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Summer signup here.

New Graduate: James Simasko

Country Day freshman James Simasko finished his final Fundamentals session on Saturday by doing a modified version of Fran instead of Helen due to the torrential downpour we were witnessing at the time of the session.

James really made some great strides in his body control and coordination over the course of our Fundamentals sessions. His squat and midline stability improved a lot, and he even managed to get the rhythm for 12 kipping pull-ups in a row with a skinny green band.

The most difficult part about his Fundamentals was actually getting him in the gym. He lives in St. Clair Shores, goes to school in Beverly Hills, and spends a lot of time making sure his homework is on point. But the school year is winding down and I have high hopes that James will be able to make it to the gym consistently. If that can happen, I think we're going to see the biggest athletic transformation at the Champions Club since Carter the Blob turned into a more opaque solid in 2015-2016 (which he has since reverted, but that's a different story). I'm also looking forward to seeing his grandpa dropping him off and getting to hear those cool Tennessee stories.

Either way, welcome to the Champions Club James!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: Joe Wonsil

Schedule Adjustment for the Morning Session

Starting tomorrow (May 14), the morning session will be moved to 9 am instead of 8:30.

As of now, there will not be a regular morning session on Wednesday but I may open it up upon request for those who can't get to the afternoon time slot.

Champions Club Summer 2018 Official Signup

It's time kids! We're announcing earlier than usual this year in hopes to have things more organized (ha!) and give me a better sense of what numbers we're looking at. Some new things are detailed in this post, like assigned sessions, money stuff, a new parents team workout session, and our first-ever attendance competition. But the essentials are all set and the Champions Club Summer 2018 has the green light.


June 11 - August 31


$225 if paid before June 1, $235 if paid after. Exceptions will be made to families where parents are paying for everyone.

Session times

9 am

10 am (rookies)

11 am

4:30 pm

5:30 pm (parents primary session)

6:30 pm

How to sign up?

Email me at the session time you're committing to and bring in some form of money the next time you're at a session. Checks made to Champions Club Inc., cash, or Pay Pal are all cool. Chinese money (JAY!!) is not.

There are a few notable changes this time around.

Ten extra dollars, you say? Not really. Only applicable if paid after June 1. Last few Summers I didn't have a good sense of who exactly was in and who was out, plus I had to chase down some payments at the last minute. This is going to help me with session assignments (see next point), team workout times, and figuring out the coaching situation. As I mentioned before, there are exceptions. I don't expect Reggie, for example, to fork over 900 bucks (assuming James comes back) plus his regular May fee all before June, so we'll work out a payment plan there. Also if a high school or college kid is paying for themselves and doesn't have the money to front up right away, we can do a payment plan. But either way there will be some up front payment required. Be cool about it, please!

Assigned sessions. We are bringing back assigned sessions. Last two Summers were all over the place, and I think this will work better. Here's how it works: You pick a session time that works for you and other like-minded people and email me which one you choose. Then we try to stay on an 80/20 consistency with that one, meaning 80 percent of the time you hit that session even when it's a slight inconvenience, and 20 percent of the time you can give me a heads up if you need to wander. Again, certain exceptions with work or families will be made.

Let's say Coach Casey signs up for the 5:30 pm session with the rest of the parents and gets off work earlier than usual one day. The 4:30 session might have Shakes, Shannon, Murley, Jacob, and Craigen or something, and I'd want him to wait until the 5:30 to work out. Now if Coach has been good on attendance and finds out he's travelling on Friday for work, he can give me a heads up and come to a 9 am session before his flight leaves.

Having this kind of structure produces a better product both from me and you guys. A 30-minute inconvenience is a worthy tradeoff.

No-Pride Sundays Wednesdays for the Parents. The most anticipated addition to the Summer will be the return of the parents-only workout. Instead of doing it on the weekend, it will be held on Wednesdays at 6:30, right after the mobility session. I'm hoping we can catch better attendance and avoid the weekend travel conflicts we've had in the past. Parents are, of course, welcome to come to the mobility session before the team workout as well.

