Stet’s Final Post

Well CPM, this last month flew by.  It’s hard to believe that this will be the last blog post I write as Coach Stets.  Angela and I have experienced a wide range of emotion over this past month.  The overwhelming majority of which is thankfulness.  I am thankful to have spent a bit more than a year being part of this community of driven individuals who are interested in improving themselves, and seeing those around them improve as well.  You’ve all encouraged me, supported me, and pushed me to get better.  And I can’t remember a time when I’ve been […] Read more

The Three Compartments of Fitness

When I think of my fitness level, I compartmentalize it into three categories.  My goal then is to fill (improve) all 3 compartments simultaneously.  If one of the compartment is lower, then I fill it twice as much until it is as full as the others.  Any guesses what the 3 compartments are?

We’ll talk about it, but before we do, lets look at fitness in general.  How do we define fitness?  The model that makes the most sense to me is what is a person’s work capacity?  Look at the graph below and you’ll see a plot with power on […] Read more

The Concept of Unweighting

Last week during Friday’s clean & jerk ladder workout I finally grasped something I had learned about a year or so ago.  I coached the noon class, and it was full of strong people who have also been CPM members for a while.  As I watched everyone performing the clean & jerks (which there were lots of) something clicked in my mind about moving weights.  One person made the clean & jerk look effortless, and obviously so.  What struck me wasn’t that the person’s strength was powering the barbell around their body, but rather that the person was using their […] Read more

The Age of Quantified Self

How do we know if all the things recommended to us are worth our time or not?  My social media feed is bombarded with noise, largely advertising specifically targeted at me and what “the cloud” thinks I want and/or need.  Is yours the same?  I largely ignore a vast portion of this advertising primarily due to something in banking known as the principal-agent problem, or rather the separation of an agent’s interests and those of their client.  Likely those selling us products are more interested in our money than our betterment.  Rare is the product or service that the creator adamantly […] Read more

Stets Says Goodbye to CPM

This is a challenging blog post to write, because in about a month I’ll no longer coach here at CPMFITness.  As of right now, my last day is slated to be April 3.  An unplanned for and unanticipated opportunity arose and Angela and I have chosen to pursue it.  Being a coach is a unique career, and probably the only one in which you get to write your resignation letter via a blog post.  I have truly loved my time here at CPM, and I’d like to share now some of the things that have made me happy over the past […] Read more

Don’t Forget About The Long Slow Walk

It’s going to come as no surprise that I love the gym.  I like to exercise and get my daily workout (even one with burpees if I must).  The gym is great, but what about other exercise?  Surprisingly, I have grown to appreciate the long, slow walk as another form of exercise.  However, this one is more mental exercise.  Perhaps even something more.

I’ve read various estimates about how far our ancestors walked daily (between 4 and 10 miles), and I can’t help but wonder if all this walking is something that could be beneficial for us today.  To be clear, […] Read more

Your Comfort Zone is Variable

I catch myself avoiding trying new stuff or pushing my boundaries.  My mind is happy to live inside my comfort zone, and I wonder why this is.  Usually, I think it has something to do with my mind’s self serving interest in keeping me alive.  There existed a time when getting outside the comfort zone meant real danger, and a likely chance for my untimely demise.  Though this threat is existent in today’s world, it is rarer in form than several hundred or thousand years ago.

What do I mean by comfort zone exactly.  Perhaps I should clarify.  Imagine a circle. […] Read more

What Are Your Expectations?

Ever listened to a podcast?  I’ve known about them for a while, but never thought to give them a try.  Then technology made it easier for me to do so by allowing the pairing of my phone with my car stereo.  That, coupled with the annoying amount of advertising played on local radio forced me to explore other auditory entertainment.  I tried podcasts, and have stumbled upon a few that are most entertaining.

One in particular is called Invisibilia.  This podcast’s aim is to

Explore the tangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.

I’ve been enamored […] Read more

Methodical Madness

Have you ever wondered how the CPM coaches come up with workouts?  Is there a plan?  Do we try them out beforehand?  What’s the strategy?  As with most things, programming workouts is best kept simple (my opinion) and as random as possible.  Let me share with you some of my philosophy, and please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Anyone Can Program a Workout

But I’ve found that it’s more of an art form than a hard science.  Hard “laws” give way to heuristics and common sense.  I’ve visited gyms in the past few years and one […] Read more

H20 Does Lots For Your Body

We all know water is important.  Is it a base human understanding that we should be drinking water daily?  I think that it must be.  One of those rules-of-thumb passed down through the centuries.  Present day, water has some competition.  There are sodas, shakes, juices, water impostors, sports drinks, coffees, and the adult beverage.  Water was around long before any of these liquids were, and all of these contain water, in varying degrees.  Water will be around after some (or hopefully most) of these have faded.

