This is my recap for 2011. This past year has seen a lot of growth and we are excited for 2012. Talk To Me Johnnie is heading into another year and CrossFit Football made it into it’s third year.


2011 Recap #1

Hey Johnnie! Just letting you know that I love the website and the effort you put into it. Not only is that dedication, but also to put so much time to create a program like this and to think about it day in and day out is admirable.

Now, my question: I’m primarily working on my Olympic lifts, but should I lay off the cardio, or add some of it in? Would it help my gains if I add it in? I’ve always been told to lay off the cardio when I want to focus on strength, so I was curious about your input.

I think you should read my post called, “Do I need to be in shape?” In the post I discuss the need for conditioning.

“To be an athlete and be successful at sport someone has to not only be strong but to be able to display that strength quickly and then be able to replicate it over and over again over the course of the game or competition. The only way this is possible is if there is a certain level of conditioning. By example, if you are so gassed that you can only give one or two good plays and we have a 3-hour game with 70+ plays then what good are you? Not very.”

You need to be in good enough shape to survive your training and recover from workout to workout.

John, can you give some guidance regarding how to pick weights for the CFFB max rep dumbbell rows; perhaps, a percent of our 1 rep max, or a weight that is going to challenge us after “x” number of rows? Thank you.

Go find the heaviest set of dumbbells in your gym or garage and start performing one arm db rows and go to failure. Rest 2-3 minutes and try to beat your previous rep count. On your final set rest 2-3 minutes and then go for broke.


My name is Tyler Brown and I’m 17 years old and looking to gain weight for my football season next year. I weigh at 207 and looking to get to 230-235 next August. I was hoping you can help me by what to eat and how much to eat through out the day. I also, I’m doing wrestling for my high school, and I do your lifts at CrossFit Football. Also can you could tell me what I can do to get my 40 time down.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,



I assume, since you are 17 years old you are Internet savy. Talk To Me Johnnie has several posts about weight gain, so click back through the archives as we have addressed this many times.

However, since this is a recap, here is the quick version…

For weight gain…

– 20 calories per pound of body weight.
– 1.5 grams of protein per lb of body weight.
– ½ of your total caloric intake from saturated and mono-unsaturated fat.

Here is a break down for a 200 lbs athlete looking to gain weight:

– 200 lbs body weight x 20 calories = 4000 calories a day
– 300 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram = 1200 calories
– 2000 calories from fat / 9 calories per gram = 222 grams of fat
– 800 calories from carbohydrates / 4 calories per gram = 200 grams of carbs

Over the course of the day you should consume:

300 grams of protein
222 grams of fat
200 grams of carbohydrate s

Spread that out of 4-5 meals a day and will hit your target weight.

Hey Johnnie,

I know there is no true substitution for a C2 rower, but with that being said how would one proceed to utilize an Airdyne into the CFFB workouts in its place.

Say if a workout calls for a 500-meter row and all you have is an Airdyne bike.  Would you consider a distance of 500 meters on the bike the same as 500 meters on a rower or would you go for a little longer?  I’m in the process of saving up for a rower, but in the meantime would like to have something to use in its place.  Thanks in advance for your response.

Jermaine J.

I love the Airdyne and use it quite often in my own training. Since I have never been great at judging distance with the Airdyne, we do it for time. Once you get out the door and get moving, a 400-meter sprint takes about 90-120 seconds. We just watch the clock and do 90-120 second sprints on the Airdyne. 90 seconds if the intensity is close to 100%, 120 seconds if it is about 80% effort.

Hello John, love the site and I think its great that it is geared towards sport.  I play Gaelic football and in my position explosive speed is essential so thanks for all your work!

I just have a brief question.

In general I try to eat paleo-ish + dairy and tubers.  But post workout I use whey protein (all in one if I am low on cash) + Vitargo for recovery.  What is your take on Vitargo?  I use it as it replenishes glycogen quickly but I would like to hear someone else’s take on it.

As we say in Belfast ‘Keep ‘er lit!’


Chris S.


I used Vitargo for years. I first learned of it from two body builders I trained with. They used the Swedish waxy maize as a simple and convient way to get their carbs post workout. I used Vitargo during NFL training camp and have always digested it well. I would recommend it in a pinch, but ultimately, I think a yam or sweet potato is a better choice.

