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Champions Club 2015: A Year in Review


Coming Soon: Mobility Rx

Murley came up with the idea a few weeks ago that instead of people mindlessly coming in and doing couch stretch or hip capsule, we should give everyone a prescription that they need to do every day they are in the gym; meaning you cannot leave without having went through your mobility rx. It can be before a session or after, we don't care, as long as you get it done inside the gym walls.

Example: last year around this time, Joe Wonsil was prepping for his senior season on the rowing team. He had been out of CrossFit for about 2 years and his shoulder mobility reflected that. So I told him that he needed to accumulate 10 minutes on double lacrosse ball on the upper back with the sandbag on his chest adding extra pressure. I didn't care if it was all at once, or split up, or done before or after a session. Naturally we saw his range of motion experience a more permanent increase and his shoulder-dominant movements improved as well.

Be on the lookout for the Champions Club Winter 2016 Mobility Rx coming sometime next week.

Welcome Back: Lil' Kim

Hannah Kimmel has been a Champions Club regular since the old weight room days and she was an 8th grader who hadn't quite grown into her body yet.

She was on hiatus since around April of last year due to increased demands at work doing lifeguard duty with the Kavanaughs. But now that things have calmed down a bit and she has found her way back home to the gym. Today was her first workout back and while the conditioning is off, as expected, her movement patterns are still engrained. Hopefully she can keep things consistent this winter and spring to finish up her senior year strong.

The Truth Behind IM

This one goes out to the current college kids and those of you who are going to be there soon. Not everyone is going to play a college sport. Sadly or happily, your athletic career is going to be over. No more practices or games, the only thing left to do is workout. Working out without a goal is super boring. Working out (at least to me) was never something I would do for fun, but you do it for those legs in the fourth quarter or because you want to get off the bench. So once that motivation goes away, it's a lot easier to skip a workout. Then your cardio conditioning goes down the drain and you just don't really care enough to get it back up. What's a kid to do?


For some reason, I never played IM before this semester. I guess I thought that it would be lame and that no one would take it seriously and it would just be another painful reminder that the competing days are over. I can't lie, sometimes that's true. But for the most part, everyone showing up to IM is people who miss competing, just like you. It's a great chance to meet new people (if you don't go to a school like Aquinas where you already know everyone and their cousin) and throw down for a bit. Besides, when are you going to sprint harder? When you're running to run or when you're chasing a loose ball? 

We work out so we can express the movement principles we preach. Where do you express yours? 

New Book by Kelly Starrett: Deskbound

With the success of his bestselling books Becoming a Supple Leopard and Ready to Run setting the stage for his message, Kelly Starrett has been at work for his newest addition to be released. It's called Deskbound and it goes into detail about the negative effects of sitting. The trailer can be seen below.

Mr. Wonsil, for one, has seen a great improvement in his squat mobility since turning his work station into a standing dest. I know sitting in school and work is sometimes unavoidable, so it is important to 1) mobilize to undo the sitting and 2) try to adjust your sitting stations as much as possible.

Quote of the Week vol. 125: Another Brain Nugget from BTT(AD)

"Be emotionally attached to your athletes but emotionally detached from their training"

- Brian the Trainer. Sometime in the spring of 2014 if I remember correctly.

Brian was cool with Shannon, but he also knew that she was not ready for high-intensity stuff coming off mono.

I had a conversation recently with a kid on the Groves team about his frustration with the lack of playing time the head coach gave him. He told me about how confused he was. "I mean, he is always nice when he talks to me, tells me what I should work on, and encourages me when I mess up. But I just thought he would play me more."

"Dude..." I said, "he likes you. You're just not better than Drew. Drew needs about 30 minutes per game... that leaves 2 minutes for you. It's unfortunate we don't run the kind of system that fits your game, but you also haven't done the things necessary to fit into our system - let alone to take minutes away from Drew."

In a separate but similar frame, Mr. Z is one of my favorite athletes to coach in the Champions Club. He's athletic, strong, good for the community, and adds a certain element of trash-talking that livens up the parents crew. He is obviously someone I want to keep happy. But Mr. Z has an injury history - torn achilles to be specific. So when he does touch-and-go box jumps, it usually means foam between the feet. It sucks for him because he goes slower, and it sucks for me because a perfect world would have him feeling satisfied after every workout. But to the best of my knowledge, the method we practice is the best for him.

