About Chad Williams


Posts by Chad Williams:

Percentage Lifting Refresher

We have been using the percentage based lifting protocol for a while now at CrossFit Edmonton and have some really great success. With many new people in our program these days I thought I’d give us all a refresher of why we do it and also when we do it.

The particular template we have adopted was developed by Micheal Rutherford out of Shawnee Mission, Kansas where he runs a successful gym and CrossFit affiliate. Coach Rutherford has been in the strength and conditioning industry for many years and is highly accredited by his peers including Robb Wolf (NorCal Strength and conditioning) and Greg Evert (Catalyst Athletics). Coach Rut (as he is referred too) along with some of the other mentioned coaches also spoke at the first Black Box Summit, which was a CrossFit affiliate-run event that Chad got a chance to attend and spoke very highly of on his return.

The reasoning for adopting his strength template was to give our clients a more focused and planned approach to strength training.  For each workout there is a specific amount of weight assigned by way of a percentage of your 1Rep Max to each set. This allows you to map out a targeted plan for that session. It gives you a training goal and removes the subjective tinkering we’ve all done to the ladder approach “just lift as heavy as you can, every time”. A successfully executed workout is one that lets you know your heading towards your goals and a unsuccessful execution allows you to dial in more closely a goal that is appropriate for you.

Now this is all fine and dandy for someone who has a solid idea of what their 1 Rep Max is for the various lifts, but what about the beginner, someone who doesn’t know their 1 rep max value? The beginner will approach the work out similar to how we used to, in that, over the assigned amount of sets the individual will lift up to a weight that feels close to a max in 1, 3 or 5 reps . Then a coach will help estimate a 1 rep value for you.  For example if the work out was a Back Squat with 5 sets of 3 reps prescribed to it, a beginner will lift their first set based on what a coach may suggest and then increase the weight each set until the weight feels substantial. With the help of a coach you will be lifting a weight that is appropriate for your level as your heaviest set.  If this all seems complicated, don’t worry, the details of the design is not important to you coming in and doing the work out, as always a coach will be there to guide you through each step.

With the benefits and the logistics laid out loosely we can now discuss how to maximise your strength gains. The percentage based strength program is threaded into our monthly planning in a particular way. To maximize the results of this method, it is important that you attend the specific classes in which the strength thread is prescribed. The following is an example of a 3 week cycle in which the target is to lift a previous 1 Rep max or set a new 1 Rep max.

Percentage based strength program- 3 week cycle

Week 1 Monday
Movement #1

Movement #2

Thursday Friday
Movement #3
Saturday Sunday
Week 2 Monday Tuesday
Movement #1 5×3
Wednesday Thursday
Movement #2 5×3
Friday Saturday
Movement #3
Week 3 Monday Movement #1 6×1 Tuesday Wednesday
Movement #2
Thursday Friday
Movement #3
Saturday Sunday

Percentages for 5,3 and 1 rep work outs are:

WEEK 1 Week  2 Week 3
5@55% 3@63% 1@70%
5@63% 3@70% 1@77%
5@70% 3@77% 1@85%
5@77% 3@85% 1@93%
5@85% 3@93% 1@100-101%

If your still with me at his point, the importance of knowing this is to allow you to see forward what days will be strength days and allow you to plan your attendance accordingly. This is important because to best obtain your strength goals you must complete the 5 and 3 rep workouts leading up to the 1 rep test day. But don’t worry, you will still see great results in your fitness by attending the classes that you can when you can. This system is for the individual who hasn’t seen the types of gains they once did and is interested in dialing in the strength training a little more. If this is you then feel free to ask Auty, Suzanne or Brian any questions.

Bill cranking out some weighted ring dips!

Starting vs. Staying

Every once in a while I think back to how I first found CrossFit. What was my first workout and what did I think of after doing that first workout. Then I start to think about why I came back for more. Why do I continuously come back for more and what keeps me sticking around. No mater what, and no matter how insane some people say CrossFit is, the answers always put a smile to my face. Maybe I’m just crazy or maybe I just get it, but there’s definitely something here as far as I’m concerned.

However, there’s plenty of people out there who never do either. They never start (possibly because they hear stories and see pictures like the one below) and if they do, they don’t stay. What gives? What sets us apart from the rest? What’s your story?

How did you first hear about CrossFit? What made you decide to actually give it a try? And more importantly, why do you keep coming back for more?!? Please share you stories in comments.

And this is when the husband says “Why the F@<& do you keep going back to that place!?!?!”

