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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,


Bye Bye Saporito

Today marked the last day here for fan-favorite and AOTS contender David Saporito... well, last day for now, I suppose. Sap is moving back to Eastern Michigan this weekend and will probably continue something resembling CrossFit out there, but I'm sure he'll be back to visit more often than not.

Div has been one of the most enjoyable people to coach in the gym this Summer despite the contant annoyances, like eating all the Fruit Roll-ups or claiming Lil' Wayne is "one of the GOATS". He's made himself right at home after his hiatus and got along well with the likes of Mrs. Kroll, Mrs. Fitz, Shakes, and  Sabal, and picked up right where he left off with the Banets and Ricky.

If you have been in a session with him, the thing that stands out even more than his unique personality is his fitness level, which is currently up there with JZ Winter 2014-15, Erika early-Summer 2015, Jason Summer 2014, and Murley early-Summer 2016 as far as the best we have seen. Sap's ability to go to "that place" on workouts gives him an advantage, and his strength relative to his size and background helps him keep close to the rx'd standard. This kid can just plain go, man. Definitely fun to watch sometimes - especially when he keeps the form tight.

David opted against running Cross Country and track this year so it will most likely be improvised workouts or another CrossFit gym for the ginger. But either way, we definitely hope to see him back here when he's home.

Thank you for a great Summer man. And you are jetting just in time because you'd probably catch a whooping from Mr. Z and Arlene for making everyone do the Filthy Fifty.

Army Workout Recap

Earlier this morning we brought back the Summer 2014 Army Theme Workout with a few twists in the mix. First, we had an even group of 12, so we did teams of 4 instead of 5. As such, we took out the ring dip station in an attempt to keep the rotations even. Next we took out the partner deadlift because Coach T's monster sandbags are not here any more and added a bar swing in place, we subbed a medicine ball run for the double unders, and last but not least, Binno came up big for us and brought some 60-lb. logs from his house we could use for the cleans in conjunction with the tire flips.

After people got the hang of it, it seemed to go pretty smoothly.  The playlist was also very interesting; Binno managed to find an Army Cadence station on Spotify, which sounded exactly like you would imagine. The winning team consisted of Elizabeth, Murley, Saporito, and Ricky. You can see the full results here. And I managed to snap a few pictures that can be seen in the August '17 Daily WODs photo gallery.

Great job to everyone today, good looks to Elizabeth for bugging me over and over to bring this one back, and I think we might have room for one more theme workout between now and Harry Potter. So be on the lookout.

Athlete of the Week: David Saporito

...or "Div" as Mrs. Fitz to elegantly created for him. But yeah, I know we could probably give this award to David every week, but this week, man, he was hitting on all cylinders.

When you say the word "overhead," Sap immediately says, "pissed". It's an instinctive reaction and serves as a protective mechanism for both his shoulders and his pride. Yet, Monday starts things off with a 7 minute workout including overhead squats and (for Sap at least) a brief rest station for more overhead squats. So basically David sis 7 minutes of Overhead squats with an empty 45-lb. bar. The cool thing was, he slowed the movement down, kept his knees back, and did a good job managing his shoulder position to boot. Then things started to play to his favor.

On Tuesday we had strict pull-ups and med-ball cleans - which, again, he showed a great ability to go fast and keep form around 90% good. Then Thursday and Friday really showed the true fitness levels of this former track athlete. Thursday's run, L-pull-up, and hip extension workout was a rough one, indeed. Sap did the full 1200-meters on the run, and managed to hold a pretty solid "L" shape on pull-ups until the final round. Then yesterday he used 50-lb dumbbells on the workout and still finished in a time that made me rethink that he should have gone to 60's (again, with respectable form). This week, Sap did overhead on Monday, overhead on Tuesday, overhead on Thursday, and overhead on Friday and still managed to show improved form and his traditional motor.

Do we have an Athlete of the Summer candidate? Has his attendance been good enough? Who knows, all we know is David Saporito killed this week and he can take this award to Red Oaks and demand a pay raise for his caddie services.


... okay, I'll give in. And on top of all this, his farmer's walks didn't look how they did back in April.

That improvement alone should be good for Athlete of the Week.

Now Live: Champions Club Summer 2017 Graph of Ability (or lack thereof)

If you are new around, we usually do this about every other Summer. The Graph was originally conceived in the Old Weight Room where Brian, myself, Gabe O'Neil, and Scott Gwisdalla were arguing about how much athleticism could override a bad personality, and vis versa. In the Summer 2011 (Fieldhouse), Murley surprised us all and brought in a full graph ready to go. It was repeated in 2013, 2015, and now here in Summer 2017.

It is meant to be read like a normal graph in math class. The X-axis represents one's personality and the Y-axis represents athletic ability.

It is also meant to be in good fun. So when Crawford sees his name down by the bottom-left, he will still get defensive but will laugh because, again, it's just something to cause a little friendly debate. New names for this year's graph include: Ashley Fry, Arlene and Reggie, Avery, David Sap, Kenny, Lindsey Eason, and Mel.


As expected, Sap is pissed...