Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Only the Strong Survive

The Season for Eating Cheese

Like I tell my students, "What good is all that reading, writing, and math if you are weak?

Here is finally a demonstration of a good reason to bench press.
Of course if this mouse were a real man, he would have snatched it. lol
Never underestimate the anabolic properties of cheese.

Live Strong!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

RFD- Rate of Force Development

Lifting heavy weights, and most athletic events, is all about rate of force development.

Posted here is an article I recently read on the "Training and Conditioning" web site. While I agreed with much of it, there are somethings I don't agree with. Of course that is to be expected. If we all thought alike, we'd never make much progress. I will use the article as a discussion point and post my comments in BYU blue.

"It doesn't matter if it is a sport coach telling you what they want out of a strength and conditioning program or a strength coach telling you what their program does for an athlete; a common mantra we hear is: bigger, faster and stronger. It's true, that is a common mantra. In fact, a friend of mine has created a very successful business that takes it's name from that mantra. Yes, BFS was conceived at BYU in the early 70's. I always tell my ahtletes that I'll take stronger and faster over bigger any day. Although I don't think any coach would complain about having all three.
But when training athletes, it's better to begin by addressing two questions:
1. Am I giving my athletes the ability to create more force in a shorter amount of time?
I agree. Rate of force development is the key factor and often not understood.2. Am I asking this athlete to perform movements that will help them create force in the time their sport happens?
What movements could an athlete perform that would be more valuable than their actual event?Whether it is the baseball swing happening in 100-120 ms, or the foot being on the ground for 80-200 ms, sport happens within a limited time and distance. So in most sport applications, we should train to develop concentric velocity. A lot of things go into creating concentric velocity, but let's look at a couple of different force/time curves of styles of training.

As you can see, an explosive-ballistic style of training creates more force in a shorter amount of time than traditional heavy-resistance training does. This in turn results in a greater degree of rate of force development. According to Figure 20.01 (see above), heavy resistance training does create more force than explosive-ballistic training after 300 ms, but not many sport tasks happen in that time frame. In fact, an untrained individual will produce a higher amount of force earlier in the force time curve than a heavy resistance trained athlete will. Unfortunately for the heavy resistance trained athlete most sport tasks occur in an 0-200ms window.(1)
Indeed the graph shows this, however what the graph represents is unclear to me. What is it really representing? Normally a Force Velocity Curve is set up with the velocity as the vertical axis and force as the horizontal axis. Clearly strength training will shift the curve to the right. We often use graphs and statistics to illustrate ideas, but sometimes they are not representitive of real life experiences. For example; I have been told that China has a large population and that 4 out of 6 babies born world wide are Chinese. OK. My wife and I have six children and not one of them was Chinese! How is that for hillbilly logic? lolExplosive-ballistic training
If the above statements are true, it is important to determine what explosive-ballistic training is. Explosive movements require moving an object with as much velocity as possible, which often involves the reflexive and elastic components of the muscle-tendon complex.
Agreed. Also, the heavier the object to be moved, the more force that will be needed to move it.
Heavy resistance training involves more of the cross sectional area of the muscle. Ballistic movements are when you propel an object--such as your self (jumping), or an object (throwing a medicine ball). Explosive-ballistic training develops something called speed-strength. Speed-strength is the ability of the body to create a high amount of force in the shortest amount of time. This is what actually happens in just about all sport movements out on the field or court.
(Italics mine) Exactly!!! So why try to duplicate it in a contrived exercise, just practice your event.
I think this concept is gaining traction as more coaches apply it to sprinting and lower body movements, but I believe there are even more opportunities for coaches to apply explosive-ballistic training. Take a throwing athlete for example--when is the last time you have witnessed one of them actually training their arms explosively?
I see it every day in practice as throwers use explosively throw shots, discs, javelins and hammers of varying weights, both light and heavy as well as the standard implements.
I believe there is a time and place for all methodologies and all elements of movement have to be present in training. One of the first things a coach needs to do is take into further consideration the time constraints that exist in their sport, then honestly evaluate if their program can maximize their training efforts.
SO, if your time is limited, what is more important than throwing your implements?Obviously, every sport has different requirements that dictate the athlete's performance. Thus the days are gone of creating athletes that are just bigger, faster and stronger. To maximize athletic performance you have to answer the questions: How big? How fast? How strong?
And the most important question of all..... Are you throwing farther?
As a coach, you have to know the given factors of each movement task that you are trying to train. In future blogs, I'm excited to tell you more about factors such as kinematic versus kinetic analysis, basic movement efficiency, stability and numerous other athletic components. I'm also excited to share how I apply them to the training of athletes in tasks other than running or jumping. "
Do we really have to analyze all that? If we are lifting smart, won't we get stronger? Won't the increased strength make us faster? If we are training and eating smart, won't that lead to an increase lean body mass? If we are throwing (or practicing our sport) isn't that the most specific training we can do? Isn't that how any top level thrower trains?Nick Pinkelman is an Athletic Performance Trainer at Explosive Edge Athletics, in Eden Prairie, Minn. During his career, he has worked with high school, college, and professional athletes.

