What I’ve learned in the past year as a gym owner.

So this month marks a couple of key events.  One is the second anniversary of my 39th birthday, and the other is the one year anniversary of the opening of CrossFit Pflugerville. With this year passing, I’ve learned a lot of things about myself, my coaching, the state of fitness in America, and in general how hard it is to run a gym compared to just loving fitness and working out for myself.  I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to participate in changing the lives of my clients, and even more blessed to have an understanding and supportive family in this endeavor. Here’s a summary of things I’ve learned in the past year On Myself:   I’ve learned that I can actually live without eating grains, and I can generally feel better all-around without them.  This is significant because the rigors of running the gym – getting up early, working a full time job, finishing the day late is taxing.  I think these elements are what finally drove me to take my nutrition a lot more seriously.  If I was still eating like I was before, I believe that my ability to do all of this and recover would be compromised.

On Coaching:   I’ve learned that I have taken a lot of things for granted with my personal fitness.  I was never a great athlete, but was an athlete none the less and with that comes time in the gym.  Many of my clients have limited experience, and I’ve learned that what is intuitive to me is not to them.  As a coach, I have learned that taking some extra time to instill the small details makes my folks much more successful in the gym. Whether it’s becoming the angry gorilla on a deadlift, or shrugging “I dunno” to prep for high bar squats, those details are important.

On Fitness in America:  Most of my folks at the gym have day jobs that involve lots of sitting.  I’ve read about what is being called “Sitting Disease”, but it really hits home while I watch these folks come to the gym and start moving around.  I would say that more than 80% of my folks come in with a chain of problems associated with tight hamstrings, hip flexors, and weak abs.  I’ve also noticed that most of my folks have not done childlike challenges (like standing on one leg) since well . . . childhood.

In addition to the education, I’m grateful to have a set of clients that trusts at least a portion of their fitness to me and over the past year have seen improvements in small points of their lives.  One of my coaches in the past said that your fitness is the vehicle that allows you to do cool things.  The cool things can vary quite a bit from person to person such as being able to put on underwear without having to hold on to something, or being able to walk around the Disney parks without ever getting tired.  I’ve seen first pull-ups, first push-ups, and first double-unders in the past year.  In the coming years, I hope to continue to make an impact on my folks and have more feedback like these testimonials:

‎”Exercise starts and finishes between your ears. ” Phil Tobias  That quote has made think about fitness in a new light  – Margit H  

Lost 40 lbs. Don’t get winded going up my stairs. Don’t worry about throwing out my back when playing with / picking up my children. I can wrestle a 3 year old…. and win.  – Adam K.  

I have lost 136 pounds and a whole bunch of sizes. I can do things today that I never imagined I would be able to do – run 2+ miles without stopping, sit-ups, push-ups, squats, you name it. I have also gotten much less clumsy – which is huge for me! – Venae J.

It was brought to my attention (through some great coaching) that I really didn’t know how to squat, deadlift, bench, run, press, do pull ups, i suck at gymnastics, had zero flexibility and flutter kicks can cause me to hurt for days but because of the great environment at CFPF and helping me to recognize and consistently work on all my weaknesses I’ve also gotten stronger, faster, I enjoy running (not really), I’m now a mobility fiend, I appreciate gymnast more than I ever thought I would, I want a rower and will work to be just as good at double unders so I can complete with Amy Jo Jo….   – Geno Z.


The first step is admitting that you have a problem. . .

I think that it’s finally time to come clean and admit that I have a problem.  It’s not necessarily a bad problem to have, but it does border on a compulsion.

My dirty little secret is that I listen to Podcasts – lots of them.

The beginning . . . It started innocently enough when Sheila and I both lived in San Marcos, but worked in North Austin.  We carpooled to work and after dropping her off, I continued on to my job.  From where I dropped her off, it was only about another 15 minutes or so to my office and I started by turning up the radio and listening to music.  The challenge that I had was the morning shows spent a lot of time discussing how drunk they were the night before, and what drink specials were happening at what bar, etc. then I’d hear a song, and arrive at work with the weather and traffic report.

With this, I mostly just felt empty inside.  I do love music, and all kinds of it.  If you were to pick up my ipod, you would likely hear Skrillex’s “Bangarang” followed by Robert Earl King’s “Five Pound Bass”, then likely Pantera’s “Walk”.  Hearing the dronings on of updates of “The Real World” and all things UT is hardly satisfying for a Raider in a strange land.

The moment that changed things . . . I was flipping through the stations hearing mostly the banter of “boy it sure is hot out there today . . . ” – Weathermen in Austin should all be unemployed, I can give a pretty good prediction by month but I digress. . . I switched over to the NPR station and listed to the morning news, and found that the depth of the reporting was quite good and for the most part there wasn’t a huge slant to either side.


Like a good fiance at the time, I introduced my wife to the station, and we steadily started listening to NPR on the one hour drive home, and would listen a bit, then turn down the radio and have our own discussion.  On the days that we took separate cars, I found myself listening for the whole time.  We eventually moved to a much closer place, and my commute was less than 15 minutes.  With this short commute, I rarely got through a story on NPR and started downloading podcasts to listen to while I went running, or while I was driving in the car.

If you have never listened to a podcast, I highly recommend it and here’s why.

– very limited commercials – it’s pretty rare that the podcaster is trying to sell something although they may be trying to bring you to their way of thinking.  Even if you download the Wall Street Journal morning podcast, they edit out the commercials, and you get to listen to a really great news report without the weather and traffic

– Most of the folks that do podcasts do it out of a passion – They either have a passion to inform, enrich, educate, or amuse their listening base.

– Although they are not interactive, they are usually very interactive – Makes perfect sense right?  The ones that I listen to tend to answer listener questions, and instead of just shooting from the hip, they seem to spend a bit of time researching to give a much more well thought out answer than a live show that you find on the radio.

– They tend to have a steady and relaxing pace about them — When I was training for Ironman, you could almost tell the music by my running pace.  Metallica generally put me at an 8:00 minute pace, Jack Johnson put me at about an 11:00 minute pace.  This would have been great if I wasn’t too lazy to create playlists that corresponded to the days work.  With Podcasts, the steady spoken voice or conversation tended to keep me at about a healthy 9:30 pace.

I’d like to share some of my favorite podcasts with you and see if there are some out there that you may recommend to me.

Paleo Solution podcast –  Paleo diet and olympic lifting

Fat burning Man podcast – outstanding interviews with health professionals

Chris Kresser’s podcast – alternative health and integrative medicine

The Controversial Truth podcast – Libertarian political show with actions

48 days to the work you love podcast – career advice

Dave Ramsey podcast – finances and money

Jeff Ward show podcast –  irreverent humor sometimes local, sometimes national

Wall Street Journal this morning podcast – National news

Come join us for some fun/motivation/achievement

Here’s a quick (2 min) video from BTB CrossFit that shows what it’s all about

The video interprets a lot, but I’d like to add a few things in text form.  In essence, CrossFit is a functional fitness program that prepares you for anything life can throw at you.  My personal experience has found that CrossFit has done a much better job in preparing me for doing mundane things like yard-work, building fences, swinging a pick axe, etc.

I’ve been working out my entire life in just about all forms, going to the globo-gym, running races, wrestling, Ironman, etc. So far, I’ve found that CrossFit has enabled me to continue those athletic pursuits, set some new personal records, and feel better in daily life activities.