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Weight Lifting

“But my Doctor says Weightlifting / CrossFit / Fitness / Powerlifting /  Whatever – is bad for me…”

As if the world isn’t confusing enough these days – am I right?

You decide to make some changes in your life – you want to get stronger, or leaner – maybe you want to lose weight, looking to tone up, or just be more healthy.

You kick it around with your peeps. More often than not your – (insert your favorite authoritarian here – Doctor, Family, Friends, Teacher, Life Coach – whatever,) – says a certain fitness style you may be interested in – is bad for you…

What the hell?

And – I tend to agree.

True fitness training, much like any team sport – should have a level of training and ramp up required to safely become proficient at – well, anything.

Take a deep breath. You didn’t jump in a car and start driving immediately did you?

You don’t think you could step off your couch and expect to be drafted into the NFL in one day – right?

Two extremes – everyone drives, only some of us make the NFL…

However – at the end of the day: Most of us took a year or two to learn cursive. Yeah – the writing style. We were taught – however unwillingly, by our teachers.

My point is – not many of us are “naturals” at most anything. We have to learn and adapt over time. Most of us do this better with people who care about our progress – real trainers or coaches.

The real issue isn’t that these particular fitness styles will “hurt” you. Quite the opposite actually.

It’s that many companies and people focus more on your wallet then they do on making sure you safely get the results you are looking for.

There are PLENTY of gyms and “trainers” out there only too eager to take your money in return for the dopamine rush you get from carrying their key card on your keychain, wearing the free t-shirt and drinking from the super cool shaker bottle they gave you.

Free shit AND – You now can walk into their facility, be ignored and completely wreck yourself. Congratulations.

Then what happens? You got hurt or frustrated with no guidance – no direction. A perfect set up for you to never again try something you may have actually been really good at.

Listen man. There is a better way.

Don’t rush your choice.

Do your research first.

Don’t just pick something because it’s “close to the house” and or  “cheap”.

Think of it this way – McDonalds is close to the house and cheap. If you eat there everyday, I can assure you, you won’t like what you will become.

How do you find a quality facility or trainer related to the fitness style you are interested in then you ask?

First – and this is the hardest part, put convenience on the back burner during this research. You are on a mission to find someone to train you. To physically and mentally CHANGE you. They may not be close to your house – or your job. They also may not be the cheapest.

You will need to worry about convenience AFTER you have all the facts.

Secondly – do some online research in your area. Their website should clearly detail what they are all about and how / who is there to support you. Check out their social media, make sure this is a group you want to be associated with.


Go there.

Meet with them face to face. Phone calls are lazy in this scenario. Phone calls are for talking to Grandma. You are looking to commit to a program that’s going to change your life. Take the time to do it properly. In person.

Ask at the front desk about how to begin. Is there a process – an onboarding of any type? Ask about the Staff – what are their certifications? How long have they been coaching and or training members?

I can’t stress this enough – ask to talk to the Owner. Find out what they are all about – does it all match up?

If you’ve made it this far and it all sounds good, ask to try a class. Or if that’s not their policy – just sit through one. Are the members engaged? Are the trainers attentive? How’s the vibe? Can you see yourself here for the long haul?

This research goes a LONG way with not only your safety, but the achievement of your goals.

So while your – insert your favorite authoritarian here – Doctor, Family, Friends, Teacher, Coach – whatever, – says a certain fitness style you may be interested in is bad for you:

They may be right if you don’t take the time to do the research needed to begin any new activity.

It’s on you if you rush something as important as this.

I own my own gym – CrossFit Iron Legion in downtown Ocala, Florida. As the Owner – I personally invite you to stop by our place while you are doing your research.

I’d love to talk to you about where you are looking to go with your fitness related goals. While you are here, I’ll personally introduce you to our professional, Doctor led staff and take you on a tour of our well equipped facility.

Be safe out there guys. There are still a few gyms out there that care about you and your progression – its on you to seek them out.

I hope to meet you while you are looking!

– Coach Ted

Weight Lifting

Don’t look back – you’re not going that way. – Ragnar Lothbrok


It echoes in my mind. Last year was a year I spent in reflection. I watched the world lose its mind in regards to friends, family, fitness and health.


The noise was loud. Deafening. GO LEFT one side screams – GO RIGHT screams the other side. Both of them are so confident in their stance.


They are loud, angry and while they think themselves lions, they all remind me of dead eyed sheep, or crazy wild eyed lemmings.


As of this writing they still spread confusion and fear as they scream, lips frothing and bodies shaking with their convictions. I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon.


But. Meh.


I’m not a big follower. I’ve always marched to my own drum, blazed my own path – why should that change now?


