Chris Hinshaw stops by for a multifaceted and inspiring conversation about the interesting progression of his career, what led him to discover an entirely new perspective on fitness, and the turning point conversations he had with mentors that were instrumental in guiding him towards his path.
Things also get a little science-y and technical as we hear about all that he has learned from his current position as one of the leading Crossfit coaches in the world. Known internationally for his extensive knowledge and practical experience developing aerobic capacity in athletes of all experience levels using his comprehensive, cutting edge approach to training, Chris is widely considered one of the top endurance coaches in the world and is the founder of aerobiccapacity.com.
Chris Hinshaw has coached hundreds of athletes and professionals, including 32 CrossFit Games Champions and is the founder of aerobiccapacity.com. A former All American swimmer and world-class professional triathlete, his top international finishes include a 2nd place overall finish at the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships, 2nd place overall finish at the Ironman World Championships in Canada, and a 1st place overall finish at Ironman Brazil.
Brad introduces his guest who has a very interesting story to tell about how he got into coaching CrossFit champions. [01:30]
Chris describes how a new and different shoe brought him back to serious running. [07:12]
What kind of concessions do we need to make as we age and yet want to keep running? [10:15]
There is much to worry about as you get older as far as athletic performance. [14:04]
Chris’s history with the Ironman is epic and then evolved into CrossFit. [19:17]
Because he had neglected muscles by just exclusively doing triathlon, he was advised to try CrossFit. It gave him his health back. [28:12]
Your body may break down but your brain may still tell you you can do it. [31:56]
Making a career change was a risk but the right thing to do. [44:57]
How did Chris’s method fix the missing piece in CrossFit training? It starts with pacing. [51:52]
CrossFit is for people who weren’t good at anything. [55:41]
Chris Hinshaw has changed the sport of CrossFit. The people who are interested in CrossFit have disparate goals. He personalizes it for them. [58:17]
What is a standard rate of fatigue for a non-runner? [01:02:05]
Some people perform CrossFit at a high level and too frequently. That is not beneficial in the long run. [01:12:51]
The high intensity creates that fatigue, the low intensity clears the fatigue. [01:15:02]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Aerobic Capacity.com
- Mark’s Daily Apple
- Fatigue Factor Spreadsheet Calculator (400m to one-mile time ratio)
- Chris Hinshaw Coaching Matt Fraser CrossFit
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Brad [00:01:30] Hey listeners, welcome to a very interesting and multifaceted conversation with Chris Hinshaw. He is an old time counterpart on the pro triathlon circuit back in the eighties. He had an outstanding career as an Ironman distance specialist. Took second in the 1985 Hawaii Ironman world championships. He won Ironman Brazil and You’re gonna listen to a really interesting timeline of the progression of his athletic career, his work career, and his current position as one of the leading CrossFit coaches in the world. He runs an operation called Aerobic Capacity.com. And we’re going to talk on many different levels. I think listeners are gonna get a lot of appreciation about his career track and the turning point conversations he had with advisors and mentors that guided him to his path of doing what he loves to do today and that is coach athletes. And he burst onto the scene in the CrossFit community around a decade ago because he brought a new dimension, a new perspective to the challenge of preparing for the CrossFit games, which is one of the most incredible athletic competitions on earth requiring a diversity of athletic skills, the power, the explosiveness, all the things that is found in a typical CrossFit session, but also the tremendous endurance necessary to go through the challenges that they put on these athletes rising to the highest levels.
So he gained notoriety because he was coaching a few of the very best athletes in the world, and then built this wonderful business called Aerobic Capacity.com. You can learn all about it, uh, where he does programming with his mathematical background and long expertise as not only an extreme endurance athlete, but coaching some of the world’s leading CrossFit athletes for many years. And I think you’re gonna enjoy this. We’re gonna get a little sciencey, a little technical about the proper way to train and especially balance endurance conditioning with explosive with interval training and all those things. And then also just the interesting progression of his career, including a long detour where he got outta shape, his body was broken down. He was just a working man in Silicon Valley, and then reawakened to an entirely new perspective of fitness when he got involved with CrossFit coming out of his old time endurance athlete realm.
So Chris Hinshaw, very interesting guy. Let’s give him little bio information here. He’s the founder of Aerobic Capacity.com. He’s coached 32 CrossFit games champions. He did 10 Ironmans and his career on the circuit, including those wins in Brazil and second in Hawaii. He’s now based in Tennessee and he has a great platform where you can explore a variety of different programming. If you happen to be a CrossFit enthusiast or a recreational athlete of any kind, looking to broaden your fitness capabilities. He has a wonderful algorithm. I’m sharing the link in the show notes where you can determine your relative strengths and weaknesses in comparison to thousands of athletes that have been put through this protocol of timing yourself in a 400 meter, which is a pretty explosive event, right? And then timing yourself in the mile, which is more endurance oriented, and then comparing and determining a ratio of attrition in the performance from your 400 meter, fast running time to your mile, more pacing time.
We talk about that at the very end of the show, but I got confused trying to calculate it myself. So I said, Hey man, send me the Google doc. I want my listeners to be able to plug in easily. So just to give you a little background and we did a little calculation at the very end of the show where I put up my current capabilities in the 400 in the mile and got embarrassed in front of the whole audience here, that I was extremely deficient with a 28, 28.7% attrition rate from my 400 time, which is looking pretty strong right now, but my mile time, oh my gosh, I better go out there and perform some more endurance workouts to get faster at the mile because I doubt I could break six minutes in the mile. And when you put around a 60 second quarter up with a six minute mile it shows in my case, a deficiency in the Aerobic Capacity.
So, so we have a nice breezy conversation. That’s easy to follow. I think you’ll get a lot of insight and inspiration out of the show and also some interest technical commentary if you want to get serious and really work on your weaknesses and improve them. Chris Hinshaw, here we go, Chris Hinshaw, I am so excited to catch up with you. You became a legend back in 1985 and you continue to be legendary, man. You’re doing some incredible things over at Aerobic Capacity. It’s this whole enterprise, this whole world you’ve created. Um, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna get through everything. But first, the most eye popping mind boggling glance that I’ve seen on social media in a long time are these numbers you put up, so you’re running a 60 second quarter. You’re running a sub five minute mile and a 17:10 in the 5k. That’s, that’s an astonishing range. And I just want to hear how does a human do that? And at what age were you running these things?
So that was less than five years. About five years ago, I would say, I’m probably now in the 5:35 range. I’m 58 years old. My speed continues to be my issue, um, obviously because I’m aging, but you know, it’s funny that during COVID, I started back running again and, and, uh, uh, I ended up getting a pair of these, these shoes from Adidas. And, you know, I mean, you’ve been around a long time. We’ve seen a lot of, and heard a lot of hype about products and how amazing things are. And here they were the same thing. And, you know, talking about this latest and greatest, and even though the shoe had just set a world record for women’s half marathon, they sent me some and, and just wanted to test them, but it had a very high platform like a hookah, like a 40 millimeter platform. And I’m like, and they were pink. And matter of fact, you know, I have ’em right, hold on.
If you’re watching on YouTube people, he’s gonna, he’s gonna bust out a pink shoe.
So this shoe,
Yes. Is his very pink. If you’re just listening and it’s got a giant platform on there, it looks like a, a cloud shoe.
Yeah. Like a, so it’s a 40 millimeter platform and you can see their, their buzzword was is that they have these carbon fiber rods. So you can see ’em in the, in the shoe there, cuz it’s somewhat worn. And so anyway, my wife she’s like, you know what? You gotta go, you gotta test it. You gotta, so I did a five mile run and I’ve never had a product that made me wanna do an 800 for time. And in the middle of COVID I ran an 800 for time and I had been against the clock in a long time and I ran a 02:41, which you know, not bad just at the end of five miles. And so then I went back and I looked at master’s track and field and I found out at 60 years old, 05:16, get you on the podium. And I’m like for the mile. And I’m like, I weigh 01:65. If I got down to my old race weight, I think that that can actually get me there. And so, yeah, I’ve had a little bit of motivation through COVID.
