I grew up believing in strength.

Being strong was good.

Strength was useful.

If you were strong, you could DO more stuff.

Strength to me was something like Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Predator…hoisting traps into trees…killing bad guys…battling crazy huge (but totally jacked and awesome) aliens.

It was Rambo, helping the small independent tribes in the mountains of Afghanistan defeat the more powerful Russian communist army.

As it was portrayed, if you were strong, you were harder to kill.

When I was in high school, I ran Cross Country and Track and not because I wanted to. I ran because I was fast and I excelled at it. What I really wanted to do was play football. But my parents were adamantly against it, having heard too many stories of ACL tears and shoulder injuries.

Even though I ran CC/track, being strong was still very important to me. Thus, when I would step on the line as a senior to run the mile, I would usually outweigh my opponents by a good 15-20lbs. I was the bigger, stronger kid and it showed. While my endurance was good enough to hold on to the leaders, my strength is what gave me the kick at the end of pass the other runners. In high school I won the national title in the mile at 4:04 and ran 1:49.1 in the 800m the summer of my senior year.

Somewhere in college and directly after I lost sight of how important strength was.

I bought into the idea that you had to weigh 130lbs to be a successful track athlete.

In college, I experienced nominal success. I earned All American status 3x and won multiple ACC championships. I was a potential contender in the middle distances but never considered one of the best, which was bothersome to say the least. My weight slowly declined. Injuries were always on the horizon.

It wasn’t until I found CrossFit and the CrossFit Endurance program that changed the way I saw myself as an athlete and a “runner”.

I COULD be strong and fast.

They were not mutually exclusive.

In fact, they were mutually beneficial!

Unfortunately the benefits of strength training were lost on the endurance community up until recently.

A recent article from FloTrack states:

Though Peter Coe championed strength training 30 years ago and Salazar is helping to make it popular again, for many years weight training was thought to be detrimental. Ever mindful of their mass, runners avoided weights fearing the possibility of bulking up. Salazar takes this fear head on and dismisses it. “It’s very hard to bulk up. I’ve never seen a single athlete of mine bulk up.”

“Bulking up not only means lifting really hard but eating a ton, and it’s very hard to gain weight. Not even a single one of my athletes have gained 2lbs. The only one’s that have gained a little bit of weight have been the girls… because they haven’t been as muscularly toned… but it’s good functional muscle that actually allows them to compete better.”

…To make it to the next level, strength training is a must.


What does your current training program look like?

I currently create strength templates (and running templates) that coincide with the endurance athletes running program to make them stronger, faster and a more injury proof athlete. If you’re interested, I would love to help! Send me an email or catch me on FB or Twitter.

Never Let It Rest,



8 week “Fit 2 Fight” Program

Posted: June 23, 2014 in CrossFit
Now that the Army is really cracking down on fitness standards, I’ve been asked to write a plan to get back in shape and/or help crush the APFT standard.
As the new Master Fitness Trainer of Bravo 184, I’ve created an 8 week “Fit to Fight” program designed for the beginner of mostly body weight movements that will help any Joe get in serious shape with testing along the way to show progress.
While this is geared towards the beginner athlete, it can be modified for the veteran. For instance, you could sub horizontal rows for pullups and add weight to the squats by holding a dumbbell.
Please let me know what you think and please post your results!
It’s important to have goals. I designed this program specifically for those individuals who have failed prior APFT or are not making tape measurements. As you can see, it’s not super secy, at least the first month. Your first 4 weeks is just about building the basics with repetition, pushups, pullups,/rows, situps squats. Most of the guys I designed this for don’t have full pullups, proper pushups or core control.
That said, I haven’t posted video’s of what a proper squat, pushup or pullup looks like. There is a ton of information on the internet, please google it!
The second month we start getting into more fun stuff while sticking to the basics. Again, the goal is getting you to not just pass, but CRUSH the APFT while making you a stronger, faster and “harder to kill” soldier ;)
Never Let It Rest,

To Basic and back again…

Posted: May 13, 2014 in CrossFit, Military

“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
~ The Hobbit

If you need a new perspective on life, I invite you to join the military.

If you feel like there is something more than this cushy (and safe) reality we live in, I invite you to join the infantry.

