Tuesday, August 1, 2023


 A huge shoutout to the Functional Intensity Training Laboratory https://www.hhs.k-state.edu/kines/research/functional-intensity/ at Kansas State University and Katie Heinrich for partnering with Vision CrossFit to get this paper published https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/10/5914. A labor of love that will hopefully help schools looking to implement a CrossFit program like ours.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Never Stop Improving

I am 45 years old now, it would be an easier road for me to just be satisfied with my present level of knowledge and ability. Easier to settle in to what I already know, because that is what would have been most comfortable. I am not wired that way and I can't stand in stagnant water.  I knew I was approaching the expiration date on my CrossFit L2, it would have been an easier road to just renew my CF-L2. Easy isn't interesting though and I decided to go for my Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT) and my CrossFit L3 designation.  I needed at least 750 hours to even qualify to sit for the exam.  After almost of 6 years of coaching CrossFit, I realized that I had the hours under my belt (I had probably close to 1,500 hours under my belt).  The next obstacle was digesting and applying the material that is detailed at https://certifications.crossfit.com/ccft/ and I must say that it was quite extensive.  Once I was approved to take the exam, the real work began.  I am happy to report that yesterday I passed the exam, it was definitely intense, but the journey to self improvement is worth it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

This Community Amazes me!

Time for an update! I am really inconsistent when it comes to posting content, so please forgive my sporadic ramblings.  We are now in our 4th year of operation here at Vision CrossFit.  In that time we have added classes and now offer two CrossFit classes during the school day for college credit in conjunction with our partners at NNU and Snake River CrossFit.  Students are able to get a beginning and advanced CrossFit Kinesiology credits through NNU.  Most recently we started a USA Weightlifting Registered Barbell Club that students can also take as a class and receive college credit through NNU.  Count them, 3 college credits while in High School and all the while getting more fit in the process.  Our students are still competing in local CrossFit competitions and local USA Weightlifting sanctioned events.  The program has been so successful that the school is adding a 2,100 square foot addition to accommodate our students and give Vision CrossFit and Vision Weightlifting a permanent space (no more store equipment in my science lab and then hauling it to the gymacafetorium or outside everyday.  Recently we were featured on our local channel 6 and channel 9 news stations because we were awarded a $10,000 grant for equipment for our new facility: https://www.kivitv.com/vision-charter-school-gets-10-000-grant-for-crossfit-program  A huge shout out to the CrossFit Foundation and their School Health initiative.  I am so grateful to them and their support of our program.  I am constantly surprised by the generosity of this community and it extends into the local boxes that continue to selflessly help you make contacts and freely give of their time and resources to programs such as ours.  On that note, I have to thank Snake River CrossFit in Nampa, Idaho who has been with us from the beginnning.  I also want to thank Verdant CrossFit, CrossFit Composure, and Crown Performance in Boise, Idaho who also support our work in various ways.  These local facilities are so gracious and the CrossFit community as a whole is some of the most generous people I know.  Please know that our students always need help with entry fees into local competitions, additional equipment, etc. Reach out to me if you are able to help in anyway and be thankful for this community, because they are truly great!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Autoregulation Part 2

Depending on the intensity of your training, we can assume that most people need to go sympathetic on at least some level in order to have a productive training session.  Time of day, nutrient timing, stress levels, quality of sleep, etc. will all play a role on our ability to go into a sympathetic state for training.  On the flip side, when the training is over, we want to be able to move out of that sympathetic state and enter a more parasympathetic state.  We need to rebuild/model tissue, adapt to the training stimulus, rest and digest, and recover before our next session.  This doesn't necessarily mean we lie around and do nothing, it could be more active recovery or doing activities that bring relaxation and a more peaceful state.  This will definitely look different for each and every person.

How do we know whether or not we are balancing between these two states?  How do we know when we are primed to train or in need of rest?  There are tools like Heart Rate Variability, Recovery and Resting HR, and other Biomarkers.  I think the missing ingredient for most people and the first place to start is to just be present, being in tune with your body, and recognizing the signals.  This is hard for most of us and it is a skill that needs to be learned, maybe our signals have been muted or crossed for so long.  Sometimes we mindlessly follow the program, check the boxes, hit the prescribed reps, sets, percentages, etc. and give no conscious thought to what we are doing.  When it comes to autoregulation, most of us need to start with being present.  Most of us need to be present in our training and learn to be in tune with our bodies.  We need to stop doing things that mess up the signals and learn to recognize the signals.  Doing so is the first step to longevity in our training and long term progress towards our goals.  There are plenty of resources out there if you want to go deeper into the rabbit hole.

-Good Luck!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Autoregulation Part 1

I want to spend some time over the next month or so discussing autoregulation as it relates to training, nutrition, sleep, etc.  I have been studying this topic for about 4 -5 months now and the science teacher in me (I teach biology, health, CrossFit, & Weightlifting at my school) is blown away by this topic and the implications it has for our health.  My goal isn't to write a thesis here, but I hope to distill down some of these principals to the very basics.  First off, this isn't information that I came up with on my own, nor is it new information.  I have to give credit where credit is due. I am currently learning from Julien Pineau and the Srongfit Community.  I highly recommend their Youtube channel or strongfit podcast if you want a deeper dive: https://www.strongfit.com/podcast   I also think Ben Pakulski does an excellent job explaining the topic on a recent Youtube interview:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpUqskzO8tE There are so many others who I am also drawing from and you can easily find more information by just googling topics like autoregulation training, the nervous system, nutrition, heart rate variability, etc. 

