In Basics, Radio, Special Populations

September 24, 2009

Audio Article

Josh Wagner, co-owner of CrossFit Apex and HQ Trainer Adrian Bozman both appeared on episode 86 of CrossFit Radio, webcast live at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, September 23, 2009.

2:40 Josh Wagner, who owns CrossFit Apex with his wife Tanya, is a high school P.E. teacher in Pennsylvania. Josh and Justin spoke about the epidemic of obesity that our nation's youth are up against. Josh talked about using CrossFit programming in his classes and how the students have responded. He also explained how the other teachers in his department are starting to adopt his unique training methods. He describes the results and the effect that it is having on the students.

25:40 Adrian Bozman is one of the trainers for HQ. He talked about the best approach to take when starting CrossFit. Adrian gave great advice and insight into how to be patient and smart as people approach the WODs for the first time. He discussed ways that a trainer can help newcomers get off to a good start. He also talked about the fundamentals for doing a proper squat and gave cues that one could use to help overcome mistakes and bad habits.

53min 35sec

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8 Comments on “CrossFit Radio Episode 86 090923”


wrote …

Josh has really hit the nail on the head. Is there anything more imperitive than ensuring children are educated in, and regularly engaging in physical activity. Is that not the most effective way of ensuring a life long mindset that ensures fitness is a constant part of life?

It's a bit sad that daily life today is such that activity needs to be scheduled lest there not be sufficient of it otherwise - simply not practical to live the active life of a typical Amish, let alone a native indian of the Amazon. Nonetheless, if it needs to be scheduled, then do it, and do it well. Enter CrossFit Kids and unsung urban heros, the likes of Josh. I recal another inspiring article some time ago on a CrossFitter in San Francisco that is doing the same thing in a school there - sorry, I don't recal the details, but the message was clear and inspiring.

The key is validating that it works. That simply requires hard data - there is no other way. Statistically its simple and requires nothing more than a well defined study scope, a control group (a class or school that is not doing it) and a study group (Josh's students). That can be very thin ice to skate when considering parents opinions (the majority if not all will likley not be active followers of CrossFit) and the efficacy of conducting "tests" with children, no matter how noble the intent. Nonetheless, however challenging this may be, leadership is sorely needed to get it done.

Has CF HQ reached out to the local, if not state or national, school boards to discuss the issue? The potential of engaging the programs? Training traditional "PE" teachers? Setting up focus studies (on a voluntary participation basis) to validate the efficacy? Just think of the potential.

Think of the broader implications for morbund health care systems and long term aged care. The potential savings to nation states from materially healthier citizens, that means we taxpayers in the end, is on a scale never previously seen. The Milken Institute offers some insgightful work on this topic.

And what of the potential elite athletes that are among the world's child population today? How exciting a prospect it is to knowingly and actively engage them now.

And lastly, what of the potential savings in health care insurance that can be readily redirected to better use - ie. why is it not the case that active CrossFitters don't get a premium discount on health insurance upon completing a standardized panel of tests annually? Health insurers would hardly find it a problem insuring healthier people, but they need talor their solutions and seek out on-average healthier people - the causal probability of needing costly health care collapses the fitter you are. And why wouldn't you want your whole family to enjoy that?

The bottom line: Those of us that don't have the skill and predispositon that Josh does could all benefit from actively encouraging and promoting his efforts and those like him. Thanks Josh.


wrote …

Great interview Josh, I have been a fan of you and Tanya since the Mid-Atlantic Qualifiers. I teach P.E. in Maryland and use CrossFit in my classes as well. One of the things you hit on subtlety there at the end and that is often overlooked is the ability of CrossFit to empower students who were not skilled movers or athletes. The athletes who are playing on the sports teams already have or get this from their sport. It's those kids who don't see themselves as an athlete who I have seen grow the most. It helps build confidence at a critical point in these kid’s lives. When they learn how to move correctly you can see their confidence swell and they carry themselves differently. I am working on collecting data to present at or state convention next year. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing what you do.


wrote …

Great comments and great topic Justin!