Many people talk about what they “shoulda, woulda, coulda done”. Others go out and do it. I am proud to say that I joined the latter.

The last 4 months I attended Army BCT (Basic Combat Training) and Advanced Infantry Training. To be honest, it was nothing special. Thousands of men in our country’s history have come before me. Most men CAN physically do it. However, what makes it a special experience are the mental demands required from each individual.

Being immersed into a a culture that tells what you what to do AND expects 110% effort was a new experience. Although being an athlete my whole life helped regarding following directions and executing, it was another experience altogether being held accountable for the actions of those around me, being confined to a very narrow set of tasks and not having contact with those I love.

In the Army, you quickly learn you’re only as strong as the man to your left and right. We hear this kind of saying all the time in the civilian world too, whether it’s in sports or business. It’s meant to instill pride, motivation and espirit de corps in the group. However, in the military, you’re not playing a game for points. It’s life and death. A lack of discipline will kill the man next to you.

Mortality is a hard thing to grasp. Defending and taking it is another. Nothing can completely prepare you. Thus, you have the NCO (non commissioned officer) or Drill Sergeant who is there to teach what it means to operate under high levels of stress. Their job description is to make every infantryman a warrior and they accomplish this by “bringing each potential soldier just to the breaking point mentally and physically”. Through sleep deprivation, training in foul weather conditions, PT, and all other creative means, the NCO accomplishes his goal. The more amount of “suck” involved in any task, the better.

4 months of minimal contact with the outside world (we were allowed to receive letters after the first 6 weeks) while being placed under high amounts of mental and physical stress will change a man.

Here’s what I learned:

- The Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage. Of all these values, INTEGRITY is the greatest and creates the foundations for the others.

- “A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
~ George Patton. There is tremendous value in making a quick, decisive decision rather than waiting and second guessing yourself. Make a decision, stand by it and execute. If it turns out to be wrong, adjust course accordingly and continue moving forward.

- Move with a purpose. No walking. Run or move quickly in everything you do.

- Stay disciplined, complacency kills. That also means taking care of your equipment, making sure it’s secured at all times and in proper working order.

- Stay motivated. Find ways to motivate yourself to perform, get through the day, night or any other unpleasant situation. Small steps are the only way to mentally cope, whether that’s making it back to your bunk at night or just getting to the next meal.

- Lastly, and certainly not least, I learned the true value of freedom. It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our American life and what you truly miss when you have it taken away. I missed my daughter, my fiancé and my community. They were the ones that filled my mind the most when I was missing home or sad and everyone else felt the same about their own loved ones. It is a nice awakening of what is truly most important in life.

Next time you see a soldier, please thank them. They uphold and protect EVERYTHING our country stands for, without their own political bias. They have endured and sacrificed to be “guardian’s of freedom and the American way of life.” The “American way of life” encompasses all colors, creeds, religions and political views.

Never Let It Rest,

Muscles don’t grow without stress.

Math problems aren’t solved without erasers.

Endurance isn’t established without pain.

Character cannot be made without hardship.

Stress, hardship, pain, toil. These are all forms of suffering.


The New Year is upon us.

How will you leverage your mistakes and past failures from liabilities into assets?

The New Year is significant because it represents new beginnings. We tend to forget though, that each new day brings new beginnings as well.

If you can keep a perspective that ALL HARDSHIPS are gifts, that they will surely pass, and that they are there to teach us new skills and learn more about ourselves, we can dedicate ourselves to forward motion, one step at a time.

Failure is a teacher. In the end, you have “more data about what works and what doesn’t.”

You have the power to control your thoughts. Once you commit mentally, actions follow.

Don’t let past mistakes ground you. Use them for what they are; a learning experience, and let them go. You can’t move forward if you’re always looking back.

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.” – Shane Caniglia

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Here’s to making 2014 and every day of your life exceptional, as it should be.

Never Let It Rest,

I was tired.

I didn’t want to train.

Instead of accepting the fact that I was tired, I started making up stories in my head. I got on the rower for my warmup and kept thinking, “I’m too tired. I’ve had a hard week. I can take it easy. Maybe I shouldn’t train today.”

Being tired was my excuse for staying in my comfort zone.

And then I became aware of what I was constantly saying to myself…”I’m too tired…I’m too tired”. It became a self fulfilling prophesy!

