Chris Hinshaw

PERSONAL STATS

  • Full name: Chris Hinshaw
  • Birthday: 5th of June

RUNNING STATS

  • 400m: 60.3 sec
  • Mile: 4:57
  • 5000m: 17:10

BARBELL STATS

  • Back Squat: 210lb
  • Clean: 170lb
  • Deadlift: 295lb

Biography


AHEAD OF THE GAME


Chris Hinshaw is best known for his invaluable input when it comes to introducing capacity training in the programming of the world’s top CrossFit athletes. Chris has been training and improving the athletic performance of all the CrossFit Games podium keepers in both Women and Men divisions for the last 3 years. And he’s not stopping here. His quest is to introduce aerobic capacity training in CrossFit programs worldwide, for all professional and lifestyle athletes to enjoy and utilize in maximizing their athletic potential.

The article below takes you through the evolution of Chris’ career from a professional triathlete through his training experiences with Jason Kalipha, Rich Fronning and Mat Fraser, to becoming CrossFit’s most beloved coach.


MEET CHRIS, THE COLLEGE SPORTSMAN

Chris Hinshaw had a knack for sports since early on in his life. He attended the Cal Poly State University in California and graduated in 1989 with a BS in Business Administration. During his college years, his number one focus was swimming. Combining swimming with his all time passion for running and his ability to cycle resulted in Chris becoming a professional triathlete.

He competed as a professional triathlete for 6 years. Some of his athletic achievements as a triathlete include a 2nd place overall finish at the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships, 2-­time member of Team USA at the Hawaiian Ironman, 2nd place overall finish at the Ironman World Championships in Canada, and a 1st place overall finish at Ironman Brazil.


A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE TRIATHLETE CHRIS HINSHAW


During his professional athletic period Chris’ weekly regimen typically included 5 000 meters swimming, 480-560 kilometres cycling, and 65-80 kilometres running. Besides this, the weekends were normally dedicated to competing.


THE TURNING POINT


By 2008 Chris had already behind years of volume training, an effect of his professional triathlete career. He had never cross-trained, all his workouts were focused on swimming, biking and running. After years of intensive trainings on only specific muscle groups, his body was tired and severely damaged.

But that year Chris was about hit a turning point in his journey with sports. It was Annie Sakamoto who introduced him to the CrossFit methodology. A hopeful Chris saw in CrossFit an opportunity to strengthen the muscles he’d been neglecting, in order to gain a few more athletic years.

Chris recalls his first day in the CrossFit box as being without question his “hardest athletic event” ever. With no experience in weight lifting and no certainty he could do a single pull-up, Chris walked into the box with a lot of skepticism. .

His passion for sports and determination to take on a challenge slowly pushed him to strengthen those muscles that were unused, up to the point when he restored his body and regained his strength and wellbeing.


WHO WOULD SAY 'NO' TO A HELEN WORKOUT WITH JASON KHALIPA?


One day, after moving from Santa Cruz Central to NorCal CrossFit, Chris had the frightening pleasure to meet Jason Khalipa during a Helen workout. Chris recalls pushing that Helen as hard as he could.

This context gave the two athletes the chance to talk about endurance based on Chris’ wide background. That day Jason confessed how frustrated he had been with his finishes in the CrossFit Games 2012 endurance events. Despite trying everything he knew, he still finished last.


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED


Little while after, Chris got a call. The voice in the end of the line said “Hey Chris, this is J”. It took a few moments for Chris to realize the person talking to him was no other than Jason Khalipa.

That’s when Jason asked Chris to be his coach. His determination was huge, as he said that he’ll do anything Chris asks him to do, no questions asked. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Chris. The challenge was huge because it implied coaching one of the top CrossFit athletes in the world, with no endurance background and introduce capacity training in his program.


AND SO THE FIRST CROSSFIT COACHING EXPERIMENT HAD BEGUN


Chris remembers the day he was supposed to meet Jason the first time. He showed up on the running track after a long drive, wearing no socks, but a pair of questionable “fast shoes”. Without any warm up, he walked on the track and told Chris "Let's take care of today's business.”

They started with one mile for time. Jason’s strategy was to “take this one out fast and hope I can hang on.” The damage had been done in the first 600 meters of taking it out too fast as he generated too much fatigue. Going slow helps clearing fatigue. Needless to say after that mile he was crushed.


ASSESSING THE ATHLETE


2013 was the year when Chris worked hard on building Jason’s endurance. Although this was a long and tough journey, it was also what brought Jason a great competitive advantage.

Chris developed a program based on different speeds when it came to running and trained Jason to understand the differences between gears and the purpose of his endurance workouts.


STRENGTHENING THE MENTAL GAME


In the same time, Chris realized that what Jason was clearly lacking besides endurance capacity, was a strong mental game. Chris systematically worked on helping Jason strengthen his confidence by building his knowledge about his capabilities and limits. It was a process that would turn him into a strategic thinker, thus an even stronger competitor at the Games.

The 2013 CrossFit Games came and Jason got 3 first place event finishes and 1 third place finish in endurance events, placing him on an outstanding 2nd overall.


COACHING RICH FRONING


In the 2014 CrossFit Games Rich Froning had a poor performance in a long event that involved rowing, double-unders and running. He won the Games that year, but he still wasn’t pleased with this performance, so he called Chris asking for help.

Chris remembers assessing Rich’s aerobic system as being terrible compared to his speed. At that moment Froning was running a 400-meter in 60 seconds, but when it comes to the 1-miler, it was 6 minutes. Top runners have a tendency to fatigue around 6% for every doubled running distance. Chris discovered that Froning slowed down 28.5% between 400 meters and 800 meters and another 28.5% between 800 meters and 1 mile. Up to that point his athletic development was focused on improving speed. So Chris’ goal had become improving his 1-mile time by working on his aerobic capacity.

