in our way we can set in motion steps to combat them. If you realize that when you forget you water bottle at home your water intake takes a kamikaze nose dive, then you know that you need to ensure that you don’t forget your water bottle. Sometimes just saying “I won’t forget ever again” just isn’t realistic, so maybe stashing a few bottles in key places that you spend your time would also be a good idea. Some challenges are more difficult for some than others. A number of my clients had no problem with the veggie challenge. That one by the way was a difficult one for me. I found having veggies pre-cut and ready to go was my key to success. However, that takes a considerable amount of work to stay on top of. But that is the whole point, eating my Canada Food Guide recommended 7-8 servings of veggies every day is something that I need to do in order to maintain optimal health. So meeting that goal should be a must and I need to change my priorities around to ensure that I meet it.

Where do your priorities lie? What’s important to you? If you identify something as being important to you, figure out what you have to do realize that ‘something’. Set yourself one manageable goal to accomplish it and do it every day for 21 days. Be aware of what is causing you to miss the mark now and again and be proactive to turn it around. When you reach your goal or are successful with your own 21 day challenge, reward yourself. Treat yourself to something that you want or need as a pat on the back. Just ensure that your reward is something that doesn’t set you back. If your goal is centred around weight loss for example, rewarding yourself for a pound or two change on the scale with a piece of cake or a sweet treat may not be the right message to send yourself. Perhaps instead try a massage or a trip to the spa, something that is positive and makes you feel good.

Remember, this is your life and it’s yours to control. If there is something that you want in your life, go get it! If it seems too big to think about, break it down to small changes or challenges to turn into habits. Just don’t forget them once you’re through your 21 days. A new habit still takes nurturing. And if it doesn’t feel like a habit, chances are it isn’t and you still need to work on it. Focus and determination are keys to success. We won’t always be successful on the first or even the fourth try, but if we keep trying we can never truly fail at something. Chins up, Eyes open, keep pushing.

Thanks again for reading everyone, see you next time.

Matt Kingstone

King Cobra Fit

The three C’s of movement (and cool isn’t one of them)

“The three C’s of movement” (and cool isn’t one of them)

Everyone wants to do the “cool” exercises. The Power cleans, snatchs, clean and jerks etc. It’s pretty awesome to do something in the gym and have everyone watch you in, well….awe. However, if you are in such a hurry to do the “cool” movements, and forget about the foundational movements that allow you to do the “cool” movements safely and effectively, you leave yourself at risk for injury and wasted time in the gym. The three C’s of movement are IMG_1645Control, Competency and Confidence. If you cannot perform a Turkish Get Up or a single leg deadlift or a crawl with Control, Competency and Confidence, what makes you think that you are ready to ballistically put weight over your head? The answer is you aren’t.

Control is of the utmost importance. If you can’t control your body you will never truly be able to control added resistance to an exercise. Controlling your knees, hips and spine during an Active Straight Leg Raise or Leg Lower, translates to standing on one leg in a hip hinging straight single leg hold position (I call it an L-Hold) which translates into anything you can think of that involves hip hinging ie deadlifts, cleans, snatches, bent over rows, picking up a bag of dog food….you get the idea. I’ll be the first to admit that these aren’t the most exciting exercises to do, and many of my clients may tell you the same, but they serve a greater purpose than being entertaining. Without the ability to control your body or light weight in various positions that require an attention detail, like a bottoms up kettlebell position, you have no hope of performing more complex movements with an acceptable level of Competency. What a segue into my next point, all those essays paid off haha.

Competency can be defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. However, when we speak about movement competency, just doing something isn’t enough, that ‘something’ must be done right. Just because you can lift 400 Lbs off the ground, doesn’t necessarily mean you successfully deadlifted it, If you had to lift it at the expense of form and safety. If you are competent with a movement then you do not have to succumb to any compensations in order to perform it. Movement competency also takes into account pain with movement. If a basic movement like putting your arms over head causes pain, it is no longer a “basic” movement for you, and it is now a movement that you are not competent with. Remedial or therapeutic measures may have to be taken in order to “clean” this movement up. We put up with pain far too well for our own good. I am a perfect example of this, for a long time I have had shoulder pain with many “basic” movements, including things like putting on my jacket. I have recently given my head a shake and have been putting a lot of work into making movements such as putting on my jacket or reaching into the back seat of the car competent, pain free movements. It can be a slow and at times boring road but what is the alternative? Pain for the foreseeable future? Surgery (which still includes rehab)? No thank you. I’ll keep working through my corrective exercises and earn pain free range of motion. The presents of movement compensation whether through a lack of control or pain avoidance does not show movement competency, and compensation does not lend itself to confidence.

As a Certified Personal Trainer, when a client demonstrates confidence with a movement is when I am comfortable with them doing that movement without supervision. I realize that this statement may seem a bit excessive to some, but when we are talking about movements like deadlifts, squats or overhead pressing it is a must. Confidence is empowering,  and only when confidence with a movement is present should additional weight be added. There is too much emphasis on moving heavy weight these days. As Grey Cook says, you have to “earn the right” to move forward. If you skip a step in the process of gaining confidence, chances are you haven’t earned the right to lift that weight off the ground or worse yet put that weight overhead. This is when injury becomes a real threat. Confidence isn’t given, it’s earned through perfect practice and time. Don’t rush it.

Watching someone who is truly comfortable with a movement is a great thing as a trainer. And knowing that client realizes that they have earned that confidence through exercising control of the parts involved, and demonstrating competency in all of the movements leading up to it is an extremely rewarding experience. Life is about movement. Being able to move through your life with Control, Competency and Confidence is living. The stronger your three C’s are with basic, foundational movements the greater your enjoyment of the little, and big things in life will be.

Thanks for reading. Until next time

Matt Kingstone

King Cobra Fit

Happy First Birthday King Cobra Fit!

Happy First Birthday King Cobra Fit!

So I just realized today that this September will mark one year of business for King Cobra Fit Personal Training. I have had my head down focusing on everything other than the time that this has totally snuck up on me. Time truly flies when you’re having fun. And I have truly been having fun over the last year.

There is something very special to being able to do what you love for a living. I’ve really been able to have the best of both worlds; working full time at the Navy base supporting our Men and Women in uniform in the best way I know how, to being able to work with some of the most committed and lovely people with my business, I am very lucky. I enjoy that challenges that are brought to me on a daily basis. My passion really is to help people live better lives and a big part of that comes from moving better and being more confident in your physical abilities.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last year. Without the support of my family (thank you Mom and Uncle Art) and Friends (Janine and John as well as Mike and Kirt at Westcore Training Centre) and of course all of the wonderful people that I have had the pleasure of working with over the last 12 months (most of whom are still coming out and playing with me at least twice a week) none of this would be possible.

I am so very excited for the next year and look forward to adding to my knowledge and to my tool box to be able to pass on that knowledge and help you all reach your goals and live happy and healthy lives. Mark Twain said it best “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”. This applies to so many situations, if you are reading this and have aspirations of getting ahead with your health and fitness I would love the opportunity of helping you get started. All it take is the first step (

Thank you once again for sharing this journey with me, its been so much fun and so much more rewarding than I could have imagined.

So to the next leg of this journey I say, TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND!

Thanks for reading

Matt Kingstone

King Cobra Fit Personal Training