How “Fit” does a person need to be?

Michael Conroy, USA Weightlifting International Coach

The origins of physical fitness, sport and physical education came about as a response to World War I.


At the time of America’s involvement in the Great War most of the population was rural and entering the training camps the U.S. Military had to find a way to bring all of these people not only together but to get them to believe and support one another.


The answer came by introducing TEAM SPORTS into this environment. Soldiers learned that they were part of something larger than themselves and that the success of the team related back to commitment of the individual. Now when the soldiers went into battle they knew their job.


So strong was this approach accepted that TEAM SPORTS ARE AMERICA. Just watch and Coach of any sport talk and “the team this… The team that… Our National leaders SPEAK in Sport Terms. “The ball is in their court.” “They dropped the ball on this vote.” Congress has punted on this important bill.”


As America advanced from a rural setting to an urban one Americans became less fit. Technology made America smaller both locally and nationally. By the 1960’s it was found that not only were we less fit we had moved from an active society to a sedentary group to today’s stationary population.


Fitness is broken in to 3 categories.

Health Fitness: My body and mind are not diseased. All my vital signs are within accepted parameters and I am not infirmed.

Physical Fitness: I can meet the demands of my daily life without fatigue or emotional collapse and have enough energy in reserve to meet an Emergency demand. ( I can change a flat tire, walk home if I miss the bus and not have a heart attack while mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.

Sports Fitness: I choose to live an active lifestyle and can do so WITHOUT ENDING UP IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM, while meeting the demands of my activities.


USA Olympic Games Coach, Leo Totten so insightfully stated. “Get Fit… SO you can train hard”


The approach to gaining a high level of fitness must have a plan that includes ALL of the Following.

Areas of Assessment: Aerobic Capacity. Anaerobic Threshold, Agility, Power Production, Strength and Flexibility.

Goals of any Program: Improve Performance, Increase Work Capacity, Refine Technique and reduce or even eliminate Injury.


This approach takes time and patience must be applied. Studies have shown the following.

Number one month that people Begin a Fitness Program: January

Number one month that they stop: March

Number one reason they stop: Injury


“When the going gets tough. The tough usually get injured.”


“Push ‘till you cry… Train ‘till you die” is one of the worst statements ever said


Don’t train HARD… Train Smart.


Want to learn more? Get in touch with us to discuss you Fitness Goals and how Crown Performance can assist you in attaining them in an enjoyable way

Why the Olympic Lifts should be the Core of your Training Program

Michael Conroy, USA Weightlifting International Coach

In today’s busy lifestyle time is a valued item. Using the Weightlifting movements (pulls, squats, presses, snatches, cleans and jerk) can bring about significant improvements in strength, balance, power, movement, improved esteem and body image in a simplistic and effective manner.


It is a myth that weightlifting movements are, both, difficult to learn and to instruct. Nothing can be further than the truth than this accepted statement.


One needs only to learn 7 skills and they can benefit from weightlifting and see those benefits in their daily life.


While an individual can build up an extensive list of exercises, sets reps and intensity or split their lives into days of the week that have the following designations, Chest and Bi’s Back and Tri’s Legs and Core This same person can have a much more programmed approach.


Fitness Guru Vern Gambetta, accurately, made this statement in the 1980’s and it rings true today. “There are nine skills that a person needs and in this order. Run, Jump, Throw. Pull, Squat, Press. Snatch. Clean, Jerk then go be an athlete

The final three words can be updated to the current sociology… live your life.


However I need to share my starting point. I’m talking about Fitness not Appearance training. Power and effective Energy Output is what we are talking about.


The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, was Founded July 16th, 1956 as a response to the Cold War. It was, actually, a Civil Defense Program. The Soviet had a similar program called GTO and it was aimed at developing a citizenry of physically fit and emotionally strong members that could defend the motherland.


I LIVED this event and still remember, my junior high school years of endless testing of Peg Board and Rope climbs, Softball Throws and Mile Runs, Dips, Sit ups and Push ups. We actually had a public display of fitness via the color of your gym trunks.

Everyone started with White Shorts. The first Level of performance was Green. The Second, Red and the top Gold. (I had Red as I could not meet the Gold Standard in two Event. I ran a mile is 5:47 and you needed 5:45. I could not climb a 20 foot long rope in under 60 seconds using only my arms.) 


While we have moved on from the 1960’s we are, sadly a much less physically fit society.

Only 1 in 11 adult males over the age of 35 can walk a mile without having to stop and rest along the way. The average number of pull ups down by a high school boy is 1 ( and girls can “chin” themselves for 10 seconds. (Hold their chin above a pull up bar.)


Weightlifting movements can be taught in a variety of modalities that allow for fitness to be attained in a short time and in a ‘pain free’ manner.


Life is lived in 3 environmental planes. Up/Down, Forward/Back and Side to Side.

Weightlifting movements accomplish these planes in every rep that is performed.


