Archive for July, 2010

There are a lot of people who I admire in the fitness profession for various reasons. While most of us gravitate toward like-minded individuals or those who train in a similar manner (or share a similar philosophy), I can still appreciate people for their differences. Here are some people I admire and the reasons why I admire them:

1. Tony Gentilcore – Tony consistently writes humorous, entertaining, and informative blogs. He gives credit where credit is due and he doesn’t try to act mysterious or pretend he’s somebody he’s not. Too many trainers are so worried about their image or are trying to portray themselves as overly-important. Tony’s as real as it gets. He’s not afraid to talk about his personal life or film Youtube videos of him lifting heavy weights.

2. Carl Valle – Carl is notorious for calling people out and speaking his mind. This takes guts and I commend him for it. Carl has turned over a new leaf and is trying to be more tactful which I have definitely noticed. I’ve been speaking to Carl on the phone lately and although we disagree about a lot of things, we can always find common ground talking about biomechanics. We both love to analyze exercises, programs, sports, and systems. One of the “litmus tests” I use to determine if a coach is for real or not is whether they talk about exercises. No one knows it all and there’s a ton of truths that are yet to be determined. If you’re a coach and you think you’ve got it all figured out then count your days because they’re limited. You need to have a general philosophy but you need to be open-minded to evolution. It’s very easy to hang out in your “comfort zone” and only surround yourself with people who feel identical to you. But I’ve found that I can learn a lot from people who have different thoughts on strength training and unique perspectives.

3. Charlie Weingroff – Charlie is a rapidly rising star in this profession for good reason…the guy is legit! He has tremendous goals and aspirations and he works his ass off to continue his education. Although Charlie has his DPT and was formerly the strength coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, you can still find Charlie traveling all over the place to receive new certifications, attend seminars, visit coaches, and advance his knowledge. He started up a blog, speaks his mind, posts his workouts, and lifts heavy weights. I mean really heavy! You have to admire a guy like this!

4. Matt Perryman – Matt is another very outspoken guy who loves to call it how he sees it. Matt’s primary interest seems to be general strength training which is an art unto itself. The reason why I admire Matt is because he’s not afraid to try new systems and write about his results. He recently embarked on a high-frequency training expedition and shared his views and results on his blog and various forums. Most people stay within the confines of their little safety nest, Matt’s not afraid to step away from the nest and try something new.

5. Joe Sansalone – Joe is one of the brightest guys in the fitness field yet many people have never heard of him. I’m trying to encourage him to get a blog going as I bet if he started writing more often he’d quickly become one of the more popular writers and speakers in the profession. Joe doesn’t seem to care about this as he’s perfectly happy training clients all day long. This is another quality that I admire. However, I told Joe that this is fine but if he “influences the trainers” he will positively impact a much higher volume of individuals. Hopefully he’ll listen to me. Joe walks the walk and trains very hard. Notice a common theme – I tend to admire and listen to the coaches who train hard. It gives them much more credibility!

These are just five of the many individuals in the fitness profession who I greatly admire. Just one year ago, I didn’t know any coaches or trainers as I too was so busy training people that I never had time to network or meet any people in the field. In the past year I’ve made a lot of friends and it’s definitely improved the quality of my life. In fact, I feel like the bumble bee girl in the 1992 No Rain video by Blind Melon when she finally discovered her “world.”

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My Blog is Blowing Up

Before I get started on this blog, let me say a few things. First, I sure am glad I listened to my fans and colleagues about shortening the blogposts. To quote a great philosopher, “My shit is blowin’ up fools!” I think it was Aristotle who said that. Seriously, my blog is kicking some serious butt which is great news because I work very hard to make it a major part of my life. Thank you very much to all the people who put me on their blogroll, retweet my posts, and spread the word on Facebook and on various forums. It is much appreciated!

