10 Reasons To Love Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder Nashville

As you all know, we here at Nashville Strength Co. love ourselves an OCR (obstacle race).
They are such a great way to test your will, strength, and fortitude. We have ran our fair share of them and based on our experience, here are some reasons why we think you should love them yourself.

10. Running on dirt, grass, or in mud has way less impact and shock on the body. Less impact means less spinal compression and less injury!

9. Running on dirt, grass, or in mud will make you stronger. As you train on different surfaces, you will build supportive, stabilizing tissue in the ankle and knees that will help keep you from the same old injuries.

8. Running an OCR is so much fun with your friends! All different levels of fitness and ages are welcome as you can help each other out (typically ages 14+).

7. Nature, man–freaking nature. It’s way better than running in the city.

6. Destinations. Our next OCR is Tough Mudder in Lebanon TN, just outside of Nashville. Lebanon is beautiful country and the benefit of Music City, which we call home.

5. Obstacles in your race make your race way more interesting, challenging, and fun.

4. Testing your strength with OCR is a great diagnostic tool. I mean, what’s the point of working out all the time if you can’t do a pull-up or jump a mud hill?

3. OCR swag is way cooler than street races!

2. Tough Mudder was one of the first to races to make OCR’s popular. They know what they are doing and are one of the best out there!

1. Goals. Everyone should be training towards something and running an OCR is a great thing to train for. It will make you evenly strong and ready for whatever life throws your way.

So come run the Nashville Tough Mudder with us in September. Let’s do this!


the post east juice cleanse

Here we go with Part 3 of my trip through a 14-day juice fast, sponsored by the good people over at The Post East on Fatherland St. in East Nashville. I am happy to say that it’s over! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a lot of things about my fasting experience, here are a few:

1. The ease of not having to prepare food
2. The energy that I felt
3. The taste of the juices (The Post East makes some great juices)

As good as those things are, doing a juice fast for 14 days is tough. So how’d fasting affect my body? Here’s the body breakdown:

1. 17 pounds lost. (see photos below)
2. 16.9% Body fat down to 12.1% Body fat
3. 4 inches lost
4. Achieved breakthrough in my physical fitness plateaus

fitness while fasting

nashville juice cleanse

juicing while working out

So if these things are true, why do I think that fasting isn’t for everyone?
Simply put, if you are trying to get “skinny” then you are doing it for the wrongs reasons. If you are trying to fit into a smaller pair of pants to wow your friends at the high school reunion, then you are doing this for the wrong reasons. Fasting needs to be about health. It needs to be treated with serious care and intention. Careful planning to ensure that you are getting enough of the right nutrition, but also careful consideration of the proper things to help remove the waste that you are cleansing out of the body. Fasting is for healing, healing of energy, hormones, heavy metal toxification, inflammation, parasites etc… It may be time for you to consider what a fast could do for you. If this is you, then we can help!


the post east juice cleanse

Just like that the halfway point of my 14-day juice fast, provided by the lovely people at The Post East, came and went! And as fast it came, I know it will be done. My feelings right now aren’t negative about the fast, but I do miss eating, I’m not going to lie. I wanted to check in with you and let you know exactly how I was feeling at this midpoint.

My overall energy has come up since day 2 and 3, but I am a little sleepy still. This is in part because I am still working out regularly and I’m not doing 6 juices like they recommend. I feel like 6 juices a day would really help me sustain energy when I’m working long days. Next time I will make that happen!

I’ve had less startup energy for my workouts, but once I get warmed up I feel way stronger. Typically, I workout 4 times a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. I usually stick to body weight exercises: pull-ups, muscle-ups handstands, pistol squats, etc., but coming into the fast I started using weight once a week and the strength really feels different. I PR’d my muscle ups on the rings this week–8 in a row is a big deal for me! They were fairly strict to gymnastics standards.

Weight Loss:
Right now I’m down 9.5 pounds and I can see the difference. I am more cut, that’s for sure, and I don’t expect much more weight loss at this point.

Stay tuned for the wrap up!


Restorative fitness is how we help people with chronic pain and injury get back to 100%. Restorative fitness is also our answer to unlock flexibility and improve muscle imbalances. Here are ten reasons you and your body need restorative fitness.

1. Your body needs training on a transverse and lateral plane.

Most people spend their life moving in a forward plain of motion. 90% of all injuries are to stabilizing muscles from moving out of a forward motion.

2. Everybody has muscle imbalances.

If you are active or sedentary you have a muscle imbalance. Our bodies are in constant competition for strength. They way we sit or stand has a lot to do with that but some imbalances are because of trauma to the joint.

