OPT-In Episode 28: The 2015 Competition season will be here sooner than you think. A common error with many coaches and athletes is not making the best use of this “Off-Season” time by properly reflecting on past performance and training to help guide future training and testing. Join James as takes a Games Competitor, along with specific examples from his own athletes, to gain perspective and focus to how best to reflect and prepare for 2015.

Addressing a Muscle-Up Deficiency in Female Athletes: At a recent athlete camp OPT coaches Robin Lyons and Matt Springer discovered that most of the female athletes could not complete a muscle-up, despite demonstrating above average strength in numerous other areas. In this article, coach Matt Springer looks at a possible progression for addressing their muscle-up deficiency.

Not a member? Go HERE to learn more about joining the membership site.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.35.16 PMGreens First and Max Fiber on Sale!

For a limited time save 25% on the Greens First and Max Fiber combo! Purchase HERE for only $65 – plus you’ll get a FREE OPT blender bottle! Here’s a little info from James on why he uses these products:

Greens First
A staple for those who are into fitness and have to balance out dense calories for recovery and energy production with highly rich nutrient dense calories they can get in the greens. I consider it an insurance on each cell in my body – they get “touches” on various kinds of super foods that I cannot add in my diet in calorie form.

Max Fiber
This is a digestive FORMULA more so than a fiber. It contains nutrient dense ingredients that SUPPORT digestive health and maintaining a good ecosystem in the gut; this enhances uptake of vital nutrients WHILE healing at the same time.

This combo, besides the fact that they magically taste wonderful together, and are awesome as a wake up shake – provide a person daily with all the insurance they need on gut health and vitality.

September 19, 2014

Before_After 7 Months of Crossfit
“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” -Denis Waitley

My before and after photo’s speak a thousand words, but those are only half of the story. My life changed significantly in 2013. I changed careers, became a better husband, and gained a new hobby, the sport of CrossFit. It all started with my wife and I wanting to ‘prepare the oven’, or basically get healthy before we decided to start a family. This led us to change our diet and activity level. We signed up at a local Crossfit box and loved it.

We soon found that my experience from college football and years of strength training gave me an advantage, and I started to have some goals and wanted to start competing. After a few competitions of doing it on my own and training with the local coaches, I found that what I was doing wasn’t working. I needed to specifically work on my weaknesses. I had made a living coaching others in fitness in the past and knew the value of having a good coach. After some research a friend of mine introduced me to OPEX and soon after they had hired Coach Mike Lee. After speaking with him once, I knew he and we would work good together.

OPEX changed the game. What is crazy, is that everything I thought I knew about strength, conditioning, rest, recovery, two-a-days, three-a-days, mobility, and progression was completely thrown out the window. I had a fitness paradigm shift. Crossfit solved my workout problem which led to a more intentional diet, a healthier family (expecting our first in a few weeks), and a drive to be competitive again. OPEX and Coach Mike provided the direction, balance, and means to put it all together. OPEX fine tuned my diet, and Coach Michael Bann has addressed/ is addressing the mobility. Most of all, I have learned to be patient, be present, and enjoy the process of life.

This journey has made me not only a better athlete but a better person. It has caused me to be more focused and intentional with my family and career. It is crazy to think I haven’t even been doing this a year. Though I am nowhere near where I want to be, I am loving the progression and embracing the suck!

I am very pleased with my OPEX experience. James’s staff at OPEX will take care of your fitness, and you will be surprised where the journey takes you.

-Steve Alverson, OPEX Exclusive Coaching Client


Function 9/19/14

A. RDL, slow tempo; 4×8-12; rest
B. Single-arm DB row; 4×15-20; rest 1 minute b/t arms
C. Accumualte
2 minutes wall sit
2 minutes FLR on rings

+RDL technique review:
+Part C can be partioned into any order


Being 9/19/14

A. snatch grip DL build to a tough concentric only in 8mins
B. snatch from high blocks build to a tough single
C. OHS build to a tough double
PC TnG x 5 build per set
8 burpees AFAP
AD 18sec all out
rest 4-6mins x 3

- record numbers for ABC
- start with a tough TnG PC weight and make small builds
- recrod rest times


Will 9/19/14


Row 1k @Aer pace
rest walk 1 min
x 6
- every 1k get faster
- All aerobic sets, good breathing


A. Snatch – moderately tough single (Speed focus)
B. Snatch balance – heavy single
C. Good morning @2211 – 3RM (bar must be level with hips)
D. 3 sets – 6 wtd. back extensions + 6 GH raise; rest 2 min
5 sets:
6 burpee AFAP
6 box jump over (24″)
AD 20 sec @97%
rest walk 3:45


She 9/17/14

A. Snatch – build to a moderately tough single
- then complete 3 more singles at that weight; rest as needed
B. 6 sets – Mid hang clean pull + HPC; rest 2 min (from blocks, bar at above knee)
C1. 3 sets – AD 20 sec HARD; rest 10 sec
C2. 15 TTB AFAP; rest 10 sec
C3. DU x 45 unbroken; rest 2 min
for time:
10 press (75%)
25m DB bear crawl
15 push press
50m DB bear crawl

New to the Blog? Check out our FAQs and Glossary.