1. Plisk, Steven S. Speed, Agility, and Speed- Endurance Development. In: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. R.W. Earle and T.R. Baechle, eds. Champaign, IL Human Kinetics, 471-491, 2000.

How is this for Rate of Force Development?

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Pretty sure the Chinese don't follow these guidelines...

Below is an article that I generally agree with as I have observed many toxic situations in my 30 plus years of coaching young people here in the U.S.A. I have most definitely seen parents ruin their kids under the delusion that their mission is to develop the next superstar.  Let the kids have fun and support them as they pursue their own interests. Passion is essential for high performance and the passion for a sport has to be in the athlete first, not in the parent. The parent's passion should be help their child to navigate the many opportunities and challenges of the world and gain confidence by both making mistakes and having successes. Trying force success in the parents chosen field is a great way to ruin relationships, if not lives.

Posted by Matt Russ on December 10, 2015

 In over two decades of coaching athletes I have had the pleasure of seeing some of my junior athletes make it all the way to the professional level.  Along the way I have developed a somewhat global perspective on what it takes to go from this point A to the very distant point B.  I worked with some wonderful parents that contributed greatly to their child's successes.  But I unfortunately witnessed more parents, sometime unwittingly and always with the best intentions, sabotage their child's athletic future.  If they had just heeded a few simple rules, or examined a few of their motives, not only would their child been a better athlete, they would have been a better competitor, happier, and healthier child.

If you are find yourself excited at the potential of your child's athletic career, I invite you take an objective look within.  And if you catch yourself doing any of the three following things, I can all but guarantee your child will not end up where you believe they will.

1.  Imposing your own ambitions upon your child.  I find it interesting that some of the most accomplished athletes I have known are not the overbearing parents you might expect when it comes to athletics.  In fact they may take a somewhat laisez faire attitude towards their young children's athleticism.  My personal opinion is that these parents have a greater understanding of the developmental process.  Laying the foundation, learning the skill sets, and graciously handling the pitfalls competition are put above awards and accolades.  They are intimately familiar with the long timeline and sacrifices required to get to the top of a sport, and even the odds of getting there.  They tend to be more respectful towards the coaches and patient with the coaching process.  They in short have gained a perspective most of us do not possess.

Parents that have not experienced competition simply never developed the mental skills sets required of an athlete.  They may be experiencing athletic competition for the first time through the prism of their child; which can be a very slippery slope.  Others believe their child represents a "second chance" at righting the wrongs of their not so illustrious athletic past.  At any rate the most important thing to understand is that a pre-adolescent child has three basic motivations for participating in a sport: to have fun, to socialize, and to please their parents.  Too many children end up just doing the later, and that almost never works for long.  These kids seldom last in a sport to high level competition, and may even end up quitting their sport, after years of development, because it is an convenient way to rebel against a parent.  Post- competition, often the first words I hear from parents are evaluative or criticizing when they should be simply "did you have fun today?"      

2.  Over-specializing too early.  I once consulted with a somewhat anxious dad regarding his injured daughters training. The doctor had advised three weeks off of training to allow her injury to heal, but he felt this was too conservative and that his daughter would give up too much ground by taking this time off. She was NINE years old by the way. Obviously he had his own agenda in mind and not his daughters best interest. I seriously doubted that she would still be competing in her sport at twelve.

