August 28, 2015
Coach Brian Foley
Peak For Competition
Throughout the off- season majority of athletes competing in the sport of fitness are going to be in accumulation. Spending months and months building a wider base for the upcoming season. As we get into to the later months of the year I encourage my athletes to participate in one or two competitions that we can prep for. This allows for small peaks within an accumulation phase. Below are two skeletons of what an accumulation week may look like and what an intensification week may look like.
– Competitive athlete, wants to make it to regionals
– Competing in the 2015 Granite Games.
ACCUMULATION: This is her base training. Large volumes of general training focused on specific goals.
Row Repeats/ Run Repeats
A. Back Squat %
B. Clean Pull/DL /Complex
C. Glute Hinge
Grinder Knee Flexion/ Midline Stability
A. Jerk Intensive
B. CP Upper Body Vert. Pull
C. EMOM Upper Body Push Work
D. Gymnastic Density Sets
45-60 Min Easy Aerobic
A. Back Squat – Intensive
B. Snatch Pull/DL /Complex
C. EMOM Bending +Gymnastic
Lactic Power Sets
Assault Bike 30/30 Repeats
A. Upper Body Hor. Push /Pull
B. Scap Work
C. Strict Gymnastic Sets
D. Muscle up Skills+ Upper Pushing
A. Back Squat – Dynamic
INTENSIFICATION: 4 weeks out from the Granite Games, volume is dropped and intensity increases.
A. Back squat – Intensive
B. Snatch / Clean – MAX
C. Odd Object
Muscle Endurance Sets
W/ Constant Movement
W/ Barbell + Advanced Gymnastic
Lactic Endurance Sets
45-60 Min Easy Aerobic
Warm up: Handstand Walk Skills – 10 min
A. Split Jerk – Moderate
B. EMOM – Touch and Go Work
C. Front Squat/Back Squat Intensive
Easy Aerobic – W/ Ski Erg
Comp Simulation #1
Comp Simulation #2
Comp Simulation #3
Comp Simulation #4
To work with Coach Foley, please contact our Exclusive Coaching Coordinator Erin Carter to set up a consultation!
Establishing Gym Culture With Remote Coaching
In the past few months, I’ve made a big transition after finishing the first level of the OPEX CCP. I’ve sold my gym and have transitioned to 100% remote coaching, using the principles I’ve learned during the past few years in working with OPEX.
During this transition, I have noticed one really big difference between on-site coaching & remote coaching and it might not be what you think it is.
While there’s many tangible aspects to making a great gym – a big hurdle that came up had to do with establishing our gym culture…but how do you do this when there is no gym!
In a regular ‘box’, you hopefully have experienced members who can help newbies understand what your program is all about. Along with your coaches, they’re able to help others know what it means to succeed, how to approach their training to get the most out of it, and how to surpass long standing hurdles.
But remote coaching & individual program design is different. You can’t lean on individuals in the same way. You can’t just ‘hope’ that new members will learn from what the group is doing & fall into place.
We have to be able to transmit our gym culture & values virtually. While it’s not a concrete formula, we’ve probably all been on teams or trained in facilities that were awesome, and others that we couldn’t wait to get out of. Chances are it wasn’t ‘just’ the training that made the difference – it was the approach to the training that helped set them apart.
There are several initial hurdles to take into account when establishing your virtual gym culture, and having it help your client’s needs. Here’s a short list of things we needed to address.
- The individual’s previous training experience. What type of training history do they come from? Was their previous gym a ‘close enough is good enough’ spot? Was tempo just a suggestion? Is inconsistency ok in their training?
- Opportunity for non-compliance. The opportunity to sweep things under the run are big as you don’t physically see them every day. Some people only deal with the things directly in front of them – out of sight, out of mind.
- We don’t control their actual training environment. Do they train at an on-site facility with other individuals who aren’t on the same page as you? This can be even worse if they’re surrounded by a poor on-site gym culture.
- An individual cannot just walk by your office, or check in with you for a few minutes after their training session is complete.
So while those are areas that individuals may stumble on – you also have to consider – exactly what type of gym culture do you want to have? If we don’t understand this part, we may not have a clear understanding of how our clients will surpass the potential hurdles.
As coaches, we all have to make choices on the values we want in our training program.
Here are a few of the areas we had to address:
1. How important is compliance for you? Do you mind if they’re late updating training logs?- This might seem like a funny question, but for some people it’s not a huge issue. That’s fine – but know it’s also your gym culture.
2. Do your remote coaching clients know each other? Do you provide a common place where they can support each other? [i.e., Facebook group, members forum, text thread?]
3. Do they regularly send you videos of their training? Do you want them to?
4. Do they know exactly how and when to contact you? I mean, I guess you could be on call 24-7 but probably not the best way to set up their expectations. They will have questions, etc – do they clearly understand when & how to contact you – and what to expect in response?
5. Who do you spotlight? Are you focused solely on Games competitors – is it the person looking for longevity & resiliency? A combo? How you show your attention & affection will alter the clients who you attract, as well as how they approach their training – choose wisely.
