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New Feature Post: Behind the Champion with Mr. Augustine

Check out the epic interview here.


Entries in jay (54)

Athlete of the Fall 2017: Jay Junkin

There is a workout in CrossFit lore that is universally known as the single most difficult WOD ever posted on any site. In a world with Murph, Eva, Fight Gone Bad, and 30 RM back squats, that is saying a lot. And oddly enough, it was none of those. In fact, the workout was not even posted on CrossFit.com, but instead by former NFL lineman John Welborne on his CrossFit Football site on June 23, 2009:

"Kalsu"

For time:

135-lb. thrusters, 100 reps

*Perform 5 burpees every minute, on the minute

In other words, you do 100 thrusters at near your 1 rep max as fast as you can. Except your are interrupted at the top of each minute with a mandatory 5-burpee buy-in. There is nothing about this that sounds sane, or just, or even marginally survivable. In fact, one could imagine taking a few minutes off from thrusters and just doing the 5 burpees at the top of every minute to "catch your breath". Ha. Haha.

I have never done this workout. So naturally when 14 year-old Jay Junkin came up to 19 year-old me in the summer of 2009 asking to try his first ever CrossFit workout, I had him do this.

Brian was away in Seattle or California at the time, so Jay and I walked Old Faithful (the original 20-lb. medicine ball) up to the Fieldhouse and used the shaded side of the building as our workout station, with wallballs instead of thrusters.

That poor kid.

That poor, poor kid.

Jay (left) - first day at the Champions Club.

...........

Nobody knows what happened after the workout. Some say Jay went into hiding. Others say he just slept for the next two years like Rip Van Winkle and grew a foot taller in the process. Either way, he resurfaced in June 2011, much to my surprise, and joined the Champions Club's Summer in the Fieldhouse - the very place of his death two years before. Over the course of the last six years, Jay has been quietly one of the most improved Champions Club athletes. It's odd saying that now because of how we see him, but when he first came in, his body just didn't seem to connect with him.

*On a side note, click on the video link in the title to see JZ's comment

Summer 2012 saw him garner the invite to the "Advanced Session". In the Summer 2013, Jacob texted me asking whether or not I thought Jay was the best male athlete in the gym - at the same time Josh, Cam, Buzz, Jason, and AJ were all in the gym (Faust... you're a kicker, can't count you, and 2015 was your prime anyway). And from then on, Jay was officially on the radar. In Summer 2014, he was a no-brainer pick as our top male athlete, then made the Grand Valley basketball team a month later. He kept up his fitness through the season, obviously, and by the time he came back spring-2015 Jay was in absolute top form. Then he tore his ACL while we were playing one-on-one at Lamphere. It was either the worst or second-worst feeling I've ever felt as a coach. The combination of me writing about his jumping mechanics previously and begging him to play a tiebreaker game that day lingered for months to follow and put a damper, for me at least, on what was probably the best Summer we have ever witnessed. That is not an easy thing to bounce back from for a coach, and I can't even imagine how that must feel for the athlete in question.

With that being said, fall 2017 Jay is the fittest I have ever seen him. It took all but a month to figure that out. Sometimes things just don't make sense.

Jay came back home from Grand Valley in August and immediately picked up with his usual 4 days-per-week at the gym. I asked him his goals before coming back and getting in pre-knee-injury shape was the only thing he really had in mind. When asked what his time frame was he replied, "Eh...whenever".

The first few days in August took some time to get back into the "CrossFit discomfort" mindset, but after that it was pretty smooth sailing (other than one inexplicable turbo boost from Cory). Some of his highlights include:

In the 6+ years Jay has been with the Champions Club, this is the first time I can remember him training consistently during the school year. He's been a Summer star, winter break warrior, and the occasional drop-in on weekends. Now he's routinely here 4 days every week, and sometimes 5 if the Lions don't have a 1 pm game. When people show up consistently at the Champions Club, they get a lot better. It's just how things work. When athletically gifted people show up consistently at the Champions Club, they go from out of shape to peak physical condition in about 3 months. It's not often you will see an athlete with Jay's height and build move as well as him and be able to express strength in all these different ways. In fact, I think I might bump him up on the board, still neutral in personality and juuuust below me on athleticism. And if he keeps on this trajectory and I think he's getting too close to me, I'll just bring out Kalsu again.

..........