My friends think I’m a complete nerd when I tell them that I’m working on a blog. I used to think blogging was for serious nerds too, but I have to admit I now love it. This will be me in a few years:

Good Reads for the Week Blogpost

Second, regarding my weekly Good Reads for the Week blogposts, I get all of those links off of Twitter and Facebook. I steal a lot of the unique articles from Jonathan Fass as he posts some good articles on his Facebook page (then I post them on my blog and get all the glory….mwuh huh huh!). If you’re a fitness writer and you’re wondering why I don’t include links to your articles, it’s due to one of two things: 1) I don’t believe it’s quite good enough to link, or 2) I never read it because you didn’t market the article. Here’s an excellent quote from Alwyn Cosgrove on last week’s StrengthCoach Podcast (I’m bastardizing his quote as I’m writing this down from memory but I don’t think his Scottish ass will mind):

If you believe in your product and you’re not telling anyone, then you’re doing everyone a disservice. If you found a cure for cancer and kept it to yourself, you’d be an asshole. If you believe in your work and ideas, then you SHOULD promote them and try to spread the word. Keeping it to yourself would be selfish.

In other words, don’t feel bad about promoting your work. Just don’t be overly annoying about it like some folks. That’s a quick way to turn people off in this industry. If you’re not using Facebook and/or Twitter, you’re missing out.

Blogging Secrets

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of emails from my colleagues asking me how I find the time to blog so often. It’s all about passion baby! If you’re immersed in the fitness field like I am, then you probably understand what it feels like to be “getting paid to do your hobby.” I work around the clock and currently love doing so. However, here are some of my secrets:

1. I read really, really fast. I wouldn’t say I’m a speed reader but I read twice as fast as most people I know.

2. I have great “systems.” I have tabs of Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, T-Nation, Elitefts, StrengthCoach, and my blog. When I’m writing I get bored often and need a break. I cycle through the various tabs to break the monotony and stay updated.

3. I go through the newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter several times per day and click on all the links that look like good reads.

4. If I like the article, I click on a MS Word document that I create each week where I jot down a quick sentence about the article and paste the link. When it comes time for me to post the blog, the hard work is done and all I have to do is copy, paste, and link the articles. Then I embed a Jamie Eason image so when I post the blog to Facebook my fans are compelled to click on it. My sleaziness knows no bounds. Jamie’s so hot even women have to click on the link. She talked about this in a Muscular Development interview several months ago.

5. Whenever I think of a new idea I jot it down in another ongoing MS Word document called “Random Thoughts.” Often I’ll be working out, training someone, or having a conversation with someone and I’ll think of a new idea. In this case I text message the idea to myself so I don’t forget. I’m a big thinker so I come up with stuff to blog about quite often. I probably have 30 ideas ready to be blogged about at all times.

6. Whenever possible I multi-task. On Monday I was talking to someone on the phone and I put it on speakerphone so I could respond with a quick “thank you” to every single person who wrote me a Happy Birthday message on Facebook. Little things like this make a big difference.

7. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, and I don’t go out much. I’m comfortable in my home. I have a badass garage gym so I don’t need to leave the house very often. I don’t watch sports except for UFC fights. I try to see a movie once a week. Sadly, I don’t even go on dates. The benefit of being single right now is that I don’t have any one to answer to…I can stay up late, wake up early, leave dishes in the sink, etc. This equates to more time to dedicate to my reading, learning, and writing.

8. As far as quality is concerned, I try to stick to a few rules when I blog. First, I try to spell-check and proof-read my posts. I’m amazed at how many bloggers don’t even go this far. Second, I try to use bold and italics to spruce things up. Third, I try to break up the paragraphs to reduce “intimidation.” Forth, I try to embed pictures and Youtube videos. Fifth, I try very hard to respond to comments so my readers feel engaged. And sixth, I try to provide quality content while injecting some humor into the posts. These simple rules seem to be working very well for me.

9. I purposely limit the amount of personal training clients I take on. I believe that beginner trainers and coaches should try to get as much training experience under their belt as possible. When I had my personal training studio Lifts I trained so many clients each week I feel that I got a decade’s worth of experience crammed into a few years. Once you’ve been training for as many years as I have you actually benefit more from training less and freeing up more time for reading and researching.

