WOD: 8/24/18

“CrossFit Hate” is an odd phenomenon.  There are lots of people out there who throw out all sorts of bazaar accusations about CrossFit in general, and we’ve even heard the occasional jab at CFM.  Just listen and you’ll hear the same thing.  When you do, though, keep this in mind: the overwhelming majority of the CrossFit Hate comes from within the fitness industry (and the remainder comes from the misinformed).  Yes, it’s the “trainers,” “fitness coaches,” and “boot camp instructors” out there throwing around fake and harmful information about CrossFit, all while being massively unqualified to comment on CrossFit at all (much less teach you how to “tone up” without even knowing how to properly perform an honest squat).

This occurred to me a while back when I had a conversation with former classmate of mine – Let’s call him “Dale”.  Three years ago Dale started an irrigation company that has grown from a backyard hustle into a massive enterprise worth tens of millions of dollars.  I was talking to him about his growth and popularity, and he credits his success to hard work, honesty, and simply having great products.  He laughed as he said “The industry HATES US, but our customers love us.”  Keep in mind, Dale is an innovative, ambitions, young man who jumped into an industry full of stale, elderly, companies that never wanted to change the status quo.  Since then, the older companies have resorted to slander and fake news about Dale’s company.

Why is that?

It’s not complicated, actually.  It’s because Dale’s customers are getting better value than his competitors can offer.  Dale offers better prices and/or better products, and his competitors simply can’t keep pace.  “Hate” is the only thing the rest of the industry can do to try to keep up.

Maybe we’re bad at business, but we’ve never really emphasized marketing here at CrossFit Merced.  We do an occasional ad, and we give a lot of donations to local charities, but we’ve never had a targeted campaign designed to attract a potential client.  We’ve certainly never disparaged any other fitness programs to attract their clients.  Even so, we still get our fair share of CrossFit Hate – from people who have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

Think about what Dale said – “our customers love us.”  We’re certainly liable to take criticism for our mistakes, but don’t you think it should come from the people who actually understand what we do?  Wouldn’t it be better to take a recommendation from someone that has been here at CFM putting in great effort and using great technique for a year?  We certainly think so.

We feel a lot like Dale – we get a lot of hate from the people that can’t keep up.  CrossFit Merced brought an entirely new model for fitness.  We teach multiple complex disciplines and we focus on capacity and health – not aesthetics (digression: isn’t it cool how the aesthetics follow when you get your priorities straight?).  We offer specialized coaching for fractions of what you pay at specialized facilities.  We offer a prime location and a beautiful facility because we took risks that others weren’t willing to do.  We take the time to teach multifaceted and complex techniques that require our coaches to actually be experts on the subject. Our competitors can’t offer these things – they can’t keep up.  They’re either expensive – or repetitive – or simplistic – or can’t teach barbell instruction – or gymnastics fundamentals – or they offer their service in a shed – or they’re just too lazy to do anything besides adjust the pin in the machine that you’re using to “tone your glutes”.  So in response, they send out the CrossFit Hate.

Regarding specifics, you may have heard “Ouch, be careful doing CrossFit – you’re going to get hurt.”  Really? If everyone who did CrossFit got hurt then why are we still around after 9 years?  Why do we have 8-year clients that continue to improve?  How could we possibly retain any clients?  And, on a broader scale, how would the CrossFit community as a whole get to 15,000 affiliates worldwide?  It’s unbelievable – people continue to talk about injuries in CrossFit like it’s the boogeyman – but nobody has ever actually seen the boogeyman.  (note: injuries are not entirely avoidable in anything you do, but we can do our best to avoid them.  We wrote about it HERE…  and HERE…  and HERE.)

So, next time you hear the CrossFit Hate, let’s all try to stay classy and respond without reciprocating any negativity.  Feel free to defend us if you must, but don’t feel obligated to.  We understand that our gym might not be for everybody, but we’re going to keep going – like Dale – giving a better product at a better value.  We are going to keep teaching squats and pulls and presses and high intensity – and all of our CFM community is going to continue to get better – at everything.  With that in mind, the CrossFit Hate may be fake, but it won’t stop any time soon.

Test week continues…

Split Jerk
20 minutes to establish a 1RM
(Push Jerk is ok if it promotes a more stable midline)

400m Run
30 Overhead Squats (45/35)
500m Row
30 Pull Ups
400m Run
30 Thrusters
*Compare to 9/26/17

Dball over Yoke x 20 Reps for time – Heavy

Figure it out, by Anthony

Paleo Challenge

[This is going to be long-winded, so bear with me while I get through the tedious foundation of this bit before we get into the practical stuff. Also, sorry about all the lists.  There’s way too many lists.]

Being strong is very important to me.  Getting stronger has been a priority for me for most of my life.  I grew up in a home that put a lot of value into physicality.  My family was constantly doing manual labor and playing sports and doing all sorts of physical things.  Some of my youngest memories are of my parents doing manual labor on the dairy: I remember watching my mom carry massive milk crates when she fed calves; she would carry one on each side – easily.  I remember watching my dad buck (hundred pound) hay bales like they were as light as a pillow.  My older brother used to carry calves from the back corners of the pastures to the barn on his shoulders, which required a lot of total-body strength and endurance for a twelve-year old.  We didn’t really watch TV; we would gather in the living room to have push-up contests for hours. And yes, we were ALWAYS wrestling each other.  All these examples of strength are to demonstrate that when was young I didn’t even need to intellectually understand what goes into developing a strong body; it was just something that I naturally understood to be an advantage.  It’s kind of like the innate understanding of Mark Rippetoe’s infamous quote: “Strong people are harder to kill; and generally more useful.”

Then, as I grew to adolescence, I got super scrawny. Really, though, I was outrageously skinny.  When I was a freshman in high school I weighed just north of a hundred pounds, which some of you might relate to, EXCEPT I WAS 6’2”. IMG_4304

While I had always been able to hold my own in a sibling wrestling match and compete with my peers at sports, I was never strong enough to stand up to my own high standards for strength.  Around the age of 14 I made it my charter to do whatever I could to become strong.  (yes, I know that’s a subjective and esoteric goal, but I didn’t care.  I wanted to be as strong as possible.)  My dad was on board, too.  My dad hooked me up with more milk and eggs every morning than any normal boy could handle.  He had me on the GOMAD plan for about eight years.  (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the bulking lexicon of the 90’s/2000’s, GOMAD= Gallon Of Milk A Day)  Think about that for a second: A gallon of milk a day for eight years.  I dare you to try it for A WEEK.  You’re going to be in pain by day 2.  I’ll bet you two hundred burpees you can’t do it.  I don’t say it that way to brag.  Rather, I mention it as evidence that speaks to how focused and dedicated I was to my charter.  It meant EVERYTHING to me.  I lifted every weight I could find and ate thousands of extra calories EVERY DAY.  Then, right about as I was getting close to my goal, high school ended and I found myself on a college football team full of polar bears, mutants, and monsters.  Guess what happened next: I needed to get strong(er) again.

