larger-life-sliderEpisode #37: “Integrating Exclusive Coaching within an existing group fitness gym model”

In this episode of OPT-In James takes on a great question from a member of the OPEX community around introducing ad integrating an Exclusive Coaching program offering into an existing group fitness business model.  With that discussion, James reflects back on his impetus in creating and evolving the Big Dawg Blog over the last 6+ years, and how there are parallels to be drawn in both journeys. You can watch Episode 37 here!

Here is a link to the original Big Dawg Blog for reference:

Attention! OPEX is hiring! Are you motivated, creative and passionate about Sales and Marketing? If so we want you to get in touch with us! Review the employment opportunity here and contact either Jim or Meghan!

April, 18 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, coaching education, robin lyons

4 Coaching Principles That Help Define the Difference Between Coach vs Cheerleader

You can’t deny that coaches play a role in development of professional and/or elite athletes.  Today coaches seem to be EVERYWHERE… With a stop watch and a coach’s shirt on their back they are now qualified to count reps and push people to go harder!   The “role” of a coach, in many cases, has diluted into a cheerleader type role.  If you want to be more than a cheerleader here are 4 principles that will help to differentiate you and the rest of the crowd of coaches:

#1 Coaches Assess ALL aspects of their athlete.  That includes current health & wellness characteristics, fitness ability and life-style.  The coach and athlete relationship starts with the TRUTH.  The truth is where that athlete currently ranks in performance measures specific to their sport? What type of athlete are they? Do they have a schedule / lifestyle to support the goal they are trying to attain?  These are the answers that the coach needs to explore up front so that you can communicate an honest vision to the athlete’s request.  Lining up what the athlete values (such as qualifying for the CrossFit Games or maintaining health and fitness through pregnancy) to their current starting point will provide the platform for a fulfilling journey.  If there are pieces that do not line up for that athlete you can rest assured that those challenges will get magnified when the tougher times hit.

#2 Coaches provide direction and the plan.   Athletes seek coaches that can prescribe a plan that will help THE ATHLETE reach their goals.  If a coach doesn’t first assess the athlete the polarity between coach and athlete will not be established.  Polarity in terms of masculine /feminine energy.  There has to be a “leader” and “follower”. The coach needs to establish being the leader from the start, so the athlete will follow, if not, the polarity will be weakened and the relationship will not thrive. Polarity is created between coach and athlete when the coach carries a more masculine energy providing direction, backed with a solid understanding of who their athlete is and where they sit in the true spectrum of their sport.  The coach and athlete relationship works beautifully when trust is the basis of the coach athlete relationship from day one.

#3 Coaches provide logical feed-back to the athlete when needed.  Feedback between the coach and athlete is important for evolving the training plan.   The best feedback is logical, not emotional.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the performances of your athletes and their emotions…especially when it’s competition time.  The best practice as a coach is to keep your emotions out of the feedback to your athlete and out of the specific training plan. If you let emotion influence your coaching it can often pull you away from them.  Coaching is not emotional.  Providing logical feedback to evolve the program is key.  The best coaches (and athletes) don’t respond to good days and bad days…missed reps or good reps! They understand they are a product of the their averages day in and day out on the timeline set.

#4 Coaches provide support when needed.  Sometimes the road can be long and tough… interference from life, injury, set backs…can make the journey emotional at times.   Emotion is ok to express and let pass but it’s the coach’s responsibility to limit the emotion so the athlete can get back to the plan, the vision and the present.  Coaches can support their athletes and listen through tough times, but ensure you stay steady through the storms to keep the athlete on track!


Coach Robin Lyons




OPEX ONE April 17, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, individualized program design
April 17, 2015
Coach Matt Springer

Scheduling Weekly Training

In this week’s installment of OPEX ONE, I will be addressing how to schedule a weekly training split to best compliment lifestyle, answering the question: What days of the week should I train?

Certainly 3-on/1-off is not conducive to a large number of individuals for scheduling. But then again, neither is a split taking Sunday/Thursday as rest days. Such a split prioritizes training during a typical workweek, where lifestyle stresses are heightened for many. Below are three avatars I am most commonly presented with for alternative scheduling.

Weekend Warriors

For executives, laborers, educators, coaches, and generally busy weekday folks, an exceptionally successful split is prioritizing training on the weekend, while taking more rest days mid-week. For example:

Sun – Train (H)
Mon – Rest
Tues – Train (M)
Wed – Rest
Thur – Train (L)
Fri – Rest
Sat – Train (H)

Simple in principle, right? Aim to minimize compounding training stressors with lifestyle, through prioritizing of training away from reoccurring obligations. The weekend permits a large push for both volume and intensity, not to mention availability of extended time for training.

