Top 3 mistakes I made when I started CrossFitting

As most of you know when I am not at the gym coaching, writing ridiculous things on the blog, or getting free hugs from Kasia I am teaching at Montgomery County Community College where I also serve as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach. At the community college level I get all kinds of students and athletes, some good some bad….mostly bad. I am a teacher, coach, counselor and friend. I have my athletes as well as students visit my office regularly for advice on many different things….school related and non-school related. I try my best to give them the best possible guidance I can….I know….very scary. I’m not the best at giving guidance all the time, but what I try to do use all the mistakes I have made on my life to help others. It’s hard to believe, but I have made many mistakes….

Last week I had a student athlete make a terrible life decision that will affect him for the rest of his life, and the only advice I could give him was to learn how he could have handled it differently and one day he may be able to help himself or another person. So I thought, how could I help my members?

Learn from my mistakes!!!!

1. I tried to be good at everything. When I started CrossFit, it was easy to PR all the time and I made progress at a blistering rate. It didn’t even matter if I didn’t have the best technique, I was getting better. After my second year doing CrossFit all my PR’s were hard to hit and some of my conditioning was starting to fall behind. So after speaking with my coach, yes even I have a coach….and still do to this day….he suggested I start specializing and stop trying to be good at everything. So, about a year and a half ago I started doing things like using a hook grip and focusing on perfecting my Olympic lifting technique.

Lesson Learned: Having the best time or weight lifted isn’t as important initially. Master the technique first,do it right, check your ego at the door, and keep your shirt on (unless your Dan)…PR’s will last longer.

2. I spent hardly anytime on my mobility. Again, PR’s where coming so fast it really wasn’t of interest to me. Although I knew I should work on it….I just didn’t. Presently I am suffering because of this, my snatch will not go past 210 because I just don’t have the shoulder flexibility to stabilize anything heavier overhead. So now I have committed to working on my mobility and will continue to do so every chance I get.

Lesson Learned: You are nothing without mobility, Sara has it…you don’t, so get to class early, stay late and work on it. Unless you would like to have an Overhead squat like Koch, just keep not doing any mobility.

3. I thought Paleo was the end all be all. Being Paleo was and still is a great thing. There is nothing better for you then eating good unprocessed food. There is not question about it that for general health and well-being Paleo is the way to go. I used it with a ton of success and I know a lot of you have as well. Then one day…it just kind of stopped working. I got fantastic results from it for the first year, then all of a sudden I started to notice changes in my performance and body composition that were not what I had hoped for. What I realized was my goals did not match up with my nutrition. Your personal nutrition has the most dramatic impact on two things….1) how you look naked and 2) How you perform. I personally want to be jacked and tan at the moment. I realized that the lower carb Paleo approach was not working for me, so I added more Paleo’ish carbs like sweet potatoes and gluten-free oats. I also revisited the wonderful world of sports supplements, which has both lead me to being more jacked and tan. More so then when I was trying to be low carb paleo.

Lesson Learned: Paleo is great, but we have more lofty health and fitness goals then a caveman. Paleo should be the base of everyone’s diet, but there is not a one size fits all approach. Be you own experiment and see what works for you.

Till next time.



3 Rounds of 1 minute at each station:

Squat Cleans 155/110

20′ Shuttle run (20′ forward + 20′ backwards =1)

Deadlift 245/170


Jerks or shoulder to overhead 155/110

*Rest 1 minute between rounds


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