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Entries in david sap (36)

Quote of the Week vol. 223

Me: "Would you have done anything differently in high school, knowing what you know now?"

David: "Yeah, I would have played football in the fall - not cross country - and basketball in the winter, then just ran the 800 for track in the spring. And not worried about trying to run in college."

Me: "But wouldn't you want to be able to say that you're a D1 athlete?"

David: "No, because saying that doesn't matter unless it's football or basketball. Nobody else cares."

There is an editorial in the works about the criteria for playing college sports. Stay tuned.

Spinal Flinch in the Deadlift Setup

The first rule of movement we have to follow - regardless of what movement we are doing - is Midline Stability. A complex meaning of this is related to being able to control your spine in any position or movement. But all you need to know is keeping midline stability simply means your spine does not change. Period. My arms and legs can move all they want, but our spine from head to hips cannot. One of the most challenging movements on the midline is the deadlift. Oddly enough, the area I see this rule violated the most when I coach in other locations(although we are not completely immune to it) is not on the lift, itself, but in the preparation for the lift. The setup.

Back in the Summer when we had a max effort deadlift day, David Sap was ready to hurt an innocent bystander because of how often he was corrected on this fault. Here's a quick clip:

The first thing to understand is this is nitpicking. If I walked into Lamphere or Warren Mott or Detroit Central and saw deadlifts like this, I would be happy. Zero spinal movement is the standard, and this is a tiny bit of spinal movement. This is 1.5 frames to get into the Pose running position, or missing a fat block in your meal. With that being said, zero spinal movement is the standard - both for safety and performance - and that is what we at the Champions Club hold oursleves to.

From a safety perspective, the dangers of spinal movement is obvious. There is a certain range of tolerance, but in general the less movement we get in the spine, the safer we are. And this especially holds true to the lower back (lumbar spine). This is the connector between the lower body and the upper body, and injuries to the lumbar spine effect both ends of the system.

From a strength perspective, a change in spinal position results in a loss of movement control. Our nervous system runs through our spine, and if we kink the hose, the output will be compromised. - which really would manifest itself if David were doing something requiring more athleticism like a clean or a snatch. Losing control of the spine dampens the connection between your feet (where the pushing comes from) and the hands (where a lot of the weight is).

The fix for this is simple, but sometimed difficult to execute. David just needs to keep tension through the entire setup. The good news is this is completely a coordination issue. The bad news is this is completely a coordination issue (especially considering Sap's athleticism placement on The Graph is generously mediocre). He is able to maintain perfect spinal position as he squats down to the bar. But once his attention goes towards finding a good grip, he loses the tension his body created while squatting. In other words, if his mind isn't on his spine, he flinches.

Tension is how we move. By bracing our spine before if becomes loaded with external weight, we are setting our entire body up to create peak tension for our max lifts, which results in more weight lifted and no injuries. The more we do this, the more it becomes a habit and the less we'll have to think about it. Be patient kids, both in your setup and your overall progress.

Beast Mode: 4:30 Session

Last Friday we we had a good turnout at the 4:30 session (including Erika Banet back from OU and Div, who showed up 40 minutes late and still tried to weasel his way into the session). The workout was a burner for sure; we modified the main site version to a 200m run anda 2 minute rest between rounds. We caught the first round on video at the 4:30 session. Check it out.

Saportio, and the Return of an Old Enemy

There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting bested. There is a comedy to it. It's your Spanish teacher blowing your perfect test score because you forgot to include the "con accento" with your e. It's 6'10 Alan Wisniewski walking into a workout with a half hour of L-sits on a 15-inch box. It's Mrs. Pip giving Brian and I awesome, home-made metal plaques as a Christmas gift that said "Championship Club" instead of Champions Club. It's Sean giving you back the Nintendo Wii you left at his house, but taking all the batteries out of the Nunchucks just so you'll have to invite him to play again.

You just gotta laugh, dude.

So every September I make the eager phone call to my man Bob Chapa at Sign-A-Rama a few minutes down the street. He actually offered me a good opportunity to use his space for our CrossFit gym back in 2012 when we first moved here, and again a few years back when they moved from Madison Heights to Troy. Now he knows the deal: when I call that means another Athlete of the Summer banner is ready to go up. So this was done, I was sent the proof...

...and it went into production. The scariest thing about this, of course, if actually putting it up. So on Friday night after our 6:30 session, Jay, Fry, Cory, and Mr. Wonsil all stuck around and watched in laughter at the sight of me creeping up the ladder. Mr. Wonsil stayed clear of spotting on account of me dropping Katie Bromm's sign on him 4 years ago, slicing his forearm in the process. To say me and heights don't get along is like saying Michigan will beat Rutgers this year.

