17 Random Thoughts for 2017

17 Random Thoughts for 2017

  1. Try not to have goals or resolutions, have a plan instead. Your first workout is just your next workout and your first healthy meal is just your next meal. Don’t worry about 2 months down the line, just what is in front of you.
  2. For whatever endeavour you pursue, strength training will help. From marathon runners having a more resilient and stable hip complex to hockey players trying to increase speed and stability on the puck to seniors who want to preserve bone mass; strength training will be beneficial.
  3. We are all special people, but are not special snowflakes. A basic diet plan consisting of good, whole foods and basic lifts like squats and rows will work for almost everyone. Usually only small changes need to be made for things like medical conditions or past injuries. Don’t think you need some special shake for weight loss or a program made in an underground lab in Russia. If in doubt, go to the basics.
  4. Get a good coach. We are our own worst enemies and will sabotage ourselves without the knowledge and accountability of a coach.
  5. Being able to reach completely overhead without bending the elbows and arching the back and being able to sit in the bottom of a squat while remaining relatively upright with the feet flat on the floor are two skills that everyone should be chasing.
  6. I teach a lot of technically difficult movements: Squat variations, Olympic lifts, ring work, double unders, etc. You shouldn’t master them right away. They should make you frustrated and mad because you can’t do them. People either give up or else have such determination that over time they master the skills. Excellence doesn’t come easily.
  7. There are 3 planes of motion – Sagittal plane (moving forwards and backwards), frontal plane (moving to the side), and transverse plane (rotational movement). Too many exercise programs only concentrate on the sagittal plane neglecting the frontal and transverse plane. This can lead to possible asymmetries, increased injury risk, and reduced overall movement efficiency.
  8. Olympic weightlifting is moving the body around the bar, not moving the bar. Very difficult concept for most.
  9. Kelly Starrett, a physiotherapist and CrossFit box owner, has used the analogy to think of your rib cage and pelvis as two buckets of water when bracing for a lift. They should stay lined up and move together. If you start to move the spine into flexion or extension, you will start to dump water.
  10. Many athletes under eat because they are trying to improve body composition, which usually happens at the expense of performance. If you have been eating lower calories, often increasing calories combined with intense training will produce significant improvements in body composition.
  11. With all things being equal, and with intelligent program design, greater hypertrophy will be achieved in a muscle group by training it two+ days per week as opposed to once weekly (Schoenfeld, et al., 2016).
  12. With individuals without much experience with resistance training, pyramiding the weight up to a top set works very well as it gives the person a lot of practice on the lift at lighter loads to become more technically proficient.
  13. CrossFit is dogged by the perception that participants have higher injury rates than other sports. One has to expect an increase in risk of injury when handling heavier loads. This is true of all lifting genres (powerlifting, CrossFit, olympic lifting, bodybuilding). According to the research, CrossFit is as safe as other forms of exercise (Hak et al., 2013). It all comes down to genetics, intelligence of programming, and willingness of the athlete to pay attention to recovery.
  14. Virtually all postmenopausal women should be strength training. There is very convincing evidence of the important role that strength training plays in maintaining bone mass (Engelke et al., 2006).
  15. Lunging, when done properly, is a great way to keep your entire lower body healthy. A good cue for a lunge, is to think about dropping the back knee straight down to keep your weight evenly distributed.
  16. Find someone to emulate in your fitness aspirations. When I was young, I wanted to be Arnold Schwarzenegger (still do, actually). It doesn’t mean that you will look like them; use it purely for inspiration for your attitude and perception.
  17. All men should strength train. You never know when you will star on an episode of Cops and be chased while not wearing a shirt. Be ready.


Engelke K, Kemmler W, Lauber D, Beeskow C, Pintag R, Kalender WA. Exercise maintains bone density at spine and hip EFOPS: a 3-year longitudinal study in postmenopausal women. (2006). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16096715

Hak PT, Hodzovic E, Hickey B. The nature and prevalence of injury during CrossFit training. (2013). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24276294

Schoenfeld BJ, Osborn D, Krieger JW. Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (2016). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27102172