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Entries in handsome gentlemen (34)

Summer 2017 Wishlist

The Champions Club Summer 2017 official sign-up is not quite ready, seeing as we are waiting on a few last-minute decisions. We did a wishlist in 2015 based on who I thought would fit well into sessions. This time around the wishlist will be different. Seeing as this might be the Summer of the Great Returns, I did a recruiting board. The star rankings are not based on ability, but based on what I would expect their attendance/community contribution to be like if they signed up.

Important: this is only done for people who were not in the Champions Club last summer. I think it would be kinda weird if we did it for new people. And a post involving everyone we have would take a lot longer than I would care to spend on a post. So read this like you would a Rivals board: you have the players on your team already, and you are looking for additions. Enjoy!

Jacob Augustine

5-star prospect

A big burly boy with sweat glands stemming from every possible inch of surface area of his body, Jacob has been rumored to make his return to the Champions Club this Summer in hopes to round out his overall fitness and learn some techniques to help his coaching over the fence. Boom or bust type prospect with a history of both booming and busting. And sweating.

Pros: Great community contribution. Unrivaled in recruiting persuasion.

Cons: I'm going to have to buy more 45-lb. bumper plates and Lysol whipes.

David Saporito

5-star prospect

After deciding he'd had enough of not being allowed to run the open 800m, Sap decided his time on the Eastern Michigan track/CC team was done, and he is looking to get back in "CrossFit shape." Despite being a runner, he's always had good strength and coordination that has helped him excel in the gym. Now that he is back home for the Summer, he is considering making his return to the place where his CrossFit career started in the fall of 2013.

Pros: Community involvement/recruiting persuation rivals Jacob. Shows up all the time. Kind of funny.

Cons: Physical liability from training with track people the past few years. Might not have a soul.

The Babies (collective unit)

5-star prospects

With the help of patient families like the Bodways and Asmars, and Matt Fecht's basketball camp, the Babies group has been a critical addition to the Champions Club since February. They are rabidly energetic and are very consistent in their attendance every Sunday. They currently include Simone, Sydni, Jacqueline, Drew, Conamora, Zeena, Ender, Lily, and Kyle/Haley (not pictured). While we technically had Babies sessions the past two years, it was nothing like what this Summer's might turn out to be.

Pros: The future of the Champions Club is looking at us.

Cons: Requires anywhere from 3-4 coaches at a session for safety. Potty-training might be an issue.

Elizabeth Banet

4-star prospect

Since school has been out, Biff has been steadily returning to her usual form. While taking last Summer off... wait... she was here last Summer? My bad. On to the next one then.

Pros: n/a

Cons: n/a

Mrs. Kroll

4-star prospect

With her son, Robert on the verge of getting his driver's license, there is a chance Mrs. Kroll might be able to make time out of her probably-busier-than-it-should-be schedule to make a committment to the Champions Club Summer. She's been in the Champions Club consistently since 2015 for 9 months out of every year, but has yet to put together a consistent Summer. Will this be the first?

Pros: Unconditional loyalty. 100% buy in. Easy pickins to make fun of. Everything you love about our moms!

Cons: Extra explaining is required. One of the bathrooms will always be occupied.

Mr. Fitz

4-star prospect

Despite aches and pains that have been naging at him since a youth, Mr. Fitz has tried to work around whatever was feeling sore on that particular day. In April, he had to make the call to walk away from CrossFit for good. Or, at least, he said it was for good. But after some mobility sessions, rest, and a general life without Mr. Z, Reggie, and teasing Mrs. Fitz in public, Mr. Fitz has given some hints about making a comeback for the Summer.

Pros: Very coordinated. Strong upper body. Dresses in kilts. Makes fun of Conor and Mrs. Fitz.

Cons: Walking on eggshells with injuries, etc. Might also be Jigsaw from the horror movies.

Sydni Golfin

4-star prospect

The amazin' Asian. Blazin' Blasian. Champions Club OG and teenage psychiatrist to Bubs and Murley. Heartthrob of at least one handsome lad in the gym. At least. Sydni was about as involved in the Champions Club as one could possibly be during the Fieldhouse/New Old Weight room days. That also led through to our first Summer in here. Then school got in the way, as well as back poison. We have not seen her for a full Summer since 2013, but I am holding out hope that things might change.

Pros: It's Sydni!

Cons: She kinda told me no already.

