Open Game Plan


We only have 4 weeks left until the CrossFit Open 2017, a time where we all lose our minds each weekend and push ourselves into a very dark place in the pursuit of improvement. Although its not all dark and gloomy this can be a stressful time for both people taking part as well as those that want to see you succeed (us, the coaches) so be sure to have a realistic mind set coming into the competition and be considerate of all your CrossFit family.

This is the time of the year that we not only get the chance to really test ourselves but to also build stronger relationships with those around us, who are are also going through the same experience. Although most of us will not be going to the CrossFit Games we still want to put in the effort and show off our relentless, die hard spirit.


Coming up to the Open as well as through it we have about 10 weeks of fun and games before we start with our next Strength Cycle. I briefly wanted to go through a couple things regarding the programming in order to best facilitate your training. Your weekly breakdown should start to look like this:


MONDAYS & TUESDAYS-These are medium intensity days. In other words do not kill your self on a Monday or Tuesday, remember there are a few more days to kill yourself later in the week. Rather on these days look to work at a 80-87% intensity (88% no beano). This means don’t try get a new 1RM back squat or see how quickly you can do 300 wall balls. We want you to work hard but still have the ability to recover and do it again the next day.


WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS-These are high intensity days, lower reps but higher percentages think 90-97%. These days you push hard and get some rest. These days will generally be lower volume but higher intensity day.


FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS-These are your lower intensity days but higher volume days, you may kill yourself on these days and we will do our best to assist you. Go hard and be sure to leave your self in a fair amount of pain. If you are taking part in the CrossFit Open then I would recommend taking Fridays as a active recovery or mobility day. You may even just take this day to eat ice cream and watch movies.


Now note, this is our general plan and if it varies slightly that’s ok J CrossFit is all about constantly varying stuff so we generally don’t suck at life. Also be sure to see how your body feels, programming for such a diverse group of good looking amazing people has the challenge of not doing what is best for one but for the group. If you have any concerns or need any help be sure to let us know and feel free to ask questions. All math questions to be in multiple choice format please.


I hope you all had a very HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR and wish you all the luck for the year of the Rooster!!! (Only for today will I leave out a distasteful joke)




High Acidity Is Keeping Me Back!


As athletes we are always looking for an edge when it comes to performance, something that can take our genetic potential and give it a boost so that we really can maximize our output. The most common issue we have though is that our body doesn’t keep up with our ambition and lifestyle. Hence the need for a supplement hack to try get us closer to what is holding us back.


With our current lifestyles and diets one of the biggest issues we see in the body is a huge PH imbalance, this affects the amount of inflammation in the body which is “bad” and a whole different blog. Today I just want to talk about the impact of higher acidity levels while training and how it affects trying to beat the person next to you or your previous record. This is not strictly related to CrossFit but across all sports.


When looking at the 3 main energy systems the glycolytic system as well as phosphocreatine system both produce higher amounts of lactic and pyruvic acid. Initially this is not a problem, until the body is not able to recycle out the hydrogen ions quick enough and you start to feel a decrease in muscle power and physical endurance. If you have no idea what I am talking about climb on the assault bike and go as fast as you can for 1min, see how long it takes for the wattage to dramatically decrease. Please make a video for us so we can see your face as you shift through your energy systems.


As a coach and athlete I am always looking for a way to buffer this H+ production with training, nutrition and supplementation.


Training speaks for itself, you train the energy systems correctly and synergistically they will perform better. Keep in mind that a stronger aerobic system will give you a faster glycolytic system recovery.


Nutrition, eating cleaner with less sugars for example will also bring down acidity in your body allowing you to recover faster and push harder.


Supplements, now here is the fun part.

We already know about the big players like fish oils, maximum vibrance, turmeric, bcaa’s, beta-alanine etc. These are all great and have huge benefits, if you don’t know about them make sure to invest some time and research them.


But I have always wanted more and in a passing conversation with a friend who competes in Iron Man races he recommended a product called Extreme Endurance. After doing some research and finding some great claims (The Extreme Endurance formula and physical chemistry of its 9 ingredients not only assures you that it will buffer production of H+ (Hydrogen ions) and help prevent the acid buildup in your muscles, but it has also been clinically proven to increase aerobic threshold so you can work harder for a longer period of time) and testimonials from games athletes (Camille Le Blanc and Josh Bridges) about the product, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.


