July 4, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, team opex, personalized program design, individualized program design

Team Training for the Games

What does it take to make it to the CrossFit Games as a team?

Hard work, dedication, and…unity.

Unity is undoubtedly the deal maker or breaker when it comes to competing at the next level, and as Team OPEX prepares for its first ever appearance at the CrossFit Games in July, the six individuals’ training regimes look completely different than any other time during the year.

While individual designed programming is most definitely the method OPEX believes all athletes must have if they want to excel, push past plateaus and compete at the highest level in CrossFit, OPEX Team competition training demands a whole new dynamic of effective training practices outside the “Individual Design Box”.  All six athletes are pushing in the same direction TOGETHER not on their own, therefore training needs to look and FEEL different, It needs one heart-beat!

Perhaps you have considered the idea of ‘going team’ during next year’s Games’ season, or coach clients who have expressed the desire to compete in the CrossFit team arena.

Here’s a peak at what training for the Games looks like—from a team perspective—and some lessons learned along the way.

Putting in the Team Work 

For the first couple weeks of team training, we tried to keep the team on their individual programming and come together for team workouts on the weekends…but we found, that this just would not be effective in the long run. By this time of year, each individual’s work has really been done, and now, the primary concern is ensuring unity and communication exists amongst all teammates. The team’s week includes 4 days of lifting and Team task training and 2 days designated towards aerobic base building.   Team preparedness requires each individual to give their best effort each session while learning to work together.

Here’s an glimpse of this weeks TEAM training:

Team Task Training Day


40min Abike –every 5min complete and alternate;  1min L-sit/ 1min Fat-bar hang


Run 10min out from OPEX —EASY — and back in 8min



A. BTN Jerk Off blocks; build to a tough single –12min


Emom 15 min –

min 1- AxB TnG S2OH x 5; build small each rd–grunt effort

min 2 – T2B x 12

min 3 – PC TnG x 5; build small each rd


Team relay M/M/M-F/F/F

Each Athlete Completes

shuttle run (30m)

10 KB CJ @ 35/55

shuttle run (30m)

10 DB Burpees #25/40

Shuttle run 30m


Chipper – MF pairs – each team complete, team one must get to HSPU before next team starts AD:

FW 200m Alt every 20m @70/100/h

50 strict HSPU deficit

100ft HS walk



Team Endurance Training Day



10min Jog Warm up


Hill sprints 20sec @100% x 10; rest walk down 3:30


10min cool down jog



12k Row @ sustainable pace



Swim 1000m TT

Since Regionals we immediately implemented a linear progression in  long slow aerobic volume.  Each week the complexity of skill and odd object tasks continue to be pushed on the team in long grinder format.  They need to get used to doing a lot of work, and I feel the extra aerobic work is helping them recover to handle the volume.  Small periodic de-loads have been implemented periodically to allow for “super compensation” to work its magic in the team progression.


The magic on the floor happens first and foremost when team chemistry is in place. The team knows—together we will rise or together we will fall, and apart from togetherness, the whole team thing won’t happen. ‘We train, win and lose together’—with this mentality, greatness will unfold.


Coach Robin Lyons
OPEX Coach and Team OPEX Coach & Programmer

OPEX ONE July 3, 2015

Join us on our Facebook at 9AM PST/12PM EST to chat with Coach Brian Foley!

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, rope climb, offseason training, strength and conditioning

July 3, 2015
Coach Brian Foley

Skills in the Off-Season

I want to bring up the importance of skill work during the Off-season.  Looking at the sport of fitness, training revolves around the “unknown”; once the events are released there is a short time frame for skill refinement.  During this time the goal is to maximize the similarity between training activities and competitive conditions, BUT it ultimately comes down to how often the specific skills were trained in the off-season.  The repetitions have to be built in prior to competition.

For example, this year at the 2015 Crossfit Regionals we saw the hero workout “Tommy V”…

For Time:
21 Thrusters
12 Rope Climb
15 Thrusters
9 Rope Climb
9 Thrusters
6 Rope Climb

Many athletes were not able to handle the volume of rope climbs. I would investigate to see how many rope climb repetitions were actually accomplished in the off-season, for these individuals.  I would assume not very many.

During the off –season it is crucial to provide adequate experience with specific skills before advancing them into a complex environment. The accumulation of repetitions can positively influence an athlete’s performance in more demanding conditions at the next level.

First question is where do you to put skill training within a design?

A great way to incorporate skill training is in a NON-fatigue setting. This way a client can build repetitions and refine movements all year long. Movements will always vary depending on the client’s function.