Erica Gibbons (formerly Krueger, but pronounced Kreeger)

4-star prospect

Erica technically joined last Summer as part of a Henkel thing that didn't really pan out. So for the records, 2017 would be her first official Summer with the Champions Club crew. Over the course ofthe last few months, Erica has made herself at home with Kroll, Crystal, Mama V, and the rest of the 4:30/5 pm crew. And quietly, she has become one of our best movers. Pistols, handstand push-ups, squats, Olympic lifts, and now even kipping pull-ups. If she commits, and her job across the street stays the same, watch out for this one to be on the Summer dream team.

Pros: Great technique. Starting to break out of her shy phase. Checks the website sometimes.

Cons: Lives an hour away. Refuses to get asthma checked.

Alan Wisniewski

3-star Prospect

Alan spent some time with us during the Summer 2012 before heading of to Penn State to play basketball. He meshed very well with Jacob, Morrow, and the handsome crew. Alan was on the Groves coaching staff the past two years and I got a chance to know him decently well. Very cool dude who is looking to be a mid-level contributor at the Champions Club this Summer.

Pros: Very personable. Impeccable social skills for any audience. Basketball player. Surprisingly funny.

Cons: Will require special modifications for hip extensions, GHD sit-ups, and all max effort days. Also kinda soft.

Kris Campbell

3-star prospect

Kris signed up for Fundamentals in the spring of 2014, and yet has never participated in one single legendary Champions Club Summer. Rumor has it things will be different this time around, but we will see for sure come June 12.

Pros: Legit D-1 lineman. Great community involvement. Solid dance moves for a big man.

Cons: Tends to beat me in wraastling. It hurts. Also leaves for Air Force at the end of July.

Mrs. Fitz

3-star Prospect

Mrs. Carey aside, Mrs. Fitz might be our most consistent mommy counting this school year. She joined at the tail end of last Summer, but, assuming she signs up, this will be her first full Summer with the Champions Club. She helped bring in the Mr., and has been progressing very nicely as an athlete over the past few months.

Pros: Great attitude. Good blend of strength and endurancre. Very gullible. Shows up a lot.

Cons: Spells her name wrong on the whiteboard.

Alex Faust

3-star prospect

Another rumored recruit from 5-star Jacob's outreach. Faust came in as part of the Northwood invasion in the epic Summer 2013. After a stint in Kansas City for work, Faust settled back in to the metro Detroit area and made his Champions Club return in the Summer 2015, and eventually won himself the Athlete of the Fall later that year. He's went AWOL shortly after. Will he make a return this year? I certainly hope so.

Pros: I mean, look at the picture.

Cons: I mean, loos at the picture.

Lindsey/Kasey Eason (package deal)

3-star prospects

Kasey first joined the Champions Club for the Summer 2015 (widely considered our best Summer to date). She never quite had the attendance her cousin, Jay, displayed, but she still fit in very well and made guest appearances throughout the year. She took last Summer off for reasons unknown, but came back this spring and brought her sister, Lindsey with her. This combination should prove to be a good showing this Summer, assuming they sign up.

Pros: Combo deal to hold each other accountable. Related to Jay Junkin.

Cons: Complain about push-ups and other shoulder movements. Related to Jesse Junkin.

Matt Morrow

3-star prospect

Matt Morrow is the first person in the history of the world to officially sign up for a Champions Club Summer. It was back in the Old Weight Room. 2010, to be percise. He's been a fabled member of the Handsome Gentlemen's Club, inventor of the elbow muscle-up, and has since gone off on his own to focus on Olympic Lifting. Can Jacob pull a turn-around for this one?

Pros: Very handsome. Polite. Funny. Strong. Thick. Solid. Tight.

Cons: Kinda soft, like Alan. Maybe too handsome.

Kyle Anderson/Mike Morrow (Combo Meal)

3-star prospects

These two young guns made their home in the Champions Club during the Summer 2015 as rookies who led the way to our best Summer in the books. Kyle Graduated from Michigan State this spring and already made a guest appearance on a mobility day. Mike hangs out with Jacob sometimes, and therefore is bound to get roped in here at some point. Will either stick?

Pros: The two formed a great duo of movie-talking/NBA debating/good-form loving college males.

Cons: Kyle sweats more than Jacob I think. Mike panics while doing cleans.

