September 5, 2015

sept 5

How To Do An Open Gym

As CrossFit has increased in popularity over the past decade, through the development of:

  • The nearly six-month long CrossFit Games’ season (Open to the Games),
  • The commercialization of the Games itself (sponsors, ‘super athletes’, ESPN coverage),
  • The opportunities for athletes to compete outside the Games arena,
  • And the opening of thousands of affiliates worldwide (in some cases, seemingly on every corner of a city like Starbucks)

Clients demand more time to train and put in extra work has increased.

That being said, the concept of an ‘Open Gym’ or availability of gym space—no formal group classes included—is still very much an under-utilized platform for many gyms worldwide.

While the ‘open gym’ model technically does exist through globo gym models, such as a Gold’s Gym, 24-Hour Fitness, or YMCA, there is undoubtedly a difference in the style of training and equipment available at these mega-gyms versus your raw, box setting or functional fitness style gym (think rubber mats, pull-up rigs, squat racks, bumper plates, boxes, air-dynes, rowing machines, rings, kettlebells, wallballs, Oly lifting bars, etc.).

And thus, the trainee, the athlete who wants to train to get better, and better yet, follow his or her own individualized design fitness program runs into a dilemma.

Where can he or she go to get the most out of his or her training? To put in the extra time required to get better—not just at CrossFit, but at their own fitness in general.

After all, one can only improve so much during a 45-60 minute group fitness class during the week—even if they are going practically every day.

Here at OPEX, we implement a unique model that is just now beginning to spread worldwide—trainees with varying goals and abilities (from ‘I want to look good naked’ to ‘I want to compete at CrossFit Regionals and/or excel at my sport’), who all come together under one roof, in one big well-stocked gym to follow their personally designed programs under the leadership and direction of their own remote coach, who programs and keeps track of their training weekly.

It’s the best of all worlds: Community + fitness + personal improvement + client-centered goals + safety (trainees complete programs that are ‘just right’ for them and push them to their own personal limits; rather than demanding they RX a workout with a weight they cannot control, or choose to stay ‘stuck’ in their comfort zones of pull-up bands and the same weight day in and day out).

On this note, we take great pride in leading other gyms and coaches to confidently be able to do the same: Offer an open gym setting that still breeds community, while fostering the individual growth, development and betterment of all the trainees who truly desire to improve—not spin their wheels doing random, constantly varied workouts with no real goal in mind, other than ‘get more fit’ (which is eventually a dead end in group fitness; another topic for another day).

So therein lies the question: How do I do this Open Gym thing the ‘right way’?

Here’s how:

Logistics. First things first, ALWAYS understand your insurance policy so that you are protected.  If you want to offer an open gym make sure it is understood on your policy.

Know your what. Stay aligned with what you are selling. At OPEX we believe in individual programming, so it makes perfect sense for our clients to be on the floor and able to do their own programming.  If you are selling group training then open gyms can sometimes (not every time of course) lead to people wanting their own programming and if you don’t sell it—or direct them where to find it (such as through OPEX’s Remote Coaching Program ), it can lead to resentment down the road.

Consider your business model. How does open gym fit into your model?  Does it lead to better retention?  Does it lead to clients being more engaged or having a better lifestyle?  Does it lead to future trust and better results that lead to better retention/sales? Think bigger picture here.

Space-matters. Make sure that Open Gym does not get in the way of other class times.  When people bust in on others in classes it often leads to resentment or chaos. If space or equipment is a limiting factor, consider ‘off times’ or additional times to offer Open Gym to create this space for those trainees looking for something more. 

Check in. Just because those trainees and clients of yours, who prefer Open Gym, are doing their own thing does not mean they are ‘off your watch’ or could care less about being part of community or a coach-client relationship with you. Get to know your clients. What are their goals? What is their why behind their training? What ‘slight-edge’ resources could you suggest or offer for them, just like you may think of your group fitness class members (nutrition resources, direction for programming/individualized design.

Expand yourself. Why not start customizing and developing intelligent programs for those individuals in your gym who are ready to take on more? Consider getting schooled yourself in intelligent program design through OPEX’s CCP Training program—an intensive, yet easily do-able program offered online and/or through our in-person modules—to help you become a TOTAL COACH. Stop throwing random workouts together because they sound ‘hard’ or ‘fun’, or programming for others, based on what has worked for you. Truly sink your teeth into learning how to customize a training program to individuals that helps them get to where they want to be.


