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Congratulations to Katie Shakes: Athlete of the Summer 2016

See her feature editorial here.

Lifts 4 Gifts Update: A Little Limbo

Hey kids

Right now Jarrod and I are trying to work on some final plans on Lifts 4 Gifts. There was a little miscommunication (mostly on my part) and he's attempting to rework some things on his gym's end. If all goes well, we'll have the event and the format ready for Saturday, December 17.

I should have a definitive answer ready by this weekend. So please do your best to check the site a few times on Saturday and Sunday because we'll most likely require a signup.

Thanks and stay posted!

Workout Notes: 1 RM Deadlifts

There are corners of the workout universe that say doing a 1 rep max is virtually pointless. In fact, our affiliate big brother, Brand X, believes that kids and parents should never do a 1 rep max.

In May 2015, I got slammed from Jacob in the comments for our lack of 1 rep max days and I gave it right back to him. It turns out he was wrong; we had to wait exactly 17 months before we did Deadlift 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 again, not the 16 he had suggested. I'll give you that one friend. Good call, for real!

We did GHD sit-ups on Tuesday. 150 of them. That counts for about double what we usually allow for in workouts. Most of you cringed with pain every time your laughed, sneezed, or yawned today. It was funny for me to watch but no doubt the thought of doing 1 rep max deadlifts did not seem ideal today. Or any day depending on who you are. Then this happened.

What does this tell us? Programming is a total freaking mystery.


I was so proud of what I saw today. The only people who didn't officially pr were either people we held back on purpose (Auggie, Carey, Z, Shakes, Sabal, Jackie) or are brand new and don't have numbers to base off (Dennis, Hadley/Erik, Mikey, Mr. Fitz). Better yet, this was a form day. Shannon and I were literally nitpicking everything we possibly could from hips moving first to chin out of line to making too much noise when the bar touched the ground. We allowed for zero movement of the spine - with the exception of Rachael's carrot that she fixed afterwards at 225-lbs. Nothing I can think of would make sense for any pr's or good lifts to happen today, but we just focused on quality as usual and let the form dictate the weight. Something was going right.

And let's be straight, these are not professional powerlifting numbers. These are not professional CrossFitter numbers. These are just damn good numbers with absolutely flawless form from people that dabble in deadlifts once in awhile. I'm good with that.

We are building habits. We are passing you on. The stuff we did today is going to help you on Elizabeth next week, Lifts 4 Gifts (assuming Jarrod and I figure that out), and 17 months from now when we do Deadlift 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 again. But most importantly, when these habits become your permanent default, then we really get to have fun! That's why the Kavanaughs and Banets and JZ and Ricky and Murley and Lauren can pick back up after a hiatus so quickly, and it's also why they get to go faster, heavier, and more creative. When great form is a given, we can do our thing. For some people like Ashley Fry, that process is much quicker than someone like Carter the Blob. But everyone in attendance put some good quality time on that end.

Well done. Now let's fo it again.

New Kid on the Block: Emmanuel

I hinted at it in the Coach T post, but now it's official; Emmanuel Myles has signed up for Fundamentals and is currently four days in.

Emmanual is a senior at Warren Mott and came into Fundamentals with a very solid base of movement practice from his time in Coach T's Lifetime Fitness classes. He was born in Canada, raised in Jamaica, moved back to Canada for his freshman year in high school, then moved to Warren as a sophomore where he began his time at Mott. While football is his favorite sport, he is a standout in track & field where he was our 2nd best 400m runner and best long jumper last year.

This spring he hopes to make a run at the school record in the 400 and qualify for States. So far in the Fundamentals sessions, we have been fine-tuning the things he's learned in T's class. The main points of focus have been head position and knee wobbles. He fixes things quickly and this has led us to being able to combine sessions. He should be done with Day 8 before we know it.

Pass it On

Shannon went to a USA Track & Field coaches clinic about two weeks ago and came back with some rather interesting points. The one that caught my attention the most was how the top track coaches view the youth running community in general. From what Shannon relayed to me, they believe most coaches train their athletes to WIN NOW; win this meet, then win Regionals, then win at States, then win at this dinky off-season indoor thing, and so on.

Instead, a coach's mentality should be to pass their kids on to the next coach.

Now, whether or not the USATF programming is doing such a thing is a different story, but the main idea is something that really clicked for me with how I have coached track in the past, and how I coach you guys at the Champions Club.

Brian and I were really in sync during our time coaching track in the sense that nobody cares about winning the Cabrini dual meet in April, or the Royal Oak Relays. We cared about the Williamston Invitational, Regionals, and States; Williamston was the reality check, Regionals was the benchmark, and States was the fine-tuning. It was not a big deal that our kids didn't run particularly well at the early meets and practices, we had a bigger vision in mind and it paid off literally every single time the athlete bought it.

