March 23, 2017


Posted in sandbag, sandbag trainers

Why did you make those sandbags?

Written at 9:02AM in the kitchen of "Fringe Sport West"  in Boulder, CO

Well, it's happening

We spent yesterday scouting locations in Denver and Boulder and we're coming to town. Not sure exactly where, but it seems to me that people from Boulder might be more willing to drive to Denver than vice.

We'll see how this plays out, but we should officially have Fringe Sport West (warehouse) set up in 3-6 months.

I'm pretty excited, and a little scared. We've been talking about a West location since Fringe was just an idea in my head... and it's finally happening.

What this means for you is faster shipping to the Western US, a cool location in the Denver or Boulder area that we'd love for you to come visit and hang out in, and a new local community to introduce into the #fringefam.

Color me inspired.

Oh, and here's me lifting with my buddy Kevin Wood in Denver yesterday. I love to lift with our customers family. Hit me up if you're in Denver or Boulder and I'll reach out on a future visit.

A quick warning- Kevin has been doing a lot of Powerlifting, but he agreed to do my (Atomic Athlete) programming yesterday.

And I made him run.

It's a risk you take when you lift with me :)

Kevin promised to have me box squat with bands the next time we work out, so it will all even out.

About those stickers

Apparently when you offer a free sticker to tens of thousands of people, a bunch of them take you up on the offer.

(I did that last week)

My wife and I are addressing all those envelopes and slowly mailing the stickers out. For whatever reason, I don't want to have the rest of the Fringe crew doing it. I'll get to everyone who emailed, and thank you for doing so. But I'm running a little slow on that.

On Sandbags

Since I got into strength and conditioning, I've always loved sandbag training. So of course we wanted to bring out a Sandbag trainer for Fringe.

In keeping with the methodology I outlined last week:

  • We surveyed the market- there were cheap, not very durable, poorly designed sandbags for $30-$50. There were great sandbags for $80-$150 (!)
  • We looked at what makes a sandbag "great"- Military grade YKK zippers (A huge failure point if a poor zipper is used!), double stitching + box stitching, the ability to be used with or without filler bags, durable Cordura fabric, great design and handles
  • We talked with manufacturers to see what we could bring to market, at what price- And here we were pleasantly surprised.

The outcome- a great sandbag trainer, shipped to your door for under $39, all-in

We knew companies could make a great sandbag trainer for $80 (plus shipping). So we decided to make a great one for under $50. And we ended up being able to bring it to you for $39 with free shipping, well under our goal.

Why it's MY favorite sandbag trainer

  • Great design- an awesome shape that drapes well on your shoulders, has straps just where you want them for cleans and carries (sorry, this doesn't make sandbag training any easier... maybe it just sucks a little less)
  • 1000D Cordura- the same stuff they make military rucks out of
  • Genuine mil-spec YKK zippers- the best zippers you can buy.
  • Double stitched and box stitched where it matters
  • Ability to fill directly with sand/mulch/pellets OR use modular filler bags

Once you grab yours, here's what to do with it

  • Fill it- I fill mine with a mix of sand and rubber mulch from Home Depot. I use a large sandbag trainer and fill it to 80#
  • Do a sandbag getup.

  • Do 100 sandbag getups for time
  • Do AMRAP sandbag getups for 10 minutes
  • Do burden carries with the sandbag
  • Do sandbag cleans
  • Do sandbag presses
  • Do sandbag ground-to-overhead
  • Do partner workups. One sandbag per 2 people. Alternate carrying/exercising

What did I miss? Give me some other great sandbag routines :)

Have a great day!


March 20, 2017


Posted in crossfit

20 Lessons I Learned from the Fittest Man On Earth (The King of Crossfit)

One of my great passions is studying the advice of the world's most successful. On my journey, I discover Rich Froning. He is widely regarded as the best Crossfitter of all time in the short several years of the sport's existence. He won back-to-back three years in a row and came in 2nd place the first time he competed, a feat no one has come close to.

Although a new sport, Crossfit has taken over the nation as a groundbreaking training program, gym service, and sport. Tens of thousands tune in every year to watch the Crossfit Games. Athletes compete to be crowned the "Fittest in the World."

I want to share with you the top lessons I learned from Rich Froning's book First.

