Archive for the ‘CrossFit Endurance’ Category

Strong is FAST program

Myth #1: Lifting weights is bad for endurance runners.

Myth #2: I’ll gain weight if I lift heavy.

Myth #3: When it comes to endurance training, more is better.

“Strong is FAST” is my new program that pushes the envelope in what we believe endurance training should be. When we picture an endurance runner, most of us think of an emaciated cross country kid who got his lunch money stolen from him in high school. Unfortunately, most running coaches believe that upper body strength, or any true strength for that matter, isn’t a priority nor is it beneficial. Instead, the endurance athlete is pounded into submission with volume, albeit while executed with improper technique and upon a weak foundation to support him/her self. The result is lack of turnover/range, sub-maximal genetic performance, poor strength to weight ratio and a host of injuries waiting in the fray.

My program will not only make you a faster runner/endurance athlete, it will do so with 30-50% less time and volume.

How do I know? I struggled for years with injuries incurred from high volume programs. After finding CrossFit, I gained a lot of strength and learned how to “move” properly in ways that benefited me as a runner. However, implementing it all into my program was a learning process. The Strong is FAST program is a result of that learning process.

Now I experience the “high” of being fast on the track and the trail while enjoying the feeling and confidence of being STRONG. This program combines the best of both worlds.

I can do the same for you.

Whether you’re training for a the Double Dipsea or your first 5k, I love helping others get stronger and faster while staying healthy and injury free.

If this sounds like it may be something for you, send me an email at

Hope to hear from you.

Never Let It Rest,

Getting ready for the 2nd annual Endeavor Challenge where my teammate and I took 3rd place last year.

I really like adding in weighted box step ups in to my programming for endurance events. You can load on your back to replicate a rucking response or front load a barbell to really test your core stability.

Deadlifts are one of my favorite lifts for endurance athlete. V8 glutes!

OH barbell carries are brutal and effective for building overhead strength, lat engagement and core control.

Never Let It Rest,

Brendonimage image image

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,



I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on Brian MacKenzie’s new book, “Power, Speed, Endurance.” While the cover may look bland at first glance, upon opening the book, the content is anything but.


I originally met Brian at a Level 1 CF Endurance seminar while a coach at CrossFit Atlanta in 2008. His coaching methodology on proper running mechanics was literally the first I had been exposed to, which is a ludicrious thought considering I’ve competed at the highest level of track and field. Because of this introduction, I quickly learned the “why’s” behind my innumerable running injuries, particularly with my feet (plantar fascitis). What became of it was a brief stint as a CrossFit Endurance coach and the opportunity to sharpen my ability on coaching the proper technique of running. Running was to be approached as a skill, much like any other complex movement (snatch, clean, muscle up, etc).


I hold Brian in the highest regard as a coach. The CrossFit Endurance program has challenged and rewrote the way we approach classic endurance training. More objectively, CFE has renewed my athletic potential as a runner while adding muscle, strength, power and speed. To say that I have benefited from his program would be an understatement. Not many Division I athletes can claim that they are faster and stronger now than when they competed in college. To put in perspective, collegiate racing weight was around 160. While competing in 2011 (while only running less than 30 miles per week), racing weight was 178. My personal best for the year with sub-par training regiment and a foot injury was 1:49.1. My SB (season best) while a senior at Georgia Tech was 1:50.59.


BMac’s book goes beyond just running, however. As a guru of skilled movement, he also breaks down proper swimming and cycling technique. The pictures and descriptions are done so well, it’s almost makes for a great a coffee table reader; numerous, detailed and dynamic. This book is a Bible for not just the endurance athlete but any individual that calls himself an athlete. Beginner or elite, every one has something to learn in here.


Because this is a book on POWER and SPEED in addition to skilled movement, Brian goes in detail the lifts that are important to all athletes ie. cleans, deadlifts, low-bar back squats, etc. He also dives into basic programming.


Building an athlete requires the foundation of skill and then the necessary application of force to make him or her stronger. However, injuries will always arise. Therefore, his section on mobility with the mobility guru himself, Kelly Starrett, is indispensible. He breaks down each common mobility trick and application as it would apply to the runner, swimmer and cyclist. Brilliant.


To say that I would recommend this book is an understatement. It is a completely thorough undertaking of movement, programming (endurance, strength, classic approaches, etc) and philosophy that is just not possible to find in one source anywhere else. Lots of time, blood, sweat and tears went into making this masterpiece. My only wish is that it had a section on rowing! But then again, you have to leave something for Volume II😉 With the holidays just around the corner, “Power, Speed, Endurance” would make an awesome gift for the beginner or seasoned athlete. From workouts to form maintenance, there’s something inside for everyone.

Never Let It Rest,

Me doing the NP Crippler at body weight of 185.

30 Back squats @ 185lbs
1mile run

Overall time is 7:09. 1 mile split is 5:34.

