Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Now drop down - Push'em out, then stand up and Pull'em Up, because this is YOUR year - seriously, it's up to you - YOU DEFINE 2009...No one else defines your year unless you decide to accept someone's definition...and the only definition I encourage you to accept is this: This year is 100% up to YOU. I mean this with every Fired UP molecule in my body - your questions/comments led me to write The PERFECT PROMISE, which describes how I approach life and Team PERFECT (to me - they are one and the same).

I'm splitting the PERFECT PROMISE into seven installments to make it as easy to digest as possible. It's personal - it's heavy and not easy, but it works, and I hope it'll Fire YOU UP to live the life you define - not the life that others will attempt to define for you.

This is your year - it's your life - make the most of it!


Monday, December 29, 2008

SEAL PRT and the Perfect Pushup Counter

In SEAL Team, every six months all SEALs are required to conduct a Physical Readiness Test (PRT) to ensure you’re keeping your most important weapon mission ready – your body. The test is comprised of five events: pushups, situps, pull-ups, swim, and run, and time is your enemy. The entire PRT is strictly timed; it starts with pushups and ends with a three mile run. The calisthenics portion of the PRT starts with the pushups and ends with the pull-ups. You have two minutes to perform the pushups and situps (with 2 minutes of rest between each one); the pullup test is as many as you can do without dropping off the bar.

To make sure you’re getting “full benefit” (one of a SEAL instructor’s favorite sayings) from your pushups, a SEAL performs his pushups over his swim buddy’s fist. (The swim buddy is lying on the ground with his arm extended and hand made into a fist.) The reason for the swim buddy’s fist is simple - it forces the SEAL to perform the full range of motion of the pushup ensuring the maximum number of muscles in the chest, arms and shoulders are fully engaged.

The pushup test is simple – you’ve got two minutes to do as many pushups as you can do, but they only count if your chest touches your swim buddy’s fist. In SEAL Team, it takes two people to orchestrate the PRT – a timer and a swim buddy on the ground keeping the count. (Incidentally, same holds true for the situp and pullup, except the swim buddy has different responsibilities to ensure the SEAL is getting “full benefit”.)

Now that I’m out of SEAL Team, I don’t have my swim buddy around anymore and it’s pretty darn distracting timing my workouts while I’m trying to focus on “putting out” (another favorite SEAL axiom). Enter the Perfect Pushup Counter – I’d call it the Perfect Pushup Swimbuddy if I didn’t have to educate everyone on what a swim buddy is! The Perfect Pushup Counter combines a timer with an LCD counter (think swim buddy fist for the 21st century). The counter is adjustable in height from 4.5 to 6.5 inches and fits easily between the Perfect Pushup. It can count up to 9999 pushups and can be adjusted in time increments from 10 seconds to 99 minutes. Made from flexible polycarbonate and a thick cushion of rubber foam, the Perfect Pushup Counter won’t hurt your chest if your “put out” was a little more than you anticipated.

The Perfect Pushup Counter is the first of its kind, it’s next the best thing to my swim buddy during a SEAL PRT. On second thought, it might be better than my swim buddy during our bi-annual PRTs, because this swim buddy doesn’t heckle me as I struggle to put-out in the final seconds of the test. So enjoy getting full benefit from your next Perfect Pushup workout – putting out on your Perfect Pushups never felt so good.


Monday, December 22, 2008

CM Teammates -- Happy Holidays!

I hope this post finds you Fired UP for an Outstanding Holiday season. It can be the best of times and the worst of times depending on your perspective especially this holiday season. If you're able to breath, eat, and move under your own power, then you're off to the right start to getting (and staying) Fired UP. So many folks ask me about getting (and keeping) a positive attitude, and the holidays amplify the positives or negatives in your life. If you're in the negative camp this holiday season, Push and Pull yourself out of it by starting with a review of what I call life perspective fundamentals:

1. Can you breathe under your own power?
2. Can you eat under your own power?
3. Can you move under your own power?

If you answered yes to all three (and incidentally, if you're physically challenged but can still move even mechanically assisted, then your answer is "yes!" for #3) - then you have NO REASON not to have a positive attitude, an Awesome Holiday season and the foundation for a killer mission plan for 2009.

The point is, you decide what your attitude is 24/7 - and it starts with having an appreciation for your big picture perspective on life - how fortunate you are that you can do the above fundamentals, because there are plenty in this world that can't, and trust me, they'd give anything to be able to have what you have...anything (and many of these folks still remain Positive!).

Next step - you guessed it - workout. Nothing fancy, just get the muscles moving, the blood pumping and feed your machine some good fuel. I know the holidays are the best time for taking in short-term feel good fuel (sugar: candy/alcohol/cookies/cake, etc) - I certainly enjoy more than my fair share - just know that its your call to pay now or pay later - no guilt trip here - it just is what it is - Output versus Input. More input (food) and less output (exercise) will tip your scales and your attitude in the wrong direction. Don't let the Holidays get the best of you - instead Get the best out of the holidays this year by staying Fired Up and in control. After all - it's all your call.

Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - CHARLIE MIKE! ALDEN

Monday, December 15, 2008

Plan Your Dive/Dive Your Plan in December!

The holidays are here -- than means more opportunity for binge eating on useless fat-creating calories. I love sweets more than anyone I know, but you need to keep things in moderation. If you have established your routine and understand "your enemy within" then you'll be absolutely fine during the holidays have to have a plan to burn the extra calories you decide to eat.

Dare yourselves to try one week of exercise scheduling. Sit down in the next 24 hours and write down a schedule for yourself and follow it ... a couple of hints ... morning exercise will energize you for the rest of the day. During this busy time of year, challenge yourself to plan your exercise: 10 minutes a day with the Perfect Pushup is one option. As we say in SEAL Team -- plan your dive, then dive your plan.

Go to the Perfect Pushup YouTube channel for a Fired Up Kick Start to keeping on track with your exercise and diet goals for this holiday season.


Friday, December 12, 2008

When Did You Last Do A Pushup?

Guest Blogger: Tom Rancich

LaLou recently bought a Perfect Pushup – she very kindly agreed to share her story with the readers of Charlie Mike.

“So I bought some Perfect Pushups. I am trying to get more fit. I have a lot of physical limitations, including a bad shoulder. I opened the box at home and took them out. I tossed the instruction dvd’s on the table and set the pp’s on the kitchen floor. I gripped the handles, assumed the position and began to lower myself.

SNAP CRACKLE POP CRUNCH! Wrist, elbow and shoulder joints all sounded off in protest – and that was just the down motion. Up was just as loud, if not louder. I thought, “Well, there’s one” and stopped before something snapped. Hah! Luckily I am strong from years of mucking stalls and such. I’ll shake out the arms and do some more today.”

Tom Rancich with the $64,000 Question:

“Hi LaLou – so my question to you is---when did you last do a pushup? The ability of a body to get weak is only equaled by its ability to get strong---so---if you haven’t done a pushup in forever, start on the wall or on stairs to decrease the stress. Get the muscle thinking again. When I first used the PP it did not feel good, not just the physical part but the rotating etc. My body was totally conditioned to regular pushups. The PP, though better and more efficient for me, was way uncomfortable to do the new movement. But I was strong enough to just decrease reps and work through it: that might not be your situation and you will have to adjust.”

And LaLou responded:

“I haven’t done a pushup in probably 20 years. I was in an accident when I was 19 … I spent 2 years before I could walk without crutches, then canes. But now I toss hay bales around all year and clean stalls and run a heavy wheelbarrow. I have strength, but not apparently for that particular motion.

I’ll start slow. Maybe use the wall. I thought the PP would be good by reducing rotational stress on my shoulder. I think it will be, once I get used to doing pushups again.

There is nobody more stubborn than I.

And now, in conclusion, Tom’s advice to “use your stubbornness only when it is advantageous."

"Stubborn is great---stupid is not. So before ya get mad that I called ya stupid, I didn’t. So I go to the doc about three months after being in a helo crash and she says, “When did you break your neck?” And I say, “Hmmmmm, got an idea.” Anyway, she tells me I must stop all physical contact. I say, “No rugby? And she says, “You can’t wrestle with your kids.” I say, “Pfffft” ---and go play rugby. I wind up laying on the ground with no feeling anywhere: that is stubborn and stupid. Stubbornness is a great quality but it has to be balanced with smart. How am I to reach my stubborn goal? By doggedly taking it one tiny step at a time.”