Table of Contents

I broke the lessons I learned up into different sections:

  • Success Advice
  • Crossfit and Fitness Advice
  • Life Lessons
  • Advice for Crossfit Beginners

Success Advice

This is advice Rich gave that applies to achieving any goal, including Crossfit goals.

1. Learn Work Ethic Through Example and Company

Rich developed his work ethic not from someone lecturing him, but by modeling his parents. His parents taught by example instead of by instruction. They worked endlessly and rarely sat down to relax.

2. Get Around Competitive People If You Want To Be Better

When Rich was young, he had over thirty-five first cousins -- on just his mother's side. Family reunions were a natural grounds for competition. He and his cousins competed on everything, from video games to sports. It stoked his competitive fires.

One of Rich’s self-professed biggest secrets to success is that he always surrounded himself with people who were better than him, pushed him, and held him accountable.

You can’t make excuses when you are around people who will hold you accountable. You are also pushed farther when people around you are performing better than you.

In fact, when he already won the Games by finishing first in a workout, he continued to push as hard as he can for the rest of the workouts because he was competitive and wanted there to be no doubt he was first.

On a similar note, there is one person who was the first back-to-back two-time Crossfit champion. And it wasn’t Rich. It was a girl named Annie Thorisdottir.

Rich said she was the most competitive person he had ever met, boy or girl. He noticed that it’s something they shared in common. Both of them are extremely competitive. One time, during a demonstration, they both started lifting 100% of their one-rep max even though they agreed they would do 70% of their one-rep max.

3. Don't Be Intimidated. View Yourself Through The Same Lens You View Others

The first time Rich competed in the Crossfit Games, he was intimidated by everyone else who showed up. The same reaction replayed during the Regionals, Sectionals, and actual Games.

He saw everyone there as physical specimens and he thought he didn't belong there. Yet every time, he took home first place by a wide margin. He realized that he was not viewing himself in the same lens he views others.

Nowadays, people say he has a monstrous appearance worth admiring. But he says he was only ten pounds lighter before he began training to be a world-class competitor. The lesson is to not count yourself out. Give yourself the self-worth you deserve.

4. Use Your Failures As Motivation

Rich placed second in his first ever Crossfit Games. But he was devastated because he had failed the last competition because he didn't know proper rope climbing technique and couldn't climb the rope in the last event. He had lost by just three points because he was unprepared. Had he known, he would have easily been first.

However, this failure motivated him beyond belief. Some people say he would have won four years back-to-back if it wasn't for the rope climb event. Looking back, he says he would not have won any if it wasn't for the rope event.

He was confident it was the devastation of coming in second place that drove him to train and win so many times later on.

5. Have A Purpose Bigger Than Yourself

“Winning is not about being first. It’s about putting god first.” -Rich Froning

Later on in Rich's life, he didn't like where he had gone. His friends and mentors asked him, "Why do you do what you do?" and "Would you go to heaven if you died now?"

And he didn't have good answers. It put him in the longest period of self-reflection in his life.

He only prayed for his selfish reasons. And he didn't like the legacy he was leaving because it was just about his achievements. By having a purpose beyond yourself, you are more motivated and work harder and longer.

Because of this revelation, he returned to his faith in Christianity. The stories he had read in the Bible in his childhood actually had meaning.

Rich Froning on Mental Toughness

Mental toughness a key to success in Crossfit because it helps you push farther. Rich has trained a lot of different people in Crossfit. He still wonders why some of them have mental toughness and other don’t.

If he had to answer the question, he thinks it comes down to upbringing and pushing your comfort zone early on. There have been moments during the Crossfit Games where he thought, “I don’t feel like doing this. Why am I doing it?”

And that’s when his upbringing kicked in. His parents made him do a lot of chores, including meaningless tasks like pulling nails off a board, to instill in him a strong work ethic. His work ethic kicked in automatically when he wanted to give up.

As far as pushing your comfort zone early on, he means you can’t rely on your genetic gifts. He has observed many successful athletes rely on their talents to get them through high school. But when they hit college, they meet people who have the genetic skill and the mental toughness from pushing past their limits.

Therefore, always push yourself farther than you can go. Don’t just try to skate by on winning the genetic lottery.

Crossfit and Fitness Advice

In this section, we cover Rich’s advice specific to Crossfit or fitness.

1. Not Having A Meltdown Means More Than Winning

Crossfit is about endurance across a variety of taxing physical exercises. Rich realized during his competitive days that to win, it isn't about coming out first in every workout. It's about scoring among the top people for most of the exercises. It's similar to a Triathlon or Decathlon in a way where it's the average score of all your activities that matters.