The fall was up and down here. September was slow, but things started to pick up towards the end of the month and definitely into October and November. This is the story every year it seems. Conor was also in contention for the Athlete of the Fall award, highlighted by beating Jay head-to-head on the 800m sprint/toes to bar workout. Look for good things from him this winter.

We had four Fundamentals kids come through our ranks, with Danielle being the standout so far, and two more in the works at the moment. New faces are coming back around like Olivia and Erik, and hopefully more to follow. Our roof is finally getting fixed, so be on the lookout for a reorganization of some things on that side of the gym. I was anticipating better numbers after the Summer, but I think it will be looking up for the winter. Let's make it good! And congratulations to Jay!

Behind the Champion: Mr. Auggie

On May 24, 2015, Jacob finally convinced his dad to join the Champions Club. Over 2 years later, Mr. Auggie has become a fan-favorite among the likes of Rachael Kroll, Mr. Z, Mama V, and the rest of the crew. As you can guess, most of his admirers jumped on board when they noticed he showed little hesitation giving me a hard time about anything he didn't like in the workouts. But that often ended there.

I wanted to bring back this series for a long time, and as I was going through lists of people in my head to feature, Mr. Auggie's was the one that kept coming back. I've known him for like 15 years, am good friends with his son, and he's been with the Champions Club for what seems like forever. Yet, our conversations always revolve around Michigan football or funny work stories. I had a feeling there was some cool stuff there if someone just asked, and I also was interested to see how Jacob became Jacob.

So here we are: Behind the Champion feat. Mr. Auggie.

Can you talk a little bit about where you grew up? Where did you go to high school and college?

I grew up in Madison Heights and went to Lamphere High School.  While I was there I was a mediocre football player (that’s being kind), a pretty bad basketball player for a couple of years, and a pretty decent High School baseball player.  Once I graduated I spent a year at Adrian College.  I decided that wasn’t for me and transferred to Oakland University.  I graduated from Oakland U with my degree in Human Resources Management.

I think everyone kinda knows you work at Macomb County Jail, but I don't think everyone knows about the process of "getting ordered". So can you explain what goes into that?

The process of getting ordered over is unpleasant (if I am going to keep it PG).  Essentially, we are a facility that needs to keep staffing levels on a 24/7 basis.  That being said, we all still have lives, get sick, and sometimes just need a day away from what can be a pretty negative environment.  This creates overtime opportunities that are often filled with people voluntarily taking the spots.  Unfortunately, there are times when people don’t want the overtime and those spots still need to be filled.  When this happens, the people who are currently working a standard 8 hour shift take turns being “ordered”.  This means that you need to stay for an extra 8 hour shift.  Unfortunately, there are times when you don’t find out you are being ordered until about an hour before the end of your original shift (so about an hour before you planned on going home).

Do you get any insights into life in general by working at a prison?

The most basic thing I have learned from working at a jail (which is different than a prison by the way) is that people generally don’t like being told what to do.  I think the hardest part for an inmate is having their choices taken away.  They don’t get to decide what to wear, what they get to eat, when they have to go their cells, and if they have a Television they have to come to an agreement between about 30 people on what they are going to watch.  It is amazing how much easier things go if you are willing to check your ego and ask an inmate to do something before simply telling them they have to do it.  In most cases inmates respond positively to being asked and it never gets to the point where you have to order them to do it.

Is that something that took you a long time to figure out? Did you just observe how they were reacting to the other officers and make your decision to ask instead of order? What about me ordering you around in here?

I actually figured out that people prefer to be asked rather than told to do something long before I started working here.  The first management position I ever had I learned that quickly. As far as liking being ordered around by you, I don’t really look at it that way.  I consider the things you tell me to do as the specific structure that I don’t know how to coordinate on my own.  I still made the choice to come to the gym, so I’m not really being forced to do anything.

Keeping it roughly PG-13, what is one of the best stories you're allowed to share from your time working

My favorite work stories involve some of the names of the people we deal with.  One of my favorites is the brothers Lemongelo and Orangelo (named for Lemon Jell-O and Orange Jell-O)

How did you end up getting dragged into CrossFit? What keeps you coming back?

I started doing CrossFit after a whole lot of nagging from Jake.  I finally realized I was getting way too out of shape for my liking.  I keep coming back because despite my complaining I feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing a workout and do feel general improvements in movement in every day life

What is your first memory of me? Not necessarily CrossFit related.

