Archive for the ‘Coach’s Corner’ Category


The 2021 CrossFit Games Open is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but no one I’m friends with predicted this as the first workout of the new competition year. Wall Walks and Double-Unders are the two movements in the Rx’d division, modified Wall Walks and Single-Unders comprise the Scaled version, the Foundations division includes Bear Crawls and Jumping Jacks, and finally the No Equipment version is made up of Wall Walks and Lateral Jumps.

For this strategy post, I won’t be breaking down each workout division as I have in the past. Instead, I’ll be covering a few main themes I think will be appropriate for nearly all versions of the workout.

The three topics I cover in my video are: (1) Scaled or Rx’d? Which should you choose and why? (2) Pacing? How should you approach the two movements? and (3) Technique – What are a few things to think about to make the movements as efficient as possible.

This is only the first week of the Open and I am always interested in your feedback for how to make these videos more helpful for YOU. Did you like this? Tell me! Would you prefer that I dive more deeply into any other aspect of the workout? Let me know!

I hope you find my advice over the next three weeks to be helpful!

As always…. Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

What a time to be alive!

Self-driving cars, sushi burritos, and billions and billions of armchair coaches (who watched seven Coach Burgener videos and three hundred slow-motion montages from “Hook Grip“) that are chomping at the bit to let you know what you did wrong on your last lift!

I’ve been in this game for a long time, and when I review my own lifts I can tell you what I’m doing wrong. I already know! I’m constantly working to get better because it’s a process. If it were easy, everyone would be perfect. That’s why I post so many of my training videos online, because I want advice and (constructive) feedback on how to get better.

Most people are not me, though.


When you’re scrolling through your phone looking to share your endless wealth of knowledge (especially to people you don’t even know), think twice before hitting “enter” on your post. If you’re actually in a gym but aren’t the coach, be extra careful!

Last month I wrote a post about the risks of giving advice if you’re not qualified to do so. (One wrong cue could lead to someone else getting hurt because of you.) This post isn’t about you being qualified, though. It’s about being aware enough to recognize when no one asked you in the first place! That may sound harsh, but it’s true. If a friend asks you to watch and critique, that’s one thing. But otherwise, let it go.

“Oh man, you missed that snatch. Extend your hips more, scarecrow tall, pull under harder, and punch to the sky next time!”

“Are you sure? I thought I was supposed to pull the bar up to my eyeballs and then fall on my back. Is that not how this lift works? Thanks so much for your help that I didn’t ask for…”

Moral of the Story

Don’t give someone unsolicited lifting advice if:

(A) You’re not qualified to do so.

(B) You weren’t asked for it!

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. But there are far more people giving advice than those asking for it! This is something I’ve had to get better with, myself. My intentions are always so positive in wanting to help others, but I need to remind myself that not everyone wants my opinion. If I’m leading a class, that’s one thing, as I’m literally being paid to help others. But outside of that scenario, I try to only give feedback when I’m asked for it!

Fitness is awesome! Seriously. There are literally thousands of ways that we can improve our health and wellness, increase our ability to survive and thrive, and enhance our skills in order to perform particular tasks. It truly is all around us, and so many things impact our level of fitness at any given moment. It’s not just about lifting weights or going for a run. Nutrition, rest and recovery, and our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being are also critical pieces of the pie that can make us not only happier, but more effective and powerful beings.


While at any given moment, each one of us might be on a separate fitness path, I have found that asking my athletes one question can make a profound difference in their training: “Why are you here?” A lot of people don’t immediately know what to say, but spending some time reflecting on the answer can help in a lot of ways.

Some athletes want to get stronger, others are looking to gain flexibility, and some just want to be able to eat and drink whatever they want. To some, spending time in the gym allows them to improve their health markers, potentially reduce the amount of prescription medicines they need to take. If an athlete is just in the gym to have fun, that’s completely fine. Usually, however, I’ve found there’s more to it than that. Even if they don’t aspire to compete in a local CrossFit event, people usually at least have the goal to get that first pull-up or muscle-up, or they strive to hit that 100- or 200-pound clean and jerk! By identifying a few specific goals, a training plan can be adjusted to accomplish them much faster!

