CrossFit | What Top CrossFit Coaches Think You Should Read

What Top CrossFit Coaches Think You Should Read

ByNicole Christensen, CF-L4November 9, 2021

Which CrossFit article changed your life? When asked, most longtime CrossFit trainers can point to a piece that opened them up to a new way of thinking and changed their perspective on fitness and health. We love being a fly on the wall for these conversations.

Fortunately, we recently were able to do just that when we sat down with Chris McDonald (CF-L4), Stephane Rochet (CF-L3), Eric O’Connor (CF-L4), and Denise Thomas (CF-L4) to hear them dish on the articles that steered their trajectory as a coach.

For Denise Thomas, “Getting off the Crack,” published in the CrossFit Journal in 2005, inspired her to try CrossFit’s dietary prescription and helped her learn to avoid highly refined and processed carbohydrates. This personal experiment then helped Denise coach hundreds of athletes on improving their diets, which as Dr. Norman Kaplan argues in his article “The Deadly Quartet,” will also make them better athletes.

For Eric O’Connor, it was “Squat Clinic.” The 2002 CrossFit Journal article forever changed his mindset about the goal of movement. Eric initially thought of movement — whether a squat, clean, or jerk — as specific for sports performance. “Squat Clinic” opened his eyes to the functionality and necessity of these movements for everyone.

Stephane Rochet read “What Is Fitness?” — originally published in 2002 — at a time in his career when he knew things weren’t quite working the way he wanted them to. As a strength and conditioning coach working with athletes in a sport-specific environment, reading CrossFit’s definition of fitness and understanding the four models gave him the perspective he needed to hone his development, which ultimately led him to become a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and a valued expert on CrossFit’s content team.

In Chris McDonald’s early days as a coach, he thought it was his job to put his knowledge on display for his clients. However, it didn’t take long for him to realize that wasn’t producing better athletes. He started to play with the idea that less was more, even in a competitive CrossFit environment. When he read “Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery,” a 2005 CrossFit Journal publication, this less-is-more passage struck him: “The novice’s curse is manifested as excessive adornment, silly creativity, weak fundamentals and, ultimately, a marked lack of virtuosity and delayed mastery. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be taught by the very best in any field you’ve likely been surprised at how simple, how fundamental, how basic the instruction was. The novice’s curse afflicts learner and teacher alike. Physical training is no different.” Through reading that article and applying its philosophy on the gym floor, Chris arrived at the reason CrossFit’s training recommendations are so powerful. They are simple, straightforward, and accessible to all.

Which article, book, or experience has changed your thinking about performance and health?


Comments on What Top CrossFit Coaches Think You Should Read


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Chris Sinagoga
November 16th, 2021 at 2:55 am
Commented on: What Top CrossFit Coaches Think You Should Read

Nice topic! There are so many classics, but there are two that completely changed my coaching.

  1. The Myth of Stress series in the Journal by Andy Bernstein. More than Carl's Position-Movement-Purpose framework, more than Dr. Romanov's Pose method, and more than Kelly's mobility drills, Active Insight is the single most valuable tool I've ever learned as a coach. Like, when you do a couch stretch for the first time it's two minutes of OH MY GOD MY HIPS ARE GOING TO RIP APART then you feel like your hips are floating when you're done. This is what your brain feels like after Active Insight. The most efficient way to see reality as it is, not as you think it should be. The phrase "game changer" gets overused, but this is a complete game changer.
  2. A Language to Diagnose pt. 2 by Kelly Starrett (also CFJ). CrossFit can be used as the world's best diagnostic tool. The physiological changes that happen in CrossFit are a byproduct.`
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