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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.

Announcing the Champions Club Arm Wraastling Tournament

When Christophus Binnonovich III returns to the gym, challenges start flying out left and right - usually in favor of things he is good at. This time, however, I think he has bitten off more than he can chew. We are proud to announce the first ever Champions Club Arm Wraastling Tournament. This will take take place over the course of multiple days and will be spontaneous depending on which athletes are at which session.

The seedings, you ask? Binno laid them out last night.

It has also been determined that Big Kris and Mel can Skype in their attempts; how that will be executed is unsure at the time. Be on the lookout for an official bracket on the whiteboard soon...

New Champions Club Monthly Price Format

Hey folks,

The Notorious B.I.G. definitely has spit some questionable lyrics during his brief, brilliant career, but he has one in a posthumous track called Ten Crack Commandments (which is sampled on Mike Jack's song Sh*tUHated, by the way) that constantly runs through my head:

"7: This rule is so underrated, keep your family and business completely separated / Money and blood don't mix..."

I would quote the rest of it, but... yeah... Biggie is Biggie, I suppose.

The reason this goes through my head is I violate this rule every time I open up the doors for the Champions Club. I wrote about it before in Family Business: this about as close to family as any of us can get without being blood relatives. As such, bringing up the topic of money has never been something I actively look forward to.

Since last October I have been talking to a few other CrossFit gym owners in the area - most notably Jeremy and Vince from CrossFit Reviver. They are great people and have helped me more than any of you can really imagine. I needed to get the business side of the Champions Club more organized to ensure we are going to be around for a long time; long enough to train you, your kids, and your kids' kids until infinity. To do this, I really needed to tighten up how I accept payments. We started this in November unofficially with a few test subjects and all New Kids who came in, hoping to gradually transition everyone into this format by September of this year. The timing seems right now and I think it's best to put it out in the open.

Let's break the news: the standard prices are NOT getting raised (in fact, they might be lowered for some of you). The main thing that is going to be different is the length of committment is now formalized instead of assumed, and we are no longer doing the "this month I'm in and this month I'm out" thing (with the exception of college kids back for a weekend or Christmas/spring break). Here's the breakdown:

A full description can be found on the Schedule/Fees page, but the layout is pretty simple to me: commit for 9 months (September - May) and the price stays the same. Commit for 3 months at a time and the price goes up a little. Summer will always be the Summer unless something drastic and unforseen happens.

In essence, the thing we are trying to avoid is the classic, "well, I only showed up 4 times so far this month, so can I just pay for the sessions I attended?" That is like eating half of the steak you ordered then asking for half-price on the meal because you didn't finish it. And again, this is on me for not having a system in place to set the stadard for that. To clean that up, most of your payments are going to be set up through PayPal; I will email you a link, you hook your card up, and it will automatically withdraw your designated amount every month on that date. For example: if you pay for the the student 9-month option on September 3rd at 4:29 pm, your card will be charged $110 the third of every month at 4:29 pm until June. Same goes for the other packages. The tricky part is we have a lot of families here, so those will still be settled on a case-by-case basis depending on how many family members and how many sports the kid(s) are playing.

Like I said, this is not my favorite part of owning the Champions Club. In fact, October through now(ish) have been the least enjoyable months in my brief career by far because most of my focus has been on the "business" side of things. But I know once this thing gets squared away, I can get back to the stuff that I care about the most: nerding out about movement, recruiting athletes, writing great articles for this site, and day-to-day coaching of sessions. I am hoping that starts in September.

I am so thankful for your patience with me. I was told I was the youngest sole owner of any affiliate in CrossFit when I applied for affiliation in 2011 and you know I'm the type that has to make a lot of mistakes before I finally find a right way. Since I didn't have a passion for the business side of this, that part has definitely come along slower than the coaching side, as I am constantly trying to toe the line of not being a black-and-white business robot but still having some kind of organization. Now, thanks to people like Jeremy and Vince, Mr. Carey, Mr. Z, and Shannon always being there to bounce ideas off, I think this model is pretty close to being 1) fair 2) sustainable for me and 3) sustainable in the long term for you guys. If you guys have any questions, please ask me in person.

If I had to guess, I would think there will be one more adjustment coming about 3-5 years from now that has to do with more long-term membership option (aka, 3-5 year committment) but until then, this is where we are at. As Carl Paoli said, the transition positions are always the most difficult in movements. So is the same in this case. The transition from the way we used to do it to this might take some time getting used to. But by this time next year, it'll be fine and you guys will still be on that constant trajectory of improvement you have been making since the first day you joined.

In the meantime, we got one month of Summer 2017 left; let's finish strong!



One Year Anniversary: Mrs. Fitz

On this day one year ago Mrs. Fitz completed her first day of Fundamentals with me.

Mrs. Fitz is another one of those athletes who I had a good feeling about right off the rip when it comes to fitting in with the Champions Club. And the cool thing was she came in with a pretty good athletic base; she played multiple sports in high school and still tried to keep active. She dropped Conor off for the 80's Workout and I went to introduce myself to her. After some small talk, she asked me if I had a session for adults, so I invited her to the parents version of the 80's workout the next day. It was her and I partnered up going against Mr. Z and Reggie. Somehow after that odd workout in muggy late-July, she decided this was for her.

