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Todd Nief is the owner of downtown Chicago's #1 CrossFit gym and the coach to multiple CrossFit Games athletes. He has been featured by Men's Fitness, WGN Radio, and NBC Chicago among others. His background in chemical engineering and as a musician in multiple death metal bands gives him a unique lens with which to unpack the models that people use to solve problems in complex areas like fitness, business, nutrition, music, economics and psychology.
 
Coaches Jon, Luke and Todd have decades of combined coaching experience, and they've each worked with multiple CrossFit Games athletes. They’ve seen every coaching method, programming trick, and mindset hack under the sun, and, in the Legion Strength & Conditioning podcast, they deconstruct what works best to get CrossFit athletes results -- better and faster.
 
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I’m often asked “how I handle it all,” and — while I think the true answer may have something to do with several deep flaws in my fundamental personality, I do think I have a framework that helps me get a good amount of stuff done. I tend to manage too many projects at once pretty much all of the time — which is actually probably not very good for …
 
Todd Nief is a wildcard. From years touring with bands to studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering to coaching athletes online to owning South Loop Strength & Conditioning in downtown Chicago, he’s lived a few lives and has the stories to prove it. Hear Todd’s tales from on tour, how he’s adapting his business to COVID-19, and his perspective…
 
Henry Toraño embodies the professional fitness coach. From football to triathletes to CrossFit, Henry lives and breathes fitness. He shares that passion as the owner of OPEX San Juan, a remote coach for Big Dawgs, and a mentor for OPEX Gyms. He shares how he finds balance while juggling so many hats and his journey to becoming one of the top coache…
 
As people get into CrossFit, some percentage of them start to get pretty excited about the training. While they just start off coming to classes, enjoying the workouts, and maybe making a few friends along the way, they start to realize that there’s a whole world of skills, personal records, and faster times to be uncovered. For these folks, there …
 
Jesse O’Brien has built something special in his facility, Central Athlete. But success didn’t happen overnight, and Jesse has experienced more than his fair share of struggles. In episode 3 of Back Room Talk, Jesse shares lessons learned from his decade in the industry, including how he transitioned from CrossFit to personalized fitness, along wit…
 
It doesn’t always work well to try to corner artists who you like and make them explain how they do the thing that you enjoy about their work. Sort of like getting a comedian to explain their jokes. Maybe not the best thing for your ongoing enjoyment of humor. Still, I will not be deterred, and I wanted to get Ethan from Primitive Man on the podcas…
 
Melissa Guitron is committed to waking up the fitness industry to women’s health issues. In episode 2 of Back Room Talk, Melissa explains how coaches can better serve their female clients and why her OPEX Kura community has never been stronger, despite the pandemic. Read more about Melissa in this blog: https://opexfit.com/blog/from-entertainer-to-…
 
Tight shoulders? Difficulty getting overhead for squat snatches and overhead squats? Struggling with handstand push-ups or handstand walking? The market in fitness wants to sell you a simple solution. You can’t get overhead because your muscles are “tight.” What do you do with a tight muscle? You loosen it! You can stretch it, since muscles are bas…
 
Amanda Goodman is a true professional athlete. From her days as a competitive gymnast, her every action has been driven by the pursuit of high performance. But the athlete’s life is not all glory. In episode 1 of Back Room Talk, Amanda shares the highs and lows of her competitive journey through gymnastics, CrossFit, and Grid League, including her …
 
As I mention in the intro to this podcast, I know John Murphy as the pilot of a 90s era Pontiac Trans Sport — aka the “Egg Van.” The world, however, knows John as co-founder and gameplay designer at Young Horses, the indie games collective responsible for the much beloved hit Octodad. As a lad, I was an obsessive and nerdy player of role-playing ga…
 
Testing protocols are huge in the sport of CrossFit. Since we have so many things we can measure, we always want to know “how we are doing as athletes.” Still, as we’ve discussed many times on the podcast, the relationship between testing results and performance in events that we care about is often looser than either athletes or coaches would like…
 