Therefore, if you don't have a meltdown and screw up completely in an exercise, you're on your way to being a winner.

2. If You Hyperfocus In One Area, You Sacrifice Another

This may or may not be a bad thing depending on what your goal is. For workouts in Crossfit, it’s a bad thing. To be the best in Crossfit, it’s about being great at numerous different workouts. By focusing too much on endurance, for example, you can fall behind in powerlifting skill.

To be great at any of the possible variations they can throw at you during the Games, you have to prepare yourself by being great at all of them.

3. Don’t Compare Or Skout Out The Competition

The first big key to success in Crossfit is simply showing up consistently and doing more Crossfit. The second key is to avoid seeing what your competition does.

The Crossfit media love to skout out top players and find out what unique workout routines or tricks they’re using. Rich avoids doing any of that.

4. Let Your Body Tell You When To Push and When To Recover

Rich lets his body tell him when he has been slacking off and needs to work out more and when he is exhausted and needs to take a break.

He usually does at least two hour long workouts a day. He aims for 5 metabolic workouts a week and 6 Olympic powerlifting workouts a week.

But he takes breaks in between workouts where he’ll be texting on his phone or chatting.

His body is usually accurate in telling him when he has been slacking off and needs to turn up the heat for the workouts and when he needs to rest to recover.

Your body may not be as accurate as Rich’s though. You can use it as a compass, but consulting trainers, professionals, or friends might help.

5. Push Further Than Your Mind Says You Can

Rich confesses that there are thousands of people who are athletically more skilled than him in every way. So how has he succeeded?

It’s his mind. He says during the Crossfit Games, it’s 70% mental and only 30% physical.

He has trained many people who have bodies that have the potential to go a lot farther, but they won’t because their mind tells them to quit early on. I found a study in the book The Willpower Instinct that discovered that the human mind sends signals of exhaustion far before your body actually exhausts as a safety measure.

The lesson is that you can push a lot farther than you think you can.

6. Reward Yourself (In A Healthy Way)

Rich would reward himself with the workouts he enjoyed (Olympic lifts) after workouts he hated (running). This helped balance him and prevent him from burning out.

Rich Froning’s Routine and Nutrition

He doesn’t take any pre-workout. He does take protein shakes for breakfast.

He takes supplements but advises you do your homework before you do. There are a lot of bad supplement companies out there. Check out the reputation of the brand behind the supplement before you use it. The less sugar and the more natural, the better.

As far as eating goes, he eats and drinks until his body feels full. He doesn’t track calories. Having said that, I noticed he also eats pretty clean naturally.

He judges which workouts to do by the feel of how tired his body is. There is no set routine; it’s based off his desire.

I wouldn’t advise doing the same thing. Rich’s body seems to be better attuned to knowing when to keep going and when to quit. The rest us of aren’t that lucky.

There is a saying by Tim Ferriss and Malcolm Gladwell, two people who make their living studying successful people. It goes something like, “The world’s most successful people are successful in spite of whatever they do, not because of it.” I’ve heard fitness Youtubers say the same thing.

What’s the lesson? Just because these people are genetically gifted to be able to avoid tracking calories and knowing what workout to do doesn’t mean you do.

Life Lessons

1. Have A Partner Who Balances You

Rich’s wife, Hillary, has always helped him stay balanced and humble. She doesn’t care much about Crossfit or what place he gets in the Games. She even has a “No Crossfit Talk” period in her house.

This is perfect for Rich because it helps keep his ego in check. It reminds him to not make Crossfit his identity and that it’s only a channel for him to promote Christianity.

2. Stay Humble

I do not know if being humble actually helped with Rich’s success. However, he was always a humble person and never thought his achievements in Crossfit defined him. It was always more about promoting his religion and his sport. He even said that he doesn’t see himself as more than another guy who likes doing Crossfit.

3. There's Always Tragedy Happening, But Trust In God

Rich worked as a fireman for many years after he graduated college. During the job, he learned that there was always a fire going on somewhere. No matter how peaceful or quiet it was, he realized there was always something amazing or tragic going on out there in the world. It changed him to see young, innocent people die.

He finally reasoned that God has a better plan for all of this, even if it seems tragic in the moment.

