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Summer '19 Signup is now live!

$225 if paid before June, $235 is paid after. Check this post for details.


Beast Mode: Josie and DeMarrien

Two unlikely sources put in a very good showing at today's mex effort deadlift workout. The 6:30 session featured 9 people and Josie Junkin and DeMarrien Watson were two that I had pegged for the rounded backs club. But much to my surprise, they looked really good. Here's their final sets.

Josie - 125 lbs.


DeMarrien - 75lbs.


Josie is officially back for her second Summer with the Champions Club and she is way ahead of where she was last year despite being away at school. DeMarrien (and his brother Mark) are on the recruiting board for the Summer; DeMarrien has seen major improvements in his body control so far in his short time with us and hopefully we can carry that over for the next few months.

Good work kids!

Pose Goes to States + Rant

This past weekend was the Track & Field Regionals for the MHSAA and teams/athletes with Pose running ties performed really well.

First up, we have Stoney Creek High School; a group of athletes from the team did winter conditioning with me twice a week from November through the middle of March. We did the usual CrossFit stuff, but we also went over a ton of running technique and film analysis. I haven't coached them (other than occasional mobility work) since the season started, but it turns out three of those kids qualified for States:

  • Jessica Schamanek, 1600m run, 5:09, 6th place, automatic qualifying time
  • Matt Medaugh 4x800m, 8:02.42, 5th place, automatic qualifying time
  • Cameron Klauke 4x100, 43.52, 4th place, automatic qualifiying time

Jessica shown working out on a snow day here at the Champions ClubAbout 15 miles south, we have the secondary Pose trial grounds: Warren Mott. Shannon does a majority of the coaching there, and I will come in about once a week or do some work on the side. As of recent weeks, Shannon has been absolutely on point with her coaching and technique drills and it has paid off bigtime: we had 8 kids qualify for States!

  • DeJzon Aljahim, high jump, 6'3", 3rd place, automatic qualifying height
  • Trevon Madison, 100m dash, 11.06, 2nd place
  • Trevon Madison, Darius Willis, Carvin Coleman, James Murray, 4x200m relay, 1:28.96, 1st place
  • Trevon Madison, Darius Willis, James Murray, Daiyon Anderson, 4x100m relay, 43.10, 1st place
  • James Murray, Carvin Coleman, Jarren Hayes, James Chaney, 4x400m relay, 3:29.09, 2nd place

This is a video we used from practice for technique analysis. Also shows some of Shannon's older running videos for reference.


One thing I am always conflicted with is how exactly to use the phrase "I coach blank." For example, Harrison Steen and Adam Hilton were both part of my strength and conditioning group last year and the year before at Stoney Creek; Harrison was a regular and Adam had Jesse Junkin attendance. They literally own all of the school records and are now college athletes. They were state-recognized runners and Track People know about them and will continue to know about them for quite some time. I would not feel comfortable saying "I coached them."

The three Stoney kids this year, however, I would feel comfortable to say "I coach them" because of how much time we spent on technique and how much they bought into Pose. The Mott kids... well that's another story. It starts from the top; Coach Dias and Coach Mark have given Shannon the keys to the sprinters for the past four years. All they know is Pose. If Shannon isn't saying something, Coach Dias or Mark are trying their best to relay something in the lines of what she would be saying. And obviously if I'm there we're doing all sorts of drills that would give Mr. Z and Jacob a fantastic supply of ammo to make fun of. There are kids that think about it when they run and kids who just run. Tre, Darius, and James do for sure, and everyone else in the States crew is in the Mrs. Fitz During A Workout category: aware but not fully aware. I also abuse DeJzon any time we play one-on-one after practice. I feel that's important to mention.

The reality is, though, the Mott and Stoney kids are going to States because God blessed them with athleticism and a desire to improve; a coach's role is definitely under 50%, and probably closer to 35%. But, everyone needs a coach, or at least they seem to think they need a coach. And this is where the conflict happens. I could stand and take a picture with Jalen Terry from my Family team and be like I COACH HIM and come back with 20 new clients for my private basketball coaching. Or I could have Shakes pump out pictures of Myron Gardner (who just committed to Georgetown, by the way... congrats big guy!) on whatever social media stuff she's doing and get a new wave of Champions Club athletes. I just have a feeling the karma bug will come back around on that one.

