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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Entries in chris farley (2)

The Thing About Time Constraints

While brainstorming this post, I came up with three ideas for an intro and could not pick which one would fit best. So I’ll just do all three. Well, four if you include this one. But yeah, three from here on out. Use whichever one grabs your attention the most.

There are lots of bad things a teacher can say to you. “Can we talk after class?” is the universal bad news precursor. An unexpected, “Clear off your desk except for a pen,” means you should have been doing the homework readings. And, “Turn your card!” still brings back that horrible day in second grade when I accidentally went to the bathroom without permission. I cried.

Still, there is absolutely nothing in school, and maybe the world, worse than, “Now you all paid for a 4-hour class, so I want to make sure you get your money’s worth.”



Kanye West gave an interview back in the 808s & Heartbreak era where he said something along the lines of, “True art is something that can’t be subtracted from any more.” Fast forward almost a decade and he’s just released a string of 5 albums in 5 consecutive weeks for himself, Kid Cudi, Nas, Pusha T, and Teyana Taylor that might prove to be the most paradigm-shifting collective piece of work since Graduation. The new albums only have 7 songs each, and none of the individual songs follow the traditional 3 minutes and 30 seconds, 3-16s and 4 hooks format that gets radio play. Most songs are 2 minutes and some change. A few are 5-7 minutes. One doesn’t even have a hook, but just talks about him killing his wife, yet somehow sounds way more polite than when Eminem tried it in 2001.

Premeditated murder aside, all 5 albums are fantastic! There’s no filler tracks, no added parts on songs to make them radio-friendly, no extended intros, outros, or skits. Each song is done when it’s done; that is to say when the mood and message have been delivered. “All Mine” took 2:26 to do that, “REBORN” took 5:25 and is just the same hook over and over again. Yet these two, and every song on each album are not confined by anything. I would not quite call this collection “true art” based on Kanye’s definition, but maaaaaannnnn they are close.


Dude, go back and reread On Elegance by Pat Sherwood.


Teaching (and therefore coaching) is part mechanical and part artistry. The mechanics of it have to do with best practices, progressions, and management. The art of it comes when prescribing doses; exactly how much coaching does this person need at this exact moment? Trying to find that line and not go over it is the art of coaching, and each coach should be on a constant, relentless pursuit of subtracting unnecessary things out of their practice.

Scenario 1 – track practice

I am standing in front of a high school track team of 65 kids; complete mix of long distance, mid distance, and sprinters. Even a few throwers. We need to 1) get them something resembled to sweating before the workout and 2) keep on the reinforcement tip with technique, little piece by little piece every day. Their attention span is limited because everyone’s is, and some kids are only there because their friends are there, and have no desire to run at all. So going through my head, I need to figure out what would be the least amount of coaching in as few words as possible in order to get the things we need accomplished.

First we need to organize the layout in a way where the “good kids” – meaning ones who care, sometimes fast, sometimes not – can lead the drills and demos and everyone else can follow by example. So lines of 10(ish), starting at the 20-yard line and working our way back to the endzone, gradually progressing from good kids in front to shit kids in the back. As the front row kids demo, I walk from line to line making small, concise corrections to individual athletes.

Next is finding exactly what stuff to cover for technique. The entire team follows Pose (which is art, by the way, as it cannot be reduced) and as I watch the drills, I try to decide which specific area of Pose needs to be emphasized. I notice it’s one of those days where it’s all bad, but still I pick 1, and I pick the Number-4 position – the one thing all runners go through whether they want to or not. They don’t seem to have a desire to run fast, so a falling emphasis would not be the way to go, and since the pulling is designed to reclaim the Number-4 Runner’s Pose anyway, let’s just keep it simple and keep our attention on that.

As the practice progresses, I constantly look for ways to refine what will be taught, and only let words out of my mouth that need to be said and can’t be communicated any other way. I save most of my words for important post-practice discussions like who is hot among the rappists on Soundcloud.

Scenario 2 – 60 burpees for time in August

We follow at the Champions Club, and instead of doing 50 bar muscle-ups for time, on this horrible August day we decided to do 60 burpees for time instead. Our 9 am session has 15 people: a few high school kids, a few college kids, and even a Mrs. Kroll sighting. Our warmup had couple exercises listed on the board, and after the first hollow rock everyone was in a full sweat. But we carried on knowing what was coming soon. Then we did a mobility for the hips to help the landing position, went over the bowing technique on the burpee with feet together, translate it to feet apart, then do one more shoulder mobility to prep for all the push-ups. 7 minutes later everyone was flat on the ground and we saw great scores across the board. I looked up at the time and it was 9:40.

“All right kids, that’s about it,” I said. “Get a little cool-down walk or something; I’ll be here for another 20 minutes if anyone needs anything. Otherwise once you get your stuff on the board and walk, you’re all good!”

Scenario 3 – Max effort back squats

Workout of the Day: Back squat 3-3-3-3-3-3-3 reps

At the 4:30 pm session, we get an unexpected influx of 13 people – which is a big session for us.

Everyone has pretty good form, but it’s just a little chaotic. I let the warmup drag on a bit too long because everyone was socializing, and it took a little extra time to decide how to split up our 5 squat racks.

Then in the middle of it, I found a session-wide thing that we needed to improve on. So I stopped the lifting for a bit to address it. Next thing I know it’s 5:20 and we still need to get more lifts in. I go from rack to rack, instructing to either go up, down, or keep the weight the same. Avery finally got it! She kept her arches on the transition between down and up, and doesn’t even have to look at her feet to do so! We can finally start moving up past 65-lbs. I look up and the clock says 5:28.

“5:30 kids, we’re probably going to start a little bit late, so hang tight”

I know Avery is not going to be able to work up to a true 3 rep max on the spot, but I do want her to experience lifting a few sets that would actually seem heavy for three reps. A one-hour time constraint is not going to stop this from happening.


Exact time keeping is important in certain areas of life (track and field, marines, Super Mario, etc.) but for the most part the hours and minute hands are there on a clock as a general point of reference. When someone says, “I’ll be there in 5 minutes,” you are assuming they’ll be arriving soon enough, so don't take care of your business. If your little cousin’s birthday party starts at 11 am, you are not going to blow through a red light just to avoid getting there at 11:02.

In the professional world, this also varies from place to place. If you scheduled a half hour consultation with a potential client, you would not cut off mid-sentence when clock beeps for 30-minutes. On the other hand, if your teacher is going to mark you tardy for having half your body outside the class when the bell rings, then by all means push over anyone necessary to avoid detention. In the world of being a CrossFit coach, I think it is fair to make yourself available for an hour at each session, and a one-hour session is a good, general timeframe to advertise. We just have to know not to be slaves to that one hour. Above all else, we should strive to never put out a crappy product. When we are trying to fill time at the end, or cram stuff in, it usually turns out like crap. So don’t do that! Let things be done when they’re done.

Poll: Lively or Unlively Lecture?

So here's the scenario:

You are forced to attend either a class, business presentation, high school assembly, or any other group meeting thing. You don't want to be there but are forced to for various reasons: job, school, church, etc. Would you rather have:

An overly passive presenter (does nothing to engage audience, puts you to sleep)


An overly active presenter (tries to be funny, awkwardly includes the audience)