4. It’s Okay To Be An Introvert

While he competed during the Crossfit Games, he didn’t like crowds of people watching him because he thought it was uncomfortable watching him workout. It wasn’t enough for him to affect his performance, though.

After Rich won his second championship at the Games, they held a celebration party that night. He knew it would be packed to the brim with crowds of people because he was now the first male back-to-back winner. Those numbers turned him off.

He never liked crowds of people. He skipped the party and had a quiet dinner with his wife and a couple close friends.

Advice For Crossfit Beginners

Do This When Deciding Which Box

How do you decide which Crossfit box to go with? First, make sure it’s an affiliate. It’s worth the investment. Second, see what the coaches are doing during the workouts. If they’re on the floor, coaching the students, it’s a good box. If they’re on their phones checking their email or texting off the floor, it’s a bad box.

Make It Fun

No matter how tough the workout is, there is always some way to make it fun. One thing that Rich always saw no matter where he went was that Crossfitters were always happy.

Start At Your Level

Don’t compare yourself to what others are doing because they may have years of experience ahead of you. Just start wherever you are and go from there.

Book Review

Most of the book was more of a memoir than a “secrets to success.” Having said that, he did manage to squeeze in quite a few tips.

I was surprised how ordinary or anti-superstar he is. He doesn’t follow a workout routine. He doesn’t track calories. He goes by his gut. He eats until he feels full and drinks until he’s not thirsty.

He’s also an introvert (like me), and doesn’t enjoy crowds -- even when competing. He also went into the whole thing thinking he didn’t belong, only to come in 2nd place in the whole world.

What’s also interesting is how cliche most of his advice is. But maybe that’s the beauty of it. There is no secret sauce you haven’t heard before. The trick is to just take the generic advice you’ve heard before and follow through. Maybe the problem is that people glaze over advice like this.

Having said that, I personally did pick up some tips I hadn’t heard before. It took some digging, but I found some gems. For me, it was his ideas and emphasis on the mental game and improving mental toughness.

Guest Post: Will C.


March 19, 2017


Posted in

Garage Gym of the Week: Michelle Swarts

1. What’s your name? Michelle Swarts

2. How old are you? 28

3. Do you have an IG handle or website? @Shell_lorraine and @stephensb275

4. Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am originally from Las Vegas, although I just finished 8 years of active duty in the Army and moved to Vancouver, WA with my boyfriend (also a vet). We are currently enjoying the benefits of the GI Bill and pursuing a degree in Sports and Health Sciences. I have the most beautiful 5-year-old girl who keeps me on my toes 24/7 and a 4-month- old German Shepherd.

5. How would you describe your training style (CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, etc.)? Powerlifting, powerlifting, and….powerlifting. We life heavy, eat what we want, and lift heavier.

6. How would you describe your fitness/strength level, currently? I would say our level of fitness is somewhat advanced. With years of experience, knowledge, and lots of research, we have achieved numbers that I am quite proud of. Unfortunately, the hunger is real and knowledge is power.

7. What are your fitness/strength goals? For me, I want to compete and break records. I want to bench 205lbs, squat 315, and deadlift 405 within the next year or two.

8. Describe your garage gym.

9. Who works out in your garage gym? Our gym is fairly new so just us two, and my daughter! ….She has a set of pink dumbbells and pvc pipe to mold her into a future powerlifter

10. Why did you build a garage gym? We are addicts, to be quite honest. Initially, Washington was hit by a crazy snow storm a couple months ago. The gym closed for two days and we were going insane. During those two days, we conducted endless research on all sorts of equipment from every website you could imagine. Our first idea of a cheap gym consisting of only the basics QUICKLY went out the window. Another reason for the garage gym is the obvious; convenience. Who doesn’t like convenience? Especially with a 5 year old!

11. What’s your favorite piece of equipment in your garage? The power rack is my favorite. Without that, powerlifting would be obsolete.

12. What piece of equipment was a waste? Nothing at all. When you build your own gym with your own money, you tend to buy only things that you are guaranteed to use. Nobody wants to throw away their hard-earned paycheck.

13. What’s the next piece of equipment you’re going to get? That’s a tough one. I want a rower (too expensive) or an air bike and a trap bar. My boyfriend wants a pulley system and a barbell specifically for deadlifts with no center knurl.

14. Any dream piece of equipment? Oh yes!! I would love the obvious, a rower, and a powerlifting platform. My boyfriend dreams of a monolift squat rack.