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business that seeks to employ the highly trained and motivated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for work in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---knowing the hollowness and lack of joy some returning veterans experience daily, Tom has said, "If things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline".

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership and team building, often as a motivational speaker, in addition to being an expert consultant to the entertainment industry. The YouTube clip shows some recent work for a production company.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Longtime “on-line” coach for Team Perfect, Tom blogs monthly on Charlie Mike.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nutrisystem Team Leader: keep those questions coming!

To the Nutrisystem Perfect Pushup team leader Tom – like the motivation and particularly like the detailed e-mail – thanks.

To your points:

a. The “0” level (i.e. can’t do a pushup starting workout) is 4, 3, 2, 1 on your knees – if this phrase “*on your knees” or “*knee pushups” isn’t written under the numbers 4,3,2,1 then you have a faulty chart – let me know ASAP [at] and I’ll get you another one – also, check out and you’ll find the correctly stated workout for the starting level of “0” – to perform proper knee pushups see the chart.

b. The “10” level on the chart does ask you to do a total of 20 pushups – what gives? Great question – here’s why – the idea is to get you to do 80% of your max on the first rep – after that, I want you to exhaust your muscles to force you to your knees. Everyone thinks that Pushups only count if your knees don’t touch the ground – NEGATIVE – this rule only applies when you’re conducting your one set Max. The concept is to push your muscles to total exhaustion and to get you to total exhaustion I use time and twice your max number of repetitions to compel you to go to your knees.

If you’re not ending the last sets of your pushups on your knees then you’re not pushing yourself, and if you’re not pushing yourself then you won’t get maximum gains, and if you don’t get gains then sooner or later you’ll give up – and that’s the last thing I want anyone to do. I realize this is a fine line – make it too hard and the workout will scare folks off – make it too easy it’ll they complain that they are not getting the results they deserve. Coming from SEAL Team, I’ll err on the side of making things harder – I know level “50” gives you only 4 seconds of rest – but that’s the point – I don’t want level “50” to be easily achieved – it can be done, but it takes time and a whole lot of practice on your knees!

c. All this said, if you feel I haven’t stated the importance of conducting your final sets of pushups on your knees then I will definitely edit the chart to articulate it more clearly – it’s this kind of feedback that helps us help teammates all over the world better themselves, and this is exactly why I started this company – thanks for the feedback – you’ll be receiving our latest Power 10 Advanced DVD and Workout cards (these about to go to print so you’ll get’em in about 6 wks) - keep the feedback coming!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks -- My Favorite Holiday

My favorite holiday of the year - Thanksgiving, it just edges out Fourth of July in my book because of what it stands for – Giving Thanks. Teammates ask me all time – what gives with the constant Fired Up Attitude Alden??? Some who don’t know me throw the bullshit flag at me and call it false motivation until we spend about 2 minutes together – which should be about how long it takes you to read what I’m about to write…in my book Attitude is the number one thing you need to control before you tackle any goal you have in mind – especially if you’re looking to work on your body – Attitude is 100% up to you – no matter how powerfully positive or miserably negative you are – you’ve made that decision and you’ve made it based on a perspective that you’ve allowed your brain to accept. Your perspective in life fuels your Attitude – think you’re gonna fail, then you will; think you’re fat, then no matter what anyone tells you – you’ll remained focused on being fat; conversely, think about winning, then you’ll be thinking about how to win, and you’ll be on your way to victory; want to lose 10lbs, then you’ll determine how to lose it, and make it happen…no matter what it is, how you view your challenge is directly dependent on what perspective you adopt, and that perspective is your Attitude’s foundation.

So what’s this got to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! It’s about everything that’s TRULY important about your perspective in life – I give thanks for being able to move, to see, to feel, and especially to love my family and friends. We ALL get caught up in the rat race of life and when we do, we usually lose our perspective on the things that REALLY matter versus the things that seem to matter at the moment.

This Thanksgiving – take a moment to give thanks to the things that matter most in your life, and once you do, you’ll realize that you’ve discovered the power source to your own Fired UP Attitude…and if you’re struggling to figure out what thanks you should give – drop down and push’em out – then give thanks to the fact you can do a push-up – I know whole bunch of veterans that wish they could do what you CAN do.

Happy ThanksGiving – CHARLIE MIKE - ALDEN

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting Older Is Not For The Meek

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

“Okay—so I have fielded (or rather not fielded) a few questions on what to do when exercises become painful or age and injuries make workouts more hazardous than helpful. The answer is—adjust! Note the biggest implication of adjusting is that you are not STOPPING! So, when I was in College I would go to morning swim practice (4-5000yds), lunch hour weight training, afternoon practice (6-8000yds) then two hours of rugby practice. In the Teams we PT’ed at least 3 hours a day, and then spent 4-6 hours training which was always with full kit. Now I am an old retired guy with a broken neck (well it was broken and now has a plate where a disc used to be), compressed/fractured lumbar vertebra, a leg that does its own thing every once in a while, etc etc. AND----I no longer get paid to PT and I no longer have world class therapeutic doctors at my beckon call. So what is a boy to do?

Well, it sure as heck is no longer 13000 yds of swimming and two hours of running from wrestling match to wrestling match---but I don’t have to do that any longer. What I have to do is---or rather what I want to do, is be able to take my shirt off at the beach and not terrify small children (or any lady over the age of 20 J). I want to be able to toss logs onto the sawbuck and run a chainsaw 4-6 hours a day. I want to be able surf cast for a hour (face it, surfcasting gives way to beer drinking in an hour—no sense in working up to 2 hours). I want to be able to keep making money as an underwear model. And I never ever want to get beaten by Alden in a four mile run or a 500 yd swim. So the point is, I have neither the need nor the inclination to be in the shape I was in as an active duty Navy SEAL---my body can’t cash the check and I don’t have the time to do it. But I don’t want to be a lard-ass either; and I think that is where a lot of people make a disastrous mistake. “If I can’t be the stud I once was/if I can’t be the strongest guy in the gym/if I don’t want to give up 20oz ribeyes/if can’t run a marathon/blah/blah/blah then there is no sense in my doing anything.”

Adjust your goals---I never want to be the strongest guy in the gym (which is good on account of I am not) because I don’t have the time. What I do want to do is be able to press my body weight 5 times. So I do two things, I work at lifting 250 three times and I don’t let my body weight get much over 220. If I run more than five miles, my back goes into conniptions for days---so, I only run more than five miles two or three times a year when I feel like kicking myself in the testicles—but I have taking up bicycling which I can do for hours at a time (and to the tavern and back---incentive!) I use the Perfect Pushup so I can get the results I want without having to put my shoulders through thousands of reps—Mr. Penny I am not.

Okay, so the salient point is that getting older is not for the meek. That means that you may have to change your goals or your opinion of what being in shape means to you---that doesn’t mean you should stop. My view of the perfect line is that it is about fitness but also about understanding and setting up a fitness lifestyle that works for you. Sure, I want to be able to swim a 500 in under five minutes again but it ain’t going to happen. From April to November I swim just about every day though—and people frequently ask—“OH, as a Navy SEAL how far do you swim?” My reply is “Sometimes I am happy to just float.”

Oh, and for those of you wondering, the modeling calls have trailed off a bit of late guess it is time to shift to the long-john market.


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business that seeks to employ the highly trained and motivated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for work in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---knowing the hollowness and lack of joy some returning veterans experience daily, Tom has said, "If things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline".

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership and team building, often as a motivational speaker, in addition to being an expert consultant to the entertainment industry. The YouTube clip shows some recent work for a production company.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Longtime “on-line” coach for Team Perfect, Tom blogs monthly on Charlie Mike.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rugged Individualism & Operation Pull Your Own Weight

Guest blogger: Rick Osbourne

Recently I saw a documentary movie in which an extraordinary old British gent contended that democracy is still the most revolutionary concept that the human race has ever encountered. He proceeded to observe that despotic governments manipulate and control their people by keeping them fearful, demoralized, and in debt.
Than he added, "Demoralized people don't vote, they don't take responsibility for themselves, and they don't maintain their right to a political democracy," he said. "You see it takes strong, healthy, resilient, self reliant, and self confident people to form and to maintain a democracy. Strong people are much harder to control than demoralized people." I found myself wanting to stand up in the audience in order to shout YES!!!!

OPYOW and Rugged Individualism

In that light I'd like to make the following comments about Operation Pull Your Own Weight, a program primarily focused on childhood obesity prevention, and on developing strong, resilient, self reliant kids who refuse to drink from the mass produced, conventional fountains of indoctrination. Above all else, these kids think for themselves.