There has been an astounding rise in orthopedic injuries among children in the last decade.  This corresponds with the rise in early single sport specialization.  Kids are training too hard, too often, too repetitively and way too early without a proper foundation.  Training and coaching programs have capitalized on this, often ignoring orthopedic guidelines for training children in favor or showing early results to the parents.  Children do not have a stable enough platform to put high volume training upon, especially during growth phases.  Injuries to growth plates, vertebral discs, meniscus tears, and tendon/ligament strain can leave a child with permanent damage.  The body is not designed to repeat specific movements over and over, especially at an early age.  We are designed for multi-planer movements which is more akin to "going outside and playing" vs. training.  If you really want to develop an athlete from a young age you do just that- develop them.  You develop skill sets and general coordination, strength, and agility that is age appropriate.  A good coach/parent should be charting growth phases and adjusting training load accordingly, monitoring rest and recovery, teaching and imposing proper nutrition, and developing mental skill sets. Yet these equally important areas of opportunity are often neglected.  The bottom line is that if your child is getting chronically injured, or even if their team mates are sustaining a high level of overuse injuries, the coaching and training system is failing your child no matter how well their top athletes are performing.   

3.  Focusing on a Single Sport.  It is somewhat logical to believe that the more time spent training a sport the better an athlete will become over time.  And no doubt the occasional Tiger Woods comes along.  But this mentality more often leaves multiples of young athletes broken down on the side of the road.  Developing an athlete is like unlocking a door.  You must have exactly the right key, that engages all the tumblers of the lock, to open the door.  Training is just one of the tumblers- not the key.

A child will not self-actualize in a sport until adolescence as I mentioned above.  In order to find out what they are really good at, really enjoy, and really want to succeed at they must try a number of things.  This is good, this is healthy, and it keeps them from burning out in a single sport.  But too many parents see a bit of talent of aptitude and want to call it their child's "sport."  Participating in multiple sports or activities may even help prevent the injuries associated with over-specialization.  You should be asking your child if they want to try different sports, or even gently prodding them to do so.  Over time they can narrow their focus.  Joining the traveling soccer team at an early age may keep your child from finding out that they were more talented at (and passionate about) baseball. 

If your child is under the age of twelve, and you find yourself on the sideline with the words "champion," "scholarship," and "phenom" swirling around your head you likely need a perspective check.  One of the hardest lessons you will have to learn is that at some point they will get to decide if they want to continue in a sport.  And there will be nothing you can do to make them compete if they no longer have the will or desire. It is a simple fact that all your hours in the car, thousands paid out for coaching, and years spent attending games and practices will likely, statistically, lead- nowhere.  But that is not to say that they will get value out of the experience of competition.  Sport can bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in both athlete and parent alike.  The values taught and gained on the athletic field will be far more valuable than any award; values such as sportsmanship, honor, integrity, fitness, hard work, and team work.  Your relationship that you develop around your child's competition will have a huge impact on their future. The decisions you make as a parent will have a tremendous effect not only on your child's athletic development, but their health, well being, and ethics.  Choose wisely. 

Matt Russ has coached and trained athletes up to the professional level, domestically and internationally, for over 20 years. He has achieved the highest level of licensing by both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling, and is a licensed USA Track and Field coach. Matt is head coach and owner of The Sport Factory, and coaches athletes of all levels full time. He is also freelance author and his articles are regularly featured in a variety of magazines and websites. Visit www.thesportfactory.com for more information or email him at coachmatt@thesportfactory.com         

The Chinese way is to isolate parents from the process completely.

Monday, December 14, 2015

BYU's living legend of Strength and Conditioning

Dr. Phillip Allsen is a legend at BYU
Dr. Allsen is a living legend. He is now over 80 years old and still teaching classes. More than that, he is an example of what he teaches, still working out regularly. He has influenced several generations including myself and most of my children as well. Dr Allsen is a professor of Exercise Sciences at Brigham Young University, a former college athlete and successful coach. He was inducted into the USA National Strength and Coaches Hall of Fame and also into the U.S. Army Sergeant Majors Hall of Fame. He has published countless articles and written 16 books, several of which are widely used text books on strength training. He was a major influence on Dr. Greg Shepard, the founder of Bigger, Faster, Stronger, when he was grad student at BYU.