Below are a few examples of implementing gymnastic skill movements within a template.




AD 5 min -easy
2 Turkish get up
AD 5 min -easy
Ext. side plank on ring; 30 sec each side
AD 5 min -easy
x 4



AD 5 min -easy
2 swing on ring + 1 muscle up
AD 5 min -easy
2 rope climb
AD 5 min -easy
x 3



Row 30 min –easy
Easy walk through
5 chest to bar pull up
3 strict hspu
6  alt. pistol
rest walk 1 min




2 bar muscle up
20 sec handstand hold
4 lateral pistol over barbell



10 NFT- walk through
10m -handstand walk
15 sec L -sit
2 DH2I
4 alt. pistol
walk 2 min

July 2, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, robin lyons, individualized program design

EC Spotlight; Elsa Vandermus

Former dancers make excellent athletes.

Dedication is a discipline highly valued as part of any dancer’s life—and one that overlaps into the gym for athletes like, Elsa Vandermus.

Elsa is an Exclusive Coaching client who has been working with Coach Robin Lyons now for almost one year.

Prior to training at OPEX, under Coach Robin, Elsa was doing what most CrossFitters do: participating in classes her local box, wondering if she really was ‘any good at this sport.’ She was diligent with her workouts—(sometimes to the point of walking a line of overtraining or pushing ‘too hard’), but nevertheless, knew she loved the sport and was committed.

“I wanted to see if I could be a competitive athlete regardless what level I was currently at, and if I could become better,” Elsa said.

She heard about OPEX and the unique individualized design model through a friend within the CrossFit community, and thought why not?

Elsa got on board with Coach Robin and went right to work, completing whatever prescription she was given, and keeping a detailed log of her daily workouts for her coach to tweak, modify and progress, as needed.

Since starting, Elsa said her improvements have gone through the roof.

“I’ve PR’d every olympic lift, gymnastics movement, and aerobic test that I initially completed with Robin: 20 lbs. on my power clean, split jerk, and back squat amongst others. I could maybe do a muscle up (depending on the day) when I first started.  I can now, without doubt, do multiple muscles ups.  I couldn’t do any during the Open in 2014…this year I did 14!  I have learned to kip and do butterfly pullups!”Elsa said.

There’s no doubt the former dancer, turned fitness athlete, has benefited from the 1:1 individualized approach that OPEX takes with each and every one of our clients.

“I would say that prior to joining OPEX’s EC team I already lead a pretty healthy lifestyle as far as nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle. But, now, I am constantly learning more about nutrition and how it affects me as an athlete.  My recovery is better since joining OPEX.  My workouts are specific to ME, I am not over-training or pushing too hard just to get a workout in,” Elsa said.

Elsa’s advice for anyone considering wanting to improve their fitness?

“Even if a person’s goal is overall health and not a specific competitive goal, they will still find OPEX to cater to that goal.  You will have accountability, support, and endless coaching resources,” she said.

July 1, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, priorities, exclusive training, on site training, individualized program design

Can You List Your Priorities? 

If you Google the definition of “priorities” you get this:

“a thing that is regarded as more important than another”

People operate based on what they value and that will translate into a set of priorities that dictate their behavior.  So what happens within a coach-client relationship when you have a client who doesn’t have training as a priority, but they think they should?

In a word:  inauthenticity

You can’t fake priorities.  I mean, you can for a bit of time but it is exhausting it leads to what can only be explained as “weird ass shit” behaviors.  Let me explain.

Let’s say you have a client who has the following priorities:  Work, socializing, kids, husband, charity work and dining out

She comes into your facility because she has heard really good things and wants to get back into shape.  She is excited to get started and you already know how you are going to transform her.  You get her signed up for unlimited classes based on the premise that results will follow immediately.  She starts strong at five days a week and the results show within a month.  Winner winner chicken dinner!  Results that quick and she ought to be hooked for life!

But then something strange starts to happen the second month… she starts missing classes here and there.  You notice this and have a quick conversation with her about it.  She explains how much she loves the gym and the workouts and the people and how working out has become very important to her so much so that she is going to get back to five days a week starting tomorrow.

And then she doesn’t show up the next day.  How could that be?  She said she would be there!  The next time you see her, you casually ask her where she was and she tells you about some event she “had to” go to with her husband and talks about what an inconvenience it was.  Back to five days a week and another bullet dodged.