Oh, it’s so nice to be able to go on the internet and see these actual people of our own age group and become so incredibly inspired that you know, the people out there, especially pushing the pushing the limits. One guy I like watching on YouTube is Charles Alley at age 70. He busted 60 in the quarter and you’re like, look, the guy’s 70. I mean, how do you do that? And uh, these guys work out hard. They they’re very dedicated and it’s super inspiring.
I just don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know how you stay healthy. I mean, I don’t wanna make a commitment to do it just because as soon as I do that, my body’s just too fragile these days. And I, and you know, as you, as you age and you get hurt, you don’t just like sleep it off and you’re better the next day. It’s like six months later, you still have the same nagging problem.
Oh my gosh. I’m so glad to hear you saying that. Cuz I feel like, you know, diminished that I, I can’t get over these things and there’s all these nagging aches and pains. And I do wanna ask you about making the proper concessions to aging. My favorite example is, you know, my hamstring glute injury keeps acting up whenever I, I do something. And I remember watching my son race in middle school and he was running the four by one and he pulled up lame in the middle of the meet and he, you know, he tore hamstring. I’m like, oh crap, this is gonna affect his basketball season, the track season’s history. And then like four days later he said he felt okay to go to basketball practice. I’m like your leg. Okay. Are you sure? Are you sure? And he didn’t remember which side hamstring muscle that he pulled and I’m like, okay, that’s amazing. I guess that means you’re okay. So, but here, here we are in the upper age groups and you know, what kind of concessions should we make and should we even be doing this crazy stuff? Uh, there’s gotta be a proper way to do it, but, um, do you think about all that?
I, I just don’t know how masters athletes make commitments on their fitness because it’s so unpredictable. I mean, we, we know the right things to do. We know what our body needs to, to maximize our adaptation, but it just doesn’t work like it used to that’s I think the biggest problem is that on paper, you should be able to do it mentally. You should be able to do it. And then for some reason you’re just not able to, and, and you know, there’s a lot of bummers with getting older and, and not being able to do something that you used to be able to do just because of age is it’s frustrating. And, and I find myself as I get older, not wanting to take as much fitness risk, like back in, you know, in the day, you know, on a, on a road bike, coming down a mountain pass, it, it wasn’t uncommon to feel your bike kind of slide in the turn and back on those days. And I’m, there’s no way I am never, ever gonna go that fast on a bike again, those days are gone because I just don’t feel like taking that risk.
Well, boy, I think that’s a great sign of, of maturity, nothing, nothing wrong with that. And, even reflecting on the risks that we took, especially with biking, um, I don’t recommend it to anybody now. At least we didn’t have mobile devices when we were out there on the roads, but now it seems like most extraordinarily dangerous sport that most people discount and they’re out there pedaling and every day, and there’s an accident every day.
Don’t you agree? It has got, I mean, I’m in Tennessee and it’s not like it was in California where you have, you know, bike lanes and I mean, this is share the road. And I think it’s just, it’s incredibly dangerous. Like when I ride it’s it’s mountain biking now I, I need to just not look over my shoulder nonstop. And I think about often Ironman, Kona, and we would go over there in the early eighties along the, uh, the Queen K highway. And this was back before it was paved. Uh, there was no bike lane. You shared the road for the entire 112 miles. And it was rare that when you got past Kona village that you would see many cars certainly going from Queen K highway. It was rare. I mean, I remember I broke the pedal off of a crank once and I sat on the side of the road, just waiting for a car for almost a half an hour. Now it’s just a nonstop stream. And, I mean, it’s a good thing that bike lane’s there, but yeah, road riding is different.
We got a public service announcement out of the way. And when everyone asks me for advice about what kind of bike should I get? I say a mountain bike. They go, no, no, no. I meant between, I’m like, that’s, that’s my answer pal. Sorry. Yeah. Oh, okay. but back to that, those workouts and, and the concessions to aging. Another challenge I have, and I wonder if you can comment on this is when I’m out there and the day’s right. And I feel good and I’m at the track and I’m pumped up and I wanna perfect my high jump technique. And so I take 24 full speed approaches instead of eight, like the elites recommend as your maximum, but right then in the moment I feel fine. There’s no aches and pains and there’s no twitches, but then over the next 24, 48, 72 hours, I realize, gee, I, there I go. I overdid it again, even though I wasn’t aware at the time.
Well, I mean, I find myself the same way. It’s like, I I’m, I’m easily talked into, Hey, come on, hi, touch, just jump in with us. And I always regret it, but not in the moment. You know I, you know, it’s, I love fitness. I like working out. I like being healthy. I, and I love the fact that I can do many things at 58 years old with, you know, 20 something kids and, and be able to hang with them that is, and hurt them on occasion. And that’s, that’s very satisfying. But the thing that I worry about, in terms of health is I think that the, the, just the shin magnitude of volume that we did and this constant suppression of pain, um, and the body adapted to, to not being as sensitive as it used to be. And I, I, myself not being able to feel things until it’s catastrophic. And that, I, it really, that dwells on me a lot.
I mean, I’ve had what I’ve felt like was a stomach, a and next thing, you know, it’s like my, somehow my intestines were twisted and I had to go to the hospital, but, and they’re like, how long has this been? And it’s like, I have no idea. It’s all of a sudden it’s last minute. And you know, it, good thing you were here because this would’ve been really bad for you. And yeah, I worry about that as I get older, because we, we have conditioned ourselves to ignore those things and our body of course adapted to it. And now you don’t get that just magically come back. You somehow have to develop an internal sense of, of, of, you know, that is real. And don’t just shrug it off.
Wow. Yeah. I mean that resilience and the an incredible devotion to pushing past the boundaries can often become a weakness. And I know everyone’s on the continuum somewhere, and a lot of people deserve to get off their ass and experience a bit of lactate burn or whatever that, that it’s completely unfamiliar. But definitely that far end that tipping point where you’ve, you’ve done it so many times to yourself that now you’re like, you know, a machine. Machines break down too sometimes.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you ever think about that? You know, as far as your volume time. Yeah. Right.
And you’re relating the story. I tell my podcast listeners a lot. They probably remember I laid in bed with a ruptured appendix for about 12 hours because I had already been to the hospital and they sent me home. They didn’t know what it was. And I’m like, I don’t wanna go back again and be that, be that woose that, you know, keeps showing up. And so, you know, I could have laid there and died if I wasn’t more sensible. But it was ridiculous to, you know, that’s incredible to have, I mean, when I was in the hospital, the nurse asked me, what’s your pain level on a scale of one to 10? I said, well, honestly, it’s a 10. She goes, no, no, honey, a 10 is when your arm’s falling off and you’re dragging it through the, through the ER and there’s blood dripping floor. And I’m like, okay, well then it’s a nine. But you know, they didn’t realize my pain threshold was pretty high. So if I said 10 outta 10, and there’s, here’s our second public service announcement of the show is that if, if you are 10 outta 10 on the pain threshold, don’t go home, stay in the hospital and ask for more tests or something. Yeah.
Yep. I was the same boat. I was, I ultimately got diagnosed with viral meningitis and I went into the ER, just because I was so in so much pain like my eyes were blurry. I was throwing up, but then they shoot, you throw full of Demerol and I’m like,
Hmm. I’m okay.
And I went home and I gardened and oh, you know, and unfortunately I, you know, and you know, when I finally just couldn’t even budge, I ended up checking into the hospital and I stayed there for seven days.
