Stop Thinking So Much …

I’ve had many powerful conversations over the years with my athletes, especially about the game of life. We talk about what it takes to get to the next level in their respective sports and how to become the best version of themselves. We talk about what it takes to win, and how to deal with adversity. Knowing how to deal with adversity is critical. In their quest to go higher, faster and further, these athletes will inevitably hit road blocks and setbacks. ACL tears, concussions, broken bones, ruptured tendons, sprains and strains. Job losses, tyrannical bosses, and mind-numbing, soul crushing day jobs. Family struggles and relationship struggles. These challenges take a physical toll and an…

Is Passion Bull$hit?

Everyone is always talking passion this and passion that when it comes to success. “You need to find your passion”… blah blah blah… how many times have you heard that one? And it feels like everyone and their dog are posting these passion quote images on social media every five minutes right? Well it’s time to put passion in its place. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that passion is important and you will need it to fuel you from time to time. However, I believe that it’s more important to focus on finding your PURPOSE rather than your passion if you’re looking for long-term success. Passion is energy based which means some days it’s…

Try These 3 High Return Exercises

In the spirit of training “Smart”, today I am going to share 3 of my favourite high-return exercises that I use with almost everyone I work with. The reason why I like these exercises is because they require full body activation and control to do them properly. Essentially, you are hitting a focused area while still getting core activation. It’s smart training, like killing 2 birds with one stone 🙂 But don’t get me wrong, I still believe in doing a variety of targeted core work as well, as I don’t believe that you can get enough core by just training multiple joint functional exercises but that’s a longer conversation for another time. I know…

4 Pizza Slices vs. 4 Apples …

Have you ever eaten 4 apples in a row? I will bet that you haven’t! However, I can almost guarantee that you’ve eaten 4 pizza slices in a row… I know I have (to be honest I’ve eaten a lot more than 4 pizza slices in a row and I’m not proud of it). And I have never eaten 4 apples in row. So why is this the case? Well you can argue that it’s because the pizza tastes better lol. However that’s not what we’re talking about here. Your body is so intelligent and the things that it does are remarkable in my opinion. The main reason why it is so much easier to eat…

CrossFit Open 17.2

CROSSFIT OPEN – 17.2: DONE – AGAIN, AND THEN AGAIN Week 2 of the CrossFit Open is in the books! If you haven’t been following, this last challenge was a 12-minute AMRAP of: 50-foot weighted walking lunges 16 toes-to-bars 8 dumbbell power cleans 50-foot weighted walking lunges 16 toes-to-bars 8 dumbbell power cleans 50-foot weighted walking lunges 16 bar muscle-ups 8 dumbbell power cleans 50-foot weighted walking lunges 16 bar muscle-ups 8 dumbbell power cleans Repeat… (because it wasn’t painful enough!) This was the second time bar muscle-ups have been programed in the Open, but this year it was far more spicy than last. Before I even got a chance to try the bar muscle-ups…

Leaning Into Discomfort

One down and four to go!  For the first time ever the dumbbell made an appearance in the CrossFit Open. The community was made aware of this a couple weeks ago and we were all left guessing at what HQ had planned for us.  What would it be -overhead lunges, thrusters, dumbbell cleans? Not only is this the first appearance of dumbbells, it’s also the first time in Open history that the first workout is one FOR TIME and not an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible). The CrossFit Open 17.1 workout was a couplet of an ascending ladder of dumbbell snatches with 15 burpee box jump and overs with a 20-minute time cap. The…

The Key to Muscle Growth

Ok it’s time to reveal our secret to muscle growth… You ready for it? Well actually it’s pretty simple, the secret to muscle growth is following a professionally designed training program that’s been developed specifically to help you build more muscle! The secret comes in the program, and the magic lies in YOU BEING CONSISTENT following the program! Tell me you have those people in your gym who have been going there for years day after day and yet they never look any different? They look exactly the same as when they started years ago! They, like so many others, are the ones who go to the gym and just “play around”. No focus, no…

6 Proven Supplements for Muscle

This month we’ve been focused on the keys to more muscle growth and today we’ve arrived at the final piece of the puzzle: supplements. While there are a ton of hyper-marketed products on store shelves these days, at Strong Athlete we like to keep things simple. Our criteria for using and/or recommending supplements is good old-fashioned science and personal experience. If a supplement has been researched and tested by smart people in lab coats and we’ve personally used it, we recommend it to our athletes. If muscle growth is your goal, the following six supplements have stood the test of time and are your best investment: Protein Powders Protein is one of the three macronutrients (along with carbohydrates…

Strength: Not Enough To Be Strong

Road to the CrossFit Games Pt. 4 Lately I feel like my life is a never-ending version of the movie Groundhog Day. Wake-up, eat, work, eat, train, eat, work, train, eat, recover, eat, sleep, and then repeat. Where some people become overwhelmed by repetition, it’s in my daily routine. My desire continues to fuel and motivate me toward my goals of being better, stronger, faster and punching my ticket to the CrossFit Games. My inner daily dialog this past week has been, “ I’m strong, I’m strong, I’m strong,” but on Tuesday a voice inside my head responded to me.  “Yeah, you’re strong, but do you have the strength?” Ummm, “I am strong, but do…