Sap's banner hung proud on Thursday night, Friday for our most populated non-Harry Potter day in September, and Saturday morning for Fry and Shakes to mobilize. Then during Sunday's team workout while the group was mobilizing, I heard Shakes and Shannon laughing about something. Finally, something burst from one of them (I don't remember which one):

"Chris... Sap's name is spelled wrong"




No it can't. It's not possible that I climbed up there, risking my own life, all for a feaux pas. The I and the T are definitely not mixed up. That would be ENRAGING!! And yet, after looking at the sign for a good 20 seconds, I was forced to accept reality: I am a retard.

Wait... maybe this isn't my fault. They sent me a proof, and there was no way I overlooked that. I scrambled through my email vault to find the document pictured above with the dimensions, the colors, and the freaking misspelled Sa-portio sounding like some Italian noodle soup cuisine.

Finding blame is one of the most pointless things one can spend their time on, yet it is also one of the most gratifying feelings we can get. Anyone but ourselves. So of course, I blame Austin Richard.

Who is Austin Richard, you ask? Well, Ryan Richard is Champions Club athlete #1, dating back in the pre-Champions Club 2009 days. Ryan brought his brother, Austin, in during the Summer 2011 at the Fieldhouse and Austin has been the most enjoyable on-and-off Champions Club kid I can remember. In recent years, Austin has proven a major help in filling the Fix-it Felix Jr. void during the months Rye Guy is away at College. Austin welded the dip cage when Big Kris broke it doing a 10-min. squat, he re-tarred (haha, just noticed the wordplay there) the roof, and finished patching some holes last week.

Crawford and Andre were in awe at Austin's lack of fear when it came to standing on a 1" pipe that is not too securely bolted into a wall 15 feet in the air. This was all good until I further inspected what he was using for his patchwork:


Now, you may be new to these parts and not know the tormented history the Champions Club has seen due to this cursed product. But if you are familiar, then all you can do is laugh at the fact that LeakSeal came back to haunt its original buyer, David Sa-portio, almost four years after its initial introduction to the Champions Club.

I quit. Carter gets the gym. Goodbye forever. You can find me in St. Louis rollin on dubs.

DIV: Destination In View

On August 20, 2016 I went to the Warren Mott Alumni Cross Country; our 11 am goobers were all running, as well as Matt Fecht, who was probably using the 5k race as a warmup to his warmup. But when I started walking towards the entrance gate the first thing I noticed was not the goobers, or Fecht’s flying-V upper body, or even Coach Mark’s high socks. What I saw produced a glare that could blind a man. Or at least a small child. 

A 110-lb. pale, shirtless David Saporito - a sight that had been absent for over two years.

Sap first joined the Champions Club in October 2013 during the prime of The Freaks Generation; Jason was Jason, JZ and EP just joined, the Banets, Collin, and Aaron Sexton were coming off their first Summer, the Jabaras were about to join, and our Foley crew of Bubs, the Augustyns, the Kimmels, Connor, Bromm…

…Jesus that was an awesome group!

So David joined right in the middle of that as a high school junior looking to boost his already established running portfolio, and he was our best athlete from the day he finished Fundamentals. He rocked it from November through most of March. Then a little incident happened that was completely on me; combine that with a track season that did not go as well as expected and David made the decision to step away from the Champions Club before Summer 2014. The interesting thing, though, was he emphasized that he wanted to come back after his running career was over. I would need chalk to tally how many times I heard this from departing athletes, but I always held out a sliver of hope for the Gingerbread Man.

Fast forward to last August: I tried my best to avoid any CrossFit-related topic when I saw him. But he brought it up almost immediately:

“Dude… I want to do CrossFit! And not to get better at running, but I just want to do CrossFit!” I played it cool, but this definitely got me thinking about the next Summer. Then I got a text sometime in November:

“I am not running Cross Country for Eastern any more. Do you know of a good CrossFit gym in the Ann Arbor area I can go to?”

And Summer 2017 officially began.


“Summer at the Champions Club is a 3-month long family reunion.” – We Love to Hate the Shakes We Love

Truer words may never have been spoken on this site. And Summer 2017 proved that there is just something about this place that you can’t leave unattended for long periods of time. I'm guessing it's the perfect mixture of nostalgia, guilt, and results. I mean, look at the names that came back:

  • Alan – 3-star prospect who met expectations and is sticking with us this fall
  • Binno – is Binno.
  • Cory – unranked coming into Summer, raised gym GPA, and also committed for the fall
  • Craigen – kinda weird with short shorts, but definitely out-performed 2-star status
  • David Sap – AOTS
  • Jacob – lived up to 5-star ranking. Brought in people. Commented on site. Hot in the face.
  • Jay – luck of the draw brought his job close to the gym. Balding but athleticism makes up for it.
  • Kris – D1 athlete who boosts our credibility and need for air fresheners.
  • Steven Carey – also out-performed 2-star status. Good attendance, excellent Coach Tim impression.

