3 Great Things About Running My Own Gym

July 27, 2015 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Starting up a business (in any field) can be very tough, time-consuming, and RISKY.  Many small businesses fail within the first couple years of their start-up.  The main reason being a lack of experience.  So there is definitely a ton to consider before starting up a business, and it’s not for everyone.  I could continue with some of what I’ve learned over the years about running a training facility/new business, and talk about all those risks as well as some of the stress that comes along with it.

But, I’m going to look at the positive today.

What I love About Having My Own Gym

1) Music

I get to pick the music I listen to when I workout.  I really like hip-hop.  I really like country.  At times I’m in the mood for some rock.  My lifting partner brings his I-Pod of songs that we put together and like to listen to when training.  At any given moment you may hear Run-DMC, Tom Petty, and Blake Shelton, to name a few.

In the video below you’ll see what I mean.  This was on a day when my training partner was out of town so I bounced around on Pandora between Eric Church, Jay-Z, Rolling Stones, and Beastie Boys radio.  Much better than getting stuck at a commercial gym running the same loop of the same old songs over and over and over and over and over…

2) Equipment

Before opening my facility, I thought about all the equipment that I would want to use in my own training.  As well as all the equipment that would put our members in the best position to reach their goals.  There is still some pieces of equipment I want to add, but I have a pretty kick-ass set-up… Glute-Ham Developer, Safety-Squat Bar, Football Bar, Suspension Trainers, a Rig, etc. etc.  It is great to have “variety with a purpose.”  In other words, I do NOT throw new equipment into the space just to have more “stuff.”  Every piece of equipment is there for a reason, and I get to be the mad-scientist making the choices!  Pretty sweet!

The video below shows the Pandora music example I listed above, as well as some of the “specialty equipment” (along with some of the “regular” training essentials) I’m using during one of my recent training sessions.

In the first exercise I’m using a Football Bar performing the bench press.  In video numero dos I’m using a Suspension Trainer while performing rows.  In the third video good old Dumbbells for hammer curls, and finally a Barbell with a Hampton Thick Pad while doing hip thrusts in last video.


I’ve watched, played and studied basketball all my life.  Obviously the ability to shoot, handle the ball, and shoot off the dribble are huge components in the game of basketball.  The skill-side anyway, as I could also mention athletic ability, toughness, size, “basketball-smarts,” strength, hustle, etc etc.  But on the skill-side, shooting and dribbling make up a good portion of the game.  The question is, what are the best drills/moves to help develop these skills?  Well, this is where I get to be the mad-scientist again.  I try to give the basketball players I work the best drills while teaching them a number of very effective moves that they can work on to help develop their game.  I don’t take this lightly, and I’m also trying to improve.  But yeah, it is pretty great to be able to give them my spin on this whole thing!  A few examples below…

Bonus - I get to play/dribble/shoot whenever I feel like it, rain, sleet, or snow…

These days I don’t play a whole lot of basketball.  But it is fun from time-to-time to work on my moves and get some shots up…

2014 Basketball and Training Videos

January 6, 2015 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s.  I had a great time with family and friends and am ready to kick 2015 in the ass!  This is usually about the time when I say, “it has been awhile since my last blogpost, but I promise to update it more frequently going forward.”  But no.  I’m not gonna give you any false promises.  Between all the hours I spend training people in the weight room and giving basketball lessons and trying to keep up with 3-year old twins, no such promises will be made. But I did want to share with you some videos from the past year to officially close out 2014.  I FINALLY took a bunch of videos that I recorded over the course of the year and got them up onto my computer.  So, below you’ll see a bunch of what goes on inside our walls at MVP Training. These videos represent only a fraction of the time I spent working with people over the course of the year.  However, I plan on breaking out the video camera more this year and sharing them here on my blog, on facebook, youtube, and on twitter.  So if aren’t already a friend/follower/subscriber, just look up and to the right above “Recent Posts,” and let’s connect. Like I said, I know I won’t be posting as many blogposts/articles on here as I used to, but I plan on including more fitness and basketball videos, so be sure to check back for those. With that said, here we go…

The video below starts with the young guns and works up to the middle schoolers …

More Videos, Pictures, and Thoughts from Inside MVP Training…

April 7, 2014 by danny · 1 Comment 

Here’s another quick update from inside MVP Training

In case you missed my post on Facebook (add me on FB if we’re not already friends as I put a lot of training, nutrition, and basketball posts there, throughout the week), I filmed the new Move of the Month for March… “The Kevin Durant” …

Me hip thrusting 425 pounds…

345 pounds is still the female hip thrust record at my gym.  But there are some other females closing ground!  We’ll see what the numbers bring over the spring/summer.

