Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Open Gym”, the part of my blog where I get to share my real thoughts on all things gym. I haven’t always been brutally honest with how I feel about things for fear of “offending” people, but I’m in a place now where I can speak as freely as I’d like… and it feels good!

When I started CrossFit almost NINE years ago (this August), I immediately adopted the mindset that this fitness “fad” was all about community. Sure, a person can get insanely fit by doing it, but more than the PRs, this was a medium through which communities could be formed and sustained on love and support alone. I LOVED that from Day 1.

The best way that a stranger could have seen this first-hand would have been to walk into nearly any gym on any given day. The clock counts down, the coach yells, “3, 2, 1… GO!”, the athletes get after it…. and then everyone finishes the workout at the same time. Well, not really, but when the fastest people would finish they’d do their own patented CrossFit “My-Life-Is-Over/I-Cant-Believe-I-Made-It” flop onto the ground, they’d roll around for a few seconds, and then something amazing would happen – They’d pick themselves up off of the floor and go over to support the remaining athletes in the class.

It was never taught. Coaches never needed to ASK the class to cheer each other on. It just happened. Why? Because CrossFit was all about embracing the suck. It didn’t matter if you lifted 200lbs more than the person next to you, completed 8 more rounds than them during that 12 minute AMRAP, or whether your last rep was done 6 minutes before theirs. You had all done the same thing, something that any practitioner of this “sport” could relate to, and you never wanted to leave a teammate behind.

That didn’t mean there needed to be fanfare or a loud cheering section for the last person every day. In fact, some people don’t like being the center of attention at all. That wasn’t the point, though. Dragging your butt over to their side of the gym and leaning back against the wall to help them finish those last 20 reps of Wall Balls meant a lot. It showed that your beer at happy hour with friends could wait another 5 minutes. And most of all, it meant that the person who was still working could feel just as important as the gym’s resident “fire breather.” Because they are just as important.

Too often now, in too many gyms, I see people finish their workouts, put away their stuff, log their scores, and bounce. 

It’s true that there are some INCREDIBLE and inspiring athletes all over the world, but they’re not always the ones topping the leaderboard each day. As someone who feels he got into the CrossFit game fairly early, a second-generation “OG” if you will, I can say that if you don’t know the names of the people in your class, or care to learn them, that you should try to change that. I’m not asking introverts to become extroverts. I’m not suggesting that everyone in the gym needs to be best friends. What I am saying is that feeling like you’re a part of a family when you go to the gym makes every single part of the community more meaningful.

Next time you’re in-between sets during strength, or as people awkwardly shuffle around to put their clips and weights back after class, take a few seconds and introduce yourself to someone new. Ask what they thought sucked the most during that WOD. If you do know everyone in the class, discuss the pacing strategy a friend used for that chipper workout you just finished. Or if nothing else, at least offer that friendly and supportive fist bump, high five, or bro-hug.

I can promise most people that your life will be better by being “that person” who genuinely starts to care about others in the best way possible. If you give it a shot, I would love to hear how it goes for you. Do you notice a difference in any aspect of your gym life? Life outside of the gym?

Remember, everyone… it’s just fitness.

But also, it’s so much more than just fitness.


At my age, people either LOVE sports, or don’t really care for them. That said, I believe most of us can agree that playing sports during childhood can have an incredibly positive impact on a person’s life. Just as activities such as learning to play an instrument or studying a language can teach discipline, attention to detail, and the value of consistency in practice, many sports can also teach invaluable skills like teamwork and effective communication (among many other things).

Why is that relevant? A few nights ago while I was watching an NHL Playoff game (that’s hockey for those of you who don’t know), I had kind of an epiphany. My favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, was playing their bitter rivals in Game 3 of a best-of-seven series. They were down 2 goals with only 2 minutes left to play in the game. For a lot of folks, that deficit simply seemed too much to overcome in such a small amount of time. You could see some people getting up and leaving their seats to try and beat the rush, assuming the game was over and we had lost. Lo and behold, the Penguins put on an incredible offensive display and scored TWO goals in under two minutes. The crowd that remained was electrified, I was screaming at the TV, and they managed to push the game into Overtime! Unfortunately the Penguins lost in OT, but that’s not the point!

The parallel to this game that I immediately made to our every day lives is this:

Fairly often, we might feel that we’re in a slump in life (personally, professionally, spiritually,… anything, really), or that our hard work isn’t paying off as we’d like. Most of the time I find it important to remember the next breakthrough could literally be around the corner. I’ve experienced this with friendships, fitness, and many other areas of life. Frustrated with squats? Stick to your 12 week program, rest and fuel appropriately, and let the results speak for themselves.

Positive change doesn’t happen when you want it to happen, positive change happens when you put in the appropriate amount of work. Instead of basing your “success” on the end result alone, try your best to enjoy the PROCESS. In retrospect, the process will be the most rewarding part anyways!

Be patient and stay the course! You can do it.