Due to the success I've had there and in other areas as a coach and athlete, I approach the Champions Club the same way. But instead of passing you on to the next coach, I pass you on to your future self and my future self, and I think this is something that needs a reminder every now and then.

I coach you guys with the mindset of, "A month from now am I going to have to undo the crap I let you get away today?" Or, "two years from now are you going to hit a dead end with this technique I let slide?"

This can be frustrating at times (and seemingly contradictory to the Quote of the Week below) because it often means sacrificing weight or intensity on the day's workout. But understand if that particular day's workout was our end goal, the training would look totally different. Coach T helped me realize we are in the profession of developing lifetime fitness. There are always exceptions (Matt training on a time-crunch for an upcoming race, Benchmark Workouts, Lifts 4 Gifts, etc.) but the priority of a good training program needs to be long-term sustainability. Can you train for today and get away with it? Absolutely. Will it catch up with you? Inevitably; the rate it does just depends on your tolerance and natural gifts. We believe it's best to accept this and use the understanding of movement and programming we have to pass yourself on to yourself. Trust me, you'll be happy you did. And I will not be a cranky elf.

Mrs. Fitz: tire burpees on Monday passing on good landing position

Quote of the Week vol. 169

"Keep you mind where your feet are"

- Kirk Herbstreit. College Football Playoff Selection Show

College Kids Christmas Letter

Hey College Kids,

You are probably sitting in class right now wondering what your professor is blabbering about, why you chose the major you did, and if there is a way out of it. Sadly, there is not. But good news is it will all be over soon. You'll be laying in your bed at home catching up on 4 months of lost sleep ready to let your body decompose into the sheets. Then you'll wake up feeling guilty about it, but you are in a peculiar situation. If you choose to remain in bed you'll hear my nagging voice telling you to get off your butt and get back into the gym, but if you make the effort to come back you'll hear Mr. Carey pointing out "HEY WHO'S THE NEW KID?" Either option means ridicule and judgement. But only one option comes with a side effect of this:

You can't say no to Mrs. Pip, can you? Imagine how sad she would be if she didn't get to see you again. She works all day cleaning floors and bathrooms of disgusting gym, only to come into the Champions Club to hear me yell at her feet coming apart, or shoulders being stuck in park. She is the sweetest woman on this side of the Mississippi (unlike that Carey lass whom clings onto her bootstraps) and all she asks is to get a few weeks to reunite with the kids she's seen grow up in this gym for the past six years.

You can't say no to Mrs. Pip, can you? (Did I ask that already?)


A few things are different since the last time you guys probably came around. Carter has muscles, first of all. Like, actual muscles that don't look like bones. Shannon is coaching and is doing really well. We have black rubber floor kind of. Mrs. Carey got her first pull-up. Rachael Kroll is a beast (not new) and slightly more recognized for it. JZ is not quite nice... but I wouldn't call him mean any more. We have a kid from Jamaca and a crew of younger kids who are progressing nicely. Hollow holds are becoming a thing more than hollow rocks. There is a pumpkin full of suckers and other candy on the desk. Right behind it, we have an AED handy should the warmup be too much for Katie Bromm to handle.

Mrs. Carey brought in these little aroma things you plug into the wall that slightly neutralizes Dawson's bodily odor. Arlene is giving out free dance lessons. Maria is officially mad at the world. Mr. Z got his hearing checked (sike!) Murley is ready to spontaneously combust at any moment as result of overbooking herself. The Christmas Workout will happen as usual. Lifts 4 Gifts will be here (still working on the format). And most importantly, Crawford randomly brings in giant cakes for everyone to eat. The chocolate raspberry one was glorious.

Needless to say, I hope you guys will make it back here during your time at home. As we've done before, the cost will be $20 to cover your entire break if you were a Summer 2016 member in good standing ($30 for all others in good standing). The schedule will also be adjusted at some point to include a mid-morning session so you can still sleep in a bit. Please make note of the Dinner Table Rule if you are around a younger crowd and be patient with form and weight as you always are.

Have a good end to the semester and hope to see you soon. Do it for Mrs. Pip!

- Chris

New Graduate: Avery

We spent some time in the warmup today going over rope climb technique. In specific, we worked on the hips moving before the arms and coming down without burning your legs. At the 7 pm session, recent Fundamentals graduate Avery Maslowski got about 1/4 of the way up during the technique portion, so I figured she might have a chance during the warmup.

On the 3rd round, she finally got the rhythm of the feet and hips and made her way up to the top for the first time.

Good job Avery! Keep being patient with the technique!