Q & A – From a recent interview

1. Your workouts are very different from many athletes. What is this “functional bodybuilding” you have recently posted about?

Lately my training has had a very particular look and feel to it. Following the 2016 CrossFit Games and GRID season my body was in need of a different type of training. It was and currently is my OFF-Season. This means focusing on getting healthy, building strength, building my aerobic base, and giving my brain something different. By switching up my training, my coach has allowed my body to heal, build strength, and become energized and excited again. I’ve used the term “Functional Bodybuilding” because many of my workouts involve atypical strength and accessory lifts that focus on building certain parts of the body. There is more isolation in my training lately than during peak periods of the CrossFit Games season. The movements we are using are still quite functional and do require coordination and balance, but they are being performed slow and controlled most times. Developing great control and strength in slower movements has allowed my brain and body to get healthy and strong. I believe for many people this can and would be an effective way to train year round for health, fitness, and personal fulfillment! Not to mention keeping you feeling less beat up.

2. Do you have an official coach, or are you programming your own workouts?

I have an official coach. His name is Mike Lee and he is a member of the OPEX Fitness team. I’ve been an OPEX athlete in some form for over 5 years. While I coach many athletes myself, I’ve always found the most success in having a coach of my own. I trust Mike 100% to guide me through my evolving fitness journey. I also learn a tremendous amount about coaching by having a coach myself. It is a beautiful education loop that I have been happy to be a part of for years.

3. A huge amount of information on periodization strength training or endurance training, but few know how to properly program for themselves. What method do you practice?

While there is a lot of information out there on periodization, I don’t believe many people understand what it means to have “seasons” or different phases to their year when it comes to training. Periodization is better understood for sports where there is a defined season of play. Less so for fitness.

The methods behind how I program come from many sources. I already mentioned that my coach from OPEX plays a large role in influences my approach. In addition I’ve used my years of experience as an athlete in many sports, and the awareness of how my body has felt through different phases of training in my life, to guide how I push my athletes.

4. What are ways for you to recover the best?

Recovery can be as complex as training. But I try to simplify things.

1st – Quality food: The foods I eat are real, prepared at home, eaten consistently, and are well balanced.
2nd – Sleep: I get to be by 9pm every night. Same time to bed and same time waking up.
3rd – Cool Downs and Warm Ups: I always warm the engine up and cool the engine down before and after training.
4th – Supplementation: I take a variety of health based supplements, some performance based supplements, and the best Recovery Supplements from Revive-Rx

5. At the 2016 CrossFit Games you took 12th place. What is the difference in physical preparation at that level?

The physical preparation to be successful at the CrossFit Games, as compared to Regionals or the Open, is that you must be prepared for a higher volume of work. You must be prepared for 5 days of events and be able to bounce back between events.

6. If it was possible to go back in time, would you change your preparation for the Games?

No. My preparation was the best it could be for me. I would not change a thing. If I could redo certain events at the Games, I may make some strategic changes. But that is all.

7. How do you prepare mentally and how you go through tough moments during events at the CrossFit Games?

Mental preparation for me happens daily in my training. The more practice and repetitions I get throughout the year, the more confident I become in myself. The more I can anticipate how my body will react. This way when the competition comes I can trust myself and stop thinking.

8. There are a sufficient number of online-programs. What do you think deserves more attention?

I believe you should find a program that resonates with you. You may feel connected to a program because of the style the workouts are prescribed. You may want to hire a personal coach because you feel the desire to have a connection with someone. You may like the community feel of a particular program and that will drive you to follow them. You may like a particular athlete and what they stand for and thus follow their program.

You deserve to follow a program that fulfills your needs. If you follow a program that doesn’t seem to fulfill your needs then take some time to get clear on what those needs are exactly. Define them. Do you want to feel healthy, do you want to perform your best, do you want more weightlifting, do you prefer to do more endurance, do you want a group environment, do you prefer individualized programs…. you should be clear on all of this. Go as far as to describe how you feel in the perfect scenario. Then go evaluate programs based on this criteria.

9. Do you practice the Paleo-diet?

I wouldn’t say I practice the Paleo-Diet. I think it is hard for anyone to say that they truly practice the Paleo-Diet since we don’t live in Paleolithic times. I subscribe to eating real foods. Meat, veggies, nuts, seeds, some fruit, and a bit of starch. Things like cheese, rice, and oats are regularly found in my diet. These would not align with Paleo-Diet concepts.

10. Do you acknowledge the use of pharmacology in CrossFit?

I don’t know. That is my honest answer. There have been documented cases of athletes in the sport failing drug tests. This is undeniable. I cannot give insight into the scale to which there is use happening. Some people say it is everywhere, and others will argue that it isn’t as rampant.

A) Standing Triple Jump – 10 total attempts

B) Back Squat @20X0; 3,2,1,2,3; rest as needed – KEEP these FAST and SNAPPY

C) Single Leg Cross Body DB DL @3111; 4-6/leg x 4; rest as needed

D1) Double KB FR step up; 6-8/leg x 4; rest 30 sec

D2) Sorenson Hold 30-45 sec; rest 90 sec

F) 5 sets EASY:
30 sec plate in hand + 20# DB in feet hollow hold
3 pistols/leg – 2 sec pause at bottom, 2 sec pause at 90 degrees – 35#
Planche 30 sec – do a variation you can do
10 jump lunges – FULL extension and elevation at the top

Sample Training Session – Lower Body Intensive + Accessory

Facing the Pain

100m of Pain

                                                             100m of Pain

Hi Marcus,

Congrats on making the games. Must have been great seeing all your hardwork pay off!

The question that we have for you is this. When you are about to tackle a workout that you know is going to hurt so badly – how do you mentally block out the ‘fear’ of doing it. For example – the lactic tester of row 250, 15 swings, 25 burpees, 15 swings, row 250 @100%. What do you do to calm yourself and focus on the job at hand?

CFPT team in Hong Kong

Hey Guys,

Everyone has encountered this thought you are talking about. The more experienced you get at this sport I think you can begin to anticipate better when things are going to be terrible. It is the curse of doing this for a long time. Because of your experience you can see the end of the tunnel and the light that awaits you. “Then it comes to be that the soothing light At the end of your tunnel  It’s just a freight train comin your way” (Metallica).

At some point you begin to realize that being strong, skilled, and having a big engine in this sport doesn’t always equal success. So what separates folks? You have to find something else to latch on to. Some other area you plan to be consistent and stand out. I write about Honesty, Commitment and Persistence. Those words are the foundation for my approach to separating myself from others. Mental attitude is a huge part of this.

Your observation about painful training being a source of mental and physical block is valid. There is lots of fear surrounding this in our sport. Therefore this is a key area of separation in our sport and in our training methods. Who is going to back down from it and who is going to rise to it? Everyone has backed down from this fear  at some point. Some athletes less often than others, but I would wager a guess that even the guys out there who have reputations for putting their heads down and enduring the most pain have even backed down. Therefore I see this as a great opportunity. Fear turns to opportunity with a slight shift in perception. I accept that I have backed down in the face of pain and I let that go. Now I look forward to opportunities to test my mental and physical tolerance.

I don’t try to quiet my mind or calm myself. Instead I try to just be aware of what my mind is telling me I can’t do or shouldn’t do. Becoming more aware of the things your mind says over and over again in these painful situations will allow you to identify your self talk patterns. Once you have done that you can reflect on how your physical body responded to that self talk and hopefully start to change your patterns going forward.

Trying to block out the pain is a waste of time in my opinion. It hurts, it hurts everyone, and more times than not you know what it is going to hurt bad. So stop trying to ignore it. Instead try listening to how your respond. Get more focused on the feelings. Anticipate them. Play it over in your head before it happens and be ready for it. My coach has been talking about this for years. “Know Pain” and when it shows its familiar face then you will be ready to respond and overcome.

Hope thats a new way of thinking about it.



Run 10 minutes at Z1

AD 30 minutes at Z1 (210w average)

(get off every 3 minutes on AD complete 2 TGU/arm easy + 15 DU’s) – 35# kb


A. RDL @ 3111; 3 x 3; rest 2 min (light load, feel stretch)
215 x 3 sets

B. Snatch Grip Deadlift @ 4221; 2-3 x 3; rest as needed (semi-tough but more about position)
215, 235, 255

C. HPC + HSC + Jerk – 1 emom – Start at 65% and build – 8 min – level off as needed
210, 216, 221, 227 x 5 sets

D. Strict HSPU AMRAP; x 3 sets; rest 3 min
26, 21, 16


6 Sets:

AD 40 seconds @95%

Rest/walk actively 3:20
33, 34, 31, 36, 36, 35



12 sets:

Row 30 sec @90%
(1:30-1:33 pace average)

rest 30 sec

DU’s 30 sec
(55-60 du per set, all unbroken)

rest/walk actively 1 minute


A. FS @ 32X2; 6,5,5,4,4,3 rest 3 min (last 3 sets tough)
185, 205, 225, 245, 265, 285x2reps (knee felt great and lifting today in flats, not weightlifting shoes)

B. emom 20 min –
even 3 TNG squat clean (185#)
odd – 1 MU into 1 dip  – 5 reps of complex
*this was a total ass kicker. on the last 4 rounds of the muscle up/dip complex I dropped the reps down to 4. very taxing.

C. 20 KB TGU (Heavy, grinder)
*used a 70lb kb and just went slow and steady. 



AD 10 min @ Z1


AD 30 sec @ 80% AER

walk rest 30 sec x 20 straight
*went pretty hot on this 30sec sets and was hitting 480-520watts. consistent the whole time and could have gone for 10 more mins so felt aerobic.


AD 10 min @ Z1

PM with Dan-O

30 man-maker (45#/h) for time

rest as needed

for time:

15 oh squat (185#) – unbroken

50 CTB pull up – 10/10/8/7/5/5/5

15 push jerk (185#) – 5/5/5

50 toes to bar – sets of 5 all the way

1 mile AD
*learning a lot about myself in these longer grinders that have large sets and pacing doesn’t work on. need to dig in a little deeper on big sets and not be fearful of what is going to happen on the next movement. too many thoughts about what is going to happen on the next movement and it slowed me down. 



A. PC cluster 1.1.1 (75%); 5 sets; rest 15 seconds, rest 2 minutes
235lbs all sets

B. Every 2 min; PP x 2 + SJ x 1; 6 sets – moderate, same across
205lbs all sets

C. emom –  12 min

Min 1 – 3 rope climb (30sec each)

Min 2 – 4 pHSPU kipping

Min 3 – 12 cal row (20-22sec)


A. BS cluster @30X1; 3.3.3; x 4; rest 10 seconds, rest 4 minutes (tough weight)
295, 305, 315, 320 (got a little help on rep 9)


for time – 90%:

20 KB front rack lunge (2 pd both hands) (unbroken)

15 KB snatch left (2 pd) (9/6)

15 front squat (225#) – from the floor (9/6 – so hard on last 2 reps, back just wanted to round)

15 KB snatch right (2pd) (6/9)

20 cal AD (650watts +)


A. Snatch Ladder – starts at 175# – adds 10# every 75 sec

20 double under buy into every rep – NOT a 1RM test, keep it fast

265, stopped there. felt great and only 5# off my best


B. 3 rds for time @ 97%:

10 alternating db snatch (100#)

15 burpees


rest as needed

for time:

farmers carry 200m (100#/hand)

row 1k

20 thrusters (155#)

run 400 meters

20 bar muscle ups


Summer Tahoe Trip

Alpine Meadows 5 Lakes Hike

                                                Alpine Meadows 5 Lakes Hike

Megan and I took our annual trip to Lake Tahoe last week. The past two years we have tried to squeeze everything into 3 or 4 days. This year we just went for the full 8 days 7 nights. It was epic. I’m so grateful to have a team of coaches and business partners that allow me to take time like this. I felt recharged by the experience and excited about the year to come. It felt the the first real break since the games.

Every day we got up casually, took a hot tub, worked out, made great breakfast, hiked, beached, worked out some more, cooked elaborate dinners, watched TV shows, stayed up late, slept in late, and just had a memorable time. We have some friends come to visit and it helped cap off one of the best weeks in a long time.

The perfect vacation = relaxation, training, good cooking, no plans, beautiful scenery, great company. Check!

Check out some of the scenic workouts.


Row 1K easy
Row 250 m @ 95%
Row 1K easy
Row 250 m @ 95%
Row 1K easy
– 2:00 average pace after 3500m
CJ – 135#
– 20mins
swim wod
4 Rounds for Time
Open Water Swim to Buoy
20 KBS 53
20 Push Ups
globo gym work
A. BS – 5 sets of 3 moderate; rest 2 min
255, 275, 295, 305, 315
B. Press – build to a max in 4 min
195, missed 205 (current pr)
C. 10 rounds for time:
5 strict CTB chin ups
10 push ups
– 7:40 (push ups unbroken, CTB broken after round 4)
Run 400 m @ 70%
rest 30 sec
Run 400 m @ 80%
rest 1 min
Run 400 m @ 90%
rest 2 min x 3
(1:45, 1:35, 1:25 – all 3 sets same)
R KB Snatch – 70
Push Jerk – 135#
L KB Snatch – 70
10:44 (absolutely hateful workout)
29th rest/hike
Row 1K in 4:00
Rest 1min
row 1K in 3:50
rest 1 min
Row 1K in 3:40
rest 1 min
Row 1K in 3:30
– Stuck them all, last 1k was rough.
globo gym
A. FS – 5,5,5,5,5; rest 5 min – aggressiv if feelin it
235, 245, 255, 265, 275 (had a bit more in the tank but stayed a little conservative to be cautious on the knee)
B. Push Press – 3 emom – 155# + 3 strict chin up –  8 min – easy
C. heavy 1 arm row – 5-8/arm x 3 sets; rest 1 min b/t arms (90# db for all sets)
For Fun!
30 Burpee Buy In
Open Water Swim
30 KBS 70#
Open Water Swim
50 KBS 35#
Open Water Swim
40 KBS 53#
for time:
10 burpee MU’s
30 squat clean thruster – 155#
10 burpee MU’s
30 OHS – 155#
10 burpee MU’s
– Long time. Wow!

Q & A

Squat Valley High Camp

                                      Squat Valley High Camp – Vacation Time

From Jessica
“Hi Marcus!! Regarding your recent blog….did have some questions for you: how long have you been crossfitting? what was your athletic background prior CF? Do you follow strict Paleo? Do you typically split your workout into a WOD/strength split like noted on your blog? Thanks for the info!!”
MF – Hey Jessica,
I got introduced to CrossFit in 2007, but don’t consider that when i first started CrossFitting. In 2009 I started training and competing at TJ’s Gym and that was my first official year of CrossFit training. Prior to CF I was a collegiate level soccer player. I played goalkeeper for the University of California Berkeley. I also had about 6 years of strength and conditioning under my belt. I did weight training and aerobic based fitness ever since high school.
As far as my nutrition goes you can go back and look at my archives of nutrition logs on some of my earliest blog posts. To sum things up for you, I try to stick with Meat, Eggs, Veggies, Fruit, and Gluten Free Starches. I am liberal with all forms of potatoes and rice in various forms (white, rice bread). I stay away from gluten containing grains, and pretty much all other forms of grains. The items I have daily that wouldn’t be considered “Paleo” would be the rice products I eat as well as the whey protein products I have in and around my training. I arrived at this type of eating after a lot of experimenting. I used to be very strict Paleo and found that as my training volume went up I had more success when adding in dense carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. I still try to use my digestion, energy levels during training, and performance as my indicators of how my nutrition is doing. Keep in mind that I’m eating for performance and there are some aspects of my nutrition I may alter and tweak if my goals were different.
As far as my training split goes, I have made the room in my schedule to train 2-3x/day, most days of the week. Each of my training sessions doesn’t necessarily take 2+ hours. Most of them are 1hr sessions or less. With this amount of flexibility to break up training I’m able to compartmentalize energy system work into separate training sessions. Aerobic work in the AM, Strength work at Noon, Mixed work in the PM. When I’m into a good training block these split sessions allow me to focus on the task at hand, then refuel with food, and come back to hit other pieces later.
Hope that all helps. Thanks for your questions Jessica!
From Juan
Your blog is a great resource for myself to continue on my journey of fitness. I was looking for some advice though. I have noticed that so many of the videos that you post you are training alone. I find myself doing the same since there are not any “boxes” within reasonable distance and just having graduated college with loans for days makes it even tougher! My question is, how do you keep your head in the game? What does it take to stay on track? Any rituals, self talk or other methods you call on to keep your focus?
Thanks for everything you do on here man. I would really appreciate it if you answered this. Thanks!”MF – Dear Juan,Good observation. Last year training for Regionals I did a lot of training sessions alone. This was an important part of my growth as an athlete. My training changed a lot from the 2012 season to the 2013 season. My coach was asking new things of me and I was having to challenge my body in new ways. Being alone for lots of training hours was an important step. It forced me to look inside myself to navigate the challenges in front of me.These days I tend to seek out training partners or environments that feel energetic and supportive to my training. Less and less you will find me doing the solo thing. It is a new phase of my training and growth. I’m trying to put myself around others, expose myself to different environments and training partners, and surround myself with energy that may take my performance to levels that I otherwise would be scared to go.

