Meet OPEX athlete, OPEX gym owner, coach and newest member of the general fitness population, Marcus Filly.

You may recognize him from his six CrossFit Games appearances (three affiliate cups, three individual), from one of his many social media accounts or from any number of recent fitness podcasts for which he’s been a guest.

Though he chose not to compete in the Games season this year, his personal and professional life continue to grow, expand and thrive – Filly welcomed his first child in February and launched his new training series, Awaken, just months later. Here he talks about the OPEX system, why individual design is a core value in his own training and for his business, his social media and what his plans are for the next season in his fitness journey.

You are an athlete, a coach and a gym owner, how do those things interrelate for you? How are they connected for you?

They are really all extensions of one another; it’s part of this big OPEX kind of mission/core value which is living a larger life. I got into health and fitness because I wanted to make it my career and I also wanted my career to be tied intricately to what I was passionate about.

You are a six-time CrossFit Games athlete, at what point did you look into OPEX?

I started getting into CrossFit in 2008/2009. I experimented as much as I could with main site and then other blogs that were out there and I always kind of had coaches – strength/conditioning, college coaches – so to get better I felt like I needed to have a plan or a structure of something that was a little more thoughtful. I learned about James Fitzgerald through the CrossFit Journal and their media coverage of him as a competitor and got to looking up what he was offering on the web.

I followed that for a period of time, then enrolled in CCP. By doing the CCP program I learned the true value of individualized training that I believed in as a coach, then I needed to experience it as an athlete.

(Marcus’s current coach is Mike Lee).

How has OPEX helped you develop as a coach and business owner?

The CCP program gave me the foundation and tools to really be able to coach with confidence and have a framework about how to be a coach. I didn’t really have that prior to CCP because I was learning how to instruct movement and organize a group of people to make it through a workout. I needed a way to think about individuals and how to coach individuals. Over time, I was more and more invested in that system – not only training myself, but training athletes/clients under an individualized methodology.

On the business side, I needed to seek out a business model that could support that and align everything. I’ve been working towards the individual design model for a long time and when OPEX launched their licensing program, I knew I wanted to be one of the first adopters in order to truly learn how to do the system correctly and learn how to do it right from the beginning.

There are a lot of good companies providing good workouts, but they’re not really providing the full client experience because they’re not listening to the client’s life or needs and addressing those life needs with their program, their prescription.

What would you say is your greatest area of personal development as an athlete, coach, OPEX gym owner?

Learning to look within myself for most of the answers. There are people I go to for guidance, but ultimately I’m going to be the one that walks that path to whatever solution or new revelation. I think it’s something James Fitzgerald really held strongly to when we first started together.

He said “hey man, this is your journey and I’m here to guide you. Here’s some of the principals, here’s the program. If you fail, you fail. If you succeed, you succeed – like, I didn’t do it for you.”

That’s the thing that’s help me the most, I recognize when I’ve made mistakes. I don’t look outside myself to point fingers.

What role does social media play in your ongoing evolution of being an athlete, coach, gym owner?

Before social media, I started sharing my story through a blog. That’s how James Fitzgerald used to have his clients provide results – you had a blog where you put all your results so he could go look at it. That transitioned to me using social media. I thought, I’m going to influence people, connect with clients and I’m going to try to lead by example by cataloging the journey.

It’s really been an authentic sharing – here’s my training and here are some things about my life and I think that’s how people can grow – through training, through commitment to training you’ll learn so many things.

I also know that with a bigger following, I can influence more people and I can share more concepts, I can bring more value to the business at home and from the world wide community and I can support my coaches better. I have 100K+ followers that trust that I’m giving out good content and then they explore beyond just grabbing free information off Instagram – it’s definitely become a more thoughtful process over the past six months.

What are you goals for the next training year? Do you have plans to make another run for the CrossFit Games?

My goals for this coming season are the same as they have always been.

To attempt to elevate my fitness to the highest level it can be in the context of my current life. With that said, my life has changed dramatically. I have a 5 month-old baby girl who is growing and changing every day. The demands she places on my life are new and unpredictable. I don’t know what the future holds in terms of ability to commit to the training required to be a top level competitor in the sport. That is going to be my 2018 discovery. How much can I dedicate to this sport in order to be one of the best without sacrificing my family, work, and personal life balance?

My years of sacrificing everything for the sole purpose of getting to the Games are over. 

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