January
11
2016

Episode 13: Doug Chapman

By Chris 0
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Doug Chapman was the 13th CrossFit Affiliate. At his peak, he had 400 members at HyperFit in Ann Arbor, MI. Though that number has declined in recent years, he’s best known for his online programming for athletes like Julie Foucher.

Camille Leblanc-Basinet, Lindsey Valenzuela, Jennifer Smith, Nick Urankar, Neil Maddox, Chyna Cho, Jacob Heppner…they’re all coached remotely by Doug. But his gym doesn’t focus on competition.

“If you focus on competitive CrossFit, you’re going to ruin your business.” he said.

Doug’s online programming can be found HERE.

Every client at HyperFit starts with 10 PT sessions. Julie did – here’s the video from her sixth session:

Here’s Julie now, for comparison:

What’s the difference between Julie Foucher and everyone else? Work ethic.

“I talk to people about self-actualization,” Chapman says. “I don’t train anyone to go to the CrossFit Games. I train people to self-actualize. I want you to be as good as you can possibly be… If you have the potential to go to the Games, and you have the work ethic to do it, I have the programming to get you there. No doubt in my mind.”

“Your mom told you you were special as a kid. But you’re not. You need to acquire skills through training and practice.” Everyone does, he said. “To do well at the CrossFit Games, you have to do CrossFit.”

“Our sport IS our GPP. Everything we do outside GPP is to support that GPP.”

The next layer after GPP is something Chapman calls “Gross Strength.” Rip calls these the “slow lifts,” but Chapman prefers “Unskilled lifts.” These are solved by 5x5s, 5x3s, but not maxes in his programming. Doug explains why in the podcast.

The next element is the skill transfer exercises. “We need to be as good at snatch balance as we are at snatch.”
Next: gymnastics. “The gymnastics we’re doing for CrossFit should really be called calisthenics.”

The next piece is gross conditioning. These are concentrically-loaded movements that athletes can perform for long duration without loss of technique. For example, pushing or pulling a sled.

Finally, endurance. With all these elements, Doug’s athletes train 4-5 hours every day.
The difference between all his top athletes is minimal.

Chapman collaborates with other coaches like Chris Henshaw, Sean Lind and Dave Durante for this competitive athletes. But he’s definitely in charge: every athlete he trains gets his personal phone number. And some get the keys to his house.

At the 1:09 mark, Nancy arrives. She’s a retired lawyer and law professor, and she has a lot to say about training seniors with CrossFit. Doug steps aside for a few minutes and lets me talk to Nancy instead.

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Chapman suggests “beginning with the end in mind,” a The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” target=”_blank”>Steven Covey concept, for every client. For many, this is the “self-actualization” that threads through the entire interview. Nancy’s self-actualization includes travel. “There are no elevators in Europe,” she said.

Chapman’s next area of focus (with Nancy’s help) will be seniors. He thinks it’s critical for us to start serving our elders better.

As Doug moves more toward Personal Training and small group training (instead of teaching classes,) he talks about what makes a great trainer vs a great coach, and why many coaches should do more PT to improve their class coaching.

Recorded on January 2, 2015.

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