I’m a positive fella…really I am. And being active and healthy helps me maintain that positive attitude. Eat right, rest right, laugh often, move often, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Sadly, as some of you know due to my recent ramblings, I haven’t been all that healthy lately. I’m not here to whine about it (I’ve done plenty already!), I’m here to share with you how I’m doing my best to turn this negative into a positive.

Typically walk around in the mid 170’s…and I’ve been that way for the last couple years. I’m only 5′ 9″ so I’ve been happy with that weight. In recent years, my goal in the gym was to increase my relative strength with bodyweight exercises and I was never too concerned with getting bigger. One thing I didn’t want to do was get any smaller. It’s hard enough to try to coach and command respect from professional MMA athletes who are twice your size.

DB Strength & Travis Browne

Hapa 6’7″ 250lb

Sadly, due to the two injuries I’m still dealing with, the body has a plan of its own. I stepped on the scale this week: 158! With the exception of some grappling tournaments where I competed at 155, I haven’t been that light since high school (that’s a LONG time ago)!


 Scale on 1/31/13

Being 175 in mid-December, that’s nearly 20 pounds in about 6 weeks. Maybe I’m on to the next great weight loss solution!? I could provide detailed material of my training routines and nutrition over the past 6 weeks and package it up with a pretty label for the GNC shelves…I think I’ll pass. Here is the clif notes version here:

Strength Training: none

“Cardio” Training: none

Rehab/Breathing Training: 20-30 minutes 6-7 days a week

Nutrition: I’ve cut my complex carbs and total meals down a bit and kept the majority of my calories from local fruits & veggies and organic lean meats.

So I basically stopped working out and cut out a meal or two during the day. 18 pounds in 6 weeks. Done. Now, If weight loss is your goal, I would NOT recommend this at all. The lack of exercise has me a little more irritable and definitely with less energy.

Why is this recovery taking so long? The 20-30 “rehab routine” is definitely helping, it’s just a slow go. I think a big reason is because I’m trying to fix the problems that caused the pain and I’m not just chasing the pain. We’ve been working a lot on a number of shoulder and neck issues that contributed the elbow injury; which in turn caused the hip injury. Everything really is connected in there and if you mess up one link, chances are you’ll pay for it down the road in another link.

Despite remaining optimistic and despite the gradual improvements, the rapid weight loss is a concern. Perhaps this issue goes deeper…perhaps it’s more than just biomechanical imbalances. The next steps I’m taking are to go “deeper” – adrenals, saliva tests, blood work, etc. And also looking into the mental aspects of my life; the stressors, relationships, clients, jobs, career path, values/passion, etc.

This all leads me to the point of this piece…


1. Knowledge/Expand
This journey has led me to a number of “wellness strategies” that I had not experienced before. I love learning and trying new exercises, movements, drills, etc. so I was definitely open to learning some more alternative techniques.

DNS – Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: I’ve learned a lot about this strategy that is designed to activate the deep stabilizers of the body and taps into the principles of developmental kinesiology. Extremely interesting stuff. This includes a lot of breathing techniques. Breath-work and proper breathing patterns are extremely underrated. I’ve learned that I was a horrible breather. Sounds funny but true. I was extremely inefficient and, despite being in decent shape, my high chest breathing contributed to some of these shoulder and neck issues I’m dealing with now. A work in progress but I’m improving.

Acupuncture: I’ve done acupuncture once of time years ago, however, it was only one session just so I could get the feel of it. I’ve done a number of sessions this time and I have a handful remaining. The fact that I can get a .16mm piece of steel put into my right shoulder and feel my left hip pain goes away is insane! I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the theory of energy (qi) in the body and any imbalances will throw that energy flow off. The needles are placed in certain areas that will correct these imbalances. The pain does come back, however, there is definitely something happening. I’m extremely intrigued and will be learning more about this one for sure.

2. Lesson in patience
Patience is a virtue. I’m heard it a hundred times before…however, I’ve never REALLY heard it.

Just cuz you're listening to him doesn't mean you're hearing him.

Just cuz you’re listening to him doesn’t mean you’re hearing him.

When you have no choice, you better learn to appreciate patience. I can’t workout right now. My body just won’t let me. Forget learning to walk before you can run, or even learning to crawl before you walk…I’m focused on learning to breath before I roll over. As frustrating as that is, I’m starting to realize it’s an invaluable lesson in patience.

“Constant dripping hollows out a stone” ~Lucretius

3. Lesson in proper planning
This ongoing saga really allows me time to think about my next steps with my own strength and fitness path. I’ve looked back at my old programs to see if I was doing some uneducated (read: stupid). You mean the 4 days of  the “bench and bi routine” back in college was a bad idea?! It has also prompted me to re-think my programs and strategies with my clients as well. Am I trying to do too much? Maybe less is more…I’m really starting to embrace the “one goal at a time” mentality. Pick one fitness-related goal, conquer that, and then move on to the next one. Nothing more.

4. Explore new possibilities
If you are unable to do something that you love for a period of time, why not take this opportunity to explore something new? Next week, I’m getting the ‘green light’ to try find some pain-free movements…I’m going to play around with swimming, yoga, and a couple bodyweight exercises. I’ve swam and practiced yoga before, however, they were  a 1x per week activity…they were never the bulk of my routine. I’m excited to try them out and keep them as my focus for the next couple weeks.

5. Get over it
My final, and most important take-away, is GET OVER IT. Stop pouting and find a way! “Excuses are the nails that build a house of failure.” (~Wilder)


About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.