Doug Katona Pushes the Edge with Athlete Cell

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Print
by KRISTY PARRISH

Doug Katona Pushes the Edge with Athlete Cell
If you have been around CrossFit-land for a little while, you have likely heard of Doug Katona – you know, “that runner guy” who partnered with CrossFit Endurance founder Brian Mackenzie. And you would be right, but only partially. In his own words, Doug has spent his career as a coach and athlete “pushing the envelope” and “pushing the edge,” and his latest endeavor, Athlete Cell, continues to do exactly that.

Who Is Doug Katona?

With more than a handful of successful Regionals and Games athletes, Doug knows a thing or two about what it takes to reach the upper echelons of a sport.
Doug’s career as a coach and athlete started back in college at University of Southern California, where he studied – fittingly — physiology and biomechanics. From there he went on to own and operate a very successful globo gym system with 1500 members for 15 years, and he also worked for the NFL as a training consultant prepping athletes for the pre-season NFL combine. Currently, he continues to work with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As an athlete, Doug has played all of the “major” sports as well: baseball (in Taiwan at one point, no less), basketball, and football, of course. Heck, he was even selected to carry the Olympic Torch! Eventually he tried endurance sports and discovered CrossFit, which provided a clearer vision around the structured intervals he was already using for his own training.

CrossFit Endurance was born when he and Brian – both originally strength and conditioning athletes – blended a thoughtful mix of skill, intensity, volume, and structure with the endurance aspect of sports in general. Why? Because in their close observation of athletes and from their personal experiences and years of competing, they knew that the breakdown happened with technical pieces like bad pull mechanics and poor strength and conditioning above all.

Forming Athlete Cell

Forming Athlete Cell
Like seemingly everything else in Doug’s journey, Athlete Cell has been growing organically for over a year. We put much thought and planning into this, he says; it is not a “half-baked” project. Since he works with a variety of athletes – not just CrossFitters – neither he nor Brian originally intended to focus primarily on competitive Regionals and Games athletes… but these athletes were the ones who approached them first, and they took on the challenge willingly.

Knowing the details of each athlete allows for individualized and customized programming that fits with the athlete’s needs and also fits into their real life.
Doing so, however, did not mean launching into a whole-sale, one-size-fits-all model style of coaching. Doug is too meticulous and too attentive to “the totality of the athlete” for that to be the case at all. In essence, that is what sets Athlete Cell apart from any other personalized training: not only do he and Brian together bring a wealth of competing and coaching and programming experience to the table, but they also want to know every single one of their athletes down to the cellular level. That is, who is this person outside of training? What do they do for a living? Do they have a family and/or kids? What are their goals? How are they sounding in that most recent text or email? It is this kind of relationship building that matters most and lays the foundation for a strong coach-athlete partnership. In other words, we try to “understand the rhythm of their life,” Doug explains.

Knowing the details of each athlete allows for individualized and customized programming that fits with the athlete’s needs and also fits into their real life. While the intangibles always factor into programming, hard data points like resting heart rate, oxygen saturation, body weight, etc. are also measured regularly and tracked.

The good news? You don’t have to desire to be a Games-level athlete (actually, you don’t even have to be a CrossFit athlete) to benefit from Athlete Cell’s programming. At the Basic level, you receive customized training plans on a weekly basis. In the Intermediate, add in nutrition guidance and tracking along with video analysis. And if you are striving for elite levels of fitness (i.e. finishing at mid-Regionals and going beyond), you have more direct access to Doug and/or Brian. Yes, they talk to these athletes multiple times a day, just like family. Again, these packages are based on looking at the whole athlete, including the coaches’ evaluation of the athlete’s future potential.

At Athlete Cell, athletes are treated as individuals, but also as part of a larger Athlete Cell family and team. That includes getting to know fellow athletes, training together if possible, and competing virtually as well.

“Brian and I can really stand behind what we’ve created,” Doug says proudly. “We treat our athletes at an organic level and as a close-knit group of people.”

As Athlete Cell develops as a website, the goal is to make it content-based and educational, not just another site that posts a daily WOD. “I want to get the truth out there,” says Doug, not only for athletes, but also for fellow coaches. “We want this to be a collective.” As part of their athlete training camps, they will be encouraging other coaches to attend, with the intent to inspire them as well and bring a more focused approach to their respective programs and athletes.

Talking CrossFit

Talking CrossFit

“People get to 100% at their 75%,” Doug explains. “We can help them reach a higher level.”
With more than a handful of successful Regionals and Games athletes, Doug knows a thing or two about what it takes to reach the upper echelons of a sport. A huge part of that is mental training for the athletes. It doesn’t make sense for athletes to be stressed about their training; it should be fun, he says. “Good coaches are responsible for motivation and inspiration: know when to put the hammer down, but also know when to say, ‘It’s okay to take some time off.’”

