Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Love Weightlifting... But really... Come on...

  So some people out there spend a few seconds each week thinking "I wonder what the hell Conner is up to". For those I will throw you a quick update before moving on. First, I'm opening a gym in Dallas with another Coach that loves this stuff as much as I do. It's going to be amazing. Second, CrossFit HQ takes their sweet ass time reviewing affiliates so we have to hold off before sharing the name. Third, the City of Dallas is basically a dark dark place that is there to crush hopes and dreams of ambitious young business owners. Every time I walk out of there I feel like I just got out of detention. The whole time I sit in the office I just want to do THIS. Either way things are moving and forward and we are going to change the world.... Or at least the part of Dallas that we are in.

  Now, moving on... It is important to know that when I say "weightlifting" I mean snatch and clean & jerk.

  It has been said that Weightlifting is 75% of CrossFit. I guess if you want to be literal this is correct. If you want to look at this from the standpoint of reality, its nonsense. This is Weightlifting... This is not. Don't get me wrong. Swinging a barbell over your head 75 times in 3 minutes if pretty damn impressive but it is obvious that it has little to do with weightlifting abilities or technique.

  People see CrossFit Games and Regional athletes with big Oly numbers and think "ohh thats what I need to do to get there".... False. There is so much more to it than that. Most of those guys and girls can lift very well. And do gymnastics very well. And row on a near elite level. And run fast as shit. And spend countless hours working on the little things that aren't sexy and that no one will ever see or notice. No one looks at a Games competitor doing aerobic rowing or airdyne intervals alone in the gym at 6 am and says "That looks badass, I wanna do that!". But that is the reality of the sport.

  The bottom line is, I see countless people that want to be good at the "sport" that spend at least half there time weightlifting when it is clear that there are other things that must be prioritized if they want to have success. It needs to be understood that you can snatch and clean a ton, but if you run a 9 minute mile you are relatively useless from a competitive standpoint. If you snatch 300 from the blocks at the hip but cant row a 5k without passing out then you just aren't going to be successful in the sport.

  At the end of the day, you need to take a comprehensive look at what it is that limits you and get in the way of you being as successful as you want to. Continually eliminate these limiters throughout the year with a systematic approach. If you need to squat more, then seek out a program and do it. If you need a muscle up, start developing that upper body pull. Prioritize what is important and be efficient with the time that you have. Qualification is separated by only a few reps/seconds at every level. The ability to take a real look at what you need vs what you are doing is going to make the difference.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

OPT Coaching Marathon Phase One: Life Coaching

  I have spent the past 2 days in Scottsdale, AZ in a room full of coaches and leaders in the industry who are committed to a higher order of making stuff happen. It has been pretty damn awesome so far. I am extremely blessed that I am in a position to spend 12 days here soaking up the energy of what drives my passion. Today was the second and final day of the Life Coaching Certification. That being said, completion of this requires 20 real world applications of processes so I am in no way finished. I can say without any doubt that this experience will play a heavy roll in my life and in the lives of many others that I surround myself with.

  I honestly feel like there is no way for me to give an accurate depiction of my experience through this blog but I do want to share a few basic principles that I feel can be applied to all of those that would find themselves here. Just because they are basic does not mean they are not powerful. Keep that in mind as you go forward.

  Be aware. Notice. Notice you are noticing. Sounds simple, right? Check yourself day to day. What action begins what cycle which ends in what result? This is a very basic view of principles learned but still holds a lot of power. Watch how you interact with others from an observational standpoint. What power do your actions in certain situations hold? How do you react when faced with uncomfortable truths about you? Sit in silence and think on this. You'll be glad you did.

  Be Curious.... Always. When you find yourself running on autopilot, make an effort to break out and embrace what is around you. So many of us may find ourselves running on a cycle of "Wake up, coffee, work, meeting, radio, food, train, work, tv, sleep, ect," without ever diving into anything on a deeper level. Know that the time that you are living in now will never happen again. Take that to heart. The past is only a reflection and the future is only a projection (which may or may not even ever be). All you have in now. Don't stay on the surface, dig deep.