I think before we go much further down this rabbit hole, at least for this particular post, we need to discuss two specific branches of the nervous system.  The Sympathetic Nervous System also known as the "Fight or Flight" side and the Parasympathetic Nervous System often referred to as the "Rest and Digest" side.  It is much more complex than these simplistic names I am giving here, but it definitely gives us a starting point for this discussion.  We can figure out from the names above what the primary role of these two sides of the nervous system entail, but I would encourage my readers to start thinking about how these two systems can influence things like sleep, workouts, nutrition, heart rate variability, endocrine response, productivity etc.   Take a week or so to really understand what is happening in your body. In future posts I will start to break down some more specific examples.  Trust me the rabbit hole is deep and has huge implications for our health.  Look carefully at the following lists.  They are by no means exhaustive lists, but if you look carefully at the two states of your nervous system, you will quickly identify those that are conducive to things like exercise, sleep/recovery, and optimal digestion/nutrition.  To say that the state of your nervous system doesn't matter is ludicrous! The state of our nervous system is the context in which we train, eat, recover and it means everything, Context matters, without context the messages and the signals to our body are convoluted and distorted.

Sympathetic Nervous System:

  • Prepares the body for vigorous activity.
  • Stimulates the endocrine system to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Increases blood flow to the extremities and muscles.
  • Increases heart rate.
  • Slows digestion.
  • Increasing respiration.


  • Slows the heartbeat.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure.
  • Constricts the Pupils.
  • Normalizes breathing.
  • Normalizes blood flow to all parts of the body.
  • Normalizes and stimulates digestion.
  • Decreases release of stress hormones and increases production of "feel good" hormones and neurotransmitters.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

20 Ways that CrossFit Changed My Life

As we wrap up another school year here at Vision CrossFit, I wanted to highlight and celebrate some of the successes from this year.  We are finishing up our 3rd year as a non-profit school affiliate and I can honestly say that students lives are being changed, beyond what I even thought was possible.  These aren't just physical changes, they are mental, nutritional, academic, and so on.  For the first time (I should have done this the past two years), I had students write an essay for their final assignment entitled "How CrossFit changed me." I was totally blown away by the things my student athletes wrote.  Most of this list of changes that follows were things that were repeated multiple times by multiple students, as if they somehow collaborated to write the same things.  This list isn't exhaustive by any means, but you will quickly see that this isn't just about fitness anymore, it is about changing people's lives and having a positive impact.  For this I am very grateful!  My students this year reported the following changes:

1. Fat Loss, increased lean mass, and Body Composition Changes
2. Increased Self Esteem
3. Emotional Stability & Mental Health
4. Gains in Strength & Kinesthetic Awareness
5. Elimination of Sugar and other Healthy Eating Habits
6. Healthy Immune System and less sick days
7. Stress Reduction
8. Increased Performance in other Sports and Activities
9. Improved Sleep
10. Improvements in Self Confidence and Social Interactions
11. Increased Flexibility
12. Old shoulder and Knee injuries "healed" (their words not mine).
13. 2 students reported that they haven't had to use their inhaler for the last 6 months.
14. Community Building and Life long friendships established.
15. Improved Posture
16. Behavioral and Impulse Control
17. Increased determination and grit
18. Positive Body image especially for girls who hated the way they looked before and no longer feel self hatred.
19. Academic Improvements, better grades and increased focus in class
20. Overall improved outlook on life

These are just a few of the positive benefits my students mentioned in their essays.  There were so many more, but these 20 were the common themes that popped up in multiple essays.  Just remember as a coach, you are doing more than just coaching squats or telling students to eliminate sugar from their diet.  You are impacting their whole life.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Success Stories

We are finishing up our 3rd year here at Vision CrossFit.  The school year comes to a close on May 24th, and I hope that the lessons my student athletes have learned with go with them and serve them well.  Some of them will be going onto college where I hope they will get plugged into a CrossFit community near their campus.  Our underclassmen will hopefully continue to pursue their fitness over the summer, using Beyond the Whiteboard to find workouts that they can do with the equipment available to them.  I can't believe it has been 3 years since we started this non-profit school affiliate, which is still the only one of its kind in Idaho as far as I know.  So much has happened over the last 3 years.  We continually fill up two classes a day with students and have a waiting list every year.  I wish I could take more than 20 in a class, but I am the only coach, we have limited space, and only 50 minutes to get things done.  These variables are challenging even with 20 students.  We could probably easily fill 2 more classes if that is all that I taught, but I still love teaching Biology and Health with the rest of my day.  We finally got barbells and some bumper plates this year due to a very generous private donation.  The kids have been grinding with sandbags, med-balls, kettle-bells, and dumbbells for so long now that it was refreshing to put a Barbell in their hand and work with something other than a PVC pipe.  As a result of this generous donation, we also started Vision Weightlifting (USAW registered Barbell Club) and had our first 4 athletes compete at some local weightlifting meets during this past year. The success of Vision Weightlifting has also led to the creation of a weightlifting class that will begin next year in addition to our two CrossFit classes here at Vision Charter School.  We had over 20 kids (7 teams) compete this year in the Granite Games Throw-down and 17 students compete in the CrossFit Open.  We have set new PRs, lost body fat, gained muscle, bolstered our confidence, increased our grit, improved our academics, and much more.  One of the most exciting developments this year was that the school has agreed to build us a designated space for my classes next year.  In past we worked out mostly outside in the heat, cold, rain, snow, and every condition imaginable (typical Idaho weather).  We shared the gym once or twice a week and had to haul equipment around, before storing it all back in my science lab.  Starting in December of 2019, this won't be an issue any longer.  Even though we will now have our own space, we still don't have a budget, so we will continue to rely on businesses and private donations.  We will need flooring, a rig, assault bikes, rowers, more barbells, more bumpers, and storage.  If you are interested in donating to our program,  please message me or email me at visioncrossfit@gmail.com   In the coming weeks, I will highlight in detail some of our success stories.  Thank you for your support, the CrossFit community is some of the most generous people I know.