The Best of S&C and CrossFit with Coastal Fitness Founder Ed Haynes- EP027

 In Podcast

Demanding CrossFit workouts have been described as ‘utterly vicious’ and even ‘borderline insane.’ The overarching philosophy of this workout phenomenon seems to imply that constantly varied, high-intensity training is the key to success. This runs contrary to classical strength and conditioning principles which promote a systematic approach to training with structure and a planned progression. Is there a way to combine the two? To blend the challenge and community that draws people to CrossFit with the methodical, periodized tactics of S&C?




Ed Haynes is the Founder and Head Trainer at Coastal Fitness, one of Hong Kong’s elite training facilities. Coastal Fitness offers personal training, camps for athletes and coaches, group classes and even online training programs. Among Coastal Fitness’ most popular programs is their CrossFit group classes, which take a systematic approach to the sport, ensuring that clients are prepared for the intense workouts and committed to long-term fitness.

A former Hong Kong international rugby player, Ed can attest to the value of classic strength and conditioning principles—which facilitated his recovery from major injuries during his professional playing career. He is on a mission to help others fulfill their lives through fitness, and today he shares his initial skepticism of the CrossFit phenomenon, his gym’s step-by-step CrossFit methodology, and how Coastal Fitness tailors its offerings to each individual client’s needs. Learn Ed’s tips for choosing a quality personal trainer and how Coastal Fitness has built a strong community committed to clients’ long-term success!

Topics Covered

[0:56] What led Ed to establish Coastal Fitness

  • Grew up in sporting family (Hong Kong)
  • Attended university in UK
  • Pursued professional rugby in Hong Kong
  • Developed passion for training process
  • Founded Coastal Fitness in 2009
  • Started with personal training
  • Led to group training, classes
  • SMAC program gained popularity
  • Opened own facility in 2012
  • Customized facility, headquarters allows to build community
[5:44] Ed’s relationship with CrossFit

  • Early training experience in rugby centered on strength and conditioning
  • Colleague (Andy) found CrossFit online, began following program
  • Ed thought intense workouts lacking structure, progression seemed ridiculous
  • His classical S&C training promotes systematic, periodized training approach
  • Attended CrossFit HQ coaching program with Andy
  • Still wasn’t sold, left with more questions than answers
  • Did more of own research, started exploring workouts
  • Opposed to CrossFit maxim that constantly varied, high-intensity training is key to success
  • Discovered James Fitzgerald’s systematic approach to CrossFit training methodology
[13:28] Ed’s systematic approach to CrossFit

  • Determine client’s goals
  • General consumers with no weight training experience
  • Learn to control body through space (unloaded)
  • Develop all facets of strength
  • May be one to three years before tackle heavy loads
  • Basic (single modality) to complex (mixed modality)
[16:44] What makes Coastal Fitness unique

  • Conduct assessment to determine if client is structurally in position to handle group class
  • Must meet certain prerequisites to prevent injury
  • Control body in unweighted squat
  • No right-left imbalances
  • Ability to control scapula
  • Arms overhead without excessive extension through spine
[18:44] Why Ed is committed to the process

  • May lose impatient clients who want quick fix
  • Creates positive training environment
  • Clients in group classes educated, committed
[20:03] The step-by-step progression from assessment to group classes

  • Client doesn’t meet prerequisites, recommend personal training
  • Client passes prerequisites, moves into fundamentals program (five to seven one-on-one sessions to address basic principles)
  • Graduate from fundamentals to multi-tiered group classes
  1. Fitness—focus on health, developing strength in community
  2. Performance—aspirations to compete
  3. Competitor—prepare for CrossFit Games
[24:46] What the Performance class entails

  • Systematic approach with exposure to variance, intensity of sport
  • Higher training volume
  • Clients may elect to pursue individual coaching (personal training or I-Train program)
[28:14] How the I-Train program works

  • Coach and client have access to online document
  • Client implements on their own (requires self-awareness, motivation)
[30:09] How Coastal Fitness functions as a preferred studio for Spartan Racing

  • Worked with Spartan Racing Hong Kong to offer free classes
  • Group classes expose client to how a Spartan Race might feel
  • Segmented still pieces (rope climb, bucket carry, sandbag carry)
  • Not a class run periodically throughout year
[32:40] Ed’s concerns about the industry

  • Lack of barriers to entry (anyone can call self ‘health coach’)
  • NASM, ACE exams simple multiple choice
  • Lack of quality control (certification process, monitoring of coaches)
  • One bad experience sullies entire profession
[35:24] Ed’s advice for finding a quality personal trainer

  • Always do your research
  • Make sure coach is invested in your long-term success
  • Look for organization, efficiency
  • Ask about assessment process
  • Healthy gains, adaptations take time and consistency
  • Beware of quick fixes, short-term transformation challenges
[37:55] How Coastal Fitness builds a strong community

  • Emphasis on process
  • Begins with first conversation
  • Set standards, benchmarks from Day One
  • Realistic expectations set clients up for long-term success

Learn More About Ed Haynes

Coastal Fitness

Resources Mentioned

OPEX Fitness

CrossFit Games

Spartan Race Inc.



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  • lee

    thanks for enlightening me about sweating and burning my calories away. I appreciate this post. Nice one!

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