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Behind the Champion: The Junkin/Eason Family

Ever wonder about the best way to eliminate pimples? See here for details.


 

New Graduate: Bewick

The string of pull-up graduations continue with our good friend Nick Bewick. He's been working on this one for a bit, and during the warmup of the five thirty session this afternoon his first pull-up finally came through!

Keep it going bro! Next up is the handstand!

New Graduate: Baby Jacqueline

Every session needs to start somewhere, and it always take just one kid who is willing to stick around in the rough patches of the growing phase to make it work. For the Babies crew, that kid was Jacqueline Asmar. I was "was" because after the Summer she has officially graduated to our Kids session. The 11-year old has made big improvements over the past three years in the Babies session, and today she got her first full range-of-motion pull-up.

In addition, we also did deadlift rechnique today, and despite never formally doing the movement before in her life, her technique was spot-on. Check it out!

Look out for this youngster in the banners a few Summers from now! But in the meantime, keep up the good work Jacqueline!

Pics of the Week: Babies, Bewick, Collin (who?), and C'mon NuNu

So a few entries this week, first of which comes from cousins from our Babies session, Jacqueline and Ashlee, enjoying the warm weather last weekend.

Next, if you hadn't noticed we've been without our sweat fiend Nick Bewick for the past week. That, apparently, is because his family is on vacation, and he sent in this picture from Rainier National Park.

Hopefully we see them back soon (including Cameron, who is a new member of the Babies crew).

Next up we have a surprise appearance from a Champions Club OG after Tuesday's session:

You're beard's weirdAnd lastly, NuNu wanted to make sure everyone knew he did the runs on Tuesday without shoes. Except...

Yeah...

New Graduate: Jay

I always find writing these post about veterans kind of weird because they're usually reserved for things dine early in a CrossFit career, but Jay got one last night. At the warmup of the 6:30 session, he said, "think I can do a strict bar muscle-up?" We kinda shrugged so he tried it and actually got one pretty clean. When I went back a minute later and grabbed the camera, he tried another one. Here's how it looked.

Not as good as the first one, but still counts! For the past year and some change, Jay's been keeping things going as consistently as any college-aged kid I cam remember. I think we can all expect the same slow, gradual upward trajectory for a long time. Keep up the good work brother!

Welcome Back: Carter

Yes, that Carter!

It's been a hot minute since we've seen the Blob in action, and after some subtle recruiting pitches, I think he's gonna be locked down for his senior year. Yes, he's a senior, though I'm not sure how at this point. Either way, Carter's my main man and, if anything else, adds great hip hop music selection to the mix!

Let's finish strong this year.

Coach's Corner: Danielle

Deadlifts are probably the best exercise when it comes to developing strength in the hips and spine. Yesterday we did a 5 rep max of sorts, and some athletes with enough mobility stood on plates to make the first part of the lift even more difficult. Here's Danielle's last set at 165 lbs.

With increased range of motion comes great chances of flaws. Do you guys notice anything off about the lift? Note: she has the mobility to do a regular lifting style with her feet closer and hands outside, but this is her powerlifitng style, so we're going to keep with sumo deadlifts until the season starts.

The Story of Jennifer in America

In August 2015, Jennifer Banet earned an Athlete of the Week honor. I was mad, actually, because I like to do a small write-up on the athlete in question, and I could not figure out how to put Jennifer Banet into words. She was there, kind of; not quite strong, not quite fast, sort of awkward, but somehow really good. In fact, arguably the best trending athlete in the entire gym at the time. In retrospect she was like the 2009 Kid Cudi of the Champions Club. I remember sitting by the pole under the loft on that Saturday having the toughest time trying to write the post, so I just compared her to a drinking fountain.

Now she is the Athlete of the Summer 2018 and I get to write an entire article about her. Not sure how this will turn out.

...........

Summer 2013 was an all-timer. While it is famous for the injection of the best college athletes we’ve ever seen (Shannon, DeJour, Josh, Cam, Buzz, Faust, AJ), it was also the arrival of a name that now lives in Champions Club lore: Banet. Elizabeth and Erika were superstars of the 10 am rookie session, and Jacqueline did Fundamentals so she could be with her former G.A. classmates (Ricky, Jason, Katie Bromm, etc.) at 1:30. There were many posts the following year that highlighted pull-ups, muscle-ups, perfect technique, play time, and Beast Modes from the sister trio. They were in the middle of the generation we called The Freaks – not necessarily in the athletic sense, but the obsessive way the entire group bought into the Champions Club philosophy.

