Month: June 2016

CrossFit Culinary Ninja: Beyond a Bland Bowl of Broccoli

Chef Nick Massie teaches athletes how to mix their macros for delicious fare that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Phillip Gomez used to suffer from mageirocophobia—the fear of cooking.

“I thought cooking was hard. I didn’t know how to cook, so it seemed like a waste of money because I figured I’d mess it up,” said Gomez, a police officer and coach at Turn 2 CrossFit in Murrieta, California.

“It was scary and unknown. I didn’t even have time to think about making anything in the kitchen, never mind prepping large portions for the week. So I didn’t do it. I didn’t want to have any part of it.”

Gomez also avoided cooking because healthy foods—which he tried to eat—just didn’t taste that good. He knew food was essential for survival, health and athletic performance, but eating didn’t excite him, he explained.

That changed when he and wife Michelle Gomez took CrossFit’s inaugural Culinary Ninja Specialty Course in April 2016 at CrossFit Del Mar in San Diego, California.

The CrossFit Specialty Course Culinary Ninja is designed to give you confidence in the kitchen while you learn the basics of balanced recipe development as informed by CrossFit’s nutrition principles. Click here for more information and a list of upcoming courses.


Assessing and Improving Front Rack Mobility with Dave Tilley

General stretching is ok and all but if that’s all you do, then you’re likely not getting the most return from precious time you spend to do your mobility work.

Doing general stretching, mobility drills and soft-tissue work without first assessing where you actually have problems is the “shotgun” approach. You may hit the target but your efforts will be so spread that you’ll only make a bit of actual impact. To make a big difference, it’s gonna take a lot of shotgunning. Which means more time and effort on your part. Not to mention, it may just be flat out dangerous or even counter-productive. Especially if you’re doing things that may end up causing more pain and problems in the long run.

The opposite approach would be to assess range of motion and pinpoint where you are limited so you can target and focus your mobility work to addressing those issues with the right stretches, drills and soft-tissue work. This would be the “sniper” approach.


Doug Mobility | Barbell Shrugged

Mobility work should be focused and targeted to maximize return and minimize liability

Knowing how to assess movement is half the battle but it’s not obvious. You’re going to have to do some learning if you want to be able to help yourself or help others.

During the Power Monkey camp, we were fortunate enough to spend some time with Dave Tilley, DPT of Shift Movement Science who walked me through an assessment he uses to gauge front rack mobility. It turns out, I have quite a few restrictions that are keeping me from getting a good full-grip during the front rack. Dave walked me through the entire process along with what specific mobility and soft-tissue drills are used to address these restrictions which I continue to use to improve my mobility.

Watch Dave Tilley assess and improve my front rack mobility :

This was just one of the many assessments Dave and Dan cover in their guide Monkey Method: Movement Essentials.

Monkey Method Movement Essentials

Use the code “Shrugged” at checkout to save 20% here

In this guide, they go over tests for ankle, thoracic spine, hip, wrist, and shoulder mobility as well as specifically how to improve range of motion for those joints.  Everything’s really simple and easy to follow along with video explanation and demonstration.

It’s a solid resource that I definitely recommend checking out.


For more: 

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How to Address Painful Movement w/ Dr. Dave Tilley and Dr. Dan Pope – Episode 216

Audio Version: Itunes

This week we interviewed Dave Tilley and Dan Pope, both doctors of physical therapy and all around fitness badasses.

I met Dave and Dan several years ago at the first power monkey camp I ever attended.

Dan did some work on me and since then I have always trusted his advice and opinions on any subject that involves movement. There’s nothing better than getting work done from someone who trains in the same sport as you and fully understands what you are trying to accomplish and trying to avoid.

For years I was telling the old crew how badly we needed to interview these two guys, so I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. I was blown away with the amount of knowledge they have and how well they can communicate fairly complex movement topics to the non expert.

