Pete HOlman and Todd Durkin

Pete Holman and Todd DurkinJoin me on a verbal journey in which I share some of my insights and process for starting my career in fitness, becoming a US TaeKwon-Do National Champion & team captain, writing my first book, developing fitness products and even how I overcame bullying. In this podcast, Todd Durkin, brings out the motivations, pitfalls and inspiration needed to succeed as a fitness entrepreneur and the grit one needs while working towards self-actualization.

Check out the podcast here:
Pete Holman-A Training Sensei with a Renaissance Mindset – Todd Durkin

Todd Durkin is a world renowned trainer, coach, author and motivational keynote speaker; most known for rehabilitating NFL quarterback Drew Brees’ shoulder after what was thought to be a career ending injury. Todd is a Jack LaLanne Award recipient, the 2018 Canfitpro International Presenter of the Year, a member of the Under Armour Training Team and a Top-100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and until next time, “Get After It Everybody!”


shoulder pain

Dear Friend,

Shoulder The Load Idea FitThe shoulders are an integral part of our daily lives. Our shoulders allow us to serve Tennis balls overhead, retrieve groceries from the back of cars and toss kids up in the air. However, the versatility of our shoulders comes at a cost. Have you ever suffered from shoulder pain, impingement syndrome, bursitis or a rotator cuff tear? If so, this blog should be of interest to you. In my article, “Shoulder the Load,” published in the January IDEA Fitness Journal, I discuss basic shoulder anatomy, shoulder function, what can go wrong in the shoulder and most importantly, I introduce several gold standard exercises to bullet proof the shoulders. (click link below for full article)

Shoulder the Load: Mechanics and Programming for Shoulders – IdeaFit

In conclusion, the shoulders take a tremendous amount of abuse over ones lifetime which often translates into pathology. However, by introducing the three stretches and five exercises discussed in the article you will be “shouldering the load” and improving the quality of your life.

I hope you enjoyed the article and until next time, “Get After It Everybody!”



I will never forget reading Edgar Allen Poe in Mr. Lyman’s 8th grade English class. Edgars stories like “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Cast of Amontillado” were the first literature I truly enjoyed reading. They had mystery, suspense, character development and a flow which left me wanting more. Although I enjoyed reading, it was the writing assignments in Mr Lyman’s class that had me catch fire. His thought provoking assignments forced his students to get into the minds of the readers and deliver work that left the reader a more advanced, a more passionate and a more informed human being. For some, writing can be intimidating, daunting and risky; however, as the saying goes “the greatest risk is not taking one!” The daunting task of coming up with a vision, researching content, putting it to paper and then making it public facing can be paralyzing. However, if you engage in the following simple steps and follow your heart, anyone can become a published author. For those that have ever thought about taking the risk and putting pen to paper; this blog will cover the basics of getting started on your first manuscript.


The largest challenge for most writers is knowing where to start. If you are writing non-fiction, it makes sense to write about something you are familiar with, educated in or deeply passionate about. Maybe you are a bird lover, wine connoisseur or salesperson with years of experience and trade secrets that can help others experience your joy and success while learning something new. Do you have special gifts, talents or areas of expertise that others don’t? If so, consider sharing them with the world! To be honest, most people thought my first book would be about strength and conditioning, yet when I got the urge to start writing I needed something different. Having been immersed in writing strength and conditioning literature and publishing articles in that field, I elected taking a break from the industry. Thats when I relied on my heart and decided to write a fictional piece. I have always been fascinated with the underdog, with bullying and with athletic coming of age stories; can anyone guess what my book is about?


One of the hardest aspects of writing is organizing one’s thoughts, settling on a destination and then creating a route to get there. Fictional pieces are much more difficult to develop a roadmap for, in this case, I recommend focusing on character development. Who are your main characters and what makes them unique: hobbies, interests, character faults, special gifts, triggers, musical interests, aspirations, pain points, etc., all help shape your characters and ultimately your story. You can actually make post-it notes of characters and place them on a cork board or simply create a word document outlining the personality traits of each character. Seeing your characters as individuals will help you further develop them and give you insight on how you want them to interact together.

Do you have a “red thread” for your story? A red thread is a device used to connect characters, places and things and serves as a common central theme that emerges in the story to help tie everything together. The concept originates from a story in Greek mythology, in which Theseus goes into a labyrinth to slay a Minotaur and save his village. In order to find his way out of the labyrinth in the darkness of night, he decides to string a red thread on his way in so he could retrace his steps after killing the beast. The red thread is analogous to the challenges and obstacles we face in life and how to best navigate them. In my book CRUZ, the central character gets a bike from his parents for his 13th birthday which they called El Cohete Rojo (The Red Rocket.) The joy, freedom and purpose he experiences from riding his bike high atop the Sierra Gorda mountains serves as a driving force throughout the rest of his life and propels the impoverished Mexican immigrant towards becoming an elected senator for the state of Colorado. In Sue Monk Kidd’s critically acclaimed novel “The Secret Life of Bee’s” the red thread is the beehive. The beehive is a symbol of community and the intricacies of beekeeping mirror interpersonal relationships, life, death and even rebirth. Although it is not imperative to have a red thread, the device serves as a compass to keep both you and the eventual reader on track.

