Meet My Coach: CJ Martin

  • Jul 09, 2012


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    Since The 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, a lot has happened to me as an athlete.  I think I am still in a bit of shock at how much I accomplished in my first year as a CrossFit athlete, but at the same time so completely humbled by the experience, the other athletes and how much I still had to work on.  Now with The 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games just a few days away, I have to be confident that the training put in since September will leave me where I need to be with whatever insanity The Games will throw at us. 

    People always ask us as athletes, "What have you done differently to prepare for this year?"  The answer for me isn't much different than most in that I have focused on getting stronger and technically better.  The one thing that does separate me from a lot of the pack though is that I have had the opportunity to work with not only one of the best coaches in CrossFit, but also an outstanding person, CJ Martin of Invictus.

    CJ and I met at The Games last year.  He is one of those guys that, upon first impression, you just know is an upstanding man.  A few years back he was a practicing lawyer and gave it all up, with the support of his amazing family/friends, to pursue his dreams of owning a gym and changing people's lives.  Now, 3 years later, he is doing just that.  Invictus is an incredibly successful gym with an amazing staff, happy members and flooding with a positive vibe.  I consider it an absolute privilege to be an honorary member of this environment.


    Here is a bit of a recap of my time with CJ this last year.

    Down Time
    I took a couple months "off" of programmed training after the 2011 Games to give my body and mind some necessary rest.  As an athlete for life, that time doesn't turn into sitting on the couch and eating ice cream (however that does sound sort of nice and it may have happened once or twice during that time off).  Instead I did what I love to do, when I felt like doing it, rather than because it was on my program for the day.  I mountain biked, ran, attended some classes at my gym, waterskied, camped, hung out with my dogs and Marcus...just lived.  Those months went fast, but taking that time off left me hungry to start gettin' after it again.

    From Solo Mission to Training with a Coach

    In mid September I embarked on my 2012 training journey with the guidance of CJ as my new coach.  I had some initial skepticism of how the remote coaching would play out as a high-level athlete, but that quickly subsided as I realized how nice it was to open up my email and just do what was on the program.  Last year I did most of my programming on my own.  Don't get my wrong, as a coach I love to program, but it's different when it's for yourself. 

    I had doubt as to whether I was touching on the things I needed to be, if I was missing anything, if I should be spending more time on this or that.   CJ has done his homework.  He knows how to program athletes to be stronger, fitter and more skilled.  He uses his resources to figure out what he may not know.  If he doesn't have the answer, he's not afraid to ask other experts in the field what approach should be taken with regards to modifications, movement issues, mental blocks, etc.  Throughout the year CJ generously hosted a few "athlete camps" where he invited the best of the best to help us all out.  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Coach Burgener (the O-lifting god), Carl Paoli (the gymnastics guru), Heidi Fearon (the healer) and Kelley Starrett (the mobility master).  All of these people have sacrificed their own time and energy for the mere fact that they are passionate about what they do - helping athletes to become better.

     Kwaay Pay

    My Programming
    Without getting too in depth with the in's and out's of how it all went down this year, my programming has focused on getting stronger an improving skills.  I guess that's what we all are doing, but as I mentioned before about being humbled by the other athletes...I feel as though I am playing a bit of a game of catch-up, as I am still very green to the sport and the components within the sport.  This year I have definitely improved my skill set and although there is always room for improvement, I am more confident going into 2012 as a CrossFit athlete than I was in 2011.  That's all I can ask for.


    The Games

    What does this year's Reebok CrossFit Games hold for me?  I have no idea!  But as I write this on my flight down to LA, the only thing I do know is that without the guidance, encouragement, sincerity and all around great coaching from CJ, I wouldn't be where I am.  Throughout the last 10 months of training I cannot thank CJ enough for his time and dedication to programming, communication and making sure as his athletes, we are happy.  There are a lot of great coaches out there, but what sets CJ above the rest in my opinion is his genuine care for his athletes as people. We aren't just a number that he's trying to get stronger...he actually listens to us, workswithus and is interested in our life outside of CrossFit.  CJ is a true coach!  The work has been put in…now it's time to just go have fun! 


    • Gravatar of Karen


      Posted Monday, July 09, 2012 at 5:49:35 PM

      I briefly met CJ at Regionals, and like you, immediately felt I was meeting a kind soul. I am rooting for you, Jenny, as I try to heal my back. I am disappointed I can't be at the Games in person as I had planned. But know I will be the screaming lunatic in my office as I watch you online! Kill it, Jenny! I am so proud to know you and call you friend!

    • Gravatar of Deanna


      Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 10:49:16 PM

      Hi Jenny - greetings from home. As I listen I was wondering "who coaches her"? In the gym I only see you pushing your self or others or doing partner stuff side by side but no one telling you what to do. Cool to find this post here now and read about your inspiration and excellent assistance. It's all about the Journey