Subscribe to the Blog HERE!

September 18, 2014

Optimum Performance Training (OPT) is evolving into a global leader in coaching and educating the fitness world, and it deserves a name that personifies that. OPT began as a business in Calgary Alberta working to change peoples lives through fitness. It grew to so much more than the acreage off Aspen Drive, it became a name known for leadership in fitness and training. And, it was my name, the name I used personally, as it was representative of the legacy I am aiming to build.

As we grew and expanded we decided to make a physical move to the US, and have been so blessed with the changes happening around us daily. We have learned so much with the growth to an international system of coaching in fitness. Our business name OPT was and still is a registered trademark for our Canadian business. However in the US, OPT the name was effectively first used by another fitness group with common law trademark rights.

So in our growth and in trying to create a “name” for ourselves here and all over the world we wanted to ensure the “name” we use;

1. Is ours
2. Truly means something
3. Has further opportunity for growth

And as a result of this we are changing our name in business.

Within a collective group there is a sense of belonging and that people inherently want to be a part of something meaningful. The name OPT itself doesn’t reflect “Optimum Performance Training”, it reflects a group, a tribe, a way of thinking, a history, an energy, a higher order, a journey, and so much more. It reflects also a name, a moniker of an athlete that was. People love being stamped with the OPT symbol because it has that meaning built in and that’s what people resonate with -> The Experience, and The Journey.

We have now evolved into the OPEX brand. OPT was the just the beginning of a journey, and like you as coaches and athletes our learning and education facility is evolving as well. Our evolution into the Optimum Performance Experience, or OPEX is a full circle training, coaching and educational experience that is whole, and integrated in nature.

OPEX is the future growth of OPT.
OPEX shows the evolution of our philosophies, and ideals.
OPEX is our journey in fitness, and our way of life.

Over the coming weeks, you will see the OPEX brand evolving across our business, and throughout our digital and traditional media. This is the first in a series of emails detailing the evolution of OPT to OPEX.

Join us as we evolve into our new name and celebrate this landmark in our company history.


James FitzGerald
Director, OPEX

Have more questions about the change to OPEX? Check out our FAQ page.


Function 9/18/14



Being 9/18/14



Will 9/18/14



She 9/18/14


September 17, 2014


Perpetual Learning

This past month I participated in the Level 1 OPT CCP business systems course for the second time. I took the first ever edition of the course back in the day with James and Sean when it was live and in person, so this was a great opportunity to revisit my old notes and compare them with my new.

I got a TON of value from the course the second time around. One of the things I’ve heard from coaches over the years when contemplating participating in the CCP is that they don’t own a gym, so why would they take a business systems course? If you fit into this category then this post is written for you.

I don’t own a gym either, but within the coaching position that I work, I AM a business. I am in the business of coaching. And there is major value in looking at your core business values, your mission, your vision and your goals as a coach (or business owner or future business owner), that drives the service you provide. There is value in hearing Sean and James shed light on the subject and in contemplating what these things mean to you. There is value in writing these things down. Everything I wrote down in the first business systems course, I created and I’m now living it. That is powerful.

There is also HUGE upside to looking at your worth as a coach. How much are you worth and why? More on that next week though.

I deeply appreciated my first coaching call with Stacy from the course. I told her I wanted to play ball and play ball she did. She dug in with me and asked the tough questions that was cause for further reflection and action.

And some of the best value in the course came from listening to Sean and James answer questions from the participants. So much gold to be mined from the answers.

The bottom line is that I love learning and the insatiable curiosity inside me that feeds that drive also humbles me to know that I can always learn more. This round of business systems was no exception—I learned a lot that I can apply to my unique circumstance as a coach.