Right? Left? Looking for a direction through the noise?


There is one direction that has always suited me – and it should help you find your way through this crazy time we are all embroiled in:




One strong step at a time – forward – in a direction that suits you, your family and your immediate circle of your people. 


Forward. Through the noise. Through the distractions.


Move forward with and from a position of strength.


My reflection over the last year solidified that Iron Legion will be that position of strength for you. We rely on each other here and build each other up through our style of training.


At 3, 2, 1 GO! we all work – hard. Together, shoulder to shoulder, we train and build a confidence and a strength that goes with us when we leave these walls.


Iron Legion is now more than ever on a mission to Forge Better Humans. We go WAY beyond fitness and we work diligently to develop a ferocious strength and confidence in each and every member here.


The outside world gets stranger every day. Inside these walls though we train with a purpose, with strength and direction. 


Our commitment to our members has been renewed and stamped firmly in new Iron.


Iron Legion welcomes beginners and long time athletes alike. We build and support leaders and doers. The challenges we face in here – prepare us all for anything that comes our way out there.


Take a chance. Shut out the noise. Align yourself with others on the same mission as you – and tread FORWARD. One strong, confident step at a time.


We got your back. We are here and we are ready to make you the strongest version of yourself. 


Do it for you – and for those closest to you.


Yours in Strength and Confidence,


Coach Ted



The “New” Normal. It’s a catch phrase that started going around late April of this year. It’s in reference to some of the new recommendations and in some instances requirements when it comes to living in 2020.

Some of the new normal is – well, actually what most of us should be doing anyway. Washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, keeping a respectful distance, and staying away from others when we are sick.

Others are “uncomfortable” and a change from our regular day to day. Homeschooling kids, wearing masks, shortened business hours, closed businesses, and more – can cause frustration and a lack of patience in a lot of us.

Will it ever end? Thats a topic for another blog…

This entire “new normal” phase of 2020 is wrapped around a virus. A virus that doesn’t appear to have a very negative impact on the majority of our healthy population. 

The healthiest of us seem to shrug it off like a cold.

The immune compromised and the unhealthy stand the biggest challenges when facing this virus.

It stands to reason that a healthy immune system is a huge benefit to anyone in a situation like this. Many folks decided long before this virus to live healthy active lifestyles and their risk during this time is quite low.

Some folks however – have had their eyes opened by the spread of this virus. Their lives before the virus hit may have been less than healthy. And let’s face it:  Life can consume us pretty quick if we don’t make active decisions to prioritize our health. Overworked parents, super stressful jobs, poor eating habits, lack of proper rest, little to no physical activity – leaving many people very vulnerable during this time.

Maybe this is you. Maybe you’ve wished you made better choices before this virus hit. 

Take a deep breath. I have great news – you too can have a healthy, strong immune system! It’s not too late! I want to help.


But I caution you – my suggestions are not products or pills. My suggestion is also not to just slap on a mask and hope someone fixes the problem so you can go back to being a danger to yourself and others.

Nope, I’m suggesting 5 ways – 5 Radical Ways – to Live in the New Normal.


How does one strengthen their immune systems? I’m not a scientist, but I’ve been around a lot of healthy people in my life. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Start eating like an adult. No fad diets, no shake programs, no sodas. Stop skipping meals. Dump the fried food.

 Food was never meant to be difficult. People make it difficult to make a buck. 

Stick with lean meats, naturally occurring fats and green leafy vegetables. 

Or – just google: “Whole Food Nutrition”. 

If you need help from there shoot me an email. Put the diet coke down. 

2. Go outside. Get some sun. Walk around your neighborhood or take a walk outside while you are at work. 

If you can be alone with your thoughts – do that. If you’d rather involve your family or friends – do that, but get some time outside – in the sun and fresh air, everyday.

3. Drink enough water for you. Water is key first thing in the morning – your brain needs it, your muscles need it. 

Water is also important for flushing out the negative effects of your old life before the new normal began. 

Homework: google: “how much water should I drink for my gender, weight and activity level”. Then get a container and make it happen. Every day. 

Put all the diet cokes in the trash.

4. Rest – you’ve got to get 6-8 hours of rest per day. Rest meaning sleep.  I can’t emphasize this enough. Your body cannot heal itself or fight off anything unless you are well rested.

5. Exercise – find something you enjoy. Don’t just jump on a quick gym membership because it’s “cheap” or “close”. 

You should be looking forward to your workouts and training everyday. If your workouts are drudgery it’s time to change it up. 

There are so many things out there to help us stay active. Find a program that intrigues you – maybe one that makes you nervous and sounds like a challenge. 