And that doesn’t include people like EP, Meghan Murley, Mike Pond, Mr. Fitz, and the Andersons – who have all hinted about coming back in some way, shape, or form. This place is like a magnet. And thank God for that, because this Summer would have been a rough one without those names above.

Jacob Augustine also deserves special recognition; I know he’s one of like 3 friends I have so I try my best not to be biased, but he had just as big of a hand in this Summer’s success as anyone. What started as a wings-and-grinder conversation in late-April turned into a verbal commitment to 2 days per week – which, in the right Jacob mood, is far better than zero days per week. Before I knew it, Jacob literally doubled-down on his promise and brought a crew of goons with him. A Filthy Fifty here, a mobility session there, and a different name might have been destined for the rafters. Which brings me back to the man of the hour.

Usually the best players on the team aren’t the leaders and team captains; it’s the walk-on, grind-it-out white guys who can yell loud and capture everyone’s attention. This is completely fine; usually the best players on the team are busy being responsible for things only the best players on the team can do. In the same way some people are just naturally the best, other people have a weird ability to get their teammates to do what they want. In rare instances when both characteristics reside in the same person, you hit the jackpot. This is the case with David; he is the main instigator for The Freaks group listed above, and he is by far our fittest athlete. His absence was not truly appreciated until we saw him back this Summer. Elizabeth, Jacqueline, and Erika all finished near the top in attendance, and he also had a way of encouraging people like Mrs. Fitz, Binno, Ricky, Shakes, and Crawford to keep theirs up. And on the workout side of things… well, you probably saw.

  • 25+ rounds on Cindy
  • 15:17 on Filthy Fifty
  • 275-lbs. on a 1 RM Front squat
  • 20 minutes on the running/l-pull-up workout
  • 355 1 RM deadlift with good form
  • Stoopid round totals on the Dallas 5 trilogy

In a setting where I value intensity over just about everything else, this kid’s overall motor on a wide range of workouts is about as good as I’ve seen – right up there with the Ryan Richards and Erika Banets in their prime. It was no surprise that David was also very open to getting his form back on point. The entire process is still ongoing – we couldn’t get rid of the deadlift setup flinch all the way, and same with loading his knees – but he made a ton of progress to the point where I’m fairly confident he should be able to workout on his own with minimal damage before coming back for Christmas.

Usually the best players on the team are also the least coachable. David had something to say about that as well.


I judge the Champions Club based solely on three categories: Coaching, Movement, and Community. It starts with me and whoever else can tolerate me at the time (usually Murley or Shannon) and comes down to what kinds of standards we set both inside the gym and out. Then we look at movement, and it’s really simple: how well can the Champions Club athletes move without being coached? Finally we have community; is the Champions Club a family or not?

Here’s a family test: Jack and JZ were both not on good terms with me when they left this past year. I am stubborn, they are them, and I didn’t budge so they did. It was pretty tense on both sides leading up to it. So did I miss them when they left? Hell freaking yes! Can they be replaced in the gym? Hell freaking no! Who will come in with skintight suites with dickbutt stitched in leather? Who will recite the entire Django KKK scene in perfect cadence? Family members cannot be replaced in any way, shape, or form, even if you don't want their professional service. Just because you don’t need your uncle the plumber to fix your faucet doesn’t mean he’s not your uncle.

Now when we do get people back after a long hiatus the Movement aspect obviously becomes an issue. Steven and Craigen took 5 years off; Crawford was probably just being born last time they were in here. There is zero chance their form will be good right away. Sap got to work out some kinks when he came back during Christmas, but then he had another 4-month break before starting back up in late-April. Luckily he has the combination of being athletic and coachable and his form was more than respectable by the end of the Summer. Here’s the way I look at it: I can live with a decrease in overall movement quality for 3 months if it means we get some old faces back because those very faces make our Community so much better. And should they want to stick it out after Summer, I know their form will gradually improve.

Bottom line: once in the Champions Club, always in the Champions Club. The timing might not be right at this moment, or next week, or even this year. But I have a good feeling most of those who wondered will be back within our walls someday. This Summer was a perfect microcosm of that, and it was led by David Saporito. Trust me on this one, if he came back, anyone can. But just a warning: there is a little grunch who also calls this her family who might attack upon return. It’s the magnet thing.