Sharon Prete
CCP Life Coaching Co-Conductor


Function 9/17/14

14 minute AMRAP
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21….
Supine ring row
*50 single unders between rounds

+Regular pushups and feet elevated rows are Rx
+Modifiy as needed to maintain pace


Being 9/17/14

Row 400m 90% effort
rest walk 3mins x 6
all rows increase pace by 1sec

- increase pace by as close to one second as possible each row
- record all row times


Will 9/17/14


AD 30 sec @90%
rest walk 30 sec
x 33
- rest 2 min every 11 sets
- consistent RPM’s per set


A. FS @20X1; 3,3,3,3; rest 3-4 min (85%)
B. Clean pull + Clean high pull + Segmented clean; 1.1.1 x 5; rest 2 min (build from 75%)
C. Box jump – max height
for time:
150 DU
75 wall balls unbroken (20# to 10′)
25 burpees


She 9/17/14

A. FS @31X1; 3,3,3,3; rest 2-3 min (82.5%)
B. 8 sets – every 45 sec – CGBP x 1 (75%)
C. 3 rounds for time:
10 strict chin ups
10 squat clean (135#)
AD 22 sec @97%
rest walk 2:48
x 6

New to the Blog? Check out our FAQs and Glossary.

Subscribe to the Blog HERE!

September 16, 2014

Aaron Cave with the OPTathlon 5.0 winning triple jump at 29’2″

OPTathlon Event 2: Standing Triple Jump

The standing triple jump can be an intimidating event for those who haven’t done it, and if you’re a first time competitor at the OPTathlon the odds are decent you have little to no exposure to the movement if you weren’t a track athlete. The good news, we’re here to help and this article should prove valuable for everyone from the complete novice to the more experienced jumper.

Hop, step then jump………the basics of the movement:

1. The take off is with 2 feet, focusing on max jump like broad jump from the get go with the slight trail of the back leg land first. Fully extend the hips with arms overhead to ensure max force development from the start of the hop. Push off the ground with intent and drive through the feet during this phase. The landing of the hop is equally important, to control maximum eccentrics from the force generated.

The hop phase is practiced by implementing broad jump, high jump, reverse shot toss, etc. Also work on 1 foot landings and proper 2 foot landings with balance to control balance and continue force after eccentric impact.

2. Once the hop is complete moving into the foot strike of the step which should essentially be flat footed, while cushioning the landing with a bent knee to absorb force and continue its development. This will prep you for the jump component.

The hop phase is practiced by performing walking single leg hops several times (hurdles and agility ladders
are great pieces of equipment to assist). Then work to incorporate the circle of the leg on the opposite leg of the foot landing flat.

4. The last phase of the standing triple jump is the actual jump. The individuals take off leg comes full circle from its previous knee drive and momentum continuance role and is extended forcefully upon contact with the ground to accelerate the jump. The jump ends with full hip extension while bringing the hands and momentum forward to finish.

The jump phase is practiced through actual long jump practice, violent hip extension and practicing a balanced landing.

Other key notes:

  • USE YOUR ARMS. To create balance and momentum thay will ensure movement.
  • Create rhythm and balance throughout the entire hop. Low CNS (central nervous system) demand means that adding more exposure to the mechanics of the movement can assist greatly.
  • Activate glutes and power development prior to completing the movement. This can be done in multiple variations: high box jump, glute bridges, power clean, broad jump, etc.
  • Double unders and dorsi flexion work also should be included to warm the ankle flexors and extensors.

Remember the continuum’s -
1. Strength → strength → speed → speed strength → pure speed can be applied to several facets of training including the triple jump. Strengthen the muscles that produce force in the jump (including stabilizers and impact absorbers), begin to implement faster strength based power movements, continue to dynamic jumping and speed strength pieces that can increase speed strength, then finish with true speed work jumping, sprinting etc.

2. Plyometric continuum and its progression: Landing, landing from height, jumping up with low eccentric, max jump up and full land, jumping on ground and depth jumping.

Good luck!

Mike Lee
OPT Coach

Click HERE to register for OPTathlon 6.0!


Function 9/16/14

Eight to ten sets:
Row 500m – paced
Rest 3 minutes

+Ideal pace based on average 2k time – refer to Aug 9th session for this
+If unknown perform at 80-90% effort
+Times ought to be +/- 1 second of one another


Being 9/16/14

A. emom – 12mins
odd – PC TnG x 5 65% of 1rm
even – Close grip bench press x 3-4 70% of 1rm
B. emom – 12mins
odd – PS TnG 95/65# increase reps by 1 every set start at 4reps
even – 45 DU
C. emom – 12mins
odd – KBS 2/1.5pd x 10
even – Push press 115/75# x 8
5mins amrap
1 PC + FR forward lunge R and L + S2O = 1 rep

- focus on breathing with TnG work
- BB should not pause anywhere with TnG work
- record score for 5min amrap