And as life would have it, the product was not available for shipping to Hong Kong.

Where there is a will there is a way (basically I asked Joey) and I got myself a bag of the product to test it for myself.

I did a trial test of (at full speed) 60m prowler push + 6 x 240kg tire flip with a 3min rest for 3 rounds.

On the first day I managed 1 round and a prowler push before packing it in.

My legs were throbbing and I couldn’t walk, needless to say I was ready to faint.

With not much hope I decided to take my 3 tablets in the morning and 3 in the evening and to be honest didn’t follow up my training much but figured I could manage taking the tablets.

4 days later I redid the test, I got through all 3 rounds and at the end still had the ability to hit up some assault bike. The biggest difference for me was my legs not shutting down on me, I still felt like throwing up but managed to get through the workout. After that I knew this is a product we need to have.


My recommendation would be to go online and do some research for yourself, see what others are saying about the product, check out the studies that have already been done and make up your own mind. Then if you feel this will work for you read on.


Now for the good news, a good friend of mine (Rachel)  is selling it in Hong Kong on this website  there are quite a few good products on the site and best of all you can use this product code (DOUPI10) to get a 10% discount.

Give me any feedback once you have tried it, I know that you will see a result.




Are you Spartan Material?




Whether you have entered or thinking about entering the Spartan Race, a little bit of preparation will go a long way.  On the 6th of November a large population of like-minded people will embark on what is promising to be a challenging (while keeping it adventurous) as well as new to Hong Kong obstacle race.


Short runs combined with obstacles sounds like a good time but if this something new to you or if you have been thrown into this by a loved one then there is one step you need to take next, PREPARE!!!

Now is the time to make friends with your functional fitness friends and get onto climbing ropes, monkey bars and lifting odd implements. In the last couple weeks, we have had a lot of interest not just from our own members but from outsiders asking for lessons or tips on how to climb ropes or traverse across monkey bars efficiently. My best recommendation is either book PT with one of the trainers that can help you or get a group of friends together that are taking part with you and book an instructor to teach you as a whole.


Currently we have a 6 Week program which is geared at getting you functionally prepared, this program is for the everyday person that is looking to take part and not concerned with winning the race but rather finishing it at their best potential.


At EPIC we have registered a EPIC team which will be taking part in the afternoon session, feel free to register and join our team, the more the merrier. Get involved, join the fun and challenge yourself. Avoid the Zeigarnik Effect at all costs, winners are not quitters.


Look forward to seeing all of you there.




Is CrossFit that great, yet?

Crossfit has come a long way in Hong Kong and yet still has the potential to go so much further.

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In 2010 CrossFit Asphodel were the first group to bring the training to us and from there the community has grown, but as a whole it is still not that big, as soon as you compare it to Yoga, Spin Class or any of the more commercial training programs it seems dwarfed in comparison. Considering all the benefits of being a part of a very healthy community that aims to bring fitness and health to every aspect of your life, it comes as a shock that more people are not signing up at your local boxes and that every street corner doesn’t have a CrossFit affiliate.

My conclusion on this is lack of awareness.


We have seen CrossFit grow around the world at a rapid pace, there are over 10,000 affiliates and the sport of CrossFit seems to get bigger and bigger each year. The countries that seem to do the best at the sport and that also boast the most affiliates are countries that are more sport and health lifestyle driven. Asia tends to be behind with some of these ideas and tend to put more focus on academics and work. The only way we can change this is to show the general population what it is that we do at our local box. Welcome them into a supportive community where they can achieve a standard of fitness that they have only dreamt of and build lasting relationships with new friends.

This I believe will break down the stigmas of our training medium and display everything we have to offer. Hopefully we will change the minds of the everyday fitness skeptic and install a culture of health and strength into everyone. There is no reason why we wont in a couple years potentially have a few games athletes fighting for a top position and at the same time have a younger generation come into a much better mindset of what the human body is capable of.

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So, why am I saying all this?


Every time an opportunity comes up to host a competition or take part in one, you will always see me there. Not because I have a delusion that I am a great athlete but more to help grow our evolving sport and show the everyday person what is possible. Winning or loosing means nothing to me, anyone who knows me knows this to be true, hence I don’t get nervous for events unless they have burpees.


