Adventures in Scandinavia

Maybe you noticed...or maybe you didn't...but Talk To Me Johnnie has not updated for 2 weeks. No...I have not decided to "shit can" the TTMJ project, we have been traveling. We took CrossFit Football on the road to Norway and Sweden to see if what we are teaching has interest outside the land of American Football, light beer and sunshine.

This all started when I received an email from two guys in Norway who were doing CrossFit Football's programming. Alex and Erik started emailing me about a year ago from a town in northern Norway. When I goggled Bodo, Norway a small fishing village up near the Arctic Circle came up. I couldn’t believe that this style of strength and conditioning, one specific for football/contact sports would be of interest to some guys in Norway. After we emailed a few times, I was told they were using the training to supplement their Krav Maga and we having great results. We decided to investigate further and set up a cert in Bodo.


We were not disappointed. What we found was a Krav Maga/CrossFit gym on the third floor of a huge warehouse on the water in Bodo, Norway. They had platforms, bumpers and room to run inside. This is a blessing, as it gets cold in the winter months in the Arctic Circle. Since Raphael does not favor the cold, so we visited during the summer. We came to find a balmy 47 C degrees and rainy was around their summer high.

What we did find was a group of like-minded individuals that we interested in getting better, regardless of the name on the website. The participants that showed up for the Bodo cert were excited and looking to learn as much as we could throw at them in two days.



Our major experiences included the “Midnight Sun”, eating local foods and racing around the countryside. Bodo is pretty far north so during the summer the sun stays high in the sky 24 hours a day. We had a local dinner of whale meat and moose steaks cooked over an open fire and finished off with some homemade mead. We visited the world’s most powerful maelstrom or big whirlpool, got to lift some weights on some of China’s finest Olympic bars (sorry if we messed them up) and made some good friends. Thanks again for your hospitality.


We then headed to Stockholm to visit our friends from CrossFit Stkhlm, aka CrossFit Disco. Jockie had met up in Norway and had become a fixture on the adventure. Once we got to Stockholm we met up with Sven, Johan and Eric and got to hang out for a few days before cert #2. The Stockholm cert was better attended then the Bodo, and we had visitors from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The cert was a two day grind of teaching the barbell lifts, Olympic lifting, warm ups and cool downs. We hit a local steak house on Saturday night and then had a CrossFit Disco reunion at Svamptak in Stureplan.



Then it was time to return home on the 18 hour flight from Stockholm to LA via Frankfurt.

In recap, we had an excellent time visiting Norway and Sweden and bringing The Power Athlete methodology to new athletes. It was amazing to see many athletes open to new training techniques and different focuses.

Thanks again to Rune, Alex and Erik from CrossFit Bodo for hosting us. A big thank you goes out to Sven, Johan and the kids from CrossFit Stkhlm for showing us a good time. And to Jockie who despite a hectic life with work and kids took time off to come to Norway and everywhere in between to keep us from getting in trouble.

I have decided to post on the emails we received after our Stockholm cert, I thought it summed up the feeling and attitude of the trip.


Hi John, Raph, Ben and Max,

I just wanted to thank you for a great cert and an awesome weekend, I've been going over my notes together with the hand outs and I'm amazed over the amount of things you guys covered in just two days time.

Don't really know were to start but the thing that amazed me the most was how comprehensive the CFFB program was. I tried it for 7 months in Afghanistan after doing "main site" for 18 months. My reason being that the WODs were "short and sweet", heavy and didn't look like the would make you sore for a week like "Murph" does. After continuously getting stronger/faster almost each session I thought I'd go to your cert and see why "Football training" worked on Rangers. Turns out it works for pretty much everybody; I understand the choice of name now after you explained it to me.

The lectures were very informative and even though I learned a lot of things you all managed to keep them interesting by throwing in a bunch of little anecdotes and examples that made us unaware that we were all pretty much back in school. Same thing with the dead bugs, Spiderman complex, pillars and the other painful things we did. By explaining before why we were doing it and that we at any point could, and should, ask "why" if were uncertain of the objective of the task made us all (me at least) suck it up and do it.
The WOD's were great and by putting them just before lunch I think it made us stay focused during the afternoon, I also very much appreciated the stretching we did afterwards, especially explaining the cool down process of the CNS.
The Paleo lecture on Sunday was great, although I read Lauren Cordain’s books on the subject I picked up quite a few things I missed or that the books didn't address in that way. The Q&A at the end of that lecture was extraordinary, to hear that many thoughts and examples of what worked and what probably didn't work as well was great.

To sum it up, thanks for a great cert, a great weekend and lots of laughs!


Lukas Arkestål



John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and creator of Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year starter in the National Football League and NFL veteran. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early and retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL and other professional and Olympic athletes. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete and the CrossFit Speciality Seminar: Sports Specific Application. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie or at Power Athlete.

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Posted in CrossFit Football, Talk to Me Johnnie, Testimonial, The Power Athlete | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Adventures in Scandinavia

  1. JayBird

    That sounds like a great time, wish i was there. I am looking forward to training with you guys this weekend in Orange county, thanks for all you guys do, it doesnt go unnoticed. thanks JayBird

  2. PJ

    Lukas put it greatly. Everything about the Stockholm cert (and I am sure every other CFFB cert) was awesome. You 4 guys share a ridiculous amount of knowledge and are very generous for sharing it.

  3. It was a great ride, and Im still recovering from it! 😉

    Soo much information and we are blessed to have had you here pretty early in our careers, which will be a great benefit for all our fighters and members!

    So many points of interest and education that if we could only get a few of the cues in order here we would be miles ahead of the competition on this side of the water!

    Will keep you uptodate and thanks again for a great trip and reunion tour!


  4. Alain

    For those of us who practice Krav Maga and have limited access to weights, which one of your programs do you recommend I buy?

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