The end product is more important than personal feelings from either end.


In the world that we all share in common - CrossFit - your health and fitness is more important than the personal feelings either ends share. Not outside of the gym; but only inside the gym, or conversations relating to your health and fitness. Hannah Sabal is a perfect example.

I think I would rip my hair out if I had to be in her presence for more than thirty seconds outside of a CrossFit session and discuss... reading... or whatever it is she does with books. On the flipside, a full hour of SCREAMO MUSIC!!!! would likely be more preferable for Hannah than hearing the first five seconds of any personal opinon I have about anything. And rightfully so, I might add. Bottom line: we do not particularly like each other.

But (as Mama V says, "Biiiiiiiggg Butt") none of that matters as soon as a session starts. What does matter, above all, is her health. And I can say that very few people in this gym have seen better improvements in that area than Hannah over the past year. This is because she ignores the personal dislike and is focussed on - among other things - being able to rehab a back injury sustained almost a year ago to the date. I have taken note. While she will always do stuff I cringe at, she shows up consistently, does whatever I ask, contributes on the site, and talks to new people. I have nothing to complain about.

I never thought Hannah would be able to do rope climbs as rx'd in workouts. I am happy she proved me wrong!

Now something different has evolved. Much different than "like," or "dislike." Respect. I respect Hannah as a Champions Club athlete, and all signs show that she respects me as a coach; and that carries over to areas outside the gym that "like" and "dislike" can't ever dream of reaching. Don't get me wrong, we still throw shots at each other all the time. But the effects only last as long as the words are floating in the air. After that, it's back to business making Hannah as healthy and fit as her genetics will allow. I believe I have learned just as much from the experience as she has. Hopefully there will be more to come.


Imagine you are a coaching a softball team. Imagine you have a choice between starting your best friend at pitcher (who sucks) or your most-hated enemy (who is clearly better and has no negative chemistry with anyone.) Who would you choose? Obviously the better player. Why? Because the success on the field is more important than how much you like each player. After the game, or practice, you'll obviously be spending time with your friend because being good at softball has little do to with your friendship.

Spring sports are coming up soon; the team conditioning has already started for some of you. It is inevitable that you will find yourself saying, "my coach hates me." Being a coach, and talking to many other coaches, I can promise the answer is no, they don't. If JZ's coach benches him again this year, it won't be because he dislikes him personally, it's because he dislikes something about his baseball game. If Robert Kroll doesn't make the 4x2 team in track, it's because the coach believes his track ability is inferior to the other four kids. A coach might not be able to communicate that in the best way, so it is your responsibility as an athlete to find out what exactly is lacking and make it better.

Your coaches just want to win in the frame you normally see them. If you saw them outside the field, track, or court, they would likely be much more supportive because they truly want you to do well. It's just that it can't come at the expense of the rest of the team. Even though they have a professional obligation to do what is best for the team, they will always be emotionally attached to the athletes they coach. The sooner you can realize this, the more each party can accomplish.

Beast Mode: Hero with a Weight Vest

We took advantage of the weather yeaterday and skipped ahead a few workouts to the hero workout "Sisson." The 8:30 am session kind of caught the short end of the stick; they had to sidewalk and back x3 for each run because there was still ice on the sidewalk. But it cleared out by the afternoon and the rest of the sessions went to the bar sign and back.

In addition, Katie Shakes and Elizabeth Banet got to wear the 20-lb. weight vest for the duration of the workout. Here's the highlights from Elizabeth's 6:30 pm session. 

I am trying to chop up Shakes's 5:30 pm session video before the end of the week.

Andy Bernstein's Insight into Track People

If you didn't think Andy Bernstein was cool enough by spending time with us, he also just contributed to the recent posts about attempted ActivInsight into track people - as well as support for Mr. Warthman's post. You can see his first one here:

You Make the Call pt. 4: Find the Relative Peak Inteligence

the second one:

Guest Post vol. 26: Mental Mashing and Mobility by, Mr. Warthman

and finally the third one:

Re: YMTC pt. 4

While I suppose it doesn't surprise me, he continues to show his character by taking the time to respond to emails and staying involved with our community. He's a cool dude.

Look for more ActivInsight practice coming up. Anyone have a good idea for a topic?