This week we have a special guest blog post from Kyle Rochefort, who owns OPEX Fitness Hampstead in Hampstead, New Hampshire. I asked Kyle if he could provide some background information on his experience with continuous high-intensity training.
I think it’s important for people to know that all high-intensity work, all the time, is NOT the answer. In the future, if more coaches are not smart with their distribution of high-intensity training sessions, you’ll start to see more people burn out and suffer the consequences.
The message is: we need to make it a priority to learn what’s right and wrong in terms of exercise prescription and simply cannot put people through random programming and expect them to not incur setbacks.
I started doing CrossFit in 2009 to try and get fit enough to enlist in the Navy. I had a goal of becoming a SEAL. I believed I needed to work as hard and as much as possible to prepare for some of the hardest military training on Earth. I was in my early 20s, athletic, resilient and mentally willing to do anything. What I really needed was someone who I trusted to guide me in the appropriate direction towards my goals.
Unfortunately, after about two years of intense group CrossFit combined with inappropriate lifestyle and nutritional guidance, my body was spent. I did too much, too soon and found myself with exercise-induced asthma, hemorrhoids, and adrenal fatigue. I was just as wrecked mentally because I felt my body failed and my goal was completely out of reach. I take full responsibility for this, but honestly wish I had found better, more appropriate guidance to prepare me for my specific goals.
For the next couple of years, I struggled with exercise and purpose because my body was so beat up. I went for walks outside, and that was about it. In 2012 I found a great Coach who I trusted and who believed in me, and for the next three years, we worked together to turn me into a CrossFit beast. I went from being completely broken to being able to overhead squat 275 for reps, doing Fran in 3 minutes and competing with some of the best in the East. During those three years, I was never injured, I recovered well, and I focused totally on the goal at hand. The training was appropriate and designed specifically for me.
More importantly, I was eating appropriately, getting amazing sleep and doing everything in my power to recover enough to train as often I needed to. Lifestyle and nutrition were a huge missing link when I first started CrossFit. I was never taught that what goes on OUTSIDE of the gym is more important long-term than what goes on INSIDE of the gym.
In 2011 I decided to open a CrossFit Affiliate in New Hampshire in order to do things better and differently and impact people more positively. I believe I accomplished that goal as the founder of The Fort CrossFit, however, there were still many holes. I was not a strong businessman or leader at first, and the programming was inappropriate for some simply based on their abilities, goals, and lifestyle. I came to realize that owning an affiliate was not what I wanted to do with my career as a Professional Coach.
I transitioned to OPEX Hampstead in November 2017. OPEX gyms are leaders in the health, fitness and performance world. Each client has an exercise and nutrition program designed personally for them delivered to their phone through FitBot. As Professional Coaches, we take into account each piece of our clients’ lives. Their goals, abilities, lifestyles, where they are at currently and more importantly where they want to be!
Currently, my training program focuses on the fact that I am building a business and that is my priority. The days of being a CrossFit beast are in the past. I enjoyed them, but my physical and mental energy has to be spent in other areas that take precedence. I realized that my day-to-day function has completely shifted; so exercise should follow suit! When I created alignment between exercise and my life, that felt really good.
I am guilty of doing too much too soon, and I paid for it. I did not listen to what my body was telling me. My ripped hands, the constant soreness, always laid out dead on the ground after a workout. I thought that this was par for the course and that it would yield me the greatest results. I am also definitely guilty of prescribing a fast-track methodology to clients. A lot of coaches are, especially at first based on where their education comes from. But, slowly time tells the truth. People start getting hurt, saying “this is too hard,” cherry picking workouts and generally fading away.
We all have to look hard in the mirror and decide what is appropriate or not for our clients. Recognizing that true coaching is more than just fist bumps, high fives, and WODs that leave people dead on the ground is key for long-term success. Understanding sleep, lifestyle, how stressed someone is or not are all factors that should go into program design for clients. A lot of times, these lessons need to be learned the hard way, but it is a much more simple process when we can just hire a professional coach who will help.
My advice almost a decade into the fitness world is simple:
Listen to YOUR body. Avoid following dogmatic views to fit in. It won’t last.
Find a Professional Coach who walks the walk. Not a weekend warrior with one cert to their name.
Align training, lifestyle, and nutrition to go after what YOU want, be it fat loss or performance.
Exercise, especially at first, should not leave you in pain. Know the difference between competition and participation in fitness.
Be consistent in all areas to accomplish goals.
Kyle Rochefort owns OPEX Fitness Hampstead in Hampstead, New Hampshire. Previously, he owned The Fort CrossFit from 2011-2017. His mission now is to change the culture of fitness one client at a time. He can be reached at [email protected] or 603-303-9290.