I did not see this day happening like this, now, but it is with very mixed feelings I announce that TCB Fitness will be closing its doors after today.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control and some city permit issues, the studio had to either move or shut down operations. I was unable to secure an ideal location in a relatively short amount of time. In what I have been calling a “perfect storm” of happenings, I accepted a management role at the brand new LA Fitness here in the west end, the first of many of this great fitness chain to enter western Canada. If you work or live in the area, I highly recommend coming down to check it out.

To all the “Team TCB” members, from the “Originals” to those that started a few months ago, saying the words thank you is truly not enough. I have always been honored, flattered and grateful for the privilege to positively affect your lives whether it be through, exercise, “therapy” or simply laughter. One of my main goals with TCB Fitness was “Taking Care of Bodies”. It was not just the physical sense, but mental and emotional too. The ability to show people that they can improve, that a positive thought process CAN make a difference and that picking up, putting down, pulling, pushing, swinging, pressing, just moving can be fun and has been very rewarding. I hope though, that all the people whose lives I have positively changed also realize, in their own way they have helped positively changed mine.

It would take a while to list off the people I want to thank who have helped TCB Fitness along the way, chances are if you are reading this note and are thinking, “I helped TCB Fitness and Andy”, you probably did, so for that, I thank you.

TCB Fitness is not dead. With the weather today, perhaps it is best to say it is in hibernation. Similar to what I have said to everybody as they have had their last TCB sessions over the past few days, this is not good bye; it is just see you in LA.

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TCB FITNESS: Important Notice

There will be more details to follow, but please be advised that TCB Fitness will not be accepting new clients at this time.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

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TCB FITNESS: Stronger Mind = Stronger YOU!

This newest blog is a guest post courtesy of Zach Even-Esh, author of  ‘The Encyclopedia of
Underground Strength and Conditioning’.  It is a short post but definitely makes a point on how important your mind and thought processes are as it relates to your mental, emotional and physical strength, especially as it relates to training.


There is something powerful about training when you go
against the “norms” of perfect program design and perfectly
organized, scientific workouts.

Strength does not begin with the muscles, it begins in the mind.
I learned this long ago, as a high school teenager who was
guided by the wrong methods.

I looked strong, but I was not strong. I was not strong physically
or mentally. I broke down when I felt someone else impose their
will on me as a high school wrestler. I broke down when I felt
my muscles fatigue and lock up on me.

I would hear my inner voice, time and again, questioning WHY
am I feeling so tired and weak when I work so hard?

I followed the rules. I followed the perfect workouts. Workouts
that built beach muscles instead of muscles that could perform
in the real world.

Only later on in life did I begin to understand that strength is
controlled by the mind, first and foremost. My mind began to
crave the challenges rather than stray from them.

I began deadlifting on an almost daily basis as I left a barbell in
my garage, loaded to 275 or 325 lbs. I would hit a few reps a few
times a day, almost every day.

I wanted to be strong without having excuses such as:

* Let me warm up first

* It’s not leg day

* I didn’t eat today

These were all excuses I used to come up with because I read
too many articles about the perfect training routine.

I truly realized the importance of NO excuses and living a
strong life when a major Hurricane hit my home town and
the entire state of NJ. The power was out for 2 weeks and
I found myself multiple times throughout the day and night
deadlifting and carrying a gas filled generator, well over 200 lbs
but it feels more like 400 due to the awkward nature.

I would carry the generator in and out of the garage at 11pm, 3am
and 6am. I would wake up and walk out side and get to work. I
wasn’t in the perfect world, able to warm up and get psyched for the “lift”.

My family needed a warm house and they relied on me to be
strong enough and tough enough, both physically and mentally, to
carry heavy objects and do whatever was necessary to take
care of them.

When you train to be strong don’t just train to be strong under
a barbell, train to be STRONG in LIFE!


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness.


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TCB FITNESS: Strength Is A Choice

Strength is a choice.

