Coaching the Met-Con

One of the biggest gripes I've heard over the years from our gym members is how annoyed they become if a coach tries to "coach" them during a Met-Con.

t's easy to see the value in coaching during skill work, warm up sets, and actual lifting time, but even good coaches can be gun shy about coaching during a WOD. But they shouldn't be.

Think about it another way. Pick your favorite sports team. What are their practices are like, and how are they run?

Then imagine if teams practiced together with a coach evaluating, cuing, and and guiding them through every movement.
That teams coach will give cues and suggestions based on what they see. Imagine though, if on game days, the coach didn’t show up to the game, let alone coach! Please let that register for moment.
Some of the best opportunities for growth, for both coaches and athletes happen during game time!

And CrossFit Met-Cons are our game time.
A great coach is just as involved during the workout or game time as they are during practice. (the warm up, skill session, and lifting time)

Coaches need to intervene when the weights are too heavy or affect the athlete’s ability to get the desired stimulus, or maintain safe movement patterns.

We as coaches need to motivate and encourage our athletes to move faster at times. We also need to slow them down to help them mover better, at times.

Personally, I try not to completely stop someone from moving during a workout. I'll give verbal cues if possible, and sometimes it takes me saying it 2 or 3 times but almost always that is enough to get them back to focusing on the issue I want to correct.

Please keep in mind that if your coach gives you cues, things to work on during a Met-Con, he/she is not "calling you out" or trying to sabotage your time. They see something that is either going to re-enforce bad habits, isn't meeting a standard, or is out right dangerous to you or others.

If your coach is giving you cues during a Met-Con, your coach is COACHING.

Again, keep in mind the sports team analogy. A good coach shows up on game day, and does their job.

As a gym owner, and as an athlete, I want my coaches coaching!

Hope this helps you see the difference between being "called out" and being coached, and why the best coaches, coach.

Coach Ty

The D. Why it's important and how to get it.

The D. Why you need it and how to get it.

If you've ever come into my office and peeked at the bookshelves shelves you may have noticed two supplements sitting above the books: Progenex Protein and Vitamin D. 

Those are the only supplements that I take consistently. 

There are other valuable supplements out there for sure.  But if you're on a limited budget like I am, you may have to decide where to spend your money.  And as far as supplements go, these are the two that are most important me.

And because I'm sure many of you are already aware of the importance of protein, especially in athletes, this post will focus on Vitamin D.

As coaches, we often are approached by members and asked for ideas on what supplements to take to optimize the time spent here training.

I tend to open with the same line every time: "The truth is that food and sleep are far more important than any powder, pill or drink you'll find at GNC or CFC." 

The basics have to be in place before we fill in the details with supplements.

There is one vitamin however, that actually aids in both getting a deep restful, restorative sleep and best-utilizing nutrients from food: Vitamin D.

It has been linked to calcium absorption, immune system support, metabolism boost, lower risk of heart and brain disease, cancers and more.

The key difference between D and other vitamins? We cannot create it in our body without aid. It is found only in certain enriched dairy and meat products, and some kinds of fish or egg yolks. This means certain diets that limit or exclude dairy and meat are essentially devoid of vitamin D. Otherwise, you only get it from the sun.

Sounds simple, but most people do not spend nearly enough, if any time in the sun on a regular basis. Some research suggests as little as 10-15 minutes in the sun can be a big boost, but many would be hard pressed to say they honestly get 15 minutes of straight sunshine daily. And Oregon isn't exactly known for its bright sunny days.

Darker skin pigmentation also can make absorbing D via sunlight more difficult.

So, what can we do to ensure we are giving our body enough of this essential vitamin? If you are not purposely eliminating animal products like eggs, dairy and meat, you should make sure you’re getting quality versions and eating them regularly.

It's also important to make a real effort to spend time outside in the sun. Walk the dog, hike with family or friends, or just lie by the pool for a bit to get the benefits. (be careful not to stay out too long though. Sunburn and sun skin damage can outweigh the positives if we’re not careful, and sunscreen can cut vitamin D production by up to 95%

To ensure that any missteps or missing links in these first two parts don’t become detrimental, add a vitamin D3 supplement to your diet as well.

Base recommended intake of vitamin D is 1,500-2,000 IU a day for adults and 600-1,000IUs for children 1-18 years old. 

Note: doses for pregnant women are often different and should be given by your doctor.

There are many studies though that suggest higher dosages are both safe and perhaps even more useful.  Personally I worry about not getting enough far more than I worry about getting too much.

It is important to check the supplement you choose for quality and potency, too. Regulations are loose in the supplement world and sometimes you won’t get what’s advertised on the bottle. Look for brands that have certified potency markers or other quality control insurances clearly listed.

To end, I would stress the importance of having your nutrition dialed in and consistent before spending money on supplements.  If you've got that going, and are looking to add a supplement, I would recommend doing some research and consider starting with the D.