For me, personally, NOT having a specific goal is a cop-out. It relieves me from needing to commit additional time to get better at any one thing. If my goal was just to “look better naked” that would be fine. But honestly, it’s been too long since I’ve TRAINED with a purpose in mind. The more I’m asked if I’ll compete in CrossFit again, the more I struggle with deciding what I want do for my next challenge. Individual or team comp? Power lifting or Olympic Weightlifting meet? Masters swim meet? A running race like a 5k or 10k? Who knows?! The point is nothing has me fired up enough to throw down. I’m hoping I find something soon, though.

It’s completely normal and very common for motivation to change from year to year, month to month, or even minute to minute. I just want to challenge you to be more deliberate in your training, and not just go through the motions. Moving with purpose, as I said in a post last week, is critical, but moving with A PURPOSE can be a game changer. That said, what is your action item? It’s time to pick something to focus on for the next few days, weeks, months.

Figure out what fitness means to you, and why you’re choosing to spend time in the gym each week. Are you registered for the Open? Is that your focus? If yes, what is your plan to attack each week as effectively as possible? Are you training for an event this spring? What can you do today, this week, and next, to better prepare yourself to succeed? Want to get that six-pack for summer? How much additional core work will you do each week? Feel free to share your goal(s) with me in the comments. As many of you know, once you write something down, it typically helps us remain more accountable!


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

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Metcons
      • Workouts have been all over the map for me lately in terms of feeling good or bad about my fitness, but such is life. I’m very curious to see how this year’s Open goes in terms of movements that I consider “strengths” verses “no so much strengths” for me!
      • A variation of Isabel (30 Snatches for time) was Wednesday’s workout, and I debated all day whether I would try the “Rx” version of the day (115lbs) or whether I’d give the “Competitor” weight (155lbs) a go. At the last minute, I decided that 155 was the right choice, did quick singles the whole way, and finished my 30 reps in 4:03. I’ll take it!
    • Barbell Work
      • Monday brought waves of Power Cleans; Min 7 – 3 Power Cleans @ 81% (230lbs), Min 8 – 2 Power Cleans @ 84% (240lbs), and Min 9 – 1 Power Clean @ 87% (250lbs), and some pause Front Squats (heaviest at 275lbs)
      • Built to a heavy single of Clean and Jerk on Friday and hit 280lbs. It wasn’t my prettiest lift, but I’m glad anytime I get to 275+
    • Calorie Challenge
      •  Since it was a short week (I left town Friday afternoon and just got back), I had quite a bit less time to sit on a rower or bike. I did, however, hit another 700 calories. That puts me at 3,000 for the month so far. I’ll likely reach 4,000+ by the end of February!
  • I did write one “The 2018 Open is Coming” post! The Open starts this week, I can’t even believe it!
  • Progress on the book (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink) continues. Still haven’t given myself more than 10-15 minutes once or twice before bed, but I’ve already put more of a focus on reading in 2018 than I have over the last few years. I’m celebrating that.
  • Swimming Post is live! It’s fun to already have had some people reach out asking more details about my “Swim Better Now” clinics. Bottom line is that I want to help people get better, whether that means swimming faster, or just learning how to float safely in deep water. If you, or anyone you know, is interested please do not hesitate to reach out.

This week:

  • The first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is released this week. In the past, I have recorded “strategy” videos for each week. My goal is to try and get a video and post live by the time you wake up on Friday morning. Wish me luck!
  • I had a pretty poor weekend of sleep at the place where we stayed up in the mountains, so my goal is to get over 6.5 hours of sleep two days this week. No, that doesn’t normally happen. I was going to challenge myself to say 7 hours, but when I do reverse math based on the alarm, it’s just not realistic. Working on it!
  • I have a really big weekend of work ahead, with nearly 10 hours of client work accounted for between Saturday and Sunday. Even with that, I’d like to devote some time to continuing progress with the drywall in our garage!

