This past weekend I spent 8 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday at Nerd Strong in North Hollywood attending the Onnit Kettlebell Specialty Certification. This was an interesting educational experience for a few reasons:

  1. I am already fairly competent with the kettlebell both in my personal practice and in teaching others. I attribute a lot of this competency to the 3 day RKC certification I did back in 2013 whereby one of the tests to pass the certification was completing 100 KB snatches with the 24kg bell in under 5 minutes. In spite of this level of competency, I had yet to receive continuing education from Onnit, and one of the elements of Onnit that I really admire and am always interesting in learning more about is how to incorporate rotational movement while under load.
  2. I am a big believer that the only form of learning is RE LEARNING. Therefore, while I was a little bored at times because a lot of the material wasn’t new to mine, it is always invaluable to go back to the beginning and revisit the nuances of the fundamentals, particularly being exposed to different methods for teaching the fundamentals and being reminded of methods I had forgotten to incorporate.
  3. At this stage in my coaching life, I am more interested in coaching philosophy, i.e., the art and approach of coaching, particularly the coaching of others coaches. Therefore, I enjoyed observing and analyzing how the instructors structured the learning environment/experience and how they spoke about what they were teaching. After many hours of continuing education, one thing that I have grown extremely allergic to is any type of coaching that is overly dogmatic and uncompromising in the description of integrating the material amongst the rest of a preexisting coaching repertoire. Fortunately, I can say that the instructors of this cert did a phenomenal job of NOT being dogmatic and instead supporting every coach’s process of making sense of the material, so he or she could leave the cert with more autonomy over the material versus being overly dependent on the exactitude of any technique.

Take Aways:

  1. Progressions and regressions of movements are NOT linear; they are cyclical. Therefore, as coaches and students we need to constantly be going back to the fundamentals and refining those details, as opposed to thinking that once we’ve achieved a certain skill level, those foundational movement patterns and/or drills are no longer needed.
  2. If you want to get better, the key mindset is HIGH INTENTION/LOW ATTACHMENT.
  3. Flow has to be trained. Predetermined sets and reps is important but so is the practice of creating movement in the moment with little certainty of what is to come. Consider the following workout: 8 minutes of KB deadlifts and OH presses. The goal is how many different types of deadlifts and presses can you do in the allotted time while making the transitions between movements as fluid as possible. You aren’t concerned with the number of reps completed or the speed. You are focused on expressing the patterns of picking an object up and pressing it overhead in the infinite number of ways that exist, especially when you consider how novel and unique your transitions can be between movements.

Sunday’s 8am, 9am, and 10am workout on October 28: Kettlebell Flow. See you there!


Tuesday
Mental Toughness
“Arnie”
For Time:
21 Right arm Turkish Get-ups
50 RKB Swings (24/32)
21 Left arm Overhead Squats
50 RKB Swings
21 Right arm Overhead Squats
50 RKB Swings
21 Left arm Turkish Get-ups

Wednesday
Practice
A) Mobility (Pec focus)
B) Dry Land Swimming 2-4 Rounds:
  9 Banded OHS (red or blue)
  7 KB Swings (32/24) @ G4-G5 5
  Double KB DLs (32/24) @ G3-G4 Max Distance Farmer’s Carry on Exhaled Breath
  (24-minute cap)
C) Bench Press
     PEAK: 6 x 5 @ 75%
     BASE: 5 x 10 (by feel) 

It is a common order of operations mistake when people attempt to do more in order to be more. This approach is short sighted and lacks personal context/sense of meaning. 

How would your personal well-being change if you were thoroughly accepting and acknowledging of your BEING before you began your doing?

When I accept myself just as i am, then I can change” -Carl Rogers

Stop trying to change so you can then accept yourself, aka, stop doing more to be more.

Invest in the being and let the doing flow from there:

  1. Decide what it means TO YOU to be more.
  2. Practice being content with what that looks and feels like.
  3. Then, behave in accordance with those values for your intended growth trajectory. 

