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Good Coach Does not Mean Good Athlete

To be a good coach, you do not have to be a good athlete—end of story.

I think ego holds many people back in the sports world, and especially in the fitness. Many athletes will turn their nose up at a coach that is not as fit as them. Ego prevents them from an opportunity to learn from someone. It puts them at a disadvantage.

I think there is some validity to being fit and coaching CrossFit. I think it shows the people you are training and putting yourself through the same challenging workouts. You should be a good example of what the program can do for your clients.

But by no means does someone have to top the leaderboard to give quality coaching. In fact, the most fit person I’ve ever trained with regularly, could do everything well, better than almost anyone, but had a very hard time transferring that into instruction for an every day CrossFitter.

There are plenty of Super Bowl-winning NFL coaches who do not hold a flame to a candle when it comes to the aesthetics or athleticism of the players they coach. Knowing how to make someone better doesn’t require either of those things.

The difference between being a CrossFit coach and an NFL coach is the people you are working with. At our gym, 99.9% of the people who come care less about their workout time and more about what their body looks like. They look to you as the coach as an example. They want to see you doing the workouts, and they want to see their future aesthetics in you. So as CrossFit coaches, we have a bit more of “Walk the talk” that has to happen than Andy Reid does.

But even with that, I still believe to be a good coach and to help athletes of all levels; you do not have to be the best athlete.

So pay attention in class. Learn from people who coach every day and from people who can make you better, and if you genuinely believe the people who are coaching you, find another gym.


It’s Easy to Let Yourself Down

It’s been a while since I have posted a blog. Sorry about that.

Yesterday my Grandpa received his first COVID vaccination shot and, on his way home, stopped by the gym to say hello. I was coaching class at the time, so it was a quick visit, but when I finished and got back to class, I ranted a bit and decided that the rant was worth posting. So here I am with blog number one of 2021.

I am one of the lucky people in this world who got to grow up with my grandparents. Many people never had the opportunity to, and even more, take them for granted. (I will make my point, so please don’t be offended and continue reading.)

My Grandpa is 92 and has lived a long life with his family. He is a wonderful person and maybe one of the nicest and caring men in this world.

Grandpa has seven grandkids and four great-grandkids, with two more on the way, one to be here soon! All of us were involved in extracurriculars as kids, and he came to everything he could. Four of us played collegiate sports, and he made trips all over the state to watch us play.

Grandpa played basketball his whole life, in high school, in the army, and a little in college. He coached high school basketball in the Houston area for more than thirty years. He loves it! I remembered 5-6 years ago, he was still getting out on the driveway with us and shooting hoops, showing off his two-handed jump shot and his classic no-look reverse layup.

Okay, I am done bragging about my Grandpa, but I tell you all this because Grandpa has stayed active his whole life, and I believe it was how active he has been that allowed him to live the life that he has, and how he has been able to be so involved in all of our lives.

Was he an exerciser? No, but he was an athlete his entire life. My mom told me that he would go to the park after work when she was in high school and play pick-up basketball games with the kids there. He played golf daily up until a few years ago, and for years he lived on land in the country and was always busy fixing or doing something.

We need to stay active in our lives so that we can LIVE OUR LIVES. Too many people get older and get sedentary. Sedentary lives bleed us of our strength, and unfortunately, in 2021, the sedentary life is happening at 35 instead of 65.


I told you about my Grandpa because he was always there for us. For me, it was sports, and I can give you countless lessons he taught me, some I carry with me today in the real world. If he said he was going to be there, he was there. He never let me down.

I do not have children, but I would want to spend every moment of my life with them if I did, and with my grandkids when I am blessed with them.

I do not want my health or strength to ever hold me back from doing something with them.

I am sure that letting my kid down or grandkid down will hurt a lot more than letting myself down. I imagine the hurt on my kid’s face if I miss their ball game will hurt a lot more than the feeling of missing the gym for the third week in a row.

I lead a healthy life for my future children and my grandchildren. I live a healthy life because when I am 92, I want to stop by my grandson’s business and tell him I love him, and I am proud of him.

Stop living just for your pleasure. Put down the unhealthy options and find something better for yourself. Take a couple of hours a week and hit the gym. Your family needs you today, and they need you in thirty years. Please give them the opportunity. Take care of yourself.



Competition Recap

This weekend, we hosted an in-house fitness competition, and it was amazing!

I have been doing CrossFit competitions since I pretty much got into CrossFit. It is a different approach to fitness than the daily workouts we do. You learn to strategize and plan workouts out. You have a different mindset and need to be willing to push yourself as you have never done before.