15. How did you build your garage gym? Our gym was built within a month. Our motto was all or nothing. Go big or go home!

16. Do you have any tips for anyone else looking to build a garage gym? If you are serious about lifting or fitness in general, a home gym is a must! You have no excuses and no reason to distract you from your goals. We definitely chose good quality items because this is something we take pride in and have a passion for.
March 18, 2017


Posted in conditioning, workout

The Three Ways You Should be Training and the Benefits of Adding a Weight Vest

There are three main areas in which we commonly see the most elite athletes in functional fitness/CrossFit training and though we don't all need to train at the volume that these athletes work at, it is very beneficial to make sure you're incorporating each one of the "systems" into your own programming.


Strength training is essential for all athletes. Period. However the type of strength training may and should vary depending on what is required of the athlete in their sport or even more specifically to what aspect of their sport needs to be improved upon.

One thing we see a lot in CrossFit is small athletes who are great at body weight exercises but struggle with heavier loads, and then of course the exact opposite for bigger athletes.

For the smaller athletes it’s simple, get stronger. If heavy pulling, pressing, and squatting are incorporated into their programming, they should see consistent improvement.

For larger athletes it’s a lot different. Squatting and pulling  heavy does not transfer that well to improving muscle ups and pressing a barbell definitely is different than doing a handstand pushup.

The quickest way to improve strength is to increase load on the movements being performed, gymnastics movements are no different, and so to increase load you must add body weight, hence, the weight vest.

Whether you’re working on handstand pushups, muscle ups, ring dips etc, with a weight vest you can program those movement just like any others that use a barbell. Find out what your weighted one rep max is on your choice of gymnastic movement and then start doing percentage work to bump that max up and get stronger.


That feeling you get during a WOD when your legs are exploding, lungs are burning, and you feel like you’re going to throw up - that is a feeling that needs to be worked on and pushed. At the same time you need to be smart about your loading, listen to your body, and make sure that volume and intensity are not always one in the same.

A great way to improve your anaerobic (lactic acid) threshold is to do workouts like Grace, Fran, or max effort sled pushes where you’re working in small time domains but stepping on the gas the whole time.

A great way to make the workouts even more intense and yield better results is to where a weight vest while doing them.

IT IS IMPORTANT to remember that intensity must be kept high in order to tax this energy system so reps or durations of workouts need to be short fast and intense. The restricted breathing, added load, and general lack of comfort that the weight vest brings to the equation can be very beneficial to breaking past plateaus and increasing tolerance to those types of “sh*tty” workouts.


You shouldn't and can’t always workout with maximum intensity but at the same time there is definitely a difference between a working and a resting heart rate. Whether it’s during a long low intensity AMRAP or a recovery walk or run, throwing on a weight vest and loading the body can bump the heart rate up just enough to where you can get maximum benefits from the work that you’re doing.

March 18, 2017


Posted in WOD, workout

WOD of the Week: Blue Falcon

This week's WOD is suggested from @Jf_texan... "Pull-ups and those damn lunges."


What You'll Need:

  • 2x 40lbs sandbag, barbell, or kettlebell

The Workout:  

  • Works best if you have a buddy.
  • While one of you does the distance events, the other does the 100 rep event -- neither can stop until both are finished with the 100 reps and 100m.
  • You may find you have to go farther than 100m if one of you is not done with the 100 reps, or you may have to add more reps if one of you is not finished with 100m.

Full body - Carries / Crawls:

Run 1 mile easy

Distance Events
100m Bear crawl
100m Lunges OH carry (40lb)
100m Burpee jumps
100m Farmer walk (40lb each hand)
100m Fireman carry
100m Sled or prowler push / tow

100 rep events:
100 Push press (40lb)
100 Pushups / non stop - rest in plank pose until done
100 Situps (40lb)
100 Squats (40lb)
100 Kettlebell swings
100 Flutterkicks

*add pullups as an option as well if you can do 100 pullups relatively quickly (less than 5-6 sets)

40lb = 40 pound sand bag or barbell / kettlebell

Run 1 mile easy

Workout via

Want to see your WOD in the next newsletter or show off your time? Email us at - we love photos/videos of you showing us how it's done or your favorite workout pic.