But your question is a good one. How do you stay focused and motivated when you are doing the solo training thing? First off, having a structured plan is essential. In my case I had a coach that I answered to. He gives me programs and I have to complete them. I’m task oriented so completing the assigned training plan is always one goal. If you can’t find a coach then create a plan for yourself that is more than just a day to day freestyle. Secondly, I always had the camera on. I was filming my training with the intention of putting it all on the internet for people to see. Those video sessions held me accountable.

The final thought that goes through my mind during these types of sessions is one that has helped me and I’m sure can help you. I try to remember that with the perfect training scenario just about anyone can have success. If you have training partners, nice equipment, the perfect schedule, the right temperature in the gym, you along with everyone else will have success. But it is the folks that train hard, find the strength to push through, when the situation isn’t perfect, when you don’t have the right training environment, that are true champions. I remember reading stories my coach wrote about his early days of training CrossFit. He would wake up at like 3am to go into the gym to turn the heat on so that at 4am when he went to train, by himself, he wouldn’t freeze to death. He did that for years and he was a champion. Just him and a video camera. He posted every day to crossfit.com what his results were, even though by days end they weren’t always the best. Honesty, Commitment, and Persistence, and he found his way to the top of the podium.

Thanks for your question Juan. Train hard and stay focused. It is a long journey.

AM 19th
AD 1 min @ easy pace
Row 1 min @ easy pace
TGU x 2-3/side – 1pd – approx 1 min
VC 1 min @ easy pace
Wall Walk x 4
Jump Rope 1 min easy x 6
*added in skierg also (like playing with that new tool)
PM 19th
A. Good Morning – 3 sets of 3 – floss it and get used to it
145, 155, 155
B. Clean Grip Dead Lift @ 32X1; 3 sets of 3; rest as needed – only last set somewhat tough
305, 335, 365
C. High Hang HPS – 1 emom – tough weight – 10 min
for time:
15 pHSPU (unbkn)
Row 500 m (1:46.7)
12 pHSPU (8/2/1/1)
Row 500 m (1:47.3)
9 pHSPU (4/1/1/1/1/1)
Row 500 m (1:49.7)
6 pHSPU (4/1/1)
– 10:45
AM 20th
10 sets:
25 DU’s AFAP
Row 250 m @ 90%
rest walk 1 min b/t sets
(1:33 average)
PM 20th
A. FS @ 41×1; 5,5,5,5,5; rest 3 min – only last 2 sets tough-ish
last 3 sets finally felt good on the knee, 155, 175, 195, 215, 235
B. emom – 14 min
Odd – S Clean TnG – 155# x 5
Even – MU x 4 unbroken
-complete, squat cleans felt great on the knee
C. 4-7 tough TGU per arm; rest 1 min x 3 sets
28kg, 32kg, 40kg (4 each set)
AM 21st
AD 45 min @ Z1
(get off every few min to do 10 DU’s, 10 sec FLR and 10 sit ups)
– good sweat
PM 21st
30 reps for time:
tire flip – jump in and out – 300#
rest as needed
for time:
20 reps – 155# S2O (ubkn)
20 bar MU’s (14/6)
20 man makers – 35#/h
Row 20 cals
23rd AM
A. PC – 1.1 emom – 74% – 10 min
B. Push Press from rack – build to a tough single in 6 min after A ends
255#, just missed 265#
C. emom – 1 rope climb + 3 pHSPU – 8 min
complete, 12″ deficit on pHSPU and rope climb 18′, tough
A. BS @ 30X2; 8,8,8,8; rest 5 min
275, 285, 295, 305
for time:
20 man makers – 35#/h (pretty fast and smooth)
10 bar muscle ups (unbkn)
15 OHS – 175# (10/5 – tough)
30 KBS – 88# (did 35 reps by accident – got mentally weak when i started fatiguing at my back)
9:26 (OUCH)
A. PC gauntlet – starts at 205# – adds 20# every 90 sec
3 burpee ring muscle up buy in per 90 sec
285, missed 305 (just wasn’t there)
rest as needed after max
3 rds for time:
10 R KB Snatch  – 2pd
10 L KB Snatch – 2pd
50 DU’s
3:56, dan at 4:21
rest as needed
for time:
AD 1 mile
30 DB Snatch – 100# – 15/arm alt’ing
AD 1 mile
30 CJ – 135#
AD 1 mile
14:46, dan at 14:41

Nothing to say, only things to do

Been struggling to find things to write about on the blog to you all. It is part of the reason I’ve been inconsistent with my posting. Got something you’d like to hear about from me, please feel free to let me know.