When I was a high school math teacher, I’d run around like a maniac so I could get all of my work done during school hours. My teacher friends made fun of me for how fast I walked and moved around but they usually stayed at work until 6 p.m. whereas I bolted out of there shortly after the bell rang. I’m all about being productive, multi-tasking, and creating efficient systems! As a matter of fact, I have my computer in my garage right now and I’m writing this blog in between sets of full squats – no joke. How’s that for multi-tasking? So there you have it! This is how I get so much accomplished.

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Here you go fitness friends!!! 50 Good reads, listens, and views for the week.

1. In this audio interview from Dr. Perry Nickelston, Trainer of the Gods Bret Contreras discusses glute training, dynamic transfer, evidence-based learning, coaching the lifts, and making training fun.

2. In this article, Mike Scott compiles advice from a bunch of highly qualified expert advisors (with the exception of some Bret guy) regarding which fitness fads should be forgotten.

3. There’s a video on this link that shows you how to work toward being able to perform a muscle up, taught by the man Juan Carlos Santana himself!

4. This gymnast has some serious skills! Incredible feats of strength.

5. In this blog, Eric Cressey shows us some more functional things to do in place of standard aerobics.

6. In this blog, Mike Robertson discusses the role of the abdominals and training related implications.

7. In this blog, Kevin Neeld discusses grooving new movement patterns. He uses an AWESOME analogy so this is definitely worth reading!

8. In this article Charles Poliquin discusses his “2 percent rule” of progress to make sure your routine is working.

9. In this blog Nick Horton provides a ton of great links to videos that discuss lifting form and protocols.

10. Sitting is slowly killing you (MSNBC article).

11. Sitting is slowly killing you (NY Times article)

12. In this blog Charlie Weingroff discusses the draw in maneuver vs. bracing. This is actually the best article I’ve read on the topic, and here are Charlie’s parting words of advice: “So all in all…Always get fat when you breath, never Draw-In, and Brace if you must.”

13. In this video Joe “Poetry in Motion” shows us how to train for lateral speed despite having a small facility.

14. In these two videos Joe Sansalone shows a TGU with 106 lbs with impeccable form! Most important, he demonstrates that he can do it with both arms and that he has symmetrical strength and coordination!

15. In this video, 49ers strength coach Duane Carlisle discusses his training methodology and shows some workout clips. Uh oh! At 2:30 and 3:21 you’ll see pro NFL players doing crunches and at 7:48 you’ll see a player doing hip thrusts with chains. Chain resistance is a good start for hip thrusts but if you want explosive athletes you have to use a barbell and go heavy! Teach the body to explode!

16. In this blog Jaime Rodriguez shows us five great glute exercises.

17. In this article Mark Young provides more thoughts on intervals.

18. In this blog Patrick Ward discusses “Anatomy Links” and why he feels the creator has much to offer the strength training industry.

19. Here’s a link to the latest Fitcast episode

20. Here’s a link to the latest StrengthCoach podcast

21. In this blog Carson Boddicker cites some great research involving high-heeled shoes and running.

22. In this blog by Mike Young from Elite Track (not to be confused with Mark Young) he dispels some of the myths surrounding lactic acid..

23. This is a good blog from Mike Robertson. He discusses ways to improve your bench press mainly through focusing on your pulling strength.

24. Elitetrack.com is awesome! Lots of free goodies on this site if you’re a member. Check out this link to see how you can download free PDF’s.

25. In this blog Howard Gray writes about Variation at the Microcycle Level.

26. In this blog Cedric Unholz interviews Robbie Bourke. I felt this was a great interview!

27. In this blog, Jimson Lee offers clarification regarding the fastest 10 meter split ever run.

28. In this article Matt Herold shows three speed exercises that you should be doing.

29. In this article Franz Snideman does an amazing job of telling us all we need to know about the Kettlebell Swing.

30. In this blog on Carson Boddicker’s site Nate Shaw gives us a brief overview of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).

