I love helping athletes get better at fitness. All kinds of fitness!

That could mean making a physical change in their set-up for a lift, discussing how to begin the first kettlebell swing of a set, and even strategy on how to attack specific workouts! CrossFit is a complicated game with so many moving parts, and I’ve always loved helping people “crack the code” to their own success.

Would you like to see me use this blog to share some of these tips and tricks I’ve accumulated over the last decade? It could be a recurring segment (once per week) or could just pop up whenever questions are asked. They would likely be a combination of short text summaries and a quick video demonstration of the skill of the day. I’m completely flexible on the structure of the segment, just wanted to see if there is interest out there from all of you.

The survey is simple:

  • If you would like to see this segment become a reality, simply type YES in the comments. If you already have ideas for what you’d like to ask me, drop a few examples in the comment, too!
  • If you have zero interest in this whatsoever, ignore this post and leave NO comments.

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

Last week:

  • Fitness- Weird week for fitness for me! Usually I struggle with the workouts and strength sessions go fairly well, this week it was quite the opposite. A couple of quick “burner” style workouts played to my strengths.
    • One was a quick three-rounds of 125 Hang Power Cleans (115lbs) and 15 Bar Facing Burpees. I used the “new” standard of having to jump back and up (no stepping), and finished in 4:36. I kept a nice steady pace the whole time, and was really happy with my time.
    • The other was a descending ladder (21-18-15-12-9-6-3) of Hang Power Snatch (75lbs) and Calorie Row. While my snatches weren’t pretty, I still went unbroken on them and finished in 9:29.
    • The weirdness also came in the form of my Saturday workout. I started the day off by going to cheer on a bunch of ladies from the gym where I coach at a local competition. When I left, I decided to head to the gym to get in a workout on my own. For some reason, I was inspired to do what I called the Smashby Triathlton. This little number was 3 Rounds (Slowest/Medium/Fastest) of 1 Mile Run / 1000m Row / 100 Cal Bike. (So yes, I did hit my goal of running three miles!) It wasn’t designed to be as fast as possible, so from start to finish, it took my almost an hour and ten minutes! But, I think I needed that on Saturday.

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  • Progress continues on my first book of the year (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink). I also listened to a one-hour podcast with him during my long workout, so that counts towards progress in the book, too!
  • We spent another few hours working in the garage this weekend and put up even more drywall. I think the next day we decide to attack it, drywall will be done. After that, it’ll be framing that and installing the pegboard. Yay, progress!

This week:

  • Write one “The 2018 Open is Coming” post
  • I WILL NOT finish the book I started by next Sunday and write a brief summary (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink) – Trying a little reverse psychology on myself!
  • Complete one thousand calories on the bike and/or rower before next Sunday. I hit 1,019 last week, and would like to hit another 1,000 this week. That long cardio is something I typically don’t devote enough time for, so picking an even number like that helps me stick to it!
  • I didn’t write a post last week talking about the Swim Lessons I give, why they’re so rewarding for me, and why you should let me know if you’d like some. So that will happen this week, as I’ve been having a lot success with all of my “swimming” clients!

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

This morning I had the opportunity to attend an all-women’s CrossFit competition; the 6th Annual Women’s WOD Jam, at CrossFit Profectus. It was made up of teams of two, completing 4 workouts each over the course of the day. Every time I walk away from one of these competitions, I’m always so fired up! People push through pain in ways they never thought possible, accomplish things they never imagined, and cheer on their friends (new and old) through the same suffering they just experienced themselves. There aren’t many sports where most competing athletes legitimately care about and support one another. CrossFit is one of those sports.

