Matt: Katie, thank you very much for taking the time out of your obviously busy schedule to talk with the readers at SVG FIT! I'm very excited to get a chance to "sit down" and chat with you about what you've accomplished and your outlook on training.
First things first, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What is your background in fitness? When did you heed the call to become a trainer?
Katie: Gosh – about me, huh? That could take a while! Long story (!). Here is a brief outline but of course if anyone asks for more detail, ask away! I am 31 and just recently moved to Ohio from Seattle, WA. I was born in Annapolis, MD but spent most of my early years traveling between our condo in Washington DC and our home in San Diego. I would definitely call Southern California my “hometown.” My parents traveled a lot around the world so of course I too got to travel all of my life.
Playing multiple sports, competing, being in school, and traveling made for a busy life as a kid. At age 15 my parents and I moved to Warsaw, Poland. Eight years later I hopped on a plane and flew to Austin, Texas. My parents stayed in Warsaw with our Foundation (www.fcsr.pl) for another 6 years before returning back home to San Diego. At age 28 I decided to go back to school and to finish my degree so I packed up, got in my car with my Polish cat (yes, I brought him back with me from Warsaw) and drove to Seattle to attend Seattle Pacific University. Two years later (after graduation and having been running RXBound LLC, coaching, traveling for clinics, and training student athletes in the area) I found my calling to bring fitness and health to an area that I thought needed it most. Once again I packed up my things (and the Polish cat), had a garage sale and drove here to Louisville, Ohio from Washington. I had no idea what to expect but I am glad I came. Here I am, getting up each day and changing lives one athlete at a time with one amazing crew and an incredible assistant Coach and athlete, Matt Clapper.
As for my own fitness background, I have been an athlete all of my life. I have no idea when I started. I was just born into it I guess. Both of my parents were great athletes. My dad was a great sprinter, handball champ, and gymnast (among others) and my mom became a great athlete later on in life. You name it she does it – and well. They had me in the pool as soon as I could hold my breath (or t lest it taught me to). I have been swimming ever since. I remember standing on my mom’s skis at age 2 and was out on my own soon thereafter. I had a tennis racket in my hand as soon as I was strong enough to hold it. I guess I might not remember an exact age or “start time” for sports but I definitely don’t remember ever stopping.
I started out as a swimmer and an equestrian, played tennis, and skied at a very young age. I started playing competitive and club volleyball in Middle School and played throughout college and also overseas at that time. I haven’t played much since but I hope to again soon. It’s a great sport. At the “finale” of my equestrian career, I substituted the hours of riding with hours on the track (around age 22). I still continue to be very active on the track both myself and in training others. At that time I was blessed to train on the track and in the gym with Olympic Medalists and Record Holders in track, Olympians in weight lifting and alongside NFL athletes and sprinters. I also picked up my first kettlebell then too. Keep in mind that this was long before I even knew what CrossFit was. Who would have thought!
I retired from competing in both swimming and show-jumping in 2005 and focused all of my attention on the elements that I had used to make me a better runner and an overall athlete… track, the kettlebell, and weight lifting. I was more determined than ever to master the Olympic lifts and the Russian Kettlebell as I respected both sports tremendously.
I swim, run, and lift on a regular basis and use these sports as the basis for all other training. I continue to incorporate the Russian Kettlebell and Weight Lifting heavily into just about everything I do. I continued my Kettlebell training in Washington state with coach Tom Corrigan of Blue Collar Fitness and with Master of Sport, Mikhail Marshak. I still use many of my Soviet-style track programs and lifting programs as foundations for programming for myself as well as for my athletes.
Matt: You are no stranger to competition, as you have not only competed at the national level in horse show-jumping, but also in volleyball and as a swimmer. Do you think this competitive spirit was fundamental in your current programming style and your ambition to train athletes for the CrossFit Games and CrossFit-like competitions?
