Oct 292014

“It’s too cold”

“I’m sore”

“That looks tough”

“I don’t want to do burpees”

“Oh shit… thrusters and pullups?!?!?!”

” I don’t have the time”

“It’s too expensive”

And MANY other things and excuses we could come up with.  You know what they say about excuses…  me either.. it’s ok!

Truly, one of the greatest things we are good at when it comes to our fitness and health is coming up with excuses that get in the way of us taking care of ourselves.  We find things to occupy our time and instead of putting our health and fitness first in our lives as a priority, we tend to put it on the back burner as “I’ll start tomorrow”.  For many people, tomorrow turns into next week, which turns into next month, and so on…. you get the picture!

1) Fear- we have discussed this before as a part of the mental game of fitness.  BUT this one pertains a little more to gyms of our nature,  Strength and conditioning facilities AND CrossFit gyms.  I will throw this two gyms into a similar category for this discussion, and maybe throw in the Globo gym, the MMA gym and many other styles of high intensity and functional fitness gyms.

a) We see a trend of people saying they are afraid or intimidated by these styles of gyms. –  They feel they must be “In Shape” before they join a high intensity fitness gym.  My question is this.  WHY?  Aren’t we finding a fitness solution and a fitness program we enjoy doing?  Not only that, aren’t we looking for a program to fit our goals and fitness styles?  Also, make sure you do research on the gyms you are intending to join.  Not all high intensity fitness gyms are the same.  Some are geared to have more complete programs, some are based on the CrossFit® Methodology, some are based on strength and conditioning foundations that take into account your individual differences (Perhaps there is a an FTF gym near you that does this) , Some are based on other functional fitness systems (TRX, Boot Camp, etc)   It will do you justice to research these facilities before you make a choice to join.  Try out a class, see what the coaches are all about.  Try out a free session with a trainer.  But don’t feel like you have to “get in shape” before you make a change to get in shape, whatever that is for you.

b) Fear of injury-  This is a valid concern.  If a fitness program is based in the principles of Specificity and overload principle, and appropriate training is applied, the risk of this should be decreased.  What should be understood is there is risk in ANY type of fitness from running to yoga.  Injuries happen in every type of fitness.  What is important is to understand risk versus benefit.  Our job (in particular at FTF) is to maximize benefit and minimize risk.  We provide a progressive overload program with a periodization plan and a balance with volume and intensity.  Research the program you are desiring to participate in and ask why it is programmed the way it is.  What’s the science behind it.  How is it going to maximize your benefit and decrease your risk of injury.  Spend time with the owner and learn their philosophy if you can.  Take it slow in the beginning and allow your body days of rest to recover in between high intensity exercise bouts. Manage sleep, drink a lot of water and watch what happens as you increase your ability to become the “Fitness” you want.


c) Fear of looking silly in an environment- OK, so let me tell you about a few classes I have taken,  a few when I was working as a fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Folsom, a few when I was living in Fresno at FTF Clovis, and even as recently as this year with some of my friends and my sister down here in FTF Pasadena.  So, there I was, a trainer and fitness manager with aspirations of becoming a bodybuilder.  So I was much larger than I am now.  I was weighing in at about 195, and moved very methodically.  One of my clients at the time loved taking a class from Eddie Clark, one of the best “aerobics” instructors in the Sacramento area.  Well, I told her if she reached her goals, I would join her for one of Eddie’s classes.  Well, apparently that inspired her, because about three months later, I found myself in the back of an aerobic dance and fitness class.  If any of you have seen me move, I am the perpetual white boy with hips that only work when I am moving weight around quickly, especially back then.  (I have since learned how to do the chicken dance, two step, swing and can do the macarena, but that’s about it) So, there I was, in the back of this class, with Eddie shouting out and moving like a dance God at the front of the room, and I am trying desperately to keep up, with kicks to the left and kicks to the right.  I think I kicked two or three of the other members while trying to do a turn with a back flip or whatever it was (Because it might as well have been even though i think it was just a hip turn)  Well, come to find out, when I turned around and as I am trying to shake my ass and learn new dance moves,  behind me, I knew there were windows that were pointed towards the rest of the gym.  I had made enough of an ass out of myself in theis class that there were about 30 people lined up outside of the window chuckling at my misfortune of coordination or lack there of.  I politely waved and kept doing my thing.