3. Everyone wants more strength.

When working out you typically have two sets of people. 1) the people that spend more time doing yoga or flexibility work than any other type of fitness 2) the people that workout and then go straight to work with very little or no time spent increasing flexibility.

4. You need flexibility even if you hate yoga.

Yoga isn’t what we are selling even though it is really beneficial. What I want for my clients is a yoga based fitness lifestyle that compliments the body not compromises it. There are other exercises that do what yoga does, yoga is just a good example.

5. The doctor can’t explain your pain.

Most of our clients come to us from their doctors when the doctor is at a loss for the source of their pain or because the doctor is pushing surgery and the client wants a second opinion. We are not doctors, but we don’t need to be either. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see a muscle problem—it takes someone who works on building muscles for a living, like us.

6. Surgery doesn’t have to be the answer.

With Restorative Fitness and proper chiropractic care we have helped 95% of clients who have walked through our doors with a problem. Avoiding surgery, medications and costly rehabilitation.

7. You should be able to touch your toes.

Being able to touch your toes, squat, or put your hands above your head gives us all the information that we need to help you be pain free.

8. Pushups, squats, and pullups shouldn’t hurt.

These are basic movements that should be life goals if you can’t do them–and a baseline for life if you can do them. They should always be pain free.

9. It’s a practical solution to approaching fitness.

Starting your fitness journey with Restorative Fitness is really starting with the basics of exercise science and practical application to everyday life.

10. So your body can excel in your favorite activities and communicate properly.

How can you excel in your favorite activities when your body isn’t communicating properly? No one wants a miscommunication! The body has muscles, tight muscles pull on the spine the spine will come out of alignment and when that happens your body’s communication properties are compromised.

Hear are some recommended items, resources, and calisthenics gear for helping you in your restorative fitness journey.

1. Bosu Pro Balance Ball

2. WOSS 3000 Equalizer Trainer

3. Prosource Premium High Density Yoga Mat

4. Standard Mobile Gym Kit
mobile gym kit

5. Robust Resistance Band
resistance band nashville

6. Door Pull Up Bar


Restorative fitness is how we describe our physical therapy based personal training. Rehabilitation is something for which we are well known. We have received referrals from the Baptist Hospital PT department, Chiropractic Nashville, and a slew of our walking success stories (you know who you are). We have a great success rate, not because we are awesome, but because we have formulated a tested plan for helping you get back to 100%.

What’s this plan? There are five main points:
1. Reduce/eliminate inflammation
2. Correct alignment (using some of our great chiropractors here in Nashville)
3. Build structural muscle to secure alignment
4. Correct muscle imbalances
5. Ease muscle tension

This formula is adjusted to fit each person. Each category may be attacked slightly differently and in different order depending on the injury or person. Reducing inflammation is a huge part of what we do and we reduce it with food, herbs and essential oils. Spinal alignment is vitally important. We refer out to professional chiropractors that may use manual adjustments or use an activator depending on the body in question. If you are already working with a chiropractor, then you’re off to a good start!

Building structural muscle increases blood flow to the injured area. We do this with as little impact as possible, especially in the beginning. That means no weights sometimes, and no jumping, for a while. The patterns in your daily life will be taken into consideration as well. Correcting muscle imbalances is what we do on the day-to-day with nearly every single person, including ourselves, through careful exercise selection. You may never be completely balanced, but every improvement reduces pain.

Muscle tension is resolved with massage therapy, essential oils, NST, and a couple other modalities. For massage therapy, we prefer massage therapists that are clinical in their approach. They work to relieve everything in the line of the muscle tension, including the fascia and smaller muscles you may not realize were affected. The release of muscle tension will help to strengthen the proper muscles to support the spine, hips, and shoulders without pain.

When picking a personal trainer, choose a trainer that has a background in rehabilitating injuries using physical therapy. This will allow you to reach your goals to regain mobility without being further injured by a trainer unfamiliar with physical therapy. Unfortunately, that kind of thing happens often in the fitness industry. We want to help you get back to feeling your best, un-injured self!


nashville best personal trainer

At Life Fitness Academy we have heard it all when it comes to clients’ concerns. After years of listening to every type of reason for not training with a certified personal trainer we thought we would help debunk some common excuses. Here we go!

It’s intimidating being around all you fit people.

If this is you, think about those fit people as a library of information on how to get in shape and stay in shape. Our knowledge is your knowledge, just ask us. Don’t assume the trainer or trainers are judgmental or intimidating because of their appearance or ability until you talk with them. At LFA we are for you—we are on your side and want your best. We are busy practicing what we preach and it just so happens that it shows on our physical appearance. Besides, who would want to work with trainer that was out of shape?