In college I stayed on the GOMAD plan and lifted all the weights and ate all the protein and did all the training.  Then, just about the time I got big and strong enough (235 lbs) to get onto a college football field and catch a few touchdown passes… college ended.  (side note: College is awesome, but I digress).

Now I found myself out of college and without any utility for the inflated body I had so fervently pursued.  I had all of the habits and behavioral disciplines that go along with GETTING BIGGER (because to me, bigger meant stronger), but none of the lifestyle that went along with being healthier.


So I stumbled around a little bit trying bodybuilding, endurance training, P90x, and eventually I found RKC (RKC is Russian-style kettlebell strength and conditioning).  I fell in love with RKC because I was reminded of what it meant to need to be stronger. (related note: You see, there’s lots of people out there that want to be stronger.  “Being stronger” is a novel concept and it seems great – there’s no obvious down side.  Naturally, bunches of people want to be stronger.  Conversely, though, very few people find themselves in many lasting positions where they need to be strongerThe difference between want to and need to is the difference between short term effort and long term success.  When I was doing RKC, and now again when I do CrossFit, I need to be stronger.  So, putting myself into the CrossFit lifestyle has created for me the need to that is necessary for long term success.)  So there I went doing RKC routines over and over and eventually it led me to the CrossFit website, then to a CrossFit gym in Fresno in 2008 where the first workout I ever did was Fran, and before I did it I told the coach I could do it in four minutes, BUT I was wrong and it took ten, and I realized that I was missing something, because the guys at CrossFit gyms were kicking ass and I was nowhere near their level.

Looking back, I think this is the exact point where I had my “Ah Ha!” moment.

  • It started with me wanting to be as strong (or stronger) than the biggest strongest guys.
  • I always felt the need to be strong, so I stayed focused.
  • Then I spent ten years trying to get there, but (to a certain extent, in my own mind) failed.
  • Now I’ve got this thing called CrossFit, and to be good at CrossFit, you need to be strong.
  • EXCEPT, and here’s the great part: You don’t need to be AS STRONG AS THE STRONGEST, you only have to be close, because even if you’re not as strong as them, CrossFit rewards you for being stronger for longer.

Example:  Really strong guys clean & jerk 400 pounds.  I worked my ass off to get strong, but I could only clean & jerk ~300 pounds.  Now, though, I’m doing “Grace” (For time: 30 Clean & Jerks at 135 pounds), and I’m better at it than those super strong guys.


This was something that – I’m not kidding you – CHANGED EVERYTHING.  I used to be the scrawniest dude around (don’t believe me? my nickname was Twig), but CrossFit was right in my wheelhouse, because to be good, you need to be strong, but you don’t have to be the strongest.

View More: http://lisadejagerphotography.pass.us/XvNbL138285

All of this is to lead me into the discussion about the Paleo/Primal Challenge.  (related note: I hope you’re still focused on eating clean foods.)  I am excited about the CFM Paleo/Primal Challenge for two reasons:

  1. You’re going to improve your body composition. This is always a good thing.  If you’re not underweight, there’s no down side to getting leaner.

Yes, being lean is great.  It looks good; it feels good; it works good.  But more importantly, we all need to understand what makes your body work better.  If you do the CFM Paleo Challenge you’re going to get some feedback about your body that you might not have known.  Let me explain what this means by telling you about my own experience with Paleo.

Let’s go back to what it looked like when I was in my first year of CrossFit.  I was having a great time and training my butt off and I was (again, just like when I was 14) doing everything I could to get better.  I started to focus on nutrition, so I read everything written by

Gary Taubes

Robb Wolfe

Mark Sisson

Mark Hyman

and lots more.

After reading everything I could consume about performance nutrition, I tried Paleo.  I stuck to it – for a long enough time to get some good results – and I paid attention to what happened to my body.  I was doing it so I could become a better CrossFitter, because that was my new charter. As a result, a lot of positive things happened:

  1. I got leaner.
  2. I ate as much as I wanted, and I LOVE to feel satiated.
  3. I could eat all of the things I really love to eat, without sacrificing very many things that I like.
  4. I stayed strong – for the most part.

View More: http://lisadejagerphotography.pass.us/XvNbL138285

For the most part, choosing a strict paleo plan worked well for me.  Eating Paleo was a way for me to continue to accomplish my goal of having a strong and useful body. I learned a few things about myself and my own body:

  1. Eating zero gluten and zero processed sugar makes my body look the way I want it to. I get lean to the point where I can see the cuts in my arms and body that I like.
  2. Preparing paleo foods isn’t all that difficult when you get used to it.
  3. Eating lots of fats made me feel good; and made me sleep great.
  4. The leaner I get, the better I perform at most CrossFit workouts, especially those that are biased toward body weight movements.
  5. I missed beer and fried foods.
  6. For me, Low carb diets create a deficit of glycogen in my muscles when I am training hard, which is a negative. The result is that I am not able to perform well during heavy lifting.

After I spent enough time on a strict Paleo diet, I started to make tweaks based on what I learned. So I played with substituting some non-paleo foods.   After some experimenting I learned:

  1. I have a moderate tolerance to gluten. This means I can eat a little bit without negative consequences.
  2. My body responded well when I eat peanut butter at night. Natural peanut butter (only ingredient: peanuts) was good, but the processed junk (skippy/Jif) was better.  This was because the combination of sugar/fat/protein provided glycogen for the next day’s workout.  (note: I make a point of this because one of my best friends gets exactly the opposite results from peanut butter.   Fortunately, he know this about himself and avoids the stuff.)
  3. Potatoes make me stronger.
  4. When I eat more fiber my digestive system tends to work better. (also, yogurt, see below)
  5. Lean meats and fatty meats provide the same results in terms of recovery, strength, body composition, etc. but fatty meats taste way better.
  6. Fish oil supplements make me recover more quickly.
  7. Coffee is the best paleo beverage.
  8. Dairy products, from whey protein to cream to cheese, are a nutrient rich way to eat delicious foods with lots of positives, but that have minimal, if any, harmful effects on my body.
  9. The only dairy product I avoid is milk – it makes my stomach upset. Cream is fine.
  10. When I train hard, yogurt is the best thing for me.
  11. I can drink beer one night a week without many negative effects, if any – if I train hard.
  12. I can drink beer two nights a week with some, but minimal, negative effects – if I train hard.
  13. If I drink beer more than two nights a week I struggle with dehydration, digestion, body composition, sleep patterns, mental focus, and anxiety – no matter how hard I train.
  14. Hard cider is fine, but I like beer way better.
  15. Frying foods in paleo-friendly fats is still delicious.

The point here with all these lists is simple: I know what works for me.  I know what I have to do to be as strong and as fast and as fit as possible.  I also know what kind of foods I can eat and still stay lean.  I know what kind of foods (and how much of them) change the hormones in my body.  I know what things my body responds poorly to.  I know how to align my fitness goals with my lifestyle goals and how to find an equilibrium.

