90 episodes

Todd Nief is the owner of downtown Chicago's #1 CrossFit gym and the coach to multiple CrossFit Games athletes. He has been featured by Men's Fitness, WGN Radio, and NBC Chicago among others. His background in chemical engineering and as a musician in multiple death metal bands gives him a unique lens with which to unpack the models that people use to solve problems in complex areas like fitness, business, nutrition, music, economics and psychology.

Todd Nief's Show Todd Nief

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9, 30 Ratings

Todd Nief is the owner of downtown Chicago's #1 CrossFit gym and the coach to multiple CrossFit Games athletes. He has been featured by Men's Fitness, WGN Radio, and NBC Chicago among others. His background in chemical engineering and as a musician in multiple death metal bands gives him a unique lens with which to unpack the models that people use to solve problems in complex areas like fitness, business, nutrition, music, economics and psychology.

    Courtney Kelly (Strength Ratio | Ethos Alchemy) on optimality theory, trade-offs in fitness, and copywriting

    Courtney Kelly (Strength Ratio | Ethos Alchemy) on optimality theory, trade-offs in fitness, and copywriting

    Figuring out how to prioritize in any sort of complex system is really, really difficult.
    We see this all the time in working with athletes.
    A simple, linear mindset results in athletes trying to do more, more, more training — and expecting to get more, more, more results.
    In reality, there are trade-offs involved in any sort of training plan.
    These are not just the trade-offs between the zero sum competition between training time and ability to adapt, but fundamental trade-offs between constraints being imposed on the system.
    If only there were some sort of lens through which we could view the process of making trade-offs between competing priorities in complex systems…
    Fortunately, Courtney Kelly is a coach and a copywriter, and she has a background in psycholinguistics.
    In linguistics, there is an understanding of the way that humans generate grammar and speech based upon trade-offs between different constraints.
    This theory is called “optimality theory,” and Courtney wrote a fantastic article on its application to training here.
    Check out more from Courtney, Ethos Alchemy, and Strength Ratio here: Article: Performance optimization? How ’bout optimality theory? Website: www.strengthratiohq.com | www.ethosalchemy.co Instagram: @strengthratio | @ethos_alchemy If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [01:01] A background on psycholinguistics and universal grammar — and why grammar is a lot more interesting than “just punctuation” [14:24] So, what is optimality theory? What does the way that humans generate speech have to tell us about trade-offs in complex systems — particularly in fitness? [28:10] A tangible example of the trade-offs involved in training for a triathlon vs building muscle for aesthetics [34:00] Optimality theory treats constraints as “binary” — not on a sliding scale [40:15] An grammatical example of optimality theory in action [49:02] The importance of having a robust theory of mind for effective communication [59:09] The practical applications of understanding theory of mind for copywriting and sales — how to understand clients’ hopes, fears, and dreasm [01:13:32] How to know when it’s ok to “exclude” someone with your copy who isn’t a good fit for your business [01:18:02] Learn more from Courtney, Ethos Alchemy, and Strength Ratio Links and Resources Mentioned Slipknot “Psychosocial” Generative grammar Noam Chomsky B. F. Skinner Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization “Let’s face it: reading acquisition, face and word processing” from Frontiers in Psychology Reading Rehabilitation | American Stroke Association Optimality Theory “Optimality Theory – Constraint Interaction in Generative Grammar” by Alan Prince and Paul Smolensky Zach Greenwald Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints Ruble sign Géraldine Legendre Theory of mind Kurt Vonnegut James Joyce

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Todd Jones (Nails)

    Todd Jones (Nails)