Step outside of your comfort zone and go for it. It’s the New Normal after all!

And there you have it. 5 Radical Ways to live in the New Normal! Any one of these done with consistency will help. I’m asking that you do ALL 5 with consistency and make them a part of your New Normal – forever. 

Let’s make the New Normal exactly what it should be. An opportunity to make a few changes that could very well save your life. 

“New” means – well, new. As in – not the same as before – a drastic change in your lifestyle.

What do you have to lose? 

If you need help or guidance on any of these, I’m here to help. Hit me back and I’ll help you get where you want to go.

Coach Ted




Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day, so why not start the day right with a nutritious & delicious Mixed Berry Protein Muffin.

A healthy on the go breakfast even the kids will enjoy!

Most days having enough time to get my kids dressed is a challenge, let alone feed them and myself!  I love having options for us to eat in the car as we head to school/ work.

I know there are plenty of options that are pre-packaged for on the go breakfast, but let’s be honest, they are not great for you.  Most have a lot of added sugars, preservatives, and all the extras we are looking to avoid.


Mixed Berry Protein Muffin Recipe!


1 cup Kodiak Protein Pancake Mix

1 Scoop Cinnamon Cookie Batter Protein*

1 c Mixed Berries

2 T Coconut Sugar

1 T Agave Syrup

1 egg

¾ c Almond Milk

1 T Coconut Oil



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all ingredients except berries and 1 T coconut sugar

Sir until thoroughly mixed.  Batter should not be clumpy

Fold in berries

Pour in lined or greased muffin tin

Sprinkle remaining coconut sugar evenly over muffins

Bake for 16 minutes (until inserted toothpick come s out clean)

Allow to cool before serving

Store in an airtight container


Makes 12 Mini Muffins


Enjoy your breakfast to go!

I stored my muffins in the refrigerator because I wanted to make them last as long as possible (no preservatives=less shelf life) and heat them in the microwave each morning to warm them up.

Mornings are better for everyone when we have had a great breakfast in our bellies!


This Strawberry Protein Ice Cream is full of protein, real strawberries, and it tastes AMAZING.  A perfect dessert that won’t wreck your waistline.

I love Ice Cream!  A LOT of Ice Cream

I will admit I have been known to indulge in some….err. a lot of ice cream.  Sometimes it is a reasonable amount, and others it is an entire container…..insert face smack emoji.  Unfortunately after these indulgence I not only feel horrible physically, but mentally too.

So, I had to come up with an alternative.  This Strawberry Protein Ice Cream recipe was my answer.

Now I can eat ta serving or the whole recipe and I do not feel bad (mentally or physically)


It’s a win, win, win!


Watch me make the recipe here

Strawberry Protein Ice Cream Recipe


1 c Vanilla Yogurt

1 scoop Strawberry Milkshake Protein

1-2 T Coconut sugar



Combine all ingredients

Mix thoroughly (I use a manual food processor, but if you chop the strawberries finely you can hand mix)

Pour in a bowl of choice


Freeze at least 2 hours



Easy to make and you can make multiple batches at one time.

This is an easy recipe to make, but because it takes a little time to freeze I like to make larger quantities.  Making bigger batches gives me several days of Ice cream or I can share with the kids.  Fun little trick for the kids……eating ice cream that is good for them (because healthy…..yuck, LOL)



Are you craving something sweet but you do not want to mess up your progress?  Me too! Then I made this Chocolate Protein Mousse Recipe….GAME CHANGER!

I love Dessert, but unfortunately they love me too

I will admit that I am a dessert junky (that’s the first step, right?).  But as much as I love dessert I love being comfortable in my skin too.

Can’t have both, right?

Sort of.

We just have to find healthier, but still tasty alternatives to the things we love.  This Chocolate Protein Mousse Recipe does just that.  It is full of protein, but lower in sugar than a traditional mousse recipe.

You can watch me make this recipe here

Chocolate Protein Mousse Recipe


1 c Vanilla Yogurt

1 scoop 1st Phorm Level 1 Milk Chocolate Protein Powder

1 T Cocoa Powder

1 T Coconut sugar

½ t Vanilla extract



Combine all ingredients

Mix thoroughly

Pour in a bowl of choice


Refrigerate 1 hour



Fast & Easy makes this recipe perfect for the sudden onset cravings (let’s call them SOC, lol)

This recipe takes very little prep time and the ingredients are easy to keep on hand.  One bag of coconut sugar will last a long time and yogurt is a great staple to keep in the refrigerator.  When SOC strikes whip up a batch of Chocolate Protein Mousse and you live to fight another day…..and so do our loved ones that suffer the wrath of our sweet tooth mood swings.



