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Congratulations to Katie Shakes: Athlete of the Summer 2016

See her feature editorial here.

CFJ Feature for the "Met-Heads"

Mike Warkentin (the guy who published my recent Journal article) wrote a piece last month in regards to the "Big Dawgs" in CrossFit who avoid the endurance workouts because the Gainz Goblin will come calling. In this month's Uncommon Sense series, he writes another letter except to the opposite crowd. He calls them the Met-Heads.

Think of the Murleys, Shannons, Crystals, and Chrisses of the gym who would prefer to avoid the heavy lifting days altogether. This one if for us.

Open Letter to the Met-Heads

"Yes, we know you feel like you didn’t accomplish anything on deadlift day.

It’s very clear you’re unhappy that you are not out of breath and dripping with sweat. We’re just going to lie here on the rubber with shaking legs while you head over to the corner to bang out 100 burpees for time.

We’ll even start the clock if you feel the need to hit a quick Fran.

But we’re wrecked from heavy day, so please don’t ask us to join you.

Here’s why: You’re part of a CrossFit program."

Workout Priorities Poll

In between thoughts of Peppers for Heisman and the showdown on November 11 between Rutgers and MSU for last place in B1G East, I started to contemplate how priorities are usually sorted for training.

In my experience, most things operate best when there is a hierarchy in place. And often times the issues I hep other coaches with is recognizing  when they have deviated from their main objectives.

In the strength and conditioning world, there seems to be six major areas I hear coaches emphasize:

  1. Aestetics (weight gain/loss, muscle building, tone, etc.)
  2. Perception (skill development/coordination)
  3. Position (strength)
  4. Endurance (conditioning/stamina)
  5. Numbers (lbs. lifted, rounds completed, etc.)
  6. Mentality (team building, toughness, etc.)

My question is, what order do you think those factors should be in terms of importance for the general athlete? (Not a specialist!)

In other words, what is the most important area to be developed and what is the least? Note: We did a similar poll back in 2015 that dealt with all the physical skills one could acquire in a workout program. This one is more from my observation and includes some different categories.

New Graduate: Mikey

Mikey Peterson finished a condensed Day 7 & 8 of Fundamentals yesterday afternoon with a 7:30 effort on Helen with 200m, 16k swings, and 12 ring rows.

Of all the things I've had to un-teach, the umweighting of the Olympic lifts were definitely the most difficult. But other than that, Mikey's habits weren't nearly as bad as I expected. Mainly his conditioning and endurance will be the limiting factors early on.

The important thing Mikey has going for him is his dedication to learning and willingness to modify in order to make sure he's doing things the right way. If he's going to be around for the long-term (which I definitely hope), this 3-month stretch for him will be very beneficial for his long-term success with the Champions Club.

Look for Mikey at the 5 pm session with fellow OGs Cap'n Jack Trastevere and Rachael Kroll.

New Kid on the Block: Alma

The last randomite we had sigh up for Fundamentals was Steve the Dentist - who is looking to get back in the swing of things around the holiday. I've had a few random folks call me about joining, but none ever did (unless you count Jeff from New Jersey who did a few one-on-ones in August.

That changed last Wednesday with the addition of Alma Mansour.

Alma has an interesting story behind her. She was born in Syria, moved to London when she was 8, then moved back to Syria, and finally landed in New York City for the past few years. While there, her friend persuaded her to join CrossFit NYC Upper West Wide. Alma trained there for about 3 months before moving to Madison Heights. In true CrossFit fashion, one of her first priorities upon settling in was to find a local affiliate. So she emailed me on Tuesday and signed up for Fundamentals on Wednesday.

We just finished Day 4 and so far she has been an interesting athlete to work with. Aside from a few habits we are trying to change (deadlift set-up, knees on squats to name a few), her tendency is to overextend on most movements. She's been working hard to fix this so far and is very patient with learning a new way to do something she has been doing for the past few months. We seem to be scheduling these sessions pretty fast, so it shouldn't be long before I check back in after Day 8.

Ghosts of Champions Club Past: Erica Potter

Pic of the Week: A New Look pt. 2

A lot of my obsessive work ethic comes from my dad. If any of you have met him, you can probably see the similarities. Anyway in unison with the slowy-but-surely upgrade of the place, I dediced to take advantage of the weather this week and ask my pops to lend his professional painting hand to the grimy wall by the ropes. On Thursday, he made some time to help give us a better look.