    In this episode of "Between Two Todds," Todd Jones discusses his songwriting process for Nails and why he thinks of himself more as a "music fan" than a "musician."
    Todd has a public perception that is often totally out of alignment with his actual personality. Some of this is likely a side effect of being the front man of one of the most aggressive bands currently playing in metal and hardcore.
    However, we get to see Todd as an introspective and curious fan of music on his new podcast called Unsilent Death. He interviews other musicians and producers, and digs into all of the aspects of the craft of making music - from songwriting, to production, to touring.
    After you listen to this episode, check out a few episodes of Unsilent Death as well.
    Check out more from Todd, Nails, and the Unsilent Death podcast here: Website: www.unsilentdeathpodcast.com Podcast: Unsilent Death Instagram: @nailstyrrany | @unsilentdeathpodcast If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [00:57] The dynamics of first discovering subcultures — and why Todd resonated so much with hardcore [11:15] Music as a vehicle for delivering emotion to listeners — and why Todd thinks of himself more as a "music fan" than a "musician" [17:14] The different roles that a musician needs to play in order to bring music into the world: actually composing the music, doing promotion in the press or in music videos, and project managing behind-the-scenes. [28:30] Using the The Unsilent Death podcast as an opportunity to dig into the craft of creating music with other musicians — rather than just asking the same standard interview questions [41:14] Todd’s songwriting process: playing punk and hardcore with tight musicianship, obsessing over the finished product, and finding ways to be creative with the framework that Nails has established [51:24] Writing songs based upon specific riffs — or writing songs based upon a big picture "idea" or theoretical song structure [01:03:07] Learn more about The Unsilent Death podcast and Nails Links and Resources Mentioned Brendan Kelly Road to the Skeleton Coast podcast with Brendan Kelly Mastering (audio) Joe Rogan Feedly Google Reader Sepultura (Cavalera's Return To Roots) - Ambush & Drum Jam Solo Deicide "Dead by Dawn" live - with the Hoffman brothers looking jacked Music Mentioned The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Someday I Suppose" The Offspring "Smash" Minor Threat "In My Eyes" Youth Of Today "No More" The Lawrence Arms "Quincentuple Your Money" Slapstick "Cheat to Win" The Broadways "15 Minutes" Mother Love Bone "Stargazer" Operation Ivy "Sound System" Less Than Jake "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts" The Honor System "Nails" Alkaline Trio "Bleeder" Converge "Concubine" The Dillinger Escape Plan "43% Burnt" Iron Maiden "The Trooper" Blink-182 "First Date" New Found Glory "Hit Or Miss" Slint "Spiderland" Rancid "Ruby Soho" NOFX "Linoleum" Good Riddance "One for the Braves" Black Flag "My War" Ulthar "Providence" Averse Sefira "Deathymn" Deathspell Omega "Paracletus" Deicide "Once Upon the Cross" Deicide "Legion" The Damned "Love Song" Antidote "Real Deal" Urban Waste "Ignorant" Chain of Strength "True Till Death" Gorilla Biscuits "Start Today" Jerry's Kids "Is This My World" Sepultura "Roots Bloody Roots" Deicide "Lunatic Of God's Creation" Obituary "Slowly We Rot" Cannibal Corpse "Hammer Smashed Face" Morbid Angel "Rapture" Deicide "Insineratehymn"

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Sarah Sentes (Manager Tools) on managing in industries that resist management

    Sarah Sentes (Manager Tools) on managing in industries that resist management

    Every small business that has any level of success hits a tipping point where the fact that business is going "kind of well" becomes the most stressful thing to the founders. I vividly remember hitting this point with South Loop Strength & Conditioning several years ago. The gnawing worry that we were missing something or doing something wrong with our business was replaced with a constant feeling of suffocating in emails, meetings, coaching, and duct taping together the cracks splitting apart in seemingly every area of the business. Every business book says that all you have to do is "systemize and delegate." Well, what happens when none of the tasks that you delegate get done properly, you find out your employees are doing crazy things when you’re not in the building, and it seems like everyone hates each other? In the fitness industry, "management" is seen as something for stuffy suits in office jobs. But, a lack of management results in something much worse taking its place. Sarah Sentes taught the Manager Tools conference that Paul and I attended several years back - and that was a game changer for operations at SLSC. I wanted to have Sarah on the podcast to talk about practical takeaways in management for people who hate the idea of managing - particularly those in the start-up scene or involved in the fitness industry.
    Check out more from Sarah and Manager Tools here: Website: Manager Tools Podcast: Manager Tools | Career Tools | Manager Tools Basics If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [01:11] Sarah’s background in managing IT professionals – without a technical background. How should managers deal with impostor syndrome? [08:58] People often bristle at management – especially in start-ups or in the fitness industry. What are the costs of not having management structure in place? [16:30] How do organizations know when they are at the tipping point where they should start implementing formal management? [23:59] If you don’t have management structure, something more nefarious and toxic – aka “politics” and “clicqueiness” – will take its place. [28:50] Relationships are the foundation of good management. Without solid relationships, people find negative explanations for decisions. [33:10] Why even people who “hate meetings” should do regular one-on-ones [41:20] What management principles can coaches apply to working with their clients? How can coaches deliver helpful feedback to clients? [48:23] How to prioritize when and where to give feedback. Feedback is for the future, not the past. [54:46] Should people give use the “shit sandwich” to give feedbacK? [59:00] What are the most actionable starting points for people looking to implement management structure? [01:02:57] Where should people start with Manager Tools? Links and Resources Mentioned Impostor syndrome Goodhart’s law “Role Power Revisited” from Manager Tools “Assume Positive Intent” from Manager Tools