Shift Workers

For firefighters, nurses, and other shift workers, it creates havoc on the body to train during blocks of work. For example, if you’re a firefighter with a 2-on/4-off work schedule, opt for either rest or minimal training intensity during shifts. It is further wise to graduate into and out of intensity relative to your work schedule. For example:

Day 1 – Off – Rest
Day 2 – Off – Train (H)
Day 3 – Off – Train (H)
Day 4 – Off – Train (M)
Day 5 – On – Rest
Day 6 – On – Train (L)

I recently began programming for a southern California client. This individual has possibly the most interesting occupation in the OPEX family and has 5-weeks of minimal work requirements, followed by 3-weeks of intensive work requirements. The split in this case follows the same principles as above, but now on a meso-level with weekly undulation in stress.


When creating an avatar of the typical college student, many themes required for elite athletics are paralleled: supported finances, paid housing, prepared meals, low family obligations, high leisure opportunities, and seasonal scheduling.

The title of this category, in reality, is simply trolling the rigors of America’s higher education system as a whole. Of course one does not have to be a student to fit this avatar, nor an athlete. This is simply a case of managing and minimizing the input of lifestyle factors to allow for greater training. Identifying with this avatar could possibly indicate the ability to train and recover from high frequency with intensity. For example:

Sun – Rest
Mon – Train (H)
Tues – Train (M)
Wed – Train (H)
Thur – Train (L)
Fri – Train (M)
Sat – Train (H)

The key take-away from this article ought to be a reflection on the alignment of your training schedule with your lifestyle schedule. Just because the affiliate is open Mon-Sat doesn’t mean you’re required to train or restricted to training on those days.

If there are any questions on a split not covered in the article, create a post in the comments and I will enter the discussion.

Coach Matt Springer

April 16, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, coaching education, personal training

Athlete Spotlight; Tyler Grimh

Tyler Grimh, a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Sanctify in Madison, Wisconsin, was tired of searching for the ‘perfect program’ to improve his own athletic abilities and fitness.

He was tired, that is, until he discovered OPEX’s Exclusive Coaching program about four months ago…and he hasn’t looked back since.

While Tyler has not been an athlete ‘all his life’, he said he’s always been active and, since discovering CrossFit back in 2011, he said he has developed a love for training. This newfound love for training also gave him a newfound love for pushing his body to new limits, and, like many, he found himself constantly spinning his wheels to try to ‘get better’, ‘get stronger’ and ‘get fitter’ every day in the gym.


April 15, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, life coaching, exclusive coaching, remote coaching
Where Do You Feel Most Alive?

I just spent the last week travelling in Paris on my own. I’m a fairly social creature by nature, but I looooove my alone time. Like A LOT. I enjoy the stillness that comes from being alone with your thoughts and the ability to reflect in that space. In our Life Coaching course, we ask people the question: “Where do you feel most alive and energized?” For me, one of the answers to that question is in learning, and I learn a lot when I travel. New experiences inspire me and that place of inspiration allows for clarity of thought. So needless-to-say that time in Paris was highly valuable to me.


April 14, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, nutrition, life coaching, digestive health, james fitzgerald

Improving Digestion with James Fitzgerald

Here at OPEX, we are big on education, and the continued education, of our coaches, athletes and clients.

Knowledge is power when it comes to learning, and today we are talking about Basic Digestive Health and Food Hygiene practices with Coach James FitzGerald.


April 13, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive coaching, remote coaching, crossfit open, life coaching

Reflections on the Open 

There is quite a lot of coverage about those who are at the top of the Leader Board during the CrossFit Games, but what about the other 249,900 people?

The sport is growing throughout all parts of the world and among people of all ability levels.

A major focus at OPEX is not only helping those who stand atop the podium, but also helping those 249,900 people find progress and fulfillment within the sport.

We pay close attention to how the sport is evolving for ALL athletes.


April 12, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, ,james fitzgerald, nutrition, health and fitness, coaching education

Eating on the road I THINK has actually increased my resiliency.

Not long ago I would have had anxiety over fillers, “fried in…” this oil, cooked “next to..” this food, etc…

More and more I have learned that having a resilient mind and gut is the combination on creating health as I travel.

I am asked that question a lot – “what do you eat when away”? I DO plan it out as best I can. AND I do know that I travel a lot and honestly do feel like I have increased bandwidth and health when travelling more and more now further away and on longer trips…interesting right?