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While I’ve been to dozens of events like this (as spectator, judge, coach, and athlete), yesterday I realized something pretty sweet about them. The 360 degree perspective and range of emotions for people in the room is incredible:

The Spectator: (Critical to the energy at the event)

  • They’re typically friends and family of the competing athletes, and are there to cheer them on
  • Quickly, they become supporters of all athletes out on the floor, even ones they don’t know
  • Almost always experience moments that leave them in awe
  • They leave inspired, ready to get back into the gym to better themselves

The Judge: (Critical to the integrity and organization of the event)

  • They’re typically coaches and members at the gym who want to help the event run smoothly
  • Upholding the standard of competition and encouraging others makes me feel good
  • Almost always experience moments that leave them in awe
  • They leave inspired, ready to get back into the gym to better themselves

The Coach: (Critical to ensure athletes don’t lose their minds at the event)

  • They’re typically folks who have at least some experience competing themselves, and love helping others reach their full potential
  • Learn more about their athletes, how they perform under pressure, and identify new cues and ways of communicating with them
  • Almost always experience moments that leave them in awe
  • They leave inspired, ready to get back into the gym to better themselves and their athletes

The Athlete: (Critical in order to throw a fun event)

  • There is no typical athlete, which is my favorite part! Depending on the event, there are first-timers just looking to have fun, those who treat CrossFit as a part time job and train HARD all the time, and everyone in between.
  • Immediately bond with those around them to push and encourage one another
  • Almost always experience moments that leave them in awe
  • They leave inspired, ready to get back into the gym to better themselves

Do you see a pattern there? Those are all POSITIVE outcomes! Knowing that, if you’ve always wanted to go spectate but didn’t have the courage, go to an event near you. If you have wanted to try being a judge, do it. If you’re a coach who has wanted to prepare an athlete for an event, they’re out there looking for coaches, I promise. And if you’ve always been too nervous to sign up for an event but wanted to, let me know. I’ll get you fired up enough to do it. There are rookie/first-timer competitions all over the place! In my optimistic brain, if approached properly, there is literally nothing negative associated with being in any of those groups at a CrossFit competition. Well… except for the soreness afterwards for the athletes. That always sucks!

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Ladies of the Women’s WOD Jam: Thank you for the incredible display of strength and power yesterday. The energy in the room was incredible, and I’m so proud of all of you!

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There are five workouts per year where it really helps to be a positive person for those around you. Five. Those are the five workouts of the CrossFit Games Open, where your whole gym comes together to root a little harder for one another than they do the other 360 days of the year. (I feel like they should, at least…)

For some people, this is the most nervous they’ll get for any CrossFit workout. They put tons of undue and unnecessary pressure on themselves, they want to keep up with their friends, and the thought of getting their first “insert movement here” keeps them up at night. I have written other posts, and will likely write more in the future about how this pressure is mostly unnecessary, and pretty unhealthy to be honest… BUT, it still happens. Knowing that, the best thing we can do for one another is provide unconditional encouragement and support.

If you’re someone like me, it’s really easy to cheer for others. I legitimately get more excited seeing others succeed than I do for my own performance. My problem is keeping the pressure on myself to a minimum. What that typically looks like is me sitting alone for a while before events, and then recovering on my own afterwards. While that’s my own way of trying to keep it together, there are other people who are much more vocal and public with their negative emotions before working out. While I might tell myself that “this is going to suck,” or “I’m not good at x or y,” talking like that out loud can really impact others. Your energy can always be felt in the gym, and if you come in spouting negativity and being a crybaby, that will very likely spread to those around you.

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Like I said, I always try to be positive to others, but have a hard time speaking positively to and about myself in these competitive circumstances. Don’t be like me. We’re working out. For fun. With friends. If a workout looks really tough or has movements you’re not proficient doing, use it as a learning opportunity. Make a list of things you want to improve for next year. There are so many ways to channel negative or anxious energy into productive growth.

So when the first workout is released on that Thursday night, try to check yourself right out of the gate. Is it going to hurt? Yep, probably. Will you be nervous going into it? Maybe, and that’s fine. But through all of that, walk in the front door fired up to push yourself, throw down with your friends, and ENCOURAGE those around you. If you have a hard time feeling positive, fake it till you make it! Being the best cheerleader out there and empowering others will have a far more positive impact on your community than you winning an event at the gym, anyways. You’ve got this. Let’s have some fun together!

