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Coach Journals

Hi, I’m Hayley!

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Hi Everyone!
We’ve had quiet a few new followers over the last couple months, so this week, I want to go back to the basics and share some information and fun facts about IgniteGym!

Today, I’ll start by introducing myself and my vision behind the program!

I’m Hayley Campbell, Owner of IgniteGym. We are located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. My path with Ignite began in 2013. I had just had my first daughter, still on Maternity Leave and the previous owner asked if I’d be able to coach one group, one night a week. I had followed the program and knew I wanted to get involved. So I said, “Yes, if course!”. The day my maternity leave ended; I already had a full schedule and was excited to continue the journey. I quickly moved into the role of Head Coach and In 2016, was promoted to General Manager. In spring 2018, my boss brought me to a business ownership conference in Chicago. After the weekend of soaking up advise and guidance from successful business owners, he sent me a message telling me it was time to buy him out. Could I possibly be up for that challenge!?

July 2018, I purchased IgniteGym. I was so thrilled to be able to grow and build upon IgniteGym and expand the vision! We service children of ALL needs! Parents that come in for consultations will often question whether their child is okay to participate in a “gym” and I ALWAYS say YES! No matter what your child’s abilities are, we can always find some activities that will get their bodies moving! When we say we work with kids of all abilities, we TRULY mean it.

This year, IgniteGym has also created an affiliate program and other gyms and Private Schools around North America are implementing IgniteGym into their own gyms! With this, I am over the moon. With one gym in Sault Ste Marie, we can only help so many children, but with multiple gyms sharing the same vision, we can help LOTS!
Tomorrow, I will answer a frequently asked question:
What exactly is IgniteGym?
Have a great day,

Cognitive Load and Weightlifting

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Almost every morning, I spend an hour in my garage. It’s not really a garage–it’s never seen a combustion engine–but it looks like one on the outside. Inside, there’s a pullup rig, a weightlifting platform and a wood stove. There’s no electricity because I want to hear the birds in my garden outside the window.

I don’t listen to music when I lift weights. But I DO usually listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I block out emails and text messages, listen and lift.

This week, I’m listening to the last chapters of an excellent audiobook (“Resilience,” by Eric Greitens) and building to a near-max clean and jerk AND a near-max snatch several times. I’m not great at technical lifts, so I need maximal concentration to do them well.

Today I reached my cognitive limit. After thinking several times, “I’ve gotta remember that!” while listening to Greitens, and telling myself to “think more about my hips” during the snatch, my mind was full. I started snatching badly. I began to make mistakes I haven’t made in months: early arm pull, knees drifting in on the catch. Amateur stuff that I thought I’d overcome.

But when the brain is full, your body falls back to its level of unconscious competence. When weightlifting technique isn’t yet automatic at high levels, you’ll simply perform at a low level. You fail at the margins of your experience. And when your brain is full, that margin widens.

Lifting technique and learning new material contribute to cognitive load. But so does stress. So does a clock. So does a grocery list, schedule and everything else you’re trying to remember. You can’t fit it all in.

In my case, it was easy to turn off the audiobook and regroup. But stress doesn’t have an “off” switch. When you’ve had a crazy day, lower your workout expectations. Scale down the weights and work hard at your minimum level of competency.

August 3-7 Programming: Chris

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Oops, I Forgot My List!
3:00 minutes to look at this grocery list:
4 rounds:
200m run
20 double unders
10 wall ball

Recall your grocery list.

Simon Says

Own Workout
Then 5:00 of Simon.


Letter Recall

3 Burpee box jumps

Read the first set of letters (5 seconds max)

3 Burpee box jumps

Recall the first set of letters. Read the next set of letters.

3 burpee box jumps.

Recall the second string of letters. Read the third string of letters.

Do all 10 sets.

Read Recall
H W  
U V  
P N V R  
J G H T  
T Z L A M  
B V T Y H  
C R T F P J  
Q R T V Y U  
K R M Y B D G  
Y B U S A L E  



Study Grocery List for 3:00

4 rounds
200m Run
20 Double Unders
10 Wall Balls

Recall Grocery List

Own Workout


5:00 of Simon



3 Burpee box jumps

Read the first set of letters

3 burpee box jumps

Recall the first set of letters. Read the next set.

3 burpee box jumps

Continue through all 10 sets.



July 27-31 Programming: Chris

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Week 3 Programming
Working Memory

Names and Occupations


Own Workout, then:
2:00 minutes to memorize the names and occupations.

Recall and fill in the names and occupations


Story Recall

Row 500m.

Read the following story.

50 double unders, then:

Recall as much of the story as you can. Think about key words and phrases.

The First Snow Storm
Far away on a warm sunny island, little Harry Hall was born. Flowers bloomed all year round. The sun shone most of the time, although now and then there were thunder-showers.

When Harry was six years old his parents took a journey to New York. It seemed very odd to the little boy to live in a place where there were so many people. After a while the weather grew cold, and he had to wear thick woollen clothing. The sky was gray and cloudy one afternoon and the air grew thick. Harry was looking out the window and could hardly see the other side of the street. Something white and feathery fell slowly down. Harry was surprised that it felt so cold.  He asked his mother about it. She told him it was snow.

When the second snow-storm came Harry’s dad brought home a beautiful sleigh. Harry loved sleigh rides.

He will always remember that first snow fall.

To Do List

Do 3 wall balls between each item while reading your to-do list.

After all items are read. Run 200m while thinking about your to-do list.

Try and recall you’re entire to do list after the 200m run.