I put whey protein shakes in the same boat. You can drink a whey shake or a big glass of whole milk.

Any new Zombie tools for 2011?

2011 recap #2

Yes. 28 lbs war hammer. You could crush some zombie with this thing. I rides in the my truck with my kit.


First off, thanks for the great information on TTMJ, CFFB, and the Paleo Solution Podcasts.

My question is simple. What do you suggest post workout when it comes to milk, whole or skim? This question is basically for my wife.  She wants to be informed and is smarter than me, so I’m asking you.

You recommend whole milk, but the study you referenced, “Body Composition and Strength Changes in Women with Milk and Resistance Exercise,” used skim milk. My wife want to get stronger and she is down to use milk. She is using Greg Everett’s Intermediate Oly program, and hoping that milk will get her to start seeing some gains again

It is my understanding that fat in milk slows the absorption of both carbohydrates and protein thus keeping insulin levels stable. So would you rather have skim milk post workout?

Thanks for your time,

Brant S.

2011 recap #3

Whole milk. But as my wife found out, heavy strength training + whole milk will make a girl thick…in all the right places.

Good morning, John! First of all, I’d like to sincerely thank you for all you do. Whether it is the free workouts or nutrition info, you provide a valuable training resource that is integral to my every day. That being said, I’ve outgrown my local Globo and have decided to move things to my garage. Craigslist has been my best friend of late, but I am still lacking a set of bumpers with a good bar, kettlebells, and some slammer balls. I also have yet to find a Concept 2 that won’t drain my wallet. Having recently become a father, I’m increasingly budget-conscious and in need of some advice. Or, better yet, the name/website of a company you know that can provide some of the equipment used by CFF at a lower price than the usual CrossFit vendors. i.e. Rogue, Again Faster. Thank you for your time.

Stacey Grove

Not sure I know of a company that can compete with Rogue on price, customer service and delivery time. Legend makes some great equipment but it can be on the more expensive side. When it comes to buying equipment, I only want to buy something once. With cheaper stuff you get what you pay for.


I’ve been following your site for about a month and a half as my training program for rugby.  The results have been good and I find the programming very well-tailored to playing a contact sport with a regular weekly schedule.  My question is around how I can continue to train “in season” since our club rugby season typically starts in October and runs until the end of March with a three or four-week break in competition around Christmas.  The in-season programming has been a great balance between getting good work in and not getting too sore or worn out to practice hard and compete.  Right now I’m continuing to just do the workouts as prescribed, but I would greatly appreciate advice on how to train while still competing most weekends.  Many thanks for providing your content-free of charge, CrossFit main site and your site have helped me progress a ton as an athlete.


Patrick Caldera

Here is the secret to the in-season training.

– Lift weights using compound movements 3-4 days a week and let practice be your conditioning. If you feel like you need more, throw in a short 10 minute DWOD or 10-12 volume sprints into the mix. If your on field performance starts to decline, ditch the extra conditioning.

The goal for any season is peak game day performance.


I am trying to get ready for my first bodybuilding show next year. Will this workout be enough to get me there or would I have to supplement lifts. I just dont want to over train.

Chris Simons

I don’t have the slightest clue. But I would imagine that performance based training, like CFFB, might not be your best bet. I would think lifting weights, caloric restriction and 60 minutes of low intensity cardio first thing in the morning might be a better bet.


Been Crossfitting for several years now and have recently switched over to CrossFit

Football and really love it. Being a firefighter the power and quick bursts really help. My question is if I want to add a few longer runs in once or twice a week (ie. 2-5 km) when would the best time to do that be? Sorry if it’s already been answered but I couldn’t find it searching all the sites.

Thanks for the programming and keep up the good work

Jason Black


If you want to put in longer runs, sub them for the DWODS on Tuesday and Saturday.