  Understand Your Values. This is how you will shape your life. Your actions, plans, goals, relationships, fulfillment and impact rely on you lining yourself up with your values. What do you spend your resources on (money, energy, time, love)? What does this say about you? There are no wrong answers but the answers are there. Don't feel pressured to choose what is socially acceptable. Be true to yourself.  When you come to this you can continue to grow and move forward to a higher level of understanding.

  These are just a few take aways that I feel can be applied in most life situations that I have experienced in my time as a coach and leader. If you want to dive deeper into any of this I would be happy to set something up.

  The next 2 days are Nutrition followed by a 2 day break and then 4 days of Assessment and Program Design in a small group. My brain might explode....

Live Big!

Friday, February 15, 2013

So You Wanna Do Some CrossFit?

 In the past couple years I have seen a ton of people come check out the gyms that I was at either training or coaching. I always love to watch this happen. These nervous, exited, curious and confused people always trip me out. One common theme with these noobs is that they just don't know what questions to ask. CrossFit is so dynamic and new to these people they just have no idea where to begin. So what I thought I would do is put together a list of questions and such for you noobs to follow when considering a gym. If you are a coach or owner you should probably be able answer these as well.

1. How long have you guys been around? - This can say a lot about a gym. If a gym has been open for a few years then they have most likely made a substantial amount of mistakes and learned from them to stay profitable in the long run.

2. Where do you get your workouts? - The answer to this should not be "Uhhh" or "Welllll". Whoever you talk to should know this and be able to discuss it.

3. How many members and coaches do you have? - If a gym has 400 members and 2 coaches you can bet your ass you are going to be signing up for a disaster. Make sure you are going to get the quality attention you need to succeed.

4. How does it feel? CrossFit gyms are based on the community that is comprised of the members. Is everyone around having a good time? Are the Coaches on a first name basis with everyone? This is important. Go with your gut.

5. Is there any focus on strength? If the gym in question does not have a significant amount of time training strength then your results will be limited (ladies you will not get "bulky"). If you are doing nothing but a WOD and getting in and out the door your results will come to a halt after the first couple months. Any knowledgable Coach or Athlete will tell you that strength is your foundation. Build on it.

6. Are the owners around? Do they like being there? If the owner of the gym lives the lifestyle that his gym preaches it will be reflected in the staff and Coaches. Your Coach should do the things he or she asks you to do on a daily basis.

7. How many CrossFit gyms are in the area? Check all of them out. I would advise you to not sign up without at least seeing what other gyms had to offer. Sometimes just going to the one closest to where you live or work isn't the best choice. Maybe the one 5 minutes out of the way has a much stronger community and better leadership. Know why you are choosing your gym.

  This should give the noobs a good place to start. Just know that from a coaches perspective it is always fun to watch those coming in for a intro class look around slightly confused and exited, not really sure what they had gotten themselves into. I always think back to that when I am coaching that sqme member months down the road when the strange garage gym has become a huge part of their life. Can't help but smile at that....

Friday, February 8, 2013

Quality Coaches in Fitness

  I just started following Derek Woodske on YouTube after his video "Is CrossFit Saving Weightlifting?". The dude is on point with most of the things that he has to say even thought the language he uses my be a little strong (lets not kid ourselves, it's how we all talk). In this particular video Derek goes into the quality of Personal Trainers, why they get a bad rep from Strength Coaches, and how this can be resolved.
As I watched it made me think about all the "coaches" that are out there coaching in CrossFit gyms around the world. Some people fancy themselves as experts in fitness because they spent a weekend with a group of CrossFit HQ trainers thrusting PVC pipes in big circles. This pisses me off to say the least. What people need to begin to understand is that if you want to coach in the "Sport of Fitness" then you better make that shit your life. You need to know how to TEACH people weightlifting, basic gymnastics, lifting odd objects, and whatever else Rouge Fitness can come up with (I love those guys. Its like Toys R' Us for meatheads). You think that your Level 1 prepares you for this? Wrong. You know it all because you can do 30 butterfly unbroken chest to bar who-gives-a-shits. Wrong. If success in the field of Fitness or Strength and Conditioning this is done inside and outside the gym. 

First thing you do: Train.... Hard. Look at different training outlets and follow them for more than a week. Never done Outlaw, try it. Don't know what the hell OPT is, well you better figure that shit out real quick if you want any credibility. Matt Chan even puts out some cool stuff called Hotdogs and Cupcakes when you attach bands to chains then do jumping box squats superset with curls... Sign me up.