Class number 2-  Yoga.  WHAT THE FUCK!!!!   OK…  I have done yoga before, but nowhere nearly as laughable as when I took it with my sister at FTF Pasadena.  My sister and I are a little opposite in terms of our approach to life.  For those of you who know me,  Know I am fairly intense, passionate and of course a little excited.  My sister, bless her soul, “heyyyyyy  brotherrrrr.  How’s it goin man” in a very chill voice.  Everything she does is mellow, chill and zen.  She has found the same passion for fitness as I have and loves to teach yoga.  Well,  If you can imagine someone with my energy level, who works out a few times a day, and has no patience for sitting still and how I might perform in a yoga class.  First, I had to figure out what Chataranga meant.. because I just wanted to know.  then I had to try to get in downward facing dog.  Now bear in mind, I have short legs and long arms, so this is not the most comfortable of positions for me.  My hips are ultra tight, and my shoulder flexibility even after working on it because of injury is well… less than maximal.  SO, here I go into downward dog and sure as shit, my hamstrings cramp… I mean not like.. oh it will go away in a second, Like GET A RAZOR AND CUT MY HAMSTRINGS OUT NOW cramp!!  (I know you’ve had that before)   so I start dancing in place.. which we have already discussed my dancing abilities.. so imagine now that I have a broken wing and am dancing on it!!   As that subsides, I then decide I am really going to focus and pay attention, so I do…  and as we get towards the end of it and we are doing our relaxation phase,  I literally start snoring… not figuratively… LITERALLY start snoring like I was in full REM sleep…  so loud I woke myself up!!!

Class number 3-  Zumba….   with Fatima Montenello when she was teaching Zumba at FTF Clovis.  OK.. remember I said I can’t dance… yeah.. Zumba didn’t work out well for me either.  I had a blast but… well.. let’s just say i entertained everyone for an hour!

So the fear of looking silly in a class, to be honest with you, no one in the gym really gives a shit about what you look like while doing the class… they are so focussed on not looking silly themselves that they aren’t paying attention to you…

We are going to discuss more about fear in part 2 of this article,  BUT I want to move on to a topic that I think hits us in the fitness industry as an interesting excuse:

2) “I don’t have the money” – Hmmmmm   let me think about this for a second.  IF you are looking into a membership at a gym and in particular a strength and conditioning facility that runs classes and/or looking to hire a professional coach/trainer I am going to break this down to the ridiculous.

Gym membership at the average functional fitness facility – around $150 per month (I said average…  this is regional and also company dependent and depends on the philosophy of the owner) -

OK guys…  $5 a day to be coached at a professional facility.   yes, to improve your health, you need to give up one of the following: one cup of coffee from Starbucks (Albeit hard, start drinking coffee from a coffee maker at home) , One soda at lunch and one at dinner (Trade it out with water and you’ll feel better too) , one extra drink the night before (Yeah, a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with dinner can add up quick and it’s not good for your results overall) , Let’s face it.. one night out a month ) On my nights out, I think Wells Fargo sits right there and just waits to cut up my ATM card) , 6 times of eating at home instead of eating out (the average meal out is about $20 and the average at home meal can be made for 5-10$), Two Monster Energy drinks a day (you’ll have that from the new energy level you have from the fitness program you are embarked on).  THIS is the cost of your gym membership to these facilities.  Now, imagine if you did ALL of that at the same time.  Trainers are a LOT more expensive than a membership to a full functional fitness facility but definitely have their place and their purpose on the road to your fitness goals, but as you can see, it might be easier than you think to start cutting costs and finding a way to improve your health and fitness.   This is only PART of the cost savings you’ll have…
I will delve into more topics in part 2 in a few days!!  For now, please enjoy and start thinking about what excuses you make to get out of your health and fitness program.  Add some of those excuses to our Comments.  we want to hear what blocks you from your program!


Sep 262014

This is just a friendly reminder that we are closed 9/27 for several events happening in Fresno and Bakersfield. Please go support our athletes at CrossFit Bako or CrossFit Combat Fitness today for these two great events. We have a lot of people competing in both events this year!! Should be a great time!!

Thank you for your understanding!

Coach K

Sep 082014

What goes into your programming at FTF? Well, let’s take a quick look:

Our programming here at FTF is a multifaceted program designed to work around not only the general physical preparedness, but also to take into account the needs of each and every member and client that walks through the door.