31. In this blog Nick Tumminello interviews Dr. Jose Antonio (3 minute interview) regarding 5 simple supplement tips for athletes.

32. In this blog, Tony Gentilcore provides a typical hilarious commentary about toning shoes.

33. Holy crap! This guy is intense! I’ve never seen a more vulgar, angry blog. And to tell you the truth I love it. Not sure who this guy is but if you click on the link, consider yourself forewarned. This blog is about deadlifting frequency.

34. In this article Kelly Baggett discusses optimal set and rep schemes.

35. Here’s a blog from Tony Gentilcore on mistakes that trainers make. Best quote: “Bad trainers want to hang out in the gym for a few hours every day, hit on girls, and give each other high fives after each set of leg curls.”

36. In this blog Nia Shanks talks about fractional plates and incremental progression.

37. In this blog Patrick Ward discusses how to avoid losing ideas you learn at conferences and seminars.

38. Here’s another great article on Vitamin D.

39. Here is a great read from Poliquin on chin ups.

40. In this blog Mike Young dispels the myth that stretching reduces soreness.

41. In this blog Jason Ferruggia talks about deloading and gives some very practical tips.

42. This is some seriously impressive female strength!

43. In this interview on Mark Young’s site, Sam Leahey provides us with some insightful answers.

44. In this article Dave Tate shows us more bench press techniques (this is part V of the series).

45. In this video Eric Moss does a spoof on “Shaker Weight” type products. Hilarious!

46. This is an excellent blog by Eric Cressey that shows why there are so many internet badasses!

47. This is an excellent article by Charles Poliquin regarding why people should lift weights. It’s intended audience is women but it applies to everyone.

48. Here’s my friend Nick Tumminello discussing how to do Tight Rotations in a Men’s Health video:

49. In this blog Geoff Neupert discusses movement that matters. Get good at the basics!

50. This USA Today article gives us ten pretty good tips on how to boost our metabolism.

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Here are three quotes that are variations of the a common theme.

The less you know, the more you think you know, because you don’t know you don’t know – Ray Stevens

The more you know, the more you know you don’t know – Aristotle Onassis

The more you know, the more you know you don’t know and the more you know that you don’t know – David Byrne

I believe that I’m finally “smart” enough to realize how much I don’t know. I believe that this is a critical stage in one’s development as a lifelong learner.

Here’s an abstract from this study:

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

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1. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Jeff Cubos, he’s an extremely intelligent and knowledgeable guy! I follow him on Twitter and read his blog. Jeff, please introduce yourself to the readers! Include qualifications, certifications, education, etc.

Thanks for the interview Bret. I’m truly honored to be able to share some thoughts and ideas with you and your readers and since I know your site is an educational one, hope I can provide some information that people can take away with them. To cut to the chase, I am a sport chiropractor but if you want the whole shebang, I am a Bachelor of Physical Education & Health, a Master of Science in Kinesiology & Health Science, a Doctor of Chiropractic, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences. Now for those that really care, I also hold my ICSSD and my CSCS. I have a number of other certifications and qualifications but these are mostly “tools” in my toolbox and I am of the belief that no matter how sharp your tools are, they mean very little if you use them when they are not indicated.

2. Many strength coaches are somewhat skeptical about chiropractors. How do you feel about this topic and what do you think that chiropractors should be doing to “raise the bar” for the profession?

To be honest with you, I can’t blame them. I can honestly say that I have encountered a lot of red tape simply for the fact that I am a chiropractor and for this I have to thank my ancestors. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of who I AM, just not always proud of the letters that lie in between “E” and “B”. Having said that, I think every profession contains a few bad apples and there are two primary reasons for this: 1) a lack of integrity and 2) a lack of knowledge.

The latter, I cannot lay full blame. They simply do not know what they do not know. As a result, dogma overrules and the treatment approach is very philosophical and emotional. The former, on the other hand, is simply as a result of $$$. Some individuals basically utilize their privileges as a means to achieve financial prosperity.