For those of you writing non-fictional work, the road map is often easier to establish. If you are writing a book on how to open a gym, the chapters or “roadmap” might already be laid out for you based on general business guidelines. For instance:

  1. Perform market research
  2. Establish your location
  3. Incorporate your LLC
  4. Seek investment capital
  5. Create your vision
  6. Build your team
  7. Establish your systems
  8. Sales and marketing
  9. Fine Tuning
  10. Opening Day

Regardless of what you are writing about developing a roadmap will help you organize your thoughts, stay on track and give you some ideas for a red thread.


The largest challenge for most first time authors is finding the time to write. What you will find is that setting aside an hour here or there does not get it done; in fact, it’s more frustrating than productive. Writing is an intensive process and a form of art. It takes time to cultivate ideas, craft sentences, paragraphs and chapters and requires extreme focus. A strategy that worked well for me while writing CRUZ was to chunk together several hours of time once per week and make a date with myself to write. I found that it would take me the better part of an hour to review my previous work, another hour to brainstorm ideas and not until the third hour did I get in a flow. Another strategy is to plan writing retreats in which you get “off the grid” in an environment away from your friends, family and distractions. Spending two to three days focused on your book will allow you to immerse yourself into the process and is extraordinarily productive. I understand this is hard to do, but it is a game changer in getting things done and can be scheduled judiciously once a quarter or twice per year. Don’t forget, writing is a process and it takes time to create a masterpiece. CRUZ took me seven years to finish and I recently learned from one of the managers of a local bookstore that I am not alone. The book store owner said that many first time authors spend the better part of a decade to complete their first piece: be patient and enjoy the process.


If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a team to launch a book! Finding a publisher, hiring an agent and hiring a ghost writer are usually for “big time” authors that have had previous success. However, with the proliferation of platforms like Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing, anyone can self publish. I found an amazing team called Scriptor Publishing which edited my book for me, helped me with cover design, instructed me on marketing strategy and set me up on Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing. These were things that I previously had no experience with and paying the relatively small fee was more than worth it. I have 100% ownership of my work and if it starts to take off, I can always employ a larger publishing group for greater reach.


I always laugh when I hear sports analysts, whom have never competed at a high level, comment on an athlete being a natural. I understand there are genetic differences in athletes but I never have witnessed in my 30 years as a coach a child come out of the womb draining three pointers or throwing 95 mph fastballs. In reality, these athletes have played sports their entire life and honed their skills over countless repetitions. Writing is the same. If you think you’re going to sit down and “bang-out” a masterpiece in a few weekends of work, in the words of Judas Priest “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming!” Writing is about the process of drafting original content and then editing until you’re “blue in the face.” While writing CRUZ, not only did my sentence structure, wording and embellishments change every time I edited chapters, sometimes the entire storyline changed. It was a frustrating process but I quickly realized that every time I made a major edit, the overall story and flow improved 1% to 2%. When I first finished the rough draft, although I was pleased to be done, It felt like a C+ or B- piece of work. After countless edits and incremental improvement, I now feel it is in the A range. To truly finish a strong product you have to be comfortable with tweaking, changing, correcting and editing your work numerous times and just like a fine wine that sits horizontally on a shelf for years, once you uncork it, it will be worth the wait!


When your launch day finally comes to fruition, it can be an overwhelming time. Hiring an independent publishing firm like Scriptor can help navigate the deep waters of launching your first book; some of the things I learned from them are highlighted below.

