"Magic" Mike Dances On

Congratulations to our very own “Magic” Mike McShane for placing in the top 200 in the world in the 2016 CrossFit Games Open. Placing in the top 200 means he moves on to the next level of competition. Mike will take part in 4 workouts to try and make it to the CrossFit Games in Carson, California come July. Please make sure to give him a huge high five when you see him! This is an amazing feat for a 64 year old man who is also diabetic. His accomplishment shows that age is just a number, and hard work pays off. Congrats from all of the Coaches and members at CFA, Mike!

The Investment

The moment someone walks into the gym, I'm invested...

Looking from the outside, the gym is a daunting, unfeeling, and scary place. Heavy weights, lots of equipment, loud music, sweat dripping off unknown people as they make horrible grunts and groans. Why should anyone ever walk into that mess? And why should any person care about the new person in the gym? They have their friends and cliques. The coaches have their clients and responsibilities.

CrossFit is a cult. CrossFit is a clique. CrossFit brainwashes people... why would they accept the new guy/girl?

As a coach, whether actively coaching or not, the moment a new person walks into the gym my one and only goal is to have him/her walk back out a better, happier, stronger, more confident person. I don't care if you've never done a single activity in your life or if you've been playing sports and lifting weights since you were age 2. If you walk into the gym, I want to know what you do, where you're from, who you are. I want to know what motivates you, angers you, and how to encourage you. I want to know your capabilities and push those limits so you can realize you are stronger, faster, mentally tougher than you ever believed possible.

Why should I care? What's in it for me?

Any coach, especially CrossFit coaches and most definitely the coaches at CrossFit Alpharetta, will tell you the joy experienced by any athlete in a CrossFit gym resonates to every member in the box. The exhausted, smiling groan of PR'ing Grace by 1 second. The wide-eyed disbelief of hitting a PR. The shocked expression when getting a first double-under. The squeal of joy at a successful muscle-up. It's infectious! I will HAPPILY spend hours/days/months working with an athlete just to get that momentary glimpse of self-improvement and realization that what was believed impossible is now in fact entirely do-able AND repeatable.

Why am I invested in each and every person that walks through that door? Because the investment yields successes frozen forever in my memory and etched on the walls of the gym. The investment yields better versions of ourselves. The investment yields lasting relationships. The joint investment of coach and athlete yields proud stories of self-accomplishment.

So thank you to each and every member of CrossFit Alpharetta who has decided to invest in themselves. And to each of YOU reading this who will enter that door and invest in your personal improvement. The coaches at CrossFit Alpharetta are ready to match your investment and can't wait to see what it yields.

Coach Dan

How To Approach a Warm Up Effectively

We have all been there- in the gym at 4:30pm on the dot, set our clothes down, and half-ass it through the warmup. What we don’t realize is what we are missing by not prioritizing this opportunity to learn. Our bodies learn motor patterns- patterns that we ingrain via repetitions. Our warm ups should mimic most of what we will be doing on a given day if not the exact movements at a lighter load and intensity. This is the perfect time to teach your body to move PERFECTLY! If you can’t move with a PVC, how can you move with a barbell? If you can’t move perfectly with a barbell, how do you expect to move well with a prospective PR on your bar?

 Use the warm up to learn and perfect technique!

Use the warm up to learn and perfect technique!

I’m sure you’ve heard, “practice makes perfect.” The truth is, “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” All you are doing by showing up late and giving a half-hearted effort to the warmup is teaching your body to move poorly.

Use this time to work on new techniques. If we are rowing 500m in the warm up, use that time to work on your rowing technique. Try to keep your back flat, and hinge at the hip. Try to stop the seat from hitting your feet. Pull straight to your chest. Listen to your coach, and work on fixing it the movement pattern here. Or, you can do the same lazy reps you normally do and never improve. When the 500m row WOD comes, you’ll naturally resort back to the movement patterns your body is used to if you don’t work on it during warmup.

Your body will always resort to it’s ingrained motor patterns once fatigue sets in. If you’ve done the work during your warmup and worked on technique, your body is more likely to learn those good patterns we desire. Good patterns equal faster work and more efficiency which, in turn, equals more fitness!

Please take a minute to examine the warmups we do and why we do them. Put effort into them, and your movement will improve! Before you know it, you’ll have that sought after overhead squat, 1:35 500m row, or whatever movement ails you today.