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Wayne Banks (KIPP Academy) on remote learning, protests, and race in CrossFit

    Wayne Banks (KIPP Academy) on remote learning, protests, and race in CrossFit

    Wayne is the principal in residence at KIPP Team Academy in Newark, New Jersey. I’ve wanted to have Wayne on the show for awhile to talk about education since I’m endlessly fascinated with learning, learning about learning, teaching, teaching others to teach, and basically every other possible recursion and iteration of the words "teach" and "learn." Given the climate in the world right now, we discuss Wayne’s expertise through the lens of suddenly transitioning into remote learning due to COVID-19. We also discuss the climate of race in 2020 and Wayne’s experiences as a black, gay man. We also dig into the pending "cancellation" of Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, and we work through how to reconcile someone’s contributions with their toxic personal behavior. There’s a lot of hot button and potentially dangerous issues in this conversation, so I appreciate Wayne being vulnerable. Hopefully we were able to touch these topics in a nuanced and helpful way.
    Check out more from Wayne and KIPP here: Website: KIPP TEAM Academy Instagram: @banksylifts If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [02:42] Wayne’s experience suddenly transitioning into online learning - and also likely having COVID-19 in February. Also, the importance of access to resources in education to facilitate moving to online education. [14:20] How can children engage in self-guided learning? How can educators? Facilitate self-guided learning? [22:15] What is the role of motivation in learning? How is Wayne preparing for a likely "middle ground" in the future with some online learning and some in-person learning? [28:45] What transfers over from an in-person learning environment into an online learning environment? [36:04] How to have high expectations and "hold someone’s feet to the fire" - both in managing teachers and in educating children. [47:30] What have we seen exposed as far as systemic inequalities through both COVID-19 and the protests in response to the killing of George Floyd? [58:52] What are Wayne’s recommendations for self-educating regarding social justice issues? How should we think about racism in our current society? [01:11:10] How should we think about "cancel culture" - and what are some unintended consequences of online shaming? [01:23:23] How do we reconcile the contributions of people who are unethical in their personal lives but who have made important contributions to their field? This is especially timely in the context of Greg Glassman, the founder and former CEO of CrossFit. [01:30:55] How to learn more from Wayne Links and Resources Mentioned "The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn’t Work" from the Wall Street Journal Khan Academy "Talking to Strangers" by Malcolm Gladwell "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott Stonewall riots "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" "13th" Jane Elliott Video of Jane Elliott's brown eyes and blue eyes experiement "Counting Prison Inmates Differently Could Shift Political Power to Cities" from The Pew Charitable Trusts 'Head Of CrossFit Retires After Telling Staff On A Zoom Call, “We're Not Mourning For George Floyd”' from Buzzfeed "James Watson Had a Chance to Salvage His Reputation on Race. He Made Things Worse." from The New York Times "In Defense of Greg Glassman" from Dale Saran

    • 1 hr 33 min
    John Wooley (Make WODs Great Again) on the essentialness of CrossFit gyms