Once I became aware that I was actually entertaining my demons rather than exorcising them (ha, lame pun), I immediately became stronger. I made a choice to listen to them or not.

I thought about Sebastian Coe, who’s father used to tell him, “No matter how fast the race is, you can always go faster.”

It reminded me of the 20x factor.

The premise of the 20x factor was developed by Navy SEAL Marc Divine. You are capable of 20x more than you think you are. It’s centered around your belief system, behaviors and attitude.

Belief System

Our belief system is based upon our own personal experiences and background. We all see the world through a different set of eyes. It’s important to remember that we all have a decision in how we view each situation. Creating self awareness in how we handle tough decisions or conflicts can give us insight into the best method of resolving them. Monitor your internal dialogue to gain some insight on your hard drive’s belief system.

“Most weak beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies because the belief leads to behavior that reinforces the belief…” Marc Divine.


Behaviors are a product of your belief system and thus create your habits. Monitoring your belief system (internal dialogue) will inevitably shed some light on what your habits are and why you do them! Behavior factors are the connection b/t mind and body. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

Often times, changing your behavioral system will change your belief system. Getting in shape, eating the right food, losing weight, gaining muscle foster a hard work ethic and yield confidence in oneself. Doing things that you weren’t physically able to do before can have terrific positive effects on your internal dialogue.

However, your attitude determines the balance b/t the two.


Your attitude, whether positive or negative, happy or sad, determines how you interpret the world. Do you play the victim, where bad things ALWAYS happen to only you? Or do you choose to see situations as merely life experiences, neither good nor bad? Depending on your attitude, it will shape your actions/reactions (behaviors) and your belief in yourself and others (belief system). Again, your internal dialogue is a great indicator.

One reason I love martial arts (inparticular Taekwondo) is that it teaches discipline of mind and body. The 5 tenets of Taekwondo are: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, indomitable spirt. Two of those things are pretty much the same thing!

Rule of thumb: Attitude. If you possess a “don’t give up” attitude, anything is possible!

“Often times the race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to he who endures till the end.”

Never Let It Rest,

“Coach, I went on an 8 mile hike with my girlfriend the other day and my legs are really tired. Do I have to squat tomorrow or can we move it to Tuesday? Sorry, Coach!”

This was an email I got from one of my athletes recently and it’s funny how many different emotions it elicited from me. My initial reaction was, “Suck it up, we’re squattin’!!” Next, it was, “Why is he apologizing?” Then, it was “Poor guy…he thinks I’m going to be mad!” I went from feeling angry, to remorseful, to apologetic, to almost sad. It was a rainbow of emotions!

This interaction brought up some very important experiences for me. One, training should NEVER consume you to the point that you can’t enjoy the rest of your life (to a point, an Olympic caliber athlete is an exception on some, not all, notes. However see point two). Two, if you are truly living your VALUES (and you have taken the time to identify them), there will never be a struggle of what “I should be doing” vs. what “I want to be doing.” Meaning, everything you do is because you really want to do it. No apologies necessary! Third, sometimes your values may “bump” into each other. In other words, every training day isn’t going to be “peaches n’ cream.” It takes work (both in your own perspective and effort!)

Live your life and Take the hit

1. Training should never consume you to the point that you can’t enjoy the rest of your life.

As an athlete who has competed at the highest levels of his sport, I am guilty as charged. I wanted to make an Olympic Team and let all my other dreams and wishes fall by the wayside. Before long, I was resentful, angry and tired.

2. Live your Values

After one takes the time to identify his/her values, he/she will have better clarity around potential decisions. In our athletes case, he made a decision to go hiking based upon the value he placed on his significant other and the time they spend together.

However, he also values his fitness and the progress he has seen in the gym. Ironically, valuing fitness and actually using it by going out for a hike clashed in this case.

3. Sometimes values “bump” into each other

When I stay up late finishing emails, addressing athlete’s concerns, spending time with my daughter or significant other, it’s easy for me to complain about how tired I am during the next day’s training program. One thing comes to mind:

“Take the hit. You are living your life according to your values. Accept the consequences or rearrange your priorities.”

So instead of complaining, I put a smile on my face, pick up the barbell (maybe groan a little bit) and go to work.