By help, of course, I mean he did most of the important work while I scraped and painted the stuff that was impossible to mess up.

Either way, thanks pops!

An Appropriate Time to Swear

"Wait... he's not kidding about the hill," said Reggie as he was plotting ways to commit a felony assault with the PVC pipe in his hand.

Knowing not to put my fate in the hands of a man with biceps bigger than my legs, I jetted out the door with Carter behind me finding every excuse and scenario possible to use the word "moist" in a sentence, followed by a clodhoppering Josh and Shannon - who came prepared with bundles of warm clothing.

The four of us loaded into my car and began pulling out of the driveway with the rest of the 6 pm session.

"I have a feeling they aren't too happy with me at the moment," I said more to myself than anyone in specific, then directed my attention to Josh. "Do your parents swear?"

Shannon cut in, "Arlene doesn't swear. She makes a point of it"

"Mom says the f-word sometimes," countered Josh in his post-pubescent voice. "For no reason."

I think it is safe to say she had plenty reason today. Any time a hill is involved, mild swearing gets a free pass. Any time a hill is involved at night time during the cold and rain, all swearing and middle fingers from Aaron Sexton(!) is appropriate.

Assault with these guns should never be appropriate.


So the workout today was supposed to be 5 minutes of running, 5 minutes of rest. Repeat for 3 rounds. As last night was winding down and I was walking home barefoot in a balmy 60 degrees at 9:40 pm, I noted how he hadn't done a hill workout on a weekday since the spring 2015 where we found out Robert Kroll had spent his childhood chasing down rabbits in the humid fields of Florida. I was all for it until about 4 am when I woke up to rain splattering me in the arm. I closed my bedroom window and the next thing I thought about - at 4 in the morning - was Reggie and Arlene. Reggie spends a full work day driving from building to building doing appraisals, then comes here, then goes back to work until 1 am only to repeat the next day. Arlene, on the other hand, has to share her work space with someone who speaks Canadian. Then I thought of Mrs. Kroll, the sole owner of the girls bathroom during the 8:30 session. Then I thought of Crawford and all the mileage he runs for Cross Country. Then I thought about Tim and his half marathon on Sunday.

After a half hour contemplating, I just said, "fuck it, let's see what happens." And I went back to bed.

Session after session went by with the groups lining up to do couch stretch right off the bat without the slightest clue what was coming next. All they had to go off was misleading whiteboard scores like Maddy 18:07 (210 lbs) and KShakes 17:36 (300 lbs) - death[skull and crossbones]. Each hour I doubted whether or not we should go. And every time Arlene's favorite four-letter word came into my head. Off we went.

"So Pip, ready for a cozy workout indoors?"


Now it's 8:55 pm and we had a great day of workouts. Instead of the 5 minutes, we did 45-second intervals on the hill. Get as far up as you could (kids start at 200m and parents at 100m), walk down then jog back, and repeat 5 times. Highlights included Sabal and Jack making it to the top on their first runs, Mrs. Kroll not dying, her daughter, Rachael, winning $20 by beating Jack on the last sprint, Crawford making a case to Shannon that he should be a middle-distance runner, and Mr. freaking Warthman going Rossman on his last three sprints - leaving Reggie and Mr. Carey in the dust puddles and duck poo.

By this freezeframe we declared war on adulthood in 2014. By this freezeframe...

Carter has an umbrella

...on October 20, 2016 we declared f-it to whatever crap comes our way. I was lucky to have rabid followers from Foley move with a 22-year old college dropout to a new location. I was lucky to have 6 adults willing to play in the snow. And I am lucky to have a group of athletes who get tricked into running a hill in miserable conditions unprepared and unaware then say, "I'm actually glad I did that" afterwards.

All 21 of you will be getting limited-edition Champions Club gear soon...

From the Vault: Summer Heat

With how nice it's been this October, it makes me think about the string of 90-degree days we had back in July-August. This was one of the hotter days with the 9 am session hitting a long workout "Mr.Joshua" with heavy deadlifts, GHD sit-ups, and running.

If you notice they had some form issues on GHD sit-ups. We haven't done those in awhile so be on the lookout for GHDs to come up in warmups.