How Mike Keenan Stole Christmas

My buddy and colleague Matias Sarvela - strength and conditioning coach for Kunlun Red Star in the KHL - worked under Mike Keenan for a brief spell while he was their head coach/GM.

Apparently, Iron Mike is a guy "you don't mess with".

Before Keenan moved to the KHL, his coaching career spanned eight teams and over two decades in the NHL.

And who was their head coach when the Rangers brought the Cup back to Broadway after a 54-year drought in 1994?

Yup. Mike Keenan.

He's also the only coach in hockey history to have won the Stanley Cup, Canada Cup and Gagarin Cup (awarded to KHL champions).

But what Iron Mike is probably best remembered for?

Organizing the infamous Christmas Death Skate when he was coaching the Philadelphia Flyers back in 1984.

In true Christmas spirit, Keenan had scheduled an early morning skate on December 24 before players were supposed to embark on a two-day holiday before returning to action on the 26th.

The Flyers had beaten archrival Washington Capitals at home by a score of 7-4 the previous night. Tim Kerr scored a hat trick. Murray Craven lit the red l​amp twice. Mark Howe, Rick Tocchet and Peter Zezel racked up two points each. Pelle Lindbergh made 27 saves on 31 shots.

Everyone was in a great mood.

The next morning, Keenan brought a boombox to the rink and was playing Christmas carols. Copious amounts of pizza and beer were waiting for the players in the locker room as soon as the light skating session was over. Guys were going to do their Pollyanna gift exchange afterwards and have a little party together. Perfect way to head into the holidays.

Then Iron Mike blew his whistle.

The practice began.

They started with the usual end-to-end skating drills for 35 minutes. Guys were doing their best, flying out there, thinking the practice would soon be over.

It wasn't.

Keenan had the players go end-to-end again.

And again.

And again.

And then some more.

For another 45 minutes.

No pucks. Brutal conditioning. The occasional 10-second water break before the next rep.

The players were cramping. Cursing. Seizing. Throwing up.

But no one was excused.

And Iron Mike?

Watching with a smirk on his face the whole time.

The bag skate lasted for ​close to ​90 minutes.

Finally, he called the Flyers together. ​Most of the players were bending over with their sticks resting against their knees by that point, or sitting down, catching their breath, staring quietly at the ice, fuming inside.

Keenan's piercing gaze moved slowly ​from player to player. One by one, they ​looked up at the coach.

At last he spoke:

“Always expect the unexpected.

And Merry Christmas.”

​In the locker room, players tossed their gifts in the trash, showered without uttering a word, ​hurried home.

For physical preparation methods designed to help you thrive in unexpected situations, check out:

Merry Christmas,

Yunus Barisik

Improve Your Sleep and Brain Function

Weekly fish consumption promotes better sleep and higher IQ scores in children, says a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania.

Previous studies on adults have also show​n a relationship between omega-3s (the fatty acids found in many types of fish) and improved intelligence, as well as better sleep.

Thus, wild caught salmon, herring or tuna would be one of the best food choices you could include in your diet.

There's just one little thing to keep in mind before adding seafood on your dinner plate:


Massive amounts of toxic substances in oceans.

The fish caught close to industrial countries' coasts is the worst and something you wanna steer away from.

Simple workaround?

Quality fish oil.

It's one of the few supplements I take and recommend to others. You'll get the same healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in liv​ing fish. Without being subjected to mercury and other poisonous substances.

You know what else boosts brain function according to another study I read?

Lifting weights.

But just randomly lifting some weights won't improve your cognitive function.

You gotta experience strength gains for that to happen.

Strengthen your muscles and your brain here:

Yunus Barisik

Beware the Mobility Craze

Back when I first started lifting weights, nobody paid an ounce of attention to mobility drills.

Somehow that didn't stop me from getting stronger. And being here today, alive to tell the tale.

Then something happened...

Overnight, people got suckered into doing cat/camels, quadruped breathing exercises, and lacrosse balling every single muscle group for 30 minutes before touching a weight. Only to discover doing so would wipe you out mentally long before moving on to your main lifts.

Think about it:

How out of tune have we become with our bodies that we can't swing into movement without lengthy physical preparation?

What if a mugger attacked you on the street, demanding your wallet, phone and car keys?

Would you drop down on the sidewalk and foam roll your quads, lats and pecs before taking on the assailant?

What if your house caught fire? You couldn't do a series of arm swings, heel flicks, and A skips before bolting out of there. The smoke and flames would finish you off while you were busy worrying about priming your nerve-to-muscle pathways and producing enough synovial fluids to lubricate the joints.

I'm not saying wa​rming up is completely useless.

I'm saying don't overdo it.

Your workouts will instantly improve following this advice.

For short, simple and effective warm-ups that keep you moving well and feeling great, visit:

Yunus Barisik

Relatable Guy Spends $1.5 Million Bank Error On Hookers, Coke And Fast Cars

On my website I have a section where I recommend other people's products - such as training equipment or books.

If someone buys through my links, I get a commission of the sale (at no extra charge to you).

These are breadcrumbs used to cover the cost of website hosting, maintenance, email systems, and a dozen other things most people not writing about training online have zero awareness of.

To cover my ass, I shamelessly state I will spend that smackaroo on eight balls, sports cars and a lifetime supply of hookers.

Of course, anyone who knows me in real life will realize I say that all in jest.

But turns out this guy in Australia who received $1.5 million thanks to a bank error didn't.

The 22-year-old spent it all just how a young baller should: on hookers, drugs and cars.