Katie: Absolutely. I grew up living my whole life as a competitor. I hated to lose and those failures drove me. I was taught early on to be the best I could be and to give everything I did everything I could. My parents spent a lot of time supporting me in my events and even with hectic schedules and travel they never once missed a swim meet or a horse show. In my mind, I never competed for myself – ever. As a Christian today, I compete and train to bring glory to Christ but I think all of my life I always knew that it wasn’t about me at all. God gave me opportunities and it was important that I used them all. I owed it to those who invested in and believed in me to give them all I had every time. Christ saved me in 2005 and He has a purpose. Training well has more importance to me now than ever before and that is not about me at all.
As for my plans, my first and primary goal has always been to be/prepare to be a healthy wife and mom (maybe I will be someday) but even if not, I love feeling good and I love that sense of accomplishment after putting in a great training session.
I have been itching to get back into competing myself since my “freedom” from college. I had a choice to either train, program, and to coach full-time or to finish my degree as a full-time student. Education is extremely important in my family and I wanted to give (my dad especially) a gift he would love more than anything, my degree. Now that that is “in the books”, competing is back in the cards. Even at age 31, I am only now getting stronger and healthier than I ever have been before and I am excited to see what my own programming and consistency can do for me(!)
But back to your question on my competitive nature, programming and training… I will train anyone so long as they are coachable, driven, excuse-free, and show up on time. This might sound like a simple protocol, but it is more and more rare to find these days and much of that is because it is not as easy as it sounds. It seems that far too many people are looking for the “quick fix” (10 minute abs or 5 minute butt) or in other words, the easiest way. Nothing works better than putting in the actual work. These traits/this protocol are my marks of a competitor. If you have these qualities then everything else really comes down to two things, consistency (both in diet and in training) and hard work.
It takes commitment to win or to meet goals set. Wanting to win or hoping to be the best is admirable but getting up at 4am to prepare to do so is quite another. And, some can do that well…for a week. It is those who do it consistently who succeed. So whether someone wants to be a CrossFit Games competitor or a healthier wife and mom, these same conditions must apply to be successful. As for how I program for this type of success (in any sport or goal), I treat everyone like a competitor and I tailor their programming around their own individual goals. Everyone competes daily in his/her own way. I am here to give them a well-trained coach’s eye, solid structure, daily and weekly encouragement, and to guide them as they train well and at their best – every day.
Matt: Your training program is called "Rx Bound" - can you tell us a little bit about the history behind the name and how it came to be your mantra?
Katie: Well, I just wanted to “RX” everything! I was “bound” to! I’m kidding there but reality is, I was never one to accept not being the best or my best. As an athlete and competitor, I took on the new challenge of CrossFit. I hated “scaling” things on the board. I’d smile it out, try my best but then go home and practice more until I figured it out. There were gymnastic elements for example that I had never done before and deep down I couldn’t stand not being on the top of the board. I was determined to learn them all and to do them better and with consistent training, there I was. That is the “CrossFit story” behind the name but the “RXBound” name goes far beyond that.
First and foremost, I aim to glorify the Lord in everything I do and to enjoy Him forever. Every day is an opportunity to do that. RXBound means more than RX "as prescribed" in every workout, but it is far more than that. It is living life as Christ prescribed. We all fall, slip, sin, and fail. Living for Christ is first and foremost realizing our shortcomings to understand our need for a perfect Savior. We can’t do a thing without Him but we can do all things through Him. Therefore, it is not about doing everything perfectly but rather it is about doing our absolute best in everything we do and in doing so we reveal more about who God is. In our training and in our lives, we remember to give praise and glory to God in our discernment, in our decision-making, in our goal-setting, and in our goal-achieving.
What RXBound is NOT is selling yourself short, giving up, or quitting. Do everything at your best from the moment you wake up to the time you walk into the gym, from the start of the timer to running through the tape.
I founded RXbound based on 1 Timothy 4:7-8 "......train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
I know how it feels to quit - to give in - to walk away. I didn’t live up to my potential in my sports. I missed those opportunities and they were right there. Because I know how failure feels, I live in a way where it is mandatory for me to never repeat those same mistakes again. I refuse to fail (or at least not to learn from it) and I expect the same determination from all of my athletes. Work hard, except no excuses, and give it an RX attitude each and every day. It is an “excuse-free” way to live for Christ. It is giving everything you have to bring honor and glory to God.
