Tag: Notch 8

05 March

4 Daily Rituals for a Happier Life

GREAT advice from Neuroscience:

  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter.
  • Just searching helps. Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
  • Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  • Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

Full article from Business Insider Here.

The full article is really good because it goes into the science a bit as well as talks about specific examples.

Sometimes little things can make a huge impact.  But with today’s constantly ‘plugged in’, constant distraction, environment, we forget to take the time to stick to the simplest habits.

The action item at the end of the article is great too:

“So what’s the dead simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.

This really can start an upward spiral of happiness in your life. UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb explains:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier…”

So draft a message to say “Thank You” right now!  You’ll make yourself and the other person’s day that much better, and you may just start an upward spiral to more happiness.

Thrive on.


01 March

When SMART goals can be really DUMB

“Goals without a strategy are just wishes with a deadline. 

Strategies without routines are just theories without action.”


Goals without a strategy are just wishes with a deadline.  Strategies without routines are just theories without action. 

Basically it is good to have SMART goals, but the next step is to break them down into deeper purpose, prioritize each, then come up with time based checkpoints (micro goals), and break it down further to daily and weekly habits.

Purpose: Ask Why at least three times.

“Why do you want to do that?”… “And why is that?” … “AAAND why is that important to you?”

Goals without meaning will not be adhered to.  If someone wants to floss or get a muscle up, they had better WANT the results.  Asking why at least 3 times (5 is better), is a great way to get to the heart of the matter and help people focus on what the real reason is why they are doing it.

Have everyone write down their answers to the Why’s so that it is in black and white.

Prioritize: Which results are the most important to you?

There will be days and weeks where it will be hard to stay on track.  Listing your goals in order of priority will help you make better choices about which ones to put the limited amount of time or effort behind.

Micro Goals: Monthly or quarterly checkpoints.

After you have set your long term goals, determined why they are important, and prioritized them, you need to break them up into smaller chunks.  If you want to add 50lbs to your back squat in the next 6 months, that means you need to add 8-10lbs a month. Is that feasible for you?  What is the strategy that will get you to that goal?

Setting checkpoints (and putting them on your calendar with reminders), will make larger goals seem more manageable and also give you a reality check if you have too many checkpoints across too many goals.  It can be a time re-evaluate the timeline or results you are looking for.

This is also the section where goals should be broken down into their smaller steps/components.  Before doing a muscle up, the ring dip needs to be mastered.  Before doing 100 double-unders unbroken, 100 single-unders must be completed.

Habits: “You are what you repeatedly do.”

Ultimately this brings us to the most important part about goals (and back to the original quote above).  No goal will be achieved without routine and habits.  Once we know the smaller checkpoints and checklists to accomplish a monumental task, we can determine what weekly and daily habits can get us there.

That what we are doing in the gym every day.  We are making people do the little stuff every week that will make them stronger, fitter, healthier, better looking, and more awesome!

Now if they have a more specific goal of losing some pounds of fat, it will come down to the daily habits that will move them down that path.  Simply picking the goal of losing 15lbs in the next 3 months, and then scheduling the loss of 1-2lbs per week isn’t going to be very successful.

Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses regarding the goal, then picking out which habits will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ will produce much greater results.  In the fat loss example, eating a protein and vegetable at breakfast every day, stopping all caloric drinks, and doing meal prep each week are habits that will get you to your micro goals.  If you don’t hit your micro goals, then it is time to do a course correction and introduce new habits, tighten up current ones, or even re-evaluate your timelines.

Goals for CrossFitters

We’ve always had great success breaking our athletes’ goals into three categories:

·        A gymnastics/bodyweight goal

·        A strength/weightlifting goal

·        A metabolic/monostructural goal

Gymnastics / Bodyweight

These goals include things like 20 unbroken pull ups, 1st muscle up, handstand walk 50’, etc.  These skills are usually very technical, require skill progressions, and are usually repetition based (not strength based, see below).

Strength / Weightlifting

These goals are things like a double bodyweight back squat, snatch 100 kilos, 1 strict full deficit handstand push up on paralletes, 1st pull up, etc. They aren’t confined to the barbell only.  They can include movements that are bodyweight, but demand a high level of strength.

Metabolic / Monostructural

These goals are things like 50 unbroken wall balls, a sub 6 min mile, a sub 4 Fran, 100 unbroken double unders, etc. These skills are generally higher rep, lower technical skill, but generally come down to a high level of efficiency.

Each athlete is responsible for coming up with one from each category, and then picking which one is the most important.  We have athletes write these down on a huge whiteboard in the gym and leave it up all year long.  When we do “Year End Goal” and Max Effort testing days, it is easy for the coach to walk over and call people out on their goals.  New athletes can add to it all throughout the year.  When someone finishes a goal, they get to ring a big bell and mark off their Y.E.G. on the whiteboard.

BONUS: An App That Gamifies Your Habits!

I have just started using this app and so far I love it.  Only time will tell if I can make it stick in my own routines, but I think it may become one of my favorite tools for staying productive and moving toward my goals.


I haven’t had the chance to join any “Quests” or really add too much to my avatar yet, but it is has been interesting setting up my daily habits and ranking them.  I started out with too much (which was an important realization in and of itself), and now I am approaching it a bit more slowly.

