Site Search

Athlete Search

WOD Search

Photo Search





Monthly Archives
Build a Champion
Additional References

Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2018!

Next Theme Workout: TBA



Entries in div (8)

Campus Improv Workout - Danielle in South America

This morning at mobility, David Saporito let it be known that Danielle is on the trading block based on 1) her being in Coasta Rica and 2) him watching The 72 Most Dangerous Animals in South America special on Netflix. But from the looks of it, Woorden is doing just fine on her school trip.

Before she left, I told her to make it a goal of doing 7 workouts over the course of the 10 days she was there. But the catch was it only counts as a workout if there was no formal exercise - meaning it can't include things like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, or presses. It had to be informal, natural movements like hiking, trail running, moving stuff, swimming, etc. Here's a picture she sent yesterday of her playing soccer with some elementary school kids.

Gyms and fitness centers were invented only once the picture above and other activities like it stopped becoming common in our daily lives - and notice the word daily. Play, even at adulthood, should be an every day thing. If it was, the Champions Club would be out of business.

I think I have said it here on the site before, but if the most athletic thing you do during your day is a deadlift, you did not have a very productive day. We spend so much time in our little bubble of strength and conditioning that we often find it hard to create workouts that don't involve push-ups and air squats. If you cut the grass with a push mower, you worked out. If you laid down some mulch, you did a workout. If you played a game of pickup basketball, you worked out. The more of these little things we can add to our lives, the more effective our gym workouts become; instead of just trying to undo all the sedentarism (is that a word?) throughout the day, we can then actually add to our fitness.

Danielle is a competitive powerlifter, and her job is to focus on very robotic movements. And it turns out she's probably top-20 in the state of Michigan at it. But the picture above gives her a chance to showcase what that formal stuff has done for her. She's in a pistol shape right now. Her foot is not pointed straight forward. Her shin is not vertical. And both of her shoulders are slouched forward. That is perfectly okay for the time being! The more she practices those safe principles in the controlled environment of the gym, the less likely they'll be a problem outside the gym. In the meantime, she gets to work on her coordination, change of direction, reaction, and strategy. In other words, she's developing her athleticism. Controlling the soccer ball coming at her - even against elementary school kids - is way more athletic than anything she's done in CrossFit or Powerlifting. A good balance of both is what we need!

Summer 2018 Preface

We are about one month and counting until the start of the Champions Club Summer 2018. For all the new faces around, this means more sessions, more people, better attendance, College Kids, and the return of our infamous Theme Workouts. The Champions Club Summer usually runs from the second Monday in June until August 31 with one price covering the entire Summer, and this year I am planning on keeping that. Because our gym revolves around the school year and school is complicated, there are a few notes I want to highlight.

Price. It's going to be a little different this year. The Summer price will be $225 per person if paid in full before June 1, and any time after that will be $235 per person. This will help give me a better idea of who is locked in and will make it easier for session timing. Exceptions will be given to new kids (obviously) and families (installments are okay). But if you're a regular right now, or have participated in past Summers, $225 will have to be in some time before June 1, in addition to your May payment.

May price bump not a thing for now. In the past, we've bumped up the May price by 10 bucks or something like that to cover the extra few days in June. Don't worry about that this time around. Save that money to contribute to the Alyssa Jabara Needs Peanuts With Her Meals fund.

Assigned sessions. In the past we've done an assigned session thing where you commit to a session and are held to a roughly 80/20 attendance at that one - meaning we want you at that one about 80 percent of the time with about 20 percent wandering allowance to account for life and convenience. Last two Summers I was more relaxed on that than before because it seemed like the schedules weren't consistent. This Summer I'm going to try and bring that back. Things tend to work better when you're held accountable to showing up for everyone else in the session.

6 pm parents session from Summer 2015 won the mock election for "Best Session" that Summer over the Freaks at 1:30

Session times. Still working on it, but expect, at the very least, 2 morning sessions and 3 afternoon sessions. Probably keeping 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 (Carter emailed me last night and signed up for the 4:30 session completely unprompted, so I understand if you want to avoid that one now), and maybe have a 9 am and 11 am morning. Plus at least one Rookie session, time TBD but usually 10 am. When its finalized, you'll email me the session you want in the most creative way you can think of. We've had some great ones in the past. If you pay in full before June 1, and for some reason find there is no session time good for you, I'll give you a refund.

Theme Workouts. Team workouts in the Summer are moved to Saturday, and about 5 or 6 of the weekends will be host to a Theme Workout. In the past we've done Pirates, Finding Nemo, Lego, and Water Wars. The classics that are repeated every Summer are: Disney, 80's, Shark Week/Hawaiian, and Harry Potter (which technically happens on September 1). The first Theme of the Summer typically happens on the second Saturday and is a new theme. The Banets and Jay were brianstorming the idea of a Spongebob workout, so stay tuned to see if that comes to fruition.

Attendance. We track attendance up until right around when fall sports start in the middle of August. So make sure to tell your work bosses and families that Chris and crew will be hounding you for any missed days. Top attendance people go on the Dream Team, with one of them being named Athlete of the Summer. Somehow the gingerbread boy in the back got it last year.

Final thoughts. It's the Summer, dude. No school, no sports, no bedtime. Just the Champions Club. When you put a lot into it, it's one of the most rewarding things you'll ever go through. I don't know why, it's just different than the rest of the year at the Champions Club. And when it goes right, there's nothing better than a Champions Club Summer. Check back soon for the official invite!

Quote of the Week vol. 240

"Sometimes I think pain is just a lack of understanding."

- J. Cole


"J. Cole is like the Blake Griffin of Hip Hop. He's never truly elite but he's good enough to hold us over until the next elite guy comes out."

- Div

Thanksgiving 2017 Recap


Thanksgiving 6.0 was a chaotic workout for sure. It's not often when The Babies being at a session don't require the most attention, but reigning Athlete of the Summer David Saporito is back for the weekend and holy pants he's like the most hyperactive 5-year old with orange spraypaint in his hair. And of course he instigates everyone else, so Big Kris (his partner) the 3x Banets, Sabal, and even Danielle were thrown into the mix of constant chatter that made giving instructions nearly impossible. But somehow, the workout still happened and it went pretty well. The whiteboard shows some discrepancy with who actually won the workout, but according to the numbers on the board Sabal and Elizabeth finished with the highest score.

Whether or not they were counting by 2's will always be a mystery, but I'm sure David will hold a permanent grudge. We totaled 26 in attendance, which included The Babies making an appearance as a test-run of sorts for the Christmas Workout Spectacular.

When it comes to the holiday/theme workouts, I would gladly put up with some mild chaos in favor of having a great turnout, and this was easily the most people we've ever had at a Thanksgiving workout. Big ups to you all for making the trip this morning, and hope to see you the rest of the weekend.

Thanksgiving 2017 Photo Gallery

Thanksgiving 2017 Workout Results

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.