With the Arnold Classic Asia coming up we all have an opportunity to show what we have to offer to the general population of Hong Kong and spread the word of functional training performed at high intensity. The opportunity to do this with friends at your side and behind you is also and bonus and if you do happen to do exceptionally well, then Arnold Schwarzenegger will be there to hand you your medal, if that doesn’t sell it then nothing will.


I really hope to see you all there, supporting the community by either taking part, volunteering to help or screaming your lungs out on the side. Lets give those Yogis something to worry about.


There will be 4 events on the 20th of August, no minimum work requirement so there is nothing you need worry about (maybe one person on your team will be worried haha).

A scaled option as well as a RX option are available, the events should be fun and the atmosphere amazing. The venue is Asia World Expo and we have a pretty decent space there. It will be child friendly and with your registration you will have access to the days events too.

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Register your team here

You only have 1week left, look forward to seeing you all there.

Let me know if you would like to help out on the day with judging and organizing.

Photo credit to all the Boxes of Hong Kong and thanks to google for making them available.


Missing your Goals?

When it comes to making any sort of behavioural change, success is often dependant on discipline. Unfortunately most of us are very diligent until we hit a hurdle and then find a million reasons why we can deviate just this once from our goals. After you have compromised your goal once it’s very easy to repeat the infraction and soon after completely ditch the whole effort. We see this with diets, training plans and many other undesired habits that we try squash and often fail because we are missing something.
That something is often structure. Structure gives us a behavioural edge over the average Maverick, we can use it in times of self discipline depletion and rely on it when it comes to time management. Having a structured plan leaves you with peace of mind about your desired objective and since you have a clear path of where you would like to get to, you are more likely to find your way there.
Training goals usually comprise of losing weight or gaining muscle, both rely heavily on a structured training plan and a well organised eating regime. CrossFit like many other training modals provide structure, you have a general time slot that works well for you, the coach keeps you accountable and the group of friends you make often provide a social pressure side that makes you feel like a contributing team member. Hence a lot of people see great results from the training.
Food and general diet habits tend to be a little bit more difficult to rein in. Especially for people who live very busy lives and don’t have the time to allocate to a good healthy diet. Unfortunately no matter how hard you are working on your physical goals, without a good meal plan (and adequate sleep) you will most likely always fail and not hit your optimal goal.
Deciding on an easy to follow strategy is going to be very important, you need a plan that you can follow even when you are tired. This usually involves pre planning meals or having someone prepare your meals for you.
Set times for eating and stick to them, don’t deviate and don’t make excuses.
Having a cheat day is fine, but keep it to one day and don’t try bend the rules you will only fool yourself. Remember it’s not a 24hour binge but rather a sunrise to sunset sort of idea.
Make sure you have a fixed goal, this is the planner in you.
Follow through with your plan, this is the doer in you.
Have someone to keep you accountable, this can be your coach or even a friend that keeps you on track.
Always ask yourself at the end of the day if you really tried to attain your goal, give your self a rating from 1-10 in terms of effort.
Regularly test and retest your current standings to keep yourself motivated.
A simple strategy that I have tried and tested has been the food delivery companies. After trying a few different ones I settled on Eatology. Note, I have no affiliation with Eatology and I don’t gain anything from them receiving more business, this is just my opinion and experience that I would share with a friend if they asked me.
There a few factors to consider before looking into a company like this, I will share the ones that made the difference for me.
Price – When I first decided to try a food delivery company, my first choice was the cheapest I could find. This ended up a failure as the quality and taste of the food made a difference, more than often there would be a meal that I really didn’t enjoy so I would end up spending more money to get a meal of my preference. Looking at price alone can therefore be a bit deceiving, looking at how much money I spend in total worked out a lot better to give me an idea of which works best. This meant I went with one of the more expensive companies but I ate more of the food provided so on average was not spending more.
Variety – The first week or two the meals are all new to me but a common problem I found initially was that I started to feel bored with what I was receiving. This in turn meant I was craving other food and not the healthier option I was hoping for. Before writing this I spent 6 weeks with Eatology to really get a good idea of the food. There are similar meals but I can’t say that I have had the same meal yet in the last 6 weeks, this keeps me engaged and I don’t worry as much about boredom.

Taste – Poor tasting food will more often get wasted than not, the food from Eatology has been so good that I am often excited about what I am going to get. Don’t take my word for it, just go online and look at their menus.  