In the future, I could see many coaches and gyms using this as a fun tool to get clients to focus on their goals and hold each other accountable. Let me know if you guys start using and have any tips for how to use this to help people learn how to thrive!

And there you have it.  Here is the summary:

1.      Find the true purpose of the goal.  Ask “Why” three times at least.

2.      Prioritize.  Which goal is most important?  Make time to do the important stuff.

3.      Break it down.  Monthly and Quarterly checkpoints and checklists.  Use a calendar and have it ping you.

4.      Make it stick.  Create habits and routines that will carry you toward your goals on a daily and weekly basis.


I hope this helps you get your people on track and making great progress this year!

Thrive on.


06 February

GOMAD- Weightlifting and My Results

Strength, the pinnacle and building block of Weightlifting. There is no special magic sauce (That is legal), shortcut or way around moving more kilos. You can do one of two things to make this happen, improve mechanics or get stronger!  Of course there are a ton of variables at play here to become a more successful lifter, but one thing is certain if you want to get stronger you have to get under the barbell and move weights several times a week. Another important thing to remember is that Olympic Lifting is a weight class sport, and sometimes the call to move up a weight class is needed to get stronger. Mass moves mass, so if you hit thresholds and want to bust through them then maybe it’s time to try gaining some weight.


In November of 2017 I made a personal decision to jump from the 94 kilo class to the 105 kilos class.  I was competing at 91-93 kilos consistently and felt pretty good actually.  But turning 44 years of age soon and competing as a Master Weightlifter I knew that at some point in the near future I was going to shelf out and my gains would really slow down.  I wanted to make an attempt to put on around 10-15 good lbs of muscle to help me bust through that next threshold.  I decided to give the GOMAD a try for 30 days in January of 2018. What I am going to share is my experience with GOMAD and also my results at the end of the 30 day period.


What is GOMAD?

GOMAD is an old school technique that stands for GALLON OF MILK A DAY.  It is a method used for hard gainers (Like me) to gain size and muscle over a 30 day cycle.  I will tell you from personal experience that if you hear people say that the GOMAD is easy or wasn’t that hard, they aren’t being completely honest with you.  Honestly, GOMAD works for gaining size and strength, but no it isn’t much fun. I will let you decide if this plan might be right for you.  Keep in mind for length of this blog post, I am going over the finer points of this plan, there are pages all over the net you can read additional benefits and how this all works too.  So, what are some of the additional benefits for doing GOMAD?

Here are some benefits you can expect from GOMAD:

  • You will gain weight
  • You will gain strength
  • Milk is a cheap, natural source of ~2400 calories (128g of fat, 176g of carbs and 128g of protein)
  • Your appetite will increase (I found it hard sometimes to eat)

For those of you reading this at home we are talking about Whole Milk too!  2% and 1% milk are not going to yield you the results, you need those saturated fats to help boost your testosterone and aid your muscle gain. Most of the negative press you hear about GOMAD I never experienced, but there are sources out there that discuss these. Now, the claim is that you can gain 25-30lbs of mass in a month using GOMAD.  Well, I didn’t yield those results, but I did gain 14 lbs and saw huge strength gains in the month of January.My starting weight was 209lbs and my ending weight was 223lbs.  Did I eat as much as I normally did before starting?  Yup, I ate just as much if not more.  It helps to have a wife who cooks very healthy meals so that I get good dinners in each day also But, I will say that eating was really hard for me because I always felt so full from drinking milk.  Believe me it isn’t easy carrying a ½ Gallon jug with you all day long while you work.  I tried to take down a half gallon each morning by noon, and then finish the second gallon before I went to bed.  I also drank coffee and water too.  Two things will happen if you attempt this: You will pee almost every 45min to an hour and you will also become very ahem…regular if you know what I mean.


My personal results over a one month duration:

We are finishing a very aggressive 6 week cycle in preparation for the American Open Series 1 and the US Masters Nationals in April.  When I started the cycle my best Snatch was 110 Kilos and my Clean and Jerk was 140 kilos at 93 kilos (209lbs). By the end of the month I was weighing in at 101 kilos and can now snatch 118 kilos (260lbs) and have increased my clean and jerk to 145 kilos (318lbs).  We are also doing a front squat cycle and when we started my front squat max was 161 kilos (355lbs) and now I can perform 2×2 at that weight in 3 min on the clock.  I would guess when we test it again I should finish around 170 kilos (375lbs).  Now, these are real gains.  I want to discuss what happens when you stop drinking one gallon of milk a day now.  As soon as I stopped, I dropped about 6 lbs almost instantly.  But my strength gains remained, which was the goal all along.

Now, for you Crossfitters and whole 30 people trying to lose body fat percentage, this is NOT going to be for you.  I am guessing most women are not going to go for this either, unless they are serious competitive lifters who can’t gain weight easily.  But for skinny guys who are difficult weight gainers, maybe this is an option for you to bust through to that next level. Also remember, you can get plenty of gains eating a balanced healthy diet and following good programming cycles.  But if you need that extra push, give GOMAD a try, you might just find BIG gains right around the corner!

JD Stien

Notch 8 Barbell

USAW-1 Sports Performance Coach


8131 Kingston St. Avon, IN 46123
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