Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Think your fitness can rise to the SICFIT occasion? You’ll have the opportunity to find out at the SICEST Fitness Competition in the Valley – The SICEST of the Southwest IV!

We’ve been around the block a few times with this comp (four times, to be exact!) and we have learned a thing or two about how to deliver an entertaining, inclusive, and challenging test of strength, stamina, and mental determination.

From elite athletes seeking out another “W,” to those just starting out in their fitness journey looking to have some fun and challenge themselves at the same time – there is a spot for athletes of all kinds at SICEST of the Southwest IV!

If working behind the scenes and with the details is more your cup of tea, sign up as a volunteer or judge! Of course, you can always just come to sit back to enjoy the show, and cheer on you gym’s competitors.

All athletes, judges, volunteers, and event attendees can reserve their spot by clicking HERE!

Keep checking back to the SICFIT Scottsdale Blog, along with the SICEST of the Southwest IV facebook page for updates!

2 Rounds
Run Big Lap
300 Meter Row
150 Jump Rope
Rope Climbs
20 Minute AMRAP
Run Big Lap
30 Air Squats
3 Rope Climbs | Sport = 5
15 Pull Ups

Overlooked Ways of Getting Better Sleep: Sleep Smarter Book Review

The book, “Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way to Better…” is an extremely practical guide for optimizing sleep.  Many people have given up on improving their quality of sleep because they think that getting eight hours of sleep and going to bed earlier are the only considerations.  The book lists a number of helpful strategies that individuals choose to focus on.

Here are my take-aways…

Daylight sun exposure – get thirty minutes of direct sun exposure during the day to normalize your light cycles and melatonin production.

The most important factor is getting sunlight light exposure during the critical period of 6:00am – 8:30am.   A dawn simulation lamp can be used for people that cannot wake up to natural sunlight.

The programmable alarm clock utilizes gradual sun exposure over a thirty-minute period that will wake you up without a starting and disruptive sound of an alarm.  An alarm can be set as a fail safe after the 30-minute sun exposure period.

The combination of going outdoors during your lunch break and waking up to some sun exposure can do wonders for your sleep.

Avoid blue light exposure  – ninety minutes before bedtime.  Blue light emitted from computer screens and mobile devices is best avoided to ensure that melatonin is secreted before bed.

If you need to use a computer before bed there is a great program for the computer called F.lux that filters out blue light.

Set a caffeine curfew - Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 8 hours and disturbs sleep if used up to six hours before bed.  Setting a ‘caffeine curfew’ at 2pm can greatly improve sleep.  Another strategy is to go two days on and three days off.

Stay cool – ideal room temperature is 60-68 degrees, this drop in body temperature initiates sleep.

Get to bed at the right time – The most beneficial sleep period is from 10pm to 2pm.  This explains why some people that get eight hours of sleep still do not feel refreshed.

Optimize your sleep cycles – sleep cycles last ninety minutes and repeat four to six times per night.  Deep sleep, non-REM, and REM sleep make up this cycle.  If your alarm goes off during on of the sleep cycles (90-minutes) it is more likely you will be groggy in the morning – regardless of how much sleep you get.

“If you go to sleep at 10pm set your alarm for 5:30 am (for a total of seven and a half hours of sleep) and you’ll likely find that you feel more refreshed when you wake up than if you set the alarm for 6:00am and interrupted another sleep cycle.”

Take Magnesium – magnesium deficiency is likely the number one mineral deficiency in our world today. One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is chronic insomnia.  Magnesium is also needed for muscle relaxation.  The author recommends a topical form of magnesium, but I have found that many people can benefit from a high dose magnesium powder called, “Natural Calm.”

Black out your bedroom – a blackout curtain helps remove external light coming into the bedroom.  A rolled up towel under the door can also help prevent light from coming into the room.  A good test to see if your room is dark enough (to allow for melatonin production) is to look at your hand when laying in bed – you shouldn’t be able to see your hand.

People that travel can use black electrical tape to cover phone chargers and electronic devices that emit blue light into the room.  This is one of the most underutilized methods of improving sleep quality.

Meditate before bed – numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of meditation on the body and mind. Meditation provides access to the deeper brain waves that we enter into during deep sleep.  A ten to fifteen minute practice of meditation before bed is a great start to a practice that has many benefits – including deeper sleep.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ –

Related Resources

Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success (link)
Natural Calm (link)
Phillips Wake Up Light (link)


Single Leg + Arm Movements
Calf Raises
Arm Circles
3×10 Light Dumbbell Lateral Raise+ Front Raise
8-10 Seated Dumbbell Single Arm Press
8- 10 Seated Single Arm Kettle Bell/Dumbbell Row
8 Single Leg Step Up
Bulgarian Split Squat
*Each exercise rest 1 minute, repeat 3 more times, then move on to next
5 Curtis P’s + 1 Minute Rest
4 Curtis P’s + 40 Second Rest
3 Curtis P’s + 30 Second Rest
2 Curtis P’s + 20 Second Rest
1 Curtis P + DONE!






