All posts by Frank Agresta

The Top 5 Pre-Workout Pump Up Movies of All Time!!!


Given that its “hump day”, I thought I’d lighten the mood with my top 5 favourite movies to watch that always get me fired up to destroy a workout!!! Without further ado, here they are:

5. Kick-Ass 2


Most of you know that I’m a huge comic book nerd and I love the Kick-Ass movies!!! Although they are highly ludicrous and fairly controversial, you can’t help but get revved up for a lifting session after the battle finale in the sequel!!!

Favourite quote:
***Most are unrepeatable here!!! But, here’s the most social media friendly one I could find:***
“We should be like Batman and Robin!”
“Nobody wants to be Robin.”

4. The Dark Knight Rises


Ok, I promise this list isn’t all comic book movies!!! But I can’t look past the third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. This movie is so epic and so full throttle, you’ll be half way to the box as soon as the credits begin to roll!

Favourite quote:
“You think darkness is your ally. You’ve merely adapted the dark. I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was a man and by then it was only blinding.” Bane

3. Invincible


If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favour! Mark Wahlberg stars in the true story of a barman who gets drafted to the NFL. Awesome and stupidly inspiring stuff!

Favourite quote:
“That touchdown got me through 30 years at that factory. Got me through all those times your mother being sick. When I told you not to get your hopes up… didn’t mean that I wasn’t.”

2. Warrior


Every bloke watching this will want to head straight to the box to try to start the long road to being as jacked as Tom Hardy!!! This MMA tale has one of the most unbelievably sad, but inspirational endings I’ve ever seen.

Favourite quote:
“Look at me! Look at me! Why are we here, Brendan? Why are we here? Are we here to win this fight? You tell me, ’cause if we’re not, I’ll throw in the towel right now. We’ll get Tess and we will go home. You don’t knock him out, you lose the fight. Understand me? You don’t knock him out, you don’t have a home.”

1. Braveheart


Yup, you guessed it! Being Scottish, there’s no way I can look past this classic as my all time favourite pre-workout pump up movie!!! I remember watching this movie on the way to a rugby match while playing for Scotland Under-18s against England. We went down there more fired up than I’d ever been and beat them by one point on their own turf – it was very special!!!

Favourite quote:
“Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”


Virtutis Gloria Merces


We recently released our “Team Turmoil” line of apparel with the tag line, “Virtutis Gloria Merces”. A lot of people have asked what this means and why its on our “Team Turmoil” line in particular. So here you go!

The latin phrase “Virtutis Gloria Merces” is translated as “Glory is the Reward of Valour.” This is the motto of my clan, the Robertson family.

Did I put this here to pay homage to my roots?

Not in particular.

Is this a tribute to my family heritage?

For many reasons, no it’s not.

Is it just a cool sounding latin phrase that makes us look and sound super bad ass cos thats just the shit that we do as CrossFitters?!!!

Definitely not, I hate that crap!!!

To me, this phrase has always guided the decisions I’ve made. I’ve taken some pretty brave, some might say, risky decisions in my life, but they always result in something wonderful. Moving to Australia; starting a business just as we expect our first child; quitting a stable teaching job to pursue my passion. These were all decisions taken in the pursuit of glory.

I want my athletes, both competitive and recreational, to revel in this phrase too. Use it as a mantra for your training and your life. Nothing good comes from always doing the same thing. Nothing amazing blossoms from being scared to take a risk.

Team Turmoil should comprise of those who want to make a difference. To make a difference requires valour. To be the best, you need to be brave. To achieve glory, make the decision to stop being afraid and start doing everything you can to reach your ultimate goal.

Virtutis Gloria Merces.

The Evolution of CrossFit Turmoil


It was supposed to be so simple. As we approach the 2 year mark since opening CrossFit Turmoil, its an opportune time to reflect on what has happened in the intervening period and to plan ahead for the future.

The original vision was always to be a CrossFit box that thrived on quality coaching, not fancy equipment or vast (and unnecessary) amounts of space. Despite having to move from a martial arts studio after only 3 months, we’ve managed to maintain and build on that original vision in our current space, all whopping 140 square metres of it!!! Despite having one of the smaller CrossFit boxes around, we definitely punch above our weight in terms of member experience and the steady production line of very high level athletes.

One thing I guess I never really envisaged was the number of bumps, swerves and unexpected challenges that come with running a gym like ours. And dealing with this has forced me to consistently react to the environment we are faced with and adapt appropriately. Only now, 2 years later, do I feel like we have a framework in place that guarantees the success of all our athletes, regardless of their ability level or reason for training. It’s been quite an evolution, but as we move into the third year of this project, I thought I’d share our new model for success that we have started rolling out in the last month.

We love tiered systems here and I believe that categorising the current and future needs and wants of our members is the best way to provide an individualised, specific service to each person involved in our gym. I’d love to provide a coo, info-graphic to display this, but a list will have to do instead!!!

1. High Performance Group

This is a new development at CFT and one that we have been testing in August and wil be rolling out in full in September. The needs of our more experienced athletes are very different to those just starting out. Once an athlete has moved beyond the initial rapid progress made by starting CrossFit in a group environment, they will begin to enter an intermediate level “no man’s land”. We are trying to bridge that gap and helping intermediate level athletes move to advanced and advanced level athletes become elite by providing a much more in depth and individualised approach to their training. Without giving away our “secret”, this involves a combination of limited class attendance (or no class attendance for advanced athletes), semi-private training with others at a similar level and an individualised program.

I never imagined that we would develop so many quality competitive athletes, but it just so happens that we’ve become pretty good at it. A lot of more established gyms don’t love the new kids on the block knocking firmly on the door, but that shouldn’t deter us and it certainly won’t slow us down!

2. CrossFit

This will always be the most popular program. Why? Quite simply because the group environment allows for the beginner to intermediate trainee to reach their optimal level of fitness in an environment that is supportive, but also highly challenging. This pushes people to achieve new milestones quicker than ever before.

For those who want to train for health, well-being and recreation, attending CrossFit will always be the optimal way of achieving this. Our tiered programming system allows for tangible lines of progression and means that there are always opportunities to climb the ladder of success in class.

Is it suitable for everyone? Well, despite what many would have you believe, I would have to say it’s not. I’ve changed my tune on this over the last 2 years. CrossFit is hard, there is absolutely no getting around that. Results only come from hard work, but a participant has to be mentally prepared for this hard work. Not necessarily physically prepared, that is taken care of in our Fundamentals program. But if someone can’t mentally commit to how tough CrossFit is in the beginning, then they will almost universally fail to continue.

At the other end of the scale, a CrossFit class really isn’t suitable for an athlete looking to compete in the sport and that is why we will always offer the opportunity to graduate to our High Performance Group or to move into our Weightlifting and Powerlifting programs.

Having said that, this level is where the magic happens. This is where the decisions are made about why you train, what you are training for and who you are training for.

3. Bootcamp

We recently introduced an 8 Week Bootcamp as part of our programs framework. We felt it hugely important to provide a stepping stone into CrossFit or simply an alternative to it. Not everyone is interested in weightlifting & gymnastics, but most people understand the benefits of high intensity exercise. Our bootcamp program allows the opportunity to explore our methods in an environment that doesn’t intimidate. We get it. CrossFit can seem scary. We want to show people it’s not as scary as it looks and give them a tangible way of progressing into a CrossFit program if they feel this is something they’d enjoy. Our bootcamp program also allows athletes who may have pre-existing conditions that render them not quite ready to start a CrossFit program, to start a program of high intensity exercise with a lower barrier to entry.

So there you have it. A framework we hope will continue to develop long term success for our ever growing stable of recreational and competitive athletes!