There are those who have embraced OPYOW because of its ruggedly individualistic connotations, and I don't deny that rugged individualism is part of its appeal. We actively applaud strength, resilience, self-reliance, and personal responsibility taking behaviors. They are key components of being human in the fullest sense.

Social Darwinism VS Enlightened Self Interest

On the other hand, OPYOW is actively opposed to Social Darwinism, a theory that endorses a self centered, me first, to hell with you, survival of the fittest orientation to human existence. That may be part of American folklore, but in real life, self centered individualism all by itself is psychologically alienating and socially counterproductive.

Instead OPYOW favors enlightened self interest, a concept that takes the position "what's good for my family is good for me. And what's good for my neighborhood is good for my family. And what's good for my city, county, state, nation, world, is good for my neighborhood, my family, and me." In the words of some wise old man somewhere, "We're all in this together." Failing to understand and to act according to the principal of enlightened self interest undermines democracy.

OPYOW Salutes…

So does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who can fend for themselves, their family, their friends, and maybe even their city, state, nation, world? Absolutely! Does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who refuse the lure of conventional kool-aid and think for themselves? Without a doubt! And does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who use their strength to help strengthen others and help them to become confident, self reliant, yet also humble, mutually respectful, and therefore fully human? Yesiree Bob.

Egalitarianism, mutual respect, quiet self confidence, and enlightened self interest are at the heart of democracy and Operation Pull Your Own Weight. Hats off to both!


Rick Osbourne spent 17 years as a physical educator and coach. He currently writes for a living, and serves as the Executive Director of Operation Pull Your Own Weight, an informational web site that's dedicated to eliminating childhood obesity in one decade. Third-time guest blogger Osbourne can be reached at or via email at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Penny and the Powers of his Pushups!

It Fired Me UP to learn about the Amazing Mr. Penny and the Power of his Pushups. Columnist Rachel Morand of The Auburn Villager in Alabama has given us permission to share her story of the ultimate Tiger fan with the readers of Charlie Mike.

Johnny "Mr. Penny" Richmond is on his way to becoming an Auburn legend. Mr. Penny has been at Dean Road Elementary School helping the town's little ones cross the street safely for the past 30 years. He's out there every morning, in sun, rain and snow, smiling and waving at 7 a.m. He's been there so long that he's working with the kids of the kids he used to help. The beloved crossing guard got his nickname Mr. Penny before he was born. While his mother was carrying him, she felt a constant pinch that felt like "a penny in her side." The name has stuck ever since.

Those who don't know him through the school or restaurant know him simply as that guy who does pushups at Auburn football games. The deeply religious man has been keeping up this tradition since 2000, when he heard a voice at 4 a.m. "I thought I was dreaming," he said. "I woke up, looked around and I didn't hear it anymore. By the time I closed my eyes again I heard it real soft. 'Push up."

Each morning without fail, the 55-year-old Auburn native pumps out 1,000 pushups in sets of 100. He said he uses the Perfect Pushup and bangs out reps like they're nothing. He's got biceps the size of footballs to prove it. On top of that, Mr. Penny has a tradition of running his own marathon on his birthday—a 30-mile round-trip to Opelika and back.

In 2003, Auburn struggled in its first two games, losing to Southern California and to Georgia Tech. Mr. Penny wanted to know why."I couldn't understand why the news was saying we were a bad team," he said. Mr. Penny made a visit to where the Auburn athletes eat on campus, Sewell Hall. He asked for a guy they call Cadillac. "I went right up to him and said, 'I'm Mr. Penny, and I want to know why ya'll aren't scoring.' Cadillac said, 'we're in a slump.'"

Mr. Penny wanted to think of a way to motivate the team and reverse the negative talk coming from sports commentators and writers. So, he made a deal with Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. "I told him when you score, I'm going to give you 50 pushups. Make the extra point, I'll give you 50 more. Get that field goal, that's 50 more," he said. After the deal was made, the Tigers racked up five consecutive wins, four of them Southeastern Conference games. The win over Mississippi State in 2003, saw Williams run for six touchdowns.

Last year, a teacher at Dean Road said Mr. Penny should do pushups for other stats during games. Now Mr. Penny has added 20 pushups for a first down and 10 more for a sack. By the end of each game, he's done at least 1,000. "Ever since I started doing my push-ups, Auburn has been winning, so it must be working," he said.

Here’s a link to the rest of Rachel Morand’s story of the Amazing Mr. Penny, from the 18SEP08 Auburn Villager.

Teammates, keep pushing out pushups -- your team, even if it is just you and your goals, is counting on you!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stew Smith's Leg Exercises for the Road

Charlie Mike reader Luciano had a question about working out on the road: I´d like to ask you if you have some work out for the legs for those cases when you don´t have access to a gym. Did you train with squats, lunges etc.? I have trained in a gym for several years, but always think what happens if you have to travel or can´t go to a gym because you haven´t the time, money, etc.

Answer: Here is what I do when I'm traveling for leg days.

Option #1 - run 2-3 miles but in between each 1/2 mile I stop and do

squats - 25
lunges 15 / leg
heel raises - 25

Option #2 - if not comfortable with running around a strange town or gym does not have a bike, treadmill, etc... do the same leg exercises but run flights of steps.

I like to run 5 flights of steps / stop and do above leg PT - repeat 4-5 times. Then I go back to my room and do ab exercises in between leg stretching.


Stew Smith CSCS
Alden's USNA and BUD/S classmate and pal for more than 20 years (ouch)

Note: Charlie Mike blogger Tom Ranich (another SEAL pal on the 20 year plus plan) had the following advice for Luciano: Lunges, squat thrusts, 8- counts, flutter kicks and my favorite---running the stairs of the hotel. Lastly, Alden Mills's advice is to do the 8-count Body Builder Perfect Pushup workout (to the right of your screen: it's the fourth workout, at the bottom).


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author, certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Teammates, we're approaching the holiday season with the kickoff of Halloween tomorrow night - remember what this means - it's your opportunity to take control of your decisions of what you put in your mouth. Temptation will be great from Halloween candy to Thanksgiving Turkey to Holiday excess - the holidays are the most challenging times of the year for many. I encourage you to view it as an opportunity - an opportunity to enjoy yourself (in moderation!) while making (and keeping) a commitment to yourself to improve your body.

Be successful at taking control of your body during the holidays and you'll have the confidence to be successful any day of the year moving forward. There are few things in life we can control - those that we can are our Brain, Body and Attitude - learn to control these three and you'll discover the keys to living the life you dream.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Ironman Strength Training Regime

John L. sent his Perfect Pushup Ironman story to -- thank you!! A Get Ripped t-shirt is heading his way -- John, please let the readers of Charlie Mike know how you like the Perfect Pullup and how you do in the Silverman Triathlon.

Dear Alden,

This past winter I purchased the Perfect Pushup (PP). I used it as part of my strength training for Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon which I completed in September 2008.

This was my first Ironman and strength training was a big part of the program at least two days a week, often more.

The PP is great because it is right there at home and easy to store and use. It is the best invention ever. The pushups feel natural and you can definitely get into a rhythm. I have a lot of definition around my shoulders, collar bone, and back.

This weekend I am going to purchase the Perfect Pullup. I am training for the Silverman Triathlon and this will be a big help with core strength which is so important in fast triathlon times.

John L., Chicago, IL
The Picture is from Ironman Wisconsin 2008: I was 1100/2500

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting Back In the Swing of the Game

Eric F in Florida is a Charlie Mike reader with an inspiring golf/rehab story --

"I just wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know how much your product has impacted my life. About 9 years ago I blew out my right shoulder in a skiing accident. I had Bankart repair surgery and my right shoulder never really felt 100%. I always heard some cracking and it felt weak. 2 years ago I fell and blew out my left shoulder. I tore some ligaments but after the MRI the doctors opted for physical rehabilitation instead of surgery. I completed the rehab and my left shoulder never got better. At the time of my second accident I was a 1 handicap and golf was my only true passion. Even after rehab I could not grip a golf club without pain and if I tried to extend my left arm around my body pain shot through arms, shoulder and back. Needless to say I have not played golf since.