Alongside his athletes, Doug builds out a training plan for the year, and within that framework he looks ahead three to four weeks at a time. “We know the path to success and we talk about it,” he explains. This keeps his athletes focused as well as accountable for the goals they have set for themselves.

Recovery also matters. What you are doing when you are not training is so crucial, Doug says. Are you eating and fueling as a response to and/or preparation for your training? Are you performing proper triage for your body? Are you listening to how your body feels? (This is another one of his passions and collaborations with Brian, as they have also created 3Fu3L, “another piece of the truth puzzle.”) Coaching athletes about recovery and tracking it properly is one of Doug’s many strengths.

Going forward with potential Games athletes, “movement efficiency will be the key,” says the man who studied biomechanics. Rich Froning, for example, is someone who maintains the integrity of every movement, regardless of the event. Those who will find success, according to Doug, will have to be as strong as possible but as light as possible for efficiency and speed. This means improving load progression knowledge — that is, avoiding going too heavy too soon without the proper mechanics. “People get to 100% at their 75%,” Doug explains. “We can help them reach a higher level.”

With a blend of expertise, experience, and a passion for leading a balanced life outside the gym, Doug Katona and Brian Mackenzie will be busy taking athletes higher with the Athlete Cell. Are you in?

To learn more about Athlete Cell, go to athletecell.com. Catch up with them on Facebook and/or follow them at Twitter at @AthleteCell.

Follow Doug Katona on Twitter at @DougKatona.

Printable Version

Looking for a competition near you? Having an event?
Check out our new Event Calendar!

Our event calendar lets you create your own event listing for any type of event - throwdown, adventure race, seminar, you name it. For free. In 2 minutes. It's as easy as writing a Facebook post. And you can embed the calendar right on your website.
Try it today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Most Popular of All Time

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

CrossFit Intense posted on Facebook

Don't forget that our Intense Strongman event is this Saturday at 9 am! We have 36 registrants (which is AWESOME for a strongman event) and we have 7 women signed up! The day will be finished off with the athletes performing a truck pull. This event will be fun for the whole family and is expected to conclude no later than 2 pm. The weather forecast looks great so make plans to attend!

CrossFit Rock Hill posted on Facebook

Hoodie orders will be submitted today at 3pm. If you still want one, post it here!

CrossFit WV shared an image on Facebook

JJ gets a bar muscle on his last day at crossfit wv!!!

CrossFit Rife posted on Facebook

*****reminder there are no 6 or 7pm classes this evening. Please plan accordingly.

CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

WOD 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/wod-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

RVA Fit 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/rva-fit-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
cfwhrob published the post 4 Common Kettlebell Swing Errors Made by CrossFitters on Tabata Times
The kettlebell is a common tool in the CrossFit arsenal. Every box has a collection of them, and I...
Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

CF Teens Spring Break Schedule Mon 4/14- preteens @ 5:30pm, teens @ 6:15pm Weds 4/16- teens @ 6:15pm NO class T/Th! CF Kids class this Sunday 4/13 12pm at Patriot! Hang Snatch 2-2-2-2-2 4 Rounds 10 HSPU 15 Box Jump (24/20) 2 Rope …

North End CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

http://northendcrossfit.com/?p=2118

North End CrossFit posted an article
Ballston CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Compound CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Chesapeake shared an image on Facebook

A great night with the CrossFit Chesapeake Kids!! Rowing, tire drags, and burpees, oh my!!

CrossFit Chesapeake posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn posted an article
Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

Don't forget about Yobility at 6am tomorrow morning with a Coach Alicia!

CrossFit Old Town shared a link on Facebook

Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Everyone is invited to join PCFer ML Gilbride's family and friends in a celebration of her life and legacy by participating in a CrossFit WOD in her honor. All are welcome to participate, spectate, or just come out to honor our friend. Registration link and details below. http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2128714

CrossFit WV shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Rock Hill posted on Facebook

Sorry for the inadvertent omission of a few members of our family in previous post. Also wanted to give a big shout out to Malia Cooke Storino and Rita Revels. Both of these ladies also ran the Cooper River Bridge run this past weekend. Great job Ladies!