Mental Toughness In CrossFit, Weightlifting & Powerlifting

kate cic2


The demands of the three major sports we coach at CFT are not only physical, but have a huge mental component to them too. A finely tuned physical athlete is all well and good, but without an equally proficient mental game, this good athlete will never morph into the complete version of themselves. I firmly believe that untapped physical potential is often being held back by a mind block.

“The Mind Is Primary”

The sports we love are hard, physically demanding and they hurt. Learning to embrace a necessary amount of suffering is an important mental bridge to cross to succeed as an athlete in these pursuits. Don’t confuse this with being prepared for physical pain though – injury shouldn’t be risked in the blind pursuit of glory. Having said this, its often hard for athletes to understand what constitutes “pushing hard”{ and what constitutes “pushing dangerously”.

Here are 3 tips to help improve your mental game:

1. Be aware of yourself and nothing else

Blocking out what is going on around you during competition is an extremely hard skill to master, but a hugely important one. Train yourself in surroundings that replicate a competition environment as often as possible – the sounds, smells & distractions that engulf every venue you compete in. We often re-create this scenario for an athlete and then remove one of their senses to help them focus on important factors such as listening to their breathing rate or focusing their attention on one specific element of performance. For example, we may blindfold them during elements of a workout or put earplugs in to take away their hearing.

2. Know what it feels like to “red line”

I spoke about this yesterday in my blog post regarding general conditioning. The sensation of onset of blood lactate or reaching your lactate threshold is the point of a workout where you are unable to perform at the same intensity for any longer. Often this is the point where you feel sick, breathless and battered. It’s important to know how this feels without training in this zone regularly in order to know the warning signs and signals. Its also important to know how close you can get to this point and how long you can maintain that intensity for. Put yourself there, make yourself suffer and vow to yourself that you can go there again if you need it in the heat of battle!

3. Have perspective

Sometimes the feelings we get during competition  can feel like the worst physical and mental pain we’ve ever gone through. It’s important to have perspective, to know that it will be over soon and that there are far worse things that we could be experiencing. Having that level of perspective will allow you to push yourself to the necessary level of suffering to complete the workout or task as best as you possibly can. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you? Its definitely not the workout or lift you are about to undertake sop always remember that and embrace the salvation experienced when you can push yourself to a level of mental anguish that others wouldn’t dare dream of going to.


5 Ways To Improve Your General Conditioning


Most people feel like shit when they first start CrossFit. Then, over time, your body becomes accustomed to the (positive) stresses being placed upon it. And then comes the plateau. Yup, that big ugly plateau where everything seems to be stuck at the same point. Weights don’t get any lighter and met cons always feel gassy. Congratulations, you have got past “white belt” stage!!! Now the key is learning how to achieve “black belt” (I actually prefer to call this Jedi Level 1!!) status in the most efficient way possible.

The key to improvements in CrossFit is fundamentally improving your strength & power outputs and implementing these adaptations in our tests, the met con. A met con, however, tests multiple different functions in multiple different scenarios using all 3 energy systems. So how do we best condition our bodies to handle the rigours of such a multi-faceted challenge? Here are 5 ways we use with our athletes:

1. L.S.D

Before you get any ideas, this is not an order to use the hallucinogenic drug!!!! L.S.D stands for long slow distance and this is an oft under-utilised element in developing better “gas tanks” in CrossFit athletes. Try to think of anything that involves typical “cardio” activity lasting longer than 20 minutes as L.S.D work. This is the easiest way to improve overall aerobic conditioning and develops good control of a steady heart rate and breathing rate. Typical examples might include a 20 minute row at a slow to moderate pace, a 5km run or even a 40 minute continuous swim.

