Q & A – From a recent interview
1. Your workouts are very different from many athletes. What is this “functional bodybuilding” you have recently posted about?
Lately my training has had a very particular look and feel to it. Following the 2016 CrossFit Games and GRID season my body was in need of a different type of training. It was and currently is my OFF-Season. This means focusing on getting healthy, building strength, building my aerobic base, and giving my brain something different. By switching up my training, my coach has allowed my body to heal, build strength, and become energized and excited again. I’ve used the term “Functional Bodybuilding” because many of my workouts involve atypical strength and accessory lifts that focus on building certain parts of the body. There is more isolation in my training lately than during peak periods of the CrossFit Games season. The movements we are using are still quite functional and do require coordination and balance, but they are being performed slow and controlled most times. Developing great control and strength in slower movements has allowed my brain and body to get healthy and strong. I believe for many people this can and would be an effective way to train year round for health, fitness, and personal fulfillment! Not to mention keeping you feeling less beat up.
2. Do you have an official coach, or are you programming your own workouts?
I have an official coach. His name is Mike Lee and he is a member of the OPEX Fitness team. I’ve been an OPEX athlete in some form for over 5 years. While I coach many athletes myself, I’ve always found the most success in having a coach of my own. I trust Mike 100% to guide me through my evolving fitness journey. I also learn a tremendous amount about coaching by having a coach myself. It is a beautiful education loop that I have been happy to be a part of for years.
3. A huge amount of information on periodization strength training or endurance training, but few know how to properly program for themselves. What method do you practice?
While there is a lot of information out there on periodization, I don’t believe many people understand what it means to have “seasons” or different phases to their year when it comes to training. Periodization is better understood for sports where there is a defined season of play. Less so for fitness.
The methods behind how I program come from many sources. I already mentioned that my coach from OPEX plays a large role in influences my approach. In addition I’ve used my years of experience as an athlete in many sports, and the awareness of how my body has felt through different phases of training in my life, to guide how I push my athletes.
4. What are ways for you to recover the best?
Recovery can be as complex as training. But I try to simplify things.
1st – Quality food: The foods I eat are real, prepared at home, eaten consistently, and are well balanced.
2nd – Sleep: I get to be by 9pm every night. Same time to bed and same time waking up.
3rd – Cool Downs and Warm Ups: I always warm the engine up and cool the engine down before and after training.
4th – Supplementation: I take a variety of health based supplements, some performance based supplements, and the best Recovery Supplements from Revive-Rx
5. At the 2016 CrossFit Games you took 12th place. What is the difference in physical preparation at that level?
The physical preparation to be successful at the CrossFit Games, as compared to Regionals or the Open, is that you must be prepared for a higher volume of work. You must be prepared for 5 days of events and be able to bounce back between events.
6. If it was possible to go back in time, would you change your preparation for the Games?
No. My preparation was the best it could be for me. I would not change a thing. If I could redo certain events at the Games, I may make some strategic changes. But that is all.
7. How do you prepare mentally and how you go through tough moments during events at the CrossFit Games?
Mental preparation for me happens daily in my training. The more practice and repetitions I get throughout the year, the more confident I become in myself. The more I can anticipate how my body will react. This way when the competition comes I can trust myself and stop thinking.
8. There are a sufficient number of online-programs. What do you think deserves more attention?
I believe you should find a program that resonates with you. You may feel connected to a program because of the style the workouts are prescribed. You may want to hire a personal coach because you feel the desire to have a connection with someone. You may like the community feel of a particular program and that will drive you to follow them. You may like a particular athlete and what they stand for and thus follow their program.
You deserve to follow a program that fulfills your needs. If you follow a program that doesn’t seem to fulfill your needs then take some time to get clear on what those needs are exactly. Define them. Do you want to feel healthy, do you want to perform your best, do you want more weightlifting, do you prefer to do more endurance, do you want a group environment, do you prefer individualized programs…. you should be clear on all of this. Go as far as to describe how you feel in the perfect scenario. Then go evaluate programs based on this criteria.
9. Do you practice the Paleo-diet?
I wouldn’t say I practice the Paleo-Diet. I think it is hard for anyone to say that they truly practice the Paleo-Diet since we don’t live in Paleolithic times. I subscribe to eating real foods. Meat, veggies, nuts, seeds, some fruit, and a bit of starch. Things like cheese, rice, and oats are regularly found in my diet. These would not align with Paleo-Diet concepts.
10. Do you acknowledge the use of pharmacology in CrossFit?
I don’t know. That is my honest answer. There have been documented cases of athletes in the sport failing drug tests. This is undeniable. I cannot give insight into the scale to which there is use happening. Some people say it is everywhere, and others will argue that it isn’t as rampant.