Barbell Shrugged - Talking Training w/ CrossFit Games Athletes, Strength Coaches & More

What’s more fun than working out when you’re in crazy amounts of pain? If you answered, “Uh, like, everything,” you are correct! Injury is the biggest factor that can keep a person away from realizing their full physical potential. So today, we went to Physical Culture in Encinitas, California, to meet up with Dan Pope (@fitnesspainfree) and Ryan DeBell (@themovementfix).

Unlike other strength and fitness coaches we’ve interviewed, Dan is also a physical therapist specializing in pain management. His business is Fitness Pain Free. And Ryan is a coach and chiropractor specializing in making sure you don’t mess yourself up. He’s the man behind The Movement Fix. Their forces combine on this week’s podcast to help you heal, keep you from hurting yourself, or both, all while getting an awesome workout.

Listen in to hear about specific modifications for specific injuries or differences. Every body is different, and the ideal squat isn’t going to look exactly the same for everyone. Learn about the squat technique that both helps pinched hips and has caused our guests to receive hate mail! Listen in as Ryan and Dan talk us through backs, hips, knees, and ankles, and how to get the best performance out of all of our often uncooperative bones and muscles.

This Week on Barbell Shrugged, We Interview Ryan DeBell and Dan Pope to Discuss:

  • Specific modifications for common injuries
  • How natural differences in body shape can create different “neutrals”
  • Squatting. All about it.
  • Differentiating a workout for competition or overall fitness

For a special promo code to get the movement modification course for $100 off, go to

Direct download: Dan_Pope_-_Ryan_DeBell.mp3
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This week, we went to Bulletproof to meet with founder Dave Asprey (Twitter: @bulletproofexec), a company you might know best for the “butter in your coffee” craze. But Dave’s work, and Bulletproof, are so much more -- they’re in the business of “biohacking,” or changing your environment inside and out so that you can have the most possible control of your biology.

As an executive at a non-profit for anti-aging research, Dave began to understand the nutritive shortcuts -- the biohacks -- that we can activate for our best health. He started blogging about it on the side, and out of that effort grew the Bulletproof empire.

Listen in as we discuss his new bestselling book, Head Strong, about being the boss of your mitochondria, and about how there’s not a lot of convincing science to support coffee enemas… Something we wish we’d known a few weeks earlier.

This Week on Barbell Shrugged, We Interview Dave Asprey to Discuss:

  • The concept of biohacking - what it is and how to do it
  • The difference between cravings and hunger (and how to shut the cravings down)
  • What nootropics are and how they make your brain perform better
  • Coffee enemas… That’s all we’ll say about that right here.

For books mentioned and additional resources, go to

Direct download: Dave_Asprey.mp3
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This week we traveled to Onnit Academy in Austin, Texas, to talk to their Chief Fitness Officer, John Wolf. Onnit’s mission is to help people achieve total human optimization, and John’s the one to get you there.

He’ll be the first to tell you that movement and training is just a part of total human optimization. You might know Onnit best from their nutrition supplements and fitness accessories (like these kettlebells, for example). When John was brought on as CF[itness]O, he was tasked with creating a system that incorporated everything Onnit was already doing -- and to use all the information available to make the best humans.

In this week’s episode, John gets into some solid, specific technical about how to make your movement more efficient.

Bonus: Get 10% off your order with Onnit when you go to

Direct download: John_Wolf.mp3
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This week, we went over to CrossFit Invictus in downtown San Diego to meet up with some of the very best athletes in the world. This week’s six-for-one special includes insights from four Games competitors and two Invictus coaches about what it takes to go from great to the greatest.

In our first segment, we talk to training partners Garret Fisher and Holden Rethwill about how their workout styles compliment each other, how they train for such an unpredictable athletic event, and how to know when it’s truly time to give their bodies a rest.

Next up, we talk to weightlifters and Games competitors Maddy Myers and Lauren Fisher about the challenges they face as dual-discipline athletes, how they’ll decide when it’s time to specialize, and what it’s like to enter this field as new athletes––only to discover you’re the best in the world.

We round the conversation out with the coaches who got them this far, CJ Martin and Tino Marini. CJ’s trained over 40 individual athletes to Games, and Tino’s coached alongside him since 2012. We talk to them about these four athletes, and what makes them stand apart from even the most elite in the field.