I don’t want a trainer because he or she will force me to lift weights.

Well, this may be true of some trainers, but it’s certainly not a concern you need to have if you are coming to LFA. There’s 101 ways to work any given muscle group so just tell us if weights aren’t your thing. Chances are, it’s not our thing either.

I eat right, I just need someone to tell me how to workout.

I hear this one personally about every other day—it’s factually incorrect. As a matter of fact only about 1% of all my clients have ever known how to eat. Why? Well the more you act like you know by saying you don’t need to know, the more you don’t know. That being said there are certain underlying things that everyone should know. While there is a slew of important food information we give, here is a sampling:
1) Eat foods that have been tested over thousands of years–not thousands of science experiments.
2) All sugar is NOT sugar (there is better sugar).
3) Your body needs calories. So stop focusing on counting calories and eating things that are 0 calorie.
4) Eat foods that free your body up to do what it needs to do. These foods should make you feel great.

I just hate going to the gym [OR] I’m too out of shape to go to the gym.

That’s like saying “I’m too inflexible for yoga”. Well, how do think you get flexible if you don’t go do flexible things like yoga? If you’re too out of shape for the gym then you are too thirsty for water. Worry more about surrounding yourself with a community that is going where you want to go. You have to change how you think and what you are doing to change where you are going.

There will be more to come, but if any of these reasons for not meeting with a personal trainer have come from your lips. Then it’s time to come see us here at Life Fitness Academy. It’s a family, you’re always welcome!


grow new bone with nashville, fitness

It seems as though the statement of “yes, you can grow bone” is somewhat hard to believe. We believe this to be true here at Life Fitness Academy for two reasons: 1) we’ve seen it happen 2) the anatomy books not only tell us this is possible, but they also tell us that your body wants to grow bone. For instance, you have mechanoreceptors which are sensory receptors responsible for sensing distortion in body tissues. This is how your body knows that you have a weakened bone or joint, as well as other issues in the body tissues.
Then there are these wonderful processes in the body that respond to that need.

Remodeling—the process of resorption and the formation of bone. Think of this like a snake shedding it’s skin, this is how your body deals with dead bone tissue and replacing that tissue with the new bone tissue.

Osteoclasts—a type of bone cell that removes bone tissue. Simply put, it is the process of dead bone removal.

Osteoblasts—a type of cell that is responsible for bone formation. The process of rebuilding the bones.

This is a phenomenal thing to behold! Your body wants to heal itself! Right down to your very foundations! This process is something that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities in fitness.

We like to say that the “life of the flesh is in the blood”. So where does blood come into play? Through the epiphysis- the end of long bones, which is mainly composed of cancellous bone, and which houses much of the red blood cell production. The epiphysis is also one of the primary sites for bone growth. That’s right, bone growth.

Let’s put this all together now shall we? If your central nervous system (the portion of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord) is properly communicating then the rest of the process is like clockwork. Your spine says we have a problem. Your brain says, go! The remodeling of the bone begins. If you are eating nutrient dense foods that are beyond organic and farm first then you are improving the rate at which your body implements this process and the necessary nutrients to carry it out. If while eating you are avoiding foods that are inflamatory your rehab time just went from 6 months of work to 2-3 months, and in some cases just 6-8 weeks depending on some variables!

Give your body all the things it needs to be free. Freed up to do what it wants to do—HEAL.

*Cohen H. Neuroscience for rehabilitation. 2nd ed.
*Lienbenson CL. Active muscle relaxation technics. Part 2
*Clark MA. Integrated training for the new millennium. Thousand Oaks CA: National Academy of Sports Medicine.
National Academy Of Sports Medicine.


We think it’s time to connect a couple of dots in our culture. There are a few things about emotional eating that typically aren’t related to celebrating with food. Let’s spend some time clarifying what emotional eating can do on both sides of the spectrum.

You may know about comfort foods—but have you ever considered the reason why we call them comfort foods? Or maybe the better question, why do we need to be comforted by food at all? Are we so emotionally deprived that in any given moment of hurt or being let down we run to certain foods for warmth? Is it wrong to have comfort foods?

Let’s answer some of these important questions, shall we!
Comfort foods can be anything really but most of the time it seems for the majority of America it’s sugars and starchy foods. Foods like bagels, doughnuts, chips, cake, cookies, chocolate, etc. For others it can go as far as being alcohol. Being comforted by these things isn’t wrong it’s just dangerous. Dangerous because foods are just that, food. They cannot love in return, they cannot fulfill loneliness, they cannot replace a loved one or a job. Your sense of worth needs to come from someplace else. Looking for something to fill you emotionally and spiritually should never come from food. It’s not fair for you or your food. It cannot and will never be able to hug, high five, or tell you that you are loved.