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

Here’s a picture from our weekend in Breckenridge. Have a great week, everyone!

It’s almost here, everyone! One week from today the first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is released. What does that mean for you? Well, here’s a quick list of 5 things you can do to make sure you’re ready for week number one!

1- Start training!

With only 7 days to go, now is probably a good time to get into the gym and start training for this year’s Open! 🙂

2- Take care of your body

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we’re all busy. Sometimes we don’t drink enough water or get enough rest, but if the Open is really important to you, you need to make taking care of yourself for the next few weeks of a top priority. Since you’ll likely be pushing harder on these workouts, your body will need a little bit more TLC to recover properly.

3- Establish your “Event Ritual” ahead of time

For most gyms, Open WODs will be run a lot like regular CrossFit classes. Coach explains the workout, runs athletes through a general warm-up, then allows time for set-up, finding judges, etc. If you know you’ll want a little bit more time than that to get your mind and body right, plan for it ahead of time. Do you have a slew of pre- and post-workout supplements you take? Figure out how to organize them as efficiently as possible so you’re not distracted before an event trying to find your BCAA’s through a sea of people.

Some people show up early and stay late to cheer for their friends, and I love that about the Open! Keep in mind that you can use that time to be productive, too! Sit on a lacrosse ball to loosen up your hammies, attach a band to the rig and warm up your shoulders while your friends row. You can simultaneously help them and prepare yourself for when it’s your turn to throw down!

4- Breathe.

Hey you! We’re working out for fun, and none of this matters. And I mean that in the most sincere way possible! Relax.

5- Be a good person

You know number “4” above? The one reminding you to breathe? If you’re not one of those people that freaks out over these workouts, you’ll at least see a bunch of them start to creep up over the next five weeks. My advice is to be overly supportive to those around you. Some people need a pep talk before their heat. Others want to be left alone. Some will want a shoulder to lean on after they’re done. Be aware of what’s going on around you, ask people what you can do for them, and then do that thing! It makes the community so much stronger when groups of people just want to help one another.

One week until the madness starts.

And for the other half of you, only five weeks until it’s all over!


Every single day you go to the gym, you should give yourself one thing to think about during training.

I’ll give a few specific examples below, but my logic behind that statement is simple. As someone who suffers from paralysis by analysis in my own life, it is so simple to get overwhelmed with details that you can’t focus on a single one properly. For example, I could sit here list over 10 things to think about in order to plank properly. Plank… you know, the thing where you hold your body at the top of a push-up? So imagine how many cues one could have when completing a workout with four different movements, many of which are far more complex than a simple plank.


Instead, once you know what you’re going to do for the day, pick a one thing and hone nearly all of your energy on completing it as effectively as possible. Let’s discuss a few scenarios:

Heavy Strength Set

If you know you’re going to try and move mountains today, the anxiety and excitement leading up to those heavy reps can be exhausting. For a big squat day, make sure your core is tight throughout the lift. Or that you knees stay out. Or that you take a big breath at the top before beginning your descent. Even those three things combined can be too much to focus on at once. Keep your cue(s) simple, meaningful to you, and effective! The less in your brain, the more you can just move that weight!


Long Workout

Let’s say it’s a 5 round workout with rowing, wall balls, deadlifts, sit-ups, and pull-ups. There’s a lot going on there, huh? Instead of trying to overwhelm yourself with pacing out your splits of how fast each round should be, you could say to yourself, “today, I’m going to do each round of 20 wall balls as a set of 12 reps, short rest, then a set of 8.” Many people believe that making a plan of attack and “visualizing” your workout is a great strategy.

If you’re in a competition, the stakes are different, and I completely agree! Planning out and rehearsing every second might be the difference between first and second place. But very few people have the time, energy, or desire to spend that much time getting ready for their 4-6 days of training every week! Pick a thing or two, and just breathe through the rest.


Active Rest/Recovery

Some days you’ll show up to the gym feeling pretty beat up. Your body is sore, your mind is tired, and you haven’t been sleeping well. “But it’s Friday,” you tell yourself, and you “ALWAYS work out on Fridays.” That doesn’t mean you need to red line on the workout, completely wreck yourself, and hobble around all weekend.