Mark Reifkind,
Master SFG Instructor

Not always an easy one, because it usually requires doing something difficult that one can’t do easily; but that is precisely the point. Strength, by definition, requires the use of force. Sometimes that is an external force, and sometimes it’s experienced internally.

In reality, it always starts internally. It starts with the mind.

“What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.”
—Napoleon Hill (paraphrased)


Strength, or force, is the ability to move something, or by extrapolation, create a change. I always told my sons that the most important thing in life is the ability to make yourself do that which you know you needed, to but didn’t want to — because if you could do that, you could accomplish anything. I still believe this.

Rarely are those things easy, but the more often one attempts and accomplishes them, the “easier” they get.

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You see, your inner strength, your will, is just like the body — just like the muscles. If it is used frequently and appropriately, it gets stronger. If it rarely taken out and exercised, it dissipates and grows weak.

Weak never feels good; Strong ALWAYS feels good. But getting to Strong isn’t always fun, and many can’t seem to make that leap. But it’s crucial because one is either getting stronger or getting weaker. There is no standing still.

It can look like standing still or maintaining because one is going backwards slowly, but it is still in the wrong direction. Even when the body is tapped-out and the weight will not move, or when it can no longer run the distance it once could, a body can still get stronger in one way or another. One can still make the mind stronger, and through that — the body.

We are always training.

“The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed…The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear and the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step. He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure.”  —James Allen, “As a Man Thinketh”

We are always influencing the body in one way or another whether we are aware of it or not. How we eat, sleep, stand, and train — or not — creates an effect on our system and determines whether we are getting stronger or weaker, better or worse, going forward or backward.

The more we are aware of this principle (scientifically, S.A.I.D.: Adaptations to Imposed Demands), the more we can control what we get from our training and our lifestyle.

If we go to the gym and train hard but don’t let ourselves rest to adapt to the workloads, and don’t feed ourselves properly to help recovery and adaptation through nutrition and never contemplate the goals of our training and our methods, then, invariably we don’t progress.  …At least not in the right direction.

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Everything affects our progress, but especially our strength of mind — as that is truly the determinate of all the other good or bad decisions we will make in accordance with our training. The hardest part is always just getting to our practice, and doing the best we can that day, especially when we are tired or “life” gets in the way.

Knowing that, and training the mind as well as the body, can make one’s progress exponentially better than just approaching it as a purely physical effort.

All serious athletes know this — that the mind is the great limiter, and they all work diligently to focus and concentrate better. They learn how to harness the power of the mind instead of letting it control them. The most important thing is looking at, and honestly assessing, one’s weaknesses. Only if one knows where the weak links are, can one attack them and make them stronger. We are always only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and strengthening our weakest link always brings the fastest results.

Unfortunately, many are loathe to seek or acknowledge their weak points, and choose instead to enjoy working their strengths. True strength of body or mind can never come from that, in my opinion, as sooner or later, all will bump up against the weak link. It just happens later to the more talented. But it does happen.

Within the SFG, ours is an internal focus. Our focus is on Deep Skill and Mastery, through consistent and devoted practice. In our practice we are always searching for and working on our weak links, to shore them up, and better-strengthen the entire system.

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Strength is a skill, and it is a mental skill as well as a physical one. We need to practice being strong in all aspects of our lives, not just the few hours a week we are in practice and training. All our life can be a practice, with all of it devoted to making one stronger and better.

It’s not that hard, really, but it’s not for everyone. Many would prefer to be unconscious about most aspects of their “lifestyle” and how it affects their training. Those are the ones that are usually complaining how little progress they have made.


Through the body to the mind.

After 41 years of training and practice, I have come to understand that one can change the mind by approaching it through the body, or vice versa. Hard training and confronting the true limits of one’s physical being has a profound effect on one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. But focusing the mind on what one wants the body to achieve can transform it quickly as well. When both parts of oneself are optimized, then progress is usually exponential.