Many people think that you have to be the top guy or girl in the gym to compete, you don’t. Most competitions will have various skill levels that you can pick from to fit what you can do. Some don’t want to lose or look “silly” but understand that there will always be a first-place finisher and a last-place finisher; someone must fill both of those spots.

The great thing about a fitness competition is that you either can win or you cant. You are not going to wake up the day of the competition and be exponentially fitter. There are no bad passes you could throw or a team member blow an easy catch that could cost you the game. It’s just you and your fitness. In a way, even though you are competing against others, you are not competing with anyone but you.

Competitions allow for learning and adjustments in training. It gives you the motivation to get in the gym. Not only leading up to the competition but after it. If you struggled on a workout where you had to carry something, you’d get back in the gym and practice carrying. Or, if you struggled in a strength event, you’ll make sure you do not miss another strength day. After a little time tackling newly found weaknesses, it’s time to test your fitness again with another competition. With a fitness competition, it is never a loss, only a learning experience.

Because I have done so many competitions, I have never wanted to take on the stress that comes with planning and running one. Our competition was on a small scale for multiple reasons, including COVID restrictions and safety precautions, but it was possible because of our community and the help they all provided. I asked for help several times from everyone leading up to the day, and someone always came through. I asked for help judging, and we had twenty-three people sign up to help.

Competitions are only as good as their volunteers. Ours were top of the line. I provided several videos for each judge and asked them all to watch each video so that they were prepared. Everyone knew the workouts, knew the standards, and were prepared to judge. It’s because of their hard work that we had a well run and fair competition. Thank you to everyone who helped this weekend. I could not have done it without you.

Our athletes competed well, and I was super proud of every single one. No one ever gave up, and many pushed beyond what they thought they were capable of. I hope that everyone learned something this weekend and is prepared to get back in the gym this week and work hard to increase their fitness for the next one!



Eating For Performance

This is going to be a short but to the point. If you want to be good at anything that involves physical fitness (sport or exercise), you have to eat enough.

Being good can mean several things. It could mean being stronger and faster or even looking better. Eating enough can be just as important as the actual physical work being put in. In many cases eating enough post-workout could determine if your workout even meant anything.

Understand that eating to be good at something can differ depending on what your goals are. For example, if you want to be a good weightlifter, CrossFitter, or Football player, your diet will look far different from someone who wants to be good at Bodybuilding or aesthetics. Both types still require enough calories but what those calories are made up of is where it differs.

The CrossFit way of looking at caloric intake is simple, “Eat enough to support exercise but not fat.” In simplest terms, you need to eat at least what you are burning, but make sure that it’s not all in cupcakes and dingdongs. The cleaner your diet is, the better you will look aesthetically, but your performance will ultimately suffer if you are not eating enough.

Many people believe that they need to eat less to look good; this is false. Although eating at a caloric deficit is a quick way to drop pounds, it isn’t always the way to looking good. Most of us would rather be lean than skinny, but I understand that there are also people who want to lose weight, and a caloric deficit is the way to go. This blog is specifically talking about performance.

If you are eating enough to perform well, results will start to happen. Take a look at the top 2-3 men and women on your gym’s leaderboard daily. What do they look like? Most likely, they look good. It is unlikely that the fittest people at your gym or on your team do not look the best as well. When you can fuel your body to perform at a higher level, your body’s aesthetics will change along with it.

A great example is Michael Phelps; he ate 12,000 calories a day and still had a six-pack and long, lean muscles. He ate for performance and then performed well daily in all aspects of his training. Yes, he is the greatest Olympian of all time, but just an example.

If you are interested in seeing how much you should be eating and possibly putting together some caloric goals, send me an email, and we can set something up!


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Baytown Ruck Club

Rucking is defined on the official Go Ruck website as: 

RUCK•ING [VERB] // Walking with a weighted rucksack (aka backpack). It implies action, energy, and purpose. Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character — and builds it, too.

Rucking is a common military exercise but has moved into the civilian world as a fitness program. Ruck training, in general, is done to prepare soldiers for marches or hikes where they’d have to move their gear and equipment from point A to point B.  

Rucking has been shown to increase your exercise capacity by merely walking with a loaded backpack. The weight-bearing exercise forces your body to stabilize and support the weight over extended periods. You will burn significantly more calories as well as build some serious core strength in the process. 

We already have a handful of members who have been Rucking at BayWay CrossFit, and many were affiliated with other Rucking Clubs, but with the coronavirus, many clubs have discontinued, and our members are looking to get their Rucking itch scratched. This is why we have created the Baytown Rucking Club. We are not an official GoRuck club, but we can certainly apply to be one if we get enough people participating with us. For now, we are just trying to do some extra workouts and build a new part of our community. 