As for Pose, the stuff works. End of story. The only person it ever made slower was a fat coach from Foley who never actually ran, himself, but was a thrower. We have done Pose with sprinters. We have done Pose with distance runners. Shannon has done Pose with high jumpers and hurdlers and long jumpers. And I continue to beat Pose into CrossFitters at our gym. Not because Tre Madison thinks it helps, not because Mike Rossman was a state champion 9 years ago, and not because I enjoy teaching running (I don't). It's because we have to follow the best practices at the Champions Club and from what I have seen in the past and what I understand about human movement, the Pose Method is the way to go. You don't have to like it the same way you don't have to like feet together on box jumps or reverse grip on pull-ups.

As my dad would say, "suck it up!"

Quote of the Week vol. 291

"...learning is best done slowly to accumulate lasting knowledge, even when that means performing poorly on tests of immediate progress. That is, the most effective learning looks a lot like falling behind."

- David Epstein

Behind the Champion: Ally Kauzlarich

Ally Kauzlarich came to us as part of our Rookie class halfway through Summer 2018 and worked her way into a top-10 attendance finish by the end of August. Judging by social media posts you guys show me and her own comments, it appears she drank a full dose of the CrossFit Kool-Aid and is completely bought in to the Champions Club culture.

Ally is also one of the most quiet people in the gym, so I figured we could feature her on this as we get prepared to have her as a regular for another Summer.



When did you start stuttering? How has it affected your daily life?

My family says I started stuttering at the age of 4. However, I can't remember the specific moment where I can go back to when I was little. Being a person who stutters has dramatically affected my daily life in so many ways. Let me paint a couples pictures for you. Every morning imagine waking up to go out to meet one of your parents or friends, and as soon as they ask you a question or say good morning your stutter welcomes itself first with a reply of "g-g- good morning." From getting bullied for all my middle school years, from not talking for 1 year to anyone in 5th grade (and yes, even my family) and the only way communication was safe for me was writing on pieces of papers, to ignoring every type of speaking situation because I hated myself and what I had - I had to hide it the BEST way I could because if people saw the real me, would they like me? Would they accept me? Or would I end up once again to be the biggest laugh of the night? I describe my stutter sort of like when you have a kid and let's face it - it's an ugly baby. You go to a family function or out at the grocery store and you encounter someone who looks at your ugly baby and their reaction goes something like "ahh... it's... ugh...cute!" with that tone of voice you know they think it's hideous. I could go on and on, but I will end it with this. My stutter has been the monster in my life, it has torn me down, it's made believe that I will never be good at anything every time I open my mouth, it's showed me failure from a young age, BUT it's been my biggest teacher.


How do you balance wanting to talk to someone vs. not wanting to stutter? Do you prefer people from the gym ask you "how's it going?"  when they see you? Or would you rather them just smile and waive?

For me I think I’ve always used an avoidance tactic as my comfort. Or, I tend to talk with very short words. But I’m slowly learning that it is all filled with the emotions of fear and my inner critic, that like to assume a lot of things about myself and my stutter during the conversation. It’s not a good place to rest anymore. If someone asks me at the gym “how’s it going” I will talk with them. It might seem at first I’m scared or nervous, but I’m not. I like communication, it’s just really dang hard.


If you were a teacher and had a student with a stuttering problem, would you exempt them from certain things or would you just let them go on as normal and figure it out as they go?

If I was a teacher who had a student who was a person who stutters - not a stuttering problem I don’t like that saying - I would after class, depending on what age and what grade, I would ask them what they needed. What accommodations could I give them. But also, I would want to know that I would treat them like everyone else. Whatever they needed and what we could agree on I would make happen.


How did you meet Katie Shakes and how did the conversation come up about coming into the gym?