Using little things throughout the day to strengthen one’s resolve or will can add up quickly in the gym when it’s time to lift something you have never lifted before and all systems are telling you to back off and play it safe. In maximal efforts of either strength or endurance, the smallest hesitation can result in failure. Keeping your purpose clear and your mind tight is critical.

Pundits call athletes who can’t do this “chokers.” Training the mind in small but deliberate ways throughout the day carries over to the gym way more than most would imagine…as well as to the rest of your life.

The little things include things like getting to the gym on time, getting your meals ready so you eat the right things that you know you need, doing the small stuff like correctives and mobility and stretching that aren’t much fun but are crucial to keeping the machine going, or just keeping the goal and the purpose in your mind’s eye on a regular basis. Doing what you say you would do when you really don’t want to. Being strong of character, as well as physique. Keeping one’s eye on the prize.

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And the prize is greater strength. Greater strength of body yes, but also of mind, of will, of spirit. I’ve never met a strong man or woman with a weak mind, and I don’t believe I ever will.

Bernarr McFadden, a physical culturist and health food enthusiast of the early 20th Century grew up as a weak and sickly child and transformed himself into a vibrant and strong man. He wrote that “weakness is a crime.” It very well may be, against oneself and the culture.

I like to say that “strong fixes almost everything” and I believe it. Practice strength in all its forms, and grow older with pride.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: How To Keep Active During Your Vacation

I’m writing this right now sitting on a balcony overlooking Lake Okanagan on a beautiful morning in Kelowna, British Columbia. Am I giving you this seemingly useless information to brag or make your day more blah? Absolutely not! I am setting the scene so you can appreciate what has already been accomplished today while on holidays.

In the few hours we have been up already, my mother-in-law went for an hour long jog, my wife with our infant daughter in stroller went for a 45 minute walk, my father-in-law is out golfing and of course I already hit the gym for an hour’s worth of kettlebell work.

What all this activity shows is that, while on holidays, if you plan for and execute properly, you can keep active, maintain your exercise program and minimize the potential “collateral damage”.

Here are FOUR thoughts and tips on how to set yourself for fitness holiday success:

Plan for it. Similar to other activities you plan for during your vacation, activity and exercise should be no different.
Know what you are going to do and where you are going to do it. Personally, I’m a gym guy, so whenever I travel I look up gyms ahead of time nearby to where I will be. I research hours, cost and what they have available. God bless the Internet and google.
Decide on your time and be greedy about it. This step ties into planning. Figure out when you can make it work and DO IT. I get up early, “get ‘er done “, then have the rest of the day for whatever the day holds.
Do not beat yourself up if you miss a day. Hey, you are after all, on holidays. Your body will survive and you will not lose all your progress.. Just don’t let the missed days pile up and become a bad holiday habit!


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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Movin’ Mama’s,  here are your options:

1) Four Wednesdays starting July 2nd – $49

2) Four Fridays starting July 4th – $49

3) Access to all classes – $79

Classes are held outdoors (weather permitting) in St Albert from 130-215pm. Spaces are limited. Please respond by end of the day tomorrow, Friday June 27th.

*Fitness Kickboxing Classes will be running for the month of July at TCB Fitness, Wednesday’s 630-730pm, $98.*

Any questions and to confirm your spot contact us NOW!


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TCB FITNESS: Music While You Workout

What is it that we love about music? What is it that affects us in a way that it connects emotionally on so many levels? It can be uplifting, power charging, rejuvenating or it can be there with us in times of sadness, anger or frustration.

How about music when we train? No doubt, you have seen people running, cycling, walking or working out with headphones on. What about being in a gym where the music is blasting or perhaps it is loud enough to be background noise. Whicheve TCB FITNESS: Music While You Workoutr example you can relate to, one thing is certain, that playing music while you exercise can make a difference!