The thoughts featured in the post and video are mine and mine alone!

For me, Meal Prep doesn’t always need to include large volumes of meals that will be eaten throughout the week. This week’s video was just a quick dinner I made for myself while visiting Pittsburgh for a few days.

Boneless Pork Chops, especially ones this thin, don’t take very long to cook at all. This entire meal took me 15-20 minutes which included prep time! The original recipe that inspired me to cook called for the chops to be dipped in flour, but I didn’t want to do that. I did, however, keep the butter it called for in the original.

The pecans and honey were a new touch that I had never used to make a “sauce” with before, so that was fun. Feel free to replace the butter with an oil of your choice, and add in additional veggies, but this sounded delicious to me, so that’s how I made it.

What do you think? How does it look?

The thoughts featured in the post and video are mine and mine alone!

Quick post today for my week’s Meal Prep from Sunday! Since most meals were already done (thanks, Em!), I decided to share a snack that I haven’t made in some time. A few years ago, a friend suggested making this dish, and I was hooked!

Shrimp. Grape Tomatoes. Avocado. That’s it! Check out how easy it is to make this meal, and give it a shot for yourself. It is delicious!

Note: Shrimp can be fairly expensive, and some folks don’t love it. That’s fine, you can still make a meal this quick and easy with any other protein of your choice. If not shrimp, I’d probably suggest a lean ground beef or turkey. Just by seasoning it to your liking and adding tomatoes, then topping it off with some diced avocados, you’re ready to go.

Enjoy, friends!

The thoughts featured in the post and video are mine and mine alone!

This week, the meal I made for my Meal Prep video was some Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wraps (with lettuce from the garden)! The audio isn’t great, but I’m still working on trying to find the best angle/camera placement. You’ll still get the gist, though.

This week’s video has three main highlights:
1- Getting to meet two of my kitchen helpers, Bacon and Hugo

2- It’s the first time I’ve ever picked vegetables from the garden here at home to use for a meal

3- There’s a good 15 seconds in the video that I simply cannot find the salsa jar I was holding in my hands 47 seconds prior to filming that clip. Typical.

Feel free to add in any additional veggies you might want for this meal, tomatoes would probably be a fairly common choice. I prefer salsa versus whole tomatoes, though. If you eat tortillas, that would also be a common choice in place of, or in addition to, the lettuce!

Let me know what you guys think of this week’s meal prep, and if you have any questions, comments, or other feedback, let me know! Have a great week, friends.

The thoughts featured in the post and video are mine and mine alone!

For the past few months, I’ve been trying to make myself cook new things to keep Meal Prep interesting. This is the first week, however, that I actually video-taped an experimental dish for the blog. The first victim:  A Breakfast Quiche!

The ingredients for this are simple- Pie Crust (gluten free this week!), eggs, elk and pork bratwurst, spinach, some sweet peppers, and a little bit of salt and pepper

I’m aware that eggs are a solid protein source, but by now, most of you know that I usually eat a lot of protein with my meals. To make this particular dish lower protein and/or higher carb, a few very simple changes could be made. First, instead of whole eggs, use egg whites only! Also, when cooking eggs, don’t be afraid to add a little water while whisking. It can add quite a bit of “fluff” to the eggs you do have! Also, there is no need to add any additional bratwurst, like I did. I just got suckered into buying them while walking around in Costco (free samples)! Finally, quiche are awesome to make because you can basically add any number of items. For this one in particular, I could see adding in onions or mushrooms for a higher veggie/carb count!

I’m not quite sure what the next experimental dish is going to be, but I am open to suggestions! Hopefully this post was helpful, and I’ll chat with you guys next time.

AND – Congrats to CrossFit Omnia for qualifying for the 2016 CrossFit Games by finishing in Third Place for the South Region! We’re so proud of you guys!

Moment of Awesomeness: 2/23/16

Posted: February 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ve featured Danny MacAskill on my blog before. The things he does on his bike are absolutely insane to me. In the latest video he was featured in from GoPro, he takes us on a journey across the rooftops of Gran Canaria.

The ending to the video gave me so much anxiety, but looks like it would be SO much fun! Hey guys, don’t try this at home.

And since it’s “Two-fer Tuesday”, here is the most “fun” video of his that I used to love watching!

Thought of the Day: 2/12/16

Posted: February 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

The CrossFit Games Open is almost here! It’s so weird to sit back and realize that I’ve done this little online competition every year since it started, and it’s fascinating to think about how much it’s grown in that time. Here’s a picture of me completing the first workout of the 2011 Sectionals.


Check out that hair!

While looking back through this blog and seeing some of the previous posts I’ve made on the Open, I came across this little gem. It was from three years ago, (when I was working at another gym), and I recorded a video explaining why I think people should sign up. I have changed as an athlete and as a coach in the last three years,  but so many of the same exact thoughts run through my mind as to why partaking in a 5-week online worldwide competition can be a positive experience for almost anyone!