Let’s go back to my CrossFit journey.   Five years later (being now), I don’t care as much about my Fran time (which, by the way, ended up peaking at 2:30, which accomplished my goal of beating that faceless guy in my nightmares) or my max clean & jerk.  I still do care about being able to perform well in my workouts because it makes me feel good.  I no longer feel like I need to be the strongest guy around, but I like to be able to show my kids what it looks like to be strong and healthy, the same way my parents showed me.  I know I’ll never squat five hundred pounds, but I think it sure would be cool to squat four hundred – and run a six minute mile.  Accordingly, I eat using Paleo principles.  I don’t eat sugary snacks or drinks.  I avoid processed foods.  I limit grains.  I eat LOTS of meat and vegetables, and outrageous amounts of fat.   I use all of the things I’ve learned to create the best system that aligns with my goals, my lifestyle, my family life, and the culture i’m a part of.


So now let’s talk about you…

Do it.  Eat Primal. Or Paleo. Be strict.  Figure out what works for you.  Figure out what makes you feel/work/look great.  If you’ve never done it before, you’ve got some work to do, but you can do it. After you go strict, you can experiment with what foods, if any, you can add or subtract to your diet.

Want some real talk?  If you’re overweight you have absolutely no business drinking soda, Starbucks drinks, or juice.  When I see overweight people casually drinking Starbucks drinks it reminds me of a person with emphysema smoking a cigarette.  Generally speaking, if you’re overweight you should avoid every carbohydrate until you reach your body composition goals.  Generally speaking, whether you’re overweight or not, you shouldn’t casually eat anything out of a cellophane wrapper.  Generally speaking, the food you eat should rot if you leave it on the shelf.

When I say “generally speaking,” I’m talking about the people who have not gone on strict paleo diets and taken notes about the feedback their body is giving them.  Let this be encouragement to you to get it done.  We love Paleo/Primal because we love the simplicity and the sustainability of the lifestyle. My family and I have had success with Primal because IT’S A SYSTEM THAT IS SUSTAINABLE.  I don’t wish I was out there eating something else – I’m satisfied.  I don’t wonder how I’m going to get through the day getting enough food – I’m used to it.  I don’t crave candy or chocolate or sweets – I’m not addicted to sugar (any more).  I don’t have to spend lots of time counting or measuring or weighing food – I’m too darn busy for that.  If you’re on a plan that is not sustainable, you’re much less likely to succeed.  I, along with the rest of the CFM team, want you to succeed.  We want you to be well.  If you haven’t done so yet, figure it out.

Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts & WOD 2/8/17

If you watched the Patriots and Falcons this weekend, you were witness to one of the greatest wins (and comebacks) in Superbowl history. Love him or hate him, Tom Brady put on a clinic. He earned Superbowl MVP for the 4th time in his career, and won an unprecedented 5th title as the starting quarterback for a Superbowl winner. He was, simply put, incredible. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar or a hater. Or both.

But I’d like to ask a question, perhaps one you haven’t thought about yet, about his performance; which was his greatest moment of the game? Do you remember which throw was the best? The most meaningful? Or, which drive was more important than the others? To be sure, there were some moments that stood out (Julian Edelman pulled off some magic to pull that catch 1 inch from the ground), but I’d argue that largely, you can’t remember the 3 most significant moments in the game that lead to the Patriots victory. It was, as one announcer described, “death by 1,000 paper cuts.” Moreover, could you list any 5 of those moments from any 5 of the Patriots Superbowl titles? Probably not.

So? What’s the point?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, there are some pretty amazing parallels to your CrossFit journey. Looking back over the last month, (heck, even the last year), can you point to some significant moments that made you become a better, fitter version of yourself? Could you highlight the top 5 workouts you did that made you a better CrossFitter? While my guess is that there may be a few moments that stand out, there are a 1,000 more that you wouldn’t even think of. There are multitudes of other little tiny things you did that added up to where you are now.

Do you remember when you couldn’t hit the target with the prescribed wall ball? Then you did a 1,000 air squats and a 1,000 push presses. Now you don’t think twice about doing 15-20 consecutive wall balls in a row.

Remember when you started CrossFit and dreaded seeing snatches in a WOD? Then you did 1,000 dead lifts and 1,000 hang power snatches and 1,000 overhead squats, now you don’t bat an eye at snatches.

Remember your day 1 Baseline? You thought you were going to puke, then die, or vice versa. Guess what, you did the exact same workout last Friday and CRUSHED your day 1 time…and you weren’t even breathing that hard. That’s because you’ve rowed 1,000s of meters, did a 1,000 sit ups (with some GHDs thrown in), did 1,000 push ups and 1,000 pull ups since then. None of those 1,000s of reps stand out any more than the others. None of them were spectacular in their own regard.

But add them all up. The tens of thousands of good reps you’ve done have got you this far. And you’ll do tens of thousands more, and at some point you’ll look back and think “how did I get here? I’m actually pretty good at this, and I actually kind of like it.”

So keep walking through the front doors of CFM, even when you don’t feel like it. Keep hitting that wall ball target. Keep squatting to depth, every single time. Keep your midline tight on deadlifts and push presses and handstand holds. KEEP SHOWING UP, and doing the tiny little things that seem like they may not matter today, then ask yourself – in one year from now – if all those little things made a difference. I promise you the answer will be a resounding “YES”.

WOD 2/8/17

A) 4×3 D-Ball to Shoulder
B) Med Ball Push Ups 4×10 (switch hands @ top, don’t roll medball!)

10 Rounds, decreasing reps!

10 Box Jumps
10 KB Swings (70/53)
1 Inside Lap

9 Box Jumps
9 KB Swings
1 Inside Lap

(Continue decreasing reps by 1 each round until final round is 1 Box Jump, 1 KB Swing, 1 inside lap)

Safety first, kids.

I’d like to follow up on last week’s post about why you should not do CrossFit. Yes, there are some people out there who have done CrossFit poorly and gotten hurt. We do it differently at CFM. We want to build you up – not beat you up. Each and every day we focus on stability on a core-to-extremity basis, meaning the first priority is stabilizing your midline (you MUST take great care of your spine), then look to add stability in the hips and shoulders, then outward to the knees/elbows, then down the wrists/ankles. After we achieve stability we then look for “mobility” in the same sequence, looking for braced extension and flexion in universal motor recruitment patterns. This means that your body moves only as much/as fast/as heavy as your body will allow using proper mechanics for each movement. With this approach we’ve seen increased function in athletes who had previously debilitated bodies – to the point that they now thrive.

Regarding movement progressions, our hierarchy of movement is as follows:
1) Stability
2) Range of Motion
3) Volume (amount of reps)
4a) Speed
4b) Load

Let’s use the hierarchy of movement to look at squat (or most foundational movement) for a beginner athlete; we’ll call him Rich Froning.

