Okay, I know I said last week I was going to have a post about the Regionals, but this is not that post. If you’ve followed any of my other blogs, you’re accustomed to to the despair, heartbreak and broken promises that comes with following me.

Instead, this post is about one thing: Certification.

No Homer, not that certificate.

Last weekend was my Level 1 Cert up at Reebok and I kicked its ass. We had an awesome coaching staff headed up by EC Synkowski and composed of Heather & Ben Bergeron, James Hobart (AKA J. Ho), Dave Lipson, Austin Malleolo and Mr. Smooth Talker himself, Jon Gilson. As you’d expect, all of them were smart, friendly, funny and extraordinarily helpful.

The sheer amount of information covered in the two day cert is astounding when you look at it on paper, but everyone does such a great job of explaining things and covering all the bases that it doesn’t feel like a gigantic info dump. I wish I had kept a tally of all the times I thought to myself “Oh, so that’s why we do that.” Just in the first day, I was probably already in the teens.

If you haven’t taken it yet, it basically boils down into a combination of sit-and-take-notes lectures (on the more general things like what CrossFit, nutrition, programming, that sort of thing) and mini-lectures on a set of movements followed by a breakout into groups to practice the movements and try our hand and spotting flaws in form. I’m torn on which was my favorite. The breakout sessions were great and we learned a lot about the actual coaching side of things, whereas the lectures were fascinating and didn’t destroy my calves nearly as much.

The other two things involved over the weekend are one WOD per day (three guesses what one of them was and the first two don’t count) and… The Test. The most interesting thing about the test was that for about 80% of it, I could look at the question and recall just who covered the answer for it in their lecture. The moral of the story is, when someone with a red shirt is talking to you, pay attention!

So my recommendation is, start saving your pennies and go to the first Level 1 cert you can. It’s worth the money for the education alone, then you have fun on top of it. What could be better, right?

There was also one other little bit of stress to add to the whole certification process: Today at noon was my first class coaching all by myself at CFNH. And what better day to start your coaching career than a WOD with a max effort power snatch? It’s not like that’s a complicated movement to teach or anything, right? Then we had a max effort weighted chin-up, which was much easier to teach (do a chin-up, but with weight. Go!) and we finished it all off with Isabel – 30 snatches for time.

Pictured: Eagle Eyes.

My first class went okay. I had all my steps in my head as I drove to the box, going from ground to overhead. Then I see Dan as he’s leaving and he tells me how he teaches it, which is head to toes. Now I’m starting class with this mixed bastardization of down-to-up and up-to-down steps boiling in my head. Fortunately there were only four folks at the class, yet somehow we still managed to span the full range of abilities in those four people. I’m proud to say that by the end, I’m relatively sure everyone was snatching better by the end of the class than they were at the start and no one died so, Mission Accomplished.

Next class: Friday at 6AM. And this time, we’ve got back squats and deadlifts. Those of you who really know me can imagine the smile on my face when I say that. It’s wheelhouse time, baby!

Does the ground feel cold to you?

Holy crap, three days in a row.

This one will be a little scrambly just because that’s how my brain is this morning. Last night was a late night, but it fell under CrossFit’s motto of “Try new sports.” Assuming that trivia is a sport. Three of my fellow CFNH Honey Badgers (Barb, Mark & Taylor) and I descended upon Anna Liffey’s last night to take on their weekly trivia contest thingie. In true honey badger fashion, we smacked the shit out of it. We attacked the bar two weeks ago and placed second, but last night we steamrolled over the competition to take the win.

Today’s lesson was the shoulder press, which I did… let’s say “okay.” Out of a hundred, I’d give myself a 63. Totally forgot about shoulder positioning and the subsequent arm position at the top of the lift. D’OH! After class, Jay had me teach the push jerk (which was the actual movement in today’s workout) to Adam (one of the other coaches).

Not to be confused with The Jerk. Also, SafeSearch is your friend.

I did okay, better than I would have expected when I woke up this morning. The biggest problem I had was in my own technique. I’d do an okay job of explaining what I wanted Adam to do, but then my own example would be, shall we say, lacking. I need to work on my own hip extension, as I’m usually thinking hard about it when I’m lifting, but can’t use all that brainpower when I also need to be talking about it.

One other thing happening in my world lately has been my stupid right shoulder getting impinged again. It re-happened a couple of weeks ago and I’m slowly creeping up into that “It feels better” danger zone. Today’s workout had a nice little 500m row sprint in the middle of everything and I manged to tear off a callus. That’s right. 500 meters of rowing shredded my hands. I can only imagine what’s going to happen to them once I can start doing pull-ups again.