Dirk Verbeuren has played drums on more extreme metal releases than is reasonable or appropriate for any single human. He took over for Chris Adler as the drummer for Megadeth in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to release underground release after underground release — including material with the recently revived Cadaver. Dirk not…
 
Yearly training plans are often built around competition schedules. Even casual athletes who just enjoy participating in local events will usually have a few events that they plan their years around. For some, that’s the Open and a few local competitions. For others, that used to be Regionals and is now Sanctionals…and may be Regionals again? Right…
 
Figuring out how to prioritize in any sort of complex system is really, really difficult. We see this all the time in working with athletes. A simple, linear mindset results in athletes trying to do more, more, more training — and expecting to get more, more, more results. In reality, there are trade-offs involved in any sort of training plan. Thes…
 
“What’s the point of this session?” “What time should I be shooting for on this?” “What muscle group is this working?” While these questions are often relevant, coaches need to be able to help athletes zoom out and see the bigger picture, rather than getting caught up in the weeds of their day-to-day training results. This isn’t just about preventi…
 
With all of the upheaval in the CrossFit world, it’s no surprise that we will likely see huge shake-ups in the qualification process for the Games starting in 2021. How can CrossFit take the best of the Regionals era of qualification and potentially integrate some of the aspects of the Sanctionals era? Will CrossFit develop a better relationship wi…
 
Every small business that has any level of success hits a tipping point where the fact that business is going "kind of well" becomes the most stressful thing to the founders. I vividly remember hitting this point with South Loop Strength & Conditioning several years ago. The gnawing worry that we were missing something or doing something wrong with…
 
It’s one of the most important things that an athlete can improve in the sport of CrossFit. However, it’s not very exciting. It’s not something that people can post about on Instagram and get a bunch of engagement. We’re talking about reducing variance in training results. This means that - as you improve - you will often find that the range of pos…
 
Wayne is the principal in residence at KIPP Team Academy in Newark, New Jersey. I’ve wanted to have Wayne on the show for awhile to talk about education since I’m endlessly fascinated with learning, learning about learning, teaching, teaching others to teach, and basically every other possible recursion and iteration of the words "teach" and "learn…
 
This week, we’re getting super tactical and specific and discussing improving chest-to-bar pull-ups. Many athletes are capable of hitting gymnastics movements when they’re not too tired, but things unravel quickly when they have to do big sets in workouts. How should athletes think about improving chest-to-bar pull-ups? What are the requirements fr…
 
I recently wrote a controversial oped for the Morning Chalk Up on why my CrossFit gym isn’t an essential business. John Wooley, from the regularly hysterical CrossFit satire account @makewodsgreatagain, wrote a thoughtful response disagreeing with my claim that CrossFit gyms are not essential. I figured it would be interesting to have a recorded co…
 
As athletes start to get back into the gym, a lot of people are going to be touching barbells and pull-up bars for the first time in months. Even if you’ve been doing a lot of push-ups, running and DB snatches, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be prepared to jump right back into thrusters and pull-ups. What should athletes be thinking about t…
 
When people think of the culture of a country or a city, food is one of the first things that comes to mind. But, with the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, a lot of folks - myself included - have serious concerns about the ability of restaurants to make it through to the other side of an extended shutdown. As a fan of regional ethnic cuisine…
 
In a break from our usual efforts to provide evergreen content based upon solid training principles, we instead theorize recklessly and rampantly about what the 2021 CrossFit Games season may look like. With the precarious financial state of many Sanctional events exacerbated by late event cancellations as well as likely extension of travel restric…
 
Brad Stulberg has a list of accomplishments that would make most authors drip with envy. Hundreds of thousands of books sold. A regular column in Outside Magazine. Contributions to publications like The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Wired. A blue checkmark on Twitter and tens of thousands of followers. A lot of Brad’s message is about avoi…
 
This is the second part of our interview with MaryKay Dreisilker after our first interview got cut short due to some internet connection issues. MK qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games with a 35th place finish in the Open, and she recently did a well-received workshop for members at South Loop Strength & Conditioning on how to handle the stress of…
 
