Around the Whiteboard: Michael Blair

Certifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

CrossFit Level 1 and 2 Trainer

Favorite WOD: Adam Brown

2 Rounds For Time

24 Deadlifts (295/205 lb)

24 Box Jumps (24/20 in)

24 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)

24 Bench Press (195/125 lb)

24 Box Jumps (24/20 in)

24 Wall Ball shots (20/14 lb)

24 Cleans (145/100 lb)

Favorite Lift: Snatch (full/Squat), I used to hate it but now it is by far my favorite lift. As far as programming for athletes, I believe the barbell back squat is the most beneficial. I just think the snatch is fun.

Deadlift: 535

Back Squat: 465

Snatch: 215

Clean and Jerk: 285

Favorite Food: Pizza (thin crust of course) and Ice Cream (preferably milkshakes)

Favorite Movie: Inception, I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan.

Favorite Athlete: Rich Froning is probably my favorite. I always loved how he could beat people in workouts from just moving better at a steady pace. Every movement he does in CrossFit is just the right way to do it. A close second would be Peyton Manning for obvious reasons.

Dream Job: Director of Physical Therapy/ Rehabilitation for the University of Tennessee Sports Medicine Team, in this dream I also own a winery and Tennessee Whiskey distillery. I also own a CrossFit gym that doubles as a custom Harley cooperative and bar. My dream is very busy.

Favorite Workout Song: Right now, probably Fast Lane from Bad Meets Evil

Favorite Motivational Quote: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” -Oscar Wilde

In summation, be yourself. Don’t let your job, society, friends or even family tell you what you are passionate about. If you want to do something then do it.

How did you find CrossFit and what drew you to getting started? I was working at Fort Benning as the Executive Officer for an Infantry Basic Training company in 2011. One of our Drill Sergeants kind of got the others into it. We all worked out in the same gym and I had done Military athlete, P90X, you name it. I was not in good shape and didn’t have much time in my day to workout. I was really interested initially in how short the workouts were and different every day. You just looked at it and did what it told you to do as fast as you could. Of course, it grew from there. I kind of just woke up one day and said: “I want to be good at this and I want this to be my thing”.

How long have you been doing CrossFit? 9 years consistently, I recently started doing it more intermittently to meet some of my own personal fitness goals. Brenton was my first workout, in 2011.  I got my level 1 in 2013. I got my level 2 in 2015. CSCS was this year.

What impact has CrossFit had on your life, lifestyle, and level of fitness? I owe so much of who I am today to CrossFit. I struggled so much in my life with personal body image and my own fitness. I always kind of worked out, but I felt like I never knew what to do. What I found is that there is a science that tells us what to do. I continue to learn as much as I can so that I can help others meet their fitness goals. My passion driving me toward Physical therapy stemmed from CrossFit. While coaching my own affiliate I helped a 63-year-old man who had recently had a hip replacement get to where he could do box jumps. Seeing him take control of his own life inspired me to help others. In terms of my own fitness, it is something I am always thinking about and working on. Before, it certainly was not.

What is your athletic background? How did you get started in those sports? I played almost all sports until High School. I played varsity football (Fullback and Middle Linebacker) and competed in Judo at the state level. I eventually left football to be more competitive in Judo. I was big and strong so Football was kind of just something I fell into. Judo was basically from an obsession with the movie The Last Samurai. Of course, things got a little more serious from there. I knew I wanted to be in the Army so I thought knowing Judo might be useful, but I really got interested in the sport aspect of it.

Have you always known that you wanted to be involved in training and coaching others?  It was really not until CrossFit that I gained any interest in coaching others. I have always had a pretty good ability to teach others just about anything that I understood myself. I have what I would call a gift for seeing movement limitations and inefficiencies. I watch all the time how people walk, sit, stand, run, squat, etc. Playing detective on what could be causing someone pain or to not move properly is when I am most happy. Now, coaching is one of the things that I am most passionate about. It is really my life’s calling to help people be healthier, more functional, and pain-free. I can’t really explain how strongly I feel about this calling.

What do you love most about coaching others? I love seeing someone do something they thought they couldn’t do. I love seeing people improve and fall in love with working out as I did. I love it when someone tells me “yeah, I did that thing you told me and now XYZ doesn’t hurt anymore”. There is a lot to love, but seeing people meet their goals, whatever they may be due to coaching from me makes me the happiest.

Tell us about a CrossFit moment or achievement of which you are particularly proud. I never really knew for sure if I was good at this job. I thought I was but it is hard to tell. I have had multiple members at this gym come up and thank me for coaching them and tell me that my coaching got them to something they wanted. They will never know how much those words mean to me.

What is your funniest CrossFit moment?  My Chiropractor and I were competing in a team competition. He was doing adjustments and I was just chilling with my shoes off and in a beach chair. It was at that time they said, “hey your heat is about to start”. Needless to say, going from beach chair lounging to burpees and snatches didn’t go well.

What is one goal you have yet to achieve in CrossFit but are working hard towards?  I have achieved most of the big CrossFit specific goals that I wanted. A sub-3-minute Fran, bodyweight snatch, strict ring muscle-up etc. But now I really am just wanting to meet some aesthetic goals of my own.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of CrossFit? Video games, riding my Harley, and my family. Oh yeah, and I go to school all the time as well. I think I am in the Army Reserves as well.

What is your advice for new members? Don’t worry about the weight, the reps or the time. And don’t worry about what others are doing. Focus on doing every movement as perfectly as you can. Not just the snatches and handstands, but the little stuff like burpees as well. Then the speed and weight can come when you’re ready.

What do you love most about No Excuses CrossFit compared to other CrossFit gyms?  No Excuses has great members. That’s an obvious one. But I really love how it has a logical well thought out program that is suitable for all skill levels. It integrates a holistic approach to caring for members and doesn’t needlessly push members to goals for its own sake. I genuinely believe No Excuses CrossFit is in the business of making people healthier and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to coach here.