Over the last couple of years, GoRuck themselves have mingled with CrossFit, and we have seen their equipment pop up in several sanctioned CrossFit events and even the CrossFit Games. Over the stay at home order, many programmers, including ours, included backpack workouts into their programming. The utilization of a backpack goes far beyond just carrying it on your back and walking with it, and we have some pretty neat ideas instore for our Rucking club. 

The great thing about our Rucking Club is that it will be done outdoors to easily social distance and participate in some great fitness without the worry that inevitably is there in our everyday lives. 

For now, we are going to do a monthly group Ruck (free) and will also post a free workout on our website’s blog page every Sunday. Our very own Army PV2 Chase Lewis will be leading us through the monthly Rucks and helping in the creation of our weekly workouts. Nothing better than getting put through workouts and doing workouts with someone who knows it better than most of us! 

If you are interested, please fill this quick google form out, and we will reach out to you with time and date of our next Ruck!



Competitions & Community

This weekend I got to go to Katy, Texas, to watch a group of our members take on the Katy Team Classic, and it had me missing the old competition days.

First, the Katy Team Classic was a well ran the event. All the workouts for us were on time, and all the volunteers and staff worked tirelessly to keep us safe. There were limited people there as well as masks and social distance regulations. All in all, it was a great competition and one that I would like to see us do again.

Competitions are great, especially when you are doing them with a good group of people. When I joined my first CrossFit gym, CrossFit Deer Park, I felt like we were going to a competition every month, and many of us benefited from this.

Almost all the people participating in the competitions back in 2011,12,13 are still doing CrossFit to this day, and a handful of us own gyms ourselves. I started CrossFit in 2009 and did my first competition in January of 2011, and to this day, I look forward to hitting a workout.

Competitions do many things besides give us a chance to gather as a gym outside of classes. It allows us to set goals for ourselves, provides us with something to keep us accountable, and gives us the competitive outlet we need that won’t damage our relationships with our classmates. (anyone who has a rep cutter in your gym knows what I mean here)

Through competition life, I have made some great friends. I talk to two or three guys daily that I met through competitions, and all live in other parts of the state. I have made plans to work out with them, do competitions with them, and just hang out. We will be lifelong friends, and we would not have met each other without CrossFit Competitions.

Katy Team Classic

The thing that has kept me in CrossFit for so long is the congregation aspect that CrossFit gyms have. At BayWay CrossFit we have an average length of membership of almost three years and have an average attendance rate of nearly 200 workouts a year. People come to us because of our coaches, our facility, and our community. It is a fun place to be, and we honestly can get people in the best shape of their lives. Two Hundred CrossFit workouts will get you in better shape than any other program. This is why our biggest competition’s champions are called “The Fittest On Earth.”

What gets people beyond that three-year mark is event participation outside of classes, and unfortunately, I am realizing this eight years into the business, but better late than never. Events like competitions provide an opportunity for a bit of fun while doing something we all love to do. We sign up for our first competition, usually out of peer pressure; we hate/love it because it makes us so nervous, but it is so much fun. We get back into the gym with a new fire of wanting to work hard to get better. We sign up for another competition to see if we got any better, and the cycle continues.

I had someone tell me this weekend that people are ok with not progressing at our gym. For example, we have five-year members still doing jumping pullups. Low-key that hurt my feelings because that means I have failed those members, but not because I haven’t provided them with the programming or coaching they need to do pullups, but I have not given them a reason to progress. Pushing competitions would provide people with that reason to work on these skills a little more so that they can participate in a competition with their friends in the future.

Progressing in movements like pullups or increasing your weightlifting ability means your fitness is improving. If your fitness is improving, so are all your health markers. This ranges from body fat percentage to cholesterol levels.

COVID is still causing many complications with local competitions, and we haven’t seen many pop-up. Yet, when they start to happen again, I will be pushing our members to participate, and I look forward to jumping back into the action myself!



Coaching the Squat

Squatting is one of the essential exercises anyone can do. We need the strength from the glutes, quads, and hip flexors in almost every movement we make throughout the day, so why are they avoided in traditional exercise programs?

I have had many people come in that are avid exercisers or are even coming from another functional fitness program who have not been taught to squat correctly. Many people tell me they cannot squat, but after a few months, they are squatting and doing it well. People have been told that squatting is bad for you, and it can be if you are not taught correctly. Many trainers have their clients avoid them completely because they are afraid to teach them.