3 months ago I purchased the Perfect Pushup for my wife as she was complaining about her lack of upper body strength. I would sit there and watch her do the exercises and really wish I had the strength in my left shoulder to join her. Well one day I said to myself that I will never build strength if I don’t start trying. I started out at the lowest possible number of reps and did the prescribed program for beginners. 2 months later I am at the third level (14,10,8) on the three main exercises. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I am stronger than ever and I have no pain in either shoulder. I attribute this to the design of the Perfect Pushup and the way it takes stress off of your joints. I can grip a golf club without pain and yesterday I swung a club in my yard without any pain. I am going to try to start hitting pitch shots this week and see if I can move up to full shots.

Thanks so much for your product!

Eric F, Florida"

Eric – first and foremost, your story totally stokes the Perfect Team’s Fires! Because you took the time to tell us about your challenges, we’re sending you a special Perfect Pushup t-shirt. (One of my teammates will be in touch with you for your size and mailing address.)

Please keep us posted on how you crush the ball and get back to “scratch” golf!

FIRED UP and of course – CHARLIE MIKE!!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fear of Success or Fear of Change?

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

Charlie Mike reader LG had a question relating to my last month's blog, "Identifying the Enemy".

"Fear of success. Sounds stupid I know but being overweight/ unfit is a handy excuse for certain things that can be seen to be 'wrong' in my life. If I get healthy and these other 'issues' are still there then what am I going to blame? The potential to have to deal with thornier issues than getting healthy can make finding excuses to put off exercise pretty attractive. I get fit and I'm going to have to deal with that low self esteem/shyness issue that I have (some people would lol at the thought of me being shy..but I am...honest). I know getting healthy would actually help but the fear is still there. Does any of that make sense?” [LG]

This makes perfect sense and I see it frequently. In fact, I would say that fear of success, or certain derivitives of fear of success, is what keeps most of us from achieving well beyond our current station in life/health/fitness. I had a swim coach, Coach Skeehan, who told a group of 14-15 year olds, “You don’t know it, but you have already made a life long commitment to fitness—as young as you are, your bodies have already been conditioned to be active, and if you don’t stay active you will wind up overweight, miserable and dead.” Okay, it was the seventies, all love was tough! But he made a good point—If I succeed in getting in shape, then, I will have to stay in shape----forever! Well that sounds a bit daunting!

But let’s digress just a bit. Why would someone fear success? Anyone? Bueller? People fear success because it represents—no, it directly results in—change. Change is always uncomfortable, because with change comes a whole new set of expectations, variables and requirements. “I succeed in getting my MBA.” Great for me, but now when I am talking about significance with regard to a training death, not only do I have to use the term correctly, BUT I HAVE to make the boss use it correctly, and those guys are not always so happy to be corrected (Actual exchange—Him, “Oh and would you like to tell the widow that her husband’s death was statistically insignificant?” Me, “No, but I will if it will stop you from dismantling an extremely safe training system. We complete, without incident, hundreds of thousands of critically dangerous training operations every year. One anomaly does not mean we need a complete overhaul.”)

Now, one of the derivatives I was talking about is the “I know what is going to happen if I do it the same way”, which is comforting on many levels. I think that when an alcoholic pours his first drink of the day it is because—in part—he has reached a point where he needs to know how the day is going to end. Similarly, a person skipping the gym or avoiding the BodyRev or Perfect line, knows how the day is going to end…comfortable on the couch, no sore muscles, no staring or ogling—just exactly the same. Ever wonder why “that” overweight , sedentary person smokes so much? Could it be that they want to remove the one big unknown—how we are going to die?

So here is the thing, the way to stop worrying about succeeding—and the subsequent changes involved, is to make change a bigger part of your day to day life. Sure, you need a routine, but make part of your routine growth/change. Take a fencing class, work on the heavy bag etc., but look for ways to keep yourself in a state of change, then it will only make sense to one that change will lead to better things for yourself—also known as success.


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business with the broad vision of increasing career opportunities for disabled veterans in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology ... because the highly trained, motivated and adaptable veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not looking for hand outs but rather the opportunity to reintegrate into the work force. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---knowing the hollowness and lack of joy some returning veterans experience daily, Tom has said, "If things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline".

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership, team building, program development and strategic vision, in addition to being a writer and motivational speaker.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Tom has been a guest blogger and “on-line” coach for the Perfect Pushup team many times over the past few years: he blogs monthly on Charlie Mike.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is a Functional and Strong Body Your Priority?

It is for Mike in Colorado -- thanks Mike, for sending your story to

"I purchased the Perfect Push-ups to help strengthen and tone my upper body for everyday health and to prevent injury while biking and skiing here in Colorado. I injured my shoulders this spring while shoveling snow from back to back storms.

The biggest factor for me was getting motivated to include an upper body workout in my weekly fitness plan which consists of intense cycling 18 to 20 miles several times a week. I was looking for compound exercises that would save me time and did not require gym equipment. I keep the Perfect Push-ups near my desk at work and complete my two minute drills throughout the day. I started with a 10 rep max set work out over two weeks ago and had trouble with my shoulders in the beginning. Today I completed the last workout with all chair sets and had no pain on any of the sets. My shoulders are getting stronger as well as noticeable results in my chest and arms. I am really excited to get going on the Power Ten workout next. I can also see a Perfect Pull-ups in my home in the near future.

Thanks for a great product and support!

Mike in Colorado"

Keep me posted on your progress!


Monday, October 6, 2008

How to Target the Biceps Specifically

Great question from Brian W --

Thanks for the great post. I've been wondering the same thing. I've noticed much more definition and improvement in my triceps from doing the perfect pushup but was wondering if there was any way to target the biceps specifically? I have been doing some sets of the perfect punch and will try to do more in the future. I am really interested in buying the perfect pullup because I think it would be a great complement, but I am currently renting a place and do not think I can install it in the place. Thanks!

Brian – thanks for your post – here’s the deal on engaging your biceps when doing a pushup. Normally, biceps aren’t recruited during the pushup movement; however, with Perfect Pushup’s rotation you can engage them to a point – the power punch (180 degrees of rotation) is the best way to recruit the biceps – after that, you really need to use dumbbells or even better a pullup (specifically a chin-up – your palms facing you; a pull-up is when your palms are facing away from you). This is the reason why we created the Perfect Pullup. It’s your call about your rental space, but it’s super easy to fill the holes and use a magic marker to color the filled-in holes. Let me know how it goes –


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Q&A Time: Working the Biceps

Question: Perfect Pushup claims to work the bicep muscles. Just how does it do this? According to the numerous resources I have researched, the traditional pushup mainly works the chest, shoulders and tricep muscles. If bicep muscles are employed, they are used as stabilizing muscles.

Does the Perfect Pushup employ more of the biceps muscles than compared to a traditional pushup because as the device (The Perfect Pushup) rotates it stimulates more of the biceps throughout the exercise/rep versus performing a tradition pushup? AND/OR, does the Perfect Pushup work the biceps only through specific pushup exercises? Please explain. Thank you, Bob.

Answer: Bob, great question! The PPU engages your biceps through the rotation of the movement, especially when you conduct the Power Punch move or other similar moves that require you to rotate the handles 180 degrees. The rotation recruits the bicep because the ulna and radius (the two bones in your forearm) rotate through your elbow which activates the bicep and tricep to rotate the humerus (bone from the shoulder to the elbow) at the elbow and in the shoulder.

Now, I'm not saying you're going to get a better bicep workout on the Perfect Pushup than doing curls - because you won't - but you will get more muscles in your arms engaged during a Perfect Pushup pushup than you will with a regular pushup because of the rotation. And you'll immediately notice how much more natural it feels to rotate through the pushup...and how much better it feels!


Friday, September 26, 2008

How Has the Perfect Pushup or the Perfect Pullup changed your body?

Teammates – Tell us how Perfect Pushup and Perfect Pullup are changing your body at If you include pictures or videos then a Get Ripped t-shirt is yours.

We’re looking to hear from more folks like Laiya – your story doesn’t have to be as life-changing as hers – it’s about sharing your success so others may be inspired to succeed like you. I’m talking about Brooks from San Diego and his Perfect Pushup Challenge on YouTube.

Send us your story and we’ll run with it: from testimonials on our website and Charlie Mike to hooking you up with journalists who want to hear from regular users to sharing your favorite exercise tips. We’re all on the same TEAM here and your input is vital to everyone’s successful completion of their personal exercise mission.

Now go out there and Charlie Mike! I look forward to reading your stories!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How I Became "Shiny" and Strong

It may sound like a cliché but in January 2007, at 5’9”, I weighed 204 pounds. Today I weigh 177 pounds, and I’ve dropped 4 dress sizes. When I went to my 20 year High School reunion, I wore Size 14! I used to think of myself as the chipped cup in the china set and now I feel like a shiny new cup. And to think all of this started while working for Perfect Pushup and from only being able to do 3 pushups from my knees to now being able to do 500. I ride my bike to work and to church and I run around the office with my assistant … my journey for a new life has truly begun.

