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Big ups to Josh Howey and Danielle Worden!

Josh finished 4th in the state for wraastling and Danielle finished 3rd in the state for powerlifting

Entries in play (5)

Campus Improv Workout - Danielle in South America

This morning at mobility, David Saporito let it be known that Danielle is on the trading block based on 1) her being in Coasta Rica and 2) him watching The 72 Most Dangerous Animals in South America special on Netflix. But from the looks of it, Woorden is doing just fine on her school trip.

Before she left, I told her to make it a goal of doing 7 workouts over the course of the 10 days she was there. But the catch was it only counts as a workout if there was no formal exercise - meaning it can't include things like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, or presses. It had to be informal, natural movements like hiking, trail running, moving stuff, swimming, etc. Here's a picture she sent yesterday of her playing soccer with some elementary school kids.

Gyms and fitness centers were invented only once the picture above and other activities like it stopped becoming common in our daily lives - and notice the word daily. Play, even at adulthood, should be an every day thing. If it was, the Champions Club would be out of business.

I think I have said it here on the site before, but if the most athletic thing you do during your day is a deadlift, you did not have a very productive day. We spend so much time in our little bubble of strength and conditioning that we often find it hard to create workouts that don't involve push-ups and air squats. If you cut the grass with a push mower, you worked out. If you laid down some mulch, you did a workout. If you played a game of pickup basketball, you worked out. The more of these little things we can add to our lives, the more effective our gym workouts become; instead of just trying to undo all the sedentarism (is that a word?) throughout the day, we can then actually add to our fitness.

Danielle is a competitive powerlifter, and her job is to focus on very robotic movements. And it turns out she's probably top-20 in the state of Michigan at it. But the picture above gives her a chance to showcase what that formal stuff has done for her. She's in a pistol shape right now. Her foot is not pointed straight forward. Her shin is not vertical. And both of her shoulders are slouched forward. That is perfectly okay for the time being! The more she practices those safe principles in the controlled environment of the gym, the less likely they'll be a problem outside the gym. In the meantime, she gets to work on her coordination, change of direction, reaction, and strategy. In other words, she's developing her athleticism. Controlling the soccer ball coming at her - even against elementary school kids - is way more athletic than anything she's done in CrossFit or Powerlifting. A good balance of both is what we need!

Do First, Ask Questions Later

My sister, Sarah, is absolutely ridiculous on the piano. As I was helping clean up around the house yesterday, I saw a stapled pile of papers filled with song titles written in Sarah's handwriting; I recognized a few (Changes by Tupac, Be by Common, Everything I Am by Kanye West), and the others were in some language that Senora Peterson did not cover in Spanish class. They were all songs Sarah could play on piano, and over the years she would entertain family and friends sitting on that little bench, hitting the perfect notes on the electric keyboard. There was one part none of us could wrap our heads around, though:

She never took a lesson. Not a single one.

Now, you have seen me bobbing my head off-rhythm here in the gym or trying to sing along so a song, and you'll know I have zero musical talent. My dad has less than I do. My mom can sing in church, but that's about it. So we can assume Sarah doesn't get her music ability from the genetic lottery. But when we were young my mom get her that electric keyboard for Christmas. And Sarah just played, and played, and played, until she just figured out how to make it sound good.


I am a professional coach; I make my living coaching. If people didn't want/need me to show them how to do something, I would probably be living in a van down by the river. So my ability to make money entirely depends on people not being Sarah and figuring out how to do something on their own. Still, I think there needs to be more of that.

I try to build it into the Champions Club. In 2014, I kind of changed my coaching philosophy while I was doing the Day Care CrossFit thing. My goal became to help you guys to the point where you move really, really well without anyone coaching you; the main reason you come back to the gym over and over being for the community. It's really a never-ending process, but the shift away from being dependant on someone telling you what to do was a major change for me. It required me to be more hands-off and not fix things right away, but let you see if you can fix them yourself (assuming it's not an immediate safety issue). So far I like what I see, and I notice this most in the relaxed warmups when you are talking and moving at the same time.

I have also been doing a lot of private basketball coaching on the side, and this is where Sarah playing the piano really came into mind. I've had 34 people message me since the end of June, 14 of them have come in to do sessions with me, and I would consider ongoing private basketball sessions not being a waste of money for like 4 of the 14 kids. The other 10 just need to play, man. Buy a basketball, find a hoop, and just figure it out - especially if you are just competing at the rec level. But in talking to them, I also find that not only are they doing private lessons for basketball, but other things as well. In fact, one kid I coach does private lessons for basketball (with me), hockey, violin, and math. I don't want to judge the parents without understanding the motives, but when I get messages like this...

...I just wonder if any of them remember what it was like to be a young kid learning a new skill. I do, and it generally did not come from ongoing private lessons. It came from watching someone do something, then spending hours trying to emulate it. Then when I got to a sticking point, I would go to the private lesson route (in this case, it was my dad). This would go for basketball, football, or anything else.


Whille the weather is still nice, make an effort to learn a new skill. It can be something as simple as taking a normal habit and doing it a different way, like throwing a football with your left hand or going for a run on a trail instead of your normal sidewalk route. And most of all, enjoy the learning process. Once we finish school, we often forget how to be students. It doesn't come from someone telling you what to do, but it comes from actually doing; feedback based on feel is always more permanent than feedback that is told to you. So just play and figure it out as you go!

Play Time Revisited

As I've stated a couple times before, Play is one of the most important components of training - especially with the Champions Club. Whether we like to admit it our not, we are all addicts to structure (if you weren't, you probably wouldn't be training with us.) This can be mostly found in how we move. Play time takes a lot of structure out of the equation and challenges out movement in that way. Also, it can give us a mental break where we don't have to think any more, we just recact. I've created a new Category called Play Time and I'm working on putting out previous posts in that category. But for now, here's what the Freaks came up with for Today.

Elizabeth vs. Ricky: The Handstand War


Simon Says/King of the Hill Hanging Game

And the cool thing is a lot of you are developing that "switch" where you can instantly become more serious and concentrated. And as long as we keep moving well like this... on.


"Let Go of Your Limits and Expectations"

I found this video on the Evolve, Move, Play website today. Just watch.

Play Time

Play is a very important part of overall fitness and coordination. After the max effort workout yesterday, Ryan and I messed around with some variations of dumbbell clean & jerks. Here's what we came up with.