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Before I coach a class, I usually ask a question of the day to the people in attendance. In the past, I thought that was kind of a cheesy thing to do (which maybe it is), but as I get to work with the same athletes more over time, it really helps to paint a more complete picture of who they are as people. For example, if someone is always working on the weekends, maybe they’re in a field like medicine or law enforcement. That’s a fun detail for me to know about them. If they’re proud of a particular PR they had, or are interested in improving a certain movement, I can congratulate them or offer to help them get better. If I ask if anyone has seen a good movie lately, there might be four of five great suggestions tossed out. Plus, in a world where a CrossFit gym can feel more like an assembly line at times (get in, warm up, work out, … NEXT!), it’s nice to take 3-4 minutes to interact on a more human level with each other!

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There are fun things that can be learned by asking silly questions before a class, but it also opens the door to something potentially more meaningful. Last week I asked the class to share something that they are grateful for with one another. Some answers were fairly simple, such as being “thankful for not needing to set an alarm on the weekend.” Others got a bit more personal with people being thankful for “the health of my family and close friends.” Everywhere we look, “experts,” psychologists, and gurus are telling us that showing gratitude is one of the most important things you can do in order to move towards living your best life. And while there are a lot of “advice fads” out there, when time passes and the same strategies keep proving to be effective, maybe they’re not a fad after all… maybe they just work. (Sound familiar? What up, CrossFit!)

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The answers I heard last week made me think that the gratitude question may become a staple in my Friday classes. Here’s part of the reason why. It’s so easy to get caught up in how busy life is these days. When someone asks how you are, the standard “Fine, and you?” is the path of least resistance for most of us! If for 20 seconds on one day, I can have people stop and think about A SINGLE THING that they’re grateful for… that moment has the potential to reshape the course of their day… maybe their week! If I’m having a pity party for myself and stop to think about how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food on the table, maybe missing a stupid lift in a workout won’t seem so bad. If I remember that I was able to help someone do their first rope climb, maybe I’ll stop being such a baby about the fact that I forgot to pack a breakfast burrito with me that morning. Yes, I can be petty and dramatic over stupid things, but stopping to smell the roses every once in a while can be powerful. If you’re reading this blog, odds are your life is SO good compared to (literally) millions of people in the world. My hope, is that by offering a few seconds to reflect on something that we’re appreciative to have, we can all be just a little bit happier.
Today, I’m thankful that I got to see so many faces light up in the gym when people exceeded their own expectations! That’s definitely one of the best parts of my job! So, I appreciate all of you!

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A lot of people have said the first month of 2018 has dragged on forever. Others have already called for the arrival of 2019 so they can start over fresh. C’mon, friends! I know that things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but you’ve got to snap out of this negativity. Most of us go through life in waves of emotion…. today things are great, tomorrow they’re horrible, this week they’re amazing, next week the worst… that’s what being a human is all about! It’s our ability to bounce back from the bad with a smile on our faces, and be appreciative for the good moments, while realizing that they may not stick around forever.

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By providing a monthly recap, I’m striving to focus on a few of the things that happened over every four weeks or so throughout the year. In keeping a list of (mostly positive) things that I’ve experienced, on the days when I feel sorry for myself, I can always reflect back and say, “But look at what you’ve done so far this year! Check out where you’ve gone! Life is pretty good!” Helping other people find the good in things is really easy for me to do. That means this year I can work on practicing what I preach in this very specific way! YOU can also use this blog to serve as a place where you can share your own goals and successes, as well. I want this space to be INTERACTIVE, so if you put yourself out there, acknowledge the good, and share with your friends, we can all be accountabilibuddies together.

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Ok, here we go!

January 2018

Fitness- First and foremost, I didn’t get hurt! That’s huge. As we get older, the body doesn’t always bounce back like used to, and mine certainly does not! While I’m still training by myself 90+% of the time, I have made an effort to hop into a few classes here and there. So yay for working out with other humans on occasion!
In terms of actual numbers, I’d say my favorite lifts of the month were my deadlifts. With a lifetime 1RM of 450lbs, I hit sets of three reps on both Conventional and Sumo Deadlift over 400lbs. I hang-snatched 230lbs which was fun, and the heaviest I clean and jerked was 275lbs. Hitting a Front Squat at 300lbs and a 315lb Back Squat was nice. I also took my first ever Yoga class with Em, and it was just as stressful as I thought. By the end, I couldn’t even use my mat because it was too sweaty!