I met Shakes through her mom. I've known her mom for years because we go to the same parish. But I didn't meet Katie until we went to Nashville together last summer. I remember the day we arrived there and Shirley told me that Katie was going to the gym to workout. "She does Crossfit," she said, and Katie followed with "have you heard of it before?" I heard a little bit about it but I couldn't tell you anything about it. I just knew very muscular people did it and it was "too hard" and for "the people who want to win medals." I told her about how I played volleyball for 8 years and softball for 2. I made fitness really a part of my life when I got out of high school cause years ago I struggled with an eating disorder and I never wanted to go back to that person I was. I was trying to find a balance for me and food and finding a workout style that FIT me. Everything I would do through fitness groups to regular conditioning for sports we never pushed for conditioning. Conditioning wasn't "the main key" in anything. I wasn't really seeing results. It was like a 3-day thing and I was NEVER taught form / what I was doing wrong. I remember the first day I walked into the gym I expected to see all these buff men with huge muscles and women who had the perfect abs and intimidated me / were who I wanted to be at some point in my life. And I saw moms, kids, teens, people my age, and I thought I walked into the wrong place. Not going to lie, Chris, you intimidated me at first because I felt like I sucked and I was not worthy of coming in. Seeing all these other people who were better than me, I felt like I was going to me that girl once again who was never going to be good enough. I learned SO much in that first day of how much my body has done things totally wrong and I never knew how much Crossfit would change my life.


Who were the first people you felt comfortable with at the gym besides Shakes?

To be honest Mrs. Bennis & Mama V.


What was your most memorable thing from Summer 2018?

Oh goodness, probably going to Nashville


When I use "Summer" with an upper-case 'S', I'm always talking about the Champions Club. So what's your most memorable Champions Club Summer moment from last year.?

Ohhhh whoops! I would say being able to push my body and mind in a whole new way. To push it in a whole new fitness level that I didn’t think I would ever reach. Seeing progress and finding a community that I get to now call home is everything. There’s really no ONE moment, just the experience I will forever be grateful.

What schools did you go to growing up?

I attended Hazel Park High School, HP Junior High School, and Ford Elementary. Now I'm at "good ole" Eastern Michigan University.


Why did you pick Eastern Michigan coming out of high school? Were you homesick during your first year?

I remember going to what felt like 1,000,000 campuses, and nothing felt “homey” and had a catholic community. And I remember I went to EMU’s campus and something about the smallness felt safe and a second home. And HAHA, uhm I probably still would if went. Then the Catholic Church right off campus had a FOCUS Catholic group. So I knew BAM THIS IS IT.


What is something you could talk about forever with someone? Like a secret obsession or something?

My love for Carrie Underwood - big surprise.


Did you pick up on her from American Idol? Or was it a different way?

 Oh you betcha:7 years old and sitting on the floor when the finale was on and I told my mom “I hope she wins, I like her, she’s so good.”


Rank the top 5 Carrie Underwood songs of all time. Rank the worst 3 country songs of all time.


Best: dang I don’t want to be like the classic CU fan who picks all the songs everyone knows. So I’m throwing in some new ones

1. Lessons Learned

2. Before He Cheats

3. Mexico / Choctaw County Affair


5. Cry Pretty



1. Anything Florida Georgia Line

2. And anything Jason Andean

- I’m a huge part of the “play more female artist on the country radio” group because radio stations are stupid and don’t know that it’s not just men who play country music -

Worst CU songs:

Okay okay ready I’ll give you 3

1. Like I’ll Never Love You Again

2 Heartbeat

3. You Won’t Find This

Can you share an embarrassing moment from your childhood that you can look back and laugh at now?

Oh gosh. I showed up to a birthday with my Halloween costume on because I thought it was a Halloween themed birthday party. Let's just say that ended with no candy in my basket or no friends after that.


What costume did you wear? And how old were you when this happened?

Also —- I was 9 and I was a FREAKING PUMPKIN. LEGIT. A PUMPKIN.

Is there anything specific you want to accomplish before you go back to school?

I think I just want to accomplish becoming the best version of myself - which I know sounds cliche - but it has always been a goal of mine. And try to beat the mind battle of “i’ll never be...”


Have you always been a strong religious person, or is that something you've developed recently?