Power Vs. Squat

This was taken from Greg Everett’s newsletter at Catalyst Athletics:

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the differences in executing a power snatch or clean vs the full squat variation of the lift. Here’s the good news – There’s really no difference. The mechanics of the lifts are identical – the only difference is the height at which the lifter receives the bar and arrests downward movement. For a lift to qualify as power, the athlete must stop with the thighs above horizontal. It doesn’t matter how high the bar is turned over and either fixed overhead or racked on the shoulders; if the athlete continues into a squat or any depth below horizontal thighs, it is not a power snatch or clean.
In all cases, it’s critical to understand that the bar is received above the bottom position and the athlete squats with the weight to some degree. One of the most common mistakes beginners make is trying to “catch low”. This creates problems like incomplete pulls, the bar crashing on the lifter, disconnection between the lifter and the bar, reduced ability to absorb the downward force, less opportunity to correct instability, and more difficult recoveries.

In most workouts, we typically perform power cleans/snatches as they have a faster cycle rate. This has lead to decreased capacities in a squat versions for many people and even a fear of the movements in some. What has been your experience with the squat movements and which do you prefer? What’s your reasoning?

Brett’s vest is only 20lbs and he needed 25… Crossfitters are genius!

Barefoot Running

Ever tried running barefoot? You have probably seen a few of us around the gym wearing our Vibram Five Fingers. (the funky toe shoes that look silly) We wear these to allow us to run barefoot (or just be barefoot) but still have protection from sharp objects on the ground.

The number one question I get asked when I wear them is “what are those for” while the person points at my feet. Because I’m typically a smart-ass, I usually respond with “what are those for” and I point to their feet. I then say that they serve the same purpose as shoes do to protect my feet but allow my feet to work the way they were designed. They allow my foot and lower leg to absorb my body weight the way nature intended. The way evolution has made them.

The shoe does do quite a good job at absorbing your weight, but it will never be as good as your foot and leg can do. Check out the video below and if you’re up for the challenge, try a short barefoot run. Like anything, your body will get some soreness using new muscles but don’t worry, these muscles were meant to be used!


If you’ve ever run barefoot or in Vibrams, let us know your experience. Post thoughts to comments.

More Options

It just keeps getting better and better!

The feature list is amazing! So many uses for a handel!

Dual drive gearbox to put you in an ideal workout position!

This one is so good I didn’t wan’t to imbed it here… if you can make it to exercise 10 you’ll be ordering one immediately!

Fun, easy, and only 3 minutes a day! 

Post thoughts to comments.

New Equipment?

We are about to make a new equipment purchase but wanted to get some feedback to see what everyone thought first. Below is a great instructional video. Personally, I’m a big fan of the range of motion available with this product.

I still can’t fully decide if it’s actually work/family safe…

This is a 100% legit device!

Oh, and there’s one for men too!

Making Life Easy

We all come to CrossFit Edmonton for many different reasons. We all exercise and stay fit for many different reasons. From this, we also have many different success stories of things we’ve achieved through our hard work. The easy and obvious ones for us are the things we achieve within the program. Things like, finally doing a running WOD without taking any walk breaks, finally getting that first double under after weeks of whip marks, getting a new time on that benchmark or pulling that new weight off the ground.

However, what we don’t always see and hear are the real life success stories. The times when we do something physical only to notice after the fact that, “That was easy”. Do you have one of these moments? Please share with us a time when you did some physical task out in the ‘real world’ and afterwards thought to yourself “That way easy”.

A not-so-easy moment in the gym can lead to a That Was Easy moment in real life.

A Simple Concept

At CrossFit Edmonton, we like to think that the concept is pretty simple. Show up and work hard. That’s about all we ask too. If you come into the facility every time as a motivated person ready to work hard, we can guarantee your results.

The trouble comes with the simple ‘work hard’ principle. Most everything in our lives these days is geared towards convenience and making things easier. So much so that we even start to think that fitness should come easy. We get sold into buying one of the million gimmicks out there thinking it will be that “Magic Pill” Unfortunately, there will never be a magic pill. There is no substitute for good old fashion hard work.

At CrossFit Edmonton, we work hard to create a program that will truly maximize your results. Combine our programing with your hard work and we have a perfect recipe for results.

So the next time you swing by our neck of the woods, know that we only ask one thing of you: show up and work hard!

Post thoughts to comments.

Hard work was everywhere at the Central Canadian Sectionals!

April 5th Fundamentals

Are you ready to start CrossFit training?

Our Fundamentals Course is your first month of training dedicated to preparing you for the excitement and intensity of our regular on-going classes. Our next Fundamentals course is starting this Monday April 5th. The course is 12 sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7pm. We only allow 10 people in the course per month and spaces are almost all gone! If you’re ready to finally get the results you’re after and take your fitness to the next level, Register Today!