First we want to see Rich start with a good base, meaning his heels are going to be under his shoulders and his toes pointed slightly out. Why? Because THAT is going to give him the most stability. Then we want to see rich push his hips backward and slightly bend his knees as he initiates his squat. As Rich’s body is moving downward, the first priority is (again) a stable midline. So what if Rich can only go down a little way? Then he should stop, because, you guessed it: he needs to keep a stable midline. He also needs to keep his feet flat, his knees out, his back flat, and hips back. This is all part of #1.

Then, as long as he’s stable, we want Rich to travel as far as he can in his squat. Here’s the deal: we have two standards for range of motion in our squat. The first is a subjective standard: Travel as far as you can while maintaining a stable midline. This is different for everyone. Holly and Gus can squat low and stay stable. Anthony and Jeff can’t quite get as low without their back bending. So, keep your chest up, Rich; you gotta squat with a flat back. The second standard is a hard/objective standard: the crease of the hip should pass below the top of the knee. This is not a matter of opinion – it is a simple matter of fact. I can look at any squat and easily determine if the squat is good, bad, or close. MOST of our athletes are held to this objective standard, because those athletes automatically can apply this objective standard to the hierarchy. SOME of our athletes get a bit of relief; we want them to stop squatting lower if we think it’s unsafe. This subtle difference is something that makes CrossFit Merced’s brand of coaching special.

So, now let’s put Rich into a regular class – and here’s the WOD:

3 Rounds- 500m row / 10 Front Squats (135/95) / 15 pull Ups

We’ll do an assessment on Rich and modify his workout according to the hierarchy above.
1) Stability: Rich has demonstrated that he can do front squats without bending his midline. Check.
2) Range of Motion: Rich has also demonstrated that he can do front squats through enough range of motion that his hip crease is below the top of his knee. Check.
3) Volume: Rich has done a bunch of front squats in last week’s strength portion, so we’re sure Rich can do 30 reps. Check.
4a) Speed: Well now we’re getting into trouble. When Rich goes too fast he is losing stability and range of motion. SLOW DOWN, Rich.
4b) Load: Rich’s front squats look great with 75lbs, but they are bad at 135. SCALE THE WEIGHT, Rich; keep it at 75lbs until your midline gets stronger.

Now that we’ve got Rich all set up we’re going to keep an eye on him, but we’ve also got to watch the rest of the class. We want to make sure that Rich does great reps, but he can see us out of the corner of his eye and he knows when we’re not looking. Understand this: Rich now knows what he’s supposed to do. THE ONUS IS ON RICH to do it right. I’m sorry if it’s hard; I’m sorry if you REALLY want to beat your friends; I’m sorry if you REALLY want to do this wod Rx. We’re always going to try to point you in the right direction, but, once Rich learns how to do good front squats, ITS ON RICH to do it right.

There have been some bumps and bruises, but for the most part, CFM athletes have been very safe. The ones that have a tendency to be safe are the ones that are coachable and have the discipline to back off when they need to. Of the injuries that can happen, we’ve seen it for the following reasons:
1) Not moving as instructed. One time I saw an athlete hurt his knee. 30 seconds before he got hurt the coach told him “Don’t slam your knee into the ground – it’s going to get you hurt. Well, crap.
2) Old injuries exposed. A guy who tore his rotator cuff playing baseball never took care of himself. Then he came in and tried to clean and jerk 200lbs. It didn’t work out well for him.
3) Overuse/deconditioned: An athlete who had an existing Achilles tendon injury hurt himself when he showed up to run a 5k. Note: He didn’t show up to any of the running workouts that we implemented in the 6 weeks before the 5k. The previous workouts were designed to be an accommodating conditioning leading up to the 5k.
4) Accidents happen. This one is the one we see the least, but it’s a huge bummer when it does happen. We always want to steer CFM athletes toward functional movement that isn’t going to lead to injury, but shoot, you’re building yourself a massively functional body. To build this body you have to push yourself. It’s not much different than if you were trying to make yourself the best basketball player possible: you’d play basketball every day. Eventually you’re going to land on somebody’s ankle if you rebound enough basketballs. Does this make basketball bad? No. It makes it a sport.

Like we said last week, the best way to stay completely safe today is going to be to stay on the couch. We all know that there’s a small amount of risk that goes along with a high level of physical exertion. Never forget, though, that if you come in anyway, you’re going to get fitter – and getting fitter eliminates risks. We’re confident that the bumps and bruises we’ve gotten from CrossFit are FAR less damaging than being overweight/being slow/being weak/being tired/being sick. We hope you’re on board with us – we’ll do our best to be responsible in our programming and teaching – you do your best in being awesome. I’m sure we’re all going to be just fine.

Why you should definitely not CrossFit

Being the owner of a CrossFit affiliate and having done CrossFit for almost 6 years, I’ve heard just about every reason under the sun for why people should NOT do CrossFit. It’s certainly interesting; when I wear my CrossFit Merced sweatshirt out in public (which is almost every day – who am I kidding?), I hear all sorts of fascinating comments, some misguided, and some intriguing. But as someone who enjoys CrossFit and plans on doing it for as long as I can move, here are some reasons why YOU, my friend, should not do it yourself.

It’s expensive.

Yep, it is. Most of our members pay between $129-$149/mo, which ends up being about $1500 per year. All you get in return is access to 8 classes a day, run by a certified coach/trainer who has your well- being at heart; who will teach you how to Olympic lift, who can talk to you about the right fuel to put in your body, who can help you push past barriers you thought would never be broken. You get access to barbells, kettlebells, gymnastics equipment. You learn the importance of a stable and strong midline. You learn kinesthetic awareness (how your body is designed to move). All of these things translate to everyday, real-life situations; playing with kids or grandkids, moving a large package at work, being able to hike a hill without puking. You’ll understand you are not defined by limitations anymore. Your insurance rates will decrease because you are no longer at risk for diabetes or heart disease.

Long story short, you should definitely keep that $130 in your wallet.

RISK; You might get hurt.

Yeah, you might. You also might get hurt getting those boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic, or turning the wrong way in your desk chair, or picking up a pencil from the ground, or sneezing too hard and blowing out your back (these are all actual, real life injuries I’ve seen people have, btw). Because in CrossFit you’ll have to do things that are hard, there is an inherent risk. Putting weights over your head (incorrectly) is dangerous! Picking up heavy barbells (incorrectly) is dangerous! You’ll certainly be sore and have some fatigued muscles. Your best bet? Stay on the couch and watch Friends reruns; be safe! You should also consider, though, that there’s also the risk of NOT getting fit. If you become/remain unfit, you risk being overweight, and all the sickness and disease that follows. You risk having to get bigger and bigger clothes. You risk the chance to be proud of yourself – and your body. You risk that your kids might think of you as lazy – even if you’re not. You risk not making friends through some amazing shared experiences. SO, if you’re cool with THOSE risks, then yeah, the couch is probably the best place for you. We’ll follow up on the topic of safety tomorrow, but you can read a little about how to not get hurt doing CrossFit here.

It’s really damn hard.