Hell Week is Coming…


Strength in Conditioning for Monday, October 12, 2015

In exactly one week and one day, SICFIT Scottsdale  we will be testing the spirits of those brave souls who commit to Hell Week. This 5-day course of two-a-day workouts will push you to your mental limits. The breakthroughs you experience during this intensive week will be far more than just physical. They will also teach you about discipline, leadership, spirituality, and the moral virtues of a warrior. We leave no stone unturned and hold nothing back.

Every morning at 5am sharp, participants will be challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in ways that not only test limits, but also expand them. Your success in Hell Week does not depend on your strength, endurance, or stamina. It depends on your ability to turn your mind off and JUST GO! All levels are welcome.  You can sign up at the gym, or by clicking here!

Hell Week Details

  • 5-6am Daily HELL WEEK workout
  • Additional group class each day
  • Previous SICFIT Scottsdale HELL WEEK graduates gain complimentary access to the program
  • Black SICFIT shirt/tank required as “uniform” for the week
  • All levels welcome!
  • 99$ for Members, 199$ for non members



800 Meter Run
50 Calories on AirDyne
Dynamic Stretching
4 Sets
8 Single Leg Deadlift Each Leg
6 Weighted Side Lunges Each Leg
2 Minute Rest
5 Sets to Build Heavy 1 Rep Deadlift
2 Minute Rest
Max Reps at 85% of 1 Rep Deadlift
Run 1 Small Lap + 30 Kettle Bell Swings
Run 1 Small Lap + 20 Kettle Bell Swings
Run 1 Small Lap + 10 Kettle Bell Swings


Sunday Funday Sweat & Shop at Athleta This Weekend!


Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, October 10, 2015

If you think you need to lift weights to be fit, think again! Bodyweight exercise is one of the most effective forms of training to achieve all sorts of fitness goals.

  • Increased strength and stamina,
  • Weight loss,
  • Stronger core,
  • Better balance and coordination,
  • Muscle tone,
  • Increased energy,
  • Healthier heart and lungs,
  • Ability to rehab old injuries,
  • Safe for all levels of fitness.

These are all benefits you can look forward to from bodyweight training.

SICFIT Scottsdale is bringing these benefits to the community with a FREE bodyweight fitness class at the Athleta Store at the Kierland Commons — Sunday Funday Sweat and Shop! This class will be held this Sunday, October 11th, at 11am. Bring the whole family, as this workout is suitable for all ages and fitness levels!

After the workout, ask your SICFIT coach about the bodyweight fitness classes we hold each week at our several valley locations. And if you are looking to lift, we offer plenty of that too! Talk to your coach about signing up for a free intro session!

Athleta Flyer


Roll out
5 Sets (Not for Time)
10 PVC Overhead Squats
10 Laying Leg Lifts
4 Farmers Carry Small Lap
*Each time you set it down, run small lap around to the kettle bell
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Ball Squat + Ball Slam

Take the Sitting-Rising Test


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, October 9, 2015

The sitting rising test assesses your ability to get down on the floor and back up.  Research by Claudio Gil Araujo has shown that the sit-to-rise test is correlated with longevity.

“If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand-or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness, but their survival prognosis is probably better than tat of those unable to do so.”  – Claudio Gil Araujo



I have seen many patients with low back pain and inflexibility that struggle with this task.  Surprisingly, even some teenagers are unable to perform this simple test.  For the elderly population – falls and hip fractures are two of the most devastating injuries that many never recover from.

It is essential to retain the ability to get down on the ground and back up – before it’s too late for the elderly population.  Coaches should include get-back-up drills in their warmups with athletes on a regular basis.

Test Instructions

Each of the two basic movements is assessed – to the ground, and then back to standing – and scored up to five, making a composite score of ten, with one point subtracted per support used, such as a hand or knee.

Take the test here.

“Our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power to body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities, but have a favorable influence on life expectancy.” – Claudio Gil Araujo

Get Back Ups

Dan John in his new book, “Can You Go” discusses an effective teaching drill that helps improve the requirements for this test he calls them “Get Back Ups” or GBUps.

Here’s one example…  (The right hand is stuck to the left knee)

  • On your front (or your belly) — Get back up
  • On your right side — Get back up
  • On your left side — Get back up
  • Pushup-position plank — Get back up
  • On your back — Get back up

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ –

Related Resources

Can You Go?: Assessments and Program Design for the Active Athlete (link)
Sitting-Rising Test (link)
USA Today: Sitting Rising Test, Life Expectancy (link)

Line Drills
Deadlift 10 – 10 – 8 – 8 – 6
Calve Raise 15-20 + 2 Minute Rest Between Sets
3 Rounds
6 Single Leg Deadlift Each Side
1 Minute Max Sit Ups
1 Minute Rest
2 Rounds For Time
500 Meter Row
30 Kettle Bell Swings (35/53)
Roll Out

Luke Kayyem Lifestyle Coach shares his nutrition knowledge on the LIST.

How many steps does it take to burn off your favorite meal?