2. Every minute on the minute training

We love EMOMs as they are affectionately known at CrossFit Turmoil! These can be varied in so many ways and add so much value in a training program particularly when the goal is to improve an athletes ability to perform a movement “unbroken”. These can be short or long in duration and can focus on one movement or multiple movements. The beauty of an EMOM is the in-built recovery period that allows very high intensity work to be maintained for a long period of time. Here are two examples:

a) EMOM for 12 mins of 8 x Touch & Go Power Cleans @ 60% 1RM

b) EMOM for 30 mins of:
Min 1 – Row 12 calories
Min 2 – 10 x T2B
Min 3 – 8 x Overhead Squats @ 42.5/30
Keep repeating…

3. Breathing Ladders & Drills

Limiting how quickly the onset on panic breathing takes place during a met con is of huge importance in developing your ability to maintain high quality, high intensity work for longer. Breathing ladders are a simple and very effective way of improving this skill. Heres an example of one we’ve used before:

1 x Power Clean @ 60% 1RM
1 breath
2 x Power Cleans
2 breaths
3 x Power Cleans
3 breaths
Repeat up to 10 x Power Cleans

Other breathing drills include actually forcing the onset of panic breathing sooner and teaching the athlete how to control this. One way of doing this that we will soon be utilising with our competitive athletes is to use face masks that simulate training at altitude.

4. “Prison” Ladders

Another simple, but brutally effective way in conditioning your body to be able to link together multiple reps of a movement when already fatigued. Generally this is utilised with one movement, but it can be done with two complimentary movements. The idea of these is to continue to complete unbroken sets of the movement for the whole duration of the ladder. Here are two examples:

a) 1 x Burpee
Walk 5 metres
2 x Burpees
Walk 5 metres
3 x Burpees
Walk 5 metres
Continue all the way to 20 x Burpees

b) 1 x Push Up
1 x Pull Up
Walk 5 metres
2 x Push Ups
2 x Pull Ups
Walk 5 metres
3 x Push Ups
3 x Pull Ups
Walk 5 metres
Continue all the way to 10 x Push Ups & 10 x Pull Ups

5. Lactate Threshold Work

Understanding how to limit the onset of blood lactate when completing a met con is known as preventing yourself from “red lining”. This is effectively the point in a met con when you hit the proverbial wall and can’t continue to perform anywhere near the intensity you started at. Often this is a poorly implemented workout strategy – we train this using lots of different methods, but a favourite is a method of “breaking down” a met con. Lets say for example that a typical task based met con could include 3 rounds of 3 movements. Here’s how we could train an athlete to better strategise this type of workout and how to push their boundaries when the time is right:

3 Rounds of:
7 x Wall Ball
14 x Box Jump Overs
21 x Double Unders
Perform round 1 at 75% max effort, then rest 2-3 mins
Perform round 2 at 85% max effort, then rest 2-3 mins
Perform round 3 at 95% max effort

Chaos In Coburg – In-House Beginner / Intermediate Competition


We’ve decided to focus on delivering what we do best at CFT….firstly, deliver quality coaching and secondly, deliver the opportunity for all our athletes to experience a competition in a friendly and supportive environment!

After the success of Carnage In  Coburg I & II, Pairdown & The Mixer, we thought it would be a great idea to remove the “firebreathers” from the equation and put together a beginner & intermediate competition for our members. So, here’s the deets:


Provisionally, we’re looking at Saturday October 24th.


4 Divisions: Male Beginner; Female Beginner; Male Intermediate; Female Intermediate
3 Workouts & Final in each division!

Who Can Enter?

If you regularly complete the “competition” workouts in class, then this isn’t for you! All other members are invited to compete! If you are unsure about your eligibility, just ask!


Standards will be released soon, but to get a good idea of which division to enter, use the following guidelines:
Beginner – regularly completing “fitness” workouts in class.
Intermediate – regularly completing “performance” workouts in class.

Get ready for Chaos In Coburg!!!


Could You Be King or Queen of the Gym?!!


Introducing our newest competition format….

King & Queen of the Gym!!!

How It Works

This competition will take a completely different format from traditional one day multi-event  CrossFit comps! This will reward the ability to be prepared for any type of random challenge!

Each member will have the opportunity to enter the qualifying rounds. Members will be randomly drawn against each other in a one one one single event challenge. The event will  also be randomly drawn! The winner will progress to the next round.

