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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.

New Graduate: Pat (Again)

Reminder: Shark Week/Hawaiian Mashup workout tomorrow at 9 am!

Last night after max effort deadlifts Pat was messing around on the rings and ended up doing two legit ring dips in a row... his first two of his CrossFit career.

Beast Mode: Elizabeth

At the 9 am session today I had the opportunity to do some individual work with the four athletes in attendance: Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Sap, and Mrs. Kroll. We did some tempo stuff before letting them go at their 1 rep max deadlift, and their firm stayed really good. Elizabeth hit a 30-lb. pr with her last lift, topping out at 230 lbs. Check it out:

Hip Hop Quotables vol. 4/New Music: Orientation

I read somewhere that every CrossFit gym, in some way or another, takes on the personality of their coach. That would explain why we have so many hip hop fans in our mix - from Jay, who got all his good music taste from me, to Jacob (Spottiottidopalicious!), to Arlene, to David Sap, to Mel, to Sydni Golfin, to... well... Brian did like B.o.B at one point. But I take no responsibility for his obsession with One Direction. Nor Aaron Sabal's with Radio Disney.

But I digress. Point is, most hiphop fans will agree that there has been a definitel lack of quality music coming from the rap scene in the past 3 yearsor so. Run the Jewels came on pretty hard, Chance the Rapper is cool but he's not really a rapper, I don't like Kendrick but he's not bad either, then obviously Kanye and Lupe hit us hard with TLOP and Tetsuo, respectively. The thing is, all these artists are relatively old. The "best" new artists tend to mumble and say PandaPandaPandaPandaPanda.

The good news is: I think we have a new artist on our hands worthy of a few spins. His name is Mike Jack, and he is from Detroit. In fact, not only is he from Detroit, but he was actually a basketball teammate of mine at Marygrove College. And a few weeks ago, he released his first studio album, Orientation.

Orientation - stream on Soundcloud

Orientation - download on Bandcamp

I know what you're probably thinking: Soundcloud rapper, basement dude, mom's basement, low budget. And I can understand; I don't really listen to up-and-coming rappers unless they are featured somewhere or just by accident. This one you guys will just either have to take my word for, it's worth the download and listen. Mike has improved a ton since his days of freestyling on the bus rides. The beats on this album are really good compared to the budget and equipment available, and while he rushes a little, I think Mike could hold his own bar-for-bar with people who make a lot of money doing the rap thing.

I am also very lucky to also be somewhat involved in the album-making process as well. Over the past year, Mike made his way to the gym in the after-hours to play me rough versions of songs and we would discuss specifics until the early hours of the morning. Plus I got featured on a skit, so bonus!

One of the things I always talked to Mike about whenever be brought new music to me was, "would I ever listen to this without you being present?" Meaning, would I actually play Mike's music considering I could just as easily listen to Eminem, Lupe, Andre, or anyone else in my ginormous rap catalogue. Most of the time, the answer was no; I like his songs/mixtapes, I liked dissecting things, and I liked the freestyles off the top where I threw out words and he would go with it on the fly. But given the choice, I would rather listen to somebody better.

From April 23, 2017. I think we have the video somewhere too...Orientation is different. I had a feeling it might be after the first few rough listens, and now that the final product is finished, I can stand by that. It's not a hip hop classic. It's not going to win an award. And it'snot going to inspire gay/lesbian activist groups to picket in protest, but it is a damn good album! Orientation will be in my Summer rotation with Outkast, Blu & Exile, The Game, and UGK (100-degree weather permitting, of course). Go to the links above and download yourself!

My personal favorites:

1. Daydreamin'

2. Good Morning and Get up

3. Happy Hour

Quote of the Week vol. 201

"True human performance can only be measured by feel. If the numbers are not there, but it's feeling right, you're trending in the right direction. The numbers are going to follow, and you need to tust that."

- Carl Paoli

Theme Workout Announcement: Shark Week/Hawaiian Mashup 2017

In Summer 2010 we had two separate workouts: Shark Week and Hawaiian (which was coincidentally our first ever theme). In 2014 we mashed them into a single theme and the format worked out really well, so we've been rolling with it ever since. And now it's back!