To me, teaching the squat is easy. I am trying to get my athlete to do a couple of things. Set up well, hit the proper range of motion, and keep good posture.

We start first with our feet, they should be about shoulder-width, and the toes should be slightly pointed out. The descent is started by pushing the butt back. The biggest mistake people make when squatting is leading the descent by moving the knees forward instead of the butt back. This is where the majority of injuries come from. As a coach, I have many cues that I can use to get my athlete to track back with their hips rather than forward with their knees.

Most people complain about their knees when they squat, and trust me, I can empathize with this, but proper traction of the knees can significantly reduce knee pain. Step one to relieving knee pain is keeping the knees back at the start. Step two is tracking the knees out over the toes for the entire squat. This means we are pushing our knees out as we go down and up. It is one of the reasons I have my athletes point their toes out to start. It gives a great visual guide to where their knees should be pointed. Butt back and knees out are two action points that, when done correctly, can help build the strength in our knees that we need to keep the daily pain away as well as exercising pain.

Next is the range of motion. We are looking to have every athlete squat to a depth where their hips are lower than their knees; we call this bellow parallel. Growing up through different strength and conditioning programs, we were never taught to squat low, and that was embedded in my head. As I learned more about teaching exercise, I realized it was because the coaches did not know how to teach the squat, and when dealing with a group of kids, it is easier and safer to teach it that way. The same goes for most personal trainers. It is easier to not squat low when you do not know how to teach it.

Squatting to a full range of motion has many benefits. One being strong at any point in the squat. You will never be in a real-world situation where you stop at ninety degrees and stand up. What would happen if you were stuck in the bottom of a squat? Could you get up if you only trained to parallel? The biggest benefit of a full range of motion squat is building strength in the joint. If we take our knee, ankle, and hip joints through a full range of motion, we are strengthing them through all angles. This helps with many common elements like arthritis but also keeps the joint strong. Hopefully, reducing many non-contact injuries and helping with normal daily activities.

Squatting is essential, but more critical is squatting correctly. Find a gym where they stress squatting as apart of their program and are virtuous in making sure you are doing it correctly.



No Such Thing As CrossFit-Ish

Last week, I was at the grocery store when I heard someone talking about their fitness camp that they attend, and I heard them say, “It’s CrossFit-ish.”

I have been training people for ten years, and let me tell you this, if you are not in a CrossFit gym, you are probably not doing CrossFit.

CrossFit has many variations and can be done with minimal equipment, but it is different at a CrossFit gym. Most ‘CrossFit-ish’ workouts are missing is the “Evidence-Based” practice of fitness that makes CrossFit, CrossFit.

The three most important and interdependent facets of any fitness program can be supported only by measurable, observable, repeatable facts.

The CrossFit methodology’s implementation starts by defining what we are looking for by creating absolute metrics in every workout. In layman’s terms, each workout has movement standards so we can accurately retest. If everyone is doing a different type of squat (not out of the need for modification) on the retest, how could you know if you got better if you are unsure of your squat depth or lockout?

The value behind this information is what our program is designed around is one of the reasons why the winner of the CrossFit Games can be crowned, “Fittest on Earth.”

Our ultimate goal is to create healthier and fitter people. “Health can now be concisely and precisely defined as increased work capacity across broad time, modal, and age domains. Work capacity is the ability to perform real physical work measured by force x distance/time (which is the formula for calculating power).”

The program design is meant to be inclusive but stretches across a broad range of movements and stimuli. While we are always reaching for our goal of increasing work capacity, we can also see an increase in many sport-related attributes. The most common attributes being body composition, increases in max VO2 and lactate threshold, and strength and flexibility.

True CrossFit is unlike any other program. When someone describes their program as CrossFit-ish, they are selling an incomplete product, a Mercedes without any emblems, wheels, or engine. There are other popular programs out there that test fitness at times, but nothing as data-driven as CrossFit. Our space is designed for creative fitness and not for packing in 100 people per 1,000 square feet for linear, single-focused training. We have machines like fan bikes and rowers, dumbbells, barbells, pull-up bars, medicine balls, sandbags, kettlebells, boxes, and many other pieces of equipment that we can create infinite numbers of workouts to achieve the desired days stimulus.

Fitness is necessary, and I am all for anyone doing anything fitness related. You have to enjoy what you are doing for it to stick. Find something and stay with it. CrossFit is its own thing. Its a methodology and a lifestyle, not just a fitness program. Do not be suckered into paying for a program that is CrossFit-ish because it is not.


Injury & CrossFit Debate

I’ve been doing CrossFit since 2009 when a buddy of mine in the military introduced me to it, and I will be honest with you, I have had some knocks and injuries.