Avery Maslowski

3-star prospect

If Renee Shelton was a little less Renee Shelton, she would be Avery Maslowski. Just a freshman, Avery came over to the Champions Club in the late fall as part of Shannon's Cross Country group. We've already seen big improvement in coordination and strength, and she's brought her younger brother, Drew, in for the Babies session.

Pros: Lots of potential to be a legit high school athlete.

Cons: Not really sure there are any. Ride issues maybe? But probably not.

Craigen Oster

2-star prospect

Unlike his handsome counterparts, Craigen has yet to put a Champions Club Summer under his belt. I mean, he did technically sign up for Summer 2012, but his attendance was not where I was expecting. However, he seems eager to get back at it this time around, and he's always been a very easy kid to coach. So I have a feeling this college kid might out-play his ranking.

Pros: Barefeet bandit. Likes Hip Hop. Younger siblings. Good community fit. Coaches outside here.

Cons: Might still have blisters from that fateful track practice in 2013. Sorry bossman!

Steve Carey

2-star prospect

This news came to me earlier in the month from the mother of the household, but assuming a work schedule can be situated, Champions Club OG (Summer 2010 origins) Steven Carey might be looking to make a return. Last I remember from him, he was a Carey - coordinated, strongish, dreadful upper-body pushing ability, and a good community person.

Pros: A Carey. Plus has ties with OGs like Sydni, Ryan, and maybe even Gabe or Landrith.

Cons: Might have long hair now. Please don't have long hair.

Erica Potter

2-star prospect

EP came to us for Fundamentals at the end of the Summer 2013 and has been with us for a few Summers already. Taking last one off due to work schedules, she came and talked to me earlier this year about the possibility of a return for 2017.

Pros: Great chemistry with The Freaks. Good work ethic.

Cons: Inconsistent attendance. Sometimes falls over things, a la Matt Fecht.

Emmanuel Myles

2-star prospect

Emmanuel has been up and down in the Champions Club since he joined in the winter. He's very athletic and has an incredibly high cieling as a runner if his training catches up to his body.

Pros: Might be best athlete along with Sap/Aaron Sexton. Teaches dance moves to Mrs. Carey.

Cons: Working at Wendy's has not helped his diet, or attendance.

Mrs. Owusu

2-star prospect

Despite having a low-star rating, I think the potential is very high for Mrs. O. Having to cart Emmanuel and his younger siblings around doesn't help her attendance, and neither does working in Canada. But once track is over and she can focus on herself a little bit more, look out for this new mommy to have a breakout Summer.

Pros: Diet has remained on point. Good mobility. Good role model for kids.

Cons: Attendance needs better showing.

Pat Luetz

2-star prospect

As our second-newest Champions Club member at the time of print, it will be difficult to know what to expect from Pat. He already paid for the Summer, so we know he's in. And he's shown a quick transition into our group that is rare for outsiders. So if I had to make a guess, I think Pat is going to out-perform his 2-star base ranking by Summer's end. So we will have to wait and see.

Pros: Really obsesses over good form. Embraces being coached. Brings in food.

Cons: Has not seen enough at-bats. Can't get cleans to save his life, yet.

...........

There you have it. Am I missing anyone? Hope to see you all in Champions Club t-shirts by July!

Coming Soon... Summer 2017

We are officially past the middle of May (which might be the fastest month in the history of months), and that means the Champions Club Summer 2017 is only weeks away!

The Summer is worshipped around these parts and rightfully so. Most of it can be recounted in the Summer's Eve post before 2015, but if you've been around the block you know what's in store: theme workouts, lively sessions, 90-degree weather, new toys, new rookies, and the return of faces you haven't seen in a year. This spring has already gotten off to a great start with David Saporito coming back, as well as the speculated return of a certain handsome crew.

Either way, be on the lookout for the official signup and email coming soon. And in the meantime, be sure to put a bug in the ear of people you know need it!

Goon and Goblin Resurgence 2/6

Very simple yet controversial topic from Jacob the goon.

Would you rather be smart or handsome*?

*I suppose you could include being "pretty" if you are a female/Sabal.

Goon and Goblin Resurgence 1/23/2017

This one comes courtesy of Jacob the Goon:

Ray Williams listens to the same song - It's Money Time -  every time he goes for a pr. What's your pr song?

Pump Iron anyone?

UPDATED Quote of the Week vol. 158: To the "Big Dogs"

Now with Mr. Auggie's quick wit.

Me: Mr. Auggie... green bands for pull-ups.