Programming is an interesting beast and also truly an art form. In it’s simplest form, Programming for a gym from the outside may seem like random chaos thrown together, but behind the scenes, there is someone who is designing the master plan according to the SAID principle (Specific adaptation to imposed demand) and progressive overload principle. Weights get heavier over time for each level we are programming for.

Our programming is simple in it’s complexity, simple movements and while there are many layers to the program, each is designed to be effective in the most efficient fashion. Programming can be efficient or it can be inefficient. Our program takes into account many different workout schedules. Our strength program is designed with the majority of simple lifts on Monday, Tuesday, thursday and Friday. Our more complex movements are on Wednesday and Saturday. We do this on purpose for our members. It is this coach’s belief that many of you will work out monday through Friday, so practicing a complex movement on Wednesday breaks up the week from our traditional and non traditional lifts and allows you to focus on skills.

Periodization is ALSO important in programming. Making sure that we are working through Macro, Micro and Meso cycles to accomplish goals and have a loading and deloading phase within these cycles. We also take into account volume and intensity. There are so many graphs and charts to explain all this stuff, but in reality, it is my job as the head coach and primary program designer to take all of this into account to minimize risk and maximize benefit.

Programming does NOT have to be difficult or high in volume to be effective. Remember that we actually get our results during our recovery phase and through proper fueling on our off times. We need to ensure that we are balancing stimulus with recovery. And the programming is designed to take this into account. You CAN work out 6 days a week on FTF programming because of all of these factors put together into an effective and great program.

Come check out one of our gyms in Oregon, Fresno and Pasadena. We are also working with gyms in Victoria, Houston San Marcos and Beeville all in Texas. They are running FTF programming and having great success with their members as well!! Proven track record, great results and science behind the programming.

Aug 052014
We are pleased to announce the FTF Athletic Development Camp coming to Pasadena on August 30and 31st at CrossFit FTF in Pasadena, CA!!
This is a HUGE opportunity to learn from experts in the field on various aspects of the world of fitness.Time: (Planned starting times. Adjustable based on Seminar needs)
9am to 5pm (maybe longer on day 1) on Saturday
9am to 5 pm on Sunday

Kevin Hughes- FTF Fitness
Brian Hyland- FTF Fitness
Intern- To be announced (will help in instructing and coaching)

Coach Kevin Hughes brings 20 years of experience in the fitness industry and Coach Brian Hyland brings an additional 5 years of coaching to you with information, demonstration and participation in an event that will quite possibly change the way you approach your current fitness regimen.

Topics include but are not limited to:

Goal Setting

Performance Nutrition

Biomechanics of Movement based on the athlete

How to strategize conditioning workouts for best results

Programming tips for athletes and members

Skills Development and efficiency training in :
Olympic Lifts
Gymnastics movements
Barbell lifts
Mono-structural movements

This Seminar discusses athlete needs from the newest athlete to the most advanced and skilled athlete. Any level or skill of athlete is welcome. We will guide this seminar as the needs of the attendees is revealed. We want to ensure you are getting the information you need and want out. the coaches of this seminar are well versed in several areas of fitness. Yes, we have a game plan and we have a syllabus, but we are also flexible to ensure we help you with anything you need. There is approximately 16 to 18 hours of information presented and discussed. It is a great opportunity to get some hands on time with coaches to help you improve your game.

Discussions on topics pertaining to athlete development based on the desires of the attendees. Certain topics are certain to be approached such as nutritional considerations, Programming considerations, mindset considerations.

Register Now for only $250 for the entire weekend.

Which Seminar Location?

Jul 162014

More on the mental game- Something to know and understand. Both Change and Challenge occur in life. What makes this wonderful is our ability to overcome the change and challenges set before us. Every time something is laid before you, think how you would approach it in the gym. And then attack it as if it was your next PR, your next workout, your next lift. Obstacles are only obstacles if you see them that way, otherwise they are opportunities! – Coach K

We are presented each and every day with challenges in the gym.  We are presented with weaknesses that can attack the very essence of who we are as athletes. It can get deep into our soul and create a frustration inside us that we don’t understand.  I have done my share of throwing jump ropes, getting mad at the rings, dropping bars on my head, and laughing at myself more than I ever have.  This is probably one of the most important things to learn through all of this is how to laugh at yourself.

