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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Entries in seminar (6)

CFJ Feature: You're the vanguard

One of the things I've been a big fan of is the somewhat recent change-of-direction from CrossFit HQ to veer away from a CrossFit Games bias and lean towards the overall general health bias. Every day I look up on the main site and see a story about someone reversing their diabetes, heart disease, or cancer from the combination of CrossFit and good nutrition (primarily the good nutrition).

Another thing that's been under way is te all-doctor Level-1 Seminars. I'm trying to nudge Sabal to going - seeing as they're free - but most of them have been on the west coast so far. The hope is that by reaching one doctor at a time, a slow change can be made in the public health field. Here's a clip from Coach Glassman at a recent seminar.

Quote of the Week vol. 211

"What. Why. What."

- Pat Barber

Pat Barber is one of the CrossFit OGs; he went from being a kid hanging around the original Santa Cruz gym, to the camera guy at all the Level-1 Seminars, to moving his wayup the ranks to the HQ staff and affiliate owner. Over the weekend he was part of this webinar I signed up for giving affiliate owners access to some great minds in the fitness business community. One of the main ideas Pat shared was his progressions for dealing with problems in the gym (movement or business related).

What. The first thing that needs to be diagnosed is simply, what the hell is actually going on? As simple as this sounds, this requires both honesty and knowledge. This "what" could be as simple as knees are caving in to complex as these two people are not getting along.

Why. The next thing to think about is, why is this happening? This requires some time to reflect, and that time might be 2 days, 2 minutes, or 2 seconds. Either way, this is an important step that cannot be jumped.

What. Finally we take action, but this action comes from us. The last step is, what am I going to do about it? Not what is that person going to do about it, or what is my boss going to do about it. Good things happen when we take ownership of every part we can control.

So this is a pretty cool checklist to go through in your head any time you see something that could be considered a problem. If this sounds familiar, check Observe. Understand. Judge.

Fine-Tuning the Hollow Rock w/ Carl Paoli

Carl Paoli has always said that the best way to advance as an athlete is to master the basics. In the pursuit of this, there is a stage where it gets very boring and repititive, but if you can move past that, you will fine small details that will usually end up being interesting and will make you want to learn more.

The Hollow Rock is literally the easiest thing we do. It's the first thing we cover in Fundamentals with the new people. But the more I learn about it, the more I can use it to challenge intermediate athletes and expose flaws in beginners.

In a rare extended video, Carl demonstrates at one of his seminars how missing one element of the hollow rock can lead to missing key points in other movements. Click the link below.

Making Change Coaching Hollow Rock


Myth of Stress Workshop Official Signup

Hey kids, Andy would like to get a pretty close estimate of how many people are going to be at the seminar this Friday. So please post to comments if you will be attending. The workshop will last from 5 pm until around 7 pm. Come prepared with questions either from the book, or your own experience.

Hopefully we can get another turnout like our last two guests...

Late Night Bliss Meets Jesse Eisenberg Logic

It is 1:20 am on Thursday night (or technically Friday morning). I just finished reading over a portion of the CrossFit Level 1 Study Guide I still have from 5 years ago. In a matter of 30 hours, I will be paying 500 bucks to take a seminar I have already successfully completed. It will be taught by people in a position that I turned down three years ago so I could start the CrossFit Athletic Group. At the conclusion there will be a test that I have to take that will determine the outcome of the seminar, my status as a CrossFit trainer, and our legitimacy as an affiliate; a test so difficult, so challenging, so rigorous... that Amy Potter passed it.

Thus breeds the universal comments regarding lack of quality in the CrossFit Certification system.

The first time I took my Level 1, I did not study the course material. I did not prepare. And the only notes I took from the lectures were funny quotes by Pat Sherwood such as, "Running breeds cowardice," and "Legumes are protein for 3rd world countries." I was a very good CrossFitter at the time and very below average coach - considering I didn't really coach that much. But I knew the material being covered like clockwork because I had already been CrossFitting four-and-a-half years thanks to Brian the Trainer. So instead of focussing on the material presented at the seminar, I took the opportunity to watch the best in the community show off. Not athletes, but coaches. Pat Sherwood. Jon Gilson. EC Synkowski. Joe Alexander. Joe DeGain - I had a dream team staff.

I also got to show off what I could do. As the youngest person in attendance (20 years old), I had been CrossFitting the longest out of anyone in the building not named Pat Sherwood. I also performed the best Fran time out of anyone in attendance (2:51 with having to redo three of my pull-ups due to my chin not being over the bar).

Needless to say, the CrossFit Level 1 seminar was the best CrossFit experience I had up to that point.

Then I found out about Kelly Starrett, who then told the world about Carl Paoli. And then I got to meet Dr. Romanov in person and be a student at one of his seminars. Then we got to meet Carl. Then we got to meet Kelly. Then I had a different opinion about the "other" CrossFit trainers. Yes, they were still good (Pat Sherwood especially), but it was just not fair. Carl and Kelly are simply in another class of coach. And Dr. Romanov is literally world-class - if Carl and Kelly are not there already. Then over time, I began to really downplay everything that was not coming directly from Carl, Kelly, or Dr. R. Still do. Why? Because of the reasons above. Any time spent listening to lower level coaches could be put towards playing catch-up with the Holy Trinity.