This video is at my previous facility…

I love training people (and myself) at the new (not so-new anymore) facility.  But up until this past Saturday, I haven’t been able to enjoy one of the features that I’ve been really looking forward to using.  And that’s rolling up the BIG garage door to really open up the place.  It was great to finally do this!  You can see Drew off to the left (see the orange med ball?) getting ready to perform some explosive medicine ball “stomps.”

Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate so that the door will be open more and more…

MVP Training "opened up"

Finally, tonight is the finals of the NCAA tourney.  If Kentucky ends up winning it all, I don’t know if you’d call it the most impressive run in the history of the tournament.?.  Or the best run.  Or that they are the best team ever.  But they are on the most exciting run ever.  I can’t believe the finishes of their games!!!  Each one has been a thriller, and I’m not even a UK fan.  I can’t even imagine the roller coaster that Kentucky fans have been going through during these games!?!  I’m sure my boy Jeff Rinaldi has already suffered about 8 near heart attacks! Hopefully tonight’s game will be just as exciting!

BIG shot after BIG shot!

Who do you think is going to pull it out?


Basketball And Training Videos From Inside MVP Training…

February 4, 2014 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Hello all.  It has been awhile since I’ve given you a peek inside some of our training and basketball sessions at MVP Training.  So I thought it would be a good time to do so again…

First up, I recorded my second installment of “The Move of the Month.”  For January, I went with the reverse spin…

Next up is an athlete performing sumo deadlifts and another performing band resisted push-ups.

Ty’s push-ups are looking really good!  And Madison is new to deadlifting so I am happy with her form.  But as she gets more experienced I’ll continue to work on her form… she needs to get a little tighter in her set-up and stay tight throughout the entire set. But overall, nice work!

Next.  Box Squats and Push-Ups.

Ryan is in 7th grade and I recently allowed him to “graduate” to barbell box squats after he showed me consistent great form with his goblet squats.  He did a great job of nailing that set! And then we have Kaden in 5th grade performing push-ups.  We almost have him down to the floor doing full range of motion push-ups.  His form is good in the video but he is still extending his low back a bit much.  So I won’t have him going any lower ’til he masters that flaw.  But again, overall really good for a 5th grader!

Here’s me trying to practice what I preach.  Trap Bar Deadlifts with Chains…

And finally, another basketball video of players from a wide range of ages (5th grade through 9th grade)…

So there you go, we’re building healthy, strong bodies in the weight room, and improving  games on the court.

Gotta love it!

Have a great week…

Deanna’s GREAT Before And After Pictures

November 6, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

The first time Deanna contacted me was via e-mail.  While reading this e-mail, to be honest, I thought to myself, “oh great, another one of those, ‘I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to get results as fast as possible,’ types.”  When she told me her goal (and they were very aggressive goals. Not your typical, I want to lose 1-2 pounds per week, type of goals), I had to e-mail her back, telling her to slow down and ease into this thing a bit more.  But she swore to me, that once she puts her mind to something, she TRULY sticks to it.  Anyway, I was still a little apprehensive and thought that maybe she was setting herself up for disappointment.

What was the end result?  I’ll let her tell the story.  Deanna, it’s all you…

I lost over 40 pounds in 4 months with help from Danny McLarty. Sounds like one of those ads on TV but it’s true.  I did not use diet aids or magic pills.  I used hard work and self discipline while Danny guided, recommended, and encouraged.