And now that we’ve noticed the potential issue with making a supportive virtual gym culture, explained some reasons why this might be happening, it’s time to prescribe the solution based on our explanations.
For me, this has meant a lot more time spent in the initial phases of working with a new client. I felt like a lot of the issues that were brought up had connection & disconnection at their core. This makes sense, as one big area that gyms can provide is community.
To begin solving this potential disconnection, and help new remote coaching clients understand exactly who we are, how we roll, and what’s expected of them, I made some changes:
- We increased the occurrences of initial check ins [which can be time intensive, but also are more impactful in helping shape their positive behaviors]
- Created email information drips [which are front end work, but once set-up, they run well]
- We established a private FB group for people to share training stories, struggles, & successes – as well as for me to help guide them & provide closer to real time feedback.
Yes, you do have to do the work. Yes, you do have to put in the time. You cannot expect the pieces to simply fall into place.
As it turns out, while my initial ‘hurdle’ was an initial chance of higher non-compliance, it turns out that there is also a higher chance of acceleration through virtual gym culture & proper protocols. By taking the time to set up a virtual gym culture that is aligned with your values, you can have more dialed in individuals to work with, allowing them to get the most out of their training.
Deep Embodiment of The Love of Fitness
I’ve been going through a period of deep reflection as of late. Those coaches out there who have gone through the Life Coaching module will appreciate that I am in the “Reflection” stage of the Four Seasons of Learning.
One of the ways I spend time reflecting is through communicating with like-minded friends, colleagues and coaches who also like to play with ideas. The art of playing with your thoughts is a concept ingrained in me by many of my mentors, most notably Bernie Novokowsky.
I recently had an email exchange with a dear friend who sent me the following quote out of the blue…
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
An email exchange ensued and when I asked what this quote meant to him, and he sent the following back:
“The quote means to me that at a certain point in our lives, we start understanding ourselves and our wants and needs (or at least we believe we do)… What we need and strive for in our lives is happiness (or contentment). We leap into our lives, with our hearts and minds open in our very own absolute splendor and we experience one exhilarating event after another. These events are not all good… Some are great, some are deep, some dark. These life experiences change us and reshape us…
As we experience life, “exploration” we grow, we truly come to understand what in life truly makes us love living… In many cases as we find our way to “the end of all our exploring”, we realize that our own personal understanding of what makes us happy is drastically different than that which we strived to achieve when we started our exploration.”
As I’ve travelled around this year, I’ve noticed a bit of a tide of change in the fitness world. There is still a tidal wave of newbies just finding the sport for the first time and going through the stages we all tend to do:
Stage One: The Newbie
Either intimidated or all in, either way they show up.
Stage Two: Falling in Love
That member who has “found their tribe” and feels at home and has a sense of belonging
Stage Three: The Town Crier
That member who fell in love so hard they have to tell everyone and their dog about CrossFit
Stage Four: The Big Man on Campus
Cocky, overconfident, everyone else is an idiot because they don’t do CrossFit (a.k.a. the much talked about CrossFit douchebag)
Stage Five: Humble Pie
A humbling occurs that causes them to pause for fear of losing their identity which has been wrapped up in fitness and developed somewhere between stages 2 to 4. They are forced to know the answers they thought they found where not answers at all, merely stepping stones
Stage Six: Searching
The novelty has started to wane or the desire to learn more is sparked and the exploration is on
Stage Seven: Understanding…
This is the new wave I’m seeing in fitness… that a lot of coaches, athletes and members are uniting with their true purpose in fitness in total contentment. For some it’s just because they love it. Period. No attachments to outcomes, to belonging, to pushing it onto others, to bragging rights, to identity or searches. Just that they love it.
It’s cool to see, hear and feel that vibe from the early adopters of the sport who have already gone through the stages and settled into this way of being. It’s a good sign of things to come as it bleeds authenticity and longevity, and a tidal change in the industry as a whole. What they are experiencing is a deeper knowing and appreciation of fitness, all it is and all it can be.
What Do The BEST Athletes Eat?
What is your fuel of choice when it comes to supporting or recovering from your training?
Peanut butter and chocolate milk? A particular protein powder? Gatorade? Perfect Food Bars? Ice cream?
Ask 10 different people, and you will get 10 different answers. (more…)
It’s always a challenge getting the message across to people interested in learning gymnastics.
In my experience most people see and want to do gymnastics elements, but haven’t the vaguest conception of the work it has taken to achieve these skills.
I have hosted a six week introduction to gymnastics course in the past and have had athletes disappointed that they hadn’t achieved a muscle up by the end, bearing in mind they didn’t attend all the sessions and the only gymnastics they did was during each session I taught. (more…)
10 Tips To Relax On Rest Days
Stress can be brutal, heck it could even kill you.
And let’s face it, we are a stressed society.
Check out these facts*:
- 1 in 5 Americans experience ‘extreme stress’ and 3 in 4 report experiencing at least one symptom of stress in any given month (i.e. lack of sleep, emotional stress, unhealthy foods, etc.)