Eventually, the competition will be whittled down to a male Grand Final and a female Grand Final with an epic one on one battle!

When Does It Start

Qualifiers will begin in September with the Grand Final provisionally pencilled in for the morning of Saturday September 26th.

Each round will have a list of random workouts that the athletes could draw against each other. The qualifying rounds will feature the following workouts:


Open WOD’s:

Hero WOD’s:

Fight Gone Bad

After the qualifiers, more workouts will be added to each category, thus increasing the possibilities of what could be drawn!!!


All bouts must be held in good spirits and must be overseen and sanctioned by a member of CFT staff!

When The Dust Settles…

The fun doesn’t end when our male & female champion are discovered! As our king & queen, these athletes are obliged to defend their title to any challenger at any time of year!

The challenger can decide the workout in which they choose to challenge the champion, a date must be set and the bout must be overseen and sanctioned by a CFT member of staff!

Challenges can be made in the gym or even better, via social media!!!

3 Ways To Develop Super-Human Strength!


In the fitness industry, strength is defined as the ability to carry out work against a resistance. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible. Looking more closely, strength really is the basis of power – in basic physics, strength can be defined as Force, whereas Power is often defined as Force x Velocity. Therefore, we can draw the conclusion that to develop power, we first need strength.

Being strong and powerful are both hugely important elements of the 3 major sports we coach at CFT – CrossFit, Weightlifting & Powerlifting. It is important for every new athlete who walk through our doors to understand that their progress lies firmly in how we develop their foundational strength. By first attacking this training adaptation, the effects will be very far reaching.

So, what are some of the best ways to develop overall strength? Here are 3 simple training methods:

1. Squat & Squat Some More!

The Squat hasn’t been referred top as the king of exercises for no reason! It’s the first movement we teach all new athletes on our fundamentals course and it’s the exercise that gives you the most bang for your buck when looking for strength gains! Step away from the belief that the squat is simply a lower body exercise. While the force is generated from our lower limbs, a huge amount of core strength and shoulder mobility is required for all 3 major variations of the Squat.

Tip: During the off season if your looking to add some serious numbers to your Squat, try a Smolov cycle or a traditional Russian Squat cycle. Don’t attempt this in-season as the volume is too high and can detract from other important elements of your training.

2. Midline Mass!

This isn’t a suggestion to stack on mass to your gut through regular trips to Macca’s! But, creating a strong, stable and reliable core is the foundation of any good strength program. In CrossFit we refer to the movements we use being “core to extremity” exercises. In other words, we generate force first from our midline and then utilise our extremities to support this.

Tip: Add both movement based and static core exercises to your program at the end of a workout. Some favourites for our athletes include Hollow & Arch, Dead Bugs, Forward Leaning Rest on Rings and Turkish Get Ups.

3. Don’t forget the little guys!

As a group, CrossFitters have become snobs about accessory movements or isolation movements that train “beach muscles.” Firstly, there’s no such thing as a truly isolated movement. Secondly, those “beach muscles” help us get stronger and can often be the critical factor in improving by 1%. For example, you need strong triceps to break your sticking point in the Bench Press; you need strong biceps to help pull your arms beyond 90 degrees and crank out pull ups; and you need strong gastrocnemius (calves) to illicit the initial push from the bottom of a squat!

Tip: Don’t make these accessory movements a principal part of your program, but find a place for them. Keep the intensity high by creating a circuit-style tri-set like the example below:

A1) Barbell Biceps Curls x 12-15
A2) Banded Triceps Pushdowns x 15-20
A3) Band Pull Aparts x 15-20
3 Rounds, rest 60 secs between rounds

The Most Effective Supplements For CrossFit Athletes


There are several posts out there on this topic, so I want this to be brief, easy to understand and easy to apply. The most important thing to remember is this – supplements are exactly that, simply an addition to the foundation of a good diet. They should not be used to replace healthy eating habits. For most people undertaking CrossFit, it’s really necessary to only consider using Fish Oil and a good Multivitamin. For those of you training competitively, the following supplements can help manage recovery, improve training intensity and develop physical adaptations based on the amount of stress you are placing your body under with the high volume of training you undertake. So, without further ado, here they are:

1. Whey Protein

Improves recovery, strength & muscular adaptations and nitrogen balance.