Deanna's Before Pic

Why did I choose to lose the weight?  January 2nd I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office and was so disgusted with my weight that I couldn’t even concentrate on what the doctor was saying.  I realized my clothes were too tight.  I noticed that the steering wheel was rubbing on my belly when I drove.  I’m over 40 and I have had two kids – that’s just what happens, right?  Avoiding the cameras should have been the first clue for my true problem…I was not happy with myself and excuses were not fixing my problem.

I joined a corporate-wide “Biggest Loser” contest through work on January 4th.  My first weigh-in was tough.  I had to get on a scale in front of one of my co-workers.  My stomach lurched as she leaned over to read the scale, stated my weight out loud, and wrote it down.  I was embarrassed at my weight and even more determined to change myself.

I was referred to Danny by a dear friend that had been going to him already.  I contacted him by email through his website and we scheduled an appointment for an evaluation.  I was surprised that his evaluation had absolutely nothing to do with a scale.  He checked my flexibility and had me do a few exercises and ran some measurements that had to do with range of motion.  There was no measuring tape around the waist.  I liked that.  We also discussed eating and accountability.  He gave me a list of recommended food choices and alternatives to what I was accustomed to eating.  We also discussed portion control.

Deanna's After Pic

After the meeting, I obtained a calendar and religiously recorded exactly what I ate throughout the day.  I made sure to measure my portions and I kept track of both the calorie count and the grams of protein for each item.  I even measured salad dressing.  By doing this I soon realized how much I used to consume because I liked the food rather than for what I needed to feel full.  I learned that by eating a reasonable portion of protein I felt more satisfied than I had with an oversized portion of pasta.

Danny created routines specifically for me.  The routines consisted of weight lifting, circuit cardio, and core exercises.  He demonstrated the routines and then monitored me while I performed them.

Final weigh in was March 1st.  With a loss of 14% of my body weight, I won the corporate wide contest.  Besides winning the contest, I also discovered that I enjoyed weight lifting; perhaps not the process so much as the invigorating feeling afterwards.  My clothes were baggy and I noticed that I had more energy.  I went to a follow up appointment at my doctor and found that my blood pressure had gone down and I was happy to report that I hadn’t needed a medication to prevent heartburn in nearly 2 months.

I continued with my twice per week training and by April 1st I had lost even more weight.  I wasn’t being nearly as strict with my food choices but my food preferences had changed.  I prefer fruit to sweets.  Peanuts are now one of my favorite snacks.  I still love pizza but I stay away from the pasta except on special occasions.  It’s now November 1st and I’m still down just over 40 pounds.  My weight has been steady and so has my lifestyle which includes regular exercise and continued training with Danny.  I’m comfortable with how I look and I love how I feel.  Thank you, Danny!

-Deanna Wolfe

Thanks, Deanna!  GREAT job!

The secret?  There is no secret.  Hard work.  Determination.  Consistency.

Let’s take another look at those pics! …

Still Stuck On 3 Sets Of 10?

September 10, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I wanted to share a quick article/video with you all.  I still use 3 sets of 10 reps… occasionally.  If you’re like many people, that’s about the only set/rep scheme that you use.  Time for a change!  For more info on the topic, check out this video that I made for FitStudio …

Are You Still Doing 3 Sets Of 10 Reps?

Video Of My Leg And Core Session From 04/28/13…

April 29, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

It has been awhile since my last blog post, but I’m back.  From time-to-time I like to share what I have going on for my own personal workouts, as well as video of what my clients are doing.  Today, I’ll go over what my leg and core workout looked like yesterday.

First, what I did, and then I’ll provide some videos below..

A1) Safety Bar Squats – 4 x 3

A2) Fillers – soft tissue work (foam rolling/theracane/lacrosse ball) and extra mobility work

B1) 1-Leg RDLs – 3 x 8/leg

B2) Walking Lunges – 2 x 10/leg

C1) Suspension Trainer Fallouts – 2 x 10; Floor Crunches – 1 x 10-12 (slow and controlled)

C2) Hip Thrusts – 1 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) with 150 pounds


First, let’s go over the safety bar squats.  I absolutely love this bar!  If is way more comfortable than performing traditional front squats and my clients are loving it too.  I’m just getting used to it as I’ve only had the bar for about a week now.

