There are certain principles which have guided and shaped my particular approach to fitness and give Empower its distinct flavour. In addition to the support and guidance of my family I have had many mentors throughout my journey who have influenced my style and approach to coaching. Among those I’ve worked with personally I must acknowledge Sensei John Huntley, Sensei Walter Lanz, Sensei Joe McCarthy, Sensei Rudi Mahler, Sensei Bob Zettl, Sensei Jan Karnik, Sensei Bruce Fingarson, Sensei Dan Gribben, Sensei Bill Gribben, Sensei Russ Ko, Coach Craig Patterson, Coach Joel Fiedman, Coach Chris Saini, Coach Kelly Frankson, Coach Charlie Palmer, Coach Trevor Lindwall, Coach Andrew Swartz, Mr. Willerton, Peter Martin, Coach Tom Arcuri, Coach Tony Torres, Master Pan Qing Fu, Len Krekic, Sue Gall, Wendy Durnin, Perry Niehaus, Carrie Jung, John Rhoad, Andrea Stevenson, Dr. Clifford Shew and Christine Girard. Though there have been many others over the years, each of these individuals has contributed a great deal of time to helping me develop as an athlete, coach and teacher.
While I could write a page on each of the inspiring people above (and maybe one day I will), today I want to talk about world influencers. Visionaries whose teachings have changed the world. And though I may have met them only briefly or not at all, these are people who have advanced principles that have shaped and guided my coaching practice.
A) Ben Bergeron, CrossFit Coach, Owner CrossFit New England
1) Focus on Character and Process
– Yes skill, strength, conditioning, strategy and tactics are important, but character and process are the foundation upon which everything else is built. Develop character first then commit to the process. That is the key to developing excellence in sport and in life!
2) Focus on What You Can Control
– The old serenity prayer. There is no use wasting attention or energy on things outside your control. What you do control is how you respond to events and circumstances. Attend to the details within your control and then adapt to circumstances and rise to the occasion.
3) No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses
– Easy to say, hard to do, excuses often come disguised as reasons.
B) Dan John, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Athletics Coach
1) Can You Go?
– The physio said you have a muscular imbalance. The chiropractor told you your spine is crooked. The doctor said you have arthritis. It is easy to let people get into your head and stop you. Dan John asks his athletes if they can go. If yes, just do it. Stop waiting for perfect! Get out of your head and get into action. If you can go, go.
2) Does it Work?
– Try everything. If it doesn’t work, throw it out. Dan’s a thrower. If it doesn’t help him throw farther, it’s of no use to him. Figure out what your goal is and measure everything by its efficacy in helping you reach said goal. If it works, keep it. If not, ditch it.
3) The Basics Work
– There’s nothing new under the sun. What worked a generation ago works today. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. The basics aren’t sexy but they are effective.
4) Easy Strength
– You do not have to work so hard if you just work consistently. Stop beating yourself up in the gym everyday. Just come in, do the work, the results will come. Like Ben Bergeron points out, the power is in the process.
5) An Athlete is One Who Strives
– This one is hotly debated in the world of athletics but Dan John, trainer of so many champions, sets us straight explaining the classical root of the word athlete comes from the Greek meaning s/he who strives for a prize. If you strive after a prize (including improved health), you are an athlete. Yes, you! So if you’re an athlete, start treating yourself like one!
Tim Anderson, Founder Original Strength
A) Your Central Nervous System Governs Your Body, Your Breath Resets Your CNS
– Your CNS governs it all and your breathing resets your CNS. When you optimize your inputs, you optimize your outputs. Train your CNS, your breathing and your vestibular system, keep them in peak condition and you will perform.
B) You Are Born to Be Strong and to Heal
– Like all living organisms you were born to be strong, successful and to heal yourself through motion. You have everything you need inside of you if you move the way you are designed to.
C) Use Your Original Algorithm
– Use the programming you were hardwired with at birth to restore your optimal function. Return to and reclaim your birthright: health.
Jigoro Kano, Founder Kodokan Judo
A) Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort
– Effortless power instead of powerful effort. Go around brick walls, or go over them, do not try to go through them. Don’t try to break down the wall, use it to your advantage.
B) Mutual Benefit and Well Being
– We engage sport and life with this spirit, the spirit of bettering ourselves and one another. Every adversary you encounter offers an opportunity to become a better person.
C) Continuous Self Improvement
– Perfection is unattainable but “good enough” does not exist. We will strive always to become better tomorrow than we are today.
Greg Glassman, Founder CrossFit
1) Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, High Intensity, in a Community Environment
– Train the body like a system the way it was designed to move, not like isolated pieces. Practice movements that translate into real life, not those invented for the gym or to sell gym gadgets. Intensity is the key to neuroendocrine adaptation. Broad generalized adaptations provide the fitness base required to excel at life. Community nourishes the soul and makes training fun and fulfilling. Fitness doesn’t have to be a vain, solitary pursuit.
2) Measurable, Repeatable
– Results are measurable. Like Dan John, does it work? Prove it.
3) Safe, Effective, Efficient
– 2 out of 3 is a non-starter. It must be safe. It must produce the desired result. And it must do so within a reasonable time frame. If one of those pieces is missing it is junk.
Tony Blauer, Founder SPEAR System
– False Evidence/Expectations Appearing Real. Most of the time when we let fear stop us we are anticipating failure because we are feeling threatened instead of feeling challenged. The only way to overcome fear is through action.
B) Fear is a Gift
– Credit to author Gavin DeBecker’s book The Gift of Fear. Fear is your best friend!
1. When there is real danger, fear is that gut instinct warning you away from dangerous circumstances. Do not ignore it. Use it to make the right decision. Afraid you might get crushed under the barbell? Don’t ignore your fear, ask for spotters!
2. Fear powers up your central nervous system and physiology preparing you to perform at your peak. Don’t dread anxiety and pregame nerves, embrace them as part of your power up process!
All of the above visionaries have provided game changing principles which have benefited my life and which have informed my coaching style. At Empower you will see elements from all these disparate sources woven together into the fabric of our community and our training methodology. Techniques will come and go but principles are enduring and universally applicable both in the gym and in your life outside the gym. I’m no visionary but I hope through my coaching to serve as a conduit passing along to you principles that will help you excel in your life!
This is a 45 minute WOD so we need to start as soon as you arrive. Make sure you program the rower for a 5 minute interval and 5 minute rest, ask the coach if you need help. If you are attending with a family member you can alternate turns sharing a rower. If there are not enough rowers a ski erg or airbike or run will do. For those at home without a rower you can do 5 minutes of running or 5 minutes of burpees or five minutes of skipping. Because we have no time for a warm up, take it easy in round one with the goal of getting faster each round. Your score will be total metres rowed across all 25 minutes so keep track of your score each round.
5 min Row
5 min Rest