Now I will change gears and state that the chiropractic profession IS changing. Thanks to a select group of pioneers, we are now making headway and working hard to right the wrong. We can thank several institutions for this. CMCC (my alma mater) in particular, is leading the way with an evidence-based approach that hopefully will allow me to one day state without any reservation that chiropractic is the profession of choice for manual therapy.

So to answer your question about what we, as a profession, should be doing to raise the bar I would have to have to say that we need to make a commitment to stay in a continual pursuit of knowledge. If we do so then I think we’ll be ok.

3. What do you like to do for continuing education and how do you go about learning new stuff? In other words, what are your favorite conferences/seminars, journals, websites, blogs, authors, coaches, etc.?

In my opinion, the most important aspect of one’s continuing education is the development of a system. What I mean by that is it is very easy to read this, intern here, mentor there, attend that, and so on. Patrick Ward recently wrote a piece called Lost in Translation and I think he hit it bang on. We need to learn with intent. Let me say that again,


For those still in school, you need to shadow. Shadow a variety of people in your profession and just be a french toast fly on the wall. Soak it all up.

For the new grads, read your texts. Get the big picture. Put yourself in a position to understand the recently published article that you think you need to read. Let me give you an example for us in the medical professions: That orthopaedic special test for the glenohumeral labrum that has 100% specificity and sensitivity means squat if you don’t know the basic biomechanics of the shoulder.

For those that are starting to climb the ladder, brush up on your stats. Learn how to read the research. Just because an article was published doesn’t mean it is valid. If you need help with this, just ask Mark Young. And if you’re one who just reads abstracts and conclusions, please (and respectfully) do us all a favor consider another profession. Thank you!

For those of you who are riding the waves, develop your own system. So to answer your question, here’s my system:

• I surround myself with like-minded and more intelligent individuals to learn off of and bounce ideas with.
• I read books to conceptualize and get an overall picture.
• I attend lectures, seminars, workshops, and conferences – but only when I have pre-read the literature put forth by that particular speaker. Otherwise, the information would just go over my head.
• I read blogs and forums to stay in the know. One of the biggest limitations of many individuals is not knowing what they don’t know. Being familiar with the internet puts you in a position to at least KNOW what you don’t know.

Now for specifics. At random, my favorites (both new and old) are: sportsrehabexpert.com, hockeystrengthandconditioning.com, strengthcoach.com, researchreviewservice.com, SWIS symposiums, mikereinold.com, ericcressey.com, charlieweingroff.com, Pubmed (sorry, too many journals to name so I’m taking the easy way out), clinical rehabilitation specialists, Chaitow’s chat, RobertsonTraining Systems, PT Think Tank, Warren Hammer, Joe’s Training Room, Mark Young Training Systems, Dr. Yessis, Sweat Science, Optimumsportsperformance.com, boddickerperformance.com, Movement Science, KevinNeeld.com, and obviously your site. I frequent many others as well but Big Brother is on and I can’t stay on the computer all night.

4. In general, what are some things that you feel strength coaches today are doing well?

Expanding their knowledge and pushing the boundaries.

I have to commend strength coaches both young and old for rising to the occasion and becoming prominent figures in sport. It wasn’t too long ago when we had the coach, the doctor/trainer, and the equipment guy. While this industry still has a long way to go, the artistic application of the sciences has not only provided us with athletes that are more powerful, but also at less risk of injury. Further, when you have strength coaches education medical professionals on how to prevent injury…that’s a phenomenal thing!

5. In general, what are some things that you feel that strength coaches today are not doing well?

Expanding their knowledge and stepping over the boundaries.

Unfortunately, we also have a small issue of “trying to do too much”. As someone who works full time in a clinical setting, most strength coaches would not want me to take an athlete post-rehabilitation and start training them for athletic performance. Conversely, if an athlete has an injury, I would expect them to referred to a physical therapist, chiro, athletic trainer or doc for proper care. That is why we have the different professions in the first place. From a SCFE to an avulsion fracture to a deep vein thrombosis, it only take one mis-managed athlete to screw up. And remember, insurance only covers one for what is in their scope of practice.