Oh my goodness.
Right. And, but that’s, that’s the kind of concern, like you just shake off a burst appendix, you just shake off viral meningitis. It’s like it just another hill climb. And that is not the way it works.
Yeah. Take care of yourself, people. Yep. So we have a we have a timeline to work through and go for it. We’re gonna have to start at this, uh, this bursting on the scene at the Hawaii iron man. You get plenty of camera time there, even though Tinley stole some of it, but you were really young and, let’s see, this was 85. You took second place in the world championships, and then that launched a pro career. And I’d love for you to just take us back to that time. I know you’re a big swimmer and that’s how you came into the sport. And then the incredible transition over into the CrossFit community, which seems like kind of a disparate route, but you brought in, um, that those themes and that importance of aerobic conditioning into a world that maybe was, you know, not respecting it enough and was ready for something new. All right, here we go. Turning over to Chris Hinshaw, people.
Yeah. The eighties was a, an interesting time for me. I grew up in a very competitive household and it was a given you were gonna go to college. And I had swam all through high school, played water polo. I don’t know if they still do letters, but you know I, however, over many of those stars and letters that you picked up, it’s like every sport I had one. And I ended up getting the sport of triathlons. I saw it on TV. And for me, I was a skinny kid. I was very late in developing. I wasn’t that great in sports and not nearly as good as my brother and my two sisters and my dad who all did Ironman as well. And I remember watching that with my dad and I thought to myself, if I could do that, if I could finish that I will have of accomplished something athletic and no one would ever be able to take it away from me. It was a big deal. And, back then you could just sign up and enter. So this was, the first time I did Kona was in October of 1982. And I had some reasonable success. I didn’t train a whole lot. I was swimming pretty much full time, about 50,000 meters a week and not riding and not running, but I finished in under 12 hours, which was respectable for an 18 year old kid.
Oh my gosh. I, I don’t know how many 18 year olds have ever finished the thing that that’s incredibly young, really
Well. I mean, we had, I was very supportive family. I did it with my older sister and I was also, then I went off to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo find I’m a, I’m a numbers guy. Math is really something that I enjoy. And so that kind of set a trajectory for me. I, I, I really found myself in enjoy doing three different sports. I never really enjoyed swimming just that grind.
Imagine that, but I was good at it.
Yeah. Oh my gosh. So boring. People always tell me, it’s like, Ironman must have been boring and it’s not that way. It’s an incremental adaptation where it just, you know, next thing you know, it’s like a hundred mile bike ride. Isn’t that bad riding down the coast of California. It’s not that bad. So I ended up having some success in the sport while going to college, um, because I was a finance major. I wrote all of my contracts when I was a professional and that was kind of cool. It was all about, I realized, you know, going to school about value propositions and competitive advantages. And I went to sponsors and said, I don’t want any money I’ll support and wear your product. But if I perform, then I wanna get compensated. And the deals that I struck were based upon TV time, local, national, and international TV time. And back then it was big video tapes. And what I learned right away is that I will always be on TV if I get outta the water first. So I ended up, you know, doing okay in the sport because of that. But, eventually time took its toll and my body just, you know, it was broken and beaten. I mean, you know how it is, you can make your body anything at that point.
I’m wondering if, uh, if that was exacerbated by hanging out with Pigg up in Arcata, cuz I had a few tastes of that guy and maybe we’ll do a little segue on a, the different genetics and the personalization of training cuz, it from listeners, I’m talking about Mike Pigg who was reigned as the, the greatest short distance triathlete. But his training ethic was just extraordinary. And the volume that he put in along with the other leaders in the sport that just were capable of going day after day after day. And a lot of us learned the hard way trying to keep up to that standard. Maybe wasn’t ideal for our personalization.
Yeah. He was, he was just an incredible machine and durable, never got hurt and you’re right. The volume that he did, but he was also living, you know, in Arcata, California. So a hundred miles south of the Oregon border in California and he was isolated. I mean he was doing a huge volume of training in the rain and that was unheard of, I mean it was raining 35 inches a year and you know, what, if it wasn’t raining, it was, it was the densest fog that you’ve ever seen. And it felt like rain. Yeah. He was a phenomenal talent. And that was, you know, back then it wasn’t about the precision. Like things have changed. Like you mentioned about personalization back then. It was just volume. It was, you gotta do volume. And if you weren’t training all week, flying on a then racing on a Saturday, there was a problem. And I eventually though the sport, I mean, it’s, it’s amazing that he was able to race every weekend and win. The sport evolved to where you had to target races and ultimately that’s what I had to do. I couldn’t do what he did. I would break down. I had a much higher VO2 max than he did, but I wasn’t durable. And that was the problem.
How long did you spend up there training in his, his realm?
I was there. I got there in 1988 I think. And I stayed there about 18 months. Enough to where I am very competent in riding a road bike on logging roads. I don’t care if it’s raining or snowing. I know how to dress appropriately. I mean it taught me a lot of rules of engagement for bad environments. Yeah, that was a really a great time. That was a great time. We had a, we had a, just the two of us just grinding away. And you know, when you are in an environment like that, the level of focus that you have of what you’re, what you’re doing, it was a great moment in my life. Yeah. There was no distractions. Yeah. I enjoyed that. But unfortunately the volume took its toll. I was, I happened and then, you know, in 1989, I did Ironman, Canada got second place. I went to Ironman, Kona. I went, I’m not sure what place I got there. And then I went to Ironman, Brazil and won and then left the sport. And I left because I couldn’t, I couldn’t get down a flight of stairs without like holding on. I couldn’t make my right side working with my left. I had it 15 minutes just getting outta bed. The bottom of my feet, like just were so crippled and here I was, I was 28 years old.
Oh, mercy. You’re like an NFL guy,
But no regret. Right? Like, I mean, you look back on it. It’s not like there’s regret, there’s nothing but happiness. That’s just part of the process. And I would happily have gone back and done it all over again. And if that was the price that you had to pay. But I ended up, in, a meeting over in fast forward till I was in my early forties. And I was in a meeting in Santa Cruz, California when I was early forties. And, so this was probably 2007 ish. And I ran into some of the original CrossFit women. They happened to own the original CrossFit gym, which was in Soquel Research Park in Soquel, California called Santa Cruz central. And this is the original mothership. And, in particular, uh, the person that I spoke to was Annie Sakamoto, one of the original three women in the sport and an incredible person.
And she took up an interest in what I was I did in the sport of triathlons. I, and I was interested in this, this, I thought it was just the name of her business CrossFit. I didn’t know it was affiliated and franchised. I had no, I idea it was an hour for my home, but she, she said to me right then and there, and I’ll never forget it. She says, Chris, you’ve done a lot of volume in your day, but it’s the same movements over and over again, if you work on your neglected muscles, I think that you could become functional again. And from where I was sitting at that moment, because I was the guy stood on those moving sidewalks and airports, that sounded really good to me. It resonated. And so eventually,I took up the interest and took her up on her offer and I drove the hour for my house over her, the hill, the Santa Cruz, and I didn’t work out that day, that day. .
That day, I didn’t know what CrossFit was and I was watching that nine o’clock class finish. And I had never seen, I’ve never seen anything like that before. I was watching and I had been into a weight room before, but I never really lifted. I just knew things as heavier light. Um, but I was watching women pick up what seemed like 500 pounds. They were picking up 45 pound rubber bumper plates. I didn’t know what a bar bell even weighed. It could have weighed a hundred pounds. So I end up I end up watching that class for my car. And, they were also doing pull ups, which I’d never done pull ups before. And they weren’t just doing one or two. They were doing, you know, hundreds of them. And I, for the first time was scared. And I was so scared that I ended up when they, the class ended and they, they debriefed, they grouped together and debriefed, I took it as an opportunity to start my car and drive home.