For February, I’d love to Clean and Jerk 285lbs and Snatch 235, bringing me a little closer to my lifetime bests. Hitting 315 for a single Front Squat and repping 315 for Back Squats without completely crashing at the bottom are on that list, too. Next, I’d love to hit 10 consecutive Ring Muscle-Ups. Finally, running a mile under 6:00 and rowing 500m in under 1:35. I’m starting with goals I hope to hit, then building from there as the year goes on. Finally, I’ll aim to take another fitness class I’ve never done before. Not sure where or when, but that’s my goal!

House- This was a big month for me as a “Home Owner” doing home owner things. First, Em bought a ton of new toys; a snow blower, leaf blower, AND a power washer! I installed an outlet in the garage all by myself, everyone! Finally, as of today, insulation has been installed in the garage, and we’re 1/3 of the way through dry-walling it.

For February, I’d like to finish putting up drywall in the garage, AND installing our Pegboard. That’s a lofty goal since it’s a short month and we’re out of town one weekend, but let’s see what we can do!

Other- I successfully made it through posting once per day for the entire month! That’s big for me, and I’m really proud of myself. We adopted another dog! Her name is Dakota, and she is an 11 year old pug mix. Homegirl made herself right at home, and she and Bacon get along great. I got to see one of my brothers and his entire band, the Big Mean Sound Machine, when they toured through Colorado for the first time. Also, we hosted ALL of them at our house. It was awesome! We got out of town once, too, when we spent New Years in Manhattan, Kansas.

For February, I’d like to prevent Em from adopting another dog! It would be really nice to say I’ve read two books in 2018 by the end of the month, too. It’s been a rough start, but I’ll keep working on it. There will also be a new Meal Prep video on the blog. Instead of copping out and featuring a meal I’ve made dozens of times, I’ll make something for the first time and document it for you!

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What our house would look like if Em had her choice, only they’d all have short legs!

My buddy Kevin shared an post tonight that made me happy. The article, which is featured on TheBoxMag.com, is titled ” The Do’s and Don’ts of CrossFit as a Master.”

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with athletes of all ages and ability levels, and Masters athletes (older athletes) are an incredible group. While in CrossFit, Masters is typically associated with athletes over the age of 40, I’ve coach athletes well into their 70’s! What I love about this demographic is that they are usually broken into two groups. First, the folks who were never really athletic and have found CrossFit-style training for the first time. It’s amazing to watch as these individuals gain back independence in their day to day lives as knee and joint pain is often reduced, and their energy begins to soar as their muscles get stronger since they’re not nearly as tired walking up the stairs or carrying groceries on their own!

For the ones who used to be athletes, many of them remember what they “used” to be able to do. They remember their fastest mile times and how much they used to bench, it’s pretty uncanny. This is the group the article chooses to focus on. Their friendly reminders are simple, yet so important to drive home for people who trust you to help them get more fit!

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Here’s my brief summary of the suggestions given for Masters athletes:

  1. Don’t think you’re 20- Give yourself time to recover, take plenty of rest days, and practice taking care of your body (massage, etc)
  2. Don’t think like you’re 20- Sure, it would feel nice to write “Rx” next to your workout today like “all the young bucks.” But if it’s at the expense of getting hurt, or being sore for 4 days afterwards, is it really worth it?
  3. Do think like a competitor- An impressive performance, by any standard, can still be had each day. The weight on the bar or the difficulty of the movement isn’t want makes a workout noteworthy.
  4. Do ask for help- You may be really experienced in the world of fitness, but if you’re at a good gym, someone who devotes most of their life to learning new ways to make you more fit is likely closeby. Utilize their knowledge and excel even more!
  5. Don’t be afraid to scale- This combines all of the previous reasons in to one clean solution. The goal is to show up, work out, leave under your own power, and be able to come back the next day, right? So, acknowledge that each day will be different, and modifying workouts based on how you feel today (not what you did last week… or last decade) is critical for long term success.