Enjoy the show!


P.S. And if you want to follow any of these athletes or learn more about them head over to the blog. We've posted their social media accounts here.

Direct download: Invictus.mp3
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This week we stopped by Onnit in Austin, Texas, to talk about some pretty big ideas with CEO and founder Aubrey Marcus. If, for example, you want to know how to change the world for the better, then this is the episode for you.

“If you want to be of service for society at large, you’ve got to be fit for service. And to be fit for service, you have to do these personal practices. You have to get yourself in a state where you’re able to affect change and really help people.”

Aubrey shared a lot of insight about what he does to get himself fit for service, and he peppers the podcast with both the science and ancient philosophies that justify his practices. Y’all know about ecstatic dance? If you don’t, you will by the time you’re done listening (and you might be looking up where to find it in your area). Aubrey tells us about how to stack practices wisely for the best results. Looking at health through the lens of identity and consciousness, Aubrey’s practices take functional fitness to a new level. Ecstatic dance is just one item in the toolkit he employs to reach a flow state on the regular. Meditation, floating, yoga, and (of course) the gym all have their place, too.

He describes flow states as a “pause from all the stress and worry. It’s a really dramatic reset. Just like sleep resets all of these biological functions, I think flow resets a lot of these emotional functions… You get to escape that for a little while. And sometimes it’s waiting for you on the other side, but at least you’ve given yourself that break.”

Enjoy the show,


Direct download: Aubrey_Marcus.mp3
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“You need to cross-train your balls, is basically what I’m saying.” Biomechanist Katy Bowman gets straight to the point in this week’s podcast. We interviewed Katy at Paleo (f)x Austin, where she’s a featured speaker on the concept of movement -- not to be confused with what we often refer to as “exercise.”

“There are more muscles than you’re working in the gym, and those muscles will go on to affect your health,” says Katy.

We’re big fans of her book, Move Your DNAwhich mentions the various casts we put on or around our bodies, from shoes to mattresses to underpants. So, in fairness to Katy, she didn’t lead with cross-training your balls. It was the first question we brought up.

Rather than focusing on the biomechanics of workouts, Katy’s expertise is in the total ecosystem of our movement. How we move, what we move, and when we move, during the full 24 hours of our day. Through this lens, she evaluates health on a cell-by-cell basis, rather than looking just at the muscles developed in the gym.

“The difference between [a person who works out] and a couch-potato is like 4% in terms of total movement. So we’re not moving well for health, because we’re teaching to the test. We’ve set up the variables that we think will correspond to better health… You end up getting people who are fit, but unwell, and they’re extremely confused.”

Unlike old-school fitness models where athletes are encouraged to basically be sedentary when they’re not working out, Katy emphasizes that the real thing our body trains around will be whatever we spend the most time doing (or not doing). Those of us who work office jobs are usually training our bodies to sit. Then maybe we hit the gym after work. Then we go home and train our bodies to sleep on a soft mattress. So we spend billions of dollars trying to perfect that one hour of exercise we get during the day.

Listen in as Katy graciously points out the way we’re screwing up our lives every day, and what tiny and iterative lifestyle changes will improve us in our cells and beyond.




Direct download: Katy_Bowman.mp3
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At this year’s Paleo F(x) conference in Austin, we had a chance to interview one of the primary spokespeople for the Paleo movement, Mark Sisson. You know him from Mark’s Daily Apple, his website and blog dedicated to “primal living in the modern world.” A true Paleo hipster, Mark has been preaching the primal diet gospel since before it was cool.

Mark’s interest in primal living can be traced back to college, where he became really interested in evolution and human DNA. He later worked as the anti-doping commissioner for the sport of triathlon worldwide. As the guy who oversaw every hearing, he learned a ton––not just about the off-limits performance-enhancing drugs, but about the healthy supplements and eating styles competitive athletes and little old ladies alike can use to reach their full potential.

These two threads of experience set Mark up for a career in discovering the health lessons of our ancient ancestors and applying them to our daily lives. In particular, he’s developed interest in how we can “turn on” certain strands of our DNA in order to live the best we can.

Twenty-one years ago, Mark started his own supplement company, all while he was married with two kids, and no money in the bank. Today, in addition to his nutritional supplement line and his best-selling books, Mark’s Primal Kitchen brand will keep you from having to eat gross mayonnaise. Mark’s newest book, The Primal Kitchen Cookbook: Eat Like Your Life Depends on It! is hot off the presses. He told us he refuses to eat a single bite of food that isn’t delicious, so this is a good guide to check out. 