Yeah, it is. You’ll be expected to put your body to work, sometimes doing things you didn’t even know your body could do. You’ll sweat. Your heart will beat out of your chest. You’ll fall on the floor after a workout because you gave every single ounce of energy you had, and you’ll be expected to do the same thing tomorrow. You’ll have to show up consistently. You’ll have to prioritize working out over watching television. You will have to be humble and listen to a movement expert. You’ll have to realize the only way forward is pushing through some pain, and that you’ll actually be better for it. It’s way easier to continue putting off what you know is good for you until tomorrow, and then tomorrow again, until tomorrow becomes 5 or 10 years later and you wonder how you got here.

You have to be humble.

A little humility goes a long way. The problem: we’re not humble. We’re not ok with getting our butts kicked. We’re especially not ok with OTHER PEOPLE SEEING US getting our butts kicked. I don’t care who you are, CrossFit is going to humble you. I have to work out with some amazing fit people and they kick my butt every day. It’s incredibly humbling. So, if you’ve got an ego, if you’ve got a persona, you think people think you’re awesome… Don’t come to CrossFit – that ego/persona is going to get smashed. Stay away. [*whispers:* want to know a secret? Nobody at CFM cares how fit you are or aren’t. All we care about is how hard you try. Show up; give us your best; give us your honest score. You’ll be admired for it every time.]

I could go on! I could tell you about how you’ll have to be accountable to friends, how you will have to be honest with yourself about how fit you actually are, or how you may have to come out of your shell a little bit and meet some new people. But I digress – you get the point. There are plenty of valid reasons for you to not CrossFit. What’s yours?

How does Holly do it?


I never had to worry much about my weight when I was younger. I was active, more into dance and cheer than sports in high school. I do remember wishing I was skinnier. I had more of an athletic build and muscular legs but would have preferred to be Kate Moss skinny. (Only us 90’s girls will understand.)

Fast forward about 15 years and three kids later. I was struggling a bit to get rid of the last of that ‘baby weight’. I had never been one to work out consistently. I tried this or that but nothing really stuck. I tried to eat healthy by cutting calories and choosing low cal options.

Right after my son turned one my husband drug me kicking and screaming into Crossfit Merced. Lots of our friends were members and loved it. He wanted something we could do together to get in shape. I promised him I would try it but knew it wasn’t for me. I had never lifted a barbell in my life. Well, it did stick and I started to fall in love with how good I felt after surviving each tough workout. I was addicted to the feeling of accomplishment after each new PR. It also helped that everyone there was so accepting. I had found something new that I could be good at!

I started to feel stronger and noticed a difference in how my clothes fit, how my body looked and felt. I stopped caring and paying attention to the weight on the scale. About a month into my CrossFit journey, the gym participated in a Paleo challenge, but I didn’t take part in it; I had enough to figure out. I was still googling what movements were what when the workout was posted every night.

I did, however, pay attention. I listened to what my friends and the coaches were talking about eating. I looked up the Paleo diet and recipes and my husband and I started slowly changing the way we cooked and ate. I started to notice that I felt even better and that my body started to change even more rapidly. I was able to perform better in my workouts. It was about this time that I stopped caring about getting thin. I wanted to be fit! I started longing for that athletic body again and wanted to be strong. I realized I wanted my daughters to know that beauty comes in different forms and to grow up watching their Mom be strong and active.

The concept of eating right is simple, really; eat clean and natural.

Let’s try and approach nutrition with a common sense outlook – You wouldn’t fill up your favorite car with crappy fuel and expect it to run well. Nor would you NOT fuel it and expect it to run forever on fumes. We need to eat well to feel well and perform better at life.

A few of you have asked what I eat so here you go, in a nut shell…I eat a lot of protein, veggies, good carbs, good fat, and a little dairy. I try to eat lean meats but I do love a good steak or hamburger. I love fish but tend to overcook it so I need to work on that a bit. Veggies, the more the better! Good carb; we usually always have a case of sweet potatoes on hand and they are my go to. For healthy fats, I love avocados! I use a lot of coconut oil for cooking and have recently fallen in love with avocado oil. I’ve switched to using whole dairy products when I use them. My body doesn’t tolerate much dairy so I don’t consume very much. I eat fruit but it’s not really my favorite thing so I don’t really worry about eating too much. I try to stay away from bread and enriched products such as white rice and pasta. I also try to avoid sugar. I don’t drink soda and try and drink tons of water throughout the day. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is down some H2O. It just makes sense.

That being said, I am far from perfect. I have my ‘cheat’ meals, days, and weekends away. I love homemade brownies! I’d prefer to sit and eat the bowl of batter and not even put them in the oven:) I just try and space these ‘cheats’ out so they don’t become a habit. I can definitely attest that consistently eating well makes me feel better overall.

Please feel free to ask me for any recipes or snack ideas. We are in this together. Let’s eat well so we can feel and be well.


It’s time, friends. The holidays are over, we’ve had our fun (and cookies), and now it’s time to get back to work – not only in the gym, but in the kitchen.

For 6 weeks (42 days) leading up to the open, our gym will be engaging in a Primal Challenge? What is it, you ask? Well, it’s a way of eating that will lead to greater energy, better health, loss of body fat, and, most likely, weight loss.

You can find PLENTY of information here: 21 Day Primal Challenge

While the specific challenge above is for 21 days, we figured we could try it for 6 weeks leading up to the open.

Some questions you may have:
1) How do I sign up? Answer: you just did.
2) What do I get for competing in this challenge? Answer: better health, body composition, and performance. Yes, that’s it. No prizes or trophies…We are doing this as a community for accountability’s sake. We want to be healthier versions of ourselves, and doing it together makes us stronger.
3) Do I HAVE to do this? Answer: of course not. You can do WHATEVER you want to do. However, the coaches at CFM have committed to doing this as well, and we would love for you to join us.
4) How do I measure success? Answer: the scale (for MOST of us) is a good indicator of how well we are doing. However, we will also be doing a couple WODs next week as a benchmark, and will repeat those same wods 6 weeks from now for empirical data about our performance.
5) What do I eat? AnswerWhat-to-Eat2
6) What else will be expected of me?

1. Eat real food.
2. Avoid sugar, grains, unhealthy fats, beans/legumes.
3. Align your carb intake with your weight goals and activity levels.
4. Move frequently: Get between 2-5 hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise.
5. Lift heavy things: Conduct 3-5 brief, intense sessions of full-body functional movements.
6. Sprint: Go “all out” at LEAST once a week.
7. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
8. Get 15 minutes of direct sun exposure each day.
9. Play! Find time to let go, disconnect, unwind and have fun each day.

You probably have more questions… ask a coach! Or check out the website above. In any case, the best way to do it is to jump in. Our coaches will be posting their favorite quick and easy recipes, and we want to help you every single step of the way.

Who’s in??

Bench Press 10-8-6-4-2
Lateral Row 5×8

4 Rounds for Time
12 Toes to Bar
9 Thrusters (115/75)
3 D-Ball to Shoulder (150/100/80/30)

WOD 12/5/16 and Holiday Throwdown WODs!!