Hawaiian/Shark Week Mashup - Sat. @ 9 am

Here's the 2014 highlights:

Last year we hosted it here at the gym. Not sure if we're staying home or going to the hill yet. You'll have to wait and see!

Coach's Corner: Goobers a Year Later

Last week we had a rough workout in the form of a 27-21-15 rep scheme; to make matters worse many of you did full cleans from the ground. Cleans and dips are always a tough combination and while this one was not nearly as intense as Elizabeth, it still proved to be very fatiguing.

One of the groups I was most impressed with that day was the 11 am session, which featured Summer 2016 rookies Josh Ellsworth, Conor Fitzgerald, Kenny Jensen, and Brendan Crawford. Normally they do cleans from the hang position, but during the technique segment I thought their form looked good enough to do them from the ground. In addition, they all did unassisted dips with a modified number (21-15-9) with the exception of Conor (switched to a skinny band after the first round). Here are some highlights.

You should notice that neither the cleans or the dips are perfect. On the dip, they had trouble keeping tension as they descended down, and on the clean they would sometimes miss Pose 2 and unweight too early. But I also wanted to emphasize position on this workout as well, and both their deadlift and front squat remained in tact. There will always be stuff to tweak but I think this was a good start for the goobers.

Guest Post: A New Hope by, Rachael Kroll

“I’ll see you in three weeks” was the fated line that left me feeling like Luke after finding his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru barbequed by Darth Vadar. Instead of getting to relearn how to walk, it was confirmed that I would not be walking for another THREE weeks. Another three weeks of no driving, no walking, constant crawling/hopping everywhere, and THE LOOKS. Yes, the gaze of the wondering eyes of every stranger whose crosses my path; the unwanted glances thanks to the attention grabbing, attractive stainless steel rods that have become my right hand (or foot). As a consolation prize, I would be able to get my foot wet and no longer have bandages, but, oh, to walk again! That’s would be bliss, a wish fulfilled by Genie, the return of simplicity to my life. I got some exercises to do to start loosening up the joints but to me, after 7 weeks of this crap, I could only focus on the fact that it would be a total of 10 weeks of not being able to walk or be independent. It felt like getting a shit sandwich with a side of a single Oreo cookie, not doubled stuffed.

Not to mention I got very sick just the day before. You know how it just feels like really bad allergies but turns out to be worse? Yep, just my luck. I had the whole sinus thing complete with water slide (in actuality, stomach pains, dizziness, and migraines). It was in this dilapidated state that I got the devastating news. Basically, an absolutely amazing week that couldn’t be topped.

So I got to spend my 4th of July weekend napping on a boat and watching people go on the Jet Ski and run amuck as I wobbled to and fro on my crutches. For two more weeks I hobbled and bobbled to work, to the gym, and back home, quietly (or not so quietly) anticipating the next appointment for hopes of losing the metal sticks that were the force behind my mobility. I daringly would place my foot on the ground and rock back and forth, just for a small smackerel of the honey pot. I felt fine. What did the doctor know, really? I am wwwaaayyy smarter, right? I knew I was ready to walk but toed the line set by the magician with surgical equipment, at least up until 5 days before the appointment.

“Finally, it’s happenin’ to me…” I got the a-okay to lose the crutches, my tormentors for the past 10 WEEKS! Oh, but I still had to wear the bulky hulk boot. Supposedly I could slowly increasing the percentage of body weight I walked on, but since I had already put one hundred percentage on my foot, I did not follow these precautions (let me note my physical therapist said the whole percentage thing was crap anyways but more on him later). I could start physical therapy and begin my recovery. Of course, I make my very first PT appointment for Thursday, two days later. Though I could have found a place closer to home, I had a mischievous scheme: by going to the PT at the doctor’s office, the over-protective cautious Fairy Godmother could check up and approve me for all sorts of goodies before my official appointment three weeks later.