Tuesday
Practice
A) AMMAP 4 Row – G3
B) 4RFQ :30:30
    Plate Good Mornings (45/25)
    Push Up
    Alt DB Snatch (55/35)
    Pull Ups
C) AMMAP 4 Row – G4

Wednesday
Competition
A) Full-Body Mobility/Dynamic Warm Up
B) CNS Prep
C) “Fittest of the Sierras 2013 WOD 3”
For total reps in 6 minutes:
30 Back Squats (155/105)
then, in time remaining: Max reps of G2OH (155/105)

Dr. Martin Seligman, credited as the father of Positive Psychology, describes and measures human flourishing and well-being based on five elements, i.e., PERMA. 

P–Pleasurable emotions (happiness, contentment, rapture, elation)

E–Engagement, aka Flow (being totally immersed in what you are pursuing in the moment)

R–Relationships (family, friends, worthwhile/enjoyable social connection)

M–Meaning (a sense of belonging, purpose, and service to something bigger than yourself)

A–Achievement (accomplishing new levels of skill acquisition, i.e., competence) 

What I like most about this mnemonic is how it can be a useful mental model for more deliberately reflecting on life events. For example, you can filter your training sessions through PERMA: 

  1. What positive emotions did you experience?
  2. How engaged and present were you?
  3. How connected were you to your fellow classmates/coach?
  4. In what ways did/does the training session connect to other parts of your life outside the gym? 
  5. What did you accomplish today and/or was there an opportunity to work on becoming more competent at certain skills? 

I encourage you to use this mental model to debrief your future training sessions. 

At the very least, you’ll become more aware of your experience and how it is contributing to your daily and overall well-being and ability to flourish. You now have another way of keeping tabs on your own intentional, sustainable growth. 

P.S. This is what I consider an example of a tangible and tactical mental skillset, i.e., when I deliver mental skills coaching, mental models like PERMA are used to help individuals improve their ability to become more self-aware to then accurately self-regulate and self-evaluate given the circumstances and their desired outcomes. 


 

 

 

Tuesday
Mental Toughness
For time:
3-9-11-8-25-6-13 reps of:
Thrusters (95/65)
Bar-facing Burpees
-then-
Run 1 mile (Nasal Breathing)

Wednesday
Competition
Franklin Hill Fitness Score
A) “Franklin Light Hunt”
AMLAP 8: Across Down Back Up Back Across -then- Max Light Posts Score
(Rest 10 minutes)
B) 2 Intervals on the 6:00:
Franklin Hill Sprint 220m
“Fitness Score” is the total of your two intervals times on part “B”…divided by your Light Post Score on part “A”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does “practicing” pull-ups, pushups, and air squats look differently than “competing” in pull-ups, pushups, and air squats? I’m so glad you asked… 

As you know, Cycle 18 will feature a good number of practicing these movements because Chelsea (30 min EMOM–5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, 15 squats) was one of our test workouts. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to bring more visual clarity to the difference in behavior when “practicing” versus “competing”. 

Similar to coach Matt, before coaching at Oak Park, I had been using Kenny’s context informed coaching methodology with clients of mine. A couple of years ago, I was working with a client remotely, and I had programmed for him to do CINDY (20 min AMRAP–5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, 15 squat) within a practice context. However, the video footage I reviewed of him doing the workouts did not look like practice to me. Consequently, I made this video to help him better understand what I was looking for from him behaviorally in order to achieve the desired outcome, i.e., better movement quality, associated within a practice context. 

(Go to 2:42 mark if you wish to skip passed my coaching banter/introduction)


Tuesday
Practice

A) FQ Push, Pull, Run
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 (15 min cap):
-Training push ups
-Strict pull
-200m Run 
B) EMOM 10
1 Hang Power snatch
1 OH Squat
1 Snatch
C) 3 x 10 Seated Arnold Press on Coregous ball

Wednesday
Practice
A) Bench Press
BASE: 5×8 (by feel)
PEAK: 5×5 @ 70%
B) AMRAP 20mins
800m Row (Nasal Priority)
then…2 rounds of:
12 AKBS (24/16) + 12 OHS (6 per arm) w/ AB Mat

 

Yes, the deliberate act of reflecting on your performance/experience is a practice, i.e., it is another skill that can be cultivated and infinitely improved upon just like your air squat. 

When you take the time to reflect, you are supporting the brain in processing what just occurred. In lieu of reflecting, your brain may likely miss out on making the kind of connections that help you to build on what just occurred. I believe true intelligence, put simply, is the ability to take an experience from last Tuesday and apply it to an unexpected, unrelated event that occurs next Thursday. This kind of performance adaptability is contingent upon a reflective practice that helps you to connect the dots between what occurred and what may occur. 