Bio:Chris Duffin is the Co-Founder, Chief Engineer and Visionary at Kabuki Strength, anorganization devoted to optimizing human performance and making the world a better placethrough strength. Chris is arguably one of the strongest pound-for-pound humans in the worldhaving been the only person to Squat and Deadlift over 1000lbs for reps with a 1001…
 
Cal spent a long time chasing money, social status, and all kinds of external validation. And he didn’t just chase it. He was good at getting it. As an interest rate trader in Chicago, he had checked a lot of the boxes that people think will make them happy. (Including playing golf with Michael Jordan - crazy, right?) Cal was in the audience at the…
 
MaryKay Dreisilker qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games with a 35th place finish in the Open. She’s been working with Legion since 2017, so we figured it would be good to get MK’s thoughts on training - especially in times of wild uncertainty. This is the first part of our interview and was recorded in March, so things have obviously been changing…
 
Bio: Brian Mackenzie is an innovator in human performance on stress adaptation and a pioneer in the development and application of custom protocols to optimize human health and performance. His work harnesses and integrates respiratory, movement, strength, conditioning and endurance-based training approaches to elicit unprecedented positive results…
 
So, what’s the deal with chiropractors? Are they all just full of it? Ian Kaplan is the COO of Hybrid Performance Method (Stefi Cohen’s training company) and soon to be doctor of chiropractic, and he’s also one of the most thoughtful and skeptical people in the fitness space. In this conversation, Ian breaks down how he thinks about uncertainty and…
 
It may seem a bit crass to be talking about "gains" in the middle of a global health crisis, but - with a lot of people moving from training in gyms with barbells, pull-up bars and assault bikes to training in their living rooms with a dumbbell and maybe a backpack full of heavy stuff from their kitchen, people are wondering if they’re going to los…
 
People are predictably irrational, right? We have a poor intuitive understanding of statistics, we leap to drawing cause and effect relationships where none exist, we don’t understand exponential growth very well, and we gorge ourselves on junk food and junk television. We’re broken! While there are all kinds of quirks to our built-in reasoning har…
 
Bio: Jeoff is one of the founders and medical directors of the American Center for Biological Medicine (ACBM), and is happy to bring his medical expertise and compassionate care to ACBM. Jeoff graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in Exercise Physiology. He then pursed his doctorate degree from the National College of Naturopathic …
 
There’s been a shift over the last several years in the fitness community towards a better understanding of "training as a stressor." This is a fantastic thing, since folks seem to recognize that more is not always better, and training is not helpful if you’re not able to recover from it. However, this has also led to a industry of recovery tools -…
 
Bio:Shawn Myszka is the Pro Performance Director of Explosive Edge Athletics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is entrusted with the personal consulting of countless NFL players who seek him out to take their performance to the limits of their potential. Shawn is a former National-level competitive bodybuilder who has become a sought-after clinic…
 
Bio: Danny is the founder of Sigma Nutrition, a company providing educational media content on evidence-based nutrition & performance. Sigma Nutrition also provides an online coaching service to a wide array of clients. Danny works as a performance nutritionist to a number of professional MMA fighters and boxers. Danny hosts the top-ranked weekly p…
 
Bio:Brendan Egan, PhD is Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology at the School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Ireland, and a Visiting Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola. Brendan received his BSc Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Limerick (Ireland), MS…
 
Bio:Brett Bartholomew is a strength and conditioning coach, author, consultant, and Founder of the performance coaching and consulting company, The Bridge Human Performance®. His experience includes working with athletes both in the team environment and private sector along with members of the United States Special Forces and members of Fortune 500…
 
Bio: Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro, CISSN, CHC, is a Renaissance Periodization consultant, Monash low-FODMAP certified and ISSN-certified sport nutritionist, and ACE-certified health coach. Dr. Fundaro combines her knowledge of nutrition and motivational interviewing techniques to promote intrinsic motivation and behavior change in clients to facilitate lo…
 
Bio: Stan Efferding is an IFBB Professional bodybuilder and World Record Holding Powerlifter. He is one of only 10 men in the world to ever total over 2,300 pounds raw in competition. Stan holds the title as the Worlds Strongest Bodybuilder. Stan studied Exercise Science at the University of Oregon and has been training high school, Collegiate, and…
 
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