- Stress is the primary cause of 60% of all human illness and disease
- 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments
- The average American gets 10 ‘vacation days’ and 8 national holidays as part of their job (The average worker in a country, like France, gets 7-weeks)
- 90% of Americans are stressed over money
What stressors do you face in your daily life?
Even the stressors you may not necessarily view as ‘stress’ can have a great impact on your quality of life and health, such as:
- Your progress in your daily training can be suppressed
- Your sleep can substantially decrease
- High caffeine consumption to “combat” stress symptoms such as fatigue and lack of mental acuity
- Over-reliance on energy drinks, supplements and shakes for nutrition sources (as opposed to real food)
- Poor digestion
However, because they have become your ‘norm’, you may not even realize why or how they are keeping you (and your body) stressed.
How does stress specifically harm your body?
When stress becomes a regular occurrence in your daily life, the hypothalamus (brain command center) is activated and triggers your adrenals to release cortisol: the stress hormone. Some stress is a normal part of life, and cortisol is a hormone that is intended to be released in a specific rhythm throughout the day (for instance, high in the mornings when you awake, and gradually decline throughout the day).
However, with chronic stress, an influx of cortisol happens, and this influx of cortisol leaves your body with some not-so-pretty side effects, including:
- Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- Heightens sugar and hunger cravings
- Impairs your body’s ability to burn fat and decreases your metabolism
- Raises your blood sugar levels
- Triggers poor immunity
- Imbalances your hormone levels
- Provokes depression, anxiety and mood imbalances
- Suppresses your HPA-axis (hormonal imbalance)
…Just to name a few.
While total stress avoidance is realistically unavoidable in life…that’s what rest days are for.
Use your rest days with this intention in mind: De-stress.
After all, if you are not incorporating some form of stress management on a regular basis, you will sabotage all of your best efforts with diet, exercise and supplements.
Here are 10 Ways to Alleviate Stress on Rest days
- Get outside. Fresh air does a body good. Get some Vitamin D in the great outdoors.
- Actively do something out of routine. Something you don’t typically do. Rock climbing. Paddle boarding. Swimming. Hiking. Biking. A yoga class. Get outside the box and just do something for daily movement.
- Socially or creatively do something out of routine. Check out a festival or event going on in your city; attend a Meet-Up; go to listen to a local band; take a stab at pottery making; visit the local animal shelter and play with the pups; grill out at the park; explore the shops on a popular touristy street in your town; again, get out of routine for a few hours.
- Cook something delicious. Pull out that recipe book collecting dust, or Google search a Paleo-inspired dish you’ve been craving (i.e. pizza, ice-cream, tacos, etc.) and have fun with it!
- Give meditation a try. Check out 8-Minute Meditation to get started!
- Give back. You are always on a schedule, and have a laundry list of to-dos, that it can be easy to forget there is a bigger world out there—outside ourselves. Serve lunch or dinner at a homeless shelter, tutor or mentor kids one day per week, visit a nursing home and play Bingo with some older (and wiser) folks. Volunteering is linked to improved health and decreased stress.
- Clean it. Be productive and de-stress at the same time. Clearing the clutter can help clear the mind. Organize your closet or that stack of papers sitting on your desk. Deep clean your bathroom tiles. Wash your sheets. Use that rest day to go a little extra mile in getting life together (to promote less stress throughout the week).
- Connect. Intentionally schedule time on your rest days that you may otherwise be at the gym to connect with friends or your social network (in person). According to a recent Gallup poll, the happiest people in the world are those who have 6-7 hours of social connectivity in their days.
- Self-care, specifically sleep! You know you need it…but how often do you do it? This could look like anything from a massage or ‘body work’, to a pedicure, facial, haircut, ice bath, mobility session…really giving your body some nice R & R.
- Relax your mind. Check out from the thinking, planning, achieving, striving, to-doing you do on a daily basis and take some time for a much needed ‘brain break’. Read something, just for the enjoyment of it, watch a documentary or movie you’ve been meaning to see, tap into your inner creative (painting, writing, photography)—do things that allow your mind to just be in the moment.
It is so important to do these things consistently because they allow your to be mindful and present – when you are worrying about everything else in life you are building stress. When you are enjoying something that interests you and your mind is fully engaged in that you are relaxing. You can’t always be “on” with work and challenging activities because it will burn you out over the long run
Corrective Exercise: An Individual Approach
Picture this: 5:30 p.m. on a Monday evening at the gym. Energy is high and the class is full. 12-20 regular gymgoers show up to take on whatever daily workout is programmed on the whie board for the day.
3 rounds for time:
10 Clean & Jerk
3 Rounds of “Cindy” (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats) (more…)
August 21, 2015
Coach Michael Bann
Quality Strength and Conditioning versus CrossFit
Patrick Casey is a freshman athlete of mine. His mother hired me during 8th grade to work with him in hopes of preparing him for his upcoming hockey season in the 9th grade. I’ve had a lot of success with various athletes throughout my years as a coach, and it always has derived from an individual assessment. From there, the program I write is based on the information gathered in the assessment. I’ve seen successful assessments take 10 minutes and some take a few sessions to conduct. In Patrick’s case, I took a few sessions to “figure” him out. (more…)