For now I’m just going to continue to share what I’ve been doing and my training experience. I still hope it serves as a resource for some of you out there who are training and looking for examples. I also hope it inspires you to get out and try some new things and challenge your limits. That is the design of the training. To challenge physical, mental, and emotional barriers. If you want to learn more about what that is like for yourself you can always contact me at marcusfilly@gmail.com.

AD 1 min @ easy pace
Row 1 min @ easy pace
VC 1 min @ easy pace
Skierg 1min @ easy pace
Jump Rope 1 min easy x 7

A. Clean Grip Dead Lift @ 32X1; 3 sets of 5; rest as needed – only last set somewhat tough
295, 325, 355
*on video a slight round felt best and most nuetral
B. High Hang HPS – 2 emom – moderate weight – 10 min
165 (2 sets), 175 (8 sets)
15,13,11,9,7,5 rep rounds for time:
Strict HSPU on DB handles
L Pull Ups
15:00 – grinding the whole way, lots of core stabilization, l-pullups are all with bent legs, can’t get straight with any force. heal is always above hip
AD 3 min @ Z1
AD 5 sec max effort
rest spin 30 sec x 3
AD 1 min @ Z1
AD 15 sec MAX effort
rest 3 min walking x 6
18, 18, 18, 18, 16, 17cals
AD 5 min @ Z1

25 DU’s AFAP
Row 200 m @ 95% effort
rest walk 90 sec x 8
1:28.5 average – 35.5, 35.2, 35.4, 35.4, 35.2, 35.4, 35.5, 35.5

A. FS – 3 x 3 @ 70% RPE; rest 1 min
B. FS – 3 x 3 @ 80% RPE; rest 2 min
EMOM – 12 min
odd – HSC – 185# x 3
even – HS walk as far as you can in 20 sec
HS walks unbroken about 15m
C. 40 TGU not for time – 1.5 pd

AD 35mins easy
230 watts

EMOM – 12 min:
FW – 20 sec with heavy DB – odd
Wall Walk x 3 – even

rest few min

for time:
10 burpee muscle ups
5 wall walks
5 sets of 50 unb DU’s
5 wall walks
10 burpee muscle ups

rest few min

EMOM – 10 min
AD 8 sec max – odd
RC from ass leg less – even


A. PC – 1.1 emom – 72% – 10 min
B. PC x 1/PJ x 2 – 70% – 10 min
C. PP Cluster from rack – 2.2.2 x 4; rest 4 min – 10 sec b/t reps
205, 210, 216, 221
D. 30 sec max reps – DB push press – 45#/h; rest 30 sec x 4
30, 25, 18, 15

A. BS @ 30X2; 10,10,10; rest 5 min
275, 285, 295(9reps – didn’t want my spotter to have a heart attack)
for time:
15 OHS – 135#
30 T2B
15 OHS – 155#
30 T2B
15 OHS – 175#

A. HPC – build to a tough single in 12 min
280 (pretty easy, catching a little tough on knee)

rest as needed

PS – 135#
Bar Muscle Up

rest as needed

20 min timer:
Row 2K
100 burpees
AMRAP DU’s in time remaining

The end of another chapter

The CrossFit Games marked the end of another volume in the novel that is my life. This past year has truly been one of self discovery. So many things have added meaning, purpose, and challenge to this past year. I’m grateful for all of it, the highs and the lows. In hindsight, one of the true blessings of making it to the CrossFit Games was that I had an opportunity to bring closure to it all.

Naughty Nancy

                                                 Naught Nancy

It would be impossible for me to wrap up the last year of training and competing in just this post. Fortunately I’ve shared most of it with you all on this blog for the past 11 months. I believe my first blog post chronicling my training this year was August 28th of 2012. Megan and I were in Seattle and I did my first programmed workout from James. It just so happened that on that first day I had to row 60mins for max meters. (Lucky to have had that and two other 60min tests under my belt when Dave announced the half marathon row).


Eleven months later I find myself with one Games appearance under my belt. As my dad loves to ask, “what do you have to report?”. I still love fitness. I’m committed to exploring the outer limits of myself mentally, spiritually, and physically, through the sport of fitness . My goals for the past year were met and exceeded. Through this blog I was able to share a big part of my life with so many people. Hopefully it provide a window for you all to look through to see what the life of one competitive CrossFit athlete looks like. It is perhaps the thing I’m most proud of this year. Sharing the ups and the downs, being transparent, and teaching others through my own personal pursuits has added purpose to this year.

Special thanks to the following people for their role in the most recent Games.

James Fitzgerald – A mentor to me and a coach at heart. The first athlete in the sport of fitness, that through his inspiring example, lead me to be his biggest fan, his student, a CCP coach, and later on his athlete. I still vividly remember the day I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he unexpectedly walked up and introduced himself to me at the 2010 CrossFit Games in whole foods. Thank you for helping me realize some things about myself.

TJ and Allison Belger – Friends, leaders of our community, and partners in this crazy thing we do. Without your support this year I wouldn’t have been able to commit the time and energy needed to realize a dream. Thank you.