OPEX ONE September 4, 2015

phx rise

September 4, 2015
Coach Matt Bryant

An Inside Look at Grid Match Prep

This past weekend the Phoenix Rise took on the Miami Surge to see who would advance to the National Professional Grid League playoffs.  The Rise won in a tight battle that came down to the last race.  Here is a short overview and an inside look of the skeleton plan that we as coaches put together while planning for the match.

Here is a link to the Athletes that we get to work with on the Phoenix Rise

When putting a race together we look at several things before we ever get to our first practice with the athletes.  Some things we always look into are total reps athletes will be doing through the entire match and from race to race.  We are lucky to train most of our athletes in the off season and know their capabilities inside and out.  We know how each of them individually handle work loads and how they recover.  We will put a rough draft together then if we have time between matches we test and re-evaluate the plan multiple times.  This specific plan for the Miami Match evolved into what is shown below.  If you have any questions post to comments or e-mail me at

To look further into the Grid League check out

Race 1- Partner Forward
5-4-5-2 Reps of:
Box jump-over

Male Weights
155 / 185 / 215 / 245
Female Weights
105 / 115 / 135 / 145
Male Heights
30 / 30 / 36 / 36
Female Heights
24 / 24 / 30 / 30

Race 1 Line Up:
Marcus – 5 snatch
Emily – 5 snatch
Marcus – 5 box jump overs – start from far side
Emily – 5 box jump overs – start from far side

Marcus – 4 snatch
Emily – 4 snatch
Marcus – 4 box jump overs
Emily – 4 box jump overs
Tag Danny and Jess

Danny – 3 snatch
Jess – 3 snatch
Danny – 3 box overs – start from far side
Jess – 3 box overs – start from far side

Danny – 2 snatch
Jess – 2 snatch
Danny – 2 box overs
Jess – 2 box overs

Race 2 – Mirror
40 Thrusters at 235 / 145

Race 2 Line Up:
Jess – Jamie – AG  – Em
Danny – Blaine – Craig – Danny – Blaine finishes if Danny doesn’t go 10

Race 3/4 – Women’s Echo
40 Deadlift at 205 lb
40 Chest-to-bar pull-up
4 Rope Climb
40 Ground-to-overhead at 105

Race 3 Line Up:
DL – Tracy 15 tag Jess – Jamie 12 tag AG – Jess 13 tag Em

CTB – AG 20 tag Jamie – Em 10 stay on – Jamie 10 tag Tracy

RC – Emily 1 tag Tracy- Jamie 1 stay on – Tracy 2 tag Jess

GTO – Jamie 8-10 tag AG – Jess 10-15 tag Em – AG deep stay on – Em finish

Race 4 Line Up:
DL – Tracy 15 tag Jess – AG 12 tag stay on – Jess 13 tag Em

CTB – AG 20 tag Jamie – Em 10 stay on – Jamie 10 tag Tracy

RC – Emily 1 tag Tracy – Jamie 1 stay on – Tracy 2 tag Jess

GTO – Jamie 8-10 tag AG – Jess 10-15 tag Em – AG deep stay on – Em finish

Race 5/6  – Men’s Echo
40 Deadlift at 305 lb
40 Chest-to-bar pull-up
4 Rope Climb
40 Ground-to-overhead at 165

Race 5 Line Up:
DL – Blaine 14 tag Danny – Craig 13 tag Marcus – Danny 13 tag Vic

CTB – Marcus 10 Tag Craig – Vic 30 tag Marcus

RC –  Craig 2 Tag Blaine – Marcus 2 tag Danny

GTO – Blaine 10-15 tag Craig – Danny 10-15 tag Marcus – Craig 10-12 stay – Marcus finish

Race 6 Line Up:
DL – Blaine 14 tag Danny – Marcus 13 stay on – Craig 13 tag Vic

CTB – Marcus 10 tag Craig – Vic 30 Tag Marcus

RC – Craig 2 Tag Danny – Marcus 2 tag Blaine

GTO – Danny deep tag Craig – Blaine deep tag Marcus – Craig deep – Marcus finish

Race 7 – Ladder
Clean Ladder 16 Barbells
115, 130, 145, 160, 175, 190, 205, 220, 235, 250, 265, 280, 295, 310, 325, 340

Race 7 (specific time splits and weights on final plan) Line Up:

Race 8 – Jack and Jill
60 HSPU 5″ deficit
30 HSPU 10″ deficit
10 Freestanding HSPU

Race 8 – Subs and Line Up – (Val in for Em) – (Bjork in for Jamie ) (Braden in for Blaine)

HSPU 5” deficit – Val 18-20 tag Bjork –  Braden 20-25 Tag Danny – Bjork finish tag AG

HSPU 10” deficit – Danny 10-15 tag Craig – AG 8-10 tag Val – Craig finish stay on

Freestanding HSPU – Val 10 finish – Craig finish

Race 9 – Women’s Triad
12 OHS 105 lb
25 Toes-to-bar
10 DB pistol (30lb)
10 Muscle-up
20 Burpee over the box, 24″

Race 9 Line Up:
OHS –  Bjork 12 stay on – Jess 12 stay on – AG 12 tag Tracy

TTB – Bjork bar 1 15 go to Jess bar – Jess bar 2 15 tag Val bar 1  – Tracy furthest bar 25 tag AG

DBP – Bjork 10 tag Tracy – Val 10 stay on – AG 10 stay on

MU – Tracy ring 1 amrap tag Bjork – AG ring 2 10 tag Jess  – Val ring 3 grind 10
Bjork finish Tracy’s – Jess watch for bjork

BOB – Bjork 20 switch with Jess when she gets 15- Jess 20 switch with Bjork at 15 – Val 20

Race 10 – Men’s Triad
12 OHS 165 lb
25 Toes-to-bar
10 DB pistol (50lb)
10 Muscle-up
20 Burpee over the box, 30″

Race 10 Subs (Miller for Craig) Line Up:
OHS – Miller 12 stay on – Danny 12 tag Braden – Marcus 12 tag Vic

TTB – Miller 25 stay on – Braden 25 stay on – Vic 25 tag Marcus

DB pistol –  Miller amrap Tag Danny – Braden 10 stay on – Marcus 10 finish Miller’s stay on

MU – Braden 10 stay on – Marcus 10 stay on – Danny 10 tag Miller

BOB – Marcus 20 switch Braden at 15 – Braden 20 switch Marcus when he gets 15 – Miller 20

Race 11 – Sprint Relay & Line Up:
Jess – 18 Wallball at 18lb
Marcus – 15 Overhead squats at 185lb
Braden – 12 DB Hang snatch at 2x45lb
Val – Handstand walk
AG – 9 Bar muscle-up
Bjork – 90 Double-under
Miller – 9 Burpee to 10′ ring
Danny – 9 Clean and jerk at 225lb


September 3, 2015

sep 3
OPEX Testing 15.2 Results

James Taylor and Matt Springer

This past Saturday the OPEX community took part in the second event of an ongoing testing series that we will be conducting through the end of the year.  August’s tester was a classic: max calories in 10-minutes on an Air Assault Bike (AB). There were 2 important purposes for this test.  The first was to begin to use this test as a prime “suspect” in readiness in the sport of fitness and the second was to collect data in order to validate a body weight correction formula, created by coach James Taylor. (more…)

September 2, 2015

sept 2

What Do You Bring to the Relationship? 

The dynamics between people are so interesting.

Friend to friend

Parent to child

Stranger to stranger

Husband to wife

Coach to client (more…)

September 1, 2015

sept 1

Supplements: What’s Really In There?

You take your training seriously, and do everything within your power to support the gains and performance you desire in the gym.

-You sleep at least 7-9 hours most nights

-You prioritize your mobility every session—and between sessions

-You’re on a program and working with a coach who individualizes your training to meet your needs

-You eat lots of meat, veggies, fats, quality starches, some fruit, no sugar and lots of water

-And you even take vitamins and supplements that you’ve been told will give you that extra edge in your health and performance: (more…)

August 31, 2015

aug 31

Mental Toughness at Fitness Competitions
By Jim Afremow, Ph.D.

How can you excel at fitness competitions? Understand the difference between threats and challenges. Champions see competitions differently—as challenges. You control a challenge, threats control you. Threats, in sports and in life, are often illusions. They exist only in your imagination. If you don’t win or perform well, what happens? Just that: you don’t win or perform well. (more…)

August 30, 2015

aug 30

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness—or rather, the pursuit of happiness and all around fulfillment—is an ongoing life pursuit as old as time.

People in the Stone Age sought happiness, fulfillment, in hunting, gathering, relaxing and relationships with their clans. Fulfillment was found in spearing a great bison, safety from predators, and making babies.

We see celebrities in the news or Social Media reminding us that fulfillment (or seeming fulfillment) is found in the number of cars we own, the size of our houses, the travels we take, the pretty faces we date, and the number of accolades we acclaim. (more…)

OPEX Testing Series 15.2


bw testing

Great job to all those who took part in our testing series last month! We gathered a lot of good data and look forward to building upon our findings as we continue this series throughout December.

OPEX Testing 15.2

Max Assault bike calories in 10-minutes (more…)