Will 9/16/14


8 sets @75-80%:
Row 250m
5 burpees over the erg
35 DU
5 ring dips
Run 100m
rest walk 1 min


A. Emom 10 min – BTN Jerk dip squat + BTN jerk + SJ (build)
B1. CGBP w/ chains; 8,8,8,8; rest 30 sec
B2. WCU @20X1; 2-3 x 4; rest 30 sec
B3. Max effort HSPU; rest 3 min
C. Accumulate 3 min – L sit on rings
12 min amrap:
5 DB push press (70#)
30m prowler push (HEAVY)
10 CTB chin ups
30m walking lunge


She 9/16/14

A. Jerk cluster; 1.1.1 – build to a heavy set (rest 15 sec between singles, from blocks)
B. 6 sets – every 2 min – PC x 2 (75-80%)
C. Emom 15 min -
Min 1 – HSPU x 8 unbroken
Min 2 – GHD sit up x 8
Min 3 – Russian KBS x 10 HEAVY
3 rounds for time:
10 DB push press (tough)
15 box jump step down (20″)
100m FW (As Heavy As Possible)

New to the Blog? Check out our FAQs and Glossary.

Subscribe to the Blog HERE!

September 15, 2014

OPT Exclusive Coaching client Mizar and his dog Laika completing The Workout.

Go to 19:15 of the video and watch Mizar finish this.
Watch the transition into the burpees and what we like to call “THE CHOICE”.
Everyone has the choice to suck it up and continue – EVERYONE does, only some will dig, it is what it is.

Rowing and burpees – so much fun!

These 2 elements have been a huge part of our testing for years at OPT in multiple forms.

Why rowing?
1. It was cold in Calgary 6 months of the year
2. The opens and regionals have some rowing in it and sometimes longer like at Games
3. Its a largely used piece of equipment for us in testing in our lab as well as training with our clients
4.It offers low eccentric energy work and training

Why burpees?
1. They go well with rowing.
2. Its in large part the largest power output gymnastics movement without load with the most movement
3. Changing the GPS of the heart from vertical and vertical jumping to quickly in horizontal position causes some major confusion to the stroke volume and heart rate
4. Its the most studied gymnastics movement at OPT in the lab for physiological testing

There is the infamous lactate repeat sets we do; we all remember that one right?

3 sets all out:
250 m row
15 KBS
25 burpees
15 KBS
250 m row
rest 12 min b/t sets


Well this weekend was a repeat workout that I first performed at one of the original athlete camps.  And one of the most inspiring performances in this was by Mizar. For his height and weight – 5’4” and 152# he cranked on the row as he knew there were men there he was competing against that were some 60-80# heavier than him and finished 60-90 sec faster in the 5K row. he simply got off and bled for the remaining time basically up to 25 min. IT. WAS. AWESOME.
(sidenote – he just beat that row PR this weekend and still did 91 burpees – that is 91 burpees AFTER a 19:18 5K row PR in 5 minutes and 42 sec!!!!)

So the test itself gets “close” to balancing out what you might not have in height and weight for the row effort to allow you pace and control to get reps on the burpees.
As you can see from the scores (cool to see all the 5K row PR’s as well!!) with the height and weight discrepancies its a good test for;

1. Breath control and pacing for row before burpees – breathing at just below ventilation threshold is key for row
2. Muscle endurance of knee extension and hip extension into the body’s version of extension into flexion with the burpee – most how have R to L imbalances in the hip or immobile hip flexors will feel this one to be more endurance based
3. Length – 25 min has to be paced; fuelling is a part of this as the back end burpees if intense are VERY hard to NOT make painful – this requires you HAVING stores in you of sugar to use AS WELL AS the ability to use sugars effectively
4. Adaptation into various breathing patterns – with the physiological testing we have done on burpees and the breathing rate needed for output there, its a good test to see changes from the row pace breathing into faster burpee breathing – some just cant do it because they don’t control breathing with pace on the row, then they are done on burpees, some under pace on row because they cant breathe fast on there with control, therefore don’t have anything for burpees; some can work their best on the row, then go for it on burpees and they get their best possible score.

Next weekend’s workout?
One of the originals.

