Armond Willis

Sweat and Substance: Building Character in the Weightroom

Sweat and Substance: Building Character in the Weightroom

“Sweat and Substance” is about exploring the intersection of physical fitness and personal development. We delve into the transformative power of exercise, not just as a means to sculpt the body, but as a tool to build character, resilience, and mental strength.


Targeting fitness enthusiasts, athletes, personal growth seekers, and anyone looking to improve both their physical and mental well-being, “Sweat and Substance” provides a fresh perspective on the gym experience. It’s not just about getting ripped or running faster – it’s about becoming a better, stronger version of yourself.


We go beyond the typical workout routine discussions. We uncover how the discipline, dedication, and grit developed in the gym translate into personal and professional success. From stories of individuals who have overcome obstacles through fitness, to interviews with psychologists and fitness experts who provide scientific insights, we explore the profound impact of working out on our character.

Thank you for listening !




9 Strategies for High School Athletes to Garner Recruitment Attention

9 Strategies for High School Athletes to Garner Recruitment Attention

If you are a competitive athlete that really believes in yourself, then you probably have dreams of getting recruited to a prestigious college sports program. But what if the coaches aren’t knocking on your door? Don’t worry, Here are 9 ways you can start getting the attention from schools:

  1. . Create a sports resume that documents your athletic journey. Include information like when you first started playing and any awards or achievements along the way.
  2. Produce Workout Videos: Leverage social media by sharing videos of your workouts. This not only showcases your dedication, technique, and strength, but also your improvements over time.
  3. Showcase Your Trick Shots: If you’ve got a unique skill or trick shot, film it. A mind-boggling trick shot can really grab the attention of recruiters and fans alike, leading to shares and wider visibility.
  4. Demonstrate Your Speed: Run sprints, agility drills, and long-distance runs. Post videos of these activities to showcase your speed and endurance.
  5. Make Highlight Reels: Compile your best moments from games and practices into a highlight reel. This can give coaches a better sense of your in-game performance and how you could benefit their team.
  6. Attend Camps and Showcases: These events are designed for recruiters to notice you. They offer a fantastic opportunity to network and demonstrate your skills in a competitive setting.
  7. Send Personal Emails: Reach out directly to coaches or recruiters, expressing your interest and attaching your sports resume and highlight reel. A personal touch can go a long way.
  8. Maintain Your Grades: Remember, you’re a student-athlete. Coaches want players who excel acadically too. Keep your grades up to show you’re committed to all aspects of the college experience
  9.  Have a few references ready who can speak about your character and abilities in order to give recruiters an honest opinion on what it’s like working with you on the field or in practice sessions.

Remember, consistent effort and patience are key. Keep promoting yourself and your abilities, and the right opportunity may just come knocking on your door. Don’t be one of the athletes that waits for opportunity to fall in your lap.

The Power of Creatine for Female Athletes: 4 Benefits for Better Performance

The Power of Creatine for Female Athletes: 4 Benefits for Better Performance

Creatine has long been a popular supplement for bodybuilders and male athletes, but less realized are the extreme benefits for the female athlete as well. There are multiple benefits when it comes to improving athletic performance, including increased strength, greater speed, and faster recovery time. When taken appropriately, creatine an be a powerful agent in helping to boost overall athletic performance. We’ll cover 4 major reasons how creatine will enhance the female athletic performance.

Improved Recovery Time

One of the most significant benefits of creatine for female athletes is its ability to improve recovery time. When you exercise, creatine helps your muscles to produce energy more efficiently, and it also facilitates the process of muscle repair and recovery. This means you can get back to training sooner and reduce the risk of injury from overtraining. So while it is most commonly taken before workouts, it can also be taken post-training session to assist with muscle recovery and restore deplenished muscle ATP reserves.

Increased Explosiveness

Another benefit of creatine is increased explosiveness. Explosive power is crucial for athletes who need to move quickly, jump, or sprint. Creatine helps increase the body’s natural energy reserves, allowing faster muscle contractions, so you move faster and jump higher. It provides immediate fuel for the muscles to contract more efficiently as well as become more fatigue resistant. This benefit is particularly useful for athletes who require fast and explosive movements, such as sprinters or jumpers in track and field. Because of the increased availability of creatine in the muscle, you will be able to sustain your explosiveness for longer periods of time.

Increased Speed

Any explosive activity with durations of 10 or fewer seconds predominately uses creatine phosphate as it main energy source for muscle contraction. With additional creatine supplementation, the phosphocreatine levels are increased, providing more immediate energy for activities like sprinting, jumping, or any short burst activity.