TEAM Filly – Anyone who wore a Team Filly shirt this past month. All my amazing supporters. You guys out in Mississippi, screaming at the television up in Novato, seeking out good WiFi up in the mountains, my Mill Valley Family, and I’ll never forget the crew the made the trip down south (Yago, Bridget and Nate, Bridget and Jake, Sarah, Dan, Joe, Hilah and KP, Evan and Jess, Joe, Andy, Jason, and Lisa S, and my superstar teammate and athlete Lisa R and CJ)

TEAM Filly Proper – Mom, Dad, Sara, Tony, Chris, Hannah, Lilah, Elise, and Jason Kaden. I will always remember these last two competitions for many reasons but having my family all together to support me ranks amongst the top.

Meggerz – I never want to do one of these things without you. Nobody could take your place nor would I want anyone to. Thank you for sticking by me through another year of this.


So begins the next chapter in this series yet to be titled. I look forward to getting back to using this outlet to share with you all. Look for me to put in another year of work to see what spits out the other side. The mission is the same. Invest deeply into the process of training and be open to the magic at the end of the year. Along the way try to reach as many people as possible and show them how one person at this level of the fitness choses to do things.

I’ll leave you with perhaps the best bit of coaching advice I received at the CrossFit Games. See caption below.


                                                         LET THE HAIR DOWN

Team Filly Shirts!

Untitledscreen-shot-2013-06-20-at-8-02-10-pm Men's T-ShirtHey Everyone,
I’m super excited to announce that mantrafit has created a T-shirt to help support me and my trip to the CrossFit Games. In addition they have also created a T-shirt to help support my client and friend Lisa Rendic in her trip to the CrossFit Games as a Masters competitor. If you would like to support our trip to Carson then please consider buying one of these awesome shirts. Read below for more details on how you can support us.


Place your orders by end of day Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MantraFit is proud to offer the Rock Like Rendic and Team Filly 2013 Games shirts to the TJ’s community! Designed in conjunction with both Lisa and Marcus, these shirts represent the mantras that helped drive each of them to this year’s CrossFit Games.

Who is MantraFit?

MantraFit is a new fitness apparel company co-founded by three TJ’s members, Jim and Karis O’Sullivan and Tammy Baca. Inspired by our own personal journeys with CrossFit and the TJ’s community as a whole, we wanted to build a company that exemplifies what CrossFit means to all of us: fitness, inspiration, and transformation. Building our brand on these three pillars, we are driven to provide quality apparel for kick ass people who do kick ass things!

How does your shirt order help Lisa and Marcus?

For every shirt that is purchased, MantraFit will give that athlete $5.

  • Buy a Team Filly shirt and $5 will go to Marcus
  • Buy a Rock Like Rendic shirt and $5 will go to Lisa

How to pre-order your shirts?

If you are a TJ’s member, simply fill out the pre-order form which you will find in each gym location by end of day, Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

  • You do not need to pay for your shirts until they are available for pick-up on Saturday, July 13.
  • MantraFit will set up times at each of the gyms for you to pick up your shirts and submit payment. Cash or check is preferred, but we are able to process payment with credit card.

If you are not local, we ask that you email tammy.baca@gmail.com with your name, phone, and indicate which shirt you would like to order, along with size.  You will be asked to mail a check for payment, as well as pay $2.50 per shirt for shipping.