I tore my hamstring doing sprints in CFFB and I am looking at a stretch of time to recover.  Can you recommend a basic template for an upper body only program similar to your CFFB488 post for the older athlete?  As you know in football and other power sports hamstring and knee injuries are very common so I am sure that many could benefit from something like a template for a 6-week upper body cycle.  I can design a fairly crappy program on my own but I don’t know enough about recovery and how I should mix in push and pull movements with volume and intensity for bench, press, dips, pullups, pushups, handstand holds/pushups, etc.  I need to get creative on the metcons but I can scour past posts from CFFB and put together modifications such as one-legged squats, one-legged burpees, right leg only step ups, etc. as my injured leg will allow.  Thanks again for all you do!



Remember the KISS principal.Keep It Simple Stupid.

Train 3 times a week.

Day 1 Upper Body Push.
Day 2 Upper Body Pull.
Day 3 Body Weight Push/Pull.


I’m working on my “Plan” for 2012 and need some advice.  I’ve spent some time with your sites (TTMJ and CFFB) and really like the content and programming.  I was hoping to use your work as the foundation of my plan and do not want to whip up a home-brewed, super-secret plan of my own.

My goals are pretty simple – I want to lose weight (10 day summer vacation in Aruba!) and get stronger.  Specifically, I am currently 40 years old, 6’5″, and 260 lbs with 20-25% body fat and modest recovery abilities.  I should be in the 215-220 range to get my body-fat down to 10%.  My strength goals are currently not well-defined but I want to get comfortable with basic lifts, get stronger and get some dead hang pull ups.  I am not competing in sports so I don’t have a season or sports specific training to worry about.  I do have an elk hunt in the fall of 2012 that is going to involve hiking and hopefully humping elk hindquarters off a mountain in Montana.

I did not get a good lifting foundation with my high school basketball training and have not trained with weights consistently.  I tried CrossFit dot-com WOD’s with scaling but couldn’t recover well enough.  In the past, I have also had my plans fail because of too much intensity.  I have two kids and a job that involves night call, which can limit my sleep at times to only a few hours.  Call is not consistent from week to week and may involve two consecutive days on weekends.  I can usually get 5-8 hours of sleep a night.  I only have time to workout for about an hour (warm-up to cool-down) first thing in the morning.  Not whining, just telling you what I can do. 

My first question is with my goals should I follow your programming?  If I should, where to you advise a 40-year-old novice with modest recovery abilities start?  I am not sure if I should use the Amateur off-season programming from CFFB, the beginner template for power athletes from TTMJ or the CFFB488 template from TTMJ. 

Thank you for your time and advice.



Hey John,

As everyone says thanks a lot for all of the content. My question is centered on recovery. I am a 29, 6’1” and about 165-170lbs. I have been playing competitive Aussie Rules football. I am a really lean guy with a difficult time putting on weight. My diet is close to paleo, the difference is I do consume dairy, protein shakes and I do tend to enjoy the occasional beer with the guys after our games.

My question is regarding recovery specifically for my legs, more specifically after lifting weights and not doing any interval training or sprints. It seems when I do the recommended 5 rep sets or anything higher my legs can be sore for 3-4 days afterwards. They can be so sore that they restrict my ability to push myself during other workouts. I feel that if I don’t lift to the point that I push myself I wont see any gains. I find that if work up to my one rep max on days I do not get as sore and can recover faster.  I have no problem pushing myself during interval training and find I recover from that without soreness. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do to reduce the time I need for recovery? I do not believe the issue is my diet as I am eating a lot of protein and I believe I have good form during my lifts. I’m desperate for suggestions so that I can get back to working on gains.

I really liked your Starting Strength series from August 2010 particularly when you spoke about Deion Sanders and flexibility not necessarily being crucial for his athletic performance and his 40 times. Keep up the great work everyone appreciates it!

Dave Smith

I would say you are a small monkey and not recovering…and not eating enough carbs. Two things lead me to this conclusion…first you run on the “lean side” and all you told me about was the protein you eat, no carbs. Most people who follow a strict traditional paleo diet fall on the low carb side of the carb equation.

You need carbs for recovery, especially in the energy system you are tapping playing Aussie Rules Football.

Increase the carbs.
Contrast baths.