Then she doesn’t show up all weekend.  That’s strange… she said she was going to be there again.  You decide to ask her why she wasn’t there next time you see her.  Except now she’s getting difficult to find.  You thought you caught a glimpse of her on Monday, but she seemed to avert her eyes from you when you waved from across the floor and then she disappeared into thin air before you could chat with her.  No worries, you’ll catch her next time…

…two weeks later when she finally comes back and it’s the same story.  Things happened that pulled her away from her workouts, but those are done now and it’s back to five days a week.

And this cycle repeats, the excuses masked as stories get better and better, and you find yourself confused beyond belief because she is telling you one thing (ahem, exactly what you want to hear) and she is doing another.  None of it makes any sense.

But it makes perfect sense.  This client has a different set of priorities and working out isn’t really one of them.  The problem is that she thinks it should be and so she has created this character in herself that “loves the gym and the workouts and the people and how working out has become very important to her”.  And not being able to keep up the façade of being a diehard leaves her feeling guilty and ashamed to the point where she starts to dodge any contact that may require accountability towards said character because it doesn’t line up.  She also knows she’s disappointing you as a coach because she sold herself as a gym lover.  So to make it up to you, she continues to sell you a bigger and bigger story to keep you happy because she already feels bad enough that she can’t continue the act and couldn’t bare it if you would reject her if you really knew the truth.

And the truth is that her priorities are:  Work, socializing, kids, husband, charity work and dining out

If any one of those options comes available, she’ll take them any day of the week over working out because they are more important to her.

But what if in your initial consult with her you created a space that was open and easy?  She could be herself and confess from the beginning that she doesn’t really love working out all that much, but she wants to get into shape in order to keep up with her kids and her husband and have enough energy to get through her workday without wanting to take a nap.  You would immediately eliminate the pressure cooker of stress a client like this would feel trying to keep up appearances.

Authenticity would be invited from the beginning and then you as a coach could begin the work of alignment.  You would be able to teach her how investing time in her workouts was an investment in her priorities so that they were enhanced.  When clients see workouts or food prep as enhancing their priorities they tend to figure out ways to do both vs. viewing it as an either or.  Or if something did come up that she choose over her workouts she wouldn’t have to get over the guilt hurdle to get back in the gym because she wouldn’t feel the need to make excuses.  She would happily tell you what she had been up to on the weekend, you’d say great because you know it was important to her and she’d get to work.

You’ve aligned her goals and time in the gym to her true priorities, her behavior is now in alignment with her words and there is no confusion.  As Freud said:  “Were we fully to understand the reasons for other people’s behavior, it would all make sense.”  I remind myself of this when something doesn’t make sense with a client, because it all does, it just means I haven’t seen the order yet.

Sharon Prete
CCP Life Coaching Co-Conductor

June 30, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, revive rx, recovery, rebuild, marcus filly

How Do You Recover?

What do YOU eat or drink post-workout to recover?

This is a question that has long been debated.

Supplements, powders, pills, shakes, bars, vitamins and minerals are a dime a dozen in the fitness market. Not to mention the slew of nutritional and diet philosophies around the ‘right way.’

The truth of the matter is that every BODY is different, and there is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to specific nutritional intake. (more…)

June 29, 2015

Sport Specific Functional Movement 

I recently had a conversation with a coach who asked me about golf.  He brought up functional training and how he liked functional fitness for training athletes and when I asked him why, he seemed a bit puzzled.  He looked at me as if I was perhaps behind the curve and with excitement he went off on all the benefits of functional fitness.  To keep a long story short, he essentially mentioned that functional fitness only used movements that were functional and that’s what helps athletes perform better. I pressed the question a bit more and asked how.  His response was essentially they make people stronger, to which I replied, “What if their sport doesn’t require a lot of strength? Perhaps squatting is not all that necessary for a golfer, and in fact I’ll argue squats are not all that functional in the first place.” (more…)

June 28, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, strength and conditioning, assessment

Performing The Consult

The client consult is a key component to the assessment process, and any ongoing work you do with your clients.

It’s where the ‘magic’ happens: Life coaching, understanding, agreement, explanation of the transformation process, the establishment of goals.

That being said, it is critical to ensure that you have this process refined in order to deliver a quality product and impeccable client-centered experience for each and with every individual you coach. (more…)

June 27, 2015

formerly opt, remote coaching, exclusive coaching, program design, elite athlete, crossfit, personalized programming

You’re a coach.

You specialize in helping others reach their goals, execute proper form, and stay safe.

You give others hope for improvement and encourage them when they are feeling less optimistic.

You understand just how valuable a coach is to a client’s personal fitness (and life) journey, and you believe others should recognize that value you provide. (more…)

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