In our athlete’s case, he was a little sore after frolicking through the woods with his loved one. Does he regret it? (Well maybe at the moment he’s at the bottom of his fifth set of squats…hehe). The answer is no, he doesn’t. He made that decision because spending time together and nurturing his relationship is aligned with his values of providing and creating a family someday. Therefore, my answer to him is, “Take the hit. We’re squattin’ tomorrow!”

Obviously discretion has to be used in this case. If he were to tell me they spent the night out and didn’t get back until the wee hours of the morning, I would have told him to take the day off and come back tomorrow. However, if this is a reoccurring situation, his goals and values are out of line and need to be reassessed.

This brings us to my last point, which summarizes everything all up in one. Some days (most days for me more recently) training isn’t going to be “super awesome”. Some days you are really not going to feel like lifting. Some days you are really NOT going to feel like going for a run. And somedays, actually sticking to your values and HONORING them takes a little extra work.

You’ll know you are on the right path when the immediate outcome after finishing a specific task is gratitude for honoring yourself.

Never Let It Rest,

We recently kicked off our annual Turkey Challenge in the gym. This 6 week team competition gives our members to a chance to dial in their nutrition while receiving two more workouts per week in addition to goal training and value identification. For most of them, it will be an intense 6 weeks!

Along with determining each athletes values, one of our questions we ask is “What is your internal dialogue?”

This is a very powerful and insightful question!

The answers vary of course and while some of them are down right funny, they all offer a glimpse
into my athlete’s mind.

Coach and Navy Seal Marc Divine describes it as the “background of obviousness”. This is the little chatter we carry around with us from day to day that governs every one of our actions. It forms our habits, influences the decisions we make and ultimately affects our confidence and self esteem. Be wary of this little voice!!

Are you aware of this little voice? How often during the day do you take to reflect on exactly what you are thinking? Most of us just run on auto pilot, busily scurrying from one task to the next, worrying, planning, solving, operating along the way. I am not exempt.

So, it is not surprising that this question, “What is your internal dialogue?”, was left blank or not completely filled out by nearly all of my athletes. Actually, none of them answered the questions properly!

The correct answers are terribly revealing. If we were honest with ourselves, I’m sure some if not most of them are probably not very nice.

They can be slightly different for varying occasions, however, most of them will have a similar ring to it.

“I’m too slow.”

“I suck. I’ll never get better.”

“This is hard. I can’t do it.”

“I’m tired. I’ll do it later.”

“I’ll never lose any weight.”

“I’ll never have any money.”

“I have no will power.”

My personal favorite, “I don’t have any time!”

CrossFit and all of it’s different scenario’s for challenging us physically, brings out the best (or worst) in our internal dialogue rants. It’s the reason why breaking through physical barriers in the gym carry over to breaking through mental barriers. This can be said for any physical pursuit.

What’s true about ALL of these statements is the fact WE bring them to fruition, whether or not the statement itself is true or not.

For instance, I have to constantly battle and monitor my internal voice that says, “I don’t have the time.” For years, this was my story and it robbed me of the simple pleasures of life. I shamed myself for spending time with my daughter when I could have been working or “getting things done”, whatever that means. The result was a level of anxiety that wasn’t readily apparent until I slowed down to identify it.

While I have made huge improvements, it’s still a work in progress and most likely something I will always have to be conscience of.

This is no different than my own athletes who’s internal dialogue is worrying about money or eating the wrong foods.

If we really dug a little deeper, we would find a different internal dialogue, one that actually is at the helm of our internal ship.

That’s a scary thought! Our background of obviousness is powerful motivator in our lives that determines how we view ourselves in the world around us. It can be tremendously uplifting or depressing.

Whatever it is, positive or negative, it will ultimately shape you into the person you become, whether you know it or not.

One of my roles as a coach is help my athletes identify this internal dialogue and in the process, identify their values to make them the best possible athlete, mom, dad, husband, wife, person etc they can be! Identifying is just part of the process though. Working on breaking down negative beliefs and replacing them with positive ones are the key to fullfillment in life and ultimately determine success in our pursuits.

So, what are your internal dialogue’s? Take a moment to reflect on different scenarios or decisions you have made during the day. Can you recognize any that are consistent?

Take some time to reflect. I’d love to hear some comments on what your internal dialogue looks like.

Never Let It Rest,