Something I want to talk about today is a challenge I know many of us have faced and some of us are probably facing even at this moment.  This is.. “I am not what I once was, but I know I can be back there”.  Have you ever been at the point in the gym where you’re just having a bad day?  Or have you ever just put your fitness program on the back burner in order to deal with this thing called life?  and then you get frustrated with yourself because you’re not where you were, you don’t feel it, you’re not at the point you think you should be at.



Life happens at the speed of light.  This means that things that affect us today, may change the way we perform, the way we train, the way we live.  We go through cycles in our lives.  We also go through this thing called aging.   It’s a process we can’t fight.  Each year we may or may not be better at things we train all the time.  It is important to realize that we aren’t always going to perform at our optimum level.  For example- let’s say that last year, you were well conditioned because of your training regimen.  A large event or a large change occurs in your life and the first thing to go typically is our mental game which affects our physical game.  You have to remember that in times of stress and change, our body is under extreme adrenal load.  This mimics doing back squats in the gym all day long.  So we may feel fatigues or not perform as well.  This is the time to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to perform at the level your body is able to perform at.

Maybe there was a hiccup in your program and you had an injury.  Maybe it’s looking in the mirror and seeing that you aren’t in the same “physical” state that you were in your peak condition.  Remember that there are so many variables in our training and that affect our peak condition.  Sleep deprivation, food, stress level, work, divorce, death, marriage, moving, job changes, etc.  All of these things definitely affect how we feel AND how we perform.  We need to be able to recognize when we are at a different level and allow ourselves the moment.  We need to allow ourselves to be exactly where we are and applaud our accomplishments.  We need to celebrate the little successes during this tie.  It is important that we congratulate ourselves for being IN THE GYM rather than on the couch.  If you are a competitor, allow yourself to have a bad day, bounce back and get on it again.  Get through the mental hump by just mentally walking away from the bad day.

One of the things I talk about with some of my athletes is to pretend there is a large brain vacuum at the door of the gym.  And in this gym, it sucks all the proverbial shit of the day and puts it in a bag.  Then I actually have walked my athletes through the drill of taking them outside, explaining the vacuum and then have them take the proverbial bag of shit and set it outside the door of the gym.  I explain to them the great thing about it is the bag of shit will be sitting there waiting for them when they leave the gym, but once they walk in the door of the gym, it’s time to get their game face on and give it everything they have that day.  If we approach our visits to the gym this way, we can clear our head and get ready for what is to become of that workout for the day.

Another challenge we may face: how about looking at those around you wondering why you may not be as lean, as strong or as “in shape” as them?  This is an important thing to talk about. One of the most dangerous things we can ever do for our mental game is compare ourselves to others.  Not just in fitness, but in life.  I do know that a level of measurement is important and watching others does give us something to aspire to, BUT the important thing to remember is that we are exactly where we are at today.  Each one of us is at a different level in our fitness journey.  We should aspire to do the best WE can and focus on that every day.  We are not other people.  We are only ourselves.  The other part of this is how we talk to ourselves.  If we tell ourselves we are out of shape or slow or weak, then our bodies, our cells, hear this message and respond with more of that.  We need to continually tell ourselves we are better than yesterday and improving.

One other aspect of fitness is to realize that in the normal world, personal records don’t happen all the time.  In the sporting world, in particular Olympic Weightlifting as an example, you may only have a personal best every few months.  So thinking that we are going to have a personal best every time we walk in the gym may not be the best way to approach it.  But GIVING your best every workout may be a better way.  Allow yourself to have days that are training days,  days in which you succeed at some level and not have a personal best.  Push yourself but let yourself relish in having a great workout.

Another aspect I have noticed since the advent of a particular sport that time has become the focus of most of our working out.  What if for a second, we took away the clock and focussed solely on good technique and form.  This is a HUGE advantage to get rid of the clock every once in a while for those who use the clock as a measurement device.  Remember to have FUN during the workouts and not always focus on how fast you are going.  I have had to learn this in many times where I don’t feel up to par.  Instead of focussing on getting the clock to be the guide for my workout, I focus on how I can just really focus on the movements in the workout.  One thing I tell my athletes also is to focus on a point of weakness you see in the workout and make that the focus of the workout.  The rest just falls into place.
There is so much more to the mental game than is on the surface, but we will end this article here and give you some time to digest it.  In my next article, I will talk about aging and working out , how it affects recovery etc.  And after that, some technical knowledge on how to improve some of the movements we are experiencing in our FTF facilities.
Here is to your mental and physical game!
Coach K