They have a really simple way of analyzing and assessing movement and then communicating with the client how important it is and what simple things they can do to help work on it. But most importantly it’s very obvious how much they both know, yet remain open-minded and refused to act like they “know it all “

Being around experts in their field, even though they would probably never call themselves an “expert”, is so refreshing because we know that they are continuously trying to learn and hear an experiment with new methods. In this episode we talk about how important it is to remain open-minded in the field of movement and mobility because there is so much about the human body that is complex and remains unknown. A dogmatic approach is never way when it comes to continuously expanding your knowledge in the fitness world.

I hope you enjoy and be sure to check out the new product they just created.

Monkey Method Movement Essentials

Use the code “Shrugged” at checkout to save 20% here

I went through the whole thing cover to cover, watched every video, and I will use this resource for a very long time. It is a very simple and easy way to start with some basic assessment principles when it comes to strength, stability, mobility, and control. Along with a massive list of movements that can help correct these issues. If you have zero experience in assessment and designing accessory work in your programs, I think this is a great starting point if you want to start moving better yourself or for your clients.




For more: 


The post How to Address Painful Movement w/ Dr. Dave Tilley and Dr. Dan Pope – Episode 216 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

Affiliate Roundup, Part 6: “Hiring a Coach”

It takes more than just a Level 1 Certificate to run a successful CrossFit affiliate. In this series, learn about the various ways affiliate owners and trainers evolve and plan as they work to lead the fitness industry.

In Part 5, the conversation continues as CrossFit Inc.’s Tyson Oldroyd discusses hiring new coaches with Pat Burke of MBS CrossFit, CrossFit Verve founders Matt and Cherie Chan, Nicole Christensen of CrossFit Roots, and David Tittle of CrossFit Low Oxygen.

In addition to discussing onboarding processes, the six debate whether it’s better to hire from the outside or develop someone in the gym community.

Matt Chan recommends finding an athlete others in the gym gravitate toward and sending him or her to the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course. That’s the first step in developing a good trainer, he says.

Tittle says the most important thing is “finding somebody that cares” and is passionate.

Christensen agrees: “It’s the person that’s passionate about CrossFit in regard to helping others.”

Video by Mike Koslap.

5min 23sec

Additional audio: “CrossFit Radio Episode 311” by Justin Judkins, published Jan. 4, 2014.

Zone Vs. Macros: Accounting for Fat in Protein

Tracking the amount of food you eat is key to accomplishing health, performance or aesthetic goals. While the Zone has been a staple in CrossFit, macronutrient (macro) tracking has become increasingly popular. Both programs require eating a prescribed amount of food every day, but caloric totals rarely match when the exact same meals are evaluated in each system.

This brief neither criticizes nor applauds either system, nor does it discuss how much of each macronutrient someone should eat. Instead, this brief demonstrates and explains the differences in caloric measurement between the two systems so athletes can optimize their approaches.

Training Tips: From Wreck to Recovery

Shane Upchurch explains what he learned about CrossFit training and coaching while recovering from a 2015 motorcycle accident.

On Aug. 8, 2015, I was hit on my motorcycle by a box truck that ran a red light. I suffered degloving of my lower left leg, three displaced ribs, a bruised lung and swelling of the brain. I spent one month in a hospital and underwent a free flap transplant to my lower left leg, a crainiotomy and a few other smaller operations.

After I was released from the hospital, I spent about five weeks on a couch resting. I finally began working with a physical therapist, and in the beginning I mostly rode the Airdyne before doing my therapy homework. After being cleared by my doctors for all activity, I began working my way back to CrossFit-style training. After all, it was arguably this fit lifestyle that helped me bounce back in the first place.

In dealing with my return to CrossFit, I’ve learned a few things I think would be beneficial to other coaches and athletes who are coming back from an injury or even just a lot of time off CrossFit. I narrowed my experiences down to five concepts that have helped me the most.

Great Exercises For Your Grip: Part Two

Here are some of the best exercises to take your grip to the next level.

Towel Chin-up

When both hands grip vertical handles or a towel, the hands and forearms need to work hard to maintain the grip.

Make sure to loop two towels over a stable overhead bar or a pull-up bar, then grab the ends with each hand. Place your arms at shoulder level then start doing chin-ups.