After a period of 12 weeks, Froning shaved 19 seconds off his 1-mile best time, he went from 6 minutes to 5.41. But the really interesting thing was that in the meantime, his back squat also improved. It was a slow but steady improvement process. And this is when Chris felt he was onto something big.


COACHING MAT FRASER


Whoever followed Mat Fraser’s evolution in CrossFit knows that he deeply dislikes second-place finishes. After the 2015 second place finish it became quite clear running is not Mat’s strong point. It looked like the one thing that made a big difference between Ben Smith who sat on top of the podium that year and Mat was exactly what Chris could help with.

Wanting to be the Fittest Man on Earth meant that Mat knew no compromises. He wanted to train with the best runner out there. But when Chris started working with Mat Fraser his biggest concern was that the endurance training could have a negative impact on the strength of the former Olympic Weightlifter. Still, that didn’t stop either one of them.

And as it turned out, not long after they started training together Mat hit a new 170 kg PR in clean and jerk, the same day after doing a running workout: 3 rounds of 3 x 600m for a total of 5400m. This was a great realization for Chris that improving the aerobic capacity doesn’t only enhance endurance, but actually maximizes the overall athletic performance.


WORKING WITH THE FITTEST PEOPLE ON EARTH


Chris talks very passionately about coaching, but he will always admit it’s stressful. All these great athletes have huge expectations and they want to see real results.

While coaching these top athletes, Chris learned the importance of psychological training, as it takes a lot of time and pain to improve performance. Building resistance to fatigue takes time and in this process you have to understand how our body’s functions.


THE AEROBIC CAPACITY COURSE COMES TO LIFE


Having the opportunity to work with a great number of athletes doing CrossFit, from the top ones to the normal box members, Chris saw a great need for these sportsmen and women to include in their training endurance work. The natural consequence was to put all the elements he had known and learned into one course that would be specially designed to improve the aerobic system. And this is how the Aerobic Capacity Course was born.

The main focus of the course is running, as Chris believes that using your largest muscle group in your body, the legs, helps you support your body weight more than rowing or swimming.


TEACHING CROSSFIT COACHES ABOUT ENDURANCE


Before anything else, a coach needs to understand his goal. Therefore asking the athletes what they want to achieve more - speed or endurance - is the first step. When teaching coaches, assessing the athletes is the main objective of his course.

The general goal of the seminar is to teach people how to utilize endurance training methodologies to help CrossFit athletes do more work in a faster time. Athletes and coaches who attend the Aerobic Capacity Course learn about the importance of pacing in relation to building a more robust and efficient aerobic system. The seminar also debates subjects such as fatigue, physiology, balancing energy systems, applying aerobic-capacity training to target goals, and training protocols for speed endurance and strength endurance.


KNOWLEDGE IS BEST SHARED


Starting 2015, Chris has successfully been coaching over 60 CrossFit Games athletes including Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Mat Fraser, Katrin Davidsdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Chyna Cho, Noah Olsen, Brooke Wells, Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson, Lindsey Valenzuela, Emily Bridgers, Stacie Tovar, Miranda Oldroyd, Neal Maddox and many others.

In 2016, Chris coached all three CrossFit Games Champions: Mathew Fraser in Men's Individual, Katrin Davidsdottir in Women's Individual and CrossFit Mayhem, the Affiliate Cup Team. In addition, he coached several teenage and masters' CrossFit Games Champions.

In 2017, besides coaching the elite athletes of the world and preparing them for the CrossFit Games, one of the most notable achievements Chris has is spreading his Aerobic Capacity knowledge to athletes and coaches all over the world through his specially dedicated seminars and one-day Aerobic Capacity courses.

CrossFit changed a lot over the course of the last decade. Improving the Aerobic Capacity has definitely been a game-changer in the case of many of sportsmen and women. And much of this happened due to the know-how, passion and dedication Chris has brought to the game, and that one May day on the running track when Jason Kalipha showed up sockless for his first running workout.



13, Jan 2015: Track workout for Rich Froning


3x (600m in 2:04, 400m in 1:23, 300m in 1:02, 200m in 41sec)
Rest after 600: 2min
Rest after 400: 90sec
Rest after 300: 1min
Rest after 200: 30sec
800m easy jog between rounds
Total: 6900m

Workout Details: Run 600m in 2:04, rest 2min, run 400m in 1:23, rest 90sec, run 300m in 62sec, rest 1min, run 200m in 41sec, rest 30sec, slow jog for 800m, repeat for 2 additional rounds.



3, Nov 2013: Track workout for Katrín Davíðsdóttir


2x (1000m, 800m, 500m, 300m)
1000m pace = 4:32 to 4:37
Rest after 1000 = 200m easy jog
800m pace = 3:38 to 3:41
Rest after 800 = 200m easy jog
500m pace = 2:16 to 2:18
Rest after 500 = 200m walk
300m pace = 64‐65
Rest after 300 = 200m walk
Rest between sets: 2 min

Workout Details: It is important that you control your pace in the first 1000m. The pace for this 1000m will feel easy. However, this workout is a continuous effort from the 1000s to the 500s. That’s 2700 meters. Although the recovery during your 200m jog (slowly as needed) will be important, the most important recovery is the 200m walk after the 500s because the 300m pace is fast. After your hot 300, walk the prescribed 200m plus take your 2 min of additional rest between sets -­ then go get that 2nd round!