Or, for more information, please feel free to Email Us.

Evening group class at CrossFit Edmonton.


And so it comes to an end. Our Central Canada Sectionals is now over and we are sending 31 athletes on to the regionals in May. A huge thank you to all of our volunteers and all of our sponsors that helped put on this fantastic event. An even bigger congratulations to all of the athletes who came out to participate! We had a blast hosting the event and based on feedback so did everyone else. See you next year!!!

Final scores for the full weekend can be found at: http://scores2010.crossfit.com/scoring/central-canada/

Our 31 Finalists heading to the Canadian Championships in May!

Day 1 Results

The official results of day 1 of the Central Canadian Sectionals are now online.

You can view them at: http://scores2010.crossfit.com/scoring/central-canada/

Day 2 Heat Schedule
(Please notice that there are no female athletes in Heat 1)

Heat 1 will start at 8:30am. All following heats will start approximately 25 minutes after the previous heat. If heats run faster than the allotted time, we will run the next heat as soon as it is ready, which potentially advances your heat time. We suggest being at the venue a minimum of one hour before your expected heat time.

Brian Carter during 7 minutes of thrusters. (WOD 2)

WODs Announced!

The WOD’s for this weekends Central Canada Sectionals have officially been announced!

See the full details on our 2010 Sectionals Page.

Lisa Dika, one of our Athletes in this weekends events.

Facility Closed

CrossFit Edmonton will be closed this weekend on both Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th. There will be no classes on these days due to the Sectionals running all day at the Military Base. We thank you for your understanding.

All information about the Sectionals is available on our Sectionals Page. 
(Schedule and WOD details will be released shortly)

Vadym’s version of a clapping push up.

New Schedule Changes

Starting Monday February 22nd, we will be making a couple of changes to our class schedule.

1) There will be no more 10am classes. However, we will be introducing a new Mamas class on Friday’s at 10am. All are welcome but registration online is mandatory and parents will get priority.

2) There will be no more 7pm group classes on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

Please see the calendar below for a details.

Better For You doesn’t always mean Good For You

With the commencement of the January Paleo Challenge, I’m already seeing some interesting posts about ‘Paleo’ foods. The people who have been doing it a while are suggesting ideas and all the newbies are looking for help. It’s a fantastic process but we may be getting into some grey area. There’s a lot of websites out there with Paleo Recipies that leave me wondering, are we any better off?

Not many people would argue against the idea that diet soda is better for you than regular soda. Or 25% less salt chips are better for you than regular salted chips. Or how about whole grain cheerios are better for you than regular cheerios? Does any of this mean that the said food is actually Good For You? Where this hits in Paleo land is in things like Almond Flour, Agave Nectar or Gluten Free Bread!! Are these things actually taking us on a path to superior health?

I know I have my opinion on this issues, but what’s yours? Please post thoughts to comments.

Low Fat! and part of a Heart-Healthy diet!!!

Happy Holliday’s

CrossFit Edmonton would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As a Reminder, the holiday hours this season are:

Christmas Hours:
Thursday Dec. 24th – 9am, and 10am classes only.
Friday Dec. 25th – Closed.
Saturday Dec. 26th – Closed.

New Years Hours:
Thursday Dec. 31st – 9am, and 10am classes only.
Friday Jan. 1st – Closed.

All other days around those listed above are running regularly scheduled classes.  You can also find the Holiday Schedule on our Schedule Page.

We will resume posting on on the website Monday January 4th ready for some exciting progress in the New Year!

A few highlights from the CrossFit Edmonton Christmas Party…


Weight Courtesy

I’ve had a few comments from some of our members and think it’s time to officially establish a new courtesy rule at CrossFit Edmonton. It comes in regard to putting your weights away after the workouts.

We have an amazing community of people who are very courteous and ALWAYS put their weights away after their workout is finished. So courteous in fact that they’ll start to put the weights away IMMEDIATELY after they finishing the WOD. I’d like to change the focus of courtesy away from the facilities cleanliness and put it towards your fellow Crossfitter.

If you’ve ever been one of the lucky souls to be finishing last in a workout, you know what it feels like when everyone is cleaning up around you and you’re still struggling to workout. It just straight sucks! If you haven’t had this luck, then please take my word and know that it’s not only annoying but deflating of your intensity to finish.

So, from this date forward I’d like to establish a rule of WAITING to put your weights away until EVERYONE IS FINISHED. If you’re so fast a feel you need something to do, take that opportunity to provide encouragement for your fellow Crossfitter and help them finish rather than trying to clean up around them.

This is our official rule enforcer!