For more information, please send email to tammy.baca@gmail.com

Or visit us Facebook for more information at


Training Log Week 1 Post Vacation

June 14th

airdyne 30 min z1
(get off every 5 min and perform 10 m HS walk and 10 squats)
unbroken hs walks – averaged about 260watts
A. Power clean and jerk; 3 reps on the min for 10 min 60/67% 1rm – up and down per set waveload
– juggled between 190# and 210#. tried some with TnG and others with singles. testing out how the back feels
B. Squat snatch off high blocks; build to a max
– 205 for today, 215 was there just wasn’t agressive with my hands at the top, so difficult for me to generate power from this position
3 rounds for time
25 kbs 2 pood
25 burpees
– 5:53
5:30 PM
For time:
Run 1 mile
40 strict hspu
80 power snatch 80#
– 17:43 (6:30 mile, :15 transition, 4:00 hspu, :15 transition, 6:43 snatches), HSPU were tough. started with sets of 5 and then dropped to sets of 3. shoulders and wrists were really bothering me from earlier work today. happy with my resolve to finish on the snatches. reminiscent of 100’s with that dumbbell. 
June 16th
Squat clean gauntlet (2012 games standard)
*had to stop after 285, back felt really bad and I didn’t want to risk hurting it more
5 rounds for time:
4 squat snatch 165#
5 bar muscle ups
40 double unders
*stayed steady and controlled. did singles on all snatches and then unbroken on the rest. forgot time and wasn’t concerned about it.
for time:
Run 400m
21 unbroken CTB chin ups
Run 400 m
18 unbroken CTB chin ups
Run 400 m
15 unbroken CTB chin ups
Run 400 m
-7:03 was trying to get under 7 mins. Felt like this was a similar test to Helen and wanted to get a similar time to what I hope my current Helen to be. Happy with the running. Pull ups were not a problem. 
June 17th
row 500m @ 1:45/500 m
jump rope 90 sec @ easy pace
-Completed at home on the deck with Meg at 7:30am.
A. Power snatch Cluster; 1.1×10; rest 3 min, 10 sec b/t reps
-195, 200, 205 x8sets. This was the best I had for today. Not a ton of power on my pull these days.
EMOM 12 min:
Odd- 3 power clean 225# TnG
even- 6 weighted dips (moderate load) used 53# (not too bad)
100 kbs for time 2 pood
– 4:27 (40/15/10/10/9/9/7) – Grip smasher. Dug in pretty deep towards the end so happy about that. 
For time:
run 400m
30 thrusters 135#
-2:44 unbroken. Ran in 1:33 and took about 10 seconds to pick up the bar. Wasn’t going to put it down. Last 3 reps were interesting. 
June 18th
Bike 15 min z1
bike sprints 1 min uphill grinder pace
easy ride down/recover
15 min z1 flush pace
*scott valley (vasco st.) bottom to just turning corner. tough after 3 rounds. the rest period was always around 2:30. The legs get so juiced half way up the hill and then it is just a fight to move enough air in and out of my body. 
Open water intervals:
Swim out 2 min
Swim back in
rest 3 min on shore
-swam in the tiburon lagoon. felt great today and the water temp was probably around 68. feeling so much more comfortable in the water.
June 19th
Airydne 10 min z1 (200 W/avg)
Airydne 30 seconds @85% (424-475)
airydne 30 seconds @50% (100-150)
– At home on the deck with megz. beautiful morning in Mill Valley. I love being able to finish up these sessions and walk right into the kitchen to fix breakfast. Dreaming of when I can have a complete home gym.
5 rounds for time:
5 heavy tire flips
5 burpee jump through tires
3:40 – tire wasn’t the biggest thing ever but not easy. was steady the first 4 rounds then pushed it at the end. rest as needed5 rounds for time:
10 stone to shoulder 150#
10 box jumps 24″
14:03 – easily the hardest of the 3 today. stone was a grind. box jumps were step downs the whole way and were just rest from the stone. stone had to be lapped and then rolled up my body on every represt as neededFor time:
60 KB snatch 2 pood (alt per 5)
20 wall walks
6:48 – 5 reps, put bell down, take a breath, 5 reps, put bell down…. repeat. Snatches went at a good clip. But I knew the wall walks were going to be the time suck. They are a great drill to help teach you what you are capable of doing when your shoulders hurt SO BAD!
6 TnG power snatch – add per set unbroken
Airydne 30 seconds
rest 5 min
x5 sets
*last set of snatches almost floored me. so hard! these sets are designed to make you feel pain and I know that all to well. fast forward about 10sec after you step of the airdyne. It is just as Tony Bourdain once described the tazer gun to be. Your body feels like one giant open cavity and the dentist just hit the nerve with the drill. The pain spreads like electricity and it is inescapable for a few split seconds. To think that you willingly get back on that bike is crazy on many levels. Fine Dyning at its best.
June 20th
Row 500m in 1:38.5
rest 90 sec
(rest 6 min b/t sets 3/4)
1:38.4, 1:38.4, 1:38.4
1:38.3, 1:38.3, 1:37.4
* feeling very strong on these. breathing was labored during the rest periods but I was always able to control myself before next set.
Pool swim:
25m @90%
rest 30 seconds
(max 3 min transition)
bike 20 min easy
0 SEC rest
Run 2500m at tempo – upbeat
– Pool sprints really are a nice way to start this off. I imagine is simulates some of the added exertion of being in open water and battling currents. I’ve been pushing these and perhaps going beyond 90%. Made the quick transition and did a 20min easy bike on a single speed. Ran 2500m in about 10mins. Tried to stay upbeat and posture during entire run felt great.

“Hope doesn’t work… Will Does”

This has been one of the most exciting weeks of my professional and athletic life. There has been massive support from everyone following last weekends events and I’m still so grateful for all of it. I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the months leading up to Regionals as they were not as glamorous as this last week has been.

The build up to regionals had an entirely different feel to it than this week. Just over a month ago if you had checked in with me you would have found a guy who was on the verge of collapse. Life had gotten out of control. My back hurt to a point of not being able to train, I was overwhelmed by my work, and I found myself unable to hold back the tears on enough occasions to prompt concern. Prepared to quit the season, ready to give up, I just about screamed out for some guidance. Something needed to change but I didn’t know what.

The folks I surround myself with were instrumental in helping keep me on the path towards Regionals and ultimately beyond. They all deserve to be mentioned here. To anyone that stuck with me when I was down and doubtful these past several weeks, I love you and couldn’t have done this without you.

I will however highlight one specific instance of support as it has stayed with me. Sometimes the right conversation happens at the right time. In this case an email exchange with my coach while he was on a plane to some far off place was a timely conversation that helped me hold on. He offerred up some grounding reminders about what I have been doing, who I’ve been doing it for, and why everything at that moment made sense and could still be overcome. I listened to what he had to say, I tried to let it fill me up with confidence, I did my best to change my mindset, but at the end of the exchange all I had to say in response to his positive foresight was “I hope so.” He quickly responded with “Hope doesn’t work… Will Does.” The conversation ended on that exclamation. The words buried themselves deep inside of me.

I’ve had plenty of time since then to think about what that meant. In that moment it was profound. It guided me through the challenging weeks to come. I reminded myself of it throughout the weekend at Regionals. Now it serves as a guide.

Wikipedia say this about Hope and Will.

Hope is the state which promotes the belief in a good outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life

Will, in philosophy, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally performed. The will is in turn important within philosophy because a person’s will is one of the most distinct parts of their mind, along with reason and understanding. It is one of the things which makes a person who they are.