Until next time, Cimmerians!

Coach Ty

Works Cited/Referenced:

10.04.2017: Energy Systems use in CrossFit. What you need to know.

Hey team!

As you know we just wrapped up a LONG squat cycle, and are now going to be moving into our next cycle in which we are going to switch gears just a bit. 

After a fun "de-load"(ish) week beginning next Monday the 9th, we are going to begin a new squat cycle as well as adding back in more Olympic Weightlifting.  

The first week will focus on the basics of the lifts to make sure the lifting is being done well, and to test your 1 Rep Heavy on each, so that you have some numbers to work off of for our percentage programming.  On testing days, the goal is to find the weight you can move as well as possible, not to just get something ridiculously heavy overhead.  My goal is for your lifts, by the end of this cycle to be stronger, more efficient, and safer. 

I'll apologize to some of you in advance; there will still be cardio.  You're going to begin seeing shorter, more intense Metabolic Conditioning throughout the week, with Saturday being more of an endurance oriented day.

I could write a book on programming and how/why most gyms do it wrong.  But I'm going to focus today strictly on the 3 basic Energy Systems and how taking these into consideration in programming will allow you to get the most out of the programming that we offer here.

During exercise, your body relies on 3 basic energy systems: Your anaerobic lactic system, the aerobic system, and the anaerobic a-lactic system. 

Unless you are training competitively for a specific sport there is little reason to focus on only one energy system.  But depending on which sport you're playing, you will be relying on one system more than the others. 

Here are the basics of the 3 systems, in layman's terms.  Keep in mind that the body will draw on all three systems regardless of the type of effort.  It will never completely shut off one system, but instead, your body will change the percentage and amount of energy they provide based on the time domain as well as intensity.


The anaerobic lactic (AL) system provides energy for medium to high intensity very short duration work or activity; 10 seconds - two minutes.  Sprinters, soccer players, and men that suck in bed would rely on this system.  In our world this would be seen when going for something like a 500m sprint on the rower, or if you were trying to PR your 1 mile run.  


This system provides quick bursts of power or start-up energy that lasts less than 10 seconds. Think of a shot-putter or Olympic Weightlifter performing their sport and you'll have the idea of what the ATP-CP system is about.  

Though these systems are similar, there are some important differences. The biggest difference is in the capacity of each.  Capacity meaning the amount of time the system can function at full power before it begins falling off.

As I said above, the ATP-CP system will only perform fully for about 10 seconds, while your AL system can maintain full output for up to approximately two minutes.  An important thing that most coaches don't know, or take into consideration is the amount of waste, such as lactic acid, that can be built up when the AL system is being taxed.  You may be feel a burning sensation in the muscle, which is lactic acid having built up.  Shortness of breath and fatigue MAY be additional signs of lactate build up, but the jury is still out on that.  

There is a lot of misunderstanding and differing opinions on the topic of lactate.  One of which is the idea that muscle soreness is caused by lactic acid build up.  The majority of people smarter than me believe that muscle soreness is not caused by lactate, but by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. 


The aerobic system is the most utilized of the 3 energy systems.  This system is only able to produce a small amount of energy, so it wouldn't help you in sprinting, but can produce some power for long periods of time.  Think of a marathon runner, or a triathlete.  This system can draw on energy stores (glucose), but only for approximately 90 minutes.  That's one of the reasons you see marathon runners, or triathletes taking Gatorade Gummies, or PowerGel during their events; they're trying to replenish those depleted glucose stores. 

One of the important things to know is why this system should be trained and conditioned even if you never plan to run a marathon.  The strengthening of this system will allow it to help in the removal of lactic acid, which will help your body learn to tolerate more lactate, over time.

In reality, most sports use a variety of energy systems, or at least the power and capacity of the system.  There are a few exceptions.  After thinking about the three systems, can you think of any sports that might be an exception?

Think of a shot putter.  How about Olympic Weightlifting?  Would a 1 rep heavy Snatch require the aerobic system to kick in?  Nope.  

These are your three energy systems.  By knowing what they are designed to do, and are capable of, I'm guessing you will be able to begin appreciating our programming here, on a deeper level than before.

My goal is to train you for life.  For longevity.  I want you to be the healthiest, most well rounded athlete you can be.  I'm not training you to win a marathon, or a gold medal in Olympic Weightlifting, or a powerlifting competition.  I want you to be able to do all things well.  I believe the focus of your training should be gains in strength, conditioning, mobility, hopefully allowing you to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

If you have questions about anything I wrote here, please feel free to message me anytime!

The next blog post here will cover the important difference between hypertrophy strength, and hypertrophy, and how we take that into consideration in our programming and how that can help you decide on band tension for pull-ups, weight for lunges, etc..