2009 CrossFit Games Videos

If you’re the type of person who’s interested in the CrossFit Community that extends around the world, then you probably know that each year CrossFit  holds it’s own Games to find the fittest man and fittest woman on earth. July of 2009 was the 3rd year of this event, and each year it has grown exponentially. The CrossFit Journal is releasing full video of each of the 8 events these athletes competed in online. You can easily download these videos and watch the games unfold. The first event was a 7K run and is free for anyone to view. If you’d like to see the rest of the events you can subscribe for only $25 per year. Well worth it in our minds.

You can download the first event here in HD, Windows Media and Quicktime versions.

Deadlift (event 2) at the 2009 CrossFit Games.
(photo courtesy of CrossFit.com)

Christmas Party 2009

Sorry for the delayed post today…

But just wanted to send out  a big thank you to all of our members who came out for the 2009 CrossFit Christmas party. It definitely lived up to tradition as the ‘party of the year’ with copious amounts of food, fun and photos! I now have to sort through 232 photos to see what might possibly be website worthy… I wouldn’t hold your breath for many though 🙂

Just a friendly reminder of the high-jinx from last years Christmas party.

WOD Logs have arrived!

Our CrossFit Edmonton Log books are now in. We only ordered 50 and over half were gone within the first day. Make sure you get yours soon! The benefits of using the log book include:

1) Monthly outline for summary of workouts and quick comparisons (6 months)
2) 2 Days per page for plenty of room for WOD/food logging
3) Ability to track sleep, fatigue and stress levels each day
4) Collected results for easy logging of all strength lifts and benchmarks
5) Percentage break downs for quick calculations on percentage based lifts

These are just a few of the advantages but as the people who already have theirs have noticed, they will be a great tool for all your fitness logging.

**A reminder that our CrossFit Christmas party is tonight starting around 7pm. All members are welcome. It’s a great opportunity to meet and socialize with many of the members you may not normally see in your classes. Directions are available at the facility or by emailing us.

Lisa and Karen rockin out some kipping pull ups

Check your Ego at the door.

The following excerpt is from CrossFit Coastal.

If you don’t check your ego when you first come through our doors, one of two things will happen.

1. Your ego will go.

2. You will go.

In order to be successful at CrossFit Coastal, you need to develop a balance of confidence, strength and humility.

You must approach each class with the attitude that you are on a mission to achieve your goals. Sometimes, however, you might fall short of that goal for the day and that is when you will be faced with a choice…

You can point fingers at some external factor that caused a poor performance, beat yourselves up for not being good enough, or you might go as far as cheating (reps or range of motion).

… or we can accept our performance for what it is, evaluate it, readjust if necessary and continue on our journey to elite fitness.

If we check our ego at the door when we walk into the gym, the latter is much easier to do. We understand that letting go of that ego is a hard thing to do sometimes, especially when you have an established perception or identity of who you are or how strong you think you are. Our advice – approach each class as a sponge eager to learn – not to impress.

You know…sometimes you might not get that personal record you’ve been trying to achieve, sometimes you won’t come in first place, sometimes you’ll have to scale down the workout, sometimes you’ll have to sit out in the middle of a workout, and one day you might even be tempted to miscount a rep. when that day comes…Take a deep breath and remind yourself to “Check your ego at the door and take the time to achieve mastery.”


I know we’ve all had an ‘ego moment’ at some point in our CrossFitting career. Are you humble enough to share yours? Post thoughts to comments.

New Updates Dec. 17th.


Our last yoga class of the year is this Thursday night. If you haven’t tried it yet, drop ins are welcome. Yoga will be resuming in mid January so stay tuned for details on that.

Christmas Party

This Saturday the 19th is our annual CrossFit Edmonton Christmas party. It starts around 7pm and is potluck themed so bring a treat. Directions are available at the gym or you can email us if you won’t be in before then.

Log Books

We apologies for the delay in receiving our log books but they have been shipped and should be here any day. I’m hoping by the end of the week. Approximately half have been spoken for already so if you want one please let us know.

December 50/50 challenge

If you measured for the challenge this month, please make sure you pay your $10 buy in. We want to make sure we have all the cash ready by months end for our winner.

6pm class enjoying some man-makers.

Personal Training

In case you didn’t already know, and based off some questions from yesterdays post, CrossFit Edmonton also offers personal training. It also comes in two separate forms:

1) General 0ne-on-one personal training for all fitness levels who want the benefits of CrossFit and a Coach with an individualized focus. Whether beginner or advanced we can fast track your progress based on your personal needs.