You will be able to maximize output during that short window of time during that phosphocreatine dominance and increase force generation. Thus, for sports like volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, flag football, or in training in general, you could see an immediate increase in performance as you become more explosive.

Increased Strength

Finally, creatine is well known for its strength-building benefits. Female athletes who take creatine see an improvement in their overall strength in the gym or in their sport. Creatine helps promote strong muscle contractions, which can lead to not only muscle growth but increased muscle growth and strength. This strength-boosting effect will help with not only your weightroom numbers, but give you a competitive edge in your sport.

Final Thoughts..

Creatine can be an excellent way for female athletes to improve their athletic performance. From increased speed and explosiveness to faster recovery times, creatine has multiple benefits that can help you excel in your sport. As with any supplement, it’s essential to take creatine carefully and talk to your coach or trainer before starting any new supplement regime. BUT Overall, creatine can be an excellent addition to a female athlete’s training program, helping them reach their full potential. You can check out PUR Creatine here at the Willis Performance Labs store

The Recovery Dilemma: Are BCAA's Effective for High School Athletes?

The Recovery Dilemma: Are BCAA’s Effective for High School Athletes?

Being a high school athlete can be challenging. You have to juggle your time between schoolwork, training sessions, and games. With a packed schedule, it’s crucial that you take care of your body to stay in top form and prevent injuries. Recovery is key for any athlete, and nutrition plays a vital role in it. The right supplements can help you recover faster and perform better.

What Are BCAAs, anyway?

First, let’s understand what BCAAs are. Branched-chain amino acids are a group of essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplements. The three essential BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are crucial for muscle recovery and growth. They help reduce muscle damage during intense workouts, decrease muscle soreness, and increase protein synthesis, which builds and repairs muscle tissue.

Your Schedule and Nutrition

Teenage athletes with heavy schedules face multiple challenges. They need to balance academics, sports practice, and games, leaving little time for recovery and rest. They also require additional calories and nutrients to fuel their intense activity levels. Eating a balanced diet is key, but sometimes it’s not enough. This is where BCAAs can help. They are a perfect addition to the diet of a teenage athlete as they can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, which helps them to train more effectively and recover faster.

Supplementation Strategy

BCAAs can be taken in several different forms, such as powder, tablets, or capsules. It’s essential to choose a quality supplement that meets the recommended dosage guidelines and doesn’t contain any banned substances. Before incorporating BCAAs into your diet, make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats through a balanced diet. Supplements should only be considered after all dietary needs are met.

Another benefit of BCAAs is that they can improve cognitive function. When you’re an athlete with a busy schedule, you need to be sharp and focused both on and off the field. BCAAs have been shown to help reduce fatigue and improve mental focus, which can help you perform better both academically and athletically.

Most importantly, BCAAs are safe for teenage athletes when taken as directed. They are a natural and effective supplement that can help with muscle recovery and growth, which is vital for teenage athletes. However, it’s crucial to consult with a coach, trainer, or physician before incorporating any dietary supplements into your routine.

Being a high school athlete with a busy schedule can make it difficult to take care of your body and ensure proper recovery. BCAAs can be the supplement of choice for teenage athletes with heavy schedules. They help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, increase protein synthesis, and improve cognitive function. BCAAs are a natural and safe supplement that can help with muscle recovery and growth, which is vital for teenage athletes. However, it’s essential to consult with a coach, trainer, or physician before incorporating any dietary supplements into your routine. With BCAAs, teenage athletes can perform at their best, both on and off the field.

For a high quality BCAA solution for you, check out BCAA Shock Fuel from Willis Performance Labs !

Calf Strength: A Potential Solution for Knee Pain

Calf Strength: A Potential Solution for Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common issue among athletes and active individuals, and it can be caused by a variety of factors. But while many focus on strengthening the quadriceps to help support the knee joint, the calf muscles are often overlooked. However, the calf muscles play a crucial role in knee strength, as they help to stabilize the joint during movement. In this blog post, we’ll explore the important contributions the calf muscles have on knee strength, and how you can incorporate calf exercises into your training routine.

The calf muscles are made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which attach to the Achilles tendon and connect to the heel bone, and also attach proximally at the medial and lateral condyles at the knee joint. The Gastro-soleus complex is responsible for plantar flexion, which is the movement of pointing the toes downward. However, the calf is also a two joint, muscle, as mentioned earlier that contributes to knee flexion.