Matt: I know my non-fitness friends and my family think some of the stuff I do at the gym or in my garage as part of my training is CRAZY. As a trainer and athlete, what do your friends and family think about your level of fitness and your training program?
Katie: (Laughing) I know those looks well! Well my parents and I definitely had our ups and downs on my future career in cross-training and all this “crazy” workout stuff. It just took them some time to understand it all I think. That speculation definitely has passed. Well, at least it has more and more over the past couple of years. I think what really got them so enthusiastic (although always supportive) was witnessing it for themselves. Seeing and feeling the energy and the vibe first-hand at both the 2011 and 2012 Games really had them both curious and excited. They surprised me by driving up from San Diego last year to visit the RXBound booth at the 2012 Games. They wore their RXBound team shirts and had a great time walking from venue to venue, cheering athletes on, and of course shopping at my booth. I saw my dad who as many of you know is/was very sick with cancer (which also makes it very hard to walk around in that heat let alone drive all that way) stay for hours just taking it all in. He smiled the entire day. That was all I needed.
OK, let’s switch gears a little bit. So approximately how many athletes are a part of the RXBound Training Team right now?
Locally (here in Ohio) somewhere between 20-30 and a few personal training clients. Worldwide (the “RXBound Training Team”) there are between 15-20 current competitors and around 10-15 others preparing now for upcoming competitions in other sports depending on sports seasons. They all range from students to sprinters to CrossFit Games athletes, teams, and those who are coaches/gym owners themselves looking for a more competitive regimen that is tailored to their hours, levels, and availability. So far so good and we keep growing as word spreads and athletes are becoming more and more competitive and vocal. Over all, I have only lost one athlete due to programming itself (fitting it into a busy schedule is understandably difficult!) and none due to injury.
Matt: What does a typical training week look like for you? For one of your athletes?
Katie: Busy! I believe that if we talked more about proper recovery we would talk far less about “overtraining.” In other words, I am not a big proponent of “rest days” but believe that with proper diet and proper recovery the healthy body is more than capable of training daily and in most cases (and on most days) two or three times per day. But, this is where smart programming has to come in. That being said, I believe in quality over quantity so it all depends on your program, athletic background, genetics, and lifestyle. This is the goal either way for any athlete. Mine in particular.
For myself, I train Monday-Sunday and several times per day. I mix in body-building with track, shorter MetCons with longer runs, biking with swimming, and of course weight lifting and kettlebells. I hope to get back into yoga also. I take a full Sunday afternoon off (after a nice morning run) for recovery (ice baths, saunas, etc.,) usually at a Russian bathhouse where I can easily spend between 4-6hours. On weekdays, a typical (ideal) day is to wake up around 4 or 5am and get a good run in either on the track or on the trail. I like to get my swim in right afterwards. Mid-morning I follow up with my strength work. I am now much more focused on body-building elements this time of year. Otherwise this is the preferred time for weight lifting so I am often found on the platform for a couple of hours. Mid-afternoon I typically hit the track for speed work where I use a lot of plyometrics and speed and agility drills. I may follow up in the evening with a shorter MetCon but not typically one shorter than 15min.
As for my athletes, each has their own schedule and routine but they also each have a mandatory minimum daily strength and MetCon. I draw these from the scientific backbone of the yearly goals. Although each is different depending on the athlete and level, it is fair to say that in general, there are typically two MetCons programmed per day and always strength and skill work. There are “gym days” that utilize body building elements and also specialty Olympic lifting weeks where there is higher than normal video analysis and critique. I also program in endurance and conditioning builders.
Matt: One of the biggest benefits I've seen behind the "gamification" of fitness through CrossFit or whatever competitive fitness program people choose, is the increased diet awareness - that is to say, from an output perspective, "Crap in (food), crap out (performance)". What are your thoughts on diet? Do you follow any particular regimen like Zone or Paleo?