  • Build your platform so you have an active audience. If you’re not on social media, you are missing a great opportunity for free marketing. Social media is an easy way to help sell your book, but you have to make sure that you have given your audience weekly, if not daily value from your content. Once you build a loyal following that trusts you, it is much easier to interest them in your new book. If your book is a non-fictional piece highlighting your expertise in a specific realm, dribble out content that is pertinent months preceding your book launch. Then, when you launch your book, you can offer them a curated version of all your tips and trade secrets in one nice little package.
  • Employ a launch team. A launch team is a group of friends, co-workers or trusted acquaintances who will be willing to write a verified review on Amazon. Verified reviews are the “holy grail” for Amazon algorithms and will help get your book into the rotation of Amazon free marketing.
  • Reviews also spark interest in potential customers who are not as familiar with your work; if they see 20, 30 or 40 other people whom have read your book and praised it, they are much likelier to make a purchase.
  • Plan a live launch at your local book store. Most cities and towns have local book stores that love to support local authors. Months prior to the launch, pursue several stores, meet the managers, talk with them about what you are doing, build rapport and then when the time is right, ask them about a book signing party or hosting book launch event. Most book stores have a soft spot for first time authors and recognize us as the underdogs; they are more than willing to help you launch your book. At the event make sure to capture images/video for social media, print advertising or website.
  • Approach local newspapers to see if they are willing to run a story about your book. Newspaper editors also seem to have a soft spot for local authors and depending on the content, often have space to highlight books that bring value to their paper and insight to their audiences.
  • Build a website to support your book. With companies like GoDaddy, Wix and Squarespace, websites are now quick, easy and affordable. A website gives your audience a place to learn more about you as an author, a place to learn more about the book and helps bring your vision to life.


My final piece of advice for writing your first book is BELIEF. Famous spiritual leaders, like Wayne Dyer, talk about the power of intention: believe it and you can become it. Our thoughts shape our actions and our actions and behaviors shape our outcomes. Writing starts out with the bold, audacious and completely true belief, that we all have a story within us. The Henry Ford quote, “whether you think you can do something or not, you are correct,” is spot on here. In fact, I am such an advocate of self belief that the final line of my book reads: “BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE!” So in the words of Joseph Cambell, “follow your bliss” and let the world hear your voice. I look forward to reading your first book and would be honored to be part of your launch team!


Spine Health and Core Performance

Dr Stuart McGill is a leading spine researcher and core performance expert who has written numerous books on spine health and core conditioning best practices. I first learned of his work early on in my practice as a physical therapist when a colleague shared one of his books: Low Back Disorders. His approach to spine health and core performance is fairly basic; identify aggravating factors that trigger pain, focus on hip mobility, core stability and train the central nervous system to groove fluid movement patters such as hip hinging that place the body in optimal alignment to generate force and control center of gravity. Over Dr. McGill’s 40-year career he has identified three core exercises which he considers to be “non-negotiable” when it comes to back health: The modified curl up, the side plank and the bird dog. I prescribe these exercises and their variations to nearly every client/patient I have whether it be a high-level athlete, back pain patient or someone just starting an exercise program. Let’s take a brief look at some of the coaching points and benefits of each exercise.

  1. Modified Curl Up: The modified curl up helps you or your client get in touch with the core and eventually teaches how to fire the core on command. To perform the modified curl up lay in a supine position with one knee bent and hands underneath the lumbar spine (which helps maintain a neutral spine position) lift the head and shoulders one inch off the ground straight up towards the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds. The modified curl up is NOT a crunch, which tends to place stress on the cervical spine and places the spine in a poor postural position: remember to lift the head and shoulders STRAIGHT up towards the ceiling. As a coach I often place my fingers right underneath the floating ribs, if the client properly engages the anterior core, your fingers should “pop” out from underneath the ribs! Performing 2-3 sets alternating which leg is in the bent position is a great way to get the core firing and help the client identify the neutral spine posture.
  2. Side Plank: The side plank is considered by most strength coaches to be a “Gold Standard” lateral stabilization exercise. Get in a side-lying position with elbow at a 90 degree bend off the torso, top foot in front of bottom with a heel to toe orientation. Engage the muscles around your pelvis squeezing the legs together to “lock down” the pelvis, fire the anterior core (just like you did on the modified curl up) and raise your hips off the ground into a plank position. Remember, the plank term describes a stiff board; that is the alignment you should emulate in this drill. Occasionally, the side plank position can hurt the elbow, in that case use a foam pad. If the client struggles modify the plank by having them bend the knee’s and elevate from the bent knee position. McGill recommends holding the side plank with perfect form for 10 seconds then taking a 3 second rest to reset and then repeating for 3 sets per side.
  3. Bird Dog: The final exercise in the big three series is the bird dog. The bird dog challenges the core in the transverse plane of motion and helps teach how to disassociate the hips from the spine. Get in the quadruped position. Here’s a little trick prior to doing this exercise: perform an end range angry cat position and an end range old cow position then settle in the middle (for most people that is the neutral spine position.) Hold that rigid neutral spine position while extending the opposite leg and arm, holding for 10 seconds at the end range. Watch for spine movement and lateral tilting of the pelvis. I often use a dowel to help instruct this move (keeping the dowel on the back of the skull, mid back and sacrum) to ensure the torso provides a stable platform for the hips and shoulders to move around. Repeating a 10 second hold 3 times on each side will help to build capacity in the core muscles.