First theme workout is... Not sure yet, but it might be Spongebob. Either way, the kids team workout will still be on Saturdays. Time is TBD, but probably 10 or 11 am.

I thoroughly enjoy pitting you people against each other. To raise the stakes this year, everyone will be entered into an attendance contest. Basically you will be paired up with someone whom we deem as similar in expectations and whoever finishes with a better attendance percentage gets a prize. There's a few ideas in mind, and I'll finalize this before the Summer starts.

That wedding thing. Some kind of marriage is happening on June 16 involving two people from the gym. There will probably be some reduction of sessions around that time, but you can be assured the gym will still be open every day in some manner. Those days might not be counted against attendance. Not sure yet.

Possibility of two rookie photos on the loft? We've had anywhere from 9-19 kids at our Sunday middle school session. I would prefer to move away from the twice per meek option and have sessions for them every day. If the numbers look good, I'd definitely like to make another Rookie session time slot in the afternoon. Maybe 3:30 pm or 7:30 pm? Let me know!

And don't forget about the Babies who aren't really Babies any more. On a similar note, we've had anywhere from 7-17 kids at our Babies session on Sundays. I'm going to keep them at 1 day per week, but might change the day if they need to. The 1 pm slot is still open. Price for that group will be $75.

Refunds. All payments are refundable before the start of the Summer. If you sign up for a session, then we take that session away or change it, or you don't want to work out next to Mrs. Carey (understandable), then you'll get your money back. Once we get rolling there are no refunds. The more you show up, the more you get out of the money paid. You have the potential to average paying $2.74 per session. Or you have the potential of paying $225 per session, which would be a very expensive session, indeed.

Summer at the Champions Club is awesome! With fewer distractions and obligations we've seen kids and parents really shine during these months. This is always my favorite time of year at the gym, and I have a feeling this time around is going to be another good one. We've had an influx of New Kids on the Block during the spring months, roaring Babies and Middle School sessions, and a steady stream of college kids coming back around. Remember, your attendance has a bigger effect than just your own fitness; you (yes, even you) being at the gym helps everyone else at that session. You are another athlete to compete against and complain with. You are a major point of support, without even knowing it, just by being there.

If you make the committment for the next 3 months to carve out one hour of your day to help yourself and the people around you, it is going to have an impact beyond expectations. This is where a parents form like Voltron and collectively combat adulthood. This is where a Rookie Class gets their picture on the loft and become household Champions Club names like Banet, Bromm, Crawford, and Carey. This is where Theme Workouts return. This is where The Freaks became The Freaks. This is where Shannon pr'd on Helen twice in a single day. This is where Kris Campbell climbed up the rope.

Dude... Kris freaking Campbell climbed up the rope!

Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2018 kids. There is truly nothing else like it. I hope to see you on board.

One Year Anniversary Slid Under the Radar

On May 8th of 2017, we had a New Kid join Fundamentals that would prove to be - as much as I hate to admit it - a very important addition to the Champions Club and an athlete who makes herself at home with any crowd at any session. Her name is Lindsey Eason.

Day 2 of FundamentalsLindsey is someone I've known from a distance for quite a long time; while Jesse, Jay, Jacob, and I would be locked in an intense season of Mario Baseball or an awful game of 21 in the driveway (some day I'll do an editorial that will capture the pure displeasure of watching a Jay-vs.-Jacob 1-on-1 game), Lindsey would be at the Junkin house hanging out with Josie and Kasey. Oddly enough, I always had the assumption that she was the odd duck. The only time Jesse talked to her was to remind her that she was talking, and that it needed to stop abruptly. Jay, of course, didn't talk then, either, but if he did I get the gist he would have said something similar. So when he told me that Lindsey wanted to try out CrossFit, I had the feeling it would be a one-and-done. I am glad to be wrong about that one.