You can also tag us on Twitter or Instagram @fringesport
March 17, 2017


Posted in box

Ryan of CrossFit 315 talks about why he got involved in his gym, "I wanted to help before people were too far gone"

Peter Keller: Good morning. Peter here from Fringe Sport again, and I am honored today to be talking with Ryan Stoffle of CrossFit  315 in Cicero, New York. Ryan, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ryan Stoffle: I'm a gym owner, chiropractor, and athlete myself. I spend most everyday of the week here at the gym, either working with patients, coaching classes, or working out myself. I started out with a background in exercise science, went on to pursue an education in chiropractor college, and I've been practicing working with crossfit athletes specifically since 2012. I opened my office here at CrossFit 315 January of 2012 when they opened the gym, and then ultimately, wore many different hats here at the gym until purchasing the gym from the original owners in the beginning of 2014. I've been working in the Crossfit gym in every capacity imaginable, from coach to head coach to manager and now owner. I've seen pretty much every angle possible.

Peter Keller: I love it. Tell me a little more about your chiropractic background and how that led into CrossFit.

Ryan Stoffle: It goes back a little further than that, I guess. I was in high school and did an internship where I spent half a day at the hospital. I got to stand next to surgeons. I thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, and then got to see some knee replacements and some hip replacements and decided that wasn't really the thing for me. I didn't want to help people when they were too far gone. I wanted to help people before they got too far gone. That led me to exercise science in school at the University of Buffalo. Through that, I found that I really was drawn to athletic training. I joined the athletic training program and finished all but the last year of that program when I decided to continue on to chiropractic school. I didn't actually get my Masters in athletic training, but I have over 500 hours of experience working with division one athletes, mostly in football, soccer, and wrestling.

When I got done with my athletic training stuff, I still wanted to work with athletes, even though I was in chiropractic school. I joined the School of Health and Human Performance at New York Chiropractic College, where we were able to work with mostly runners, some rowers at 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon events throughout upstate New York. When I finished school, I still wanted to work with athletes and really wanted to be a chiropractor for either the Yankees or the Indianapolis Colts.

Unfortunately, had the realization that that's a bit of a pie in the sky dream and it required a little more than a degree and no experience to get to that point. I looked around and I saw this group of people that I went to school with who were really serious about working out and they happened to be doing CrossFit. Just like a lot of people, I was like that's ridiculous. That's not what you do. That just seems foolish. Then, in my last month or two of chiropractic school, I did my first CrossFit workout and was kind of taken back by how challenging it was and how much I enjoyed it.

Then, I started by joining a CrossFit gym when I moved back home from school, opened an office in my hometown, and drove a half hour to go to classes everyday, and realized that these people I was going to class with everyday were as close as I was going to get to a professional athlete in my area, because they pay attention to what they eat, they're prioritizing working out maybe once or twice a day. They're worried about how do I get into a better position in this movement. A lot of the things that I saw when I was working with Division One athletes. I kind of had a light bulb moment and luckily approached the people who owned the gym I was at, at that time and said "Hey, I want to offer to do some office hours here. Are you guys all right with that?" They had some issues and it didn't end up working out. Through that, I was introduced to the two guys that opened the gym that I ultimately had my office at at CrossFit 315.

In a ten minute round about explanation, I think what brought me to work with CrossFitters was my desire to work with people who wanted to be well, who wanted to be healthy, who don't have a reactive approach to their health and wellness, but have the knowledge that it's an active pursuit. It's not just something that you have, a right just because you're alive. You have to pursue that fitness and you have to take care of your body, because you only get one. I think that CrossFit has been a huge blessing for me, because it's allowed me to pursue my passion as a chiropractor.

Peter Keller: I love it. Can I ask what was your athletic background before you started studying in college?

Ryan Stoffle: You can laugh, but kind of hold them back a little bit for me. I was a very competitive bowler when I was young.

Peter Keller: Wow.

Ryan Stoffle: Yeah. We'll get in the bowling story in a sec here, but I played baseball from the age of nine or ten. I was the catcher. I lived about 15, 20 minutes away from school, so all of the sport things were kind of hard to swing. I did baseball in the Spring and then, as I got to high school, when I was able to have friends that could drive me to practice, I started playing football. Bowling, my grandparents owned a bowling center in the town that I grew up in, so I spent all the time you can imagine at that bowling center. I was bowling 100 games a week. I was hanging out with the firemen on Friday nights and waiting until they were done with their league, and bowling extra games with them afterwards just for fun. I was really involved in the small business of the bowling center. I saw the hard work my grandparents put in and I enjoyed being around all the people I was around, because they were kind of like unofficial uncles and family members. When you spend that much time around something, pretty naturally you're going to be good at it.