These protein balls are an easy snack that is packed full of energy. They are great for a busy day when all you can do is grab a couple and run out the door.

As a mother of 3 I understand all too well how quickly a day can go by and I have not had enough to eat.  Unfortunately everyone suffers, not just me.  Yes, I get a little cranky, LOL. On top of a great pick me up snack they are very quick and easy to make, which is perfect for those of us with very little spare time.


German Chocolate Cake Protein Balls (GF)

Servings: 24
Calorie content per ball: 173 calories (Carbohydrates: 12.5 grams Protein: 6 grams Fat: 11 grams)

*Macro information is based on the ingredients I used.  If you are changing up the recipe in any way you will need to recalculate your macros.  If you have no clue what I am talking about but want to, read my blog What Are Macros?


¾ cup coconut flour
¾ cup almond flour
½ cup 1st Phorm German Chocolate protein powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup honey
¾ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon butter extract
*Optional: coconut flakes and cocoa powder for topping


1. Mix all ingredients together except the coco powder & Coconut Flakes.
2. Stir until all ingredients until completely mixed.
3. Put mix in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
4. Once chilled roll dough into 1 ½ inch ball
5. Place on wax paper or in mini muffin papers
6. Refridgerate in an air tight container until ready to eat.
7. Optional: lightly dust the balls with cocoa powder and sprinkle with coconut flakes before serving


I hope you enjoy this Recipe as much my kids and I do!



When I started Iron Legion – I wanted to do more than just provide an average gym experience. Anyone could write a couple workouts, buy some flashy equipment and slap a sign on social media that says “open for business”.


What many don’t realize – is that’s the easy part. Hell, I’ll even go far enough to say the fun part. It’s why the barrier to entry is so low for gyms, it’s actually easy to get started and really fun to spend the money and sweat building the physical gym space.


The hard part starts after you look around your gym and realize no one actually came because you bought the latest shit. They didn’t come because you took it upon yourself to create a space with your bare hands.


Clocks ticking. And the rents due. And so is the equipment payment. Yikes.


When I started working one on one with people, I noticed right away the kind of impact a coach can have on someone’s life.


The kind of impact a leader can have on someone’s life.


It wasn’t the equipment. It wasn’t the space. I started training members in my backyard with a medball I made with an old shitty basketball and some duct tape. People kept coming. I can tell you it wasn’t for that medball. Even though it was creative and looked hardcore.


I’ve learned over time that it’s no secret that everyone has their own struggles with their day to day life. And each person’s struggles are unique and important to them. 


What I found was that a lot of people (including me) are looking for some type of guidance through the chaos. I learned long ago that hard work can help shut out the noise for a while and give clarity.


Being able to take some dedicated time to work hard is why a lot of people are drawn to a gym – any gym for that matter. 


The problem is, without leadership, they find themselves without direction again and again, facility after facility and they eventually just fail out. Or just get bored to death. 


My Staff and I at Iron Legion work day in and day out not only creating cool workouts for you guys, but ways to make you better people all around. We want to find ways to build you up in every level of your life.  To give you the support you need to help grow your confidence, your strength and your camaraderie with others.


Our core values of Integrity, Loyalty, Giving Back, Suffering through the Sacrifice of comfort, become the next level of your training. 


Over the years we’ve created various different ways to give back to our community and develop our staff and members. And our community shows up in numbers to support our various events: 


Down for Donuts – a Down Syndrome Achievement Center Fundraiser, MURPH – a fundraiser for The Navy Seal Foundation, Kimberly Center – a fundraiser for their Center for Children of Abuse, GRIT Strength Challenge – a fundraising collaboration with The City of Ocala Parks and Recreation for disadvantaged youth in our area, Toys for Tots…


…and more are ways for us as Iron Legion to set a new standard in the Ocala community. Showing that we have what it takes to give back to those less fortunate. We are proud of these events and our members and fans that support them through volunteering, competing or spectating. We’ve been growing these events more and more over the years.


There’s one thing that we’ve been doing every Saturday for almost 8 years now.


Our Saturday morning Flag run.


We are an active community – not afraid of hard work and deeply respectful of each other. 


If you are new, or you witness it downtown – it may just look like an 800m run on a Saturday morning.


And it’s on me to make sure that everyone understands that it is so much more.


We assemble in front of Iron Legion at 9am every Saturday morning (public welcome). The American Flag is run at the front of the group to lead and represent all active and former duty military that have made it their duty to maintain and fight for our freedoms. 


The American Flag also represents every American citizen -every Ocala citizen who puts his or her heart and soul into their family, their career and their people to do the right thing, to make this community a better place.