Below is a tribute from Leif Arrhenius, a BYU graduate and world class throwing athlete written when he was taking a class from Dr. Allsen. He shares some of the great quotes that Dr. Allsen is famous for.
This semester I am taking a class entitled Problems in Exercise Prescription. It is a very interesting class and I must admit I have learned a lot. We have covered a broad spectrum of material including such topics as human anatomy, energy systems in the body, endurance training programs, beta oxidation, modified Russian strength programs, etc. We have actually covered a lot of material and it is fun to go and learn more. The class is designed to help people learn the proper way to set up training programs for Athletes. The class is taught by Phillip Allsen who has been a professor at BYU since my dad was in school. Ha! Oliver took this class last semester and my brother Niklas also took this class a couple of years ago. Even though I have learned a lot in the class, there are some things that are taught that I don't agree with and have my own ideas about. Oliver posted an article a couple of months ago about a problem he had with a certain lecture from this class. No matter what is being taught, it is always a joy to go to class just to listen to Dr. Allsen. This guy has some of the most funny sayings and quotes ever. It's also great because he shuts people down all the time with questions and his witty humor. Today in class I happened to write down some quotes that I liked and thought I would share.

"There are no dangerous lifts...only dangerous instructors."

"The road to success is paved with iron."

"Don't use too many exercises, strength training sessions should not last more than an hour."

"Think of training the TOTAL PACKAGE."

"If you spend too much time in the weight room, you will find the athlete will not have enough time and energy to do the work he needs."

"Would you go to a bald hairdresser to get your hair done? Would you go to a sick doctor to get a prescription? Would you go to an unfit trainer to get exercise training? Would you then go to a weak person to get strength advice from." ha ha

Dr. Allsen's Bio- http://hhp.byu.edu/about/member.php?id=2249
Leif Arrhenius representing Sweden in the Shot.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

You Are a Real Lifter if.........

The legendary American lifter, Bob Bednarski
Something I found on another post and saved. Don't know who I got this from, but I'm guilty as charged.
•You only know how to squat deep and going to only parallel is actually harder.
•You find power cages ‘restrictive’.
•You get pissed off when people ask how much you can bench press.
•You get really picky about a bar that doesn’t spin enough or is too stiff.
•You jerk more than you bench press.
•Power lifters are jealous of your flexibility.
•You constantly get asked if those are hickies on your neck and collar bone.
•You can instantly divide or multiply any number by 2.2.
•You can’t feel your thumbs.
•Your idea of a perfect gym is a platform, bar, bumpers and a squat rack.
•When a person tells you what they can bench you think about if you can Snatch or Jerk the weight.
•Anything over 3 reps sounds exhausting to you.
•Shopping for jeans is hell.
•You hook grip your steering wheel while driving.
•Chalk dust is on EVERYTHING you own.
•Your response to the question “What muscles does that work?” is… ”all of them.”
•Everyday is a ‘Leg’ day.
•You have jumping contests with friends.
•The answer is always more Front Squats.
•You don’t understand why people use gloves.
•Ironmind catalogs to you are Tiffany catalogs to women.
•You have a broomstick or pvc pipe that sits in your room.
•You rest in the squat position.
•You wish you could wear your weightlifting shoes everywhere because they are more comfortable then any other shoe you own.
Photos are Bob Bednarski (top), Joe Dube (bottom) World Champions in 1969.
Joe Dube, 1969 World Champion, squatting at the 1970 World Championships in Columbus, Ohio

Monday, December 7, 2015

Some Pet Peeves

Tried and true exercises with heavy weights bring results.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to observe many things change. Some for the better, some not so much. Most "new" ideas are really not new at all, kettle bells for example. Others, like the use of computer programming can either make us more efficient, if used correctly; or lazy and out of touch if we are too dependent upon them. One thing never changes. Hard and smart work over the long haul is required for steady progress.

-Computerized training programs. Punching in numbers and printing off programs is the antithesis of coaching. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t need coaches. Whatever happened to talking with athletes, asking them how they feel, observing them and prescribing a training program; or at least making adjustments in the program. Humans are not machines and the number of sets, reps, or amount of weight cannot be programmed weeks in advance. Any coach who passes out a computerized sheet of sets, reps, and the amount of weight to be used and expects it to be followed without variation is guilty of malpractice. Which leads to…….