And that was a really a difficult moment because here it was that my last time I actually worked out, I, I won an Ironman and now I’m so, you know, deep into my, you know, lack of fitness that I can’t even go into a gym and train. And that, that was humbling for me. Yeah, that was a bad moment. I, but I don’t forget moments like that. You know, part of it is, is that, you know, everybody at, at some point in time is afraid of, of something in fitness. And if you’ve lost your fitness along the way, you know, just life, you know, has a way of doing that. I get it. I went there, um, but I stayed with that gym for three years. My name’s at the top of the board for the fastest mile there, ever fastest 800 and sure enough, it did. It rehabilitated me and, you know, a lot of people, they comment to me about CrossFit and why you all positive about it? Look, it gave me my health back. I mean, that’s what it gave me. So am I gonna pound the table? Of course I am because it’s a fact and the truth is, is that, you know, my numbers speak for themselves. And the only thing I did is add it in some cross training. That’s it. It’s all I did. And now I’m 58 years old and you watch me run, you watch me move. And it’s like, I’m a kid. And the only thing I did was just add in a prescription three times per week.
So this Ironman Brazil, you somehow pulled off a fantastic victory, but, uh, be behind the, the, the curtain of Oz, your body was pretty worn out. And so you, you actually walked away from the sport at, at the top after, after crossing the finish line. And that was, that was it. Huh?
That was it. Yeah, that was it. You know, it’s, it’s interesting. I remember the race before that was, was in Kona and I, I finished and the next morning I was going down to get my bike. And, and I remember as I’m, I’m sitting there, I’m like, I could do this seven days in a row. I could do this and make myself do it. Yet, I was crippled. And that’s the interesting thing, is that be here, what you’re doing is that your brain is, you know, it’s forcing, it’s, you make your muscles train, go train, make yourself do it. And eventually though your body, it just breaks down, but the brain can still work the same way I can make you do it. And, and that doesn’t make it right. But that attitude is what was my attitude for at least the last two years while competing. And that, that problem, you know, as far as, you know, injury issues, you know, overuse issues, all that did, is it just, you know, continued to build on it as I went through my thirties, not, you know, doing any fitness, um, matter of fact, you know, five, six years ago, I got roped into doing that triathlon in Pacific Grove like in, in Carmel. I think it’s Tinley’s actually. There was like 2000 people and I had not swam in 18 years. And, yeah. And I got outta the water
First, let me guess, let me guess people that, those swimmers man, it’s, it’s like a, it’s like a gift, you know, the motor patterns and all that incredible 18 years off. And he comes out first.
Yep. I went and, uh, got a bike, you know, I got, I’m sure like you, I have a lot of bikes still. And, I end up going out to the garage and I’m like, both tires are blown. I hadn’t been on in six years, But I ended up, you know, I think I got second place, but in my age group, but it, the sport had evolved a lot. I, I was shocked at the evolution after that many years and, and the quality of talent, especially in masters, it’s masters are intimidating because they’ve got time and they’ve got a budget,
Right. It’s those in between age groups where you’re, you’re racing against the people with little kids then, uh, they have to go to work and squeeze their training in, and then when you get into 45 and over, oh my gosh. Yeah. They’re, they’re miniature pros, you know? Yep.
Yep. So I stayed at, I stayed at Santa Cruz central for three years. And then I, um,
And this, I started that when you were already in your early forties.
So there was a nice gap there where
Were you in the fitness industry or were you doing something completely different?
No, I mean, so when I was in triathlons, I, one of the sponsors I had was Apple Computer. And Apple, the deal I had was I would get product, but I would go in and I would talk about health and fitness. So I was required to go in and do every month, because they were in Cupertino very close to where I lived at the time to go in and give health and fitness type lectures talks to their employees. And, I was also part of, uh, a group where we, we would train others, we would do camps, but there was just no money in it. There was no opportunity. And you know, I had a decent education, you know, my grades, I always did good in school. My grades were always pretty high, yeah, it was time to, to get into investment banking and, and make some money.
And so I went and quit triathlon where I was making a ton of money because the structure of my deals and my first job, I made $18,000, but didn’t have any regret because, you know, I, it was an opportunity. And, and in my opinion, if you’re given an opportunity where there’s growth, if you apply yourself and you’re smart, and you’re good at what you do, then I always believe that there’s, you know, you have potential. And, and so, yeah, that’s where the, the working fuse was lit. And then, you know, we can just say that from that period, that’s when life got in the way.
Right. And then you’re, uh, so you’re, you’re hitting this, this wonderful CrossFit workout. You’re reawakening, recapturing your health and you’re functional fitness. And that, uh, went for a few years. And then, uh, how did you get to eventually be immersed and have this be your life’s work?
So I’ve always been fascinated by coaching. You know, I mean, we coached the internet, wasn’t available back then and resources weren’t available. So you learned a lot from talking to other coaches and other athletes. I mean, and that’s still a source of information of mine today is, is other athletes and other coaches. I ended up when I was, when I was doing the sport of triathlons, I really enjoyed my programming piece. One of the things that I think back on those days, and I’m, I, I don’t know if you do it, but I have a lot of regret. I could have been better because I just didn’t know enough. Um, and, and in hindsight, I do regret that. And so there’s part of me that has always enjoyed coaching because I can not, I won’t let them make those types of mistakes essentially of living through them.
I enjoy that. I was, I was actually working out with and coaching a large, a fairly large group of people were starting to join me on the track at Los Altos. it was a community college, their Foothill community college up in Los Altos Hills, California. And, by this time I had switched Jim’s up another one that was, you know, 15 minutes from the house. And it was owned by, this man, Jason Khalifa. He had won the CrossFit games and its inaugural year in 2008. And it was now in 20. This was now 2012. And I actually, I ran up into him at his gym that day, and we struck up a conversation and he heard what I was doing with some of the members of his gym at the track. And, it was just a simple conversation, but then he called me you know, a few weeks later. And he, he asked me if I would be willing to coach him. So here’s a guy that weighs 225 pounds. He’s five foot nine. He’s incredibly strong, but he gets dead last in every endurance event that there is at the CrossFit games, which is their world championships. His internship is so bad that they did a 7K run one year. And he passes out the four, five crossing the finish line in a 7 K,
He ends up asking me if, if I would be willing to help him. And, and, you know, we, we always talk about coachable. He said to me, then I’ll never forget it. I wanna know what you’re doing, but I’ll never question it. I’ll do every single thing that you ask. And so part of it was is that when I came into the sport, there was a, and this was a problem for CrossFit, a, a huge negative, in my opinion, they had partnered up with somebody who came up with a gimmicky way to, to try and build endurance is, you know, the, essentially what his whole methodology was short time domains, high intensity intervals. And it was the high intensity speed based workouts that or your foundation of, of aerobic fitness. And I’m like, that is two opposing pieces. It just didn’t make sense.
Very controversial. E even though it was very popular, Right?
It was very right. Well, it was very popular because let’s face it who doesn’t wanna do less and, and be told that you’re actually doing more
Right, listeners. This is the concept was that you didn’t have to waste your time running for hours. If you want be a good marathoner, you could do I’m, I’m simplifying everything, but they were trying to, I guess, call it, you could consider it a hack where if you did enough box jumps or heavy squats, you would, you would be prepared for even these long distance endurance events. And it, it didn’t make sense to a lot of people in the endurance scene,
Right? No, it was highly criticized by endurance athletes. And, and matter of fact, I was highly criticized by my peers in the endurance world for traitor, you know, going over to this, this evil empire. And, but, but that was opportunity because, you know, you always want some competition. Competition’s always great. But when your competition is missing the mark and they’re blinded by what is truly going to deliver performance, that’s an amazing thing because now essentially set up the entire marketplace. They believe they’re a competitor, but they’re really not. So this Jason Khalifa here, this guy could put 400 pounds over his head on a concept to rower. He could do 2000 meters on a rower in about 06:10, which is incredible. But he couldn’t when he had to support his body weight, he couldn’t move at a moderate rate of speed for beyond two minutes.