What did we learn today…
Show up early

Look at the warmup
Set a goal during that warm up
Kick ass!

Coach Justin

C's of Fitness SuCCess

Commitment- Have a goal, and stick to it. Whether that be showing up 3 times a week or hitting your macro goal 7-days a week. The goal is not important, but once you create a goal, be unwavering in pursuing it. Successful people do not give 50% effort and expect 100% results. In fact, they give 150% effort to achieve close to 100% results. People who are continually stuck in a rut and do not end up as fit as they want are always starting and stopping… Stop stopping! Commit and revel in the fact that you are one step closer to your goal!

 Our Community keeps you WANTING to come back!

Our Community keeps you WANTING to come back!

Coaching- Seek out people who know more than you do, and LISTEN to them. People are experts in their field for a reason. Ask your coach questions, and when they give you answers, listen and apply them. If you are a coachable athlete, you’ll be amazed at the things you start to learn. Second guessing your coaches just puts you in no-man's-land where you have no idea where to go next. Pick a Coach you trust, and follow what they say!

Consistency- Consistency is probably the biggest downfall for most folks who can’t seem to find their optimal fitness. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither was the fitness of any athlete you admire. Years of hard work went into creating that fitness. There are days that your hero wants to sleep in or just wants to go home after a long day, but the difference is they DO NOT DO IT! They Ranger up and head into the gym to improve themselves. Consistently showing up to the gym and putting in hard work will make better even on your worst day .


Community- Find a gym where you feel at home. Nobody can succeed in an environment where they do not feel loved. Wanting to come to the gym is half the battle. If you find a place that welcomes you with open arms, never leave that community! Forging relationships with people you sweat with is incredible. As humans age, they tend to close off their peer groups. You may meet the occasional new person at work, but new friends come very infrequently. At a CrossFit gym, you’ll find a new community of like-minded individuals. New relationships enrich people's lives and keep you coming back for more!


CrossFit- Do CrossFit! I have yet to find another program, when implemented correctly, that creates real world fitness. Are there sports specific programs that will get you to a specific goal faster? Absolutely! Is there a program out there that can get you generally fit and healthy faster or better? No, not that I’ve seen. Invest in yourself; invest in your health! We get one body, and the best way to keep it out of the shop is to subject it to constantly varied, functional movement at a high intensity… that is the definition of CrossFit.


Competition- Compete every day! Compete against others, but primarily, compete against yourself. The best way to get better is to push against YOU! Comparing yourself to others can be hard because everyone brings a different set of tools to the table. A person may have better or worse genetics, be more or less strong, be more or less flexible than the others they compete against. The true competition is pushing past your limits. When you learn to compete against yourself, you will see results.


Capacity- Gain capacity in all aspects of what we do. Get more strength, endurance, flexibility, mobility, speed, power, etc. Increase your capacity, and your fitness will improve as a result. If you can squat more, run faster, and do more pull-ups than you did 6 months ago, congratulations- you’ve increased your capacity! Capacity is key when measuring your fitness journey. Add more or upgrade tools in the toolbox we call fitness!




Flexible Dieting... A Day In The Life Of Coach Justin

I figured I would introduce you to the concept of flexible dieting in the easiest way possible. By showing you a typical day of eating for me. I have included photos. What I would love for you to see is that with some planning it is extremely easy to hit your macro-nutrient goals. My food choices are far from perfect but I would be willing to bet that I am getting adequate numbers of micro nutrients as well. I am eating actual meals and not just a bunch of random foods pasted together. Here we go! 


I eat this breakfast almost every day. I never feel hungry after it and the pb and j sates my sweet tooth. I use more egg whites to keep the fats down. I get a limited number of fats each day so I try not to waste them on breakfast. There is nothing worse than getting to dinner and having no fats left! Bacon is not your friend during this meal. 


Pre-Workout Meal 

This meal comes 2 hours before I train and about 2.5 hours after breakfast. The goal here is to give my body easy to digest carbohydrates and protein with as little fat as possible. I want my stomach to be as empty as possible leading into training so i don't feel groggy or worse yet vomit up all my gains. 


This meal has a similar goal as the pre-workout meal. I am trying to get some protein in that will be quickly broken down by the body and turned into new muscle. I am also trying to refill the glycogen that I used during the workout. Very simple carbohydrate and fast digesting protein via rice krispies treats and Formulx.



Lunch comes 1-1.5 hours after my post-workout meal. I eat a whole food meal here. Currently I am using Fresh Meal Plan as my meal prep provider. Using a meal prep service allows me to save time and energy. My meals are always at hand and I don't have an excuse to grab something on the go that wouldn't fit into my diet plan. This sandwich was fantastic!!!


Dinner comes 3-4 hours after lunch. This is a whole food meal for me as well. Fresh meal plan keeps me on track here too! I have found that the mantra of eating small meals every 2-3 hours to not be true. I believe this is an old trainers tale created to keep people from gorging themselves on 3 meals a day. This rope vieja was fantastic! Even better than it looked if you can believe that. 


This meal is built to fill in the gaps from the day. Tonight I was low on protein and a bit of fat and carbohydrate. During this meal I eat anything I want that fits the macros I have remaining. I find this helps me feel like I get a treat to end the day. Some folks could use this as an excuse to go off the rails but for me, it's pretty easy not to. Yes, that is the smallest bowl of cereal ever!!!

As you can see flexible eating is fairly straight forward and simple. My meals are far from perfect and could include a bit more whole food sources. I am learning and growing on this front each day. Anyone that takes the time to eat in this way will reap the rewards of fat loss and muscle growth. I hope this post gives you a bit of insight on how I eat each day. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me! 

Coach Justin 






How To Be AWESOME!!!

Here are a few quick tips on how to make yourself more AWESOME

1. Show up!- Showing up to the gym is half the battle. Once you're there, all the little things that attempted to make you avoid the gym will go away. Having a membership to CFA and not using it is like Chunk eating all of Sloth’s Baby Ruth candy bars, it’s just not smart! I've yet to meet a person who has regretted showing up once the workout has ended... Unless it was 150 wall balls for time... Who wants to do that crap???!!! Get in your car, drive to the gym and add one more brick to your personal wall of Awesome.

2. Feed your body- Don't eat like a jerk. Fuel yourself correctly. You won't be awesome until you realize that eating pizza and drinking beer 4 nights out of the week is why you still have that spare tire. The weekend calories you ingest still count towards your fatness!  Superman doesn't do a few WODs, eat like crap, and still expect to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and you shouldn't think you can either! Although, Superman is a huge nerd, and I'm pretty sure his MyFitnessPal tracker is perfect all day, every day. On second thought, Wolverine would totally kill Superman, and he smokes and drinks so maybe I don't know what I am talking about.  If you have a mutant level healing factor, feel free to eat and drink freely. If not, stop eating like a jerk now!

 Wolverine has a beard, squats, and wears spandex... all things AWESOME!

Wolverine has a beard, squats, and wears spandex... all things AWESOME!

3. Get a hot Fiance- I have increased my Awesome quotient by 300 degrees simply by asking Coach L to marry me. If you don't have a smoking hot fiancé, try adhering to steps 1 and 2. If you are currently in a relationship apply steps 1 and 2 to your significant other and you will also have that hot piece of arm candy. I can promise you that everyone looks better with someone hot by their side! Sorry though... COACH L IS TAKEN!!!

4. Grow a beard- It has been scientifically proven that facial hair makes you more awesome. This cannot be refuted. If the mighty T-Rex had stopped shaving, he would be sitting in the oval office today. You just can't argue science. Don’t worry ladies- I didn’t forget about you! Have your partner grow a beard, and you can bask in the splendor of awesomeness, too!

5. Squat in Spandex- Everyone knows that you need to squat- that’s not a new discovery. However, squatting in spandex gives you that little extra something. Superheroes wear spandex and so did David Bowie. If you’re mid-squat and you need to save a damsel in distress or entertain a crowd of thousands, do you really want all that fabric slowing you down? Spandex also allows you to show off all those sweet quad gains you’ve been working so hard to attain.

6. Listen to Coach Justin- He knows most things. He once put together a 1,000 piece puzzle upside down! If he can do that, I am pretty sure he can help you get stronger and fitter. The other Coaches at CFA have learned from King Awesome as well. Listen to your coaches as they are there to guide you to Awesomeness Level 9 (Level 10 is reserved for Coach Justin, aka King Awesome).

Applying these simple rules can and will change your life! Take the time to allow yourself to be awesome. Using all of your energy on that extra hour of overtime at work when you could be improving your life is just not awesome. Your loved ones will see the changes in you and will want to become awesome as well. Dedicate your mind and body to health and fitness, and you, too, can become AWESOME!