Why do I do the Open:

  • It’s fun and challenging
  • It gives me the chance to do the same workouts as other friends who CrossFit from all over the US and the world
  • Every year brings moments where people accomplish things they never thought possible. That energy is ELECTRIC and inspiring!
  • It heightens the sense of community in the CrossFit world for a few weeks
  • The gym is going to do the workouts on Fridays anyways!

Here is a little video that CrossFit put together explaining why some of the world’s top athletes enjoy the Open. Strangely enough, people who have never competed in anything in their lives, often say many of the same things. The Open is for you, it’s for me, it’s for all of us!

Time to get signed up, and pumped up! Simply CLICK HERE and go to the “Register/Log-In” button on the right of the screen to get started.

Moment of Awesomeness: 2/11/16

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

The band OK Go, in my opinion, is the musical group with THE BEST arsenal of music videos ever. Yep, ever.

Their newest video, for their song “Upside Down & Inside Out” just came out, and it is just as incredible as some of their oldies. Click HERE to watch the video, and just for fun, here are a couple of their other awesome ones. Enjoy!

Here’s the first video of theirs I ever came across:

And another fun one!


Traditionally on this blog, the Moment of Awesomeness posts include some sort of Extreme Sports video. Today’s post does not.

Even though this post won’t focus on those who voluntarily jump off of a perfectly good mountain, or people who just hate being safe with two feet on the ground, it will still focus on people who I think are brave and worthy of recognition!

This past Saturday I had a pretty busy day:
– Alarm goes off at 7:30am

– Make and eat breakfast, clean my place a little bit, head out the door

– 8:40am- Arrive to gym #1 where some friends were throwing down at a local Indoor Rowing competition

– 10:00am-Leave competition, head to gym #2 for CPR and First Aid Recertification

– 11:00am-1:00pm – Play with a really creepy mask, and feel more confident helping people if the situations ever arise where they need it!

– 1:30pm- Drive to gym #3 to cheer on friends competing in a CrossFit Competition

-3:30pm- Grab lunch w competing friends and celebrate their huge accomplishment

Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Peter and Scott were good at rowing. Peter and Scott wanted to get even better at rowing. Peter and Scott did just that. After committing to sign up for an Indoor Rowing competition, my friends approached me about getting in better shape for their respective races.

I bet Peter could pull a 1:25 for a 500m row in his sleep. The dude has rowed a 1:21.8 for crying out loud! In my head,that is insanely fast. He didn’t want to race that distance, however. He wanted to step outside of his comfort zone and race the 2,000m distance, a pretty significant jump in distance for a sprinter like myself. Scott comes from a history of cycling. So, while he’s no stranger to racing or “endurance” events, rowing for sport, however, was a new concept for him. When these two approached me about getting them on a 12-week program in preparation for race day, I was stoked! Few things make me happier than watching athletes push themselves just for the sake of pushing themselves!

After nearly 3 months of row-dedicated workouts and time on the erg, we were so happy to see that BOTH of them PR’d in their respective distances! Peter (aka Birddog) rowed a 6:43 for his 2k, and Scott rowed a 1:28.3 in his 500m. Stoked for you guys!

The Rowers together!

Rowers and their cheering section!

Safety First:

I first became a lifeguard at the age of 13. That means my first CPR and First Aid Certification happened OVER 18 YEARS AGO! (Wow, that makes me feel old!) The point is that in my industry (as Head Coach at a CrossFit Gym), safety should always come first. 

While to some people, putting your face on a creepy mask and breathing into a “dummy” may not be the best way to spend an afternoon, I kept reminding myself that if something happened where an athlete collapsed or got hurt… I have been tasked with being able to do my best to help save the athletes in the gym. I remember always thinking as a teenager, “I hope I never have to use this information, but I’m glad I know it!” It’s a big responsibility, so I’m glad to have had that refresher yet again.

Creepy mask, important function

Veteran and the Rookie:

Oh, Danny and Sarah! By far, one of the most fun couples I know. Danny and I met years back competing in CrossFit competitions, and I met his wife Sarah when they came over to train at the gym where I worked. Sarah has always been Danny’s number 1 fan, showing up to events to cheer him on, these last few with their amazing baby boy in tow. When I heard that she had finally agreed to COMPETE in an event, and do it as part of a TEAM with Danny… I was beyond happy!

Not only did they compete together, work together, suffer together, and SURVIVE together… but out of FIFTY SIX (yep, 56) teams in their division, they placed THIRD on one of the events. Now THAT is awesome. Congrats to both of you, it was so fun watching you two throw down together!


After the final workout of the Competition!


The point of this post is to acknowledge and congratulate EVERYONE who has the courage and/or confidence to put themselves out there and compete on a public stage! In my opinion, it’s never about whether or not you win. It’s about did you put in the work to do well, and did you give it your all on Game Day! 

If you have any questions on whether or not you’re ready for a race or competition of your own, or which one you should do, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’d be happy to talk it over together! 🙂