Pics of the Week + Fall Schedule (Finally)

Okay kids, sorry for the delay. I was contemplating either 8:30 or 9 am for the morning class. But we're going to go with 8:30. So here's what the Champions Club fall schedule looks like:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

8:30 am

4:30 pm

5:30 pm

6:30 pm



5:30 pm



9 am



12 noon (team workout)

1 pm (babies)


Also remember that your Summer payment no longer covers you. Our 3-month and 9-month commits are starting up. So please get the PayPay thing rolling, or ask me if you have any questions.

Two choices for Pic of the Week this time around:

First we got 10 am rookie standout Sophia Dawkins bringing her new baby cat to the 11 am session on Thursday.

And next we got David looking at God-knows-what as him and Jay were posing for the Hufflepuff team after the Harry Potter workout.

Champions Club Summer 2017 Dream Team + Athlete of the Summer

Since around mid-July, the Athlete of the Summer race was down to two athletes in my eyes: Jacob Augustine and David Saporito. Both have shown a great rebound from some time away, both have an incredible domino effect within the community. And, most importantly, both were 5-star prospects on the Summer 2017 Wishlist. Over the last couple days I have been pondering over this decision and it even rode into this morning. I'll be honest, I didn't do a great job on making sure the attendance recording was as accurate as it needed to be, so there might be some days missing for some people. However, I am still at peace with the decision. David Saporito is the Athlete of the Summer.

Sap can just flat out go, man. He has that ability to go to "that place" on workouts like Cindy, Filthy Fifty, and just about anything that involves running. However, the most impressive thing for me was his ability to jump back on track with our form standards. We worked all Summer on the knees-forward fault on everything, and also his setup on deadlifts. David showed very good patience in relearning some of the technique points that were once second-nature to him. Ironically, I thought Jacob was on point with this as well. David and Jacob were both very similar in their dynamics this Summer, and that will be covered more in the Athlete of the Summer Feature Series I write on Sap. Their attendance stories were very similar, with neither showing up to quite as many days as I initially thought once I checked the stats. Jacob missing the Filthy Fifty and the day before played a big part late in the Summer, while Sap's stretch in early July put him in the doghouse for a bit. Over the course of the Summer, I think David had the better consistency, therefore he's going up in the rafters.

I am truly thankful to have you back on board David! As usual we had a good supporting cast for this Summer. Here's the official Dream Team selections (percent attendance in parenthesis):

1. Andre Saffar (83)

2. Katie Shakes (80)

3. Elizabeth Banet (79)

4. Binno (70)

5. Aaron Sabal (65)

6. David Saporito (61)

7. Nicole Murley (59)

8. Erika Banet (58)

9. Brendan Crawford (56)

10. Conor Fitzgerald (55)

How about my man Andre finishing in first place by percentage points! This rookie came in right after the 80's workout and missed only 5 days in the mix. He led the way for a 10 am crew that started off slow, but ended up being a vital addition to the Champions Club Summer. Aside from the Jacob and David race, I was heavily considering Elizabeth and Jacqueline for the honor of Athlete of the Summer as well. Elizabeth, as I wrote about in the Z-axis post, bounced back from her lackluster Summer 2016 and is near her peak physical shape. Jacqueline is, in my opinion, in the best shape I have ever seen her during the last 4+ years. She's doing butterfly pull-ups, running like a normal person, and still has a squat only rivaled in form by Mrs. Carey. Finally, if Conor Fitz didn't spend the first half of the Summer in bed sleeping until 4 pm, he might have been up in the running as well.

The theme of the Summer seemed to be The Reunion, with David, Jacob, Binno, Cory, Steven, Craigen, and Alan all making returns to their old home on Stephenson Hwy. This definitely specid things up for us and while the form was not always great, the community was. I'll take that tradeoff for 3 months out of the year.

Like I said, there are a few spots of attendance I need to double-check, so the final numbers will be posted sometime next week. Overall the attendance was similar to last Summer; lower for our regular crew, but evened out on the weekends thanks to another 5-star prospect (or should I say, many 5 star prospects).

Only one missing from the picture is Drew.

I would be doing a disservice not to include my favorite session at the moment: The Babies. These kids knocked every Saturday out of the park by their rapid improvements and milestones. We had tons of rope climbs, pull-ups, and vaulting pr's set.

Our group totaled 13 kids by the time Summer wrapped up, with Conamora becoming the first person since Katie Bromm to tally a perfect Summer attendance. This crew is so much fun to work with. Be on the lookout for more highlights from them as the fall rolls on.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Summer. This is my favorite time of year for the Champions Club, and you guys did not disappoint. Next year we're going to see if we can be a little more organized with session times/attendance, and we'll see if that gets the attendance numbers back up to around where they were in 2015. It was definitely a late-blooming Summer, so hopefully that means we have a good fall in the works. Either way, till next year...

Thank you,