This week we will be tapering (just a bit) so everyone can be fresh for this Saturday’s Holiday Throwdown. There will be advanced options for every workout which you are welcome to take advantage of. We also encourage extra work outside of programming – as long as it isn’t interfering with scheduled classes! Workouts for the HTD will be released tomorrow. Let’s have a great week!

8×1 Power Clean + Hang Full Clean

500m Row, then
3 Rounds of
10 Pull Ups (ADV=C2B)
15 Ab Mat Sit Ups (ADV=T2B)
30 Double Unders (ADV = 60)
THEN 500m Row
*HINT = if you DON’T have double unders yet, and are planning on competing this weekend, you should probably work on them today!

WOD: 8/14/13


Establish a 3RM touch and go Power Clean

Compare to 11/15/12.



4 Rounds for quality (not for time)

a) ME supinated pull-ups

1b) 5 Push press

1c) 10 Good mornings



Tabata situps

Want to get better at CrossFit?  It’s a serious question.  To be honest, some people don’t care much about getting better as long as they feel like they’re getting sweaty and having fun.  That’s OK, too.  We’re here for you and if you just like being around and hanging with your friends then we’re glad you’re here.

It’s easy when you start.  All you have to do is show up – pay attention during the technique work and go hard during the WOD.  Your body quickly starts to adapt to the stressors of CrossFit.  You improve by leaps and bounds in both your strength and your conditioning.  If you continued to improve at this rate you’d soon be challenging Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir for their titles.

Later, it becomes difficult to improve.  Things start happening; things that you didn’t expect.  Now your knee (or shoulder, or wrist, or [insert immobile part here]) start to give you a little pain because you’ve neglected mobility work.  You didn’t hit all your PRs during the last test cycle.  Maybe you got busier at home or work and you can only come twice a week.  I’ll be honest. It can be downright discouraging.  We call it Faiure To Thrive.

Failure To Thrive can be avoided.

In the next week (ish) I’ll be touching on some of the things that we should be doing – the things that are necessary to get better.

First thing is first – you MUST address your mobility issues:

How are your shoulders?  How are your hips? Start there and work your way outward.  Can you open up your shoulders and stabilize an overhead squat? Can you hang out at the bottom of your squat for several minutes?  You should be able to.  If you can’t, you’re not going to get much better at CrossFit until you improve it.

From there, you have to find the spots where you have impingements.  Is it a knee, achilles tendon, or wrist?  Work it.  Is it your Front Rack position? (Men: 90% of you have a super crappy rack position.  Women: 40% of you need work too)  Work it.

For me, my biggest mobility problem is my posterior chain flexibility.  I have super tight hammies. I’ll fix it, but it’s LONG overdue and I could have saved myself lots of frustration if I got ahead of it like I should have.

Don’t put it off.  Figure out how to do basic maintenance on yourself so you can move the way God designed you to move AND be pain free.  Check out mobilitywod.com or use a google search (I’m using this one) to find what you’re looking for.   You can also ask one of the coaches to show you something like this.

Let’s do it.

WOD: 7/17/13

Strength:  EMOM (5 mins) 2 Power Cleans (Touch-n-Go) + 1 Jerk (@ 80% 1RM target)

–  then  –

Conditioning:  “House”


7 RFT of:
3 Deadlifts (315/225)
6 Box Jumps (30″/24″)
9 Burpees
200M Run

Last year, on July 17, 2012, we lost our good friend Gabe Houser.  This year, on July 17, we’re going to honor Gabe’s memory with our second annual “House” WOD.

If you’re new(ish) to CFM, you might not have had the privilege of knowing Gabe but we certainly hope you’ve had a moment or three to ring The House Bell. Continue reading “WOD: 7/17/13”

WOD: 7/16/13

Strength:  Smolov Week 1 Day 2
High Bar Back Squat – 7 x 5 @ 75%

–  then  –


EMOM for 10 minutes:
8 hang power snatch, 95/65
8 jumping lunges (body weight)

*For every rep not completed perform 1 burpee pull-up when the clock hits 10:00

Announcement:  Afternoon classes will be cancelled on Friday, July 26 while we are at the CrossFit Games.  You will be able to watch the games live on the internet, so none of you would probably show up anyway.  Yes, all of the morning classes will be open (5:30, 6:30, 8:00, & 9:00 AM)

Yes, I told you all that we’d be squatting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Saturday.  We would keep to that plan, except that this Wednesday (tomorrow) is a special memorial WOD that will require the whole hour of class.  It’s ok, though.  This week we will squat on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, & Saturday, and next week will be back to the M, W, F, S format. (P.S. Get in early to get your quads & hips stretched out on your own using the mobility work we did today)

Lots of you have been asking about Oly lifting shoes…
I love Oly shoes.  The way I see it, if you’re sure you’re going to keep doing CrossFit, then I think you should get some.  No, you don’t HAVE to get oly shoes.  I know some athletes that are super fit without ever wearing them.  However, I’ve never met anyone who isn’t glad they bought themselves a pair.  Yes, they’re expensive – if they can’t fit into your budget it’s ok – keep crushing wods in your regular shoes, but if you can swing the extra $90 – $200 then you won’t be sorry.  Besides, the first pair of Oly shoes you buy will mostlikely be your last.  They don’t wear out.  Mine are about 6 years old and they’ll probably last another 6 years and I wear them EVERY DAY.

Here’s some articles about the benefits of Oly Shoes written by people that are smarter than me:
Lift Big Eat Big: You need Olympic Weightlifting Shoes
CrossFit Virtuosity: Weightlifting Shoes
Tabata Times: Why Olympic Weightlifting Shoes Matter

WOD: 7/15/13

First, I want to say that the CFM coaches were incredibly pleased with our testing week.  I think we set some kind of record in setting personal records.  You did a great job pushing your limits.  Most of you showed quantitative improvement in your lifts and conditioning.  Others of you showed qualitative improvement in your technique and mechanics.  Great job.

Today begins a new cycle.  We will start by building from the ground up:  The squat.  We’re starting with a 3-week cycle that will be much more focused on the High Bar Back Squat. We will be doing HBBS 4 days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  (Dont worry if you can’t make it on Saturday mornings.  3 days/week is still going to allow you to make great improvement, but yes, if you can make it on Saturday, then we prefer that you come squat with us.)  The cycle is named SMOLOV Jr.

Every one of us will improve with this short cycle.  If done correctly, it will certainly make you stronger, but, more importantly, it will be a high volume of repetitions designed to make your technique better and more consistent.  It will groove proper movement patterns into your mechanics, which is why our primary goal – much more than load – is excellent technique.  Please understand that if we ask you to remove weight from your bar it is with your best interest in mind.  Good lifters will become strong, but poor lifting impedes progress.  Some of you will be asked to go back to a place where the bar is light enough for you to move your body in better transitional positions.

These next few weeks will be tough on squat days, and we’ll be pressed for time.  In order to fit everything into a class, our warmups will be a bit shorter.  In lieu of long full-class warmups, we ask that you take the challenge upon yourselves and do a great job with warmups before class starts.  Also, mobility work is going to be very important to minimize soreness and promote good movement, so be sure to have your quads and hips mobilized before class (couch stretch is probably the best thing you can do when you show up – ask a coach if you don’t know it).