-Giving every athlete the same program. At the beginning level there is some justification for this as everyone needs to master some basics and build a certain foundational level. You have to master addition, subtraction, long division, and multiplication before you can do Calculus. Or so I’m told. (I’ve made it this far without Calculus.) After that, giving everyone the same program is as much malpractice as a doctor giving all of his patients the same prescription regardless of diagnosis. Each athlete has their own set of strengths, weaknesses, individual history and characteristics. What is so hard about talking with your athletes a little about their goals and experiences? Especially if you claim to be a professional.

-Half racks and squat cages with platforms attached. What’s the point?

They may look impressive to na├»ve recruits , but they take up much more room than their functions would dictate. I am not against Power racks, but I think they should have holes all the way over head to allow sufficient height for over head lockouts and partial presses. And I think there should also be holes all the way down allowing for partial pulls and functional isometric work. Platforms should be separate and unencumbered allowing space for doing full Snatches and for the often overlooked combination of cleans and overhead lifts such as push jerks, push presses, or Clean and Jerks. Which reminds me…..

-Paucity of overhead work. I think it is a mistake to focus on cleans only without incorporating overhead work too. I think the most effective and functional, yes I mean really functional, (not pressing 30 lb. dumbbells on a stability ball) exercise is lifting a bar from the floor to overhead. We don’t do enough of that anymore in my opinion. Doing so all but insures adequate flexibility, muscular balance, and coordination.

-Bare, sterile weight rooms. I think every weight room needs to have some history, character, and information on it’s walls. Record boards of some type are great. Pictures of past achievers or current high level performers are very motivational and aesthetic . Bulletin boards with articles from current journals and magazines are a great way to spread information on nutrition, exercise technique, and motivate athletes.

-Anything that is supposed to be new, revolutionary, or secret. I have been around the training business for close to 40 years now and I have yet to see anything that has never been done before in the way of training methods. Kettle bells, Indian Clubs, Stretch bands, Chains,…..Old becomes new after awhile. There are no secrets and the human body still responds to training the same way it has for centuries. Which brings me to…….

-Young guys who don’t take the time to learn the history of their sport or profession. One of the differences between a job and a profession is that a professional knows the history and foundational knowledge of their profession. I really think you need to have a respect for those who have gone before and paved the way. Be a professional and know your roots.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Is Cross-Fit a Religion?

This is an interesting article.  Cross-Fit in no way fulfills the things that my religion supplies in my life.
However the total impact it can have on individuals and families can be very positive. It certainly can be a lifestyle, along with lifting and other forms of exercise and activity. In my perspective, religion helps me cope with this world giving me knowledge and hope for what comes after this life. A fitness community certainly can provide support in this life, at least for those young enough and fit enough to participate. I don't see it answering any questions but what happens in the eternities.

Ali Huberlie, a 27-year-old education consultant in Boston, awakens at 4:45 every morning to go to her CrossFit “box,” or gym, where she spends two hours. When she and her boyfriend, whom she met through CrossFit, went apartment-hunting, they chose a neighborhood near their box. This year, as a student at Harvard Business School, Ms. Huberlie wrote a case study about a founder of CrossFit that was incorporated into the school’s curriculum. And when Harvard Divinity School researchers were studying spaces other than churches that function as spiritual communities, they interviewed Ms. Huberlie.

“CrossFit is family, laughter, love and community,” Ms. Huberlie told the researchers, who quoted her in their study, “How We Gather.” “I can’t imagine my life without the people I’ve met through it.”

A for-profit gym franchise founded in 2000 that now has 13,000 licensed operators serving at least two million exercisers, CrossFit — like television, sports fandom and health fads — has become the focus of study by researchers trying to pinpoint what constitutes religiosity in America.

Members of CrossFit Boston at the gym. Some members compare the community aspect of CrossFit to that of church. Credit Adam Glanzman for The New York Times
After all, it’s surprisingly hard to say what makes a religion. Ms. Huberlie speaks about her box as others might speak about a church or synagogue community. The same is true of some 12-step program members, and devoted college-football fans. In an increasingly secular America, all sorts of activities and subcultures provide the meaning that in the past, at least as we imagine it, religious communities did.

Any criteria you choose to define religion will quickly reveal its shortcomings. Is it about belief in a deity? Judaism and Christianity have that, but many varieties of Buddhism do not. Existence after death? Mormons believe in that, but plenty of liberal Protestants do not.