Some days after work you just want to lose yourself in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a pitcher of Pepsi. The problem – burning off comfort food can be a bit uncomfortable. So here’s some motivation: using an average of 2,000 steps per mile and 89 calories burned per mile walked, it’s going to take a lot more than the recommended 10,000 steps a day to balance your diet! Luke Kayyem says being aware of how many calories you’re actually burning is what’s trending.

How Many Calories Will It Take To Burn Off Your Meal?

Big Mac from McDonalds:

540 calories
6.07 miles
12,140 steps

Whopper from Burger King:

650 calories
7.3 miles
14,600 steps

Chipotle Chicken Burrito

1,050 calories
11.8 miles
23,600 steps

Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse:

1,954 calories
21.96 miles or a Marathon
43,920 steps

Get to Steppin’!


Big Mac, Whopper, Bloomin’ Onion…Chipotle Chicken Burrito? You might want to rethink your order!

Watch SICFIT’s fitness expert Luke Kayyem explain to the folks at The List how many steps it would take to burn off all those delicious calories – it might make you reevaluate your next order!

Hell Week coming to SICFIT Scottsdale!




This 5-day course of two-a-day workouts  will push you to your mental limits while teaching you everything we know about training, discipline, leadership, spirituality, and moral virtues of a warrior. We leave no stone unturned and hold nothing back.  These skills are not learned in a textbook, success manual or classroom. They must be experienced in the arena of hard physical training, mental toughness, emotional discipline, and humility.

* 5-6am each day features HELL WEEK workout

* Participants must complete an additional group class that same day in order to meet requirements (helpful hint: follow with the 6am class at SICFIT Scottsdale)

* Previous SICFIT Scottsdale HELL WEEK graduates gain complimentary access to the program

* Black SICFIT shirt/tank required as “uniform” for the week


All levels welcome! Sign up HERE!



Athlete of the Month: John Merendino from New York to Scottsdale


John was born in Long Island, New York and thrived there until just over a year ago when he relocated his family to Scottsdale, Arizona. John’s wife, Lisa, and their two boys are huge supporters of his SICcess. Johnny (six years old) and Joseph (four years old) love the fact Dad is training to live a long and healthy life. His boys have always been actively involved in sports, playing baseball, swimming, and doing karate, and now he’s in better shape than ever to keep up with them.

Before planting roots in Scottsdale, John spent his life on the east coast. He graduated CW Post University with a degree in Marketing and Finance. John has been able to grow and build great relationships from each job he’s had growing up (although delivering newspapers on bike during snowy, New York winter mornings was challenging for him at times!). Of all the jobs he’s held, John likes his current businesses best, as they both allow him the ability to help others reach their goals and objectives, employ great people, and give back to local communities and charities. John currently trains with Coach Jesse, who commends him on being a driven, hardworking individual and a pleasure to coach.

According to John, SICFIT has changed his life; “Jesse and the team have shown me a sustainable way to workout and diet, while having fun and fitting it all into my busy and ever-changing schedule!” John has lost almost 30 pounds since joining SICFIT, and the weight loss isn’t stopping there. He plans to continue living a healthy lifestyle and change his body for the better.

What’s a typical workout like for the former New Yorker? Not burpees! Burpees are John’s least favorite movement (can you blame him?!). He trains one-on-one with Coach Jesse, focusing on gaining strength and losing those last few pounds of fat.

So why is he so dedicated to his SICess? John says the answer to that is his family. “Unfortunately,” he says,  “I have lost a family member and a few friends, all about my age. I have often wondered if they would still be here if they had taken their health a little more seriously.  I realized I was making some of the same lifestyle choices that they were; I decided it was time to reevaluate my lifestyle and put myself in the best position possible to help my family and be a positive role model to my children. Jesse and SICFIT have definitely helped make this happen!” John works hard to live the life he’s built! The SICFIT community couldn’t be prouder.

 MerendinoCoach Jesse and John Merendino

Nothing In Sight But the Bullseye


Strength in Conditioning for Friday, October 2, 2015

It may not feel like it quite yet out here in the desert, but October has arrived! With only three months left in 2015, now is a great time to check back in with some of the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.

Perhaps we started the year with intentions of shedding a few pounds. Or maybe we wanted to get our first kipping pull up. Outside the gym, maybe we were planning to make 2015 the year we picked back up an old hobby or start a new one.

Whatever our goals were at the start of 2015, we have about 90 days to turn them into a reality. As for the fitness related goals, be sure to talk to one of your SICFIT coaches. Not only will they help you set your course for SICCESS, but they will also help hold you accountable… And lets face it, we all need a good acountabilo-buddy!

Like an arrow, let’s steady our aim towards what we want, let go of what’s holding us back, and then shoot forward with nothing in sight but the bullseye!


Barbell Prep
4 Rounds
Front Squat | 10-12 | 8-10 | 5-8 | 3-5 | 1-2
20 Second Rest
5 Pull Up
5 Sit Up
20 Second Rest
20 Second Row (Increasing Intensity Each Round)
2 Minute Walking Rest
3 Rounds
Single Arm Waiters Walk 40′
4×10 Leggels Up/Down + Side/Side + Half Circles + Flexion/Extension
12 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint
9 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint
6 Burpees
Small Lap Sprint


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