I decided at the last minute not to pursue bowling in college, and ended up at the University of Buffalo, where I fell in love with the sport of rugby after my first semester. My second semester, I started playing rugby at the University of Buffalo. That was cut short by the athletic training stuff. I only played rugby for about two years before I had to commit more to the athletic training and then working with the athletes. Aside from organized sports, up until maybe a year in chiropractic college, I started doing some running, 5k's. Maybe the long runs would be five miles, and at no amazing pace, just doing something to move around a little bit. Then, I found CrossFit and I think that I can't imagine my life now without working out everyday. I don't do as much CrossFit now. I focus more on Olympic weightlifting myself, just because I found that coaching five classes a day, programming, working with CrossFit athletes, it just was becoming a little too much for me.

I've shifted my focus a little bit on my personal training, because I have some weaknesses to coach and still do with Olympic lifting. I'm working on developing my skill in that in order to be a better coach for our members, and I just have to kind of prioritize that I only have so much. I'm sure other box owners can relate to this. You only have so many hours in a day. For me, CrossFit's been a great thing and it's really kind of opened my eyes up to the fact that being active is an important part of life. That wasn't something that I had as a kid. My family, my dad's not a very active person. My mom is the definition of skinny fat. She's five foot tall and weighs 102 pounds and can last about 73 seconds on an elliptical before she sounds like she's going to fall over. My parents never really prioritized it, and sports is just a fun thing for me now. Now that I've been doing CrossFit and weightlifting style workouts, I can't imagine my life without it. Again, another long winded answer.

Peter Keller: No, I love it. Something interesting, so you've got the chiropractic background. How does that effect you as a coach and possibly as an owner of a CrossFit box?

Ryan Stoffle: I think it's interesting. It's very beneficial in the sense that I have a different way of looking at movement than most people. That's not to say that people who are not chiropractors, who don't have that background, aren't able to look at it but through my training in exercise science and at chiropractic school, I have more of an eye for the body biomechanics. It's easier for me, because of my experience I think, to break movement down and to try to meet people where they're at. That's what I see with our coaches we have here at the gym. It's a skill that's learned, and I think the more you're exposed to it as an athlete, the better you become as an athlete. The more we tell people you shouldn't be squatting for that depth, because when you squat to that depth, you give up this position. We can explain to them how that's bad. I think one thing isn't necessarily missing, but could be improved for some CrossFit coaches would be knowledge of the body and anatomy and how things are supposed to work.

I think it's definitely something that's given me more appreciation for the fact that proper technique and proper form is the more important thing. The intensity comes later on. We've had some really good success with some members that have had "a career ending type injury". We have my co-owner actually had a major back surgery about two years ago, and he was out of CrossFit for about six months. When he came back, a lot of what we had to do was really basic rehabilitation type exercises. As a trainer, you can't obviously say hey, I'm doing rehab with this person. As a chiropractor, you can. But, I don't turn off that switch as a coach. I don't avoid telling people about rehabilitative exercise or proper movement because I'm coaching and not working as a chiropractor. I think that's a really great benefit to my background is that I can't turn that off. I still see things in that capacity.

I still see a squat that needs to have more external rotation at the hip, or a front rack position that needs to see a little more mobility in the external rotators. I don't see how that front rack stinks. I see all right, we need to get some more. We need to loosen up. We need to look at the tricep. We need to look at the rotator cuff. How can we get you into a better position? Why are you not in that position, and how do we move forward? I think that my experience with things like the functional movement screening, with some of the work I've done with RockTape for their potential movement taping and their rock blade system. There's a lot of things that kind of carry over into the CrossFit coaching realm that I think allow me to help our athletes in ways that they're not getting at every CrossFit gym.

There's a lot of great CrossFit gyms out there. There's a lot of gyms that are run by medical professionals, and in no way am I saying that our product's better than anyone else's because of the fact that I'm a chiropractor. But, I think any gym that has a medical professional, especially someone who focuses in muscular skeletal complaints, you're talking your osteopaths, your chiropractors, your physical therapists. They're going to have a leg up on any other coach, because they've got a whole background of basic anatomical knowledge and biomechanics that as a coach it's hard to come across that information, because you've got to pay for it to go to school. You don't find a lot of it on the internet. You have to find it from somebody who has the experience or the knowledge.

