AJ - 2011 Crossfit Mid-Atlantic Regional
Creative Commons License photo credit: cnolan011

In part 1 of this series I explained my program and how I got the results I wanted in 5 weeks . Now I will explain the 3 steps involved and guide you to create your own program to fit your specific needs. (Note: If you are interested in Exclusive Coaching where I program everything from meals to WODs based on your goals contact me here and let me know your goals).

STEP 1: Create specific measureable goals and take pre-measurements.


Without a direct, written out (or at least well thought) goal you will fail. How can you reach the desired outcome if there isn’t one?

First, establish what your goals are in the general sense (i.e., strength, endurance, metcons, etc…), then establish specific measureable goals. So if you want strength as your general target, set a specific number to what clean and jerk you want, squat snatch, strict press or any other relevant lift (or all).

I have seen many people follow strength programs or a strength bias and not see gains. In most of these cases it’s not that there not getting stronger, but rather, they don’t know they’re getting stronger. This is because they either have nothing to compare it to (no pre-measurements) or haven’t tested it properly (no “after” test).

Pre-measurements are critical. This is the “before” stats that you will be using to test your program. You should always take all the current measurements of your goals first. This means if I want a 205 snatch I should already know what my max snatch is, or in the least, test it again before starting the program.

All relevant pre-measurements should be taken. So if your goal is gaining lean body mass for strength, measurements such as inches, body fat, and weight should all be added to the list. “Before” pictures is also a great choice for literally seeing the gains take place.

Note: be weary with using the scale. Your weight may fluctuate a lot due to body fat and muscle loss/gain. If you are using your weight as a pre-measurement make sure you measure body fat and inches as well.

Step 2: Find the best ways for each of the 3 parts (diet, supplements, and training program) to contribute towards your goals.


 This is the part that takes a lot of research and testing. This is also the part that separates “the men from the boys”. If you’re not willing to put the time and research into this program, how can you expect to execute it?

Here are some good sources to get you going:

  • CrossFit Journal
  • Books by trusted authors (Mark Rippatoe, Robb Wolf, etc…)
  • Experience of others (asking some of the best guys you know what they did)
  • Browsing the above online via forums and blogs
  • Google (in case you live under a rock)

Here are some guidelines for finding information in each of these areas:

1.       Diet

This is going to be huge so be thorough in the research. Begin by googling searches like “diet for strength training” or “diet for endurance athletes”. I like to add “CrossFit” to the end of these searches, as it typically brings up the CrossFit boards and forums which I trust more than typical forums.

Once you find some protocols that seem interesting research them more. Find forums where people explain what they did and there results, and adapt it to your goals.

2.       Supplements

There are so many damn articles out there on supplements that it can get confusing. My first rule is this: be skeptical if the product has a big juice head on the package.

Other than that, you will be surprised what kind of information is out there. Be open, and research thoroughly. Use the same tactics as you did for diet. Some supplements that are worth taking include: Beta Alanine, Creatine, BCAAs, and some recovery supplements like pure dextrose. 

3.        Training programs

Unless you are experienced and confident in creating custom training regimes I recommend adapting a periodization program or at least using it as a template. You can find these from some of the links below or by researching what other athletes use.

Some websites that may be a good starting point for this entire step:

Again, if interested shoot us an email to get started with our own Exclusive coaching. 


Step 3: Create accountability and a timeline.



You want to set things in place so that it makes it inevitable that you WILL do this program till the end. “End” will be defined by the timeline you create. I chose 5 weeks not for any reason other than this: I started the 12 week strength program and didn’t add the supplements and food until I was half way through the cycle. For my new programs I will be starting everything together, which will extend the program to 12 weeks not 5.

The timeline will often be the length of the training program you take on. Diet and supplements should begin and end on the first and last day of the program. It helps to know when you are ending to stay focused on your goals and see this whole thing through.

Accountability will make sure you don’t slack off. For this, you want to find someone who is willing to hold you accountable for not doing what you want to do. The way this works is you give them something, or have to do something each time you slack on your program.

So for instance, (my favorite) you can write a check to your friend for $150. You tell him that if there is one day you forget to take a supplement, or don’t go to the gym when you were supposed to, he takes the cash and IMMEDIATELY cashes it and spends the money. 

Yeah… that would suck. But at the same time, you will make damn sure no matter how “tired”, “late”, “sore” or how much your pinky toe hurts, you will get this shit done. Oh, and if you screw up and the money gets cashed, you better be willing to write another.



It’s important to note that many have tried what I did separately, such as the supplements, or the training program or the diet, and failed. This is for a couple of reasons; 1. They didn’t do all 3 segments (diet, supplements and training program) together to work towards the same goal, or 2. They didn’t tune it to their weaknesses. In other words, if your strength is strength, why the hell are you doing a strength program?

So, to review, here are the steps:

  1. Pick a general domain you want to significantly improve in.
  2. Establish your specific measureable goals or “pre-measurements” (i.e. 205# snatch or 8% body fat)
  3. Break down each of the 3 segments and figure out how to alter them towards your goals.
  4. Add a timeline or “start and finish date”.
  5. Add accountability
  6. BEGIN!

There is NO way you will NOT see results if you follow this process. This is a template you can use for any goal now or in the future. The hardest part is the research you need to put in for step 2. I ensure you that this is not as hard as it seems. There are so many articles and free sources of information online and through other sources that anyone serious enough about doing it can find it.

Your thoughts are more than welcome! If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment, or click the “contact me” tab on the top of the navigation bar.

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  • http://thefalsestart.com Jarret

    Great tips Devin. Keep up the good work. Already looking forward to the next one.

    • Devin

      Hey Jarret thanks so much for the kind words! I will keep them coming!! Jarret »

  • Ann

    Good luck Devin. Looking forward to reading more

    • Devin

      Thanks Ann!! Got more coming for ya! Ann »

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fooly-Cooly/1584150005 Fooly Cooly

    Hey nice article Devin. Keep up the great work brah