The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an Ivory Tower as “a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude; especially a place of learning.” I think there are a lot of trainers out there making statements about fitness from a very similar place!

They read in a book that the back squat is taught one way, or learned a skill from a coach in a particular way, and from that moment on they live and die by the concept that no other way of teaching that movement could possibly be correct! Well, if you’ve ever coached actual humans in an actual gym, you quickly learn that no two people learn things the exact same way. If you only have one way of explaining, you will miss connecting with a variety of athletes.

In my opinion, as long as your athletes are safe, there is no right or wrong way to teach something. I believe it was Matt or Cherie Chan who once said to me, “the best cue to give an athlete is the one that works!” Instead of sitting back and commenting on how other people are teaching things incorrectly, open up your mind and consider that some people just need to hear the same thing explained in a different way for it to click for them!

Check out this episode of Drive Time with Smashby, and let me know whether or not you agree with me…. and why! Happy Thursday!


When a workout is programmed (or created), there is almost always an intended stimulus in mind. This means that the coach writing it likely expects the work to be completed within a certain time frame. When athletes complete workouts, they’re not always aware of these goals, or given specific things to strive for in their efforts. Does this matter?

If you walked in the gym and saw the workout of the day was Helen (3rds of 400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups), what would you think? Would you look at the movements and decide whether or not you could them, and do them at the weight they’re prescribed? Would you think about your previous PR and whether or not you’d be able to beat it? Would you simply think about whether or not you like the movements in the workout?

Does the thought ever entire your mind about how long a workout “should” take an athlete? Maybe some days are more or less important than others to scale up (or down) in order to finish within a particular window of time?

Should coaches play an active role in explaining those types of things to athletes, or is our role simply to make sure no one gets hurt?

These are questions that are really important to me, and I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Check out the video below, and then…. let’s chat!

I am one of those people who gets really fired up when music I like is played at the gym. Yet, as a coach, I’m hyper-sensitive to trying not to play music that people could find really offensive due to profanity or subject matter. If I wouldn’t sing the lyrics out loud in front of my family, or a complete stranger, I’ll likely think twice about whether or not to play the song in class.

There are clearly exceptions to the rule here, and I think coaches just need to know their audience. If I ask a class what they want to hear and in unison everyone yells, “WU TANG CLAN!!!,” then I’ll probably “Return to the 36 Chambers” with the squad. But if I feel that anyone in the group might not be too excited about what the songs are going to talk about, I’ll audible and play something else.

Whether you’re a gym owner, a coach, or an athlete, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

If there’s enough interest, maybe I’ll do a follow up post soon where I can share some of the music I like, and some of the playlists I’ve created over the years.

Let me know what you think, friends!

One of my favorite parts of being a coach/personal trainer is being able to see your athletes improve through their hard work!

A really funny part of coaching is when you give an athlete a cue on how to improve a particular skill, and then a few days or weeks later having them share “this brand new cue they heard” from somewhere else …. that is the exact same cue you gave them previously. It happens more often than you might think.

There are so many factors that explain why moments like this happen (information overload or ineffective cuing from the coach, athlete physical and mental fatigue, the list goes on), but they can each be used as a learning experience if you let them!

What do you think about what I have to say on the topic? I’d love to know!

A lot of friends have been venting to me lately about things that are frustrating them. You know what? I love it. I love that people feel comfortable opening up to me, and sharing what’s going on in their lives. These are friends from all over the country, too. Some I’ve known for most of my adult life, others I’ve met through CrossFit or from them following my blog.

After a second person shared a story about how a friend has let them down time and time again, a third person talked about how they felt competitiveness between “friends” had been taken to an unhealthy level in the gym, and yet another person would tell me how they wish they’d get more coaching at their gym, I started to notice a pattern in the advice I was giving.

In the video below I summarize the advice I gave to most of these friends. Here’s the gist:

“Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe” is a quote I heard from a friend about a year and a half ago. I absolutely fell in love with that sentence.

What it means to me is that most (not all, but most) of the time, we have the ability to make changes to our environment based on our own actions and reactions. Meaning, if someone or something is stressing you out, there are likely steps you can take to either change that scenario or remove yourself from it.