Take this 30-45 minutes post training for optimal results.

More often than not, we will recommend Bulk Nutrients as our preferred supplier. We have no affiliation with them, but have found their supplements to be of the highest quality through personal use. Check out their Whey Protein Isolate for only $36 per kilo.

2. Fish OIl

Improves brain function,  helps with reducing inflammation and therefore workout recovery, helps to synthesise protein to your muscles more rapidly.

Take in the morning and again in the evening.

The best brand on the market is Pure Pharma. It’s difficult to look past these guys and its available at The WOD Life.

3. ZMA

The combination of zinc and magnesium helps improve recovery, muscle building and testosterone production.

Take this in the evening before bed.

A tub of 120 capsules is available for $30 at Bulk Nutrients.

4. Creatine Monohydrate

Improves strength, power and explosiveness. Can also help maintain lean mass and can allow for greater training intensity to be maintained for longer.

Take this 30-45 minutes prior to training and again during your workout. 

A 250g pack costs $9 from Bulk Nutrients.

5. Beta Alanine

Prevents the onset of lactic acid during a workout and helps muscle tissue to produce more energy.

Take this 30 minutes prior to training.

A 250g pack costs $17 at Bulk Nutrients.

6. Vitamin D

Improves sleep quality, reduces inflammation and can help improve mood & respiratory health.

Take in the evening. 

Pure Pharma offer a quality product called D3 which is available from The WOD Life.

7. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)

Protein broken down into its simplest form which prevents the onset of catabolism & fatigue during workouts and keeps you in an anabolic state. Helps speed up protein synthesis in the muscles too.

Can be sipped throughout the day and during a workout.

A 250g pack is available for $25 from Bulk Nutrients.

Finding Your Niche As A CrossFitter!

leesa dl

When you first start CrossFit, it can seem like you are being thrust into a cauldron of seemingly unachievable exercises and workouts that you think will always bring up last nights dinner! All experienced CrossFitters know that these feelings pass, the weird terminology starts to make sense and the wacky outfits become far more tempting to invest in! But, what happens when you’ve been training using the CrossFit methodology for a couple of years, you’ve made some serious gains, but your progress is starting to slow down. It happens to everyone and there a few different ways this plays out:

1. You Quit!

This is obviously the worst and most irrational response to progress slowing down! Quitting any pursuit is never the answer when things aren’t going perfectly to plan, so lets move on from this option!

“The most critical decision is made when you feel like giving up.”

2. You Focus On Your Weaknesses!

Perhaps you are lacking in certain key areas and your overall performance is being affected by these specific weaknesses. It could be that your weightlifting is outstanding, but you still haven’t cracked a muscle up. Maybe, you can knock out 50 pull ups unbroken, but you still can’t Deadlift twice your body weight. Find your weaknesses, embrace them and then destroy them. Don’t be scared to take a diversion from the daily WOD for a month or two and ask your coach to prepare an 8 Week Strength program for you or perhaps you need to attend a Gymnastics clinic. Don’t become over-reliant on the daily WOD – trust that your coach will be able to program for your specific goals over a pre-determined time period.

“If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”

3. You Diversify!

The alternative to the above is to start focusing your attention more clearly on the parts of CrossFit you truly love! Here at CFT, we have athletes who compete predominantly in Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting. We also have athletes whose sole purpose is to train specifically for CrossFit as a sport. Sometimes this can be the best decision you ever make – it takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on getting better at the things that matter most to you. We accommodate for that here by having a group of athletes who are trained specifically for CrossFit competition, a group of competitive powerlifters and weightlifters and a Barbell Club for those who are looking to get more experience in the two barbell sports.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Steve Jobs