Katie: No, I don’t follow any regimen with a name. I am a proponent of clean eating more than anything and I just think of food as fuel for the body. I personally choose to follow a Biblical diet but I am a stickler for ingredients more than anything. I incorporate a surplus of raw and sprouted foods, superfoods, and clean protein. My diet is high in protein and greens and I am what some call a “walking apothecary.” I love this stuff! I love finding natural ways to heal. Having said that, diet is by far the biggest priority for my training. I have studied and worked in fields promoting Biblical health, detoxification and cleansing programs and have been studying under friend and mentor, Dr. Landry since 2005. Thanks in large part to him and my own research, I have a broad knowledge-base to provide my athletes with optimal results by way of additional nutritional information. I have worked in Hormone Replacement Therapy, as an allergy technician, and in Detoxification and Colon Hydrotherapy. Over all, I have two favorite quotes on diet. “You can’t out-train a bad diet” – Unknown; and, “Let your running lead your diet.” – Bill Rogers, Marathon Runner 1947
Matt: If it is one thing CrossFit is doing well, it's bringing popularity and awareness to Old School lifting programs, as well as breathing new life into what people consider "fitness" or being fit. While the lifts and techniques they present are nothing necessarily new, the way it is presented appeals to a much broader base than before. As the culture develops, there are emerging many, many different training styles and routines that sort of adopt, but morph the CrossFit regimen. It's clear from your published media, and from what we have discussed so far, that your training regimen differs quite a bit from the standard "Daily WOD" mentality. Would you say RXBound is developing from the CrossFit culture or parallel to it? How would you say your programming compares to the average CrossFit box?
Katie: I would say that RXBound is growing as a result of the CrossFit culture and benefiting from it as well as more and more people are now turned on to what my training provides (cross-training elements, track, speed, that also include older sports such as weight lifting and the Russina kettlebell). In return, RXBound is giving back to the (now more popular than ever) fitness community as a whole and of course to CrossFit as well. By training people to be better athletes we all benefit.
As for older and more established lifting elements that you mentioned, we have been training Olympic athletes long before CrossFit was ever around so it is hard to imagine how what I do or how I train as a ‘branch” of CrossFit in any way. Rather, I agree with you as I see CrossFit as the newer thing that is bringing more attention to some more established sports (such as weightlifting and kettlebell) that were sadly beginning to lose their popularity. For that I am so grateful to CrossFit! Well for that and for getting so many people interested in and excited about fitness and health in general.
The bottom line is that there are some old school principles that will always hold true, that are constant, that get results, and that will never fade away. What I really do is cross-train. I take the best of the best athletic elements out there that have been tried and tested for hundreds of years and I use those as my basis for everything else to build on, whether that be sport-specific of to help the CrossFit competitor. For example, weight lifting (as it was designed to be) takes a lifetime to master (if it can ever be “mastered”). Therefore, I am far more impressed with a proper Clean and Jerk than I am with 30 of them done incorrectly…for time. Even better? We can compromise. Watch someone do 30 of them the right way and that is amazing to see. I respect that greatly! We can do both well.
But how does one get there? Too many coaches let this emphasis on form slide (and too often leading to injury). I suppose this is where I have found my niche. I prefer to stop the clock, start from the beginning by breaking the movement down, and in this way, prevent injury… and get better results. I teach the basics first - training well and efficiently. I am as big on “proper form” as they come. Form to me means doing things as they were meant to be done and doing them properly and efficiently. There is a reason for this –it works best this way. Result? Safer, faster, and better results. First, we must do things right and correctly. It is amazing what even the smallest corrections can do to numbers and times down the line. There is a benefit t learning the old school lifting techniques no matter what you do and/or are competing in. Efficiency pays off. Now one is free to go out and to do whatever might be required to be a competitor – and we are far less prone to injury.
Matt: With the CrossFit Games 2013 gearing up right now, do you have anyone competing? How are things stacking up for you/them in the Open?
Katie: Yes I do! A few top spots so far in the Central East and South East so keeping an eye on it this year! As for me, next year is “my” year. I have finally been convinced that it is time to get off the sidelines and to be a little more selfish with my time around the gym and to get back into competing. So this year I am focusing more on training myself than I have in the past few years. I will OF COURSE continue to program and to train the RXBound Training Team but my “free time” time in the gym will be spent racking and lifting my own plates. Year one was a busted shoulder that kept me from doing anything overhead for 6-9mos and this last year I was a full-time double-major student training and running RXBound. I traded my training time with hours in the library. But not this year. With the Team growing and doing well, I can focus my attention more on actually doing my own programming alongside my team.