He was really a sprinter, an anaerobic speed, strength, power type of an athlete. So what did I do? I gave him the principles that I know I slowed him down. I developed a range of gears based upon a variety of distances or time domains that we call it in the sport CrossFit. And he adapted. I actually had this guy do a 20 mile run in the Santa Cruz mountains three weeks before the CrossFit games, three weeks. I had him do you Osos eight hundreds. His Oso 800 was 02:57, pace, 02:57 for his Osos. So he adapted, well, he went on to the CrossFit games in 2013. So we worked together for about seven full months. And in that time period, um, we also picked up two other athlete buddies of his Jason plays second overall. A guy by the name of Garrett Fisher plays fifth, and then third guy, Neil Maddox placed ninth, Ooh, athletes that I had worked with and Jason in the four endurance events that they had, he placed first and three of them and a third in the second one and it turned down, it turned around his entire career.
And, um, you know, one of the things that, you know, I, I did a podcast with him two days ago, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that he gave, but more importantly, he delivered. It is so rare that you give opportunity he just somebody and, and you then put all this energy into it, and then there’s a failure on the athlete’s part. They just can’t pull the trigger. Well, he did. And, you know, it started this process where it gave me a shot. And, and what I did is I coached for three years, anybody, everybody for free, I had a full time job, had a great job in Silicon Valley. But those three years of, of programming and I weekly programming, I’m talking weekly and everything I do is personalized around the results because I’m a math guy.
So I was able to figure out the prescription for the recreational athlete, the fitness enthusiast, the one that doesn’t wanna run five days a week. And I got real good at that because of the success I was having, but I was also doing it for free. And so like at the CrossFit games in 2015, I had 55 athletes that I programmed weekly workouts for 55. And so, you know, because of that exposure, and of course knowing a little bit about math and, and my past, you know, background in, you know, health and fitness, um, it was, it was kind of a, a, a good beginning.
Amazing. Yeah. I mean, that, that’s a good lesson for anyone who’s dreaming of an alternative career, right. That’s aligned more with your passions or whatever. It’s like, here you go with 55, a athletes going to the CrossFit games. That’s probably a big blaring neon sign on the wall. Like, Hey, Chris, maybe you should think about a career transition, but,
Well, I can’t believe you said that, cuz that’s when I quit, I quit a week before that. So we, you know, we were talking about risk. I’ll tell you something. So I was, I was, I had a full-time job. Um, I was, I was doing cable assemblies and power boards for a 600 million company out of London. We had, you know, 10, 12,000 people around the world and I ran their Western half of the US Um, I was at a, I had a conversation with a, a colleague. He,’s the CEO of H G S T. Um, his name is Mike Cordono. And, and one of the things that, that he said to me during this, this, after a workout on the track that we did, he says, you know, I know you think that you can switch from your day job to coaching and you think that you could do it easily and switch back and forth, but you’re hurting yourself.
There’s a lag there, and you’re never gonna fully immerse yourself in either one way. And you need to pick, you have to pick your career on what you wanna do. And, you know, one of the things that is important is that you need to listen to people. And here is a guy that’s telling me, especially at that level, like some very important advice. And one of the things that he said was is why is it that you don’t wanna go into coaching full time? And I told him right away, I’m old because I’m not making any money. He says, yeah. But that’s not the reason because the money will come, but why don’t you wanna do it? And I didn’t know, like, I, I didn’t know the answer and driving back home and thinking, and that night I, you know, talking it through and thinking about it and it, and it made me reflective when I was a kid. If something was bad and you had a job as a kid, what would you do? You’d quit? Yeah. I’m outta here.
I got experience with that. Thank you. Yeah. You blow town. Yeah. Two weeks,
Right? It’s like, I’m outta here. That’s the slightest like, oh, he was condescending. That’s why I quit. You know it’s. I mean, it’s like, you’re just looking for an excuse. Yeah. And so I got to thinking about it and, and the reason why I didn’t want to quit is I was afraid
Just like the guy outside Santa Cruz, CrossFit, watching the girls do pull ups.
Right. I was fear. That was really because you know what? You got kids in college, you got debt, you know, you you’re, you’ve spent 25 years developing a career. Now you are really good at it. And you’re sitting in Silicon Valley. It’s like, it, it was the whole, what you were supposed to do. And now all of a sudden it was just like, I, the, the realization that I’m making choices out of fear instead of passion and happiness. And I wrote my notice right there. And that was, that was in July of 2015.
Wow. You young listeners pay attention here because we’re getting several nuances to the story that are really important. The first one is, is that this momentum was driving you toward a new career. So it wasn’t some whimsical stupid thing that you’re gonna go surf the waves of Baja and, and ditch out on your college tuition bills. Um, but it was, you know, the, the messages were lining up for you, but boy, to put that courage into place and, and to go for it, that’s a big one. A lot of people are, maybe listening can reflect on times in their life where they, they passed and they carried on forward in whatever direction. And boy, that’s wonderful.
My monthly, my monthly, where I, at that time expense was six over 6,500 a month. And I went from full time paying for that to zero to nothing. And so, but, but part of it was the level and that’s where Mike Cordono was correct. When you do multiple things, you’re watering him down. You’re never going to achieve your potential because you’ve just got too much transition from one to the next. I mean, for triathletes, think about it. You have three sports that you have to practice. Imagine if you only had to work on swimming, how great you would be. Yeah. And so each time you’re transitioning, you know, you just water it down. And that was eye opening. I mean, I’m really grateful for certain conversations that I had and that I listened to them. And Mike wasn’t telling me what to do. He knew the answer.
He was just making me think about it. And I’m really, I’m grateful for that. I, I, that’s why when, when people like give me opportunity, I’ll treat it with the same level of respect and appreciation. I’ll treat it like it’s the first opportunity, even though let’s say, you know, you’ve been doing, you know, certain appearances over and over year after year, I will treat it like the first. Because I think that those things should be valued at the highest level, you know, opportunities. You don’t know where it will go. And that’s why I think about with Jason, I over delivered for him, but that’s what you should do as an opportunity at that level. And, I was given opportunity to work with, you know, a bunch of other athletes and because of the approach that I have, it delivered some success.
A matter of fact, you know, there’s, there’s a list of people that I put on the top spot at the podium, you know, on the podium at the CrossFit games. I don’t know how many that have been on the podium, but it’s, it’s gotta be 60 plus since 2013. Almost every champion since 2014, I’ve worked with and, and helped. And yeah, I’ve carved out a nice, the, the, the, the fitness world is unique in the sense that there’s no specialists. They don’t wanna specialize in anything they wanna do variety. So how do you, you improve fitness in a person through personalization where they’re not willing to commit, and that’s a trick, like how do you do that?
And so that’s what I’ve spent my time on. And, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I get do it full time. I mean, that’s just, and I, I, and not only programming and coaching, but educating, I, you know, I, I, you know, do a lot of educational content, whether it’s with firefighters, I just did five seminars with north Metro fire in Denver. I’ve, you know, Marines, Army. And, and part of it is, is how lucky is that, that you can look at what they do, which let’s face it. If firefighters, a recreational athlete, a Marine is a recreational athlete. They wanna do variety, but they need fitness. How do you create fitness in a Marine who wants to do variety?
Right. So can you describe what you brought into the CrossFit world that was lacking, or what that missing piece was? You, you talked about the widely criticized approach of pretending that intensity could create endurance competency. And so what angle did you come in at?