For those who listen to their ipods and mp3 players, you know what I am talking about. Your favorite workout songs when you want them, at the volume you want them and as a way to focus and shut out the outside world. Psychologically for me, it is quite different and can even be challenging not to have my ipod on while training. My mood varies, therefore so does my song selection. I have a workout playlist of over 40 songs and I usually keep it on random. Lately though, I have chosen one song and kept it on repeat for my entire workout! That is what helped me find my groove and got me going so I run with it. Kid Rock’s “Celebrate”, James Brown’s “Sex Machine” and “Super Bad” have been the repetitive players recently. What works for you?

Many gyms have their own music system playing. I have found that more of the “hardcore” gyms I have been to  TCB FITNESS: Music While You Workout play louder, heavier “hardcore” music (go figure!) The health clubs usually have a mix of new and older music.

For some, they simply are not music people. Others may have honestly not considered using music as an aid to boost their mood and/or productivity while engaging in physical activity. If you fall into either of these categories and are looking for something to boost your mood, give it a shot! Most people’s smart phones have capabilities to be used as a music player or you can invest in something small like an ipod mini. Create a playlist using songs that get you pumped and energized! Whether it is some rock, dance or techno, set them up according to the flow of your workout. Want the feeling of “oh, this song! I love this song!” and kick it into high gear, then hit random. Figure out what works for you and make it work!

One final thought, to both the headphone wearers and those facilities that play their music with the volume on “10”: we engage in physical activity for a variety of reasons, but one usually near the top of the list is to be healthy. The last time I checked, the ears are part of our body. Hearing is important. Headphone wearers, I know many of you want that music blasting through your brain as you train, but TURN IT DOWN! You should not be walking through a change room and have people sing along with what you are listening to! Gym owners/managers, I am sure you want to build an energetic environment for people to workout in, but with more people using personal headphones when they workout, perhaps you could TURN YOUR MUSIC DOWN. Headphones would not have to be on so loud and people can not only improve their bodies, but preserve their ears too.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: Family Fitness Featured In The March 19th St Albert Gazette!

The family that presses together …

Arth family improves health through group workouts

By: Amy Crofts


 TCB FITNESS: Family Fitness Featured In The March 19th St Albert Gazette!

Most families socialize around the kitchen table. The Arths do it in the weight room.Every Monday and Wednesday, the family members take their spots on the circuit at TCB Fitness, a small gym in Edmonton’s west end. The group includes father Brad, mother Carol, son Bradyn and his wife Sarah.

Personal trainer and gym owner Andy Lewis pushes the St. Albert family through a gruelling 45-minute workout that targets their whole body.

“We don’t have leg day or chest day. The body is always used as a whole unit,” he says, adding the exercises can be adapted to the family’s individual fitness levels.

Wednesday’s workout consists of 40-second rounds of high-intensity intervals including SandBells to increase core and trunk stability, Kettlebell shoulder presses to develop deltoids and pull-ups on a TRX suspension apparatus to work arm and back muscles.

The gym is quiet, with each person focusing on his or her respective exercises, with the exception of some grunts and complaints.

“This sucks,” says Carol, 52, as she clambers through the “balloon station.” The goal is to keep a balloon up in the air by slapping it with your arms, while maintaining a plank position.

“I know!” commiserates another Arth.

Some days are filled with more chatter than others depending on how tired everyone is, says Lewis, noting he modifies the workouts depending on who can make it that day.

“We come to exercise, but we come to see each other too,” says Carol.

The Arths began working out together last year in preparation for Bradyn and Sarah’s wedding. They have now adopted it as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It would be easy to get into a routine of staying at home and watching TV after work, says 25-year-old Bradyn, but his family is the motivating factor behind making exercise a regular activity.

“It helps to know that Andy is waiting here. It keeps me accountable,” he says.

Working out with another person – whether it is a personal trainer, fitness partner or a group – gives you inspiration and security that you’re not on the road alone, says Lewis.