Take a watch and let me know what you think, please. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Having a strong core can help one become a better athlete, healthier human, and a more independent human being. Today, I introduce a couple of drills that can help strengthen the “hollow body” position in an athlete, and also work on improving shoulder stability and grip strength.

There are countless modifications to make this more or less challenging, so feel free to ask if you’d like to discuss any of them.

Give these a shot, and let me know what you think!

I love dogs.

No, I mean I REALLY love dogs.

To prove it to you, I’m about to show you pictures that my wife sent me while I was coaching last week to brighten my day.

Yep, those are our babies. 😍

Even though I work in gyms, I can’t take my fur babies to work with me, and there are a few reasons why. While most people love them, I’m sure not everyone would. Besides, the Corgi’s “SUPERBARK” would echo through the gym so much that a few members would probably go deaf. I don’t want that to happen.

In the video below, I share a bit of my perspective on “gym dogs” and the different policies I’ve seen used at the many gyms I’ve visited/worked in a decade of CrossFit. This is not an exhaustive list. I don’t even touch on things like people who are simply scared of dogs, or those who may have allergies to dogs, for example.

Instead, this post is simply create constructive dialogue over a topic that gets a lot of people really fired up on both sides of the issue.

My stance is that everyone involved should be hyper-aware that the worst case scenario of something going wrong is a pretty bad scenario. So whatever you do as an owner or an athlete/member, just be careful. No one wants a human or dog to get hurt, or to have any property damaged.

What are your thoughts on gyms allowing dogs? Let’s discuss!

This week I decided to combine my Weekly Throwdown and Tip of the Week posts. Here’s why:

Most of the time, I think when people start a working out, they put their brain on cruise control and don’t really think. The difference between muddling through a workout and moving with purpose can be powerful, however.

As I demonstrate in the video, crashing down into every air squat versus being deliberate about core tension, breath control, and foot placement, can lead to vastly different results over time.

As they say:

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes progress.

I think we should do our best to get the most out of all of the time we spend in the gym.

Check out the video below, and let me know what you think, please!

Believe it or not, sometimes I just don’t feel like working out. I typically spend all day trying to motivate others to improve their lives through fitness, so when the gym clears out and it’s my turn, I can struggle to get inspired to do it myself. Today was one of those days. I was sore, I convinced myself there were too many other things I needed to do instead, and I was a few minutes away from throwing in the towel.

At that moment I stopped and asked myself what I would tell one of my athletes if they told me they didn’t feel like working out. The first thing that popped into my head was, “the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” While that’s SO cheesy, and definitely in line with things I say every day, I also think it’s true!

As long as you’re not injured and your body isn’t begging for a rest day because of over-training, I feel that we can almost always be productive with our time in the gym. Scale back weight or reps! Focus on technique if the assigned percentages feel too heavy! Spend that hour stretching and mobilizing if you’re too wrecked!

But if you have the time to go to the gym, and it doesn’t get in the way of anything else…. Go! Go and be productive, have some fun, say hi to some friends, and realize that you’re likely better off for having gone.

Should you still go to the gym if motivation is low or if you’re sore? Most of the time, yes.

Yes, you should.

What do you think about that advice? Do you agree or not? Let’s talk!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Status Update, but here we are again! Two weeks ago I was on vacation, and last weekend was Memorial Day, so I spent next to no time on my computer. It was nice!

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Did the CrossFit Hero Workout Murph on Memorial Day Monday. Over 90 athletes came and threw down. What a great atmosphere! I then proceeded to be so sore for the rest of the week that I could barely move. My shoulders are still sore almost a full week later. It’s crazy what a few hundred weight push-ups can do, even when you do prepare for it in the weeks leading up to the big day!
  • Other
    • We went out for Asian-esque food four out of five nights in a row. Between sushi, poke bowls, and pho, it was a delicious week of food. All other meals were during the week were meal prepped, so we felt justified in our decisions!
    • Socially, it was a great weekend! Friday night was a baseball game, Saturday night a concert, and after my swim lessons that I taught on Sunday morning, the rest of the day was spent working on the gym at the house.

This week:

  • Plan is to pick up something this weekend to make the home gym all but complete!! I hope next Sunday I can show you what it is and brag about the little space we created in our garage!

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

Since Bacon got the spotlight during my last Status Update, I figured it was only fair to give his sister Dakota the next one!