Yeah, I mean, that was right. So the old way, it was like 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds of rest, eight times, there’s your, there’s your endurance workout. And that never made sense. And so part was, is bringing in this concept of pacing. That was number one. CrossFitters historically what they, they, the prescription is high intensity, constantly varied, um, movements. That’s what the whole, you know, sport is, is built around. All right. So how do we really create programming in, in, in an environment where all they want to do after they hear the gun go off is go as hard as they possibly can. And then if they lean over, because they’ve blown up, that’s also a sign of courage. That’s really a sign that you did it, right. You’re working hard, but that never made sense, because what we’re talking about is how can you maximize the amount of work you do in a certain amount of time work capacity?
And to me, you know, when I was told early on that I was doing high intensity and I was hunched over because I had misjudged my pace. It’s like, you know, I know I’m blown up right now, but I could swear. I mean, they’re telling me I’m doing high intensity, but I could swear I’m not even moving. Like, it doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s about how much work can you get done in the time domain that you have? And CrossFit problem is, is that it’s unknown and unknowable that you don’t know what the event is. And so what my feeling was is, all right, if we don’t know the event, then I’m going to create a range of gears based upon an unknown event. Meaning I’m gonna train you for a marathon. I’m gonna train you for a 25 K, I’m gonna train you for a 20 K a 15 K a 12, K 10 K and eight K I’m training you for a 5k.
I’m gonna train you for all of those speeds. So we build up the muscle memory. And in order to do that, I have to practice that particular speed. So what I did is I started working with athletes where the event was in the beginning, I had 13 different events that I would target. So everything from sprints all the way to a marathon, and we would practice those intensities. So that’s the event based model. But then what I did is I took into account the strengths and weaknesses of the athlete, the individual, and I created an athlete-centered model around those 13 different events. So, I mean, imagine you’re training somebody for 13 different time domains or distances, but not just in running, you’re doing that on a bike, you’re doing it in rowers, you’re doing swimming, you’re doing any cardio respiratory piece of, of equipment you’re modifying for that model.
And I immerse myself in it and because I’m good in numbers, I can do a hundred times the volume of someone who isn’t. And now I could do, you know, a hundred thousand times the volume because everything gets automated. If you figure out the right algorithms, and that was the hardest part about it is that every piece of research is about specialists. People that just run people that just ride. Well, what if you just want to go two days a week? What is the prescription?
What should it look like? And what I found was is that they were delivering levels of fitness that never been recorded before, because CrossFit, CrossFit, what it was, was a sport for the people that weren’t good at anything
Like triathlon, I suppose,
Kind of, you still have to be a great runner to be good in triathlons. Right? You know, you could take a guy that has a ratio of 50, 50 mix of fast twitch, five fibers and slow twitch fibers. And, you know, I’ve seen ’em now where they could put 400 pounds over their head and have a V2 max in the movement of running of 72 milliliters per kilogram per minute. I mean, the problem is they weigh 200 pounds. And so they’re not gonna run a 02:08 marathon. I mean, if they got down to two 15, maybe, or one 15, maybe, but they’re, they’re bigger, you know, athletes, they’re bigger, but they’re not on the extremes, right? They’re not these incredible speed, strength, power, weightlifting type athletes. And they’re not endurance specialists, they’re recreational. And they, they sit in the middle, you know, that’s where they are. And that to me is exciting that, that, that population who loves fitness, that was always told they’re not good enough to play. They’re now proving that they’re delivering fitness. That’s never been seen before.
Oh, I, I totally agree. I think these are the fittest athletes on earth and my friend, Dude Spellings. He sent me a text after, uh, one of the recent CrossFit games and he says, uh, Matt, Frazier’s the fittest human that’s ever walked on the planet earth. Do you care to argue? And I’m like, man, that’s a good take right there. Because you know, even the elite professional sportsmen are extremely specialized. I, I look at like an NBA basketball player with a wonderful range of that explosiveness the skill and the endurance to play the whole game and go through hundred game season. Pretty fantastic. But what the CrossFit athletes do is just, it’s completely mind boggling.
Yeah. It’s extraordinary. I know. Look at Ashton. I mean, Dick Talon, you know, once a, once a, once a, a sport gets defined like that, he knows his exact protocols. He knows the amount of time that he has between events. He knows everything. Imagine if they gave Ashton Eaton and said, you know what, surprise you’re gonna do a
Right. It’s the, it’s the traciathlon and the three surprise events come at the end when they’re tired. Yeah, that’s great.
I think where the sport though has evolved is, you know, with my influence, it’s, it’s recognizing the value of aerobic level training and, and easier intensities, especially in the off season of building a better foundation. Um, you know, focusing on that volume at these easier intensities to, to build up your structure so that you could take on the rigors of the year. Um, and, and that of course got the notice of CrossFit HQ. Uh, I wasn’t always in the good graces of CrossFit HQ, uh, because I was so controversial. They did a lot of writeups on me that that was really against what I was doing, but they also years later recognized that I’m changing the sport. And one of the big things that CrossFit, you know, and I, you gotta give it to ’em is they recognize that. And in they, instead of, you know, we’re being on the outside, they knocked on the door and they said, let’s partner. And what we would like you to do is take your content and educate our community. Not tell ’em what to do, show ’em what you do. And so that’s what I do is I, I created a course and we’ve had 4,000 plus people around the world go through it. I teach all of ’em live. And, um, I share with them my entire methodology on how to build greatness, if you just wanna be recreational.
So it’s clearly not a pure endurance experience that you’re familiar with from your triathlon days. So how did you kind of leverage that experience that not of what it takes to go nine hours and race an Ironman into, I mean, the people who are interested in CrossFit have extremely disparate goals from anyone who’s trying to do an ultra or a half marathon or a running event or a biking event.
What the hardest part for me was, how do I assess a recreational athlete? Like, how do you assess them? How do you know what their strengths and weaknesses are? And in the beginning, what I was doing was I was comparing results of prior performances. So I took in the beginning, an anaerobic, uh, distance, which was 400 meters. And I took their mile time, which was more aerobic. And what I did is I compared the meters per second, between those two, and I created a slope or a fatigue factor. And I went to the running world and the cycling world, the rowing world, to look at like what their targets or rates of fatigue, meaning as you move into longer distances, how much do you slow down? Because ultimately I believe leave that you can create a model that will indicate what does the prescription look like for this individual, meaning, do they need more speed training or do they need more endurance training?
And if I get a large enough sample size, I can also then equate it to the magnitude of your weakness. So what I started doing was just working with a lot of athletes, and that’s one of the reasons why I did it for free matter of fact the head founder of CrossFit, who I’ve known since 2001, Greg Glassman. I asked him once I said, why do you give workouts away for free on crossfit.com? And he says, because it validated the methodology. If I did it one by one and sold it, I wouldn’t have people coming by the hundreds and the thousands to validate what I believe would work. And I’m like, oh, that’s what I did. So quickly. I had well over 5,000 people in a short amount of time that I’ve worked with and I was collecting data. And now I had over 20,000 results of non-specialists.
And what I was able to learn was is what is a standard rate of fatigue for a non runner? And I can now come up with a prescription that would resonate with an individual so that they would do the programming and in the sport of CrossFit, one of the things that you realize right away is that in the gym, what they do is high intensity work. So what I’m gonna do is create the balance. I’m gonna slow you down. And that combination has proved to be really valuable. And it’s no different than what I used to do. It’s just, I have to scale it back because they’re recreational. They’re not gonna swim 20, you know, it’s interesting. You wanna know how much volume here’s a quiz. Let’s see if you guess, right. An elite CrossFitter someone who wants to podium at the CrossFit games as a male or a female. I’m not talking about a teenager or a master’s athlete. I’m talking about a male or female, top three in the world. How much do you think that they swim in one workout on average? Is it a thousand meters, 2000 meters or 3000 meters? Now that’s, I’ll think about it. I’ve said 3000. I used to swim 9,000, 10,000. They swim 2000 at most, most will swim about 1200 meters. Most is that,
Is that one time session? Why are they doing that?