Inverted Row

For this routine, the arms need to be strong enough to support your bodyweight. This exercise is a bit easier compared to the hang or pullup as the feet are on the ground and reduces the weight for the lift.

Take hold of a low bar with an overhand and place your hands at level with the shoulders. Pull the shoulder blades back as you bend the elbows as you pull your chest towards the bar. Pause for a moment and reverse the movement to return to the initial position.

Feet- Elevated Inverted Row

This allows the body to shift more weight on the upper torso to help challenge the grip.

With the same low bar as the Inverted Row, rest both feet on a bench, box or ball.

Hammer Curl

Rest the dumbbells in your palms similar to the hammer version, except that you must grip it tightly to keep it from slipping during the routine.

With a pair of dumbbells, allow them to hang at arm’s length with the palms facing inward. Without moving the upper arms, bend the elbows and curl the dumbbells close to the shoulders, hold, then return back to initial position.

Wrist Curl

This targets the wrist flexors, which are the muscles that form the underside of the forearms. This helps the hands in forming a tight fist and ensures vise-like gripping power.

Use a barbell and grip it with both hands shoulder-width. As you kneel in front of a bench, place the forearms on the bench with the palms facing up. Let the wrists bend backwards from the weight of the barbell and curl the wrists upward as you raise your palms towards your body. Reverse the process and return to the initial position.

Wrist Extension

These focuses on the muscles found on the top of the forearms called the wrist extensors. They help enhance contractions to curl the fingers.

With the same position as the wrist curl, make sure your palms this time are facing down as you grip the barbells. Bend the wrist forward from the wrist of the weight then lift the wrists by raising the back of the hands toward the body. Reverse the move to return to the start position.

Hex Dumbbell Hold

The challenge follows the size of the weight. As you hold the head of the hex dumbbells, the intensity needed to grip the weight is focused on the arm muscles below the elbow.

Grip the top of two hex dumbbells with each hand and hold it between 20 to 60 seconds.

Farmer’s Walk

This routine suggests you move forward loaded with weights. Like dumbbells equal to half of your weight.

Take a pair of heavy dumbbells and let it hang at arm’s length by your sides. Try to walk forward for at least 1 minute while gripping the weights.

Plate Pinch Curl

This will test your gripping strength and endurance as you use the power of your fingers and wrist to pinch the weight plates up and prevent it from dropping to the floor.

Pinch two barbell plates with your thumb and fingers with one at each side. Without moving the upper arms, bend the elbows to curl the weight up to your shoulders, them lower it down to the starting position.

Single Arm Landmine Row

As you grab the thick ends of the barbell with one hand, the weight and gripping surface challenges your fingers to secure the grip.

Take the end of the barbell with one hand then bend at your hips and knees to lower the torso. Pull the bar towards your upper abdominals by bending the elbow, hold for a few seconds and reverse to return to the starting position.

These workouts will surely take your grip to the next level and give your grips the strength it deserves.

Many weight-lifters rely on our revolutionary grip enhancer solution – a water based hydrocellulose thickener that when applied to the hands promote better pole grip, prevents blisters and reduces surface resistance.

It is also biodegradable and does not contain harsh chemicals to harm the user and it works just like chalk, but leaves no mess on the floor or other equipment and easily washes off with soap and water.

Our product is ideal for use in enhancing your grip energy and enjoy more time practicing and building up your gripping strength.

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Coaching Cues & Barbecues w/ Chad Vaughn and Mike Cerbus – Episode 215

Audio Version: iTunes

This week on Barbell Shrugged we take it back to Power Monkey Fitness Camp.

This time we’re on the mics with Chad Vaughn and Mike Cerbus, two very decorated and veteran Olympic Weightlifters and coaches.

Chad has been Weightlifting for 20 years and during that time, racked up 9 National Championships, 2 trips to the Olympic Games (2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing), numerous spots on Pan-American and World teams, and STILL holds the 190 kg (418 lbs) Clean and Jerk American Record in the 77kg weight class. Mike is a 17 year veteran of the sport, earning American Open Championships, 5 National Championship Medals and has earned spots on Pan-American teams.