Mr. Auggie: I'm actually feeling strong today Chris. I won't need a band with my rings.


"We’re well aware of your snatch PR.

We can indeed hear you grunting as you rep out.

We know you hold the top spot on the squat leaderboard. And yes, we know all about your big bag of supplements, your special gear, your amp-up music and your pre-lift routine.

But a great many of us really don’t care about your strength numbers.

Here’s why: You’re in a CrossFit program."

- Mike Warkentin. CrossFit Journal article, An Open Letter to the "Big Dogs"

As much as I used to clash with Jacob and Faust when they were in here, I always respected the fact that despite whatever their throughts about the program was, they always push themselves on any workout I asked them to - which usually happened to involve things other than heavy lifting WODs.

Mike Warkentin, CrossFit Journal editor, penned the article above probably in response to some people in his gym or people he's seen travelling to different affiliates. I can definitely relate with some of his points but I have never experienced the blatant meatheadedness he details. Either way, it's a pretty entertaining read.

Athlete of the Spring 2016

Yes, new people, that's a dickbutt. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...

Back around January 2015, Jacob said something that had me cracking up.

“When Jack came back and I saw him I was like, ‘Okay, well at least someone else besides me is going to be out of shape.’ I mean, you just look at him and think he’s a complete goober. But it took about two workouts for me to realize that he’s actually good.”

This is the origin for the Jack is dad tag. No matter how old, injured, or inactive your dad is, he will always be stronger than you, have a dominating post-up game, and beat any non-dad in arm wrestling.

Give Jack Trastevere a few weeks or so, regardless of his condition, and he’ll be Jack. In this case, a steady diet of Campus Improv this winter accelerated the process. Now he is the Athlete of the Spring.

...........

Why is Jack still here?

Jack, I’m asking you that; why the hell are you still here? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

After the first week of workouts back this spring, Jack called me to the side and gave some very well-thought disagreements with the lack of volume we do in our training. The tone of conversation is something that's happened numerous times with other people, and usually leads to said individual “taking a break” from the gym. This kills me for numerous reasons every time it happens, but having Jack on the other end was especially difficult. Without Jacob or Morrow or the other Morrow or Jay or Faust or Matt or Ryan or Kyle in the gym at the time, Jack was kinda our only hope for a 20+ year old male (Sabal hates football so he doesn’t count as a male.) I asked him to just be patient and thankfully he was. Highlights for this spring include:

Whether he knows it or not, Cap’n Jack Trastevere is the leading subject in a major experiment I have been working on since 2013. And it revolves around a single question: Can our interpretation of CrossFit appeal to non-athlete college males?

In simpler terms, can college dudes learn to train smart?

So far, I am batting an astounding .200 (give or take a few on the fence). The fact that I still think the answer is yes either means I am naïvely optimistic or I have seen enough glimpses of light to believe so. And one of the last people I thought would buy in is Jack. But somehow, some way, he just never leaves us. It’s a constant battle with me to find the sweet spot between Banet-level coaching and Bro-session coaching.

I just can’t stand back and watch atrocious form. Call it elitist, or ignorant, or whatever. But it is never going to happen. But I also came from that background (maybe not atrocious, but bad for sure.) I know how fun it is to just go at a workout without concerning what your back is doing, or if your pulling with your arms early. So I let more slide with Jack than anyone else in the Champions Club. Why? Because he makes great use of it.

In the Intensity FYI post, I said, “sometimes you have to earn your volume.” Nobody does this better than Jack. If I let the reigns go with Jack, he gets at it. He knows how to go to “that place” on the short workouts as good as anyone in here. That tells me he’s okay to do a full 10k run, or spend 30+ minutes doing strict muscle-ups. I’ll throw him that bone any day (or, at least most days.) He’s always going to complain. He’s never going to be convinced that shoulder mobility is going to make him lift heavier. His back is always going to round his back on the first deadlift of any set at any weight. But he’s always going to come back. And that is something I appreciate more than good form (believe it or not.)

...........

From personal experience, trying to be a competitive CrossFitter takes a lot of fun out of working out, and is much less rewarding than, say, being a serious basketball player, or serious biology student. Unlike the other things, the better you get at CrossFit, the more it kills you. And when this is all you train for, you get burned out. We learned this the hard way with Rye Guy in the fall/winter/spring 2012-2013. What seems to make things more difficult is the transition from training with us while playing sports to post-career training. We’ve seen quite a few slip.