I highly recommend trying out a food delivery company for at least 6 weeks, be strict with your self and don’t eat any additional junk because you think you have built a health credit. After 6 weeks check your overall results and from there you can decide which course of action works for you. Even if it means just getting you into a structured routine.

Coach Doug

Arnold Classic Asia Multisport Festival is here and you are invited. 

Are you ready to have some fun by joining in on the first ever Arnold Classic Asia?

There is something for everyone, even if it’s just entertainment.

Here are a few options if you were wondering

CrossFit-This will be a very inclusive team competition with no minimum work requirement for any athletes, giving you a chance to contribute your strengths and pass on the things you haven’t quite mastered just yet (Burpees) to your very willing team mates.  

Powerlifting-If all you want to do is lift some weight then be sure to sign up for this one. Deadlift and Benchpress, the staple for any avid gym goer.

Olympic Lifting-Take the opportunity to max out on your Olympic lifting in front of your friends and family while being hosted by a world class athlete. Donny Shankle will be making sure to get you in the zone to hit some PR weights.

The Lifting competition will be held on the second day so if you want to take part in both CrossFit and Weightlifting.

The event will be held indoors at the Asia World Expo, by far the biggest venue to host a competition of this sort. There will be a lot to see and do all around the event, so a definite great weekend of entertainment for you and family. There will be some great prizes up for grabs but taking part in a world renown event and possibly having Arnie award you a medal should be more than enough incentive to take part.

Hit up your registrations as soon as possible to secure your space.

For CrossFit

For Power lifting

For Olympic lifting

Look forward to seeing you all there

Is sugar your kryptonite?

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Sugar can be our kryptonite for many of us, especially us women who juggle between a high stress job, taking care of our children, being a wife/girlfriend, and now an EBF athlete.  Our life is constantly non stop on repeat..and reaching for that sugary treat can seem so easy.  I mean, we earned it right with our training and our hard work in the office and at home?  One innocent bite of that biscotti with your cappuccino, a few chocolate chips in your trail mix, a new Starbucks drink that you’ve always wanted to try… all of this adds to our addiction… sugar addiction that is.

There has been numerous studies suggesting that the effect of consuming sugar has the same euphoric effect on our brain like recreational drugs.  So instead of telling you to completely STOP having sugar, I wanted to share 9 tips with you on how to crowd out sugar so that you are less dependent on the rush to function through your day!  Sooner or later, you will feel more in control and will be able to enjoy the sweet rewards on occasion!

1.  Reduce or eliminate caffeine.  The ups & downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings and may cause sugar cravings to become more frequent.

2.  Drink water.  Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration.  Before you go for the sugary treats, have a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and wait a few minutes to see what happens.

3.  Eat sweet vegetables and fruits.  They are naturally sweet, healthy, delicious, and full of fiber which allows the natural sugar in these produce to be released slowly into your body for a stable energy source.  Being in Hong Kong, we are spoiled for choice!

4.  Avoid chemicals, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar.  Use a little bit of gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit, stevia, and barley malt.  Always try and couple these sugars with cinnamon which helps control the blood sugar when you ingest them too!

5.  Continue your EBF!  Being active naturally helps you balance your blood sugar which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar.  Endorphins anyone?

6.  Get more sleep, rest, and relaxation.  If you are in a chronic state of stress, no wonder your body tempts you to reach for simple carbohydrates for easy source of energy.  Make sure you switch off at night, turn your phone on airplane mode, and curl up with a cup of chamomile tea in time for bed.

7.  Check the labels on your fat free and low fat foods.  These packaged goodies can be loaded with hidden sugars to compensate for the lack of fat.

8.  Experience with spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will naturally sweeten your food and reduce cravings.

9.  Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways!  Buy yourself a lovely aromatic candle, go for a foot massage, or take a dip in the swimming pool!  We can reward ourselves in ways that don’t always involve a piece of cake!

I wish you another active healthy week ahead!

Kind Regards,

Maya Schuler-Stewart
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
BSc Sports & Exercise Science

EPIC MMA & Fitness Performance Centre
3/F On Hing Building, 1-9 On Hing Terrance,
Central, Hong Kong
Work: (+852) 3702-6232
Mobile: (+852) 6388-0153
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