Now 2009, I mostly did bodyweight workouts and a little barbell and kettlebell work tossed in while I was still playing college soccer, but I got deep into CrossFit in the fall of 2010. Since then, I have at minimum done five CrossFit workouts a week, and at times 2-3 workouts a day.

In the last ten years, I easily have close to 3,000 workouts or more under my belt, 20-30 outdoor soccer games a year, and who knows how many indoor soccer games. I’ve competed in all types of fitness competitions, from different races to functional fitness comps, and along the way, I have had to take some time off going 100% due to one thing or another.

I have heard for years that “CrossFit is dangerous,” or “I am going to get injured.” This is unequivocally false and factually incorrect. CrossFit recently won a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for pushing false claims that CrossFit is more dangerous (causes more injuries) than other popular fitness programs.

The truth is no matter what fitness program you are into, exercising frequently increases your chances of tweaking something, and the more workouts you do, the more that chance increases. Most trainers use examples like “If you never get into a car, you will probably never get into a car wreck.” The same goes for injuries and exercise.

You can do two things to prevent injury, the first and most important is to work with a competent trainer. Under trained staff is the number one reason people get hurt, and frankly, many poorly run CrossFit gyms (and regular gyms) have under-trained staff in charge of classes full of new exercisers. This could lead to people being injured. Find not only a gym that has coaches with training certificates but also gyms with a legit intern/new hire program. If you have a coach who just walked in off the street or is a member at the gym and goes to a weekend seminar and then is let to run a class, this is a sign of an under trained coach and is dangerous for you.

Also, having a competent trainer means that you will never train your body to complete exhaustion. You will be allowed to push yourself and feel exhausted, but overtraining or overreaching should never happen with an excellent trainer.

Secondly, let a trainer know when you are feeling a tweak or have an injury, and do not be afraid to remind them. A couple of times at I have had someone tell me that they are going to the doctor to have their shoulder looked at, and when I ask them what is up with it, they say, “I don’t know, it has been hurting for a while, and I thought I could push through it.” Do not do this! You pay for the training you are getting, which includes workout modifications. Please do not wait for us to notice you are babying something. Tell us as soon as you feel it, and we will lay off of it or rehab it if we need to.

In the end, most injuries are preventable or treatable. You need to be under a well trained watchful eye, and you need to have excellent communication with your trainers. But understand that if you are getting in 200+ workouts in a year, your chances of catching a knock are higher than those that do less than 100 or none at all.

Be smart, train hard, and be safe.


Lunch For Dinner

Everyone wants to lose weight but do not know-how. Many start searching the internet for diets until they find one they think seems easy and will work.

Diets are hard. End of story. Its why so many people have a hard time sticking to one, but they are one of the biggest sellers online. Dieting is simple, tough, but simple.

Avoid sugar at all costs. Eat enough to support the exercise. Eat most of your carbohydrates in the meals around your workout. (this means you need to workout to eat carbs)

Although those are only three things to follow, they are Achilles heel for most people. Although health and fitness is my life, I have trouble following these same guidelines, but I have developed a strategy to help me stay on track, and that is “Lunch is Dinner.”

Every night I fire up my Traeger grill and cook something. Simple as that. Each week I go to the grocery store, and I buy the same six proteins: chicken, steak, pork, ground meat, shrimp, and fish. I try to mix up the types of each one every week. For example, one week it will be chicken breast, the next chicken thighs, and the week after a whole chicken. The same with steaks and the others. With that in mind, I will look upon the Traeger app, a recipe for each one, and make a grocery list. (I usually chose recipes that are easy and are on the lower end time-wise, and try to do a long cook on the weekends.)

Every night I cook and make enough for our lunches the next day. This has changed me completely. I use to cook all my proteins at one time and meal prep them all at one time. I hated this. I would cook 20 meals, and eight would get eaten because we would be sick and bored by Wednesday.

For my first meal, I usually do something simple like some hard-boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Have my lunch after that and then a snack like oatmeal and protein bar before my workouts, a protein shake with some carbs after my workout, and then I go home and cook my big meal. I stay full all day, and this has kept me from straying too far off the path.

I have always cooked, but the Traeger has made it fun, and because it’s fun, I am willing to do it when I get home. Find a cooking or eating method that brings you joy, and your diet will be easier. I have always been the cook, but getting a Traeger has made it fun. I like to play around and test things, which makes the time cooking not feel so much like a chore.

This is just a strategy that I have been using. If you are someone that cooks, start making a little extra for lunch and see how it goes!