DO NOT Ignore this Law!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been focused on the Laws of Muscle Growth. In week 1 we covered the importance of calories, week 2 was all about protein and in week 3 we learned about HARD vs SMART training. Now, picking up heavy objects and putting them down repeatedly in the pursuit of more muscle comes with a cost. It causes fatigue, specifically fatigue of the muscular system and nervous system. If you don’t recover from your training, sooner or later your body will negatively respond in a few ways: loss of muscle, decreased performance, increased risk of illness, and increased risk of injury. To recover optimally so you can grow muscle as fast…

Road to the CrossFit Games Pt. 3

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn. Most of us spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to avoid the remote possibility of failure. Indeed failing is hard; it can hurt us, it can humiliate us and some of us become discouraged by it, letting failure limit the possibility of growth. I often feel that I’ve built a life in mastering failure: in my career I’ve missed promotions, as a parent I’ve missed graduations, birthdays and school plays (for said career), as I wife I routinely forget Andy’s birthday (not sure this is a failure, or just age avoidance), at the gym I’ve missed plenty of lifts and I’ve come dead last in WODs. Though I’ve…

Must Try Paleo Protein Pancakes

Around here we love protein and we love pancakes so you can imagine how much we LOVE protein pancakes!!! As you know, protein is the building blocks for muscle recovery and growth as well as keeping your metabolic fires stoked so we say eat up! I swear we’ve tried at least a hundred different protein pancake recipes over the years with many faults and fails however there have been a few hits. This is one of our favourites – Paleo Protein Pancakes – and the best part is that it’s simple! From our kitchen to yours, here you go… Paleo Protein Pancake Recipe Ingredients: 1/2 cup cooked organic sweet potato 3 large organic eggs 2…

Do You Train HARD or SMART?

This installment of our series on muscle growth starts with a question.  Are you training H.A.R.D. or S.M.A.R.T?  By HARD I mean Hopeless, Archaic, Reckless and Dangerous! Unfortunately, many athletes fall into this category and it really hurts their progress. Let’s break things down further. Hopeless A HARD training athlete simply goes into the gym or to the practice session without any plan or strategy. He or she may want a better physique or to become stronger or to make the starting lineup on a team but has no idea how to get from point A to point B. This in my opinion is hopeless and is the equivalent of a hamster spinning on a wheel – it leads to nowhere….

Road To The CrossFit Games Pt. 2

What Doesn’t Kill You … By Kathleen Mitchell, Team Strong Athlete I truly appreciate those things that don’t come easy. If it isn’t going to change me or challenge me, I probably don’t want it. You know the phrase “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” It’s about competition. I workout because it keeps me fit, healthy and connects me to a wonderful community. I compete because win or lose, competition changes me, it challenges me and it makes me stronger. Through competition I’ve learned to understand the pain of disappointment and failure and how to face challenges. I’ve learned discipline, commitment, consistency and focus. I’ve become more resilient, and determined. I will not give-up…

Fix Ugly Texting Flamingo Neck

I call it ugly flamingo texting neck for obvious reasons! Could you imagine coming across a Viking from back in the day looking all weak and submissive like that?? What an embarrassment to mankind. We used to be the ultimate predators and now we are becoming flamingo neck prey. So many people in the world are becoming so weak and fragile, it’s really sad in my opinion… But there’s still hope if we take action now to right the ship before it’s too late. The upper back is such a common area of weakness and underdevelopment for so many people these days and it’s creating a whole mess of physical issues including neck pain, shoulder…

2nd Law of Muscle Growth

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle to help you reach your musclebuilding goal is protein. Protein is essential for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, as well as for overall good health. Some of the key benefits of optimal protein intake include: Increased muscle growth Increased strength and power Accelerated recovery between workouts Enhanced immune system function Stronger bones and reduced risk of bone-related diseases  Better body composition During high-intensity training, we are in a state of catabolism (causing muscle protein breakdown).  Being in a prolonged/chronic catabolic state results in loss of muscle mass over time. To build muscle, we need to create an anabolic (growth promoting) environment within the body. This begins with…

Road to the CrossFit Games Pt. 1

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” Michael Jordan Solid, jacked, beast, swole, ripped, “Chick Norris” are some of the adjectives people at the gym use to describe me – but I don’t think of myself in that way. My name is Kathleen Mitchell. I’m a 40+ year-old wife and mother and I love to CrossFit. My goal is to reach the 1% club and compete at the 2017 CrossFit Games as a Masters Athlete. It all starts with competing in the CrossFit Open, which kicks off February 23. I have always expected a lot from myself and sports and fitness have always been a part of my life.  I…

The 1st Law of Muscle Growth

  If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been asked “How do I build more muscle?” I would be retired on a beach and spending 8 hours a day learning the guitar with my son 🙂 The musclebuilding conversation between athlete and coach usually goes something like this: Athlete: Coach, how can I put on some muscle fast? I’ve been killing it in the gym lately but I still look the same! Coach: You need to increase your calories. Athlete: But I eat a ton already!! Coach: How many calories are you eating now? Athlete: I have no idea. Coach: Then how do you know if you’re eating enough? Athlete usually changes subject at this point. Here’s…

How to Make 2017 Your Year!

If you want 2017 to be the year you achieve your physique and/or athletic goals, then you need to keep one thing in mind: Keep. It. Simple. Smarty. If you make things too complicated, you won’t GSD (get $hit done), and you’ll get frustrated, burnt out and ultimately quit. Yes, you need to make educated decisions and follow a well thought out plan, but don’t get bogged down by details and let the trivial slow you down… You have a choice: You can choose to be overwhelmed by an unrealistic to-do list OR you can focus on a few things and do them really well. At the end of the day, consistently doing a few simple things…

Best High Protein High Fat Treat!

Once again my girlfriend was in the kitchen the other night experimenting with some goodness and what she made was simply amazing! She calls them PHAT FAT BOMBS… and I am totally addicted! Now I know it doesn’t sound so delicious but let me tell you I can’t get enough! I will let her till you all about it… Our good friend Marni, over at the Ultimate Health Podcast shared the recipe for Carob Cookies on her FB the other day and I went ahead and just had to make them and added in an extra few ingredients of my own. And the best part; all you need are 4-5 simple and healthy ingredients: 1.5 cups large coconut flakes 2…

Steal This Performance Secret!

By now, everyone knows how insanely hard elite athletes train and how disciplined they are with nutrition. And as important as these elements are, they pale in comparison to the importance of a proper mindset. The right mental outlook can often mean the difference between success and failure, between winning and losing. Athletes and coaches are always looking for techniques and strategies to develop a mental edge over their competition. One of the most tried and true techniques – and the one I’d like to share with you today – is visualization. Here’s why this tool can be a game changer for you: WHY YOU SHOULD VISUALIZE Visualization is a scientifically proven technique used to…

Proven Fat Burning Intervals

Learn what intervals we use for improving metabolic conditioning, building cardiovascular endurance and burning fat fast!

The Best Way to Start Your Day

One of the most common questions I get from athletes, professionals, family members, and literally strangers on the street is “What should I eat for breakfast?” From personal experience and feedback from many of our physique competitors, a high fat, high protein breakfast is one of the absolute best ways to start your day. Popularized by strength coaching legend Charles Poliquin, a high fat, high protein breakfast gives me:   Sustained energy levels Better concentration and mental focus (with two small kiddies, I need all the help I can get :)) Better mood and higher motivation levels Much better body composition (I notice that I get leaner faster when consistently following a high fat, high protein breakfast)…

STOP Dieting and Exercising

  You’re probably thinking that I’ve gone a bit crazy saying this but… STOP FRIGGIN’ DIETING AND EXERCISING! Let’s be honest, tell me who really looks forward to, or gets excited about “dieting or exercising”? NO ONE! That’s who! It’s stupid and you don’t want to do it anyways. Feel better now that I’ve cleared that up and let you off the hook? Imagine a life where you never have to go on a diet or exercise ever again? Sounds like freedom to me too! Now of course there’s a bit more to it… there always is with me right?! Life is all about perspective. Is the glass half empty or half full? Well I…

Magnesium – The Super Hero Mineral

Minerals are essential to ensuring that your body can function at superhuman levels. Most people do not get enough minerals in their diets, so in many cases it is necessary to add mineral supplements into your daily protocols if you want to be incredible. I want to let you in on a little performance secret and share with you the most important mineral we have found that is commonly lacking in most peoples lives and how supplementing with it could help change your life forever! In my opinion, the Super Hero of all minerals is Magnesium! Of course, let me start by saying there are other super important minerals that I am also a huge…

Air Dyne Intervals

Coach PK demonstrates intervals on the Air Dyne bike, one of the most brutal and effective machines for conditioning. We use this tool to condition all kind of athletes, from pro fighters to physique competitors to elite hockey players.

Single-Leg Press

Coach G demonstrates the proper technique for performing the single leg press. This is a great exercise for targeting the quads and glutes. We frequently program unilateral or single limb exercises to correct strength imbalances.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Coach G demonstrates a great exercise for stretching the hip flexors and quads. Consistent practice on this stretch will alleviate tight hip flexors, prevent back pain and improve your mobility, especially with foundation movements like the squat.    

The Wisdom of Toddlers

My two and a half year old son has become one of my greatest teachers. Here are a few pearls of wisdom this pint-sized Tasmanian devil has taught me that I’d like to share with you:

Become a Fat Burning Machine

Learn how you can burn body fat all day long, getting leaner and more defined without having to spend more time in the gym!