Setting time aside to grow spiritually is the first step in healing your emotions, finding your self worth and working towards understanding how to love others. Now I’m not saying that you don’t know how to love others. I’m saying that tying your comforts up in things like food impedes or impairs your ability to love wholly. And it will lead to continuing let-downs because, like I said before, food cannot love you back.

Celebrating with food can be great and a great way to bring people together. However there can be some dangers too. It can be mixed in with the same dangers of emotional eating. Just like the emotional eating, the cycle gets to a point of celebrating everything or being hurt by everything. Then we tend to think that we can only feel safe, loved, happy, or fun when food is around. It might lead you to think that you can’t have fun or show someone you love them without somehow involving food. It’s a slippery slope that a lot of clients don’t realize they are stuck in. What’s the best way to counter this action?

There are several things you can do, but here are some you can try (AIDSHIC):
+ Admit that you are eating emotional (celebratory or because of hurt)
+ If you are hurt, try telling the person that hurt you along with why you felt hurt
+ Do NOT use exercise as discipline or a way out of guilt if you feel like you failed. Just take it one meal at a time.
+ Seek accountability or counsel to get healing emotionally
+ Have better foods available (there are scores of healthier versions of your favorite foods)
+ If cooking for someone makes you feel like you’re showing them love, ask them if there is anything else that you do that makes them feel the same way.
+ Celebrate with gratefulness in your mind!

Remember you are not a failure for making a mistake with food (it is just food) or having a bad day. Certainly don’t ever look to exercise as a way to escape guilt either. Be in a right place when working out and if you cannot do that in your current gym then try Life Fitness Academy. No fear, no judgment, just real people sharing real truth with their friends.


injury prevention nashville

Working in an industry that is very physical we see a lot of bodies at various stages. Injured (deconditioned) is most often the industry standard. The term of de-conditioned means that you were set at a certain strength and now have since degressed or weakened. I guess you could say that we are experts in the field of re-conditioning. Everyone at some point or in some manner is experiencing a level of being de-conditioned. As much as we, as CPT’s, try to be as tough as we can be, we are in a place of re-conditioning also. You see muscle imbalances are the larger part of building a better body. You cannot progress past a plateau or burn the ultimate amount of fat without fixing muscle imbalances and conditioning the body to do those things.

So in a field full of injuries we here at Life Fitness Academy start with the weakest ones. Whether rehab or calisthenics the idea is the same: condition the body starting at the weakest point. Oftentimes it’s your bones or joints and those too can be built or rebuilt better. Now, we cannot un-break your leg, but we can speed healing and increase your bone density with resistance training by 20% in just a few short weeks! That’s building a better structure. In so doing, we are optimizing your muscle building, fat burning and strength training ability. One joint at a time.

If your trainer doesn’t work to build a better structure by building stronger bones then please consider trying us out. If your trainer doesn’t care about muscle imbalances and tension, please consider trying us out. If your trainer doesn’t care about nutrition, please consider trying us out. The best shape of your life is here, come and get it.

Lifting Versus Body Weight Training

best nashville fitness

Here at Life Fitness Academy we are very diverse in fitness teaching practices. We come from various fitness backgrounds and we actually really love that. It has set us apart in a very competitive industry where Crossfit is king and most other methods of fitness are either hyper-sterile or just old news. It’s our goal to offer the best of the best in all areas of the industry with the strongest emphasis on nutrition. That being said, I prefer calisthenics, resistance, and suspension training.

Two years ago I put down the weights and pursued things like handstands, planche, muscle ups and every pushup and pullup variation known to man. I only did this because I got bored with weights. Well, after two years I now want to conduct an experiment of sorts. I asked my Olympic lifting personal trainer Chris Mahoney to put me through the lifting paces in an effort to best my personal best numbers from over two years ago.

nashville personal trainer

Monday was the first day and we worked on bench press. After a long warm up and a reminder on the importance of structural alignment Chris and I hit the bench. Keep in mind that up until this point I’ve been doing only intense body weight training 3-4 days a week. After only a few reps I was able to best my previous bench press of 245lbs to 255lbs. That may seem minimal to the everyday weight lifter–but think about the two year break. Personally, this experiment puts to bed the theory that you must lift heavy to maintain muscle mass and it also debunks the myth that body weight exercise is one-dimensional.

This experiment is to be continued as we have yet to do dead lift, squat and overhead press. Stay tuned to see what happens next!

*Terry Barga is the owner of Life Fitness Academy