Because swimming is not a huge part of their sport. So it’s not like they’re doing 2.4 miles, you know, they’ll do a 500 meter swim. So it’s, it’s, it’s about like, recognizing what you’re training for. And, and, you know, even though they’re professionals, like, you know, we were, the fact is, is that you don’t have unlimited time. You need to find the highest and best use of your time. And that’s why personalization is the only way, because you’ve gotta be efficient with what you do have.
So this comparison, this rate of fatigue, attrition, or whatever you call it between the 400 and the mile, um, you have some statistics, which me not being a math guy. I still can you out, if I put the two times together how to calculate this, but you said the elites slow down around six to six to 8%. And the, the recreational person will slow down around 20 to 25%. So can you explain how to make that calculation? If my quarter time is, is, is 60 and my mile time is six minutes, for example.
So you need to compare the time for both of the distances. And then what you’re doing is, is you’re looking at the slope between those two. So essentially what you’re trying slope think of it as this way, as slope would be for every doubling of the volume. What is your rate of slowing? So if your rate is slowing, is let’s say a 20% slope. That means that you’re slowing from 400 meters to 800 meters, 20%, and then 800 to 1,609 meters. Another 20%. If the, the recreational runner is, let’s say in that 21, 20 2% range, and you test out to be at 28%, then your goal is to try and get down to 22. Well, you only have two choices. Should you work on your 400 time to get down there? Well, if you did, you’d have to slow your 400 time. The only option if you’re above 22 is to work on your mile time.
And specifically, it will tell you if your target is 22%. And let’s just say that your right now at 28%, it will tell you you that your six minute mile will need to go down to 5 25 in order to get into that range. And based upon a population of 20 plus thousand recreational athletes, it’s possible. Now, if you test out at 30% and I test out at 25%, you’re gonna need to do more endurance work than I will, because you’re less, you’re more out of balance than I am. So what it is is it’s trying to create balance because remember a recreational athlete, someone who wants to do a variety, they need to have equal ability in terms of their speed, as well as their endurance. They’re not like you saying bolt where it’s all 20 seconds and under
He’s a, he’s over 30% man, that poor guy, he can’t even finish a mile.
Doesn’t matter. He’s I bet he’s like at 45%, you know, rating
Deservedly or by design, right? Yeah.
Yeah. So that’s part of it is that what you want to do is you need to, to, because this whole day, right now, where we have this, this, you know, I call it programming where you’re not present as a coach and someone’s receiving a PDF or an email, and they’re being tasked what to do. Well, if that individual isn’t motivated, if they’re always looking for somebody else, someone else has got their ear. Then for fortunately with that one step in that one foot in, they’re not gonna be committed. So what we need to do is we need to prove to them their strengths and weaknesses so that they stay committed. You know, there’s so many distractions now, and if you’re, you’re providing remote programming, you gotta keep ’em interested. And so that testing is key. Personalization is key,. But also explaining like the purpose, the why behind workouts.
Um, you know, I brought up an interesting thing recently about, you know, like if you’re gonna ride a stationary bike and you’re in this, this sport of fitness, then what I would like to see you do is match up with the move. That’s the closest to riding a bike, which is running. The problem is, is in CrossFit. They believe that a hard gear, you know, getting in the Carne Grande is, is the greatest thing. And it’s like, you’re at 50 RPMs, just grinding. What I want people to do is go out and do a test on the open road and find out how many steps per minute you take in running. And if you’re taking 180 steps in a minute, then what I want you to ride at is a gear that you could pedal at 90 RPMs, right? Well, one RPM is two steps. And that way we have a better transference into both of those sports and more efficient use of your time. And so just being smart about, you know, different types of things, is what I’m applying and, and because of it’s, it’s having traction and, and because it’s delivering results, you know, if it wasn’t delivering results, I don’t think that we’d be here.
So you’re, you’re training various gears rather than just sending CrossFit enthusiasts out for a jog a few times a week to build their endurance. I assume it’s more elaborate than that.
It’s very much more elaborate. I mean, part is, is I, I think that take, take you if I gave you a workout and it was, it was 20 by 400 meters. It, you’re not gonna do it. But if I gave you a workout where it had variety in there, and it was keeping you mentally engaged and you were checking the boxes as you were moving down, um, then you, you, you do it. And that’s what I look at. I look at every workout that I write and I’m like, would I do that workout? And it’s like, no, that’s too boring for me. It would never keep me engaged. Part of it is, is that if you are providing programming remotely, you have to take into account the motivation of the individual. And is the workout gonna motivate them to want to complete this entire list of things?
Or is it they’re gonna check out long before it? Do they even understand the purpose of it? The why behind it? And that’s, that’s important. Like, one of the things that, that I’ve shared was is like, we do a lot of work on an assault bite. Why is that so difficult of the piece of equipment? And it’s because there’s so many muscles that are being used, and I know a lot about physiology. And, but what we have to realize is that because the numbers of muscles being used and the generation of that lactic acid and that acidity ultimately interfering with the muscles as it builds is the issue. Well, let me ask you something. If we’re trying to maximize our ability, our overall fitness, and if we look at the assault bike as the piece of equipment, could we get more creative in terms of the use of that piece of equipment to improve our overall fitness?
And the answer is, of course, yes, we can. So if here’s the simple test, imagine you’re riding the assault bike and your arms are moving forward and back, and then your legs are peddling. So imagine that level of fatigue with all those muscles. Now, there’s also pegs that sit up by the flywheel on the front wheel, by the fan stop pedaling. And what I want you to do is just an arms only workout, meaning the legs are no longer contributing any fatigue. Matter of fact, the legs are a potential source of removal of some of that, uh, lactate acid, right? Could your arms do more work in that case? If the legs aren’t contributing any more fatigue? Well, of course they can. Likewise, what if the arms aren’t doing any work and you’re just pedaling, could your legs do more work? Well, of course they could.
So then the answer is train the arms separately, train the legs separately. And then of course, this theory is specificity, which says, if you wanna be good in the movement, you gotta do the movement. So then you put it all together. So you need to do three different things. Likewise, if you’re a non runner, maybe you should do arms only on that assault bike and work on the upper body because the mechanics are very similar and work on your upper body’s capacity. So part is looking and, and, and being smart. And I think that just comes back to, you know, my athletic background and, and that makes sense. I do that. And so long as you have the supporting evidence behind it, you know, the science, we’re off to the races. And so that’s, that’s what I do is now I, I take my experience as an athlete. I look at scientific literature and I combine those with math equations.
And where does the recovery aspect in, or the overtraining risk, which a lot of people could at a size CrossFit? I know I’ve, I’ve had a few pop offs myself saying a lot of these people are seemingly going and performing at a high level too frequently, especially on in the recreational realm. Yeah. How does that factor into the programming? That
Is a problem. It’s a problem because the problem is, is it’s a non-sustainable model. You can’t, everybody loves high intensity. They love it because it will take anybody and improve them. So the best of the best you put on a prescription of high intensity interval work you’re gonna improve. You will. Now the problem is, is that, what do you do after that? Improvement begins to plateau because you have zero foundation, you have zero aerobic base, you cannot recover you can’t. And that’s what I tell people is that, you know, think about this, think about how many pushups you can do unbroken, and imagine your goal is to do 10 more. What is the reason now, why you can’t do 10 more? You can’t just shove more in intensity in, can you? You eventually tap. What’s preventing you? And it’s always one of two things.
