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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Athlete of the Week: Lira

Once again, the rookie crew stands out. This time their Athlete of the Week is Lira Bordolay.

Lira, an incoming junior at Seaholm, has really done well making up for lost time at girl scout camp earlier this Summer. She got back last week and seemed to pick up right where she left off. This week she got to showcase her speed and athleticism over and over again. On Monday she got the top score of the day for the rookies on their clean/double under couplet. On Tuesday we did a short sprint with some slow push-ups, and not only did she get the top score again, but she also worked really patiently on running form - specifically the hands-together drill.

Thursday the rookies did a team workout version of our dumbbell/burpee couplet and she was mature enough to ask to lower the dumbbell weight so her form would stay good. Friday was more running, this time coupled with deadlifts and, as expected, she topped out the group again. And today we had... yup, more running. She partnered up with Jay for the hill sprints/kettlebell swings and the picture kind of gives you an idea of where she stood. Lira is to running what Lindsey is to laying on the blue bean bag.

Rumor has it Lira will be sticking with us for the fall. Hopefully she can finish up this last week strong to set herself up for a great school year. Great work Lira!

Sunday Laser Tag Information

This Sunday will be our laser tag trip after the mobility around 1:00! Zap Zone in Farmington want to achieve a world record for the most laser tag participants in a day. The number to beat is 250 and would make it into the Guiness World of Records if beaten!

The address is 31506 Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48336. If anyone needs a ride, I can take 4.

Comment if you think you would be able to make it!

Death by Laser

The State of the Champions Club: Summer 2019

One of the common sayings other affiliate owners have shared with me (both local and at the Games) is that their goal is to make their class, "the best hour of the client's day."

I honestly could not care less if this is the best hour of your day.


I have enough of my dad in me that allows me to prioritize athletics and obsess over a goal that will never be attainable, and I have enough of my mom in me that allows me to marry someone like Murley and be a Harry Potter fan. I think about it all the time, and it seems like the absolute best combination I could hope for as a coach; it's the reason why Jacob and Fry can coexist in the same session.

The thing is, both are on extreme ends of the Chris Can Tolerate This Person spectrum. I really have to be conscious of my tone when I coach Fry - which is difficult considering the athletic environment I grew up in. Coaching Jacob is like getting a 200-lb. order of plain white meat chicken breast with a 3-month expiration date; it sounds like a great deal at first, but there are only so many recipes that can get you through 2 pounds of chicken every day. The other thing is, they are both great people to have as part of the Champions Club. So how do I find balance? Simple, I set limits.

I can tolerate 1... maybe 2 Ashley Frys at a time (depending on Shakes's mood). I can tolerate 1 Jacob. We had 3 Jacobs at the start of Summer 2015 and it just...

... yeah... tons of fun to reminisce about (oh, the Nickleback era). Tons of self dong punching to coach. By July only 1 Jacob didn't quit (Alex Faust stuck it out and ended up getting Athlete of the Fall).

The reason why this works is because of our core. There is no limit to the amount of Jay Junkins or Mrs. Careys I could tolerate, and I'll take almost any middle school/high school kid because they are easily moldable. We are absolutely stacked to the brim with low-maintenance, form-focused people and that allows me to spend some extra energy on the Frys and Jacobs and Woordens and David Saporitos of the gym. They're definitely worth it.

Another common saying in CrossFit is, "every gym takes on the personality of its owner." I definitely believe this, and I also think this gets extended down to the coaches, who can share the same general values while adding in their own personality biases. If Shannon or Murley or Coach T still coached here on the regular then the Spectrum of Tolerance might be more broad. But for now, you're stuck with me. The good thing about this is you get the best CrossFit coach in Michigan every time you walk through the door. The bad thing about this is you get someone who thinks there's such a thing as "the best CrossFit coach in Michigan" every time you walk through the door. The same attitude that will force Mrs. Bennis to climb the rope before the end of Summer is the same attitude that all-of-a-sudden thinks wearing Fit Bits is a capitol offense.


Since 2012 I started wondering what it would be like if I was in a position to make cuts at the Champions Club. Like the standard "get in a line, yep, yep, nope, nope, nope, yep, yep," sports team cuts. Or the Kuzco classic:

It would be cool... for me... for about 10 minutes. Then it would suck when I am left with an empty gym because I cut everyone who can't recite both the Pokemon Theme Song and La Di Da Di by heart. So then I stopped thinking about the glory of crushing someone's dreams and instead thought about what it would look like to be truly "at capacity."

According to every affiliate owner and social group-leader person I have heard speak on the matter, there is a pretty weird/accurate cutoff at the 150-person mark; that is, one person can develop relationships and operate with 150 people before the quality deteriorates.

We have 130 people this Summer. I would not call us being "at capacity," but, I mean, we've gotta be kind of close, right? I definitely missed some things and messed up in places where I probably would not have in our Summer 2017 crowd, and the overall form was not to our usual standard. We didn't have the normal (or any) forms of Bubs, Murley, Shannon, David Sap, Elizabeth, Kroll, Mr. Auggie, or Mr. Z his Summer, and we set attendance records. I want to stay big enough where this happens, but small enough where we still feel their absence. I'll always find room for another Josh Howey or Mrs. Bennis, but I can really do my diligence to make sure anyone that comes in - or who's with us now - really fits us. 

In other words, I don't want to get too much bigger. Maybe that qualifies for "at capacity."


The good news, or bad news, I guess, is fall is two weeks away and that 130 number should be cut down quite a bit. How much, exactly? I have no freaking idea, honestly. We have some of the best recruiters in the country on the trail as we speak: Shannon, Coach T, the Benlussi family, Cecilia's mom... hopefully that will give me enough to bring back the 3:30 pm session. We shall see.