Just because we’re getting older, doesn’t mean that it’s “all downhill from here!” I’ve seen 60+ year old men deadlift over 500lbs, and women in their mid-to-late 50’s outrun kids half their age at the gym. I love seeing that happen! Training hard at an older age is still something I encourage, as long as it’s done intelligently.

For those Masters athletes that I’m lucky enough to coach, thank you for trusting me with a part of your fitness. If you ever hear someone say, “I want to be as strong/fast/cool/inspiring as you are when I’m your age,” try your best not to be offended. That’s a pretty big compliment coming from that kid you just saw do 15 Muscle-Ups in a row and then clean 300lbs, wouldn’t you say?

Click on the original article by  Lara McGlashan to read it yourself. What do you think? Do you agree with her advice or not?

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I’ve always had a really strong opinion as to whether or not people should have programming written specifically for them. For the purposes of this post, let me be clear and explain my definition of Personalized Programming. I am not defining it as “How-To” progressions for certain advanced movements. If someone wants to learn how do their first pull-up, muscle up, handstand push-up, double-under, etc, there are a plethora of guides out there to help. Those are helpful and appropriate for anyone who wants to get better! Personalized Programming means exactly that. It could include warm-ups, strength cycles, extra workouts, multiple sets of accessory work, etc. A full suite of activities to do in order to help you attain and surpass whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

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A lot of people who pay for this service still belong at a CrossFit gym. These athletes follow their gym’s programming when they take class, and then add in their Personalized work before or after class, or on their rest days. The reason I feel so strongly about not mixing and matching, is because a very common way of getting hurt is by overdoing it. If you train at a good gym, there should be a progression found in your training. Micro and Macro cycles, a gymnastics-focused wave versus a strength block. If an athlete comes in and throws in 3 extra days of heavy back squats when their gym is on a rest week before re-testing a 1 rep max, can you see how mixing and matching could lead to injury?

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In order to define fitness, CrossFit categorized human performance into 10 Physical Skills. They are:

  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

The entire CrossFit methodology is founded upon a concept that an athlete is only as strong as their weakest link out of those 10 movements. Therefore, if you’re really strong but not great with balance, you’ve got a glaring error in your fitness. The example I always remember hearing included two male athletes; one who could deadlift 500lbs but couldn’t jog a mile without stopping, and the other could run a sub-5 minute mile, but couldn’t deadlift twice his body weight. The purpose of the comparison was to say that just because someone may have been incredible at one thing, their deficiency in another thing could severely impact their overall effectiveness as an athlete. In CrossFit, the goal is to be more of a jack of all trades and a master of none. That way, no matter what is thrown at you (the unknown and the unknowable), you’d be more adequately prepared to handle it successfully. (Click here to read the incredible “What is Fitness” article that essentially serves as the Manifesto of the entire program)

Why bring in all of this CrossFit history if I’m writing a post about personalized programming? It’s simple, really. If people are trying to get better at CrossFit, and CrossFit says, “Do everything, all the time, and keep trying new things,” but people spend hours and hours focusing on one specific thing instead, doesn’t that seem kind of counter-intuitive? As I’ve said many times before, most people who are at the gym are there simply to get in better shape. That demographic will benefit just fine from belonging to a gym that has a decent idea of how to make people more fit. In my opinion, they do not require personalized programming.

