When I joined in January 2012, my blood chemistry was typical of someone on his way to some pretty significant health issues in the not- too-distant future. Nick and the rest of his excellent coaching staff brought me along a well-considered path to getting in shape. Although ConnFit athletes are expected to work hard — and I mean really hard — my workouts were tailored to accommodate my fitness level as well as any previous injuries.
The months passed, and my level of fitness increased dramatically — even though it seemed that at every class I hovered near the bottom in terms of weight lifted, speed, number of repetitions, or time required to finish a given set of exercises.
During this period I made two additional changes: I decreased to almost nothing my consumption of refined carbohydrates and artificial additives; and, due to side effects, I weaned myself off various medications that had been prescribed for me. When my blood chemistry was tested again in May 2012, all of the values were within normal range. Amazing.
As if my jaw-dropping medical results weren’t amazing enough, becoming a member of Santa Barbara Strength had an even more unexpected result. I am a man in my mid-50s, but I feel less than half my age. My energy level, stamina, and mental focus have all increased dramatically.
All of this has been possible because of the expertise and technical excellence of the coaching and programing at Santa Barbara Strength. But it also happened because of the incredibly supportive atmosphere I found there. SBS is not the kind of gym where you ride stationary bikes while reading a book or watching TV. This place demands you complete attention and the ability to dig deep and work beyond you comfort zone. Coaches place the highest priority on proper form and injury prevention, but they — and the other athletes — expect you to push yourself to the limit. Your real limit — not just what you thought you could do. And while you push yourself farther than you ever thought possible, and as the workouts reach points where most people would give up, the other athletes cheer you on and shout out encouragement. The sense of camaraderie is obvious even to people visiting the gym for the first time.
All of these aspects of Santa Barbara Strength — the knowledge and technical excellence of the coaches, the tougher than tough workouts, and the atmosphere where people know each other and work together, and compete (mostly with yourself) in a most positive way — create a situation where you really can make almost incredible progress to fitness and health.
I believe SBS has saved my life. And I know it has made it a lot more fun.
I started working with Nick after undergoing bilateral periacetabular osteotomy surgeries to correct congenital hip dysplasia. At completion of physical therapy after my second surgery I was at a loss as to how to move forward to regain the strength that I had lost after two years of surgery and recovery. I contacted Nick knowing that he had expertise in post-surgery/injury recovery programming and that he had worked with clients in similar situations. I knew that due to the structural changes in my hips I was basically looking at creating a new foundation for my whole body and after speaking with Nick he assured me that he could help me safely create that foundation and reach my goal of getting back to kicking butt at the gym!
After assessing the state of my hips and overall conditioning Nick developed a prehab program focused on building strength and stability and improving my mobility. The workouts were challenging and often humbling, but after a few weeks I began to see noticeable changes in my performance and after three months of working with Nick I was able to perform a bodyweight squat (woo hoo!), something I had previously wondered if I would ever be able to do again. It was then that I knew for sure that all of the hard work was 100% worth it and would continue to pay off as I followed the program.
I could go on and on about how Nick’s talent as a coach helped me regain physical strength and how his compassion as a person helped me build confidence in my ability to recover past what I thought was possible, but I think you should really experience it for yourself. If you’re looking for help recovering from surgery or an injury, or if you’re jumping on the exercise train for the first time and want to create a solid foundation from which to progress, call Nick. He will listen, and he will work with you to help you safely reach your fitness goals.
Nick is the guy.
I’m Shari. I’m not the guy. I’m not a guy. I’m a 5’4″ girl who weighs in at a solid (triumphant) 128 lbs.
I’m small, shy, quiet.
The gym has always been an intimidating place for me. Too loud, too aggressive, too much heavy metal moving in bizarre and inexplicable directions.
I am also anorexic.
For me, this comes with a terrible body image. And a cycle: I want to feel better, so I want to look better; I want to go to the gym, but I’m afraid to go to the gym, so – maybe I’ll just wait to eat, until after I get in a solid workout. If I’m hungry enough, I’ll forget I’m too nervous to go, right? (Wrong…)
I’m recovering. Which, honestly, is a daily process and probably always will be. But I made it.
Nick is the guy who helped me.
When I went in to SB Strength and consulted with Nick, I was at my weakest point – ever. I was consuming roughly 300 calories each day. Less than 1,000 calories per day is officially starvation, in case you didn’t know; I didn’t.
Nick is the coach you want to meet, when you are ready to get better but need a little help – or a lot.
Because Nick knows his shit, and he won’t be taking any from you… No excuses, no bullshit – you do what you can do, honestly. Then he can help, in whatever way is best, which is what he did for me.
Nick refused to train with me, unless I kept my food intake up.
His first assignment for me was to walk on the beach, with a snack and some juice, for no more than 20 mins.
When I could do that – because, at first, I could only make it for about 5 mins – Nick let me into his gym.
Nick’s gym isn’t your average gym.
In Nick’s gym, you know what every piece of equipment does because he shows you how it works.
He can tell you which muscles you’re using. How they work. What kind of movement will help you and which kind will make you injure yourself.
He can, and will, draw you a picture to help you get what you need to know.
He’ll tell you, in clear words, what you’re doing well and how to improve what’s not going well yet. And the whole way, he’s cheering for you and helping you build the confidence you need to succeed.
Nick is the guy you want standing next to you telling you to get your ass down into that squat. You can do it. Belly breath, spread the floor. Better. Nice job, today.
Nick taught me skills that I can take anywhere. But if you get the chance, work with Nick.
Nick is the guy. SB Strength is the place.
I first heard about ConnFit through a friend (Whitney Ence… a previous SBS athlete) who recommended it to me knowing that I enjoyed weight training. I came in for my intro workout secretly feeling like I was fairly fit and was totally schooled. Although I felt like I was going to die after the “Baseline” workout, I was sold. Now, almost 2 years later, I am still hooked. And although you will most likely hear me say that I should have a lot more to show for it (i.e., 2 years of training), I never would have imagined being able to do most of what I do, and I am extremely happy with the gains that I have made. I have always loved feeling strong, and training at SBS shows me that I’m even stronger than I think I am (which is mostly my problem – “mindbottling”)… example given: deadlifting 250 lbs. Yeah, never would have even thought this was remotely possible.
Not only have I made systematic progress in many movements and skills (except maybe wallballs… ugh….), the amount of knowledge I have acquired about form, movement, and general weight training and conditioning is immeasurable. The head coach, Nick, is fabulous in every respect about focusing on all of the above, but more than anything he is just such a great person. The enthusiasm and motivation that he demonstrates for the gym and his athletes is extremely deep and personal, and I think that is what drives our community. His heart is completely in this and it clearly shows. And being one of the OG’s, it has been amazing to watch the community grow.
To conclude, I think my baseline progress is representative of the systematic progress that one can make with consistent Crossfit programming… and is representative of my progress for many other WOD’s and movements… So, here it is, starting with my intro:
4/14/10 (Intro) – 8:24 (knee push ups, green strap for pull ups)
5/29/10 – 6:22 (knee push ups, green strap for pull ups)
9/7/10 – 5:53 (RX push ups, blue strap for pull ups)
11/1/10 – 7:20 RX 9/20/11 – 6:09 RX