Second: Form intelligent opinions and preferences. Decide who you respect and be able to explain it to others. If you are a leader then people will care. 

Third: Never stop learning. CrossFit is a baby in the world of real sports. There is going to be no shortage of outlets to learn from. Take advantage. Be curious, be thorough.

When you think you know it all, you are done. Always being on a quest for self improvement will lead to you being surrounded by like minded people. Then stuff gets real, real quick. 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Making Moves to Live The Dream

  As anyone who has been around me in the world of CrossFit most likely already knows, I have recently decided to move to Dallas to pursue a job at CrossFit 214. This decision has to have been one of the hardest in my life to date. I had worked extremely hard to be where I was at CrossFit Central and leaving at first seemed like a terrible idea. I take pride in over-delivering to my clients and athletes and had been blessed to be surrounded by outrageous amounts of driven people committed to living life with a powerful purpose. I was supposed to just leave this behind?

  After the idea of the move was in my head I really didn't put a lot of thought into it. I just kept on keeping on day to day in a life that I loved. Then I started getting this gut feeling like I was missing something. Like the feeling you get when you leave your wallet somewhere or lock your keys in your car. There was just something telling me to go. Time went by and the feelings got stronger. I spent a couple weeks loosing sleep over it and then Christmas time rolled around. I decided to go spend a week living life at CrossFit 214 and using this experience to make a decision. After that week I knew what I had to do and I knew instantly how hard it was going to be.

  Telling my people I was leaving was terrible. I had seen so much growth with so many. Some thanked me for what I had done for them. I really don't think that anyone really knew what kind of impact they had on my life. Day in day out working towards goals, accomplishing them, creating new limits and pushing them further. The energy they put our drove me. This is something I will never forget.

  The people in my life over the past couple of years have had an opportunity to see me develop as an individual and professional. I really want to recognize a few coaches in particular from CrossFit Central who have had a profound impact on the person I am today.

Big Mike-
Without you there is no doubt in my mind that I would not have had the opportunities that I had been blessed with. You always see the best in people and that is a quality that is not learned, it is something deep down that you are a true representation of. I can't think about my journey in CrossFit without thinking of the first time we spoke at RedBlack. It's funny to think about where things went from there. Working the morning classes with you was a blast. Always learning and creating a great environment. I got this from you man.

Carey Kepler-
You're straight up crazy as shit. I love it! You showed me that limitations are nonsense. There are few people in the world that I trust as much as you. Your personality is one filled with passion for greatness and that is contagious. This is extremely evident in the way that you have influenced the lives of so many. You are one of the best to do this and I don't see you slowing down. Oh and by the way, I called bullshit on your "retirement" last year. Just sayin.

Jeff McKinney-
Bro.... Bro. You are a great dude, even if you can't Snatch 185. I had a blast busting weights with you and hope that we get to continue our past to getting yoked as hell in the future. You are destine for great thing, brother.

Travis Holley-
You are an inspiration with a wicked beard. I had never seen someone work with people the way that you do. Seeing Strictly Strength grow has been a really awesome experience. You are the one that taught me that hype is bullshit and action speaks. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you and those around you.

 In closing I want to give one last thanks to everyone who was around. There are so many more people that I could mention here (you know who you are). I can honestly say there is a place in my heart for all of you.

Live Big!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

OPT Athlete Camp Day 2: The Finish

  Well day 2 was nothing short of epic. I'll go over the tasks first, then get into the good stuff.

Task 1: Aerobic Capacity Test
8 minute AMRAP
4-6 Squat Clean Thruster 95#
4-6 COVP Pull Up (Chin Over Vertical Plane)

  The 4-6 indicates the rep number. Don't let this confuse you. You pick a number that allows you to cycle thought the movements at a fast turnover rate. I personally chose to start with 4 thrusters and 6 pull ups. The thrusters aren't especially difficult but my size limits my cycle time and I knew that in order to reach maximum possible reps I would need to move quickly. After the first 5 minutes I moved from 6 to 5 pull ups then starting breaking the pull up into 3/2 sets with speed (after being told to do so by Coach). Ended up with 102 reps total. Felt as if I left a little on the table due to postponing fractioning of reps but was a great learning experience for sure.