Similar to test week/re-test week from cycle 17, we are using the same reflection template for cycle 18–Good, Better, How. We will also begin doing these types of reflections once a week during all 12 working weeks of the cycle. 

GOOD: You know the phenemenon of learning something new and then beginning to hear or see that new thing everywhere in almost supernatural ways? Mechanistically, this is actually the same brain firing as being able to pick out the sound of your name in a crowded room. This is the functioning of your brain’s Reticular Activating System–a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out what it deems unnecessary so the “important” stuff gets through. Therefore, “we do not see with our eyes, WE SEE WITH OUR BRAINS” (John Medina, Brain Rules). This is why it is SO important to make a habit out of reflecting on what went well. There is always something. Train your brain to find it, and it will begin to find it and focus on it more often. 

BETTER: Notice how this section is not called “bad”. This is deliberate. Do not focus on what didn’t go well. Focus on what could be better. Just like there is always something good you can highlight, there is always something that could be better. Train your brain to get more specific at identifying what that may be. 

HOW: Think in active terms. What behaviors are you going to deploy to actually improve upon what you said could be better. Moreover, think about what are active ways in which your coaches can help you get better. HELP US HELP YOU. 

___________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday

A) Bench Press
    -Find 3 Rep Max (20 min)

B) Sumo Deadlift

    -Find 1 Rep Max (20 min)

Wednesday

For Time: 

Run 1 mile
50 DB Alt. Box Step Ups
Run 1 Mile

 

This coming Saturday (August 4th) is BRING A FRIEND DAY for our 8am, 9am, and 10am classes. 

What to expect: In addition to a partner-style “JACKIE” workout (2000m row, 100 thrusters, 60 Pullups), we will be doing some breath work, yoga, running skills/drills, and recovery-oriented mobility. 

Who to bring: Anyone you think would find value in what we have to offer at Oak Park. As you all know, as coaches, we are SUPER PASSIONATE about helping others live higher quality lives through our approach to facilitating INTENTIONAL, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH. Therefore, what better way is there to add to our wonderful community than doing so with individuals that you pre-approve! 


TEST WEEK! 

Tuesday

A) Overhead Squat Find your 2-rep max

B) “Meat” Barbell Complex for max load:

3 Power Cleans
3 Hang (Squat) Cleans
3 Front Squats
3 Split Jerks

Wednesday

4 Rounds (nasal breathing priority):
30 Russian KB Swings (32/24)
50′ DB Walking Lunges (50/35)
800m Run
(30-minute cap)

Some of you may know that I am a fan of superheroes. In particular, I watch all of the DC heroes that have their own shows on The CW (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow).

A theme that comes up often on these shows is how for the protagonist “suiting up” and being their vigilante self is what allows him or her to express the best version of him or herself.  

This got me thinking: Under what circumstances am I able to express the best version of myself, and how can I engineer my life in such a way that I am able to tap into that reality more often?

At Oak Park, our role as coaches is to be the supporting characters of your own, ongoing hero’s journey. Therefore, I am curious to know from you: Under what circumstances are you able to express the best version of yourself, and how can we, at Oak Park, play more of an active role in helping you to fine-tune the practices that create space for the best version of yourself to manifest?


Tuesday

Practice

A) Back Squats 5×5 Work up to “heavy 5”

B) In teams of 3 for total calories in 15 minutes:

     P1 – On Assault Bike (nasal priority)

     P2- Arch Hold

     P3 – 30m Sled Push, 20 Plyo Box & Jumps (PB&J’s), 30m Sled Push

Wednesday

Practice

A) 3 RFQ :30:30 Static Dip Hold (top), Static Dip Hold (bottom)

B) 4 RFQ :30:30 Battle Ropes, Alternating Pistols, Hollow Hold

C) Barbell Cycling:

BASE

  AMRAP 12:

  Run 300m

  11 Touch-and-Go Power Cleans

PEAK

   3 RFQT:

  15 TnG Power Cleans (135/95)

  Run 400m

(12-minute cap)  

At Oak Park, we pride ourselves in training a diversity of skillsets and being able to do so both broadly and in depthly. Our speciality classes are a great opportunity to go in depth. Speaking of which, we are making some scheduling changes to one of the mobility and run classes. 