2) Technique sessions. These are more for the seasoned Crossfitter. You’ve been doing CrossFit for some time but still have those one or two movements that you just can’t get yet. Maybe you even have more but you just want to shorten the list! 🙂 Cleans, Jerks, Muscle Ups, Handstands, Snatch… All things that many have already taken advantage of this session for.

If you or someone you know would be interested in either of these options, please email us to set up your personalized appointment.

Ooops… the proper order of these pictures.

Program Design

CrossFit Edmonton is now offering a new service called Program Design. These are individualized programs for 4 or 6 week periods. The ideal candidates for a Program Design are those who follow CrossFit already at home or at another facility but are looking to take it to a new level. They need something that will focus on their specific needs and give them an opportunity for some one-on-one coaching that they wouldn’t receive otherwise.

Another ideal client is someone looking to get into CrossFit because they need something different. They’ve been working out on their own for years, manage quite well on their own, but need something new to get them back on track. They already have a gym membership and you know they’re just going through the motions still doing bicep curls and tricep kick backs! A Program Design can get them introduced to CrossFit with an individualized approach without being intimidated by our classes full of amazing athletes.

Do you know anyone that fits these categories or can benefit from a Program Desing? If so, get them to call or email us for a free 30 minute fitness assessment.

Aaron digging out of a 170lb ring dip! (click image to enlarge)

Holiday Hours

This years Holiday Hours are as follows:

Christmas Hours:
Thursday Dec. 24th – 9am, and 10am classes only.
Friday Dec. 25th – Closed.
Saturday Dec. 26th – Closed.

New Years Hours:
Thursday Dec. 31st – 9am, and 10am classes only.
Friday Jan. 1st – Closed.

All other days around those listed above are running regularly scheduled classes.  You can also find the Holiday Schedule on our Schedule Page.

**A note to anyone coming in for training these next couple days. With this incredible cold snap, the gym isn’t holding heat very well. Please bring decent clothing as it is only 10-15C in the facility when it’s -30 out.

Apparently Mamas class is forming a Band!

Don’t forget to stretch!

Since we are nearing the half way point of December I thought I’d send out a reminder to our participants of this months 50/50 fitness challenge. We have approximately 28 people who have signed up and have their starting numbers. That means that the winner (most improved flexibility) will get approximately $140. Not bad just for getting more flexible! With that being said, keep stretching! It’s very important to take the time after every workout while the muscles are warm if you really want to see improvement. If you need help with figuring out what to do, please ask any of your coaches.

Can any one spot the ‘hissing cobra’…? NOT a recommended technique by the way.

Got Goats?

In the spirit of working on weakness and upcoming challenges, qualifiers, regionals and games we’d like to know what your weakness (aka. Goat) is. It’s an important part of an athletes training that all coaches try and help them to overcome. When it comes to putting in your own effort to strengthen your goats, where do you stand? Do you run from it or attack it head on? What’s been your experiences with your goats and maybe offer some insight to help others pass that hurdle.

Post thoughts to comments.

Is this one of your goats like it is mine???

New Games Site Launched

CrossFit HQ has now launched the new games site for the 2010 CrossFit Games. All information will be published through that site for everything leading up to the qualifiers, regionals and ultimately the games. As you’ll read by visiting the website, they will also be releasing a registration website for anyone wishing to participate in the Sectional Qualifiers.

All Canadian crossfitters can find basic information about all Canadian Qualifiers here.

Let the training begin!

Aaron’s already getting ready with the BIG WEIGHTS!

Inner City Challenge 3

That’s right folks, we’re brining back the Inner City Challenges! We are making plans to set up the next ICC (3) sometime in late January.

CrossFit Edmonton wants to continue forging elite community and encourage the growth of CrossFit in the city. We welcome all crossfitters from any where in the Edmonton area to come join us. As per usual we will have a challenging workout to test your fitness amongst others in the city and follow that up with a bit of socializing to get to know each other.

More and exact details will likely come in the new year but mark your calendars for late Jan. This will also be a nice primer for any one interested in joining us for the CrossFit Games Sectionals in late March.

ICC2 037
Greg and Bruce doing push ups at ICC2

New Fundamentals

CrossFit Edmonton has re-invented it’s Fundamentals Course. Your first month of training is now geared towards the foundational movements of CrossFit and learning the value of technique towards your fitness goals. As your intro to CrossFit and before jumping with both feet directly into our group classes, we take you through 12 progressive sessions to prepare you for the intensity of our workouts.

We are currently taking enrollment for our next course starts on January 11th. If you know someone who may be interested in starting CrossFit, then why not give them the gift of fitness this holiday season. Gift cards are available and can be applied towards the Fundamentals Course.

A well deserved and rarely experienced break time at CrossFit Edmonton