When the calf muscles contract, they help to stabilize the knee joint during movement. They act as a dynamic stabilizer, working to control the motion of the knee joint and prevent excessive movement that can lead to injury. Additionally, a strong calf muscle can help to reduce knee pain, as it can offload some of the stress on the joint during activity.

One study found that individuals with knee osteoarthritis who completed a 12-week calf muscle strengthening program experienced a reduction in knee pain and improved function*. This further highlights the importance of incorporating calf exercises into not only rehab programs, but overall performance programs.

So, how can you strengthen your calf muscles and improve knee strength?

There are a plethora of exercises that can strengthen the calf complex, aside from the traditional calf raise. Low position sled pushes can strengthen the entire calf muscle as the shin angle places the calf muscle in an extremely elongated position, giving you a bigger range of motion to work with in a dynamic fashion.

Keep in mind, incorporating calf raises into your training routine can not only improve knee strength but also enhance overall lower body strength and power. Additionally, be sure to include exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and shin muscles as these muscles also play a critical role in knee function and stability.

While knee pain may be caused by a variety of factors, strengthening the calf muscles can play a crucial role in improving knee strength, increasing performance, and reducing pain. As a two-joint muscle, the gastrocnemius has a synergistic role in knee flexion and acts as a dynamic stabilizer during movement. Incorporating a variety of calf exercises into your training routine can help to enhance knee strength, improve lower body function, and reduce the risk of injury. Make sure to be intentional about your calf strength.

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Going Beyond 40: The New Fitness Depth for the Middle Aged Man

Going Beyond 40: The New Fitness Depth for the Middle Aged Man

I like to believe that people go through seasons in life: youth years, adolescence, teenage years, your 20’s, 30’s and so on. At each of these stages, what you value also evolves, affecting the areas in life you choose to invest time and energy into improving. For those of us who are lifelong exercise enthusiasts, perhaps in your early years, the gym was a place you used to transform your body to look good for others. However, as you aged, the importance of fitness transcended beyond the superficial and shifted its focus to mental balance, life longevity, stress management, health for your children, and more.

As you become more “seasoned” in life, different experiences continuously carve away at your belief system, and can change WHY you want to stay in shape.

In a culture scape where superficiality dominates the fitness arena, there are actually people who value their mental well-being before pampering the surface. What the weight room can do for these people, goes beyond what the scale or Instagram likes could ever do.

Here are 4 reasons that should be drivers for maintaining your fitness for the middle aged man over the hill.

Improved Mood

Regular strength training in the gym is known to release endorphins, feel-good chemicals that help boost your mood. These endorphins act as natural painkillers, promoting an overall sense of well-being and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has been found that middle-aged men who start strength training programs as part of their fitness regimen evidence significant improvement in their mental health and emotional well-being.

The majority of adults have what is called a sleep deficit. “Owing” your body sleep throughout long days of work can directly affect your mood. Strength training will counterbalance this.

Reduced Stress Levels

Stress is rampant in today’s world. Work deadlines, family responsibility, carrying financial burdens, the emotional AND physical wear and tear will have you feeling depleted. But in comes strength training.

Strength training has a direct impact on cortisol levels, the hormone primarily responsible for the stress response. Regularly engaging in strength training can help reduce elevated cortisol levels, thereby reducing your stress levels. When you exercise your muscles, you activate the sympathetic nervous system, which initially releases cortisol in response to the stress. However, with regular training, your body adapts to this stress response, enabling cortisol levels to return to baseline levels sooner.

Better Cognitive Function

As you age, it’s common to experience cognitive decline and memory loss. Strength training can help improve cognitive function by fostering the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus region – responsible for learning and memory. A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that strength training could significantly improve long-term memory. Strength training is also beneficial in increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related illness like Alzheimer’s.

Simply put, strength training can help you get the clarity you need to operate at your potential.

The Ownership Factor:

There are factors in life that affect us but are out of our control. And that is a constant fact of life. But one of the greatest things about the weight room, is that no matter what in life is going on, you are always in direct control over the outcome you want.

You control your effort in the gym

You decide on how you want to feel after your session.

You control what type of program you want to follow.

It’s one of those activities where no one can do it for you: You have to do it.

If you are tired of being tired all the time, or hate having so much joint pain, then simply put, you aren’t in control of your own body. Training gives you the opportunity to take back the ownership of your body that was commandeered by aging, stress, injuries, and maybe your peers.