Yet consider football. Religion scholars have noted that it brings people together in large crowds to “worship,” and has a weekly holy day and even annual holidays, like N.F.L. draft day and, of course, the Super Bowl.

Casper ter Kuile and Angie Thurston, the Harvard Divinity School students who wrote “How We Gather,” were hosts of a talk this month, “CrossFit as Church?!” with Greg Glassman, co-founder of CrossFit. About 100 people attended, far more of them local CrossFit enthusiasts than ministerial students.

As he spoke to the excited crowd, Mr. Glassman’s remarks at times sounded religious — “We’re the stewards of something,” he said — and salvific, even messianic.

“We’re saving lives, and saving a lot of them,” Mr. Glassman said. “Three hundred fifty thousand Americans are going to die next year from sitting on the couch. That’s dangerous. The TV is dangerous. Squatting isn’t.” He said he has refrained from marketing his own gym equipment because that would hurt his existing suppliers, which would be a “sin.”

In the classic 2000 essay collection “Religion and Popular Culture in America,” scholars argued that activities as diverse as “Star Trek” fandom, dieting fads and football could all constitute religions. But if anything that creates community and engenders passionate devotion can constitute religion, does the word lose all meaning? If everything is religion, then maybe nothing is.

For Joseph L. Price, who teaches religion and popular culture at Whittier College in California, the key criterion is whether a given activity establishes a worldview.

“To what extent is the worldview of the CrossFitters determined by their practices, their aspirations for the perfect body, or for the most fit male or female in the world?” Professor Price said in a recent interview. “Does their aspiration for fitness shape their view of how their world is ordered and organized?”

Alex Larcom, left, and Ali Huberlie stretching together at CrossFit Boston. Both women met their partners through the CrossFit community. Credit Adam Glanzman for The New York Times
Using this logic, one can see how “Star Trek” fans, with their deep interest in science and cosmology, might qualify as religious. But members of a men’s breakfast club who meet weekly at a diner, by contrast, while they might derive great joy and comfort from their ritual, would not, by virtue of it, be religious.

Of course, that is just one way of answering the question of what a religion is. At the Harvard discussion with Mr. Glassman, Mr. ter Kuile, who plans a career in ministry to the “nones,” as the religiously unaffiliated are often called, offered other criteria.

“What really struck us was the way in which people were bringing their kids to their box,” Mr. ter Kuile said, “or the way different workouts of the day were named after soldiers who had died in battle. So there’s all of these things you would expect to see in a church — remembering the dead through some sort of ritual, and intergenerational community.”

Lindsey Carfagna, a graduate student in sociology, said that CrossFit helped her find another kind of community, that of “adaptive athletes,” or those who have overcome physical challenges.

“I lost my collegiate athletic career to concussions and have since struggled with long-term physical challenges,” said Ms. Carfagna, who competed in soccer and track as an undergraduate. “As an adaptive athlete, CrossFit has given me the voice in my head that says, ‘You’re not broken, you just have to adapt.’ It has given me the community of other adaptive athletes that are daily choosing to listen to that same voice, instead of the voice of limitation.”

Christian ministers talk about healing broken people, but it seems they would hesitate to focus on athletes, because, in Christian theology, all are fallen sinners, all are broken. Then again, groups like Athletes in Action do, in fact, focus their Christian gospel on athletes. If CrossFit is, for Ms. Carfagna, an even more specific community, one of adaptive athletes, that may not be so different.

Skeptics might scoff that CrossFit is just a gym. But in an interview this week, Mr. Glassman said that for many participants it is obviously much more.

“Down the road,” Mr. Glassman said, the core CrossFit values — which he defined as accountability, community and personal transformation — will “translate into, ‘I’m going to take my Camry into the Toyota dealer tomorrow, and will someone from the gym pick me up?’ And of course they will. ‘I’m going to move — will people from the gym help me?’ Of course they will.”

Ms. Huberlie described the CrossFit experience as an intimate, supportive one, in which cheering for one another to meet fitness goals was expected. It is a culture that can produce effects more often associated with church.

“There is something raw and vulnerable that happens to you when you go into the CrossFit gym,” Ms. Huberlie said. “A workout can bring you to your knees, so to speak.”

mark.e.oppenheimer@gmail .com; Twitter: @markopp1

A version of this article appears in print on November 28, 2015, on page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to CrossFit.