As you can see, my dog, Scooby, is very loyal but not a good spotter.  I need more focus out of him.  Too much eye-wandering!  What if I would have gotten stuck in the bottom!?!  Time to have a good talk with him about this!

Next, 1-Leg RDLs…

I didn’t get the rest of the session on tape.  But I wanted to mention, this was my 3rd time doing this workout, and here are my numbers on my hip thrusts… week 1 = 27 reps, week 2 = 28 reps, and then yesterday, 30 reps. And my ass is soooo sore today! Ouch!

Back to the safety squat bar, here is young girl that I’m working with (8th grader) using them for safety bar box squats.

Talk about some multi-tasking!  One person performing squats, another side-lying clam raises, and the 3rd getting ready to start her cardio “finisher” with the battling ropes.  Good times!

I hope your training is going well and you’re setting yourself up nicely going into “beach season!” :)

Do What It Takes To Get It Done

April 11, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I received a new piece of equipment from the UPS guy yesterday… a trap bar (with the elevated handles, I already have one but that one doesn’t have the elevated handles).  It was delivered to my home and my wife’s car was in the shop so she had to take my car to work.  My next wave of training clients was approaching and I was in a tough spot.  The only way I could get the trap bar up to my gym was to carry it from my house to my gym.  Now, my gym is really close to my house, but not so much when you have to carry weights down the street… in the rain… with a cooler full of water bottles strapped around your neck.

But one of my evening clients had trap bar deadlifts in his new program, and I wasn’t going to let him down and not give him the program as I wrote it up.  So, I basically did a farmer’s walk in the pouring rain and got er done!  The looks I got from my neighbors, the cars driving by, and the business owners as I walked down the street carrying this in the rain were priceless!  I’m sure they thought, “what the heck is he doing walking in the rain, and what is that thing that he is carrying?!?  What a weirdo!”

I hadn’t even taken it out of the wrapping yet…

… which worked out well due to the fact that it was raining.

Now, I’m not saying what I did was superhuman by any means.  It just took a little strength along with some willpower.  But despite the elements, I got it done.

Moral of the story: sometimes you have to step up to get it done.

Been thinking about taking the leap and giving this whole weight lifting/working out thing a try?  Well, it’s time to get it done.

Been having a hard time getting up in the morning to train before work?  Go to bed a little earlier and get it done!

Been having a hard time finishing with your left hand (basketball – lay-ups, that is)?  Put your time in the gym and get it done!

Been meaning to get together with an old friend the last couple years but just haven’t found the time to make it happen?  Make it happen and get it done!

Sometimes we have to take a look in the mirror and say to ourselves: “No more excuses, time to (wo)man up and GET IT DONE!

Hear what I’m saying! :)

How Sarah Lost 10 Pounds In 30 Days

February 27, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

My friend and client, Sarah Herschlag recently finished her “30 days of perfection.”  The end result has her down 10 pounds!  Before these 30 days, Sarah had done a “pretty good” job with her eating.  Enough to make modest changes … her clothes were starting to fit looser, you could see her face start to lean out, etc.  But as I tell people, if you want to make a REAL physique change, you need to go ALL OUT for about 30 days.  Then you can get back to “mostly good.”

So, at the start of the new year, I e-mailed all of my clients and told them the plan that will help get them these NOTICEABLE changes in their body.  Sarah had to start her 30 days sometime in mid-January as she had some things to take care of before she could really start to get after it.

And from day 1, she stayed with the plan to a T!  No alcohol.  No poor food choices.  And no missed training sessions.  Her 30 days just ended, and as she said, “it was SOOOO worth it!”

I won’t go into detail in regards to her training program.  But I do want to mention that she really gave 100% at every session!  Effort is always the X-Factor.

ALL OUT Effort!