1.     Walk the dog

2.     Eat breakfast

3.     Unload the dishwasher

4.     Take meat for dinner out of the freezer

5.     Water the garden

6.     Shower

7.     Go to the grocery store

8.     Buy strawberries and bacon

9.     Make a turkey sandwich

10.  Go to soccer


Own workout, then:

Names and Occupations
Row 500m
Read the Story
50 double unders

Story Recall
3 Wall balls between each item on the To Do List

Run 200m, then:

Recall your To Do List.

July 13-18 Programming: Hayley

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This week, Hayley has been working on public speaking.

She would like to improve her ability to speak in front of an audience. She would like to increase her confidence and fluency.

Hayley has not spent much time utilizing the skills needed for public speaking. So her week is focused around practice!

Movements                            5 push ups

5 squats

5 left leg hops

5 Right leg hops

5 burpees

5 Rounds


Quick Thinking Drill:

1 minute to think of as many words as possible that begin with the letter

‘B’ – remember the rules.

Focus drill:

Cross Crawl for 1 minute

Speech Game

“The History of…”

The History of…

Choose or make up your own starter topic. It can be about an animal, a person, an object, how a tradition was started, a reason why we do something or anything else you can think of. For example: birthday cake, books, supper at my house, a zebra’s stripes, a chimney, the tooth fairy, common sayings like ‘a penny for your thoughts’, ‘a red rag to a bull’, ‘a pinch and a punch for the first of the month’, April Fools Day, a wheel, a Christmas tree, a ladder, Father Christmas, May Day, a siren, a 5 dollar bill, shaking hands when meeting someone.

Tell your story of the history behind the thing or event. It doesn’t have to be real! The goal of this public speaking game is to be confident and fluent!

If you’re having trouble thinking of what to say, give yourself a :20 or :30 second time slot to fill and increase the time as you become more comfortable.

Movements                            30 man on fire burpees


Quick Thinking Drill:

1 minute to think of as many items that you would find in the fridge

Focus drill:

Double doodle

-both hands at the same time drawing a figure 8

Speech Game

“Story Starters”

Story Starters

Choose from the examples below or create your own opening sentences or phrases, build a story. There is a 1 minute minimum time limit and no maximum!

For example: ‘It was a dark and stormy night’, ‘I wish people would not say …’, ‘Yesterday I saw a herd of cows ‘, ‘My favorite activity is bird watching’, ‘The wisest saying I ever heard was …’, ‘In 20 years time I will be …’, ‘It made me yell’, ‘All I want for Christmas is …’, ‘Something is terribly wrong …’, ‘The little voice inside my head …’, ‘This is the secret I’ve never shared before’, ‘I never knew what happened …’, ‘Sometimes I just want to …’, ‘You know it’s Summer when …’, ‘Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you’, ‘The story made me want to …’,’I heard the best news this morning’, ‘The sound of people laughing …’

Be creative and have FUN!

Movements                            21-15-9

Wall ball

Sit ups


Quick Thinking Drill:

1 minute to think of as many things that are the colour ‘green’.

Focus drill:

Cross Crawl

Speech Game

“Story Intervals”


Story Intervals

Pick an object in the room. You have 30 seconds to talk about that object. You can create a fictional story about it coming to life, or you can create a factual story and describe how it is used. At the end of   30 seconds, you have to pause for 10 seconds. After the 10 second pause you can continue with your story. Complete a minimum of 3 intervals of 30 seconds. There is no maximum!

July 13-18 Programming: Tyler

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Tyler’s goals center on language. He’d like an increased vocabulary and faster word retrieval.

This might suggest primarily word-based tasks, but since our brain doesn’t discriminate between bits of data, we can help word recall with number lists. That creates more options.

Also, a large part of recall is “seeing” the word or “feeling” the word. Having Tyler “try on” different words or use them in different patterns will make him choose his words more carefully.

His first BrainWOD is fairly simple: it’s memorizing lists of words between rounds in his track workout. These lists were chosen based on categories (the words have things in common) so he can chunk them. Next week he might not be so lucky.

Horse Cat Dog Fish Bird
Orange Yellow Blue Green Black
Table Chair Desk Bookcase Bed
Teacher School Student Homework Class
Apple Banana Kiwi Grape Mango


This task is for time.

His second BrainWOD will involve rewording cliches to change their meaning. After a METCON, Ty will fill in the following worksheet. This is NOT timed. This is a substitution task.

Cliche Worksheet 1

Finally, his third BrainWOD will involve translation. This is a simple word search using only French words. Ty will have to carry an unfamiliar word (or two, or three) in his short-term memory and find them in the puzzle. He’ll be using this particular puzzle after another track workout.

This is a fairly simple week, focused entirely on language.

July 12-18 Programming: Chris

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This is the start of a working memory cycle for Chris.

Chris has been noticing a slip in his working memory, probably due to very high cognitive load. He’s been working to finish two books before a July 22 deadline, operating a very busy consulting practice and running his other companies.

His workouts are done at Catalyst twice per week with the group, and 4-5x per week in his garage. Home workouts usually don’t contain conditioning work due to time, so physical WODs here are very short.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 6.31.26 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 6.31.38 AM

Week 1 Ignite Programming-Chris

The Ignite 1-on-1 Challenge

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In September, Ignite will roll out a new concept in cognitive fitness. It will make implementation of brain training easier for gym owners and coaches, with two unique offerings. Both are geared toward the general population instead of those with special needs.

But before we do, we’re going to have some fun.

For the rest of the summer, beginning July 13, the Ignite HQ staff will program daily workouts…for EACH OTHER. Hayley, Ty and Chris will create BrainWODs for a full month, log their results and explain every workout. You can enjoy following along; feel free to post questions in the comments, too!

Think of it as “personal braining.”

Watch for a video explaining goals, process and programming on Monday!