It’s important to realize that this cycle is short – and “back squats every other day” is not a long term plan.  But, if you bear with us as we build this foundation, it will reap great benefits.  It’s actually quite simple: We spend some time getting stronger, then come back to the lifts and conditioning with a better foundation.

Strength:  High Bar Back Squat:
6 x 6 at 70% of 1 RM
Notes:  As always, unless instructed by a coach, do not deviate from from the percentages.  It is not OK to disregard percentages if you’re feeling stronger or weaker than normal.  Trust the plan.  Also, use 70% of your highest 1RM, even if you did not hit a PR in the last cycle.

–  then  –

“Russian KB Challenge”
100 KB Snatch (53/35) for time.

*Post times.  Strict 5 Minute hard cap.  Scaling to KB Swings is optional if you have not yet developed good KB snatch technique.

P.S. The only aspect of Test Week that we weren’t pleased about was the attendance.  In order to improve (and track improvement) you must show up.  You must. Please try your best to get here.

WOD: 6/27/13

Strength:  10X1 Hi-Hang Snatch – heaviest possible.


10 minute AMRAP of:

5 Overhead squats @ 75%

10 Snatch Grip Deadlifts @ 75%

15 HR Push-ups

*Post rounds.  Use 75% of 1RM snatch for OHS and SGDLs.
Please, try not to drop the 10 lb bumper plates.  They break very easily, and many of them have broken recently.  Don’t make me post the Tenicide Video again.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee

We do a lot of squats, cleans, & snatches.  We want to be experts at them.  If we become great at these things, then we will be great at lots of other things. 

Yes, we could do odd movements like tire flips and kettlebell throws, and it would be fun for a day.  However, becoming great at snatching will make you automatically great at flipping tires and throwing stuff.  It just doesn’t work the other way around.

We love the barbell.  We are committed to the barbell.  The barbell is the most effective tool for developing power and athleticism on the planet.  There are other implements that are good, but nothing has the versatility, efficiency, or efficacy of a barbell.

Let’s snatch.

WOD: 6/25/13

Strength: 5X5 Tempo HBBS @ 65%
Notes: Quick descent to very bottom, 3 FULL SECONDS hold at the bottom, bounce and quick back up.


For time:

Run 800m

3 rounds of-

12 Ring Dips

8 Strict Pull-ups

Run 400m

*Post times.

Good job to all the dedicated CFM athletes who came out and did the lunges yesterday. That was hard work. You’ll never ever have to do that again until next year.

Become a great squatter. I don’t know much, but I can guarantee this:
If you become a great squatter you’ll get better at everything else in your life. You’ll be a better runner, lifter, swimmer, athlete, student, parent, spouse, employee, boss, cook, farmer, lawyer, truck driver, and friend – guaranteed.

See you at the squat rack.


WOD: 6/24/13

Strength:  10×1 Hi-Hang Clean + Jerk


For Time:
400m Walking lunge w/PVC overhead

*Post times.  Compare to 4/19/12.


I’ve been asked the same question by lots of people.  It has popped up again a few times in the last week.  Its always about who and why people are cheating on the whiteboard…
(Check out this post to see some of my thoughts about whiteboards)

CFM Member : “What about the people that are cheating?”
Me: What about it?
CFM Member: “What are you going to do about it?”
Me:  Let them.
CFM Member:  “But I’m not cheating and it’s making me frustrated.”

I Understand.  It’s hard to go into CFM day in and day out and give it your best.  To you, I congratulate you on your hard work.  You deserve all the credit in the world.  Stay focused, stay steady.
You should also need to keep in mind that you are only responsible for yourself.  You are expected to give your best – if you do, you’ll see the rewards in your capacity.   You can’t do it for someone else.  If you have suspicions about somebody else who is cheating reps or ROM or whatever else – get rid of it.  It’s bad for you and it’s bad for the way that you see them.

So what if they cheat?  Whether they cheat or not doesn’t make you any more or less fit. 
So what if they beat your score?  You wouldn’t have been any faster or slower if they didn’t. 
So what if you know for sure that they only did 15 out of 20 pullups?   It’s not going to make you any stronger or weaker.

Consider this scenario :  We’ve had a lot of athletes come in and make great progress right away.  These people see their capacity improving and it makes them feel great.  Inevitably, they find themselves not quite as fit as they’d like to be, but they figure that they’re on their way up, so a little bit of cheating is no big deal because they’ll be fit enough to live up to their whiteboard scores soon enough, right?  No, not really.  6 months later they haven’t seen much improvement (if any, and in a lot of cases, regression) on the whiteboard and reality sets in.  We then see these same athletes refocus and start doing things the right way.  They stop caring so much about their score on the whiteboard and start caring more about technique and strength.  They stick to their new found convictions – hitting EVERY rep with perfect rom and great technique.  The next thing they realize is that they’re improving again.  Their improvement is rooted in the foundations that their whiteboard score doesn’t determine how cool you are or how much the coaches will like you.  They finally figure out what they knew in the back of their mind all along – that getting better requires hard work, patience, and discipline and THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.

As coaches, there’s not a lot we can do about cheating.  Generally, we know who is hitting all the reps and who isn’t, but we’re not going to take a video of every class and go back and count everyone.  It’s not what we do.

There are some things we take notice of, and maybe you should too:  Some workouts cannot be cheated; you should use them as a more true comparison.  For example, you can’t cheat on the rower – a 500m row or a 2k row are an accurate representation of what kind of power output you’re capable of.  The benchmark workouts that we count are also good ways to measure.  Today’s WOD is another example.  Perhaps, though, the best “whiteboard” for which to compare is the CrossFit Games Open (that we just finished in March).  Every rep is strictly judged by our CFM coaches. 

So, focus on your own improvement and don’t let what the person next to you is doing affect your own effort or integrity.  Get better by doing things the right way.  As a result you’ll be better at the benchmark WODs and in competition.

WOD: 6/14/13

Skill Deficiency Work:  The majority of the class will be dedicated to practicing the skills that you have not yet mastered.  What you practice is up to you, but you are encouraged to work on gymnastics and bodyweight movements that give you trouble.  You can pick your area of focus, but we will have a practice structure for you.

–  then  –

30 Clean & Jerks for time (135/95)

*Post times.  Compare to 11/5/12.

Technique > Load > Time

“Grace” one of the classic CrossFit workouts.  It is a beautiful workout when done properly, but it can be an ugly mess when done poorly.  The main focus in today’s workout is going to be good movement.   We want you to do 30 great Clean & Jerks.  We want you moving in a way that is safe, powerful and efficient.  We do not want you to compromise good mechanics because your body and/or mind is too tired to move properly.   Let’s go!

WOD: 6/13/13

Strength: 7X1 3-Position Snatch – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.

