It’s Not the Program. It’s Your Behavior.

Pat Barber Coaching, Competitions, GPP

This one’s for the WOD addicts, the fitness junkies, the two-a-dayers who never stop.

You’re probably not going to like what I have to say, but I’m saying it anyway with as much kindness as I can muster. Because someone needs to hold you accountable and to remind you to take responsibility for your own life.

If you’re burnt out, don’t jump to blaming CrossFit or your program before you self-reflect on your behavior.

Was a coach or program what truly led to burn out?

Or was it a series of choices and actions that you made?

Why do you feel like you need so much volume? What void are you trying to fill with fitness?

Just something to think about as we head into competition season.

The Chief Life Podcast, Ep. 64

Pat Barber Coaching, Coaching Development, Competitions, Culture, Gym Management, Podcast Interviews

I recently talked with Stacey and Matty of The Chief Life Podcast about the beginnings of CrossFit in Santa Cruz, New Zealand and Australia (which is where they live). Then we dove into a bunch of other stuff:

  • How I interview coaches, plus my hiring process.
  • How the coaching development program at NCFit evolved to lead 60 coaches in the Bay Area. We briefly discuss a few things we incorporated into the program, such as weekly meetings with coaches, knowledge packages with articles and learning material, a coaching summit, and so on.
  • How you might cater the material of your coaching development program to the two different types of coaches at your gym: lifers and part-timers.
  • Why I think session plans are such a great tool for coaches.
  • My opinion on the importance of competitions and competitors in CrossFit, and how they can impact a community for better or worse.
  • The parallels between effective coaching and effective parenting. And how we all need to do a better job of owning our part in the situation when something goes wrong.

Please give the podcast a listen and then let me know what you think!

CrossFitters In Cars, Episode 4

Pat Barber Coaching, Competitions, CrossFitters in Cars

Rory McKernan and I recently took a drive around Santa Cruz to look for good surf. We found some :) and used the drive to discuss CrossFit media, the Games and coaching. Rory leads the creative direction of the Games’ media efforts and he’s THE host of the CrossFit Games. Plus… our kids are play-date-sters.

Here’s what we discussed—

Question #1 (8:41)
What advice do you give to members who want to try a competition? With so many competitions out there, are you sometimes cautious about encouraging people to compete?

Question #2 (12:50)
What do you think is the biggest positive of the CrossFit Games?

Question #3 (17:22)
How does HQ decide which athletes to follow?

Question #4 (20:56)

What is your one CrossFit regret?

Question #5 (29:39)
When you are coaching a class, do you focus on being funny as much as you focus on quality movement?

Question #6 (33:36)
How does one get started coaching or solicit mentoring?

And that’s all folks! Thanks for giving the episode a listen. As always, if I share anything that doesn’t work for you, please take what you can use and throw the rest away.

Rory’s Instagram
The CrossFit Games

And remember — to keep the show going, we need new questions! Yes, from YOU. So bring it!

CrossFitters In Cars, Episode 3

Pat Barber Coaching, Competitions, CrossFitters in Cars, GPP, Gym Management

I recently kidnapped Mike Cazayoux and drove him around Santa Cruz to pick his brain on mindset and coaching tactics. As you probably already know, Mike is the CEO and Director of Strength and Conditioning for Brute Strength. Yes, his apartment is made of rich mahogany. And yes, he is kind of a big deal.

Here’s what we discussed —

Question #1 (7:45)
How do you deal with athletes who constantly beat themselves up?

Question #2 (20:28)
How do you prevent burnout?

Question #3 (29:33)
When encouraging intensity, why would you push someone to do a big set only to fight fatigue through the finish?

Question #4 (36:09)
What are some tactics for getting more clients into the gym?

Question #5 (48:28)
What are the most important qualities to have if you want to be a programmer or coach?

Mike’s Instagram
Brute Strength
Mike’s podcast episode with Justin Suá (the Mental Skills Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox)

And remember — to keep the show going, we need new questions! Yes, from YOU. So bring it!