So which groups of people should devote the extra time and money towards having something written specifically for them? I’ve created a partial list below:

  1. Competitors– CrossFit claims to be the physical fitness program that “specializes in not specializing.” That means you don’t really need to focus your efforts on any one thing in particular because at a good gym, over time you’ll do almost everything on a rotating basis. If you’re training specifically to compete in something, however, you’ll need to hone in on certain areas that you’ll likely see in competition. If you can’t perform the Olympic Lifts without some degree of efficiency, you’re not going to do well. Be clear of the distinction here: Competitive CrossFit athletes ARE specializing in a certain type of fitness, so they will benefit from personalized programming. Training for an Olympic Weightlifting or Strongman event? I completely support getting programming made just for you! In those cases, you’ll need it!
  2. Looking for Subject Matter Expert– You might love your gym’s regular class programming, but you’ve always wanted to improve your running technique or learn how to swim. If there isn’t someone around who can teach you those skills, of course it makes sense to find a professional somewhere else who can.
  3. Trust in a coach– Maybe someone who used to coach at your gym left but they know you really well. Perhaps a famous athlete you’ve always loved and followed posted online about offering customized plans just for you. There is nothing wrong with turning to people you know and trust to help make you better. That’s why we live in such a great time. We can be connected with people all over the world! 
  4. People training on their own– If you are paying for a program made just for you, and that’s the only thing you follow on a regular basis, that now becomes your only training. In this scenario, you’re less likely to overdo it. This option is great.
  5. Just for fun– I’ve written an 8 week rowing plan for someone who just liked rowing and wanted to get better. I’ve worked 1:1 with an athlete for 4 weeks who just wanted to learn how to do a muscle-up. You don’t need a reason to explain why you want to get better at something. I just don’t ever want it to lead to injury. If you’ve got time and money to follow a plan, more power to you!

Who do I think should NOT invest in Personalized Programming?

  1. Beginner athletes– A lot of gyms have a specific “On Ramp” program where they run new members through a basic overview of things they could experience in a given class. Once that’s done, give yourself a few months (years?) of following the daily workouts provided by your gym. Your average “Weekend Warrior” won’t need to work out for more than 4-5 hours per week at a good gym to get in better shape. Most people don’t need much more than  that! When the time comes that you decide your goals are more specific, and your gym isn’t providing resources to help you grow, then you can look for custom programs.
  2. Athletes who are going to overdo it– I understand you want to get better. That’s what’s crazy about this sport of ours. There are SO MANY THINGS we want to improve on, all the time. The good news in all of this, is that with good coaching, you can create a list of goals, and then set aside a reasonable action plan to attack them one at a time. Just don’t go to your home gym four times per week, try to do every workout you see Ben Smith do with your friends, follow Jason Khalipa’s EMOM of the day, attend every skills seminar your gym hosts, and compete every other weekend. It’s too much!

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When it comes to Personalized Programming, there’s also a big difference between in-person versus remote coaching. Thousands of “online coaches” offer training plans that are a one-size fits all offering. The reason I don’t like those as much is that it implies a few things. First, that the coach writing the programming understands the needs of the athlete following it. If I send the same plan to 10 people looking to get better at 10 different skills, there are going to be some things help you, and others that might not. Make sure that if you don’t have a set of eyes on you during your training, that you’ve got another way to ensure you’re moving properly and not establishing bad habits.

Most of my personal training clients who I don’t see every day either send me videos of their more technical movements so I can review them and provide feedback, or schedule in-person training once per week, or a few times per month to cover some more advanced movements with a coach present. That’s the way I prefer to do it, at least! If they are 100% remote clients, where I never see them, I just make sure the programming is safer for them to do on their own. If careful attention is paid to results, and the lines of communication are open between coach and athlete, everyone is likely to be ok.

To conclude the longest post in the world, let’s recap:

Personalized Programming is great and can help athletes everywhere. It can certainly help take performance to a new level if done properly. I am also NOT bashing companies and coaches who offer Personalized Programming to others. I am specifically referring to athletes who belong at one gym, and feel the need to do more and more and more to try and improve. More is not always better. Especially if there’s not specific reason for doing more, such as an upcoming competition.

Too many people think they need something special, when all they need is time to get better at things. It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a “master” at something, remember that. If there was a magic pill or a proven short cut, I promise you more women would snatch 250lbs and more men would have sub-1:30 Fran times!