So, strength training not only helps you achieve the physical fitness goals you set for yourself, but it also works significantly in improving your mental health and reducing stress levels. As you age, the focus must shift beyond just the aesthetic of looking fit to maintain your mental balance. Engaging in strength training in the gym will not only help you remain physically fit but also help you lead a healthier lifestyle, improve your mood, reduce stress levels, and improve cognitive function. So, what’s the wait? Find a fitness program that works for you and start strength training to improve your physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Should Female Athletes Not NOT Bench Press? 4 Reasons Why You Should

Should Female Athletes Not NOT Bench Press? 4 Reasons Why You Should

When it comes to female athletes, there seems to be a lot of myths surrounding the exercises they should and shouldn’t do. One of the most common misconceptions is that bench pressing is not healthy for women, and can be detrimental to shoulder health. However, the truth is that bench pressing can be incredibly beneficial for female athletes, especially those who participate in sports that involve throwing, or sports like tennis and or volleyball where rapid overhead shoulder extension and flexion occur. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of bench pressing for female athletes and debunk the myths surrounding this powerful exercise.

1) Builds Upper Body Pressing Strength

Bench pressing is a fantastic way to build upper body pressing strength, and elbow extensor strength, both crucial for female athletes. It works the chest, shoulders, and shoulder stabilizing muscles and joints, triceps, and even engages the core muscles. Many sports require upper body strength, including throwing a ball, hitting a volleyball, and serving in tennis. If you are playing in sports where physical contact occurs, such as lacrosse, basketball, or even soccer, then bench pressing can help female athletes develop this strength and improve their performance on the field or court.

A common objection to doing the bench press is it “is not functional for female athletes because they will never be in the position during their sport!” The problem with this train of thought is that it overlooks the concept of developing muscle and nervous system quality. It’s not totally about the exercise as much as it is about the properties being trained that have carry-over. Whether lying down, sideways, or standing, the internal structure does not care, it only generates the necessary force to overcome the resistance.

2) Helps to Reduce Injury Risk

Contrary to popular belief, bench pressing can actually help female athletes avoid injuries. Just like any other exercise, the dosage amount is important so as not to overly tax the shoulders by doing too much too frequently. Strengthening the upper body muscles can help to stabilize the joints and prevent shoulder and elbow injuries. This is especially important for female athletes who participate in sports that require repetitive throwing, such as softball or baseball. Strength at and around these joints will help provide the conditions to generate more force during activity.

However, always keep in mind that it is not possible to prevent all injuries.

3.) Increases Throwing/ Hitting Strength

As we mentioned earlier, bench pressing can increase throwing or hitting strength for female athletes in sports involving throwing. It helps to develop the chest and shoulder muscles, and improve elbow extension, which are crucial for a powerful throw. Similarly, in sports such as volleyball or tennis, a strong upper body is essential for hitting the ball with force and accuracy. When implemented and executed correctly, bench pressing will help to develop better stabilization at the shoulder joints throughout specific ranges of motion. This is key, as muscle contractions at the right time help create fluid movement around the joints.

4.) Boosts Confidence:

While this can not necessarily be measured physically, bench pressing can help to boost confidence in female athletes. A good number of female athletes are hesitant to train upper body. The ones who do have a one-up over the ones who don’t, as they can be outperformed and “out-physicaled” on the field or court, or water. As they see their upper body strength grow, and strength numbers go up, they will feel more confident and powerful on the field or court. This confidence can translate into improved performance and help female athletes reach their goals.

As you can see, developing upper pressing strength provides numerous benefits for the female athlete, contrary to the myths surrounding it. Increasing upper body pressing strength is a surefire way to not only develop true strength and power but also contribute to injury reduction when done correctly. In addition, the added confidence will give the female athlete an edge as she will become physically stronger than her competition by developing an area that other female athletes often bypass.

4 Reasons Why Women in Their 30's and up NEED to Strength Train

4 Reasons Why Women in Their 30’s and up NEED to Strength Train

As a woman in your 30’s, you might have started to notice that keeping a toned, healthy, and fit physique requires more effort compared to your early 20’s. Age-related muscle loss, busy schedules, and the responsibilities of family life, even stress can make it tough to prioritize exercise and muscle building. However, making strength training a part of your fitness regimen carries numerous benefits that go beyond just building muscular strength. Here are the top 4 reasons why women in their 30’s should engage in strength training.