Flashback to 2003: For the last five years I have been trying to get pregnant. No doctor was able to help me and one even told me I was TOO FAT to get pregnant! I left his office in tears, shocked that a professional who was supposed to help me, humiliated me.

Two things happened to change the path I was on. On September 3rd, 2007, I started working for Perfect Pushup. In February 2008 I met the doctor who changed my life, Dr. Polypocket (a pseudonym). He did an ultrasound and found that my ovaries were covered in Cysts and were the size of large golf balls. Dr. Polypocket told me that it would be in my best interest to lose some weight and that I needed to bring down my blood pressure and cholesterol, all side-effects of the cysts. Thus began my journey …..

After I joined the Perfect Pushup family, I gradually increased the number of pushups I could do, but after my doctor’s appointment I really amped it up. On Aug 8, 2008, after losing 27 pounds, I went to see Dr. Polypocket again. I was now able to do hundreds of pushups in a single day and had changed my eating habits and lifestyle. The doctor did another ultrasound and said the cysts were the size of beans and that everything looked good for me to get pregnant! I felt so happy at this news.

You know, it feels good to be a shiny, unchipped cup.

Stacey R

p.s. Here’s a personal “snapshot” -- I am a fulltime employee of Perfect Pushup where I work with Robert Z, one of my best friends. He inspires me to be the best and most positive person I can be. I’m also a wife and mother of a 13 year-old step-son and a 6 year-old daughter. A balanced family life and friendships inspire me in my journey to become the person I want to be. Lastly, I am a Graduate student trying to get my Masters of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from the California State University, Northridge. Stay tuned: this journey isn’t over.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Journey To My Core

“The Perfect Push-up saved my life,” I told Alden. “How?” he said as he looked at me with his intense SEAL eyes.

Here’s my story. It started with a small pain in my neck which got progressively worse, to the point that in two weeks I was on pain pills and couldn’t sleep or think straight. It took all my energy to just get through a day -- and I’ve always been a fitness fanatic.

In a desperately weakened state after two months because of the pain, I went back to yoga where I kept hearing “core” this and “core” that. I finally asked my instructor, “What exactly is the core? " She said, “It’s your abs or something”. Angry and panicky, I went home and did hours of research about the core (basically the body minus arms and legs) and finally found an article written by a Navy Seal on how to develop core fitness with the pushup. I remembered that when a former Navy SEAL was my body building partner, I had never been stronger nor had I ever been able to do so many pushups. Even though Scotty, my SEAL partner, had been burned from head to toe from a propane truck explosion and worked out covered from head to toe in a “Job” suit, his motto was “Failure is not an option.”

When I remembered Scotty and his unwavering drive to be the best, I told my husband Barry that we were going to do pushups. He discovered the Perfect Pushup and we were on our way.

When I started my pushups in April of 2007, I could do three from my knees, crying and humiliated and feeling so weak. When I met Alden just 3 months later I was doing 20 push ups on my toes. I had my life back! My body started to get stronger through the arms and around the solar plexus (stomach) first. After that my torso started to support my body and my neck pain subsided considerably. In two months, my neck pain was gone. My natural, functional movements that had become hesitant became confident again. I was able to start doing things again without the constant worry of “Is this going to hurt?” mantra.

I progressed really quickly as my core got stronger. My entire torso and system seemed to re-center. My “I can’t” belief was challenged and put to the test. Even though my improvement was gradual, I pushed past what was possible for my intellect to believe that I could achieve. And yes, that involved tears, and anger, and fear. I am now up to a Max set of 40. They really are correct pushups too.

My clothes started looking good on me again as the muscles started filling in. I had become really thin from lack of exercise. The waking up of my muscles was amazing too: from sore and stiff from non-use to toned with beautiful, youthful definition. My posture was another complete transformation, from being hunched forward and closed off to being able to hold my head up. Without a strong core, your body feels very separate from your head.

How lucky I feel to be able to share this story with everyone. Thank you to two Navy SEALs, Scotty and Alden, and Barry, my workout buddy, husband, and the guy who found me the Perfect Pushup. What an incredible journey it’s been … and now I know what the core is!

Thanks and Charlie Mike……Laiya Moniak


Laiya Moniak, a 53 year old Utah native, began training at five years old, when Jack LaLanne became her first fitness instructor. By her 20s she was a body builder, and currently holds instructor certifications in aerobics, yoga, skiing, and most recently hula hooping.

She has devoted her adult life to learning, and then teaching, what’s it going to take to go from an “I can’t” to an “I can” mindset. Laiya uses somatics to assist people in unblocking lodged trauma in their physical, emotional, or mental bodies, and then creates and strengthens new somatic patterns to facilitate forward movement and growth.

Her new book, “7 Steps to Unlimited Energy”, is coming soon. If you’re challenged by past trauma, or having difficulty moving forward, contact Laiya at

Laiya and her husband are speakers and the founders of End In Mind Consulting. They work with professionals and small business owners who want to create change, increase effectiveness, and reduce fear based stress. You can visit them at End In Mind

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Identify The Enemy

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

9/11. The day that changed America. Separated us into pre and post 9/11. Well, those who have read "For the Courage of the Founders" know how I feel about that. It is wrong. But, for this guest appearance, that got me to thinking about the things that change us and how. So there have been some positive changes in the country since 9/11, but I think that at a very basic level, when you allow your enemy to change the way you conduct your life, you are making a fundamental mistake. Your enemy does not want you to succeed. He, by definition, wants to see you fail. So to change the way you live because of his actions, well, just fundamentally wrong to me.

So what does that have to do with Charlie Mike? Well, continuing the mission is CRITICAL to the success of the mission; be it a Pyrrhic success or otherwise. The point is, if you let the enemy stop you---well no Charlie Mike in that. So who are your enemies in your quest for fitness and a more healthy lifestyle? Is it the high school gym teacher that said you can’t do pull-ups because you are a girl (whether or not you actually were a girl)? Is it the pie in the fridge? A beloved enabler on the couch? Or, like most people I know, is it the voice that says, I can’t, or I don’t have the time, or I am too tired, or, or, or……

So on this 9/11, let’s share some of the enemies that are trying to turn us away from fitness---and then share ideas on how to defeat them. I have met a lot of people who say, “I want to be fit and I feel better when I PT, but I just never have the (time, energy, desire.)” I could never make sense of that thought---but clearly an enemy is getting in the way---let’s kick its ass.

There I was in the Tora Bora mountains; enemy in my sights---when suddenly I smelled a pie and just had to have a slice………

Postscript: Incidentally, no pies were hurt in the making of this blog. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---I know the hollowness and lack of joy you might experience daily. I do not know if it will ever be great again but it sure is worth the attempt. So if things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline.


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business with the broad vision of increasing career opportunities for disabled veterans in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are developing an enhanced remote controlled capability for land clearance and target placement. With this device, a disabled vet working from a pickup could be fully operational. VRHabilis, which stands for Veteran Run Work (Latin derivative), is pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology ... because the highly trained, motivated and adaptable veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not looking for hand outs but rather the opportunity to reintegrate into the work force.

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership, team building, program development and strategic vision.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Tom has been a guest blogger and “on-line” coach for the Perfect Pushup team many times over the past few years: this is his third guest blog on Charlie Mike.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When is the Right Time for Power 10 Exercises?

Charlie Mike reader Brian S asked how to go to the next level with the Perfect Pushup after following the 21 day schedule: "After the 21st day what should I do? Do I restart from day 1 or is there a continuing progressive programme that I can follow. Please help me out, I need some direction here."


BRIAN - Fired Up to hear that you're lovin' your PPUs - join the club amigo! It's time for the Power 10 Workout ... edited to answer Ted R's question: "What is the Power 10 Workout"?: it's a DVD with ten challenging new pushup exercises -- derived from SEAL drills, Yoga, pushups + calisthenics. Check it out if you want some variety and to amp up your aerobic workout.

