The Essentialists: Chris Holder

Shane Trotter


Mansfield, Texas, United States

Strength and Conditioning, Kettlebells, Youth Development


"More" has become the religion of the 21st century. We assume more is better in training, in eating, and in our to-do lists. Commercials convince us that buying more will make us happy, and social media highlight reels give the illusion that everyone has that one thing you need to be content. Terms like FOMO (fear of missing out) have evolved to describe the anxiety of wanting to do everything at once. Never has there been a greater need for simplification. We must embrace the idea of addition by subtraction. 


Life is a series of choices, and there is an opportunity cost to each choice. All great coaches and trainers understand the importance of optimizing their time and focusing their energy on those activities that give them the most bang for the littlest buck. Dan John created the One Lift a Day Plan in an effort to "do less, but better.” Max Shank’s Ultimate Athleticism program is a masterful look at how focusing on four exercises alone will unlock your greatest potential.



It’s in this vein that I’m beginning the Essentialist Series. Each week, I’ll release a short interview with some of training’s best minds. They’ll be forced to prioritize—to choose the one option they’d use to create the most momentum. As Greg McKeown explains in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, this is what “priority” means—the “very first or prior thing.” It is singular. There is no such thing as priorities. My hope is that this series brings clarity and focus to your own personal development, while freeing you from the incessant pull to do more. As McKeown explains, Essentialism is about “discerning the vital few, from the trivial many."


Essentialist Interview #2: Chris Holder

Today’s interview is with the brilliant and polymathic Dr. Chris Holder. Coach Holder was a college football player, and has spent his entire professional career coaching in the college ranks. Holder is also a Doctor of Medical Qigong with an emphasis in oncology. He studied under the legendary kung fu and qigong Grand Master, Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson. This training has brought unique wisdom and depth to his coaching perspective. Coach Holder is not afraid to think outside the box, and his broad range of experience has created some truly fantastic results in the athletes he trains. 


His loves range from kettlebells to qigong to Dave Matthews, and all seem to greatly enhance his ability to lovingly impact athletes and coaches alike, while creating champions. His philosophical mind and ability to see connection in multiple disciplines allow him to break new ground in an industry that spends a lot of time inisting on the status quo. Within the interview, you’ll get an idea of the tremendous generosity and mutual love he has for all in this field. He brings a positive perspective and exudes a love of learning, growth, and contribution that will stir and drive anyone interested in human development. 



Tony Robbins has said “the quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” It’s a constant process working to refine our inquiries. If there is a question you’d like me to ask, or a better way of delivering a current question, please let me know in the comments below.

See more about: , , , , ,
Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Get updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.