  The workout was followed by an awesome session analyzing results and discussing training for Max Aerobic Power. People really started to open up since we had all been through quite a bit of suffering together (AKA camaraderie building). A couple of the girls even shared their opinions about CrossFit girls with big boobs and how this was "bullshit". A very enlightening discussion to say the least.

Task 2: Aerobic Capacity Test (Intervals)
4 sets:
A. 10/20/30m Gasser on the minute x 4

B. 1 minute Airdyne for max Calories

 The gassers were fun and rough. I was able to move pretty well and by this point I had figured out what my output was and knew almost exactly how I would perform. This is kind of a nasty situation because it eliminates sand-bagging as an option. It's also really enlightening to know what kind of athlete you are and be able to push your true limitations. Kept the gassers between 26.4 and 27.9 and knocked out 43 Cals on the AD which ended in dramatic fashion (something like THIS).

  After this ass kicking we had a real good convo covering all the previous material and testings. I ended up asking a ton of questions relating to the psychological end of training and competing. If you know me you know why and if you are coached by me then you really know how much emphasis I put on this.

  I made it my personal goal to complete all Level 1 OPT CCP Coaching Modules in 2013 which I knew would be a lofty goal, but what goal worth doing isn't. The first opportunity to take part in this came in when the released the date for the Life Coaching and Nutrition pieces in late February (These are separate but done in the same week). I jumped on it. After posting the first blog about Athlete Camp a friend and OPT Coach Wes Kimball from CrossFit Austin emailed me letting me know he knew of a spot in a private CCP Assessment and Program Design modules. I pulled the trigger on this as well. The funny thing is it's the following weekend of Nutrition and Program Design. What does this mean? A kickass 12 days spent in Scottsdale at the OPT Training Facility... Yea that's going down.

  Overall this was an unforgettable weekend lead by a great Coach and class act human being. We are just scratching the surface with this stuff. The rabbit hole is deep in this game but I will be a part of taking it to the next level.

Parting words "Change the game, don't let the game change you"

Friday, January 4, 2013

OPT Athlete Camp Day 1

   Well day 1 is down and I have nothing but great things to say about what just went down. The day started off with a little bit of house keeping stuff and then we dove in.

Task 1:
8 minutes to find 1 Rep Max Power Clean
Rest 2 min
8 min Max Rep Power Clean at 90% 1 Rep Max

  This was a fun test of absolute strength (with some technical aspects) followed by a test of Creatine Phosphate utilization and efficiency for repeat efforts (AKA CP Battery). This was follow by an awesome explanation of why this is important in the Sport of Fitness and how to improve if you are lacking in this area. Needless to say my notebook was filled after this discussion. I was finally able to Power Clean 275# which was nice (even though it looked like shit) and knocked out 15 reps in 8 minutes at 90% (245#). I was really able to take a lot away from this with the discussion directly after the test. I felt as though I did sub par and was able to instantly get feedback from, in my opinion, the best coach in the game. This made me happy.

Task 2:
3 Sets @ 100%
250m Row
7 Burpee
10 KB Swing 53#
7 Burpee
10 KB Swing 53#
7 Burpee
250m Row
Rest 15 min

  This was a fast turn-over, glycolitic interval tester. It hurt. If you have done at quick "Fran" you know what I'm talking about, only with less time to breathe. This was again followed with a discussion on how we use lactate as a fuel source and why this is important to compete. The best in the game don't have to "go there" often but need to be able to from time to time when necessary while being able to continue at a high level for multiple tasks (Example: CrossFit Games). My numbers came out pretty solid for a guy my size. Set 1@3:04, 2@3:14 and 3@3:16 and I was pretty smoked. If you are going to try this out then get your mind right for the 2nd set of Burpees every round. They suck.

  All in all I took a metric-shit-ton of great information away from this and I can't wait to apply it to my training and anyone else's who want to go there. At the end of the day, it's all about learning and improving yourself as much as possible with the opportunities given. This is one of the weekends that makes me grateful to be able to do what I do and be surrounded with amazing people day in and day out.

  I also want to give a shout of to two of my favorite athletes and people in the CrossFit world. Jayci Cormier and Bri Franklin have been killing it all weekend (which is no surprise since they kick ass at everything, including life).

  More to come tomorrow!