  • There will no longer be mobility at 7am on Saturdays. Instead, we will be having a 8am-830am mobility class on Fridays starting THIS WEEK
  • Starting NEXT WEEK, the 5:30 pm run class at the bluffs will begin at 6:00pm

Remember, what is great about our speciality classes (including breath and Yoga-ish) is that they are not only effective in and of themselves but each of their specific contents increases your overall athleticism and adaptability when throwing down in our Oak Park General Physical Preparedness classes. 


In other news, do you like listening to podcasts? If so check out my podcast Behind the Podium: Unveiling the Coach, particularly the most recently released episode in which Daniel Cortez (breath and mobility coach) was interviewed. http://behindthepodiumpodcast.com/2018/06/07/ep-55-daniel-cortez-evolutionary-mismatch-and-finding-the-middle-path/


For those of you that just scroll down to see the programming, here ya go: 

TWO COMPETITION DAYS BACK TO BACK!!! 

Tuesday
Competition
“Jackpot!”
7 RFT:
7 Thrusters (96/65)
7 Pull-ups

Wednesday
Competition
“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00 of 4x100m every 90 seconds

At Oak Park, we pride ourselves in training a diversity of skillsets and being able to do so both broadly and in depthly. Our speciality classes are a great opportunity to go in depth. Speaking of which, we are making some scheduling changes to one of the mobility and run classes. 

  • There will no longer be mobility at 7am on Saturdays. Instead, we will be having a 8am-830am mobility class on Fridays starting THIS WEEK
  • Starting NEXT WEEK, the 5:30 pm run class at the bluffs will begin at 6:00pm

Remember, what is great about our speciality classes (including breath and Yoga-ish) is that they are not only effective in and of themselves but each of their specific contents increases your overall athleticism and adaptability when throwing down in our Oak Park General Physical Preparedness classes. 


In other news, do you like listening to podcasts? If so check out my podcast Behind the Podium: Unveiling the Coach, particularly the most recently released episode in which Daniel Cortez (breath and mobility coach) was interviewed. http://behindthepodiumpodcast.com/2018/06/07/ep-55-daniel-cortez-evolutionary-mismatch-and-finding-the-middle-path/


For those of you that just scroll down to see the programming, here ya go: 

TWO COMPETITION DAYS BACK TO BACK!!! 

Tuesday
Competition
“Jackpot!”
7 RFT:
7 Thrusters (96/65)
7 Pull-ups

Wednesday
Competition
“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00 of 4x100m every 90 seconds

In his book “Conscious Coaching”, Brett Bartholomew writes that PURPOSE IS A PERFORMANCE ENHANCER, and I love the succinctness of that statement. 

There is a lot of buzz nowadays about knowing what your “why” is, and, in my opinion, similar to the buzz surrounding mindfulness, any buzz around getting clear about why you do what you (your sense of purpose) is warranted. 

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” –Friedrich Nietzsche 

Why are you a member of Oak Park? Why do you choose to invest in your health and wellness? Who are you and what do you believe in, why? 

I am of the opinion that these questions are iterative–answering them is an ongoing process. That being said, I do not believe these questions are context dependent. Your why/purpose is your internal operating system. You’ll run an infinite number of apps off of that one operating system. However, you have to have some ongoing awareness, knowledge, and reflection of what that operating system is in order to run the apps effectively and efficiently. In real life, your behaviors are the equivalent of computer software applications. 

If you want to achieve greater levels of performance and personal fulfillment, you will have to wrestle with these questions. Lucky for you, you are part of a community of coaches that relish the opportunity to support you on your journey to tackle these questions, one rep at a time. 

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot


Tuesday

PRACTICE

A) EMOM 12

Minute 1: :30 HS Hold Minute

2: 12 Bulgarian Split Squats (R)

Minute 3: 12 Bulgarian Split Squats (L)

B) E5MOM x 5

400m Run

1 Round of “DT”:

     12 Deadlifts
      9 Hang Power Cleans
      6 Jerks
          Score = Differential between slowest and fastest split

 

Wednesday

COMPETITION

“Jack”
AMRAP 20:

10 Push Press (115/75)

10 KBS (24/16)

10 Box Jump (24/20)