How would you like to get Fit without living in a training hall but out enjoying yourself, your family and your friends?


Want to learn More. Contact us for an assessment.

Fit for Life: Strength Training for “Masters”

Michael Conroy, USA Weightlifting International Coach

A 2015 Experimental Gerontology study of men and women ages 65 to 97 in retirement care facilities found that performing strength exercises just two times a week for six months significantly improved participants’ mobility and functional performance. Other studies have shown that at any advanced age weight training can show an increase in both bone density and muscular function.


When the phenomena of weight training for the elderly began in the 1980’s it was to make seniors Fall Proof. The current research shows that people aged 45 and over can, actually, show a strength gain of such significance that it slows the aging process.  One is “never to old” to benefit from appropriate and supervised strength programs. 


Before beginning any physical training program individuals aged 45 and over should speak with their primary care physician and get an overall fitness assessment. This should include all the traditional reviews. 

  • Your skin – to look for bruising, cuts, moles or lumps
  • Your face and eyes – to see if they are even and “normal”
  • Your neck veins – to see if these are bulging, distended (swollen)
  • Your chest and abdomen (stomach area)- to see if there are any masses, or bulges
  • Your legs – to see if there are any swelling
  • Your muscles- to check for good muscle tone
  • Your elbows and joints – check for swelling and inflammation, if any deformities are present
  • The neck: When your doctor or healthcare provider is listening to your neck, they are often listening for a “swishing” sound in your arteries. This may suggest that there is a narrowing of the arteries, which would increase the sound of blood flow.
  • The Heart: Normally, your heart produces a “lub-dub” sound, when the heart valves are opening and closing during the flow of blood. Your healthcare provider will listen to see if your heart is beating regularly, or if there are any murmurs (extra sounds with every heart beat). Heart murmurs may be “innocent”, meaning they are normal, and non-life threatening, or they may signify a problem may be present. To diagnose this, your healthcare provider may listen with their stethoscope to many areas around the heart, instead of just one area, and suggest further testing, if necessary.
  • The Lungs: Your doctor or healthcare provider may listen to your lungs with their stethoscope, anywhere on your back (posterior), or on the front of your chest wall (anterior). He or she may be able to tell if air is moving to the bottom of your lungs, by listening to the airflow in and out of your lungs with each breath. These are called normal lung sounds. If there is a blockage, constriction or narrowing of your lung tubes, or fluid in your lungs, this can be heard by the examiner. 
  • The Abdomen: The abdomen will be examined using a stethoscope, to listen for any “swishing” sounds of blood through the arteries near your stomach (such as the aorta), or abnormal bowel sounds.
  • Other locations: Auscultation may be used anywhere your healthcare provider wants to listen

Once the assessment has been concluded and the person has been cleared for participation just what exercises should be included?

As ‘controversial’ as this may sound. The only, true, restriction to a strength program is range of motion. The individual needs to be able to properly, and safely, demonstrate the proper motion of any given exercise. If they cannot then the path of training is simplistic. The coach and athlete develop a ‘range of motion’, flexibility program and upon successful completion of that the person may move forward with more traditional training.

What does a “Senior” training program look like?

Training Frequency: 3 days per week is the preferred starting point.

Exercises: Placed into 2 Major Categories. Flexors and Extensors (The Canadians called this approach Push Pull Training. One day the athlete trains all their Extending Joints and the next time the train they train all their Flexing Joints.

Barbell, Dumb bell and Kettlebell equipment are implemented as determined by the expected outcomes.

Sets, Reps, and Weight: Once again a gentle, safe and effective program is developed in the following progressions

Strengthen the Joints, then Power the Muscles, Recruit the nervous system and, finally, access the program.

Free weight exercises, Pulls, Squats and Presses, are recommended as they involve the three afore mentioned areas much more effectively than “Machine” work.

As the individual progresses through the training the exercises may move to multi-joint, dynamic and ballistic movements. Snatches, Cleans and Jerks are amazingly effective (and totally appropriate). 

Life is a dynamic, ballistic, change of direction with the individual applying force to the ground with their feet. Their training should be as well. 

The great thing about this approach to training is that the individual does not have to lift heavy weights to benefit. The basis for this method is to improve the Motor Movement of those involved in the program.

Intrigued? Contact us a Crown Performance and schedule a consultation.

Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?

If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.


In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs and minimal staffing. Granted  how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.


“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR


The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.


Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes  are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.


These communities succeed when the all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun 😉


Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”


These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.


If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.


If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour long workout.


If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.


If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!


To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

The Power of Choice

Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of  summer… in 2012.


And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.


I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.


You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger


At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.


And life goes on.


And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.


Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.


You might think it’s too late (it’s not).


You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).


You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.


It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?


Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.


The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.


So what are you going to do?


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5 Reasons to get STRONG

Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason.

Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics.” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life.

A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

We would love to help you live a healthy strong life. Schedule a Free Consult to learn more.