Then leading up to Summer 2014, we heard that there was, in fact, a fourth Banet in existence, confined to her room, saving Christmas, birthday, and chore money, doing crunches and Insanity workouts, and carving tallies on the walls with her fingernails to count down the days until her parents allowed her to join. And on Saturday, May 25, a few days after her 8th grade graduation, Jennifer Banet came in for her first workout. Here’s how the following Summers went:

  • 2014 – Great Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2015 – Best Summer for Jen, best overall Summer the Champions Club has seen
  • 2016 – Bad Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2017 – Worst Summer for Jen, average Summer for the Champions Club

For both Jennifer, and the Champions Club as a whole, the glory Summer of 2015 is something that would always serve as the compare-to link for every workout and every season. Missing a pr is never fun.

The trend continued downward for Jennifer until February 2018, when she expressed to me that she had “figured some things out” in her life and decided that she wanted to make her fitness a higher priority. This was not something new, as Shannon and I both made regular attempts to get her back to where we thought her potential was. But we gave it another try and slowly but surely she got her way back into shape. Soon we found that “slowly but surely” that translates to 2 weeks in Jennifer time. And by May, she set Champions Club high school girls records in Murph, Michael, and Helen, and earned MVP honors on her track team. It helps to have the Banet gene, I suppose.

After Jennifer’s performances in the late-spring, I had an eye out for her as a potential Athlete of the Summer. Is this playing favorites? Definitely. But being under a microscope leaves little room for error. Needless to say, Jen got the “preferential Chris treatment” envied by absolutely nobody in the gym; it has little to do with increased weight or rounds, but heavily leans on testing for weakness, which is not quite the way I operate on a daily basis. As a whole, I pamper everyone in the gym by scaling; CrossFit.com recommends a prescription for the day – designed to exceed the capacity of Matt Fraser over time – and we adjust so Reggie and Woorden can do it. This is both necessary and the best way to improve fitness over the long haul. This is not, however, the best way to test fitness. Throw them to the wolves and see how they fare.

So Jennifer got tested more this Summer than I remember doing with anyone, and I can say with certainty that she responded every single time. Every. Single. Time. Her worst workout was Fight Gone Bad, where she pr’d and nearly hit 300 reps. And as for body language, mental toughness, and tolerance: drinking fountains don't show emotion, they just do their job. When it comes to pure performance, this is the best Summer I think any Champions Club athlete's ever had. During that power clean/toes to bar couplet, I remember trying to enjoy the fact that after 4 years of waiting for Jennifer to reach her potential, I was suddenly watching it.

...........

In the Champions Club Checklist, I mentioned patience as the first bullet point.

“To be patient, you are constantly thinking and operating in the present. Although it seems looking ahead is the key to patience, doing so will often skew your present thinking – which can cause you to doubt yourself and act impatiently. [...] Someone who is patient understands that there are good snapshots and there are bad snapshots and trusts in the process to get through both of them.”

Guess who I listed as my "good" example. 2015 Jennifer was a rising star who showed flashes of what she was capable of. She was protected by light weights and modifications that helped ensure success, and the end result showed an athlete who looked ready to take the next step. But for a million reasons the payoff did not happen the next year. So we regrouped, came back rejuvenated, and… another year of disappointment.

As far as math has taught me, two points on a graph can make a line, and this line was trending down. It really takes something to be able to look at that trend line, accept it, and calmly work to make it go in a different direction. This is exactly what Jennifer did this Summer. One small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision led to where she ended up on August 31 - a state of being commonly known as “legit." Of course, Jen hasn’t been in the gym a single day since then, and that’s okay. She started her freshman year at college, is living on campus, and is adjusting to a new style of life. It's part of the progression.

In football there is a definite end point: I want to be better than you by the end of the 4th quarter. In the Champions Club, there is no endpoint. We are playing an infinite game – a huge trend line (wait, wouldn't that be a ray line, or something?) comprised of an unfathomable amount of micro trend lines. Jennifer is going to have a worse Summer than 2017. Jennifer is also going to have a better Summer than 2018. Both are unavoidable. I think she knows that, and that’s why she’s so Jennifer about everything.

But this is now, and Summer 2018 saw Jennifer transform into a machine. The cool thing, though, is no matter how many Beast Modes she’ll put up or records she’ll break, the youthful, fun, cool core will always be there.