Greater Metabolic Efficiency

One of the most significant reasons why women in their 30’s should strength train is that it boosts metabolic efficiency. As we age, the body’s metabolic rate tends to plummet, resulting in weight gain, poor insulin sensitivity, and diminished energy levels. Strength training counteracts this by increasing lean muscle mass, which raises the metabolic rate, thus improving how your body utilizes energy. This translates to weight management, improved insulin sensitivity, and lower risks of conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Strength training also has a beneficial impact on your overall physical health. As you age, joint pains, aches, and injury risks become common. Strength training can reduce the risk of bone and joint problems, improve joint stability, and reduce vulnerability to painful conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Additionally, strength training enhances your balance, posture, and agility, making you less susceptible to injuries and falls.

Enhanced Mental and Emotional Well-being

Strength training enhances your mental and emotional well-being, making it one of the best forms of self-care. When you lift weights or engage in resistance exercise, the body releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which help you feel calm and happy. Moreover, resistance training can reduce stress levels, decrease depression and anxiety symptoms, improve sleep patterns, and boost overall brain function.

Improved Physical Performance

Finally, strength training can boost your physical performance, from lifting groceries to performing more extended workouts. It develops overall strength, improves endurance, increases your capacity to perform daily tasks, and builds muscular stability. This makes you more resilient and able to tackle everyday physical activities with more comfort and less effort.

Make strength training a vital component of your fitness routine, especially if you’re a woman in your 30’s. Not only does it boost your metabolism and lower the risk of injury, but it also improves your mental well-being and physical performance. Don’t hesitate to start lifting weights, trying resistance exercises, or adding bodyweight workouts to your regular schedule. The rewards of strength training are well worth the investment in your health and well-being.

Debunking the Myths of Social Media Training Landscape and the Impact On Young Athletes

Debunking the Myths of Social Media Training Landscape and the Impact On Young Athletes

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it’s about connecting with friends and family, following our favorite celebrities, or staying in touch with the latest trends and news, social media has made it possible. However, social media has brought about a new era of information and knowledge sharing that has led to an increase in myths and misconceptions, especially when it comes to the fitness industry. Personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts now find themselves dealing with a new challenge – combating the misinformation shared on social media. In this blog post, we will be debunking some of the myths in the social media training landscape and their impact on young athletes.


Myth 1: More is Better

The idea that doing more exercises or repetitions is better is a pervasive myth in the fitness industry. Many young athletes believe in this myth and push themselves to the limit, causing injuries that can be detrimental to their careers. Social media has contributed significantly to the spread of this myth. Fitness enthusiasts on social media often make it seem like they are doing more than what is necessary to achieve results. Often, this ends up discouraging young athletes, making them believe that they are not good enough. The truth is that more does not necessarily equal better. Quality over quantity is always the way to go. A few well-executed exercises with proper form and technique are better than a hundred poorly executed reps.

Myth 2: One-Size-Fits-All Approach

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training young athletes. Every athlete is different, with unique abilities, preferences, and goals. Social media has created an illusion that there is a one-size-fits-all method of training young athletes. Personal trainers must address the individual needs of each athlete, tailor their training programs to their specific needs, and adjust as needed. A cookie-cutter approach to training athletes can be detrimental to their performance. It not only inhibits them from achieving their goals but can also cause injury.

Myth 3: Shortcuts to Success

Achieving success in anything requires dedication and hard work, and this is true when it comes to sports. Social media often highlights the success stories of young athletes, making it seem like they achieved their success overnight. This can be discouraging for young athletes who are putting in the effort but not seeing results. Personal trainers must emphasize that there are no shortcuts to success. It takes time, dedication, and hard work to achieve greatness. There is no secret formula or magic pill that can get you there.

Myth 4: No Pain, No Gain
This myth has been around for decades and is still prevalent today. Young athletes on social media often promote this idea by pushing themselves to their limits, causing injuries and long-lasting damage. Personal trainers must make young athletes realize that pain is not a sign of progress but an indication that something is wrong. Overexertion can do more harm than good, and an injury can derail an athlete’s career.

Myth 5: Social Media is the Gospel
Social media has become a platform for information dissemination, and many young athletes believe that everything they read or see on social media is true. Personal trainers must emphasize to their athletes that social media is not the gospel. They must do their research and use reliable sources of information to make informed decisions.

In conclusion, social media can be a blessing and a curse in the fitness industry. While it has made information readily accessible, it has also contributed significantly to the spread of myths and misconceptions. Personal trainers must educate young athletes on the myths of social media and their impact on performance. The focus should always be on quality over quantity, individual approach, hard work, and research. By debunking these myths and providing accurate information, personal trainers can help young athletes achieve their true potential.