I wanted to take a moment to answer your question because it's an important one that hasn't been asked when do you start incorporating the Power 10 moves?? There's no right answer, because you could start immediately with a couple of the exercises (such as Mountain Climbers and the Super Slow series)...but my belief is after you can do 10 Perfect Pushups you're ready to start trying all the exercises. Spending time strengthening your shoulders (and rotator cuffs) is essential before attempting the more complex exercises found in the follow-on Power 10 DVDs. Most fellas have spent a fair amount of time doing conventional pushups or bench presses - good exercises, but they're not completely functional because they don't enable your arms to conduct the full natural rotation. So it's important to spend at least three workouts (assuming they are full body PERFECT PUSHUPS) getting used to the rotation before attempting the Power 10 exercises.

Keep the questions coming!!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Can pushups, pullups and dips develop muscle?

A few days ago Charlie Mike reader Luciano asked if he could replace weight training with pushups, dips, and pullups and what kind of muscle gain could he expect?

Yes, pushups/pull-ups/dips and other bodyweight training exercises do develop muscle tissue. How much muscle tissue you develop is tied to how much resistance you give the muscles you’re training. For example, let’s say your one set max of pushups is 10; if you were to do one set of 10 pushups every other day of pushups, you’ll have a different growth curve of muscle development than if you were to do 5 sets of 10 pushups every other day. If you’re after bigger muscles you need to load up your muscles – that is do pushups or pullups to complete exhaustion – then drop to your knees on pushups or lower the Perfect Pullup bar and keep the workout going until you are absolutely spent on your sets. Follow the Perfect Pushup workout plan that comes with the Perfect Pushup or try something even simpler: 1000 pushups and 250 pullups a week – get’em anyway you can – JUST DO IT!

One more thing, don’t forget that muscles need protein – I’m not a dietician, but monitor your diet – watch what you eat. When I want to get Ripped, I reduce sugar and white carbohydrates (bread/potatoes, etc) and up my veggies and protein intake – eat smaller meals more often and always have water with each meal – try to have your first meal right after you workout in the morning (first set of pushups) and last meal 3 hours before you go to bed – don’t go longer than 3 hrs between meals.

Let me know how it goes and keep those questions coming – CHARLIE MIKE!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keeping Fitness Simple on the Road

One more shot from the USS Hornet shoot.

The point is – keep it simple and focus on just pushups while you travel – you’ll be amazed at what it does for your strength, muscle tone, core and cardio conditioning. (Once you realize that you don’t need lots of room or equipment to get a workout – you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves for working out on the road). I could list literally hundreds of creative on the road workout programs, but at the end of the day, more important than the program is your Fire in the Gut to take control of your body on the road. Once you’ve locked the little demon of excuses away – drop down and do 20 pushups to congratulate yourself, because you’ve just taken control of your body’s destiny…and trust me, the path from there is only more exciting – you’ll see, I promise.

Check back in – let me know about your success – and stay tuned for a whole new set of workouts (and videos!) coming to the site. Take a look at the Perfect Pushup Mobile commercial on Directv sports stations or on own website.

Stay Fired UP!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting Ripped on the Road

Lots of questions come in regarding how to get in shape while traveling. I never thought much about it in SEAL Team, because our workouts were so engrained in us that it was like brushing our teeth – it didn’t matter where we were we always did workout. Whether hanging out on the tarmac in the Azores while waiting for our C-5 ride or in mission prep mode in Sarajevo – we did a workout daily – period.

So before you go down the natural excuse list of “I don’t have workout clothes” or the “gym at this hotel sucks” or “it’s raining outside" (never a good excuse) or whatever the little demon inside your head conjures up to convince you to hit the couch instead of Firing Up your weapon’s platform (SEAL speak for your body) – understand this: you ARE in control of your body – you just need to flick the switch in your brain and get your gut Fired UP. Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to be the master and commander of your ship – then try these simple but very effective workouts (I used these to get ready for the Hornet filming since I was traveling with family up until the day prior to the shoot).

Pushup Day: 400 pushups in one day – that’s it. I used the Perfect Pushup Mobile but you don’t have to – just drop and give yourself honest pushups sets throughout the day – in my case I paced it at 20 sets of 20 reps – and alternated between regular, close, and wide positions. Once you get comfortable with 400/day – try to ramp to 1000/day – that’s what Herschel Walker was doing in his Heisman Trophy winning days (he claims to have used no weights in his earlier training days – just bodyweight exercises). If 400 sounds too much – then start at 100. Here’s a rule of thumb that I use – do your max number of pushups – in my case it was 40 that morning – then multiply by 10 and that’s the total I did for the day. As you progress, keep re-multiplying and challenging yourself with bigger pushup numbers.

Check back in – let me know about your success – and stay tuned for a whole new set of workouts (and videos!) coming soon. In the meantime, check out our new Mobile Unit TV commercial on the site.

Stay Fired UP!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

I am going to start this guest blog with a question I received after my post on Charlie Mike last month (02JUL08)

Dear Mr. Rancich,

I was wondering if you could share any of your tips on how to never quit when your mind and body are both exhausted.

Also, I lost my best buddy who was also my brother. I was wondering if you could share anything about your perspective after losing a close buddy.

So, first one first: my tips for how to never quit when your mind and your body are both exhausted. So everyone knows that Hell Week is five days of grueling-well-hell. But here is the thing about Hell Week---everyone knows that it is a finite evolution, they can't kill you and, perhaps most importantly, that other people have made it through. Exhaustion is not a good place to be, so I try and avoid it. I do that by setting priorities and trying to pace myself. But even then, sometimes I find myself in an exhausting situation, at which time I decide whether or not it is more important to continue or to get rest---if it is truly more important to keep going then that knowledge is what keeps me going. Now, that said, there is a difference between "stopping" and quitting. Stopping is a decision to take a pause, to rebuild and regenerate, and I think it is vitally important. So, I keep going by assessing the situation and determining the best course of action. Once I have picked the best course of action it no longer makes any sense to quit---as that would not be the best course of action, even if I might have to stop at some point to rejuvenate.

But your second question suggests that you are talking of a bigger emotion, so without reading too far into it, my answer is really rather simple: I owe it to them to live well and succeed. I never forget that. I have certainly occasionally wished it was me instead of them; I have certainly felt "survivor's guilt"; I have certainly cursed some of them for the decisions that they made---but in the end I know in my heart that they did not die so that I would be miserable and watch my dreams fade in my despair. No, they died so that I could succeed---and to do anything less is simply unfair to them.

So, not so much "Hooyah and exercise" advice this post---well, unless you read it closely. Think about your life and think about the people you owe and what they want for you---then develop the best course of action to achieve the life you want. Once it is truly the best course of action, it makes no logical sense to quit or let yourself down. ___________________________________________________

Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business with the broad vision of increasing career opportunities for disabled veterans in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are developing an enhanced remote controlled capability for land clearance and target placement. With this device, a disabled vet working from a pickup could be fully operational. VRHabilis, which stands for Veteran Run Work (Latin derivative), is pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology ... because the highly trained, motivated and adaptable veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not looking for hand outs but rather the opportunity to reintegrate into the work force.

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership, team building, program development and strategic vision.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Tom has been a guest blogger and “on-line” coach for the Perfect Pushup team many times over the past few years: this is his second guest blog on Charlie Mike.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Perfecting your Golf Game with the Perfect Pushup

Recently I participated in a best-ball golf tourney and brought along the Travel Perfect Pushup. My teammates gave me all kinds of flack about pushups hurting their golf swing…until they tried it. We dropped before every hole and did a set of pushups – some did 5, some did 20 – but we did it before every hole. It didn’t hurt my golf game (which isn’t saying much), and actually improved theirs on the back nine (where their game usually suffers the most). We enjoyed the 19th hole even more.

If you’re a golfer try knocking out 5 per hole to start with. As you get more comfortable with it, ramp up the reps per hole to 10 – 15 - 20 and so on. Let me know if this improves your game.



Operation Pull Your Own Weight

Rick Osbourne is guest blogging today on his "radically simple solution to Childhood Obesity".

At the Risk of Pointing Out the Obvious...

1. Show me 10 boys who can do pull ups and I'll show you 10 boys who are not obese. *

2. Show me 10 girls who can do pull ups and I'll show you 10 girls who are not obese.

3. Show me 10 families full of members who can do pull ups and I'll show you ten families who don't worry about obesity and all the related problems.

4. Show me an elementary or a high school full of students who can do pull ups and I'll show you an elementary and a high school who've won the war on obesity.

5. Show me a school teacher, administrator, or a school board member who can do pull ups and I'll show you a school teacher, an administrator, and a school board member who are all setting great examples for the kids in their schools to follow.

6. Show me a company (say McDonald's) full of employees who can do pull ups and I'll show you a company that's healthy, energetic, productive, and inexpensive to insure.