I am currently doing crossfit metcons from the main site and from the Seal fit site, following a 3 days on, one day off schedule. I have a high work capacity from a foundation of distance running and I do well on longer AMRAPs featuring bodyweight movements. However, I am struggling to increase my strength, despite including a strength wod before every metcon that I do. I was wondering if there was someone who could help me out with designing a more efficient program for strength than the one I am currently doing. I currently do the following:

5X5- Back squat
5X5- Bench press
5X one leg squat 4 sets
3X5 Weighted dips

5X5 Deadlift
5X5 Shoulder press
5X5 Weighted pullups

5X5 Front squat
5X5 Bench
5X one leg squat 3 sets
Weighted dips – 3X5

5X5 Deadlift
5X5 Push press
Straight pullups 

I use a progressively heavy load for all sets, working up close to a 5 RM. My metcons usually correspond to the skills I am working on in strength (i.e. on squatting days, I look for metcons using squats but not deadlifts). Hoping someone can help me out with a plan that will allow me to start making real gains in strength. I eat a paleo plus whey protein diet, just in case you were wondering.



2011 recap #4


I have switched 100% to Paleo and had a few questions. I am a natural bodybuilder and fitness model and not sure how to make this work for me. I was eating 250 to 400 grams of carbs a day depending on exercise levels with 300 protein and 80 fat. Since I have cut out my oats and shakes and dropped down to about 150 grams of carbs from Fruit and yams. I have dropped 5 lbs this week which is amazing since I thought I was eating too much and had less cravings than before. But I am trying to put on muscle right now. I took in most of my carbs during 1st meal after sleeping, before and after workouts. I measured every food and ate clean all year round. I was almost eating Paleo before with no gluten, dairy but did do oats and whey shakes etc. Which leads me to my questions:

What would you recommend as guidelines for someone like me? 2-3 self-help books a week. Avoid long walks in the park and too many daily sessions of chat roulette. 

Do you have a good suggestion for the 1st meal of the day after fasting from sleeping? Red meat, roots and fat.

A good pre workout meal? Red meat & tubers.

A good post workout meal? Turkey and tubers.

What is a good quick source of fast acting carbs for post workout maybe a shake of some type would be great? I do not mind drinking egg whites. Roots and tubers.

Any recommended supplementation for athletes? Meat, carbs and fat.

Thank you and if you would prefer we can do a phone call and I would be willing to pay for a consultation.

Thank you,

David Lee Nall
Naturally Fit

2011 recap #5

Hello Johnnie, I hope this finds you well.  For the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege of using my CrossFit Football Cert and or knowledge to develop a few athletes as well as work with developing our CrossFit affiliate team here at Brick CrossFit. I really love the CrossFit Football approach to developing athletes. I have also been following Raphael Ruiz’s teachings by reviewing his weekly videos. With that said, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of support/development from the CrossFit Football community. About a year ago I got an email from you stating that the CrossFit Football program was being revamped and will focus on the CF Football coaches not the CFFB affiliates. Do you have any idea of which direction the program is going and how can those of us with this Cert be more involved? 

Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.

Have a Blessed day,


Last year, I ditched the CFFB affiliates and wanted to focus on the coaches. We have been in the midst of a site redesign for over a year. I know it sounds like we are slacking off, but I promise we have not been. The new site is around the corner and we are excited about.

This new site will have an area for coaches and their contact info. Hopefully, we can bring notice to the coaches we have worked with and promote them.

You are right; we have not done a great job supporting our coaches with resources and training. The CFFB community needs more print material, videos and education.

To fill the need, Raphael, Ben, Luke and myself have been working on advanced offerings for CrossFit Football

– Training and programming for the Professional/Advanced Athlete

Raphael and I have received dozens of phone calls and emails from coaches around the world (many we have worked with and some we have not) with a common issue…a professional athlete walks into your facility and wants you to train them. Getting general population clients into shape can be trying enough, but what if someone who earns millions of dollars walks in the door to be trained. We saw this with the NFL lockout, where NFL players did not have a place to train. Do you know what to do to make them better and continue on field success? This seminar will address this.

– On field movement, sprinting and change of direction

Athletes need to learn to run, accelerate and change direction on the field. Raphael Ruiz and his staff will teach this.

– Position specific clinics for the football and other contact sports.

We are bringing one-day position specific clinics taught by NFL players and other professional power athletes to the CFFB Nation.

You have been training like a pro. Time to learn to play like a pro.

Bruce, keep an eye out for some major changes in 2012.