Alistair, the greatest thing that any PE teacher can do who is already implementing this in their classes is have their students keep a journal. Just like we do after the WOD, record your data. The students then become responsible for journaling their own progress and success rather than being "test subjects" for me to evaluate. The greatest pieces of evidence were my students comments and hard data at the end of the semester. Sharing these with my principal actually helped save some of our jobs in PE as we are going through severe budget issues. I had a student of mine say "Mrs. Wagner I can't believe schools would even think about cutting Phys Ed programs with how out of shape and overweight kids are these days." 16 years old...and he gets it!

Paul, good for you! I totally agree with you. I have seen the most growth as well in those students that are not athletes and that don't have confidence in their physical abilities. "Gym" used to be thier most hated subject and now it becomes a place where they feel very empowered and's just awesome. And the way students interact and respond to eachother, I never have more respect shown throughout a entire class as I do when we do CrossFit workouts. The personal and social responsibility that goes along with conducting a class like this in PE is just remarkable. I could go on forever... Keep up the great work Paul and best of luck presenting your information at the state convention! Let's work on the Aapherd convention next :)


wrote …

Excellent topics this week! My husband and I just started CF in July. We are both computer nerds who were the last kids picked for teams in PE in middle and high school. We have never been into team sports and never considered ourselves athletes. Since starting CF, we feel so empowered and healthy. I see how it's starting to change my life, my outlook on life and my body. We keep saying to one another that if we'd had CF in high school, we may have had a different story to tell as adults. I wish I would have found this program years ago. I can only dream of how it will impact the kid's lives that are experiencing it at a young age.

I am still trying to convince my younger brother and sister - both need to lose weight - to come to my CF affiliate with me. My little brother is 18 and is already significantly overweight. His weight is already out of control and it's only getting worse. I feel so helpless as I stand by and watch him berate himself over his weight, yet he does nothing about it. I think CF would do loads for improving not only his health, but his outlook on life and help him to develop a more positive attitude. I hope that my progress will motivate him to get moving and change his life. I just wish he had a PE teacher in his school that promoted CF :)

The second part of the podcast - advice for beginners - is something that many on the "Starting" forum have been inquiring about. I hope some of them download this podcast and take Boz's advice. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at first at all the new terminology, but you catch on quickly. Luckily, we have a local affiliate and going there has helped tremendously, but I think people need to get over their fears (easier said than done - I fretted for a good 2 weeks before working up the nerve to go to an affiliate and attempt a WOD) and jump in. After learning some basic movements, you'll be off and running (no pun intended) in no time.

Thanks Justin for a great show and two great topics! Look forward to the next CF Radio!


wrote …

I'm a volunteer trainer for my son's high school swim team where I train about forty kids at a time. We are on a football field with limited resources available. We have some dumbells, I use the bleachers.

Can either you Josh or you JJ share your daily wods so I can keep developing this free program for the kids?

Thank you!


Webster Smith wrote …

Great interview! I especially liked when Josh said that Tanya had a student in P.E. that had a dr's note to sit out of class for a week due to strained quads onset by walking lunges. What is the world coming to?? Props to P.E. teachers implemnting CrossFit principles though. That's awesome!


wrote …

Great interview Josh, I really like to hear about kids across America who 'get-it'. I'm not often convinced that there is hope for our youth but when I listen to stories like yours and those JJ tells I start to think there's a chance for them yet.
Also I recently sent my brother in to visit you after he saw me CrossFit out here in California. Rich took the bait, and I think this that he is about two months into his CrossFit experience with you and Tanya at Apex! Just talked to him about it yesterday and he loves it.
This stuff changes and improves the lives of those it touches. Thanks for showing him the CrossFit mojo. Keep kicking his butt, he needs it & I am looking forward to competing against him in a WOD next time I see him!


Sean McCue wrote …

The most difficult part about bringing CrossFit to entire schools and districts is the PE teachers themselves. Too often the teachers can't or won't models good habits for their students. This is not true everywhere but in my experience(I've taught PE in the 2nd largest district in the US for 9 years) too many PE teachers are out of shape themselves and many would refuse to do the work of CrossFitters. Teachers don't like being told how to teach their classes and mandating CF throughout a district could be difficult but it is certainly worth trying.

I'm no Josh Wagner but I've been implementing CF in my classes for the past 3 years. I don't post WOD's from my classes much anymore but you can look through the archives of my blog at or feel free to drop me an email.

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