I go to therapy, not really sure what to expect, and I get a foot massage and do some stretches of sorts. I realized how much mobility and ROM I lost [Not to mention Tuesday’s workout of 50s. Wall balls left me feeling in severe pain in one quad, and no fatigue in the other. The most awkward feeling in the world when you had no idea how much muscle in random areas has deteriorated]. So I had to rebuild the atrophied muscles and tendons, while also compensating for loss of bone density due to lack of use. I got very positive vibes from the PT, mostly because he said I was moving really good and would need 4 weeks, NOT 6 weeks of therapy. Hoping the good news would keep flowing, I planned on hitting the WODs at Champions Club almost e’rryday. Unfortunately, I still had not been clear to drive (though I had secretly been driving small distances just to be a rebel), so my ability to hit the gym relied on my mother not having to work or my lazy younger brother being willing to drive me (which is especially difficult due to the fact he does not want to work out and had recently injured his back). To complicate matters further, as Bubs knows, working out with a bulky thing-a-ma-jig limiting mobility SUCKS! I would squat and lean all the way to one side. I was lopsided, since the Bulk-a-thon 3000 added a good 3 inches to one leg. Every movement felt weighted due not only to the boot, but to the addition of sweat that stored itself inside the lining of the boot as if Winter WAS Coming.

I, of course, was not wearing my boot unless walking on weird surfaces,  doing my pt exercises 3-4 times a day instead of the prescribed 2 (which was totally approved by my pt, I swear), and trying to restrain myself from being completely frustrated. I still couldn’t run, jump, lift heavy weights, walk completely normal for more than a mile, drive… you get it by now. It got difficult to see everyone doing so well and being able to be so free and not be aware of it (obviously understandable. We all take things for granted until we lose it). I could take my dog for a mile walk, but couldn’t run or go much further. I walked barefoot to gain my calluses back, but the baby-bottom smoothness of the bottom of my foot left my heel and balls (of my foot) feeling very raw.  I went to Stoney to do the fitness trail, and proceeded to perform a limp-jog in a pathetic manner to the 16th station only to walk the “rest”, ignoring the stations with bees, splintering wood, and burning hot metal. I carried on like a wayward son and was walking better on the rocky downhill trails versus the smooth flat pavement, which I found ironic. Later that day, I got a searing wake-up call when I could not run through the piping hot sand. I had never been more grateful for cold water in all my life.

Now, after a week of physical therapy, I don’t really wear my boot and try to be as active as possible to work back muscle and ROM. I drove to Grand Rapids to get a ride to a bachelorette party in Traverse City and successfully walked 2 miles, biked, and kayaked to my heart’s desire (though I now have a blister on my pinky toe…payback is a bitch). I got to return to my old job so I now work two jobs, trying to get to the box 4-5times a week, study for MTTC tests and prepare for the next semester (which has brought a financial strain that I has not stressed me out in the past. It is as if there is all this pressure to do really well and people are counting on me but I just feel like being a kid and not following Dumbledore’s [I mean, wise adults] orders/advice).

I have a gnarly scar that I am trying to assassinate, along with some swelling that is still noticeable to me (probably from not wearing the boot but what mamma don’t know don’t hurt). I am hoping to be fully independent by next week. With two weeks left of pt, there are still concerns in my head: Will I get full rom back? Will I regain my lost muscle mass? Will my foot look normal? Will I walk normal, pigeon toed, or some other concoction? How soon ‘till I can run and jump without a second thought? How normal is normal, considering my track record? This is the first time I have ever wanted summer to end. I just want things to be back to how they were before, where I could go for a jog with my dog, relish the days with max effort WODs, and (pathetically) go up and down stairs without a sideways lunge type thingy. But everything works out, right? So that this process can be repeated 365 days later? It’s totally worth it…I think. At least I won’t have one old lady foot and one Frankenstein foot once this whole ordeal is finished. I wish this could all end like Mortal Kombat, with a sick “FINISH HIM” move as the half-dead opponent (my lovely genetic bunions) swagger to their doom.