Below is the EXACT e-mail that I sent to my clients heading into the new year.  As beach season approaches, maybe it’s something you want to consider?.?  Anyway, check it out below, I hope you get something out of it…

“Hola everyone.  Ok, here’s the deal…

Some of you in this e-mail have already said that you are committed to do this (I’ll explain below), and some of you are still considering this.  And for those of you hearing about this for the 1st time, this will give you something to consider going into the new year.  What am I talking about? …

Starting in the new year - 4 weeks of perfection! No cheat meals/days, no alcohol, no missed training sessions (AND 2-3 cardio sessions on your own each week).  THIS is NOT a lifestyle! i.e. “be good most of the time, but every once in awhile have a few beers, or some pizza, or some candy, or some pop, etc.  But most of the time be good.”

THAT is a pretty good plan throughout the majority of the year.  But every now and then you NEED to make a couple runs (~ 4 weeks) where you are machine! THIS is how you see measurable, NOTICEABLE results!

Think of what a physique competitor (bodybuilder, figure athlete) does when he/she prepares for the final weeks before stepping on stage.  Think about what a model does when preparing for a photo shoot.  Think about what an actor does when preparing for a movie that he/she will be shirtless in or in a bikini.  EVERY ounce of their focus for their training and nutrition plan goes towards fast fat loss!

Again, this is not a lifestyle approach.  It is a 4-week “sprint” to REALLY make some great changes.  THEN, you can get back to your moderation, “mostly good” lifestyle.

One more point: If you are 40 years old, you’ve lived about 2080 weeks on this Earth.  All I’m asking for is 4 weeks of complete discipline and focus.  This is a fraction of your life that WILL BE OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!!!


Below you’ll see a sample day of eating.  You’ll notice that I put the “fast fat loss” plan in red.  So, think about eating the foods in red the majority of the time.  And then if you OCCASIONALLY start to feel really sluggish/low energy, you can throw in a meal with carbs in there (maybe like once every 5-7 days).

Check out the sample plan with the food list below and let me know if you have any questions.


  • Old-fashioned oatmeal with blueberries, scrambled egg OR
  • Spinach omelet made with omega-3 enriched whole eggs


  • Turkey burger on whole-grain bread, salad OR
  • Grilled chicken breasts, steamed vegetables


  • Salmon with grilled zucchini and squash OR
  • Steak with plain sweet potato and salad OR
  • Grilled chicken breasts (2) over large spinach salad, olive oil-based dressing
  • (either dinner example in red will work)

Food list…

Protein: lean steak, grilled chicken breasts, turkey breast, baked or grilled fish, protein powder, etc.
Veggies: large pile of mostly green veggies, steamed broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, etc.
Starch: small amount of dry sweet potato, whole-wheat pasta, or rice (these foods should not be consumed at all, or like I said, *maybe* once every 5-7 days)
Salad: large salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing — no cream dressings!
Dessert: small amount of fruit

Danny’s notes:
-The point about the salad dressing is HUGE… IF you are eating salad with “regular” dressing, then you are moving further away from your goals.  Salad with dressing other than olive oil and vinegar dressing is NOT healthy (with a few exceptions)!
-If you include fruit on this plan, only eat 1 serving per day and try to make your fruit of choice berries more often than not.  Focus on veggies over fruit for this 4-week run.
-Continue taking fish oil on this plan and try to include green tea daily.”

End e-mail.

So, props to Sarah for sticking with it for the entire month!  It paid off!  Now, there is more than one way to skin a cat, but the above plan works great for a quick fat loss burst.  For anyone that I know that has TRULY stuck with it for the entire 30 days, they always see great results.

If you decide to give it a try, or are about to “hit it hard” with your fitness/nutrition plan, let me know… what is your plan?

Q and A: “Is Circuit Training The Best Way To Get In Shape?” Part II

February 20, 2013 by danny · 3 Comments 

In case you missed my take on circuit training for athletes, check out this blogpost that I wrote up yesterday.  Today, I’ll attempt to answer the same question… “Is circuit training the best way to get in shape?”  But this time, I’ll gear my thoughts more towards the “general fitness” individual (rather than athletes).