CrossFit Falls Church shared an image on Facebook

Strong work today

CrossFit Woodbridge posted an article
CrossFit Woodbridge posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Fairfax shared a link on Facebook

5 rounds for time: • 5 Pistols Right leg • 5 Pistols Left leg • 5 Deadlifts 275#/185# • 10 T2B

CrossFit Reston shared a link on Facebook

5 rounds for time: • 5 Pistols Right leg • 5 Pistols Left leg • 5 Deadlifts 275#/185# • 10 T2B

CrossFit Arlington posted an article
Patriot CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit West Springfield posted an article
CrossFit Intense shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Intense shared an image on Facebook

shortz published the post Is it time to pay judges? on
Is it time to pay judges? CrossFit and CrossFit Competition is big business. There is a lot of...
CrossFit Intense posted on Facebook

Thursday's WOD Press 5 x 65% 5 x 75% 5 x 85% 5 Rounds For Time: Walking barbell lunge x 20 @ 75% Bodyweight 3 stones to shoulder @ 75% Bodyweight

CrossFit Chronic posted an article
CrossFit Rubicon posted an article
CrossFit Falls Church shared an image on Facebook

Max and Texas working hard this afternoon...

CrossFit Intense posted on Facebook

We are just a little over one week away before our YOGA class starts! Every Saturday morning, beginning April 19th, at 8 am, come join Tonya Madia as she helps you recover from the rigors of your weekly CrossFit workouts and assists you in increasing your mobility.

Ballston CrossFit posted on Facebook

New website is live!! Featuring many of our members. What do you think?

Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

Congratulations to Brickhouse athlete Sean O'Brien and his wife Angela on the arrival of their healthy baby boy William Cooper O'Brien!

Brickhouse CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Coach Neal Jamison says an "aerobic finisher" does the body good. What exactly is he talking about?

CrossFit West Springfield posted an article
CrossFit Rock Hill shared an image on Facebook

Athletes: we know you have friends that don't do CrossFit YET - so invite them to give it a try! Back by popular demand..... BRING-A-FRIEND SATURDAY is this Saturday, April 12th at 9 a.m.!

North End CrossFit posted on Facebook

FREE COMMUNITY CLASSES!!! Saturdays at 10am are now open to our local Community and our NECF Friends and Family! Been wanting to try Crossfit, but been to nervous?!?! Come as a guest to NECF for a great beginner style workout. Coaches will be there to welcome and instruct you through basic Crossfit movements to keep you safe and efficient while you work. Current members are welcome as long as they bring a guest:) We hope this will be a great opportunity for more of our neighbors to get involved and see how NECF and being a part of our family can greatly improve health and daily life. Look forward to seeing you soon!

CrossFit Rock Hill posted on Facebook

CFE runners please note: We are meeting at the "Golf" parking lot at Winthrop Lake tomorrow at 5:30pm. Hill sprints!! :)

CrossFit Old Town shared an image on Facebook

RunningBrooke hitting the WOD with Team 0915!

CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

Last chance to sign up for the mobility and recovery seminar with Svetlana and Brian! You are not going to want to miss out on this!

CrossFit South Arlington shared an image on Facebook

Benchmark week.

CrossFit Arlington shared a link on Facebook

Scores for the WOD "Squat Jumps, Pull Ups and HSPU" on Friday April 4 have been posted

CrossFit Annandale shared a link on Facebook

Sometimes your PR might not seem so awesome compared to big-time CrossFitters, but remember that you are probably stronger than almost everyone you know! Check out this article for some numbers to shoot for at different levels.

Fentress CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

SPRING BREAK IS NEXT WEEK....The only schedule change we will have is....THERE ARE NO 11AM CLASSES ON MON, WED AND FRIDAY! All other classes are ON!

CrossFit Advance shared an image on Facebook

AM all finished... What could the wod(s) be?

CrossFit Fairfax shared an image on Facebook

Happy Birthday today to Keya!! Enjoy your special day you beautiful BEAST!!

Brickhouse CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Congratulations to Brickhouse Athlete Chassity Martin for her feature on the CrossFit Games website!

Patriot CrossFit posted on Facebook

Effective Monday, April 28th, Potomac will no longer be offering a 7:15pm Class.

Outlaw CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Yoga for Outlaws http://wp.me/p1bPVX-1po

Ballston CrossFit posted on Facebook

BCF - we are expecting our new and improved website to launch today! We may have some downtime during the transition and Thurs WOD may be delayed in being posted.

CrossFit Advance posted on Facebook

Meghan, our new in house sports massage therapist will be in tonight from 5-9. If you are feeling sore, need a little recovery or just want to treat yourself be sure to see her. It's a game a changer!!!

Outlaw CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Outlaws, we are happy to announce a new specialty class we will be offering on Thursdays and Sundays! Check out the flyer below for more info on Yoga for Outlaws! Thursday classes start April 24th and Sunday classes start April 27th.

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV