Shrugged Collective

Nuggets & Pearls 1: Too Much Coffee

I don’t want to call it advice. 

People stiffen up as soon as they feel your bark and the shove of your two-cents. As someone who has always made a habit out of talking loud and much too often, I can say that, as a communication tactic, it doesn’t get you far.

This is one of those lessons everybody gets in time. The only thing you’ve got any real control over is  your present self, on good days. People go along with the bark because they feel like they have to, damn social rules and all. It wouldn’t be cool if they told you to fuck off, so instead they stir their gin and tonic to death.

No, I would rather call the Nuggets & Pearls column a mere list of suggestions. This is experience, caffeine and loud desert rock talking mostly, so I hope that sets the proper expectations. I don’t aim to change your mind, I just think this stuff might leave you better off in the gym.

Mad coffee respect.

A photo posted by Chris Moore (@barbellbuddha) on


And a one, and a two…Well, maybe just 5 to start:

1. It’s dead simple

I would say there are just two kinds of people in the gym. Some obsess over programming details and exercise selection, and then there are those who put everything they’ve got into the obvious things that matter most – Squats, pulls, presses, heavy swings and shoves. The tall glasses of goat milk kiefer after hard training. A plate of pastured meat with fatty veggies before a full nights sleep. Big dreams of heavy barbells and glory. That’s the sort of stuff you need first.

So, which of the two are you? Remember, you’re not what you talk about doing. You’re what you do.

2. Lean on great people, and tell them you appreciate it

I get asked all the time about programs, books, seminars, coaches, all that. I do my best to give good advice. Above all, I’m honest.

You’ll never find a final solution for anything. As soon as you nail down your method you go changing, so it doesn’t last. That’s the fun, so loosen up. The best you can do is surround yourself with great people.

Get respectful, nurturing, inspiring and appreciative mentors. Find fierce training partners that will take zero shit and will work to nail your ass to the wall, daily. That’s priceless. Put your trust in an honest coach, they will always tell you what’s what. And of course, find yourself an ask kicking women and keep her happy.

Trust me on this.

3. A tiny dose of play goes a long way

I understand why people put so much effort into their mobility work. It is game changing, especially if you’ve struggled with movement due to injury and wear. But that said, I hate it more than anything else in the gym.

It bores me to death. I’ve tried it all countless times, under all manner of guidance. It’s just not for me. I prefer to be up off the ground and play. So, a fun alternative that seems to compliment my heavy barbell work nicely is chasing my three-year-old boy around the local playground.

I go up narrow ladders and slide down bumpy slides. I climb through tiny little doors and carefully up those rope walls. Where I struggle I pass back trough. Where I am limited I stretch and try again. It’s an incredible alternative, you should try it. Remind yourself of what it feels like to play with 100% effort and focus.

If you’re having more fun, the barbells will get heavier.   


4. Effect over detail

Never get too caught up in numbers. They are important, but they don’t mean anything on their own.

They come together to form a unit of training dose. However, if you don’t get the specific effect that you’re after, the numbers are a waste. There will be days when your warm-ups come easy, and your programed 3 sets of 5 will all feel like super productive and challenging work sets. Other days you will struggle for an hour just to pull your weightlifting shoes on. All the work will feel like shit. It’s fine.

Above all be flexible, or else you might bend.

Do not take what isn’t there, and never force anything. If you are hard working and reasonable the next session will be a different story. For now, take all the reps you need to get quality work done.

5. You gotta row more often, Darling. 

One of the things that astonishes me about some modern fitness programs is the lack of heavy rowing. I don’t want to piss in your morning cereal, but I don’t see how you can call your training complete unless you’re rowing heavy and frequently.

Do them with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells or rings, even the machine or cable varieties are great. Perform heavy sets of 5, where you try and beat your best for 3-4 weeks. Back the weight down and do as many reps as you can. You can get wild. Just do them. You’ll be a much stronger, more muscular person with proper arms and lats. Deadlifts and cleans will never feel better.

That’s all that I have for now. We can keep the nuggets going in the comments below. You need to provide a name and email, we prefer to keep it quality. But I’ll answer any questions that might have gotten stirred up here.

Ask away,



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Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • Excellent morning read from abroad Chris.
    Today is day one of a three day Master’s CrossFit event where I am judging and supporting fellow Athletes from our complex. This will sure give me the pump to share positive vibes to the competing inspirations participating today.

      • Sure. Yet, only one correct way. Show some respect. Ive seen good men fight and die for that flag and come home underneath one. Its not a fashion statement, nor a curtain.

        • I’m not a military person. I didn’t hang it in honor to my country, although I dig my country. I put it up as a symbol of change in MY life. It’s MY flag in this specific instance. I get why people get uptight. But this is mine.

          • Same flag but seen from a different perspective front to back or back to front, as in this case, at least it’s not like the Brits union jack flag, upside down it means SOS!
            I’m a former military man, the flag is the flag, no disrespect intended nor taken

  • Hey Chris,

    Loving daily so far, I love learing new things constantly and being tested on what I think I know about training and nutrition and fittness. I’m a 21 year old broke college kid, and you said it best in 148 posted earlier, use this knowledge and never stop learning. Thanks so much for what you and the other guys do and keep doing it I love learning!


  • Hey Chris, what you said about playing more totally resonates with me. I super hate mobility work but love running around the playground playing with my daughter. Play more!

  • Chris,
    When you said more rowing, I immediately cringed thinking of the concept 2! I’m obviously just a CrossFit girl with no previous lifting experience but I’m learningggg! I just wanted to thank you for filling in my time between barbell shrugged episodes 🙂

  • Chris,
    You scared me with the title “too much coffee.” I thought you were going to say I need to drink less coffee… My bad, I jumped to conclusions, I should have know you would never put that kind of negativity out into the universe.
    I’m working on putting the extra rows into effect in my current training. Getting stronger every day. Thanks for all of the knowledge you’re constantly putting out there, it is greatly appreciated.

  • Great post Chris. As a home garage crossfitter sometimes I really drag and have a hard time getting started. Knowing I’m not the only person out there who sometimes takes an hour to put my shoes on was just the boost I needed today. Danke.

  • Great article Chris. I think the part that resonated most was in regards to playing to improve movement. Play seems like the perfect way to do this, to move as we were intended move. I go hard when I play with my four year old and I know it has a positive impact on my movement, my mobility and my overall well being. It doesn’t make sense not to take advantage of the capacities we’re building in the gym.

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