In this week’s episode, we interview Mark Sisson about:

  • How the right eating habits and exercise can alter our DNA
  • Why our workouts need to be playful in order to be successful long-term
  • What to put in your exercise pyramid
  • What to expect when you switch to a ketogenic diet

After the episode, head over to Mark's shop and get 15% ALL of his books, supplements, paleo mayo, snacks and etc with the code GROK15.

Click here to shop now



Direct download: Mark_Sisson_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

As athletes, the pressure to win has a very strong effect on us. The best athletes in the world are not only the strongest, or the fastest, but the ones who can keep their emotions in check during competition. Emotions before and during competition can define and influence how you perform. These emotions aren't just limited to the negative ones like fear, and anxiety, but the positive ones too. For example, too much confidence and a cocky attitude can leave an athlete ill prepared for a competition.

To get a better understanding of how emotions affect our performance, we visited sports psychology expert, Dr. Lenny Wiersma, and Dr. Andy Galpin at Cal State Fullerton to dive into the science behind motivating athletes and developing a champion mindset. Renowned and respected in his field, Dr. Wiersma has worked with some of the top athletes in different sports including several CrossFit and endurance athletes.

In this episode, you'll learn how he helps top athletes develop a champion mindset, strengthens their emotional muscles and breaks through mental barriers. You'll also learn how to start developing your ability to own your emotions and adopt a growth mindset around your training and life. We'll also touch on how, as coaches, we can better communicate with our athletes and mentally give them what they need to succeed and excel.

Whether you are a competitive athlete or pursuing fitness for life, there are a lot of powerful take aways in this one. Developing mindfulness, harnessing your emotions, practicing being present and taking ownership for your performance can translate over to all aspects of life and help you inside and outside of the gym.

Enjoy the show,



Direct download: BBS_Lenny_Audio.mp3
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This week on Shrugged, we are talking to one of the strongest, intelligent and most athletic women we have ever interviewed.

At a bodyweight of 123lbs, our guest this week, Stefi Cohen, pulls a 445 pound deadlift, squats 370 pounds, and benches 205 pounds. Stefi is also an accomplished and competitive Olympic-style weightlifter competing as a 53kg lifter, snatching 87 kg and clean and jerking 105 kg.  Relative to her bodyweight these numbers, needless to say, are impressive.  

In this episode, Stefi shares the specifics of how she uses the hybrid strength training method to chase down a 4X bodyweight deadlift  and lift impressive numbers in the squat, bench, deadlift for Powerlifting AND the snatch, clean & jerk for Olympic Weightlifting, all while keeping injuries at bay.

Aside from lifting really heavy weights, Stefi is highly intelligent and is currently pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy. Stefi, Dr. Galpin and Doug discuss how assess scientific literature and research and then explain some of the science behind the difference of hypertrophy (muscle-building) and strength training and why the “lifting weights makes you bulky” myth is entirely false. Hopefully this episode puts the final nail in that coffin. Do your part and be sure to share this episode with the next person you hear say that.

If you want to learn how to get really strong in the 5 major lifts, squat, bench, deadlift, snatch, clean & jerk, listen to this episode. Also for you ladies out there who want to get strong and challenge the status quo about what it means and how it feels to be a strong woman, absolutely listen to this one.

Enjoy the show,


Direct download: BBS_StefiCohen_Audio.mp3
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“If you are ONLY counting macros, are you really healthy?”

That may seem a loaded question, but this week on the show, we have just the guy to answer it. On today’s show, we chat with Mike Dolce and bust some commonly misguided beliefs around nutrition. 

Mike works with some of the top athletes in MMA world and has been a nutrition coach since before it was popular to post your food on Instagram. He has seen the evolution of the health and fitness industry and cuts through the BS that you may have seen on the internet.

In this episode, we discuss the importance of food quality, the relationship between longevity and performance, and why you should avoid eating pop tarts and ice cream (even if it “fits your macros”)

If you want to step up your nutrition game and pursue your best self, this episode is going to help you dial in the necessary components around nutrition.

Enjoy the show,



Direct download: mikedolce.mp3
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