Scientific literature on exercise and human behaviour indicates that lack of a workout partner is one of the main barriers to exercise. Lack of motivation, time and access to fitness facilities or equipment are also factors.

St. Albert resident Debbie Morrison completes one-hour personal training sessions back-to-back with her partner twice per week.

While she is cooling down and he is warming up, they talk about how their workouts went and how they are progressing to their respective goals.

Morrison says having support for each other is important.

“It makes a workout so much more meaningful when you’re doing it with someone who is interested and knows what you’re talking about.”

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FITNESS KICKBOXING CLASS AT TCB FITNESS! Finally, we can roll out the details! Thank you to everyone who has inquired and for your patience as we put the program together! Here are the details:
– Eight consecutive Wednesdays starting March 19th
– 7-8PM at TCB Fitness
– Classes will be led by Certified Instructor Lynne Galloway-Seidel
– Maximum 8 people per class
– $199 + GST per person

Here is your chance to get out and active or supplement your current exercise program with a positive, fun and challenging class!

Email with Kickboxing in the subject and reserve your spot NOW!

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TCB FITNESS: Looking At Fitness, Health and Performance

A great article I came across a few weeks back written by Max Shank, a Master RKC coach looks at why we exercise and train. There are even some simple tips on do’s and don’t s when it comes to our physical activity and how we should stress health before performance.

Fitness, Health and Performance

What is the primary goal of exercise? What is the primary objective to training at all?

The answer is that it depends entirely on the individual. However, most of us will fall into the health category. This would include anyone who is not a professional athlete getting paid for their level of performance. Fitness and Health typically go hand in hand, but Health is the primary goal. It is possible to be fit (physically) but to be unhealthy (pain, disease, malnutrition). Therefore we must look at Health first. Then we can address fitness and performance.

There are a few cases where you may have to sacrifice health to excel at a sport (i.e. cutting weight for wrestling, or taping up an ankle instead of resting because you are the star quarterback playing in the Superbowl.)

As you can see those instances are few and far between. So focus on Health before performance. The really cool part is that being healthy will actually unlock your potential by eliminating negative effects of distress/sickness.
When you are in pain or unhealthy, a couple things will happen:

1) Cortisol (stress hormone) is elevated constantly from pain which decreases growth hormone, testosterone, muscle growth, recovery, strength, etc.

2) Pain is depressing and will be psychologically damaging over time. Do not develop an association between pain and exercise!

3) When you feel pain, your brain will compensate by making you weak, tight, or both so you don’t do any more damage. This obviously makes you weaker or stiffer–the last thing you want.

4) Basic nutrient deficiency can also play a factor in your decreased health and performance



-Simple Vitamin D deficiency, for example, can cause muscle fatigue, weakness, and even depression

So realize, moving forward, that health is not only a precursor to fitness and performance, but health enhances performance, as well as quality of life.

Common Sense

My best friend’s dad told us when we were young that, “Common sense isn’t very common.

I have found the last couple decades to have confirmed that statement.

So, with that said, here is an abbreviated list of the most important common sense to be applied to your training.

1) If it hurts, don’t do it.

2) Don’t try to put square pegs into round holes.

3) Heavier does not mean “better.”

4) More does not mean “better.”

5) Your personal goals are yours and yours alone, and they are meaningful

6) You don’t have to do anything

Keep these simple things in mind when you approach your training or coaching.

Fitness Folks

The overwhelming majority of exercisers want the following things in this order:

1) Look better

2) Lose Fat and Build Muscle (see #1)

3) Feel better

4) Get stronger

This is an important reality to understand whether you are a coach or athlete.

Even if you think you are neither of the above, you are an athlete; you just play a different sport.

Maybe your sport is losing ten pounds or walking up the stairs without getting tired after the first 5 steps. We all have goals and should approach them with the same dedication that professional athletes pursue their own goals.

Educate yourself, and attack your goals, whatever they are.

The first thing you have to do is to simply be healthy.

Then move well.

– Max Shank


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional that owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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