I think that for me, I've been able to help not just our athletes, but our coaches to become better coaches because we're looking at movement a little differently than the whole macro picture of that air squat's bad. We're looking at what do we need to improve? Ankle mobility, hip mobility. Are we using junky cues like knees out, when that's not the right cue? Coaching to actually coach the athlete, not just coaching to say things because we see them on the internet and repeat phrases all the time. I think that's kind of what gives me an advantage I guess you'd say with my background.

Peter Keller: I love it. Believe it or not, we're kind of at the end of our time. What else do you want to share with our audience?

Ryan Stoffle: I think if this is directed to CrossFit gym owners, I think in my five years, if I could give anybody some reflection, it would be to diversify. Don't just keep focusing on the same thing. We've added an Olympic weightlifting program. We've added a CrossFit kid's program. We're looking to add some other programs to help develop. Don't just be CrossFit. Be CrossFit, but have other assets to your gym. Have a program that appeals to people who don't want to touch a barbell. Have a program that appeals to people who don't want to do the rowing and running and all that stuff. Try to make yourself attractive to everyone, not just the people who want to do CrossFit. I think that as we move forward and more and more affiliates open, it's going to be more and more important to differentiate yourself as a place that's all encompassing. I think that it's definitely a great time to be a CrossFit gym, because I think there's a definite pulse in our country. In our nation, people are getting sick of being sick. I think as long as we continue to do the good work we've been doing, we'll make a huge impact at the community.

Peter Keller: I love it. People are getting sick of being sick. Amazing. I found you online at Did I get that right?

Ryan Stoffle: Yeah. Our website's up to date. We're more active on social media than we are on our website - Facebook, Instagram, etc. We're working on that. That's something that I've been personally trying to take hold of, and work more with in the last couple months because of the cost, the benefit ratio is so high that it's a lot of work, but it's worth it. We're working on developing a website and rolling out a blog and all that stuff, but yeah. That website's fine for us.

Peter Keller: Sweet. Thank you so much, Ryan and have a wonderful day.

Ryan Stoffle: Yeah, I appreciate your time, man. Thank you.

CrossFit 315

5962 State Route 31
Cicero, New York
(315) 288-4312
March 12, 2017


Posted in garage gym

Garage Gym of the Week: Iron Dan

What’s your name? Iron Dan

How old are you? 27

Do you have an Instagram handle or website?, @wodderbro

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Nerd with a hankering for hardcore wods

How would you describe your training style? I do Crossfit mostly. I follow Built by Bergeron for his programming, and come up with Metcons from different sites.

How would you describe your fitness/strength level, currently? I'm shedding fat and gaining muscle right now. I guess level wise I'm a beginner to intermediate kind of dude.

What are your fitness/strength goals? Get to the Crossfit Games. Be able to keep up with my kids and grandkids when I'm old.

Describe your garage gym. FringeSport Pullup Bar and Squat Rack. Skierg. Fringe Box Jump. Rogue Bumper Plates. Fringe Kettlebells. Jump Rope. Barbell.

Who works out in your garage gym? Mostly me. I have invited a couple of dudes over, but they haven't come back after the wods I've put them through...

Why did you build a garage gym? Paying for a Crossfit membership builds up over time. When I did the calculations, it's more cost effective in the long run to build up my own garage gym. Also, I can set my own schedule, and do workouts specifically curtailed to me.

What’s your favorite piece of equipment in your garage?  Skierg.

What piece of equipment was a waste? TRX straps. Totally worthless.

What’s the next piece of equipment you’re going to get? A GHD and Gymnastics Rings.

Any dream piece of equipment? Probably a rower.

How did you build your garage gym? Took a couple of years. I started doing garage wods with just body weight. I didn't have any equipment. Then, I waited for black friday when everyone was having their sales and strategically purchased bumper plates and ketllebells. That at least got me through until I could buy some more substantial equipment. I have found that people dump weights on craigslist after black friday and in March. I guess people are buying new weights in November, and everyone is breaking their resolutions by March.

Do you have any tips for anyone else looking to build a garage gym? It can take time to build up your garage gym. Also, assault bikes can be found on craigslist for dirt cheap. Buy a decent bar. Be patient.

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