Matt: Katie - RxBound is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the competitive fitness world. If you had to sum up your keys to success, what would they be?
Katie: Well thank you! That is the plan and we are working very hard.
There are three keys to success as I once was told (and never forgot). Hard work, hard work, and hard work.
Matt: Now down to the brass tacks and what everyone wants to see - them stats! Can you give us a few of your crowning achievements in the fitness arena?
Katie: Also some PRs: I don’t test the CF benchmarks often and it’s been a long time since I have. Just a 2:03 Grace, a 343 deadlift, a 79kg Clean and Jerk, and a 75kg Snatch
Matt: Anything else you'd like to chat about? Any shout outs or athletes you'd like to mention?
Katie: Chat? I could do that all day! I guess that is why I write so much (!) and why I love contributing as much as I can to the community in that way. I am much quieter in the gym. I just train. I’m actually one of the quiet ones with the hoodie up and earphones on. But I’ll save all that for my next article as I am sure I will think up something! I suppose in this case though (since I have been given the opportunity) I would like to say a few encouraging words and a “thank you” to the RXBound Team, local and worldwide.
You have entrusted me with a very large part of your lives as you train. In exchange, I have promised to devote my time and energy to you, to making you the very best athletes you can be, and to helping you reach your goals to the very best of my ability. I will continue to do that and to share everything I have learned and continue to learn. I want to thank you for putting in the hard work that this kind of programming entails and requires of you. Many sacrifices have been made on your end in order to put in this kind of time and effort. Thank you for encouraging each other, for dedicating your time several times a day to training well and efficiently, and for “sticking to the programming.” I am proud of all of you and am very excited to see what is ahead in the coming year (and this one!) for each and every one of you. “always be rxbound.”
Yes I definitely have shout-outs which I will call “thank you’s worth mentioning”. There are too many to list here but for now, there are a special few I would like to name.
First, a couple of outstanding RXBound athletes. I have met the greatest group of athletes who have joined my team this year from CrossFit Black Box in Florida. Box Owner and Coach, Sean Dodrill is just about the hardest working athlete I have had on this team and is leading his team through the Open. He has stuck consistently with RXBound Programming and is (as he too states) is in “the best shape” of his life. He has hit huge PRs on a weekly and monthly basis. I am excited to see what he does next year. Secondly (and also from CFBB) Colleen Fahey, (Masters athlete, age 51) is sitting 2nd Worldwide in the Open after 13.2 and 1st in the South East. Keep going strong!
Thank you to my athletes, and to my biggest supporters, my parents and my family, to Matt Clapper, Keith Zimmer (CF Happy Valley), Austin friends and coaches, Dai Manuel (Fitness Town), Martin Lehman, CrossFit Scott Panchik, Dan Bergson (HERO Culture), Joey Vincent (RXBound logos) and three especially great coaches and friends I have worked with these past few years, KB Coach Tom Corrigan of Blue Collar Fitness, KB Coach Nic Anderson of NW Kettlebell, and KB King Mikhail Marshak (Master of Sport/KB, Moscow).
Thank you to the great people and companies I am proud to affiliate with, Progenex, Hylete, RealXtremeRX, Momentum, HOF9, Clint Hill of BodyScience, V23 Athletics, Rocktape, and Tru-Strength. I have also had the great honor of writing for fantastic magazines such as Breaking Muscle, WODTalk, Underground Nation, and VPX Sports. Thank you all so much for your support for the RXBound Training Team.
Matt: Katie, thank you so very much for taking the time to interview with SVG FIT! I genuinely appreciate it and I look forward to watching RXBound continue to crush the sport of fitness for years to come!!
Katie: Thank YOU! Join the team any time and always be rxbound!
Matt: There you have it! Katie Chasey from RxBound! What an incredible interview and extremely inspiring as well. I know we’ll all be keeping an eye out for the RxBound team at the ‘Games and other competitions as the year progresses! Have a good one and Stay Savage, my friends!
Before you do anything else today, check out and subscribe to her Facebook and Twitter feeds! Take a drink from the Kool Aid and enjoy their extreme enthusiasm and positive attitude!