I actually haven’t always been a strong religious person. Even though I grew up in a Catholic family. But, that’s such a long story It would take a book to explain why I am a strong religious person at this point in my life.


Ten years from now I will be...

30 and hopefully still breathing.


Ten plastic surgeries from now Carrie Underwood will be...

I think you're thinking of the wrong person. Don't tempt me!

You Can't See Past My Shades

Sun glasses are used to protect us from the sun. They are a barrier between us and that big bright thing on the other side. They are also a major bummer.

At our core, we are very protective beings, and that is definitely a good thing on the whole. Our instinct to protect ourselves was surely brought on at one point due to saber tooth tigers and whatever other living conditions humans somehow made it out of.

In 2019, however, we are absolutely spoiled! Everyone reading this has safety, stability, and financial luxury (whether we realize it or not.) Yet I am starting to notice more and more how we default to being protective around other people without even thinking about it.

When someone is being vulnerable they do things that seem to put them at a disadvantage; admitting mistakes, sharing unfiltered thoughts, being blunt, trying something new, confronting, and unveiling personal motives all fall into the mix. When someone is being guarded, it naturally goes opposite of the things listed: withholding information, being non-committal, staying in the comfort zone, being politically correct, criticism sandwiching, and being passive. And wearing sun glasses.

When safety is at a genuine risk, we should be protective. On my way to basketball practice on Thursdays I drive 696 West at 6:30 pm. The sun is at nose-level and there are cars whizzing by me at 80 mph. If I owned sun glasses, I'd wear them. When I am talking to someone I have genuine reason/proof of being untrustworthy, you better believe I'm guarded. When it's someone either new or familiar I'm interacting with, I've been trying my best to let my guard down. It started being really uncomfortable but has steadily improved. Recently, it has led to a few really important learning experiences for me.

Lose the sun glasses y'all. Then note the difference in the way people interact with you.

5 Year Anniversary: Katie Shakes

On this day 5 years ago Katie Shakes completed her first session of Fundamentals.

To call this a 5 year anniversary is somewhat misleading because Katie Shakes is a completely different person that when she walked in the doors. Her first Summer was inconsistent and showcased glimpses of strength, but not much happened through that school year. Then that 1,000m run/wallball workout happened in Summer 2015 and I was like HOLY S#%! Shakes! The next workout I had Murley secretly count her reps just to make sure there wasn't some Lindsey counting going on. And since then, the only time she has touched the 12-lb. dumbbells is when she helps clean the gym. Her complete athletic overhaul is something she should be very proud of.

In 2016 Katie Shakes won the Athlete of the Summer award and has been consistently the best female CrossFit athlete in our gym. Shannon's got her on speed. Murley's got her on endurance. Elizabeth's got her on form. Jennifer's got her on intensity. And all four of them combined could not lift Shakes's max effort deadlift. Her combination of strength and endurance is, honestly, ridiculous.

In recent years, Shakes has taken on a bigger role in the gym in terms of community building. She's organized rock climbing, golf field trips, and jazz concerts, set up major decorations for Theme Workouts, and now has built up a good client base of personal softball lessons for the turf. Seeing her grow up in front of our eyes has been a real privilege.

Thank you so much Katie for the time you have given to both myself, personally, and the gym as a whole. You are truly one-of-a-kind, and we are lucky you're on our team! Here's to another 5... 15... 50 years as the lower body of the Champions Club!

Recommended reading:

We Love to Hate the Shakes We Love

Athlete of the Spring 2018

Alexis Anthes Regional Champ!

This morning Barry, Noah, and I made the drive out to Utica Eisenhower to see Alexis play in her Regionals tennis matches. She had a bye the first round, beat the bejeezus out of this poor girl from Lanse Cruise North, then beat Dakota's top girl to advance to the Regional Finals vs. the top-5 girl she lost to in the match I went to see a month ago. Unfortunately at this time I had to bounce out to take care of Coach T and his herd of 8th grade sheep at the 4:30 session. But I made the exception this on this occasion to check my phone as often as possible during the session. At 4:53 I got the text from Alexis:


2 sets

Then her dad sent me this as proof:

She won this one 6-4, 6-3. Great work kiddo! Now on to States!