Both Chad and Mike possess a great deal of experience and knowledge coaching athletes, with Chad on the Power Monkey staff and running his own barbell club, Vaughn Weightlifting and Mike coaching and teaching full-time with Power Monkey.

On this episode we get Mike and Chad’s views on how to use coaching cues. You’ll learn about some specific cues they use for their athletes and themselves, how they use cues, what other types of cues they use while coaching and teaching, and what they’ve learned over the years to make them better and more effective at teaching the lifts. And while our discussion mostly focuses on their use for Olympic Weightlifting, Mike and Chad give some solid advice and insight that could be applied to pretty much any sport.

You’ll also hear what these coaches consider some of the most important aspects of being a coach and some important things all athletes should do when working with a coach, especially in a movement focused and highly technique-based sport like Olympic Weightlifting.

This was definitely one of my favorite interviews of the entire Power Monkey trip and I only wished I had more time to pick their brains. Both these guys possess a huge wealth of knowledge about Weightlifting and coaching and I personally picked up a number of things that I’ve implemented into my own training and coaching.

I hope you can too.




For more: 

Follow Mike and Chad on Instagram: @olychad@mikecerbus

Not having an Olympic Weightlifting club or coach nearby to teach you the Olympic lifts sucks but that isn’t an excuse!

Get the coaching and feedback on your lifts you need to improve your Olympic Weightlifting technique by joining the Flight Weightlifting team.

Go here for more details about joining the Flight team <<

The post Coaching Cues & Barbecues w/ Chad Vaughn and Mike Cerbus – Episode 215 appeared first on Barbell Shrugged.

Surgery Stupidity: Can’t Stomach the “Tummy Tap”

A recent CrossFit Journal editorial on bariatric surgery for weight loss set off a lively debate on Facebook.

The discussion below the June 14 post included a number of comments, including several from an athlete who had bariatric surgery several years ago and uses CrossFit to keep the weight off.

Jen Dawson was offended by the article but later in the thread added a comment that confirms our point: “(Surgery) is just a tool, and if you don’t address the emotional reasons, most people won’t have long term success.”

Quite simply, surgery is the last tool you want to use. It’s not about fat shaming, nor is it about shaming the medical community. It’s about exhausting all other options before cutting someone open.

Diet and exercise can be used to manage obesity and reduce the risk of chronic disease. We know this, and it’s not debatable.

We also know that some people don’t want to change their diets and recoil from exercise. They simply won’t take any steps to improve their health despite the fact that these steps would keep them out of the hospital or grave. They’d actually prefer a shortcut through the operating room.

The original article we discussed—“D.J. Doctor Dré Is Waging a Public Battle With Diabetes”—highlighted a hip-hop artist’s decision to get bariatric surgery to alleviate the symptoms of diabetes.

In some cases, invasive surgery for Type 2 diabetics might be warranted: 45 medical and scientific bodies have endorsed recommendations made in a June 2016 joint statement on bariatric surgery as treatment for Type 2 diabetes. But a closer look at the guidelines reveals the procedure is indeed a last-ditch measure.

Surgery is recommended for Type 2 diabetics with a body-mass index (BMI) above 40 kg/m2 (6 ft., 300 lb., for example) and for those with BMIs between 35 and 39.9 “when hyperglycemia is inadequately controlled by lifestyle and optimal medical therapy.” Surgery should be considered for patients in the 30.0-34.9 range “if hyperglycemia is inadequately controlled despite optimal treatment with either oral or injectable medications.”

In this case, you have significantly overweight diseased population whose condition isn’t improved by lifestyle or medication. These people are at the extreme end of the spectrum and might need an extreme response.

But treating surgery as something other than an emergency measure simply ignores the dramatic effects lifestyle changes have on health. And it encourages completely unnatural procedures that are more nonsensical than therapeutic.

Take, for example, the FDA’s recent approval of the AspireAssist, a stomach-draining pump that allows people to leak 30 percent of the contents of their stomach into the toilet before the body has a chance to absorb the calories.