In her New Graduate post I compared her to Katie Shakes with Jennifer's laugh. I think this is pretty accurate. Lindsey is strong, dude, and even though she'll try to tell us different we can't be fooled. However, she's also taken very well to our community. In fact, last Summer she spent time recovering from her ear/hearing surgery by hanging out at the gym and towling off the pull-up bar during the workouts so people wouldn't slip, or gathering weights and clamps for everyone. Without being asked. I don't care how much Taylor Swift and Broadway music she tries to play, it will be worth it to keep hr around.

Congratulations on your anniversary Lindsey! I know I can speak for a lot of other people in the gym in saying that I hope there's many more to come!

Dumb CrossFit Propaganda from Glassman

In this episode of Dumb CrossFit Propaganda from Coach Glassman, he has the audacity to say that CrossFit is more than just the Games or sub 3-minute Frans, but the bigger picture is showing that it's saving lives, keeping people out of the hospital and doctor's office, exposing corruption, and helping develop a permanent healthy lifestyle by employing a few very simple rules:

1. Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, then perform constantly varied functional movement at a high intensity.

2. Focus on doing this for one person at a time as best as humanly possible.

3. Keep the parties with conflicted interests out of the health space

And he swears too. What a jerk!

Coach's Corner: Squatting in the Push Press

Understanding the difference between "a squat" and "squatting" is very important when determining best technique for a movement. A squat is a formal, made-up thing that people practice to get stronger or reclaim function. Squatting is the universal movement pattern of bringing the hips lower to the ground and is present is everything that involves the lower body.

Push presses have squats in them, even though they are not "thrusters," and we used the max effort workout yesterday to emphasize them. We made sure to start the movement with hips back, and arches up, and really focussed on keeping the arches in tact on the way up. Here's what our morning session looked like on their final sets.

At our 6:30 session, Jay was really feeling it and topped out at 195 lbs for his set of three. He started the same way everyone else did: really light weight, a few pump fakes, and slow on the way up for as long as he could.

As the weight got heavier we started to see slight deviations, but the loading and arches still looked good. After his set of 195 he did an attempt at 200 lbs. for 3 reps. Here's how it looked.

This is the epitome of a "slight deviation" - knees coming forward a bit, midline just a little arched, but not too far gone from his lighter sets with literally perfect form. The push press challenges this squat pattern because the torso is upright and we are moving fast. If we can see the same squat mechanics in a push press as we have in a back squat then we'll be able to make it translate. If you can't then you're zoomed in too far.

State of the Website: May 2018

So as you can tell, I haven't been great at effectively and accurately updating the website for the past year or so. There's definitely lots of typos on the main page, small recording errors on Build a Champion, and the Athlete Profiles and Exercise and Demos is still working to be updated. Before I throw myself back into the website mode for the Summer, I'd like some input on a few things. It would help me a lot if you could answer the following questions:

  1. How often do you check the main page?
  2. How often do you check the workout page?
  3. How often do you check the photos page?
  4. Is there any method you use to automatically notify you when there is a new post?
  5. What are your favorite types of main page posts

There's always one of two audiences I have in mind when posting: new people and Champions Club people. Sometimes I mix in both, but you can imagine the New Kid, New Graduate, and Beast Mode posts tend to lean towards the new people audience because most people share those posts in some way. The editorials, coach's corner, and general info stuff are generally directed at the Champions Club people, although some oursiders will check them as well. I try to balance them out as best as possible, while giving the slight nod to people who are showing up at the gym consistently. Usually my priorities with coaching follow the hierarchy of: Champions Club regulars > potential New Kids on the Block > Champions Club part-timers > outside stuff. The website tends to follow in that order, or at least I think it does, with the inclusion of people like Jacob, Mel, and Sabal on the "regulars" list due to how often they comment.

I really want to cut down on computer time so I can coach more, but I definitely want to keep the site going strong with the frequency of posts we have going now (or maybe a little better for the Summer). Any input you guys have will help keep things on track!