So why is it important to stay hydrated?  What benefit does it have?  We’ve all […] Read more

A New Look, At An Old Practice

Do you do yoga?  A lot of us here at CPM do, and most of the time it hooks people.  I notice that many people have misconceptions about yoga, but after trying just one class they start to understand what yoga is all about.  I’ve done yoga for a while now, and my first exposure to it was through P90X (good old Tony Horton).  I’ve practiced yoga for several years now, but I’ve never really known anything about yoga, where it came from, or how it has evolved.  I decided I should look into this, and what I’ve found is […] Read more

Staying Motivated

Can be difficult at times.  Sometimes it’s a seasonal thing (the cold definitely de-motivates me), other times it’s an emotional/mental thing.  No matter how excited I’ve been about starting a new program or learning something new, that initial excitement wears off at some point, and my beginning motivation wanes.  If it’s something that is important to me, how do I push through that?  I’ve got the following suggestions, especially related to exercise and fitness

1. Have An Honest Conversation With Yourself

Here’s something I picked up from some psychologist somewhere in my reading.  I forget who, but I’ve found it to be […] Read more

What Doesn’t Kill Us

Makes us stronger, or so the saying goes.  This is something that has been on my mind for the last couple of months in regards to our fitness and training.  Exercise is a good stressor, but can we get too much of a good thing?  Let me describe some of my thoughts and ask a few questions.  Then I’ll share with you what I’m learning from my search and some interesting thoughts from someone much smarter than I am.


Stressors provide benefits.  But mechanically entropy causes the gradual decay of systems.  We are aware that stressing our muscles forces them to […] Read more

Put A Fork In 2014

I Can’t Believe

Another year has come and gone.  For me, this year has been a big one.  As I look back over all that’s happened between last January 1st and now, I’m amazed.  I’ll share some of my highlights with you:

The rowing challenges
I HATED the rower before I spent most of my November and December with it this year and last year.  Something about the sound of the damper whurring and the feel of a perfect drive/recover stroke have softened my view of the machine.  
The ALL IN Challenge
Exercise matters……food matters more.  All the excuses I make and justifications for […] Read more

Energy Consumers

Last week, I explored the idea that perhaps fat isn’t such a bad guy.  Not in all cases at least.  Furthermore, if bodyfat is at an unhealthy level, perhaps the way to manage it isn’t to exercise more but to eat the right amount of calories.  It’s difficult to burn off a 4,000 calorie meal, much tougher than it is not to eat a 4,000 calorie meal.

What I didn’t discuss is how we know how many calories we should eat.  Hopefully, you wondered about this and perhaps took a crack at figuring it out yourself.  Not to worry if you […] Read more

Fat Gets a Bad Name

Our Society Despises Fat

(the tissue) but I have a healthy respect for it.  It hasn’t always been this way, but as I’ve learned more about the body, I’m impressed with fat equally as much as I am with muscle.

Without fatty tissue, we likely wouldn’t have survived as long as we have.  1 pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, and because fat is dormant tissue there is almost no metabolic cost to keeping it around (unlike muscle tissue which is metabolically expensive).  Some argue, and I tend to agree, that we owe our existence to fat.  It got us through times […] Read more

Do We Really Know What We Think We Do?

Check out this experiment from psychologist P.C. Wason.  I won’t explain the whole experiment here, but the idea is that we are inclined to look only for corroboration.  This error is more commonly called the confirmation bias.

Two Ways to Test a Rule

We can either look at instances where the rule works (direct route) or we can explore instances where it does not work (indirectly).  Which do you suppose to be more powerful (if you read the experiment linked above, you’ll know).  It turns out that disconfirming instances are better at getting us to the truth.  However, we struggle with recognizing […] Read more

Epigenetics – The Loaded Gun

Last week I presented that even if I trained my hardest, I’ll probably never beat Michael Phelps at swimming.  He’s genetically superior in that area and I conceded defeat (hypothetically).  Not to say that if I applied myself, I couldn’t be a great swimmer.  He just has an edge with what nature provided him.

Why That’s Not a Great Excuse

In the past, I may or may not have been guilty of using my genetics as an excuse.  Maybe you’ve heard this as well amongst friends and family.  To some extent, using genetics as an excuse has some validity.  But it’s not a […] Read more

Rowing Challenge FAQs

So You’ve Got Some Questions

About the upcoming rowing challenge.  You’re wondering if you should bother signing up and maybe your already subliminally justifying not signing up with thoughts like, “I’m so busy next month” or “I’m going to be gone for a few days in December” or “I suck at rowing.”

We’ve been listening, and we have answers for the most common questions we’ve heard from you all.  Let me lay them out for you and convince you that unless you’re losing a limb in December, you should do the rowing challenge.

Question 1: What meters count?

Any meters you row during the […] Read more

What Are Health, Fitness, and Exercise?

Google “define fitness” and here’s what you get:

the condition of being physically fit and healthy
“disease and lack of fitness are closely related”

I’m not thrilled by that definition.  Something similar happened when I went searching for clear definitions for health and exercise (though health was seemingly clearer in my mind).

Health and Fitness are often linked together.  We tend to assume that if someone is fit they are also healthy or that as the level of a person’s fitness increases, so does their health.  Think of health and fitness as two separate conditions the human body can be in.  We’re either healthy or we […] Read more