Either way, I got a pretty good dose of a packed house for the past 3 months and, as you can imagine, it has my confidence riding pretty high at the moment. Last time I felt like this it came to a spectacular end in the form of myself and Saporito and Ryan and Jason getting arrested for taking that big tire we use in the 80s workout. I am fairly confident those No Trouble No Trouble No Trouble WHAT ARE YOU DOING CHRIS!?!?!?! days are behind me. But still, The Tire Incident keeps my coaching self humble in the same way that a date with Fran or Kelly keeps my athlete self humble.

With that being said... I FEEL KINDA FREEEEEEEEEEE! Looking at like 64 names on the whiteboard every day this Summer and seeing the potential fall roster lined up just gives me the juice I was hoping it would back in 2012. It makes all confrontations so much easier knowing the sheer depth we have, and the recruiting roots that support this place. Things like "no," and "you'll be fine, Dylan" and "do it again," and "leave your phone in the car" don't have the same pressure attached to them like they used to. Though it might not seem like it (especially in the moment of confrontation), this is the healthiest position for any program to be in. Plus, the thing our program is selling is CrossFit. There is a lot of leverage knowing that we have a unique, elegant, and possibly optimal solution to both athletic training and metabolic disease; either you're going to see me now, or you're going to see me later when you're in really bad shape.


Here's where I'm at now: you guys need to know that you are part of a special thing. There is no metric we will ever be able to use to claim that we're the best CrossFit gym... but we're really freaking dope. Katie Bromm (whose opinion I really value) thinks we've turned the corner in that direction for good. I think we'll see a few more slumps but she might be right. Having a setting where Cecilia Steinwascher, JT Nevarez, Barry Brunke, Sammy Butcher, and Dakota Jones can all coexist at the same time is really, really difficult to do. Bishop Foley and Brand X have both said it can't happen. One Summer 2019 later...

The Champions Club is not for everyone. That is perfectly okay. Neither is football, The Great Gatsby, or Banana Now-and-Laters. It will not always be the best hour of your day. Shoot... it might not even be an hour, by the time we actually get started. My goal is to find the most important standards to set, then find people who will hold themselves to those standards. If you happen to be one of those people, then Whoa Nelly... this is going to be a fun ride!

I'm Not Listening Poll

Would you rather have someone tell you they're not listening while you're talking, or would you rather keep talking without knowing they aren't listening?

New Kid on the Block: Meagan

The simple news is we have another New Kid coming through the Champions Club; her name is Meagan Thompson, 30 years old, former volleyball player and coach. The more complex news is apparently Arlene has friends. Because as far as I know... wait... they're cousins? Okay never mind then.

Yeah, Meagan Thompson followed Arlene in through the garage doors on Tuesday to try out the floor press/run workout and decided she wanted some more, so she signed up for Fundamentals. She's two days in so far.

Meagan, so far, seems to be very coordinated in her extremities but has zero idea where her spine is at any time. Oddly enough, this usually turns out easier to work with than the other way around. She's already started getting her nutrition on track and is committed to coming in consistently. Be on the lookout for her in the morning sessions towards the end of the Summer and into the fall. I'll check back in after Day 5.

Welcome to the Champions Club Meagan!

Bye Bye Dakota

Today was the last day for the unforgettable rookie session standout Dakota Jones.

Not since Summer 2013 with Alex Faust and AJ Morey have we seen a rookie with so much... uh... outgoingness. He was simply the most important glue piece of the best rookie session in Champions Club history, and now he's headed off to Northwood for the fall to run cross country.

Dakota has been on my recruiting board since 2016 when Crawford and Conor first came in. Every year since then Crawford, Conor, Shannon, and I have all tried to get him to join. For whatever reason, he decided to jump on board and it was fantastic. From his GO DAWGS shouting right before the workout starts, to his Theme Workout attire, to hanging out with the Nevarez babies after his session, to driving the new Banets to the gym, Dakota has done more than I could have ever hoped for to fit into our gym culture.

As far as the workouts go, I knew Dakota's work capacity was going to be top-notch, judging from my experience coaching him in track the last few years. But his technique was better than I expected. He no longer goes knees-forward on any squatting where his feet stay on the ground, and he made great strides on using skill for kipping pull-ups and cleans instead of trying to muscle his way through it.

Since he was coming off stress fractures from track season, he's not sure how much he'll be able to participate in cross country this fall, but he'll be doing track for sure in the spring. Be on the lookout for him coming back on holidays and random weekends.

Thank you for everything Dakota!


Parents Workout Recap: Toy Story + Superhero

Last Wednesday we had a great groups of parents at their 6:30 session, so we did the Toy Story Workout that was supposed to happen back in June. It was absolutely dope! Nick Bewick found himself at the mercy of Mr. Bennis:

While I'm sure some of us were rooting for an "accident," I am happy to say that everything turned out safe. We didn't do all the transition stations we did with the kids (Andy's Coming In, Stinky Pete Hops, etc.) and we modified some of the rep numbers, but they seemed to get a good workout in - finishing in 29:27.

There are 29 pictures added to the Toy Story Theme Workout Gallery than you can check.

The full attendance can be seen here.


Tonight the parents were subject to partner carries again, this time as part of the Superheroes Theme Workout. We had 5 in attendance: Mrs. Bennis, Mrs. Tara, Coach Casey, Mrs. Nevarez, and Mr. Kuiper. Instead of the 4-minute stations, they did 5 minutes on the first two and 3 minutes on the last two. Why? Honestly, I'm not sure. I was thinking of skipping the Joker deck altogether, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves and had more in the tank after the Hulk Smashes/Sandbag runs, so I figured it couldn't hurt!

The photos were added to the August '19 Daily WODs gallery.

The results can be seen here.