If you make the decision that you just need to move for the day, that’s totally fine, and I support you. Even on those days, you can find something to focus on. Maybe on the rowing portion of the workout you focus on keeping your heels down and start to learn what your stroke rate is for repeat 500’s. If there’s snatching for strength, really emphasize making your receiving position as snappy as possible. You can always get better, even if you’re just there to move for the day!


Now, this post is in no way implying that the rest of your training session should be done by completely checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe that everything in the gym should be done “with purpose.” Instead, I’m trying to help athletes narrow down a primary point of attack each day. Having a panic attack because you’re staring at the bar before a deadlift attempt thinking, “chest up, back flat, proper stance, breathe, chest up, knees back, push away the floor, grip it and rip it, etc, etc,” doesn’t help anyone.

We’re in the gym to get better every day. Try your best to narrow down your scope on the big things, and as long as you head out of the gym with a smile on your face, most of the time you’ve done alright. This fitness game of ours is most certainly a marathon, not a sprint.

Hello friends!

Over the last two weeks, here are some of the things I’ve heard from members of our CrossFit Lakewood family:

  • I’ve lost over 30 pounds by simply improving my diet and CrossFitting 4-5 times per week
    • (I’ve heard that from MORE THAN ONE person, too! THIRTY pounds!)
  • I am more effective at my job, and feel more comfortable knowing that if I need to save a coworker of mine, or save my own life, that I am better prepared do it
    • (From someone who works as a firefighter! Talk about real-life application!)
  • It used to require 4 assistance bands to do a single pull-up, now I’m down to only one!
    • (That’s in only a few months, too! Unassisted Pull-ups are sooo close!)
  • Through training at CrossFit Lakewood, I am more optimistic in every area of my life.  That positivity has helped make everyone around me happier, too.
    • (In no particular order, a healthy body and a healthy mind, hand in hand, are a POWERFUL combo!)


I am BEYOND inspired by all of you.  Every single day I see at least one thing that happens in our gym that shows me just how incredible you guys all are.  There is no other point of this post than to say thank you.

Thank you for letting me share in the transformations that you are all creating in your bodies, in your minds and in your lives.

I’m so grateful to be a part of this family.

In constantly trying to keep new and entertaining material on this blog, I wanted to try out a new idea.

Since I’m always posting videos of my athletes working out, for all you guys know, all I like doing is sitting “behind” the stop watch and barking out orders. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. On top of loving the coaching part of CrossFit, I also train CrossFit myself.

Take a look at the video below, and tell me what you think! If you guys like it, Orion and I (along with other trainers who join us) will probably try to tape a monthly training session just to share with you.

So, let’s hear it… what’s your vote? Yay or Nay to continue posting “Trainer’s Workout” videos?

***Be advised, there is some inappropriate language in the song that accompanies the video***


Posted: January 3, 2011 in Coach's Corner, CrossFit, Training

Announcement Time again!

If you are currently not a full-time member of CrossFit Lakewood and would like to give us a shot, the first week of training with me in 2011 is FREE! That means you can come in January 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th to see that CrossFit is right for you!

Any questions, feel free to call or email me. Come on down, bring your friends, and start out 2011 on the path to improved fitness, and a healthier and happier life! The best part of all… it’ll be fun, too!

The good folks at CrossFit by Overload put together a really nice video on “What is CrossFit?” As much as I like this video, the only true way to learn is to come by and check it out for yourself.

I’ll see you this week!

Class Schedule for 2011:
Sunday 5:30pm-6:30pm
Monday 6:30pm-7:30pm
Wednesday 6:30pm-7:30pm
Thursday 6:30pm-7:30pm

Balance, agility, accuracy, speed, power, strength, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination… which of the Ten Physical Skills does this stuff NOT include? What incredible athletes. Wow.

Thanks for the link, Brad.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  Please watch in full-screen if you can.

And this one’s just for fun!