Mind you this is all off of CrossFit training and swimming 2x/week for the past 6 months. I haven’t been able to run at all due to injury. I’ve had two formal running workouts in the last 2 weeks leading up to this workout. Not too shabby!

In the end, if you don’t have belief, you don’t have anything. Believe in yourself first. Train your brain, then your body.

“The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better.”
Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

2012 is going to be a good year😉

Never Let It Rest,


Paleo – It works.

Recovery – Is the reason you get better (faster, stronger, etc).

The Sweet Potato – In your diet

My neck – Was what I was up to in mud…while attempting to train.

My relationship with the paleo diet has been tumultuous and considerably trial and error. Check out my post Paleo is Dead from last year. Didn’t sit well with many peeps in the CF community, rightfully so.

In the beginning, I saw immediate physical results. Not in body composition but in systemic inflammation. Tendonitis in my knee was something that had bothered me for so long that limping down the stairs in the morning was normal. Walking crooked up steps on the way to work was just how I walked. Doing a 15min knee prep warmup before any track work was par for the course. After being introduced to paleo by Brent Wenson, a good friend and fellow trainer at CF Atlanta, and implementing it for a solid 3 weeks with the addition of a good fish oil, tendonitis in my knee had disappeared. That was huge.

Fast forward a couple of years. I’m back competing on the track. In addition to training at a very high level, I’m coaching 4-6 classes a day, watching my daughter full time and trying to run a business at CrossFit San Mateo. Free time is a foreign phrase to me. The overall picture is that I’m not consuming enough calories and sleep is terrible. Thus, I’m not recovering properly, I have no energy and I’m getting injured. Big surprise.

I was eating a strict high fat/protein paleo diet. No post WOD supplements, lots of fat, lots of protein, only about 20% carbs. I was hitting the wall big time. Muscle glycogen stores were on a constant E. I would have a week of awesome workouts and 2 weeks of feeling like I was running in mud…up to my neck.

So, stupidly and in my fog induced glycogen depleted brain, I swore off paleo eating. In the month or two that I was “off” paleo, I noticed my aches and pains in my joints came back. My face broke out. My stomach hurt, all the damn time. Irritabal Bowel Syndrome?? I thought taking a deuce 3x-5x a day was normal…no?! Damn it! All of this and my energy still sucked.  The answer was two-fold. Day to-day nutrition and post WOD recovery.

Overall Nutrition

Let’s start first with overall nutrition. Enter my buddy Badier of The Lazy Caveman. His first response to all of this was, “Dude, everyone thinks paleo is a low carb diet. It doesn’t have to be. We just have to get your carbs from better sources.”

Because my training is so anaerobic (2-3x track wods, 3-4 CF WODs + strength) Badier put me on a 60-70% carb diet. 70% carbs, 15% fat 15% protein. I started eating banana’s paired with protein and fat. Rice has snuck in there from time to time to vary things up. In the end, sweet potatoes have become my Holy Grail. Since consuming at least 1 sweet potato nearly everyday, recovery, energy and overall mood (note: mood has nothing to do with being an asshole) is at an all time high. Most importantly, I can maintain a high level of performance throughout my program w/o any breakdown.

I could devote a whole post to sweet potatoes. My good friend is actually coming out with a book on its benefits. Real quick it:

  • Is a “slow” carb
  • Is packed full of vitamins
  • Helps stabilize insulin levels
  • Has natural anti-inflammatory properties
  • Tastes great
  • Is easily transportable, stays well in storage
  • Is a must for endurance athletes

Missing an extra gear in your workouts? A liberal peppering of sweet potatoes in your diet may be your answer.

Post WOD Recovery

Nothing comes close to Vitargo Genr8. I’ve blogged about it in previous posts and over 7 months of taking it as a supplement can attest that it works better than any other product I’ve tried or try (Hammer, Endurox, etc). All of them are usually made with crap maltodextrin or dextrose (corn) which has shown to reach muscle stores slower than eating a piece of white bread. After a hard track session, swim or WOD, in the past I would have NO ENERGY. Usually I’d be very tired. With Genr8, my energy levels stay up as does my insulin levels (no crash). You know what this means??? It means no muscle catabolism. It means my body absorbs more work. I’ve noticed I need less sleep while taking this as well, another sign of superior recovery. The icing on the cake? I’ve put on 12 lbs of lean muscle mass in 12 months. That’s huge! That is with everything else remaining the same ie. diet, protein intake, caloric consumption.

In the end, nutrition is the athlete. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, keep plugging away. The combination of an overall proper diet AND post workout recovery is what makes the athlete a high performer. If you’re bonking before/after/during your workout, you need to fix your nutrition!!

Hope the above shed some light on your nutrition plan and what works or what doesn’t work for you.

Never Let It Rest,