Am I relying on hope or am I living out my personal will? Allowing my life to unfold as a product of my personal will is my mission. My intention is to live a life that is in alignment with that will and allows for it to manifest.

At times we might find ourselves hoping for an outcome. When I reflect on those times in my life it becomes evident to me that in those moments I lose sight of my will.  Rather than intentionally moving through life I resign myself to a belief. When will guides your life you have upgraded beyond simple hope. You have combined a positive belief with intent and your mindset. It connects who you are with the outcomes of your life. It fills in the gaps between hope and outcome. It is how you can express your most true self. Live your Will and don’t rely simply on Hope.

Timely advice.

Training Saturday June 1st

AM – Row 5k Easy
2:00.6 avg/500m
22-24 s/m

Noon – Great to be back working in the gym. I have not trained in weeks. Everything has been prepping for Regionals. So getting my hands on a bar for sets and reps felt nice.

A. PS – 3,3,3,3; rest 10 sec b/t reps; 3 min b/t sets
– 195, 200, 205, 210
B. Log Clean x 1/Log Press x 5; rest 2 min x 4 – parallel grip preferred
– 150, 170, 190, 210

Stone to Shoulder tough
– 3:04

PM – 6pm

Open Water Swim practice – 30 min
*Aquatic Park in SF – swam with a wetsuit as the water is still in the mid 50’s out here. Was fun. Probably swam about 1200m today total if I had to guess.

Bike 30 min off road – gonna save this for Sunday as it was getting late. 

The Dust Settles


The 2013 Northern California CrossFit Regional has come to a close. How do you even begin to sum up an experience like that? Written word fails to capture the essence of what it felt like to ride the wave all weekend. I’ll do my very best to paint a picture with words here. But to all the people that were there for the weekend, to the very many people who cheered me on to the very last clean, to each and every person that said some encouraging words to me along the way, I’m forever grateful to you all.

Sunday May 26th started for me at 5:30am. Sleep is hard to come by during the last couple nights of these competitions. I got 6 hours tops of low quality sleep but woke up feeling like I could eat nails. Four points sat between me and the 4th place competitor. The Northern California region has a previous CrossFit Games Champion in it and therefore when he takes a podium spot to the games they invite the 4th place finisher. This is a well known fact amongst the competitors of regionals like Nor Cal, Europe, and the Central East. We know going in and fight for one of the top 4 spots. Many things had to line up for me to make it into the number 4 slot on Sunday but the feeling when I woke up was that at least I had a chance.

One of my biggest assets all weekend was my girlfriend and coach for the 3 days, Megan. She stayed with me every step of the nerve wracking journey. She listened to me when I was down, she was patient when people took my attention, she tolerated all my leaderboarding, and she was always there to remind me to breath, eat, lay down, stay positive, etc. We were the perfect team. “Today is the day, today is the day…” were her words every day for the entire weekend.


The first event on Sunday was my only chance I felt to move up the ladder. The afternoon event was going to be over too fast with all of the athletes at the top finishing so close that I just didn’t believe there were points to be made up in the afternoon. The beauty of Sunday for me was that I knew I could do very well in each of the events from having practiced. I knew there was nothing I would struggle with and therefore believed I had a chance to move up the leaderboard. But despite all that I had to battle doubts and fears all day. Was Pat going to move faster than me? If he did was I going to be able to dig deep enough to catch him? Was my best going to be good enough or was I going to need to try something I’d never done before? And even if the answers to all those questions were positive I still didn’t know how it would all effect the leaderboard. My thoughts were like a ping pong rally inside my head that went on far too long. To be honest, I think the ping pong match only came to an end when I stepped on the final red finish mat at the end of the day.


I remember saying to myself that if I could finish Sunday with only 5 or 6 points then I might just have a shot at qualifying. Six points later, a second and fourth place finish, and I’m headed to the CrossFit Games. I went to Regionals this year with a goal of qualifying for the CrossFit Games, but the weekend experience was so much more than just that. The events of those 3 days can never be repeated. The story that unfolded over those 3 days belongs in a book or movie. However, I will settle for keeping it in my heart and in the hearts and thoughts of all the people that shared it with me. I’m excited to share the continuation of this journey with you all and excited to get back to posting here more regularly with my training updates and thoughts on this journey.


To My Family “TEAM FILLY” – Thank you for stepping into my world so completely this weekend. Thank you for putting everything aside to be present with me as I embarked on one of the biggest moments of my athletic life. I will forever cherish the fact that you were all there to experience that moment with me.

The Moment

The Moment

To My TJ’s Teammates – I was so proud to share the regionals stage with you all. Each of you did something gutsy and courageous this weekend that makes me honored to call you my team.

To the TJ’s Family (Partners, friends, community) – Looking out into the crowd and seeing Blue everywhere I turned was a constant reminder that I wasn’t alone. There was nothing to be scared of when I could see your beaming faces.

To my Coach – James Fitzgerald – Your guidance, your way, has engrained in me how all of this fits into the big picture and how each part, the ups and downs, must be experienced fully to achieve success. Gratitude to you for helping me lay a foundation of strength, both physically and mentally, and a framework to navigate the complexities of this journey.


To Patrick Barber – An athlete I’ve looked up to and by watching compete have learned so much from over the years. One of the best competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure to go head to head with. Thank you for never giving up, for pushing me to places I didn’t know I had, and for keeping a smile on your face every time we saw each other.