    John Wooley (Make WODs Great Again) on the essentialness of CrossFit gyms

    I recently wrote a controversial oped for the Morning Chalk Up on why my CrossFit gym isn’t an essential business. John Wooley, from the regularly hysterical CrossFit satire account @makewodsgreatagain, wrote a thoughtful response disagreeing with my claim that CrossFit gyms are not essential. I figured it would be interesting to have a recorded conversation where we hash out where we agree and where we disagree. While John and I don’t completely agree on everything, I think this is a complicated, nuanced issue, and working it out in public is hopefully helpful to some people. You can check out the full conversation here.
    Check out more from John, Make WODs Great Again and Make Pods Great Again here: Website: www.makewodsgreatagain.com Instagram: @makewodsgreatagain | @makepodsgreatagain Podcast: Make Pods Great Again If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [0:47] Quick summary of Todd’s op ed – and the ensuing controversy [3:29] John’s take on my article: What should and shouldn’t be considered an essential business? Also, John’s family’s background with CrossFit. [15:50] How are we defining “essential?” What are regulators thinking about when deciding what should and shouldn’t be considered “essential?” [27:30] How should we think about the trade-offs between the negative impacts of chronic disease vs the negative impacts of a spreading pandemic? [35:50] What do gym owners need to be thinking about as different states start to reopen? What is the potential downside risk of opening early? How can we prevent a second wave of infections and economic shutdowns? [45:49] What will be the role of ongoing government regulations? What will the regulatory burden be on smaller gyms? [54:20] How will members be thinking about getting back into the gym? [01:05:40] The social dynamics of getting roasted online Links and Resources Mentioned Morning Chalk Up OpEd: One Box Owner’s Opinion, “My CrossFit Gym is Not an Essential Business” from the Morning Chalk Up At-Home Workout: Hops, Bent-Over Rows, Planks, Chair Dips from CrossFit Saxon Panchik Spencer Panchik CrossFit Cliffside Big Five personality traits Moral hazard “Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19” from The Lancet Rethinking Our Assumptions During the COVID-19 Crisis with David Krakauer from the Santa Fe Institute “Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Jeff Wang (Modern Asian Kitchen | Yum Dum Truck) on COVID-19's impact on restaurants

    Jeff Wang (Modern Asian Kitchen | Yum Dum Truck) on COVID-19's impact on restaurants

    When people think of the culture of a country or a city, food is one of the first things that comes to mind. But, with the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, a lot of folks - myself included - have serious concerns about the ability of restaurants to make it through to the other side of an extended shutdown. As a fan of regional ethnic cuisine, I’m concerned that a big chunk of my “to try” list is going to be wiped out - and for the implications on the families that run these restaurants. I think there’s a lot of parallels between the fitness industry and the restaurant industry, and I’ve spoked with Jeff multiple times about these similarities. So, I wanted to get Jeff’s take on how COVID-19 is impacting both his food truck business and his brick and mortar restaurant business.
    Check out more from Jeff, Yum Dum Truck and Modern Asian Kitchen here: Website: www.makrestaurant.com | www.yumdumtruck.com Instagram: @yumdumtruck If you're enjoying the show, the best way to support it is by sharing with your friends. If you don't have any friends, why not a leave a review? It makes a difference in terms of other people finding the show.
    You can also subscribe to receive my e-mail newsletter at www.toddnief.com. Most of my writing never makes it to the blog, so get on that list.
    Show Notes: [01:11] What is the difference in business model between the food truck and the brick and mortar restaurant? [05:42] What has the impact of COVID-19 been on both businesses? [11:14] How can restaurants – with already thin margins – survive in an environment with reduced dining room capacity? [18:56] How does Jeff react to negative reviews? And what are some of the more ridiculous things people have said on Yelp? is any negative feedback from review sites actionable? [23:59] Are apps like Grubhub and DoorDash a net positive or a net negative for the restaurant industry? [32:49] How do the fees for delivery apps actually work? What do the agreements look like between restaurants and delivery apps? [38:12] Why hasn’t there been a white label online ordering option that competes with delivery platforms? [49:15] What did Jeff’s upbringing in a restaurant family look like? And, how robust are small ethnic restaurants to the disruption presented by COVID-19? [55:45] How to follow – and order from – Jeff’s restaurants Links and Resources Mentioned “SF Michelin star restaurants put their unique spin on takeout during shelter in place” from SFGate Fat Rice “Fat Rice, Chicago’s acclaimed fusion restaurant, has closed” from Eater Chicago “Aggregation Theory” from Stratechery by Ben Thompson Shopify Toast Cashdrop Sweetgreen Alinea “Nick Kokonas on Resurrecting Restaurants, Skin in the Game, and Investing” from Tim Ferriss

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

Bozmonaut ,

Great

Todd brings on a range of guests sure to pique anyone’s interest. Great interview style that is obviously rooted in genuine curiosity.

Binjimin ,

Wow yes amazing content

Top notch audio jam

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Soliddddddsaaa

In depth and good questions.

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