7. Show me a police department whose members can do pull ups and I'll show you a police department who doesn't worry about the relationship between cops and donuts.

8. Show me a group of childhood obesity prevention experts who can do pull ups and I'll show you a group of childhood obesity prevention experts who walk the walk.

9. Show me a town, a city, a county, a state, or a nation full of citizens who can putt their own weight (physically and otherwise) and I’ll show you a town, a city, a county, a state, and a nation who’s not only won the war against obesity, but who’s capable of resolving complicated, 21st century problems on all other fronts as well.

10. Show me a group of people who understand what you've just read here and I'll show you a group of people who are unconfused and ready to rally around "A simple, easily implemented, easily documented, and affordable solution to childhood obesity."

And Then, With a Straight Face...

1. Tell me why obesity prevention is so complicated and confusing that we're unable stop it from growing like a California forest fire raging out of control?

2. Tell me why every gym teacher in America agrees with the claim that kids who can do pull ups are never obese, yet so few take the time to teach their kids to do pull ups and to become obesity beating heroes in their own local communities at the same time?

3. Tell me why America's Surgeon General has named childhood obesity prevention his TOP PRIORITY yet to date has provided no actionable answers to the problem?

4. Tell me why the future and life quality of millions of boys and girls will be undermined and sacrificed by low self esteems due to ongoing battles with obesity?

5. Tell me why a charitable organization like the Robert Woods Johnson foundation has dedicated $500 million dollars over the next five years to defeating childhood obesity, yet after year one (one hundred million spent) they have so little to show for it?

6. Tell me why we're spending countless billions as a nation on obesity related illnesses?

7. Tell me why people in high positions simply fail to act, even when the obvious is pointed out to them?

8. Tell me why common sense is so uncommon, and why the obvious is so hard to see?

9. Tell me why we continue to think that the emperors are wearing beautiful and stylish new clothes when they're obviously standing stark naked in front of everyone, for anyone - with open eyes - to see?

10. And if this is true of an issue like childhood obesity prevention, doesn't it make you wonder how many other blatantly obvious solutions to crucial problems are being completely and totally overlooked and ignored by our so called authorities, our so called experts, our so called leaders?

*Substitute any sufficiently challenging functional acid test (i.e. dips, rope climbing, rock climbing, hand stand push ups, superman push ups) in place of pull ups and the results will inevitably be the same.


Rick Osbourne is a Chicago based writer who currently serves as Executive Director of Operation Pull Your Own Weight, an informational web site that's dedicated to naturally immunizing kids against obesity for a lifetime without pills, shots, or special diets. If you're interested in a simple solution to childhood obesity, then check out either or any time. Osbourne can be reached via email at

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meet Rick Osbourne: A Man On A Mission

Tomorrow Rick Osbourne, the inspiration and driving force behind Operation Pull Your Own Weight, is guest blogging on Charlie Mike. His mission is to eradicate childhood obesity. His solution is simple. Inoculate kindergarten kids on up through the power of the pullup: they will never be obese if they can do a pullup and they will have bragging rights because of their physical prowess that will carry them through life. They'll be strong, proud and in charge of their own body. That's the mission of Perfect Pushup too -- take charge of your body and you can take charge of your life. Rick, I'm so pleased the Charlie Mike team will get to hear from you: HOOYAH!!

Some background: Rick Osbourne is the son of a high school coach and grew up around bats, balls and competition. He taught PE for seventeen years and for the last ten years, he's been a professional writer. His new platform is a step away from being a PE coach and teacher: he's spreading his message through books, speeches and the internet. I'll leave you with a rare joke from a man who takes his mission very seriously:

"Don't think of Pullups as hard! Our closest ancestors did them one-handed while eating a banana."



Friday, July 18, 2008

Special Operations Fitness - Common Denominators of Success

Former SEAL and fitness expert Stew Smith with his inside-operator view on Special Operations Fitness --

After spending more than a decade helping people become members of Special Operations unit in every branch of the military and SWAT Teams in federal / state / local law enforcement agencies, I have seen a few common denominators that spell success, or graduation.

Ask, "Did you think about quitting?" to any member of a Special Operations unit in the military or law enforcement and you will usually get the same answer. "NO!" Due to proper physical training your body has a better foundation to remain fit throughout training and not become injured or over trained. Here is a list of those commonalities:

1 - Knowing how to play with pain - Many graduates of these SO programs were athletes in high school or college and know the difference between injury and pain. Sports, martial arts, tough training workouts, and life in general can help you know what the difference is. But mainly graduates can suck it up when they need to and "tape it up and play" if required. This is where they say that SEAL Training is 90% mental. It is not academic mental - but mentally challenging because you have to deal with pain and discomfort on a daily basis.

2 - Team Player - Understanding what it means to be a team player is critical. Once again sports tend to be the best source for this type of aggressive sportsmanship and skills learned to assist with being a Special Operations Team member. "There is "No I in SEAL Team."

3 - Play to Compete - Not Just Survive - Go to your training program seeking to win every physical, tactical, or academic event there is. Be the best runner, swimmer, PTer, rope climber, shooter, land navigator,etc..No one is going to win them all, but if you can consistently be in the top 5-10 % of the class, you will NEVER think about quitting. This requires you to train hard for a significant amount of time - sometimes a few years of training like a madman 5-6 days a week. Understand the physical events that you will be required to do and practice those several months prior to your tryout. That means rucking with a backpack, swimming with fins, treading water with clothes, hundreds of reps of PT exercises several days a week, miles of running every week and lifting weights to balance out the body.

Here is a good story to drive this one home - When I ran my first marathon (and only)I saw a few tall, thin, guys from Kenya (I assume) stretching out prior to the start. Well, their goal for that race was to drop a few seconds off their best time when mine was to just finish and maybe be under four hours. Who do you think would have the greater chance of quitting that run? Me - the guy just trying to survive the race. Many people who quit training in the Special Ops programs go to training and just try to survive it.

BTW - I finished it and realized at 200+ lbs marathon running was not something I wanted to do again. My knees thank me for making that decision.

4 - Maturity - Most people who make it through rigorous training programs in the Special Ops world are older than 22 years of age, have a solid foundation of fitness training, a mental toughness developed through training or a challenging life experience, and a calm confidence (not arrogance). See link for more info on Mental Toughness.

As Alden says - "The Body Obeys the Brain" - Your body will be able to obey your brain as long as you properly prepare your body for the rigors of your training program. The key to making your mind tough is to train the body so it can handle pain better and recover from bouts of high intense workouts quicker.

PS - On another note - a few guys I workout with and I are trying to see if we can max out on pushups one day and match that score by using the Perfect Pushup. I use the Perfect Pushup 2-3 times a week with my workouts and typically they cut out about 50% of my reps per set. So far, I have been able to get about 75% using the Perfect Pushup of a non-Perfect Pushup max set. I maxed out at 100 pushups without shaking the arms or lifting my butt and only did 75 with the Perfect Pushup and the last 10 were not pretty ones.

Let me know if you can match your non Perfect Pushup max.

Stew Smith CSCS
Alden's USNA and BUD/S classmate and pal for more than 20 years (ouch)


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author, certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dropping Down on the USS Hornet

Here’s some breaking news Teammates – we just completed our latest filming sequence on a piece of floating history – the USS Hornet. Located in Alameda, California, the most recent USS Hornet (CV-12) was commissioned in 1943. The Hornet fought gallantly during WW II, destroying 1,410 Japanese Zeroes. Fast forward to 1969: the Hornet recovered the capsules containing the Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts. The ship’s creed is “A Heritage of Excellence” – if you’re visiting the Bay area, explore the ship and climb up to the flight deck.

I’ll leave the film details as a surprise – but the concept is to educate folks on the fact that you can take control of your body anywhere and anytime using the power of the pushup. So get yourself Fired UP and drop on down!


We're running on all cylinders these days so I really appreciate guest blogger Tom Rancich Charlie Miking for me last week. I met Tom during BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training. I was class leader of BUD/S Class 181 but was pulled out for medical reasons and rolled into Class 182. Tom was the class leader of BUD/S Class 182 – when I came in halfway through as the assistant class leader. Tom was pulled for medical reasons but I was secured. And the story Tom tells is that he was the one to get my guys into shape, thus making my job ever so much easier! And here we are, years later, and Tom's still making my job easier -- thanks brother!!

Look for some other former SEALs to step up and share some great fitness and motivational advice: like my Swim Buddy Stew Smith (check him out on my blog roll).



Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where in the World is Charlie Mike?

I would like to thank Mr. Mike for the opportunity to be a guest poster on his blog. Charlie, it really is an honor to be invited to post.

Okay—just kidding—as we all know, Charlie Mike is the phonetic shorthand for Continue Mission—and that is what I am here to do as Alden’s buddy—help you all Charlie Mike while Alden is off getting soft---err, I mean—spending some important family time. So first topic—the buddy. Since being featured in Doug Waller’s “Commandos” I have been asked thousands of times, “What does it take to be a SEAL?” Well, I believe that any question can be answered with a long, well thought out reply or the truth---and the truth is that there are only two things it takes to be a SEAL---Never quit and never leave your buddy. That is it. You can layer a foot of honor, commitment, courage, strength, patriotism, desire, blah blah on top of it—but the bottom line is Never quit and Never leave your buddy.

Never Leave your Buddy: In 2001 my friend Neil Roberts found himself alone on a mountain in Afghanistan fighting incredible odds. He did not make it. Sometime after that a few SEALs, retired and active, officer and enlisted were commiserating and a retired Captain said what we were all thinking----“He should not have been alone.” Now that he was alone was an accident—a happenstance of battle, but what that Captain was saying and what everyone understood and agreed with—was that anyone worthy of the Trident would be willing to give their life for the opportunity to be on the mountain with Neil so that they could give their life there—and not let Neil be alone. So—who is your buddy? Okay—well, let’s not over think it—you got buddies everywhere—use them! Your spouse, your kids---when I was on staff at Newport one of my best buddies in the PT world was the towel guy. He was a retired guy and just like shooting the sh!t with people and he was funny----so sometimes when I didn’t really feel like working out—I would just go talk to my buddy----and he would hand me a towel and—well—can’t just hand it back, can you?

But the other thing is never forget---that you HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN BUDDY!! We all have a dialogue running in our head---and if you are honest with yourself—some of it is not very nice to you. I have had friends and clients tell me things that they think about themselves and I’ve said “Do you know what I would do if someone said that about you while I was in earshot---I would break their f’ing nose” (I am not as refined or politically correct as our friend Alden—I should probably take a lesson from him, but---naaah) So think of the things that might make you a good buddy to someone else----supportive, kind, always there, kind, prepared, kind, ready to work, kind, non-judgmental, kind, truthful, kind, honest, kind---okay well you get the idea---do not beat yourself up—it is the worst trap in the world—be kind to yourself but be honest and truthful too---that combination will do more for you than anything (except the Perfect Line) especially if you use it to NEVER QUIT!

Never Quit---everyday you do some things you want to and a bunch of things you don’t want to---but you don’t quit. Same with physical training---the airwaves are full of people selling stuff and systems---but what they are really doing is selling hope. But let’s just say we are good buddies to ourselves—and we have some other folks looking out for us—like Alden—now what does never quit mean? It does not mean working out four hours a day—although that is cool—it just means that at every turn, do something good for yourself---park a little farther from the mall, do some yard work—or set a day aside to kick the snot out of yourself with the Perfect Pushup or the Rev or a 50 mile bike ride----see—the circle is—I am honest with myself—I am kind to myself---but I am not letting myself off the hook---because part of being kind and being honest and not quitting is saying---it is better for me to (sweat, run, walk, drink water etc etc) and thus I am going to do it.

So—one last thing—a good friend of mine—a civilian—once told me while I was still in “Well, it is easy for you—you get paid to work out.” He was correct----and that caused me some amount of problems when I retired. All of the sudden I had to make time to work out---and I wasn’t always very good at it—until I realized how crappy I was feeling—and here is the deal---a swim coach told me when I was about 13----you’re trapped in this lifestyle forever (I was swimming about 16000 yards a day----well I blew him off on account of being a teen—but after 8 more years of swimming, then a career as a SEAL his words suddenly had credence—I was trapped in a lifestyle that insisted on being fit, being a good buddy to myself and never quitting—worked pretty well for me----what lifestyle do you want to be trapped in?


Guest blogger Tom Rancich is the CEO and co-founder of VRHabilis, an employee-owned, service disabled veteran owned small business. Tom and his partner, co-founder Elliott Adler, provide military range management, remediation and emergency response as well as other government and federal contract services. VRHabilis stands for Veteran Run Work (habilis being the Latin word for work). It provides a venue, through the use of adaptive technology, for disabled veterans to compete for government contracts.

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership, team building, program development and strategic vision.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Tom has been a guest blogger and “on-line” coach for the Perfect Pushup team many times over the past few years: this is his first guest blog on Charlie Mike.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Okay, last time I talked about OPERATION SIERRA OSCAR (Shirt Off) it was still raining out and even, in some places like the high Sierra, snowing! However, now there’s no excuse – the sun is out and it’s burning bright – time to man-up and pull off that shirt, if for no other reason than to get your 15 minutes a day of recommended Vitamin D (from sunshine – yes, even doctors recommend you get some sun).

The question you need to ask yourself is are you ready to bare your upper torso (men and women) to the world…or at least to your closest friends or maybe just to yourself…whatever the reason – succeeding at OPERATION SIERRA OSCAR is NOT hard – it just requires 10 minutes of work a day – seriously – 10 minutes – can you do it? Man-up and try!

Here’s the drill – pushups and pull-ups for ten minutes – that’s it. You don’t need the Perfect branded products to accomplish this mission – it’ll just take longer to get the results! The workout is simple:

1. Start timer as you conduct a set of pushups to failure
2. Immediately after you finish your pushups do one set of pull-ups to failure
3. Repeat without stop until your timer clicks to 10 minutes.

That’s it – so let me know it goes. Oh yeah, you should take a picture of yourself because after ten workouts you’re gonna be surprised at how much your body has changed and how much more often you’ll be taking your shirt off!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


To all you Dads out there – Happy Father’s Day! More than any other leadership role I’ve had – being a Dad is by far the best leadership opportunity I’ve ever had - and for that matter, the most important one. Yes, even more important than leading SEALs safely and successfully into harm’s way. SEAL missions are finite – every mission has a start and stop to it – but the mission of raising children is a lifelong mission and by far the most important tasker any of us could undertake, for these little minds get their bearings, their values and their moral compass directly from us. And if we Dads lead our mission correctly, our children will keep coming back to us over the rest of our lives as a resource for inspiration and encouragement, for guidance and advice, and everything in between…and if the mission goes really well, they’ll never stop giving us that wonderful hug and saying the words that make every Dad’s heart skip a beat: “I love you Dad.”

Now, I don’t know everything about being a Dad, in fact everyday I learn more about what I don’t know, because every day is different with these monkeys – which reminds me a whole helluva lot of SEAL Team. In SEAL Team, we train for 167 different types of missions – at least that was the count when I was in – I’m sure it’s even higher today. Much like waking up every morning or several times during the night – you don’t know what’s in store for you as a Dad or a SEAL Team platoon commander, and because in SEAL Team you don’t know what’s going to happen next, you and your teammates create a mindset that keeps you flexible and ready for anything – we call it: STRAC = Skilled Tough Ready Around the Clock. This mindset keeps you focused on continual improvement – just like the Japanese with their Kaizen philosophy – STRAC is all about improving your skills and never quenching that thirst to better yourself a little everyday.

One of the key elements of STRAC is keeping your body fit – after all what good is the best weapon system if you’re not strong enough to carry it to the objective?! Same goes for all us Dads – the health and functionality of our bodies is a critical component to the success of our mission as a Dad. Seriously – think about it – our kids will look to us as their first reference point on everything from how we talk to what we eat to our mannerisms, even how we stand or sit in a chair – their little minds are 24/7 computers with a video interface – they are constantly recording and computing what they’ve recorded on their little hard drive minds. These little monkeys are learning their first Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) from us (and of course Mom). A very important SOP to establish with them is exercising their body – from camping to swimming to biking to climbing on jungle gyms – our troops will be looking to us for SOPs on how to care for our bodies – DON’T DISAPPOINT THEM – set this SOP early in their lives and I promise you they (and you!) will get more out of life – trust me when I tell you it’s a whole bunch more memorable for them and you if you make up your own Discovery Channel adventure versus watching the Discovery Channel!

The other important element about the STRAC mindset for Dads: “Life as a Dad is already challenging enough, but it’s a whole lot tougher if you’re weak!”

To all you Mission Commanders out there – enjoy your mission – it’s the best mission you’ll ever lead - Happy Father’s Day!