As the story goes, he stumbled upon a bank glitch that allowed him to withdraw practically all the cash he wanted.

Being several thousand dollars in debt at the time, he took full advantage of the cash infusion and lived out his bachelor fantasies by spending the money on prostitutes and cocaine.

Of course, a young hot shot needs some hot rides to match his lifestyle, so he purchased a Maserati, an Aston Martin and a boat.

He lived the high life for two years before authorities caught up with him and charged him with fraud. After a stint in jail, he successfully appealed his conviction by arguing his actions were "not deceptive".

Now he lives back at home with his mom like a 30-something Italian bachelor, drives a cheap car and lives off of Ramen noodles.

The point?

Had the guy remained hush-hush when Miss Fortune literally turned on the money faucet, he could have invested all 'em smackaroonies into something that provided a steady annual semi-passive income, retired comfortably in a quiet, nice beach resort without ever having to work again.

At the very least, he should have bought my Next Level Hockey Training System.

To be fair, it is a relatively boring investment.

It involves no t​housand-dollar lovers or handjob honeys.

No snorting lines of snow in the bathroom stall of a swanky NYC nightclub.

No driving an Aston Martin with the top down, one arm around a dime piece, James Bond style.

But it's an investment that will pay dividends for you and your body for years to come.

Details at:

Yunus Barisik

Don’t Jump For Explosiveness, He Said

I was listening to a fitness podcast where a trainer said jump training doesn't really carry over onto the ice because there is no plyometric activity in skating.

And that Olympic lifting would be a much better choice when training for power and explosiveness.

Now, personal preferences are one thing...

But how someone who supposedly trains professional hockey players at the NHL/AHL level could make such a blatantly non-educated claim is beyond me.

By that same logic, you could also argue how the Oly lifts have zero transfer since there's no bilateral triple extension (simultaneous extension of the hips, knees and ankles) in ​skating either.

But that would be nothing short of silly. Just like dissing jumps for power development is.

Guess this trainer has not familiarized himself with the research on jump training out there...

One study noted a significant correlation between the vertical jump and skating speed. The higher you jump, the faster you skate.

A second study found the standing broad jump to be a significant predictor when assessing overall hockey potential.

A third study concluded that Olympic weightlifting and plyometric training both produce similar improvements in vertical jump height.

Yet another study showed trap bar jumps are *at least* as effective as a simple Olympic weightlifting derivative for increasing vertical jump height -- and might even be better.

Not to mention how jumping involves a rapid deceleration followed by a fast acceleration of resistance (your own body) that you don't get with a clean or snatch. Being able to stop and change directions quickly is a huge part of today's game.

So it's not a question of whether Olympic lifts are better than jumps for hockey or vice versa.

They are both useful and they both have their place in a performance-boosting off-ice training program.

Like this one:

Yunus Barisik

Things You Probably Should Worry About

The internet is an endless supplier of email fodder.

Chuckleheads congregate on Reddit, message boards or in Facebook groups, obsessing over jargon-y concepts that sound great on paper but have very little importance when it comes to improving athletic performance or body composition in real life.

All things you'll never have to worry about -- such as:

* CNS fatigue

* de novo lipogenesis

* fiber hyperplasia

* GI index

* mTOR pathway

* insulin spikes

I would rather clean the toilets at Grand Central Station with a Q-tip than partake in such mental midgetry.

But, you may ask... if all that stuff don't matter... then what does really work for getting and staying in shape???

That's a very good question.

And Daddy Yunus ain't gonna leave you hanging.

Here's a list of things you probably should worry about:

* Setting PR's in the weight room as often as possible

(Not just new 1-rep maxes... but also beating your previous 3RM, 5RM, 8RM, 10RM...)

* Eating enough protein and vegetables

* Minimizing unnecessary stress in your life

* Staying hydrated

* Walking or doing other light physical activity on non-gym days

* Maximizing quality sleep

Rinse, repeat.

Over and over and over.

Do this day in and day out, and I don’t think it’s even possible to fail.

Now, I realize that won't sound sexy enough for the keyboard warriors populating the dark corners of the Internet, speculating about trivial training matters no sane and healthy lifter would waste a millisecond fretting about.

But the above has worked since the days of Arthur Saxon first pic​king up a weight.

It works today.

And, it’ll keep working for a long time to come.

For complete athletic strength training programs click the link below right now:

Yunus Barisik

Cheese Sticks With a Side of Cocaine

“Would you like some fries with your order, sir?”

It's a line ​we have all heard at Mickey D's.

But an Indiana restaurant took their fast food game to another level when they served cheese sticks with a side of cocaine to a local woman who never requested either of those in the first place.

While taking the woman's order, a clerk told her:

“We’re gonna hook you up.”

​​The hungry customer thought that meant they'd add more food to her take-out. But as she dug into the meal, she found a small bag of white powder containing cocaine inside a plastic foam cup.

Personally, I prefer mashed potatoes or jasmine rice for the side dish.

But I can also imagine how handing out small samples of coke to new customers could make repeat business boom.

Wouldn't take long to create a starving crowd of addicts craving their daily hit of tasty grub and a dash of nose candy...

Kinda reminds me of Next Level Hockey Training 2.0.

I don't know about any cheese sticks but the weekly strength PR's included in the menu taste so yum-yum, they'll make a lifting addict out of a couch potato.

And anytime you're jonesing for that next fix of adding another dime on the bar, your boy Yunus will gladly hook you up.

Come get your first sample on the corner of 3rd and 14th today at:

Yunus Barisik

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