Girls Gone Wod Podcast, Ep. 151

Pat Barber Competitions, Culture, GPP, Gym Management, Podcast Interviews

Pat and Taz Barber on Girls Gone WoD Podcast | Warmup & Workout

Taz and I talked with Joy and Claire from the “girls gone wod” podcast about programming, marriage hacks and the mistake of prioritizing competitors over your other members. We get real on some big issues like programming too much in the hour, and how to walk that fine line between giving-in to what members want or saying ‘no’ because you have their best interest at heart. This is one of the hardest things for gym owners — deciding whether to cater your methodologies to what people want (like more cardio, or a daily strength and metcon program) or going with what’s really best for members, even if they don’t like it. In this podcast episode, we lay it all out there so you can hear exactly what kind of challenges we’ve had and how we’ve dealt with these issues.

Here’s a link to the episode.

CrossFitters in Cars, Episode 1

Pat Barber Competitions, CrossFitters in Cars, GPP

In the first episode of the show, I’m in the car with Wes Piatt, a CrossFit Games competitor, programmer and affiliate owner (of Coast Range CrossFit in Gilroy, Ca). Wes and I cruise around Santa Cruz — looking for waves — as we answer a few questions from the WUWO community.

Question #1 (2:45)
In the Open workouts, when should an athlete opt for the scale?
“We have seen in 16.1 that a lot of athletes just did 18 reps without even attempting, or not having a proper C2b pull-up, just to be ahead on the leaderboard. And in 16.3 we saw lot of 10 rep Rx scores from the snatches only. What’s your take on this as a coach and as an athlete?”

Question #2 (6:03)
How do you manage clients who want more cardio? I need to keep my Barbell Betty’s happy while also managing the Cardio Queens who don’t want to get bulky.
“How do you manage clients that say ‘I want more cardio!’ or ask ‘Why can’t we do two 20 min wods everyday? I need to sweat and I don’t care about barbells!’ This is something I have to deal with and have lost clients over… Keeping the barbell Betty’s happy while managing the ‘I-don’t-wan’t-to-get-bulky’ Cardio Queens… Help me Pat… Have they not heard about constantly varied?”

Question #3 (13:30)
How do I explain to the “average” Crossfitter that’s been doing this for 6-12 months that GPP is really the best, most complete solution for the masses? Members keep asking for more 30-min grinders; how do I get them to perform shorter workouts with higher intensity so that they feel like the workout is hard enough?
“We love the WUWO program. We’ve been customers for a little over 2 months now and we’ve seen our coaching staff really kick it up a notch with their membership focus as a result of not having to worry about how to construct their own session plans. Much to our surprise though, we’ve had members complain that the programming “isn’t challenging enough”… Anyone that has been in the CrossFit game for a while knows that this is pure B.S. and that anything done with the proper intensity can be hard (if you make it hard).

I feel like we are constantly having discussions with our members trying to justify why GPP is the way to go. I also feel like they want to see the super “sexy” grinder style WODs like you see on CompTrain or MisFits every single day. Our higher level athletes love WUWO. We have very few that can consistently do the workouts as Rx+.

But how do I explain to the “average” Crossfitter that’s been doing this for 6-12 months that there isn’t a “magic formula” for programming and GPP is really the best, most complete solution for the masses?”

At 28:06 Wes shares how he and his team graph athletes’ intensity and power output (and track it over time). He has a really great system for doing this that is very simple to implement, so definitely give it a listen.

If you’re wondering about Wes’ shoulder, we’ve just learned that he has an 80% tear of the Supraspinatus in his left shoulder, which means he’s bowing out of the 2016 Open to have surgery and heal. It’s a tough break that I can understand (my 2014 Open was ended by appendicitis and emergency surgery). So join me in sending good vibes his way and hoping he has a speedy recovery.

A little heads up — The video is a bit shaky in the beginning because of the bumpy roads, but we eventually moved the camera so motion sickness wouldn’t be the only thing you got out of the show. :) We’re still figuring this stuff out, so thank you in advance for your patience.


Thanks so much for joining us this week for the first episode of CrossFitters in Cars. If you have a question for us, click here to jump over to the right page. We’d love to hear from you!