Where I found the most satisfaction in CrossFit was competing with myself. In sports (and school) you are always reliant on a coach to approve your work, or your teammates not to mess around, or the conditions to be perfect. In CrossFit, it’s you, and only you. The personal competitions I’ve had with myself in the most exhausting CrossFit workouts are as tough as any other sport I’ve played against someone else. My hope is that Jack can lead the way for a resurgence in our college males learning how to compete with themselves, and not the guy they saw on YouTube. For the best long-term results, a careful balance of strict form, scaling, and free reigns is the answer. It’s much easier said than done, but Jack is getting close.

...........

The spring in the Champions Club is always inconsistent. One day we will have 16 people at all sessions combined, the next we’ll have 18 at the 5:30 session alone. It’s just that time of year. With that said, I think we are in a good situation for this Summer thanks to solid months from the consistent attendees. Out of everyone, Rachael Kroll was the closest to Jack in terms of this award. She patiently works through her shoulder thing and makes no excuses in getting to sessions despite weird work hours and limited sleep. But in the end, Jack Trastevere was the superstar for the Champions Club this spring.

free+style Series: Progression Types

Carl Paoli had a great quote in an interview with Kelly Starrett on MWOD where he said that innovation happens when you make something you know relevant to someone else.

My understanding of coaching changed after I read free+style and I want to try to share it with you in a way that you might understand and care about. If this is considered copyright infringement then my life is ruined; you may kill me on the spot for disrespecting my master, send my money to Kanye's G.O.O.D. foundation (Getting Out Our Dreams Debt) and give Carter full reigns of the Champions Club.

...........

One of the biggest eye-opening things for me was understanding that there are different types of movement progression. It made me feel more comfortable when I see athletes mess up in front of me and it also made me be more curious when I see a movement I don't understand. I'll start with the stuff we are all familiar with.

Formal Movement/Progression

The things we do in the gym do not exist anywhere else in the world.

A perfect push-up with shoulders first, rigid midline, elbows in. A perfectly proportioned and balanced barbell resting on our shoulders taken into a squat. Rings conveniently carved in a smooth circle to go from a hanging position to a support. These things, done exactly as you know them, cannot be done in any other setting than an exercise session. They are a formality and done with a specific goal in mind.

If you want to make Kris Campbell better at pushing things, we start with a push-up. It's a formal, simulated movement that can address specific points of pushing that need to be developed. We can progress from hands on a tire, to hands on a box, to hands on plates, to hands on the ground, to feet up against the wall. Whatever we do, it is a step-by-step process with a calculated goal in mind.

Natural Movement/Progression

In CrossFit, the movement standard for a pull-up is not elbows in, or hollow body, or hook grip. Nope, it's much simpler and less strict than that. The movement standard for a pull-up in CrossFit is to get your chin over the bar from a hanging position. That's it.

When these started to come up in timed workouts, the early athletes at Santa Cruz all adopted a method of swinging their hips and legs to assist the motion - which not only let them get their chin over the bar quicker, but saved their arms for the other movements in the workout.

This became known as a kipping pull-up.

The kipping technique had a bunch of different variations - including a specific technique that became popular in 2008 when an athlete from CrossFit LA  I think(I would look up the video but SOMEBODY changed the main site) did pull-ups with a circular kip. This technique grew in popularity after Chris Spealler set the Fran record using it and was referred to as the butterfly kip. 8 years later and everyone knows it.

Because of the broad standard for pull-ups and the setting they were done in, athletes naturally adapted. Then coaches, like Carl, take those natural adaptations and build formal progressions to help increase the learning rate when teaching new people.

Creative Movement/Progression

It is safe to say that nobody in the free world has done the elusive elbow muscle-up and lived to tell the tale. I also don't plan on teaching partner cleans during Steve Zelenak's Day 8 of Fundamentals. And I hope to God the Junkin Jive J-string Rope Climb technique will never see the light of day again. That is because all of those, and everything else you see above, are examples of creative movements that were used to fit a one-of-a-kind occasion.

What's interesting about creative progressions is sometimes they are done so much that people build formal progressions for them - such as backflips (creative progression of jumping) and snowboarding (creative progression of... sliding? snow walking? Alaskan dogsledding?). Also, since creative movements/progressions are often done with minimal coaching, it is important for an athlete to be well versed in natural movement/progressions to find flow and coordination.