Its flanked by the Blue Line and Red Line flags to represent and honor those who put their lives on the line everyday – Law Enforcement, Fire Department, First Responders, Corrections Officers – every hour of every day to make sure your family is safe and protected.


Its backed by the Iron Legion flag to show that we acknowledge everyone striving to make a better world.


The crew runs behind the flags. We run together, as a pack to show support. We don’t leave each other behind. Its not a race.


We run together, following the American flag’s route – not shaving corners. Integrity. 


We run through downtown Ocala as a show of respect, honor and strength of what we believe in.


Iron Legion will always have the back of anyone willing to work hard to make a better world. We show respect and honor to anyone that’s fighting to make a difference. Our flags signify those people – and our crew running behind them shows the strength of our support.


I ask that everyone run the Flag Runs on Saturday for this reason. I am also going to take this opportunity to reach out to any of our veterans, our active duty service members and anyone who believes that we can make a difference, to support this run. To help us lead our community by setting an example of leadership and integrity. To support the idea that we are truly trying to build something bigger than the normal gym experience.


Every Saturday at 9am


As the Owner and Leader of Iron Legion – I can assure you that we are building something different here. Something better. It’s not just a workout – it’s a fresh, new perspective on life. One of strength, community and confidence that’s built from the inside out.

We are here to help, and to give back.

Good luck out there! – Ted

I wrote this article some time ago. This is still an issue I see all too often. Most people aren’t giving weightlifting the attention to technique that it deserves – this stalls their progress and frustrates the lifter. Because I’ve seen this problem happening too much, I’d like to share this article with you guys.

Let’s take the dip portion of the Jerk. The Dip portion of most of The “Jerks” I see posted on social media, are simply too fast to apply the proper tensions and muscle sequencing. Heavier weight would cause a faster, shorter dip; but trying to emulate that with light weight only forces the lifter out of position. 

Coaches, Speed should only be added if it doesn’t compromise positioning. If you continue to dip fast, and it keeps pushing you forward to the toes; then stop dipping fast. You’re looking for elasticity in the Dip, if you over tension the quads then the hips will shift underneath you. It should be an obvious correction, but sometimes we like to walk before we can crawl.

You can’t watch Ilya Ilyin perform a 535 pound Jerk, and expect to have the same speed or oscillation for that matter. 

In every lift(especially warming up), start with a smooth pattern, not a fast one, then allow speed to build gradually. I see this happen all too often when people warm up with a barbell. They put 350# of force into a movement that requires much less. The fastest part of most lifts(olympic) will be as you move under the bar. Work on your transitions; timing between the Up and Down phases of each movement.

The Russians and Chinese are two of the most successful weightlifting programs of all time. You can SCREAM at the top of your lungs, “Yeah, but they’re on PED’s!”. My rebuttal will always be, “What country isn’t?”. So we can finally give credit to two systems of teaching that work well, instead of disregarding them completely based on some weird moral dilemma you have with PED usage. Most of their lifters are 5 for 6, and 6 for 6 when not going for World Record Attempts.

Realize that CrossFit is a mix of multiple sports. Look at the Top 10 competitors of each of the individual sports that make up CrossFit. If you want good examples of Olympic Lifting Champions, look them up on YouTube. 

Yes, Asa Bartow’s Snatch is “really pretty”, but he’s no Lu Xiaojun, or Klokov for that matter. Same thing with Gymnastics, or Powerlifting. This is the exact thing that I did when I came in to the CrossFit arena. It’s also a huge reason why when I first started coaching, I received a ton of weird looks.

I wasn’t using the Conventional CF Cues given to me at some cert. I was using real world evidence. 6 years later, I can’t tell you how many people i’ve had come up to me and say “remember when you told me about those internally rotated shoulders” or “I’ve noticed people don’t actually jump, or shrug, at the top of a clean” or “you were right my toes are coming off the ground during my pull, so I should keep my toes down”, etc.

Most of us are so concerned about lifting heavy weight, that we will ALLOW ourselves to move into mechanically shit positions to do so. This is unfortunate, as it usually leads to injury. We need to change our brain when it comes to weightlifting. 


Instead of looking at the bar and weights, as such; try and picture it as a Pen and a piece of paper. Your goal is to draw the same line, over and over again. Typically with practice, you will be able to draw that line faster and faster; but there will be an end point to speed and stability. Find that point, and live there. Start thinking of weightlifting as an ART form, instead of just picking up heavy objects. If you don’t like all of that coordination….there’s always Powerlifting, hehe.


-Iron Legion Head Coach Jason Philyaw