In the event that someone thinks they need more volume, the first thing I’ll typically suggest to them is to do slower volume. Moving slower and with more of a focus on technique and full range of motion can help speed up progress a lot more than rushing through more. (Read more about my philosophy on that here, if you’re interested.)

Be patient. This CrossFit thing is a marathon, not a sprint. Find coaches and training partners who can help you, but also keep your ambition in check. If you’re injured you can’t train, and nobody has time for that!

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

Last week:

  • Fitness- Thursday we hit a Sumo deadlift for the first time in months. I hit 420lbs for a triple. Other than that, had some decent workouts, but nothing to write home about.
  • Missed one goal AGAIN from last week, and STILL didn’t make time to finish the book I’ve been reading. I did, however, read 50 more pages. That makes more than I’ve read in the last few months. So progress, but still not where I want to be. The good news is that I haven’t been reading because I’ve been getting to sleep earlier every night!
  • Went grocery shopping, grilled, and prepped food for a few hours tonight. So between making some salads and rice bowls, I should be good to go on most meals!
  • Spent almost 3 hours working in the garage with Em and put up a good chunk of our drywall. Two more weekends where we decide to work, and the walls of the garage should be done!

This week:

  • Write one “The 2018 Open is Coming” post
  • I WILL NOT finish the book I started by next Sunday and write a brief summary (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink) – Trying a little reverse psychology on myself!
  • Go on a run ONE day this week. The goal is at least 3 miles, and I’m not going to sprint. Just get back outside as the weather starts to warm up a bit again.
  • I’d love to write a post talking about the Swim Lessons I give, why they’re so rewarding for me, and why you should let me know if you’d like some!

Alright, your turn. What’s going on out there?

Is there a single workout program that tops all others? I don’t think so. Most people work out to improve their overall health, to look and feel better, and to allow them to participate in other activities in their lives. So if one program isn’t the best, why are people so adamant at tearing down those who decide to take care a different path to be more active? Well, it’s because people are the worst sometimes, that’s why.

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I tell athletes all the time that depending on what your goals are, almost ANY form of moving one’s body is great for you! Walking the neighborhood? Love it! Lifting weights? Why not? Dancing with your friends? Also awesome. The difference in effectiveness only starts to really matter when the athlete’s goals become more specific.

If you want to run really fast or jump really high, you should probably get strong legs and work on explosive movements often. If you are trying to lose a lot of weight, it makes sense to spend time working on high intensity interval type training and improving your diet. Would you like to improve your core strength and mobility, Pilates and Yoga would be a great place to start. Want to look good at the beach? Start doing those curlz for the girlz (and/or boyz). If you want to be good at CrossFit…. good luck. Practice everything, all day, every day, and I’ll see you in 10 years. (But seriously, it’s a tough sport to try and excel at everything!)

If you goal is to simply be healthier, more “fit” (whatever that means to you), and have a body that is more capable of doing things out in the real world, try all of it! My goal this year is to try one new fitness class per month. Why haven’t I taken an Orange Theory class yet? Would I survive a Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga class? I mean…. define survive.

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The point is, having the ability to move in weird and crazy ways is an absolute gift. So many people are injured or faced with disabilities and would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to embarrass themselves at a Zumba class even though they might not have rhythm. Sometimes when it comes to our own physical abilities, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Don’t take that for granted. Get out of your comfort zone, challenge your body and your brain more often, and remember to ALWAYS encourage others who are on their own journey to take care of themselves.

Those who make fun of someone at the gym for being overweight are really bad people. In my mind, having the courage to take active steps to improve your life deserves endless and unrelenting praise and support from every single person you know. One sit-up may not help a person lose the 30lbs they aim to shed, but doing that first sit-up can be a tipping point for a lifetime of healthier habits that could easily lead to surpassing any weight loss goals!

So put on your sneakers, find a friend, and try something new in the next few weeks. It might be an absolutely hilarious disaster, so if nothing else it’ll be a fun story to tell to your friends. Let me know what you get out there and do. Maybe I’ll try it, too!