6. Rapid Response Time:

Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Current City of Residence: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

Favorite Type of Music: Treating patients – classical. Warming up – hip hop. Training – metal. Driving – culture reggae. Hanging with the wife – new country.

Favorite 3 Movies: The Rock, Point Break & American Pie

Favorite 3 Exercises: Front squat, hang clean, hip thrust (not because of you but because of all the looks I get in the gym from BOTH genders).

Favorite Type of Food: Mom’s cooking (Filipino food)

Favorite Type of Training: Cycling (for triathlons)

Favorite Sport to Play: Lacrosse

Favorite Sport to Watch: Hockey

Biggest 3 Influences: Ed Ratz, Jess Cubos, Myself (that is not a lie, I can honestly say that my drive, determination, and desire comes from within – hope you all don’t take that the wrong way).

Favorite 3 Books:

Athletic Injuries & Rehabiliation – Zachazewski
Einstein: His life and universe – Isaacson
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Kiyosaki

7. Thank you very much for the interview Jeffrey!!! Before you go, do you have any projects in the near future, and where can readers find out more about you?

Thanks for the opportunity, Bret. My first project is to expand on questions 4 & 5 and I intend to do so via question and answer in your comments section. I have a ton of opinions on these topics but believe an interactive discussion is necessary to fully explain myself. As for “real” projects, I am really contemplating further study. I have a ton of questions that I want answered and would love the opportunity to address these via a PhD in rehab sciences. I’m not sure if and when this will happen but it is a strong consideration. In particular, I really want to examine the true predictive ability for risk identification of several screening and testing tools that are out on the market but with relatively little supportive evidence. As for more information about myself, I enjoy spending time jotting down thoughts on jeffcubos.com.

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When I conducted my EMG research, I was surprised to find that squats elicited more lumbar erector activity than deadlifts. Not surprising was that deadlifts elicit more thoracic erector activity than squats. In powerlifting competitions, you squat, then bench, then deadlift. Most recreational lifters always squat before they deadlift as they feel that squats “warm them up” for heavy deadlifting. This makes sense as many individuals hurt their low backs when deadlifting because they aren’t warmed up sufficiently. The squats also provide for more range of motion at the hip, knee, and ankle joints, so it makes perfect sense to squat prior to deadlifting rather than the other way around.

Many find that they are stronger at deadlifts when they squat first. Conversely, if they deadlift before they squat, they find that their squat is considerably weaker. So I feel that if you’re going to squat and deadlift, it makes more sense to squat first and deadlift second. I’ve always done it this way in my training and coaching.

Need more evidence? Click on this link.

It’s an abstract from a 2007 Journal of Strength and Conditioning study that shows that when using an 80% of 1RM load in the squat and deadlift, the squat activates 34.5% more lumbar erector activity than deadlifts while the deadlift activates 12.9% more thoracic erector activity than squats. Interestingly, this study showed that powerlifters were able to control the lumbar spine and prevent flexion in the squat but not the deadlift.

The kinematics of a squat and deadlift are very complex but if you squat and deadlift in a speedo your form will magically perfect itself!

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Switching It Up

Hello blog readers! My blog has steadily continued to grow in readership since I first started blogging in November and has reached an all-time high. On a side note, my first blogpost might be the best I ever wrote for trainers in this industry. In case you never read it, check it out.

Moving on, I get a lot of feedback from people on my blog. Many have grown to love the longer format but it appears that the majority find my blogs overwhelming. I am going to start posting more frequent blogs with shorter topics. If I think of several things in one day so be it; I’ll post 3 blogs in one day. I’m going to start offering several types of blogposts:

1. Regular topics including random thoughts, new exercise ideas, concepts, programs, etc.
2. Interviews and guest blogs
3. Reviews of journal studies, conferences, presentations, etc.
4. “Oh Really?” – this will be a new thing I’m going to be doing regularly where I politely and respectfully disagree with the experts
5. “Good Reads for the Week” – this will be a weekly thing where I post links to good articles, blogs, and videos

I hope you like the new style!

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