So anyway, here I am (now it is 1:44 am) and headed off to pay a month-worth of Fire Alarm Pulling and Accident Report writing at the Day Care to take an Amy-Potter-IQ-Level test administered by a bunch of Not-Carl-Paoli's just so I can keep what is already the best CrossFit affiliate in Michigan open for another five years. There is only one thing I feel right now, and it is running from my massive calves all the way up to my concussed skull:


The event has so much history behind it. Much like entering a storied college football program, I will be representing not only myself and our gym, but also everyone that took this seminar in the past. CrossFit is without a doubt the most revolutionary change in the fitness industry since the Jack LaLane videos your grandparents used to watch. It is the topic of every conversation. The fuel of every hate-filled blog post. And it started with the nation-wide weekend seminars and the unprecedented quality of coaches it attracted. Before they were household names, they were just random attendees.

I spy: Jeff Martin (founder of CrossFit Kids) - April, 2004

I spy: Kelly Starrett (Founder the Fountain of Youth) - September 2005

I spy: Jarrod (yes, OUR Jarrod) and Chuck Carswell (current HQ coach) - July 2007

I spy: Carl FREAKIN Paoli - May 2008

CrossFit is not the movements. CrossFit is not the workouts. CrossFit is not the Games. CrossFit is the combination of best practices. It is a meeting place for the most quality of quality individuals to gather. They share what they know with the entire community and we apply that in a way that serves our purpose - which is different for every athlete, coach, and gym. This is partly why it is so confusing to me when it gets bashed.

It's like Hip Hop. There will always be Soulja Boy, Plies, and Project Pat (possibly the worst of all time). We might not like them, but it's because they have a different purpose than some of the "better" rappers. And you can't really blame Hip Hop as a whole because the same freedom it gives those mongoloids to scream animal sounds in a microphone is the same freedom it gave Rakim to do Paid in Full, or Nas to be a street poet, or 3 Stacks to flow unique, or Eminem to make fun of homophobes, or Atmosphere to be emo, or Kanye West to speed up old soul tracks, or Lupe Fiasco to do Tetsuo & Youth. While the whack rappers get most of the attention, it's our fault for talking about it - not the rappers themselves or Hip Hop in general. It's the negative stuff that should also make you appreciate the folks who are True in the Game. And for me, reading over the old material is so reassuring. By now, if you really think CrossFit is bad either you are too new to know any better or you’re a moron. Or both.

"The CrossFit methodology depends on full disclosure of methods, results, and criticisms, and we’ve employed the Internet (and various intranets) to support these values. Our charter is open source, making codevelopers out of participating coaches, athletes, and trainers through a spontaneous and collaborative online community. CrossFit is empirically driven, clinically tested, and community developed."

Understanding CrossFit

"There is nothing sacred in this pattern. The magic is in the movements not the routine."

What is Fitness?

"Your needs and the Olympic athlete’s differ by degree not kind."


"Sport plays a wonderful role in fitness. …  It is, after all, the combined expression, or application, of the ten general skills that is our motivation for their development in the first place."

What is Fitness?

"Programming derives from clinical practice and can only be justified or legitimized by the results of that practice."

A Theoretical Template for CrossFit's Programming

"The urge to quickly move away from the basics and toward advanced movements arises out of the natural desire to entertain your client and impress him with your skills and knowledge. But make no mistake: it is a sucker's move"


"We are in pursuit not of money but of excellence. The difference, we believe, is the difference between success and failure. The pursuit of excellence is the heart of our business plan."

Scaling Professional Training

Seriously, what is there to argue about this?

The CrossFit community is still a very small bubble. And that contributes to both the unreal access you have to the best coaches in the world, and the unfortunate access to countless anonymous no-names who feel significant when someone reads what they have to say. There is also one more class; these are relatively well-known coaches/athletes who go out of their way to bash CrossFit. There are typically three grounds  for this bashing:

  1. They don't understand the "apply CrossFit in a way that serves a specific purpose" part.
  2. They were once associated with CrossFit and have since been fired - most likely due to #1.
  3. They need website hits and serve up click-bait (both online and real-life) to a bored and lazy audience.

I have never paid it any mind and never will. Bottom line, if you were actually significant in the world of fitness, you'd be with CrossFit.


I will not be posting a review for two reasons. First, they ask us to do it on the main page so I will. Secondly, because I already know how it’s gonna go: Awesome! I’ll disagree with a lot. Agree with a lot. Learn plenty of new things. Reaffirm old ideals. Try to beg my way out of doing Fran. And get to watch the next generation of HQ coaches grow in front of my eyes. And I’ll be more than happy to pay money to support something that allows for this…

…to happen.

A Night to Remember pt. 2

Big shout to Kelly Starrett and Roop for coming out to visit us tonight. Photo gallery can be seen here.

Kelly shown here talking to Amy about the concept of missing internal shoulder rotation when she is swiming.

Post your thoughts on the night to comments.