Over the course of the last year Mrs. Fitz had wowed her fellow parents with her workout performances - whether it's max effort deadlifts, a long running workout with rope climbs, or a quick, intense 7-minutes of burpees. And she had plenty of graduations to go along with her workouts...

She can even do a hollow rock with Katie Shakes balancing on her hands - which I'm not sure is more impressive for her or Shakes.

As with everyone in the gym who stays around a decent amount of time, it's never just about the workouts, and Mrs. Fitz is no exception. From very early on everyone could tell she would be a good fit in our community. She can talk trash to David Sap in one breath then talk about mom stuff to Mrs. Kroll and Mama V in the next, and has a very healthy rivalry with Conor. She even brought in Mr. Fitz, who should be back any time now. Mrs. Fitz might be the Mr. Z of the mom's crew, only with even worse shoulder range of motion. Although, she can kick up to a handstand now on a mostly-regular basis.

True, this one is a keeper, kids. Congradulations to Mrs. Fitz on your one-year anniversary, and I think I can speak for everyone else in saying I hope there are many more to come.

Goon and Goblin Resurgence 7/31

This one is from Jacob the Goon, and it is a two-parter:

1. What is your favorite brand of chocolate milk?

2. What is your favorite rivalry to watch that your team is not a part of?

Sunday Reading: Cholesterol, Calorie, and Muscle Roles

This article was posted on the CrossFit main site on their rest day and has some interesting insight into the role of cholesterol and heart disease, as well as the ongoing debate about calories (which, to my understanding, is not really a debate any more).

Shifting the focus away from quantitative and toward qualitative food distinctions (i.e. that the diseases of metabolic syndrome are due to food-induced changes in physiology; for example, neurohormonal and mitochondrial metabolic pathways) is required to see chronic disease abatement. This cannot be accomplished through arithmetic caloric restriction (i.e. calorie counting). Calorie balance sheets — targeting ‘calories in’ and/or ‘calories out’ — reinforce the message of overeating and inactivity as the underlying causes, rather than the resultant effects, of this aberrant physiology

Instead, "insulin resistance" is stated to be the primary factor in many of the disease you are afraid to get - which is something the CrossFit community has been preaching for years. Pay attention to the quality of your food, and try to balance out the foods that cause your body to release insulin (carbohydrate) and those that don't (protein, fat).

Waffles: great for the Christmas Workout Spectacular, maybe not so great on a regular basis in terms of insulin resistance


Another good read this week came from the Pose Method site called Theory and Practice: Athlete's Muscles. I am learning that the role of muscles has long been misunderstood and over-emphasized by the athletic and physical therapy communities. Muscles play a supporting role in movement, and they can help prepare for a movement, but the emphasis should always be placed on the movement pattern, itself. Not the muscle groups being activated.

Dr. Romanov also brings up a very interesting point that I have been wondering about, myself, for some time now.

Within the context of athletics and training there are things we need and don’t need to know in a sense of practically useful information. It is human nature to want to know. However, just because we’re curious about various layers of muscles, it doesn’t mean we need to know, or that that type of knowing will be practically helpful for performing a specific task. As a matter of fact, certain types of information prevent people from seeing the big picture. It’s ok to amass information, but it is also important to not lose sight of the correct hierarchy of things.

I think the internet is a great thing, obviously because we get to share an unbelievable amount of information. And just about all of the good things I have taught came from the internet in one way or another. The fact that we can progress as quickly as we are is a testament to that.

As Dr. Romanov said, though, knowing is not understanding. There are few things more destructive than someone who thinks they are smart because they read an article or watched a video. Maybe I'm one of them?

Athlete of the Week: Crawford

The Athlete of the Week award this time around goes out to Brendan Crawford.

Crawford has definitely come a long way since his Rookie Session days last Summer, and this week he’s been at about the best I’ve seen him. Fueled by a brewing/entertaining rivalry with Murley (his coach from last Summer) and Mrs. Pip’s constant nutrition guidance, Crawford is put on quite a performance this week. He started off things on Monday by doing handstand push-ups to a wall for the first time in his CrossFit career. On Tuesday he finished a few seconds behind Murley, though he did partial ROM GHD sit-ups with good form.

Hish highlight from this week definitely came on Thursday, where he topped out at an impressive 225-lbs. on his 1 rep max deadlift - which is a pr by almost one hundred pounds! Then yesterday he showed great breath control and posted the top score of the day.

Another important aspect of Crawford that cannot be overlooked is his community involvement here. Besides leaving us with a delicious box of cheesecake goodness at the start of the week, he also brought in a great new addition for our 10 am session.

Keep up the good work Crawford! Finish strong for your senior year!

Shark Week/Hawaiian Workout Recap

For the 4th Summer in a row, we combined two classic theme workouts: Shark Week and Hawaiian. We had a small turnout this morning, and unfortunately is was an odd number, so I was forced into service alongside the uninspiring and unflattering attire of Chris Binno.

I have always thought this was the toughest of all the theme workouts, and the sharking relay is a main culprit. This year we followed the same format as 2016: one minute at each of the 4 stations (we added the push jerk/press to Limbo Lifts) and 2 minutes on the Shark Relay. For the second week in a row, Aaron Sabal came out on the winning team, this time with Conor.

No doubt Conor was counting by two's, but I guess that's what they gotta do to win. The full results can be seen here. We will still be having at least 2 more theme workouts coming for the rest of the Summer. Maybe more. Be on the lookout!