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   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.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Introducing Intensity

I think we can all agree that Intensity is important, unless you don't think results are important.  The question is how and when we should introduce it? Especially in the case of young athletes, or in my opinion, anyone who is looking for longevity in their sport or personal fitness journey.  CrossFit has always had it right.  Even as far back as my level 1 coaching class.  "Mechanics, Consistency, & Intensity." This has always been the intent, the problem is that people often skip or rush step 1 & step 2 in order to jump to step 3.  You can't blame CrossFit for this (even though uneducated people do).  This mindset is primarily the fault of the faux coach or the stubborn individual athlete who wants to keep up with the Instagram world because they actually don't care about fitness.  As coaches and as athletes we have got to be relentless in our pursuit of steps 1 and 2.  First, we must move well and hit the proper ROM and the positions needed to efficiently and safely execute the movement(s).  Second, we have to move well on every rep (the last rep should look the first) and under fatigue and  under increasing loads.  Most of us will stop here for a really long time, but once we have mastered the mechanics (remember actual mastery takes time), and once we have mastered the ability to move well consistently under changing variables, then we can introduce intensity.  Yes, intensity is the key, but longevity is the car that drives us into a lifetime of fitness and not just for the next few years.  That is the whole point of this thing right?

M- Mechanics
C- Consistency
I- Intensity