It’s either your strength, meaning you gotta work on your one rep bench press, which if you can do a reasonable quantity and I’m talking, let’s say over 20, then it’s not your strength. What would it be? And for most they’ll just say, you know what? I just get tired. So how would you classify? What quality in a workout would you classify? I just get tired. Is it your volume? Is it your speed or is it your recovery? What if I improve your ability to clear fatigue at a faster rate? Would you be less tired when you got to your, you know, old, personal best of 20? Could you do more? Well, of course you could. So what you’re telling me then it is your recovery, not your speed, your strength, your power, that’s hindering your performance. So what should you work on? And that’s the beauty of being a coach is that whatever stimulus we put on the body, we will create a good adaptation so long as they have good nutrition and good recovery.
Meaning if I add in volume to your training diet, every week, I could keep adding volume until your last logical step is an unbroken half marathon, and you’ll do a half marathon that easy. It is the recovery part. The fatigue is the trickiest for, for CrossFit athletes. Because what we’re saying is is that it’s not your speed. It’s not your volume. It is your recovery. What we need to do is practice on your ability to get rid of fatigue, a faster rate. And so look quickly at what the runners do out there. They don’t just do a hundred meter sprint and sit in a chair, because if you’re always sitting in a chair, they need a good sitting in a chair. What they do is they do a hundred meter sprint, and then they do a 300 meter jog. So what CrossFitters really need to be doing is they need to be recognizing the, that of the opposite side of the equation, because there’s a balance in all of us. The high intensity creates that fatigue, the low intensity clears the fatigue.
And so without the other side of the equation, you’re eventually gonna tap because you just can’t shove more in, and that that’s changing the sport. That’s what Fraser, that’s what all of these champions have shown is that, you know, what, how fast is your recovery speed? Like, for example, if I throttle you right now in a CrossFit workout, how fast can you go out and jog and recover? Right. And think about this, Matt Fraser can go and do anything to a 07:35 mile and get his heart rate, his breathing, his mechanics under control and recover
With a fricking weight vest on possibly too. Yeah. That, that’s the essence of it right there. People, um, I guess that’s why you called it Aerobic Capacity.
Yeah. I mean, that’s part is, is that we wanna educate people so that they’re aware of all the options. It’s almost like what we wanna do is open up the world and, and let them see what they already know. They just didn’t put it in that perspective before. And so I’ll tell you something funny. So, you know, we all know about hypoxic breathing in the sport of swimming and, and one of the things that I was over and working with surfers in north shore Oahu once, and there was a guy over there and he’s like, I’m really trying to determine if I can control. If I black out, you know, by being under in big waves, I’m like, well, how do you do that right now? And he says, well, you know, I kind of took a lead from the swimming world in hypoxic work.
And I’m like, what do you mean? He said, well, I use an assault bike. I do it dryland. And I’m like, what are you talking about? And he said, well, I get two air mattress. And I put on both sides of the bike and I put it on a, you know, a crash helmet. And I’m like, what’s the helmet for? He’s like, well, I do 30 second sprint. And then I hold my breath. And then I wake up on one side or the other. I’m like, whoa, that’s incredible. And you got that from swimmers. He all, yes, I did. And I’m like, I’m pretty sure we didn’t teach you that.
Speaker 4 (01:18:07):
Don’t think we’re practicing drowning. You know, thank you.
But part is, is like, what you wanna do is you wanna look at your experiences, you know, listen to other conversations and what resonates, what makes sense. Like why on earth in the CrossFit sport, in training, do they have you do this workout of the day in the gym? And at the end of it, everybody lays on the ground because they’re so flooded with lactic acid. Why not do an active recovery afterwards? Because if you have completed the front part of that bell shape curve by creating, and now your body is in this beautiful position to create more adaptation and you lay on the ground and now you recovered by laying on the ground. Why not do something and train the body on how to actively clear what you just put in? Essentially what we’re doing is we’re getting you to do more work in the same amount of time, right?
Because in the past you just lay on the ground and what I’m now telling you is slow down and recover. But what we’re doing is we’re actually teaching value by going slow. It’s the other side of the equation. Hmm. So it’s, it’s those simple solutions take a classic lift. It’s a five by five back squat, five repetitions, right? Five rounds, 25 total lifts because the weight is the priority. And the number of reps is the priority. You’ll take anywhere from three to five minutes of rest. And you sit in a chair and do nothing because the emphasis isn’t the recovery. But what if you just rode 500 meters in three minutes, which is a snails pace. And then you regroup, you take another 30 seconds another minute, and then you go and make your lift. And you may not because of the amount of work that is, even though it’s slow, you might not be able to do the lift, but that will certainly challenge you in the next workout because you’re, you’re doing 2,500 meters in the same amount of time that it took you last time, you’re doing more work in the same amount of time, and let’s face it as a coach.
That’s all you’re interested in so long as they come back so long as they stay in the game. If I can get you to do more work in that same amount of time, then I know I’m gonna make you better.
Love it, Chris Hinshaw killing it for us, clearing, clarifying all this, all this confusion, great stuff. Tell us about your programming, where we can connect with you and all that good stuff.
So the best places, Aerobic Capacity.com. There’s different type types of programming. Instagram, same thing, Aerobic Capacity there’s workouts. I, I really genuinely, and I’m sincere about it. If I know something, I share it. Anybody who’s gone to my seminars, if I have programs that I’ve written, I give ’em to ’em. One of the things that I, I really believe is that if I share everything that I know that I know works, then it keeps me hunting for the next. And that’s why I like having these conversations and, and, you know, having relationship with you is like, you’re a wealth of knowledge and I wanna foster relationships like this because it’s steering you into a place where you’ve not been before. And there’s opportunity there for me to learn, you know, like listening to your podcast and like, just your perspective, you know, Mark’s Daily Apple, I mean, part is that there’s some creativity there, but is it a fit? Is it a fit? And so that’s, that’s my interest. But what I do is I take those pieces and I share it with my community and, and that’s always been my approach. I never hold back. Same thing like that algorithm that I mentioned, I share that and I give that away because you know, that’s, that should be what you do. Don’t don’t think that is your intellectual property.
Yes. Can we go on the website and get those calculations? Cuz I’m still struggling how to give us one, uh, math problem example. So if the, if the person’s running a 60 seco0nd quarter and a six minute mile, what is that rate of attrition?
So what is your number?
So let’s say the quarter is in 60 seconds, nice round number and then the miles and six minutes or that’s one 30 per quarter.
Yeah. So if you
Picked suspense music, people don’t well,
So that would be a, that would be a fatigue factor of 28.7. So that’s what rich was. So your target would be a. 05 :25 mile. That’s what your target would be. Do you want me, you know, what I can do is I I’ll send you, I’m gonna send you a Google doc and you could share it with your listeners. And what it will be is this, uh, concept of a running fatigue factor and be 20, 21 and 22%. And they could just plug in their own 400 time in their mile time. And what it will do is calculate their own fatigue factor, uh, and make recommendations on whether or not do you need to work on your mile or do you need to work on your 400? And then if you do, what would be your target for either one of those, I’ll send that to you. Okay? And you could share
Beautiful, love it people. Let’s go, let’s go plug in and get, put up some numbers. If you don’t have, uh, if you don’t have values right now, we gotta go out and do a 400 time trial and later a mile time trial. Fantastic. Yep.
Yep. I’ll send that to, to you.
All right, Chris Hinshaw, people killing it. Thank you everyone for listening. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email podcast@Brad ventures.com with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list to Brad Kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. And if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review you with apple podcasts or wherever else, you listen to the shows that would be super, incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the B.rad Podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast are called Overcast allows you to actually record a sound bite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember B.rad.