James FitzGerlad
Director, OPT


Function 9/15/14

A1. Back squat; 8, 8, 6, 6, 4; rest 1 minute

A2. Seated DB press; 5×6-8; rest 2-3 mintues

B. 2 sets max distance overhead walking lunge steps (45/25# plate) – rest 5 minutes b/t attempts

C1. Powell raise; 3×6-10; rest 60s

C2. Sorenson hold; 3xAMRAP(-); rest 60s

+Part C can be partioned into any order

+FLR = front leaning rest


Being 9/15/14

A. Back squat cluster 1. 1. 1. 1; rest 15sec/rest 3mins x 4
B1. BB on back rear foot elevated split squat @30X1; 6-8/leg; rest 20sec
B2. amrap CTB chin ups; rest 3mins x 3
C. 30 man makers 40/25#/arm every min complete 4 burpees – for time
10mins 85% effort
Row 200m
bear crawl 20m
rest 3mins
10min 85% effort
HS walk 15ft
5 SC 155/105#
FW 30m 100/70#/arm

- build per set on squat clusters
- focus on tempo for RFESS
- if less than 10 CTB do 2-3sets in cluster form rest 15sec btw ctb sets
- work on sustainable pace for 10min work


Will 9/15/14


Row 500m @90% effort
rest walk 2:30
x 4

rest 5 min

Row 500m @90% effort
rest walk 2:30
x 4

rest 5 min

Row 500m @90% effort
rest walk 2:30
x 4

- Increase pace from previous week by .5 sec
- Consistent pace, if row’s are more than .5 sec off pace, terminate workout


A. BS @20X1; 2,2,2,2; rest 2-3 min (80%)
B. Snatch DL – build to a 3RM (perfect position, if not terminate)
C. Mid hang snatch pull; 3,3,2,2; rest 2 min (3s@80%, 2s@85%)
Emom 12 min -
Min 1 – double KB thruster (1.5pd/h) x 8
Min 2 – DU x 50
Min 3 – Barbell shrug x 8 (AHAP)


She 9/15/14

A. Front Squat @20X1; 5,3,1,1,1; rest 2-3 min (increase loads from previous week, last single heavy)
B. Emom 10 min – Snatch pull + Snatch (build from 60%)
C1. WCU(70%) – 10 reps for time; rest 50 sec
C2. Wtd. ring row; 10-12 x 3; rest 30 sec
C3. Ring push up; 10-12 x 3; rest 2 min

3 sets for time @80,85,90%:
50 unbroken DU
10 russian step ups
15 CTB chin ups
10 DB reverse lunge

rest walk 3 min



September 14, 2014


So you want to have a baby?

In truth, there has not been many mornings where I have not waken up to seeing my girls and have not immediately been overwhelmed with gratitude.

I have been a father for 8 plus years now and a husband/partner to a wonderful woman for close to 14 years.

I have personally consulted with at least 1000 different females or more in my practice to some degree.

In all consultations there is most times a conversation on reproduction to some extent. Their vision, their purpose, evolution in general. We always have to have a little say on that no matter where they are in their journey – it just feels right.

Most recently I had a great discussion again about “starting a family” with a female client; so it sparked me to discuss some things one should think about prior to creation.

My thoughts on the topic directed towards the currently non-mothering female interested in this for the future.

1. first and foremost, continue to create an open space for the investigation into who you are and why you are here BEFORE you believe that “the family” is the next step for you. some know it in their bones, some happen to get into it fast no matter what. All i ask is to ensure you spend time discovering YOU before you become TWO. A lot can see it as reproduction because it is normal and it WILL create purpose, think a little about that. Take from that what you will.

2. Trust that if it is supposed to happen, it will. If not, by trying MORE or HARDER or outsmarting the system “might” be a sign that the time is not now, right OR the universe is saying that there are a few things that need to be in place before you partake on the journey. This comes from sharing tears with clients and friends who have somehow “lost” in the effort only to see blessings down the road. Take from that what you will.

3. With all we know in science today, ensure you prepare emotionally AND physically prior to the journey. We DO KNOW things like:
- 50% of cancers have a nutritional component in their etiology
- Changes in CRH expression happen in pregnancy with cortisol “programming” – so important to remain emotionally stress free during pregnancy
- There is a known burden in the life chord for all newborns

4. Know that if you are TRULY “into” health and longevity for your children – you are in for a good ol’ challenge. I call it the 2% “talk”. Be prepared for example to be the 2% out there that requests for your children to be cautious towards sugar and processed foods. The 2% is challenging if you are not good with # 1 and # 3 above. YES, it’s 2%, that is reality, NOT bias. Take from that what you will

In the end, depending on your versions of what family looks like no matter what situation you are in, the outcome and learnings that come from the family situation is profound and dramatic. I would not change my path thus far if I had it all over again. (well maybe one time I’d take back changing Hannah’s diaper at 35,000 feet in a 4×4 bathroom) But this path did not come without realizing what has made it worthwhile and what has helped others in their path.

James FitzGerald
Director, OPT


Function 9/14/14



Being 9/14/14



Will 9/14/14



She 9/14/14