August 2023


Body weight: 164.8

Mood: Outstanding

Upcoming Competitions: N/A (but I do have the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar in Sofia, Bulgaria on August 5-6!)


I don’t want to waste everyone’s time here. As I’ve mentioned each of the last few months, I’m taking a break from competition as I work on my weightlifting and other necessary CrossFit skills.

If you’re just jonesing for some time of competition talk, may I suggest you read up on this big competition that is coming up in just a few days.

If you refuse to click the link, here is a short video of the competition in question. You may have heard of it before:

Yeah. That competition is probably slightly more interesting than any competition that I’d be involved in in the coming months. Enjoy!

NOTE: While I do not have any upcoming competitions, I am attending the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar at CrossFit Serdika in Sofia, Bulgaria on August 5-6 (yeah…I’ll be sitting in a classroom full of CrossFit junkies as the Games are going on!) I wrote a review of the CrossFit Level 1 Training Manual and will be detailing my experiences with the seminar when I return!


Boy oh boy has this been a good experience. Like…night and day from my previous “coaching” experience I discussed last month.

I’ll go ahead and let the cat out of the bag at this point; I am working with an online weightlifting coach. Specifically, I am working with Leo Isaac. “Who is Leo Isaac?” some of you may be asking. Well, here is his bio, straight from his website, Training Weightlifting:

He is an accredited Level 3 (National) coach and has performed major roles for the Australian Weightlifting Federation as a coach and coach educator. He is currently active as a Weightlifting coach in Hobart, Australia, and spends much of his time creating books and other educational resources for Olympic Weightlifting. Leo has coached more than 500 athletes and has produced junior and senior national champions. His key coaching focus is the development of technical excellence that withstands the scrutiny of intense competition pressure.

And his coaching credentials:

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2017 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Gold Coast, Australia

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2016 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Penang, Malaysia

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2016 Oceania Weightlifting Championships, Suva, Fiji

Head Coach, Australian Team, 2015 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Pune, India

Coach, Australian Team, 2014 Pacific Cup Weightlifting Tournament, New Caledonia

Head Coach, 1991 Junior World Championships, Wolmirstedt, Germany”

As you can see, Leo (I was immediately reprimanded him from calling him “sir”. I was reprimanded a moment later for calling him “coach”!) is quite credentialed.

But, how is he as an online weightlifting coach 8 time zones (probably more, to be honest) away?

In a single word, outstanding. Simply, outstanding.

I have learned more about weightlifting in roughly 40 days of working with Leo than I probably would have in the rest of my life without having reached out to him.

His teaching is both extremely technical while also being extremely practical and digestible. He provides me a cue and I am able to immediately implement it (and, more importantly, feel the difference (for the better!) as I implement it).

What’s better? Leo provides a lot of feedback on my submitted videos. He is very attentive to e-mails and is diligent about scheduling Skype sessions for further discussion.

I purchased his The Beginner Olympic Weightlifting Program Book 1: The First 24 Sessions (read my review of the book here!) as a supplement to his coaching. The sessions outlined in this book are detailed and the descriptions/illustrations of the exercises (to include the rationale for performing them) are informative. Even using extremely light weights, I am working during these sessions.

And I believe I am improving.

By no means a max, but I’ve never heard my feet or barbell make those noises before!

I’m looking forward to “Month 2” of working with Leo, although I expect the workouts to get exponentially more taxing as we go!

One side note about weightlifting, at least in the initial stages…man is it easier to get a workout in than CrossFit is…particularly if there isn’t a CrossFit gym or affiliate nearby! At the beginning of July, I was in Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey for a week and was able to get 2.5 weightlifting workouts out in….in less-than-ideal conditions.


During my first conversation with my new online weightlifting coach, it became pretty apparent pretty quickly that in order to actually progress in weightlifting that some sacrifices would need to be made. The main sacrifice, and ever-present elephant in the corner, was CrossFit.

Beating the heck out of my body every day (more on this in a bit) and the emphasis on doing things as fast as possible as opposed to necessarily doing them as well as possible were obviously going to be at odds with achieving the technical skill that I would need to advance in weightlifting.

So CrossFit had to go (for now…)

As someone who doesn’t really…ya know…move a lot during the day, something was going to have to get me up and out the door. In addition, I wanted an activity that would be somewhat challenging while minimizing wear and tear on my body.

Enter rucking.

online weightlifting coach

I have written about rucking and weighted vest movements a bunch on this site and have done my share of both before. However, I have never participated in more “formal” rucking (to include rucking “training”).

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been rucking around my neighborhood on a semi-hilly, ~550-meter course. I’ll do this between 6 and 8 times with either a 25-pound ruck sack or a 20-pound weighted vest and call it a day.

I have enjoyed this activity so much that I have decided to take it to the next level. I recently signed up for the PathFinder rucking organization’s “Life” training regimen. This 3-month program involves a loose training schedule, side challenges and workouts, as well as access to a “Course Advisor” and to the program’s private Facebook group.

I think the structure will help me even though the requirements themselves, even for someone new to rucking, will be pretty easy for someone with my fitness level to achieve.

The most exciting part, my brother-in-law is also getting into rucking and we’ll be tackling the program together (albeit, a few thousand miles away from each other!) I think having “family” to keep me accountable is going to make this really fun. More to come on this as we go!


To be honest, I haven’t really done any dedicated mobilty since I wrote about it in last month’s posting.

Why? Because I’ve had zero mobility issues over the last month or so!

I am pretty pleased with this fact, although it is also revealing some hard truths to me about training.

The first truth actually isn’t too tough. With my weightlifting training, I start each session with a series of stretches that really seem to be helping my flexibility and overall “readiness” to start each session. Normally when I would be doing HWPO or some other type of training, I’d feel pretty good heading into the initial sets, but even with both a general and specific warm-up, my knees would still be a bit creaky.

Now, after the first set (maybe 2), I’m good to go for the session.

Moral of the story? Stretch!

Second hard truth…CrossFit beats your body up! I mean, it is pretty difficult to try to separate the fact that I have not done CrossFit for over a month…and my body is not sore, mobility feels better, etc. Maybe its some type of weird coincidence, but…I don’t think so.

I am conducting a “test” to confirm this this week as I am going to be doing CrossFit-style workouts during the next week to “prep” for the Level 1 Seminar. I know that there is a WOD programmed (among other hands-on activities) and I don’t want to be that guy who shows up and just…ya know…sucks.

(I’m just sure that 4 or 5 days of CrossFit will get me in pristine shape for this experience…just sure!)

To be honest two days of the first few workouts of HWPO 60 have got my body feeling…less than chipper. Hopefully things feel a little better as the seminar draws closer. Worst case…time to get back on the old mobility train!

Hopefully I’ll have quite a bit to report next month about my seminar, rucking training, and updates from my online weightlifting coach!

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Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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