One of my favorite cliché sayings from the strength and conditioning community is: “It’s impossible to fire a canon from a canoe!” In other words, without a stable spine and engaged core, it is very hard to generate force through the body. Including McGill’s big three into a warm up or strength circuit will help you or your clients get in touch with the neutral spine position, stabilize the spine for bigger lifts and bullet proof the core! Thank’s for joining and until next time: “Get After It Everybody!”


Learning From Failure


Hi, and welcome to the first ever Pete Holman 1 Performance Blog. This blog isn’t just about fitness and coaching, I am going to share with you my experience and passion in leadership, business acuity and character. I couldn’t think of a better way to start this blog series than to talk about a subject that absolutely terrifies most people and that is failure. What is failure, how does one respond and is it really a bad thing? Well, let’s get after it and take a closer look at failure and did I mention this is my first EVER blog!

What is failure?

The Merriam Webster dictionary has many definitions of failure including: 1) omission of occurrence or performance 2) a state of ability to perform a normal function 3) an abrupt cessation of normal function, etc. However, I am a big believer in short, simple and easily digestible information, so the definition I am going with was fifth or sixth down on the list which defines failure as “a falling short.” We have all seen some of the best golfers in the world go to make the winning put on the 18th green and what happens: they fall a little short. Does that mean they are no longer great golfers, does it mean they didn’t put forth a proper effort, does it push them into retirement or towards another career? NO, it simply means they fell a little short on that specific put.  My first commercial strength training product was called the Functional Training Rack; a storage solution that helped organize gear such as medicine balls, elastic cords, tilt boards and foam rollers. I launched the product in 2007; that summer China proceeded to buy all the steel in the world as they prepared for the 2008 Olympics. Steel prices doubled and coupled with massive problems that I incurred trying to kit and fulfill product, I knew the project was nearing its end. I sold the remainder of my inventory to Perform Better and walked away with my tail between my legs. Although, I lost thousands of dollars and presumably failed, I gained a tremendous amount of insight on how to design, develop, manufacture, market and fulfill fitness equipment. I took these failures into my next product, the RIPCORE-FX now known as the TRX Rip Trainer, which changed the trajectory of my entire career. 

How does one respond to failure?

We all know at some point in our career, our relationships or our competitive endeavors we are all going to fail. The real question is how does one respond. Many of you know that I was on the US National TaeKwon-Do team and was even the team captain at the 1997 World Championships in St Petersburg Russia. What most people don’t know is that after my TaeKwon-Do career, I got into full contact kick-boxing. Would you believe that I lost my first fight? Instead of questioning my skills and throwing in the towel, I trained harder and smarter and adapted to full contact fighting winning my next 19 fights.  You see, it’s not the failing that is a problem, it’s how we respond to failure that develops one’s character. In fact, I will go as far to say that if one hasn’t had numerous failures, he or she is less well rounded and often times inept in responding to difficult situations. Let me take a brief moment to remind you of some of my favorite failure to success stories: 

  1. When asked about the many thousands of failures he had when trying to create the light-bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  2. When cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan was dejected and even contemplated quitting Basketball forever. He went on to win 6 NBA championships and is arguably the greatest player of all time. 
  3. In 1858 Abraham Lincoln lost a senate election seat in Illinois, two years later he was elected the 16th president of the United States and went on to be one of the most instrumental figures in United States history. 

As one can see, even the greats fail, it is how they respond to failure that galvanizes character.  

What can one learn from failure?

What can we learn from failure, basically everything!  Not only does failure provide insight on how to modify our behavioral patterns, it forges our spirit. I recently was selected by IDEA Fit as a finalist for the 2019 Personal Trainer of the Year award. This is a highly coveted award and is presented at the opening ceremonies of the largest trainer’s conference in the world. In the words of “Panic at the disco” I had high-high hopes but in the end fell short. I am not going to lie, initially it stung a little bit but as soon as I recognized that I can apply again next year, my mind set changed. I have learned that in life there is no triumph without tragedy, a set-back is just a set up for a come-back and without a test, there can be no testimony. The key is to embrace your failures as learnable experiences so you can come back on top!


When I was training on the US National TaeKwon-Do team, we would repeat the tenants of TKD before starting each practice.

  1. Courtesy
  2. Integrity
  3. Perseverance
  4. Self-Control
  5. Indomitable Spirit

I agreed with and lived by all the tenants, but the last one was so special to me that I even had it tattoed on my arm. Indomitable spirit simply means “a spirit that cannot be broken.” Every obstacle I have encountered in my life I have not seen as a road block but as an opportunity to learn, to change course and to grow. I am truly grateful for all my failures and know that if I can continue to push through them, success lies on the other side.

Thanks for joining and until next time, Get After It Everybody!