My short answer is, surprise, surprise…. IT DEPENDS.  Ha, what’s new!  Let me explain with a few different scenarios…

The below scenarios are me assuming that the person is looking to lose weight as opposed to someone with increased strength (i.e. powerlifter) or adding mass (i.e. bodybuilder or just some dude looking to, “get buff”), as their main goal.  I should also note that I’ll be speaking more to the weight lifting side of circuit training.  Circuit training when performing cardio is perfectly fine, and encouraged.  This is what we do at the “bootcamp” that I run.  That would entail something like using battling ropes, the slide board, the heavy jump rope, and hitting the heavy bag in circuit fashion.  Now, onto circuit training for the weight lifting portion of your program.

Scenario #1: “The Newbie”

I’m not a big fan of lifting in a circuit fashion (this can also be called “Metabolic Resistance Training” – aka “MRT“) for people that are new to lifting weights… even if fat loss is their main goal.  While MRT is a great way to train to help with fat loss, I don’t think it’s a good option here.  First of all, it takes awhile to learn proper form on lifts like push-ups, deadlifts, and squats (to name a few).  If you are doing this in circuit fashion where you are going from exercise to exercise to exercise with very little rest, you are either going to a) increase the amount of time it takes to learn proper lifting technique because it’s harder to learn a new skill in a fatigued state, and/or b) hurt yourself.  Obviously, the last thing you want.

Another problem here, is that newer lifters are usually weaker.  With that said, imagine already using relatively light weight (again, because of weakness), and then making the person very tired with MRT… the weight is going to be decreased even more.  Do you think doing one arm dumbbell rows (for example) with those 3-pounders is really going to do anything to help change your physique?!?  Hell no!

Just say no.

Scenario #2: Transitioning to “Intermediate” Status

After you have put some time in with the iron and your form has greatly improved (i.e. lifting with proper technique becomes second nature – like when you set up to deadlift you subconsciously brace your core, get your lats tight, “puff” your chest, etc. etc.), and you are lifting significantly heavier weights, MRT can be a great option.  This is actually the route I often go with my “fat loss” clients once I think they’ve “earned the right” to do so.

But don’t get it twisted, we still move some weight when lifting MRT style.  And quite often, I have the client start the session with a low rep, heavier compound movement (i.e. 3 sets of 5 reps for box squats or 2 sets of 6 reps for RDLs) or two before moving onto the MRT style of training .

Scenario #3: The “Cardio Queen”

Sometimes us trainers have people that come to us looking to lose weight that really actually enjoy performing cardio.  I know, crazy!  And no matter how hard I try, I can’t get her (or sometimes, him) off the treadmill or elliptical.  Not that I’m anti-cardio, it’s just that sometimes too much emphasis is put on cardio and not enough on weight training.  Anyway, if I have a client that is going to be lifting with me 2-3 times per week, but is ALSO going to be performing cardio on his/her own 3-4 times per week, I’m not going to make our lifting session circuit style.  I’ll write up the program with a little more rest involved between sets and spend a little more time lifting in the low(er) rep ranges (~8 reps and below).

Cardio only glutes vs Cardio AND Weight Lifting Glutes

Scenario #4: People that Run a Business & Have Kids & Spend Their “Down Time” Rescuing Baby Seals

My feeling is that if it is important enough, you WILL find a time to include exercise in your busy life.  But, I also know that no matter how hard I try, getting some people to do more than the 2 times they come into see me each week is unrealistic.  Hey, at least they are finding time to get in two workouts per week.  I mean, I’ve trained people that work over 60 hours per week and literally fly across the world for a business trip, only to land and come straight in to see me for our workout.  And then they shower up and head straight back to the airport for another 12 hour flight to China (or however long that flight is).

So, if we only have 120 minutes to train all week, I’m going to make sure that MRT is a big part of their program – assuming the person is past the newbie stage that I talked about above.


I know there are many more potential scenarios, but as you can see with the four scenarios that I provided, there are really no cut and dry answers.  ”IT DEPENDS” is almost always the right answer until you dig a little deeper.  Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, I hope my thoughts on conditioning, circuit training, and lifting weights over these last two blogposts have helped you out.

I’m thinking that my next blogpost will be on my client that lost 10 pounds during her 30-days of “perfection” and how she did it.  We’ll see.  Check back soon to find out…