*Notes: Position #1 is the low-hang – approximately 2″ from the

floor. Position #2 is the traditional hang (just above the knee), and

position #3 is the hi-hang (mid-way down the thigh. All sets should be

done without dropping the bar.

–  then  –

12 minute AMRAP:
16 Barbell Step Ups (Alternating, Front Rack) 115# to 24″ / 75# to 20″
14 Pushups
12 Toes Thru Rings

*Post times.

I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve mostly figured out that CrossFit competency rests on a tri-pod.  Without a leg of the tripod, it falls.

The first leg is Strength (or more accurately, Power – see yesterday’s post for an explanation on the difference).  The ability to move large loads (whether it’s an external load like a barbell or kettlebell or your body weight is no difference – you have to be able to move large loads just the same) is the cornerstone of this sport.  Get strong and everything will become easier.  Strength is a journey – it’s a long term process.  You aren’t going to get strong in 90 days (you also aren’t going to get particularly weak in 90 days).  You have to dedicate yourself to strengthening your body.  Concerning strength, shoulders, midline, and hips are your main power generators and stabilizers.  You should be strong in these areas.  Smaller extremities like elbows, knees, ankles, fingers, etc (and the muscles connected to them) are not really much of a concern when it comes to being strong.  You won’t fail an objective because you didn’t do enough bicep curls, it’ll be because your back isn’t strong enough – trust me.  Get strong.

The second leg is conditioning.  You have to be able to sustain movement.  More importantly, you have to be able to sustain fast, powerful movement.  This requires mobilizing oxygen and fuel to your body in your aerobic AND anaerobic pathways.  The good news is that conditioning is (relatively) easy.  All you have to do is embrace the suck during the WODs and go as hard as you can.  Run faster, burpee faster, row faster, take shorter breaks between your pullups (which would be a combination of conditioning and, guess what?  Strength! see above), etc.  You can mostly develop a decent base for conditioning in a short amount of time.  90 days IS long enough to develop some conditioning capacity if you’re committed working hard at it.

Technical Proficiency is the third leg.  It is the most vague of the three because it is so broad and it overlaps to the others so much.  It is also the most difficult to achieve.   It means having practiced and developed competency in whatever movement you are performing.  It also means having the physical capabilities and mobility to accomplish that movement.    Some of us (either by bad design or by personal neglect and non-maintenance) have tight joints and muscles that prevent you from becoming technically proficient.  We can’t get into the proper biomechanical positions to support overhead squats, front racks, running positions, etc.  Most of the time it’s not your fault, BUT it is a challenge you must accept if you want to get better at CrossFit.  You MUST mobilize those parts of your body that are holding you back (BTW, >50% of the men at CFM have hamstrings that are WAY too tight).  Get your shoulders and hips loosened up and you will be able to squat more – guaranteed.  Pay attention to the coaching cues that you get in your classes. 

That was just me rambling, but here’s the short version:  Get strong, go hard, and learn the techniques.

WOD: 6/12/13

Strength:  EMOM for 6 Minutes (7 sets):

3  Deadlifts @ 75% of 1RM



3 rounds for time:

Run 400m

14 Ring Dips

7 Power Clean & Jerks 165/105#

*Post times.


CrossFit is different.

CrossFit is a fitness regimen designed to develop your body to be able to move more functionally.

Boot Camps, body pump classes, aerobic classes, home exercise videos, and running clubs are all very similar in that they focus primarily on heart rate and sweat.  In these systems, participants are encouraged to move as a means to accomplish these objectives.  It’s not a bad thing – movement and sweat are, generally, good.

CrossFit, instead, focuses specifically on movement itself.  Your body was specifically designed to use universal motor recruitment patterns to accomplish daily tasks.  In CrossFit, we focus on teaching these movements.  Squats, presses, jumps, and throws (among other things) are required capabilities in the world we live in.  CrossFit is intended to prepare you to navigate whatever daily missions you might encounter.

CrossFit is unique compared to other fitness systems in that all of the following elements of fitness are developed:

1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance- The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

4. Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.

10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

Yes, you will sweat during CrossFit, but you will do so much more.  You will squat well – with your heels down, knees out, chest up, and moving all the way through the range of motion until your hip is clearly below your knee.  You will develop pressing ability with an externally rotated, active, powerful shoulder.  You will learn the importance of, and develop a stable midline in any functional movement.  You will learn how to use your body’s powerful levers and contractile potential to move, direct, and stabilize large loads.

So, when your friends ask you if their “fitness class” is just like your CrossFit class…
Be kind, but explain to them that it is, indeed, different.

WOD: 6/7/13

Strength:  3 x ME UB Pullups
Notes:  For your first set you may do any style, including kipping, butterfly, or strict.  Your second and third set must be strict, dead hang pullups.  Please pay attention to your hands and protect them as necessary.  Nobody is allowed to tear hands.

–  then  –

For time:

100 Double-Unders

50 Ab-Mat Sit-ups

40 (steps) Walking Lunges (back or front rack) 135/85

30 Push Jerks 135/85

20 Handstand Pushups

*Post times.  Strict 25 Minute time cap.

If you found a way to drink 2 gallons of water yesterday, put a feather in your cap, but I think some of us missed the point, so I must apologize.  Though I was speaking in hyperbole, It seems that the “2 Gallon Challenge” was taken much too literal by way too many athletes.   2 gallons of water per day is not necessary.  The point was to encourage you to make a conscious effort to hydrate yourselves well.  

As a general rule of thumb, you should drink enough water so that you do not become thirsty.

I also found this as a recommendation: (Active) Athletes should be drinking half their bodyweight in ounces per day + ~16 ounces of water per hour of exercise (at 75 degree heat – increase the per hour of exercise amount for increased temperatures).

For me, (210 lbs) that’d be 105 ounces + 32 ounces (heat adjusted hour of exercise) = 135-140 ounces/day (or just over a gallon).   I generally drink much more than that, but it seems like a good baseline.
  Try it (if you’re into counting).

For those of you (like me) still trying to pound 2 gallons, good luck keeping your sheets dry tonight.

WOD: 6/6/13

Strength:  7X1 2-Position Clean + 1 Jerk – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.

*Notes: Position #1 is from the floor, Position #2 (without dropping

the bar) is the low-hang – approximately 2″ from the floor. The Jerk

comes after the 2nd position Clean.



“(Power) Elisabeth”

21-15-9 of:

Power Cleans 135/85#

Ring Dips

For time.


Hydration is important.  Your body doesn’t work well when you don’t have enough fluids in it.  You need more water than you think when it’s this hot.  Try to drink 2 gallons (yeah, two gallons) of water today…  See what happens.  You’ll be making lots of trips to the restroom, but you’ll probably feel great.  If you drink 2 gallons of water I’ll give you 2 free bottles from the fridge.  We’ll call it the “2 Gallon Challenge.”  Keep track of it 🙂

Also, let’s all try to do a better job cleaning up after ourselves; remember to pick up your water bottles and, believe it or not, all of the bumper plates DO fit on the rack – let’s find a way to make them fit.