Kinda like this, but hand-shaped.

One last note – I’ll shortly be packing up so Barb and I can head up to the Northeast Regionals. Right now you’re thinking “Oh my God, Brian! I didn’t know you were such a bad ass firebreather!” First, thank you. Second, Barb and I are going up to volunteer for the weekend, so don’t get too awe-inspired. I’m dragging my laptop along so I can keep up with the daily posting thing, but the post times are probably going to shift into the evening so I don’t have to lug this thing around Reebok headquarters all day.

Also, with that in mind, I’ve updated the “Follow” link for Facebook over there on the right, so it should actually take you to the From Couch to Coach Facebook page rather than, well, nowhere. Go like the page, then you won’t have to sit here hitting refresh all day. Plus, it’ll make me feel special.

Let’s see now. Socks? Check. Underwear? Check. Fanboy eyes with optional Gaze of Wonderment? Check. Extra underwear in case of excitement peeing? Check.

Another Pictureless Post

Today, I’m writing from the table at CrossFit Milford, since my eye was messed up all day and I neeeeeed to get on a daily posting schedule. The downside to that is, I’m posting on my phone. That means no multimedia and slooooooow typing. Especially since the WordPress app doesn’t have autocorrect, let alone the “two spaces equals a period and a space” feature. Bastards.

Yesterday went quite well, teaching the back squat. There’s a definite difference when you’re teaching a movement that you’re 100% confident about. I could just focus on talking about the movement, since I knew my body could do it right on autopilot.

Today is all about deadlifts, though I haven’t heard if I’m teaching it yet. Then tonight is Anna Liffey’s to kick some more trivia ass.

Oh, I also stopped by CFNH last night to follow Dan around for the last class. Dan had posted about me being the new intern on the CFNH blog, so I got an “I know you! You’re the trainer in training!” from one of our on-rampers. Yes, I’m THAT famous.

The Highlight Reel

Well, things have been going a little crazy around here off and on, both in my coaching life and non-coaching life. That gives me more stuff to write about, which then makes me want to put off writing ’til the next day, then something else big happens to add to the update pile and the snowball starts rolling. So before I go crazy trying to write a gigantic day-by-day update post to get everyone up to speed, I’m just going to try to hit some highlights for now to get something out here, then try to stick to more of a daily schedule. Otherwise, I’ll never get around to updating this thing.

Last week, I started actually teaching some movements! Well, that’s probably not quite accurate in some of the circumstances. The first movement I taught was a shoulder press, which went okay explanation-wise. I mainly needed to walk around and have people repeat the movement a few times and correct some form here and there. Also had some issues with being a little scramble-brained in the explanation. Like, demonstrating how their heads should be pushed back when pressing the weight up and suddenly realizing I hadn’t mentioned foot positioning. Then back to the arms. And did I mention the knees? Oh, and the back!

Next up was the front squat. I explained possibly everything there is to know about the front rack position, using about ten minutes’ worth of words in about two minutes. Then, after purging everything I know about front rack, followed it with “… and then you squat. GO!” As Jay told me shortly after, if you’re teaching the front squat, it’s kind of important to teach the “squat” part of the equation.

I think the biggest thing for me is figuring out how to narrow things down to key points and cues and get them straight in my head before I open my mouth. Like my friend Dave told me, “Think of it like a bartender. Somebody orders a drink, they don’t start measuring out one ounce of this, two ounces of that. It’s just tequila, rum, juice, blam! Done!” Sure, he could have used a cooking analogy too, but hey, we’re CrossFitters.

I also attended an Olympic lifting clinic held by EC Synkowski & James Hobart which was awesome from an athlete perspective and overwhelming from a coaching perspective. First off, these two are astounding in how quickly they get everyone’s names figured out. My house consists of me, my wife and our dog and I’m only certain about their names 70% of the time. The big stunning thing was going over the snatch for an hour and a half or so, then realizing that this was the same thing I’d occasionally have to teach in only a few minutes’ worth of class time. If I start to think about it too much, I need a paper bag nearby to breathe into.

On Saturday, I taught all of Fight Gone Bad for one class. I felt most comfortable there, as it was more of a “watch me while I demonstrate, ’cause you’ll be doing this in a couple of minutes” kind of class. I do well in front of crowds, but something about having twenty people staring at me with PVC pipes on their shoulders makes my brain go all jangly. Oh well, with time and practice comes confidence and less jangliness, right? RIGHT?

This afternoon’s movement to teach? The back squat. Those of you who know me can imagine the grin I have on my face. Now we get to see how well I teach from my wheelhouse.

Great. Now I just freaked myself out again. Tune in tomorrow for the results!