Forget for an instant that the number of calories is not as significant as the source of the calories. Also forget that the Aspire website says “there are no specific foods that are off-limits.” And never mind the list of possible side effects.

Note only this: The product exists to pump food out of the body because someone ate too much.

The problem could have been solved many different ways without drilling a valve into a stomach. The existence of products such as the AspireAssist is proof that shortcuts are often preferred to common sense.

The reasons for obesity, of course, are numerous and complex. Recall Dawson’s advice to address underlying emotional issues.

But that doesn’t change the fact that diet and exercise can reduce obesity and risk for chronic disease. We have a problem of adherence, not a problem of prescription. We know we can adjust a person’s diet and increase his or her activity level and get great results. But we ultimately can’t prevent that person from eating unhealthy food, quitting the fitness program or choosing a shortcut. Shortcuts—like a stomach drain—are merely bandages that fail to address the root of the problem.

As for fat shaming, it doesn’t exist in CrossFit. We’d never shame overweight people we want to help. We want the obese to walk into our affiliates because we know with certainty their lives and health will change for the better. CrossFit trainers will do everything they can to improve health with diet and exercise. They’ll provide motivation and community. They’ll challenge athletes and hold them accountable so they reach their health and fitness goals.

Does that approach work? Ask Ivan Garcia, who decided to forego gastric-bypass surgery in favor of using diet and exercise to drop more than 100 lb.

Bariatric surgery and stomach drains might be options, but they’re certainly not preferred options.

The first option is addressing your lifestyle, and CrossFit trainers everywhere want to help.

Additional reading: Cheryl Blythe passes on a gastric band and loses almost 200 lb. through diet and exercise.

Problems and Pros

Creative, dedicated CrossFit affiliate owners share how they’ve overcome obstacles including floods, angry neighbors and endless bureaucracy.

The rain sounded like gunfire as it pelted John Franklin’s home in Hoboken, New Jersey, one night in June 2013. Though it was already past 10 p.m., he pulled on his boots and drove the seven blocks to Hudson River CrossFit, the affiliate he was in the process of opening after months of leading free park workouts.

He was just weeks from the grand opening date, and with the gym sitting right at the city’s lowest point, he feared the heavy rain might seep inside.

He heaved the garage door open and flicked on the lights.

“The floor looked kind of like an infinity pool,” Franklin recalled, unable to tell where the water ended and dry cement began.

Before he had the chance to reach for a mop, he heard a low gurgle come from the direction of the bathroom. In a few seconds, the gurgle became an explosive sputter as the drains in the gym’s two sinks, showers and toilets began spewing sewage in succession “almost like a fountain show,” Franklin said.

As Franklin stood ankle-deep in sewer refuse, he thought of the three friends who had showed up to his park workouts.

“Am I just making like really bad life choices?” he asked himself. “Because we had no idea how this would actually work—or would anybody actually sign up for this CrossFit thing?”

Today, Hudson River CrossFit boasts around 250 members, one of two affiliates that make up Flipside Performance (the other is Bowery CrossFit in Manhattan, New York, which Franklin opened at the end of 2013).

With heavy rain flooding Hudson River CrossFit about once a month, Franklin and his staff have become pros at keeping their heads above water, loading all their equipment into an elevated storage room every time the weather report predicts a storm.

“We’re very handy with a Shop-Vac these days,” he said. “That’s how you get all the water out, and then you have to go through the whole process of disinfecting it.”

To disinfect the 2,800-square-foot space, Franklin shells out about US$600 each time for a professional sewage-cleaning service. Adding backflow preventers to the drains would cost nearly $30,000 and require a total bathroom tear-up, and with real estate at a premium in the area adjacent to New York City, moving is out of the question.

What keeps him going?

“The community,” he said.

Challenges are just par for the course, Franklin explained: “It’s all part of the game. There are certain points … where I get a little beat down, but in perspective, my life is fantastic. I have a staff that I love, I have members that I love, … I get to share something that I’m very passionate about with other people, and I’m making a living doing it.”