My first memories of you involve you and the other neighborhood kids playing football up at Japhet (where you and Jake had to be on separate teams).  Always thought it was cool that you were willing to hang out with the younger kids.

What are your first memories of Jay? Do you have any funny stories to share about Jacob and Jay being classmates for so long?

The memories of both Jessie and Jay that stick out to me involve 6th grade basketball.  I can remember going that whole season driving them and Jake back and forth to practice and trying my hardest to get them to speak.  I was completely unsuccessful.  It was like they lost the ability to speak when they got in my car!!!

Swamp People workout. Summer 2012.

Who was a more challenging child to raise: Master P or Jacob?

The boys were about a draw in difficulty to raise.  Completely different challenges, but it all about evened out in the end.  I got lucky though, both really good kids.

Can you go into a few specifics about what made them have their unique challenges to raise?

I can’t (won’t) go into specifics about individual challenges raising the boys.  Those are their stories to tell, not mine.  I will say that it all seemed to boil down to the same thing, though.  The most difficult thing for me is figuring out how to make your point in a way they will understand and that will impact them.  There’s not just one blanket thing you can do that will get through.  You need to figure out what works for each one.

Did you ever have an experience coaching either of those two in baseball? If so, how did you balance the line between being a dad and being a coach?

I had lots experiences coaching them in baseball.  It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes tough to draw the line.  I expect more out of my kids than the other ones.  It’s probably like that for most dads.  You see what your kids can do on a daily basis so you expect them to perform. You only see what those other kids can do and what terminology they understand when you’re with them.  Consequently, they can act like they don’t understand something sometimes or act like they are physically unable to do something and you just don’t know.

How did you balance being responsible for your kids with letting them make mistakes for themselves? Did you constantly check their phones, or internet history, or whatever?

I think it is important to let people make their own mistakes.  I started by letting them make small decisions and checking to see the outcome.  If they made decent choices I would ramp it up a little and give them more freedom.  Because of this, I waited a little longer than lots of parents to let them have cell phones.  Also because of this, I have never checked their internet history or phone records.  I trusted them to use the items by the time I let them have them and felt like it would be an invasion of their privacy to check them if I didn’t think something was really wrong. Luckily, they never gave me a reason to have to do that.

What are some of the things that you punished them for "back then" that you would look back on as maybe not a big deal now?

I tried not to punish them very often and I can’t think of anything that I punished them for that I now don’t think was a big deal.  A better question would be if I went overboard on the punishments that I gave out.  The answer to that is hell yes!! Was walking Jacob over to a kids house to apologize for embarrassing the kid a little overboard? Probably. Was making Jake write essays and do made up homework over 4th grade summer because I wasn’t happy with his grades overboard? Again, yep. Was getting in Evan’s face in Culver’s parking lot for lying to me overboard?  Starting to see a pattern here?

Is Jacob seriously a Scottish Lord?

Yes.

Can you explain how that came to be?

That one's easy. Each Xmas I try to get a gift for the boys and my nephews. Something kind of off the wall that I can get for each of them. That year I decided to get them each 1 square foot of land in Scotland (saw it on the news). They use it to help promote their tourism I believe. Anyway, it comes with some perks including guided tours if you ever go to Scotland. Also, if you are a land owner in Scotland (I believe England has the same deal), no matter how small the parcel, you are officially a Lord or Lady depending on your gender obviously. Legally, they could even have their drivers licenses changed to include the titles. I thought it was pretty cool for an inexpensive gift.

What is one or two things you really enjoyed doing as a kid that you still do from time to time?

The thing that I did as a kid that I still enjoy is easy. I absolutely LOVE playing catch!! I really don’t know why, either. Always have since I was little. I don’t get a chance as often to play catch with the boys because of our schedules, but we still get out once in a while.

Master P and Mr. Auggie. October 2013

When you were 22, could you beat current-Jacob in wraastling? How would you go about exploiting his major weakness of being a pansy?

Could 22 year old me beat Jake in wraastling? Absolutely!!! He is way stronger than I was but he still hasn’t figured out that where the head goes the body will follow.  Would have either been a tragic accident when I broke his neck or the rest of his body would have gone down with the head. LMAO.

I’ll deny this next part if you ever tell him I said it, but that kid is tough as hell.  I never could have played through all the injuries that he played through.  He’s had a rough go with that stuff, but always manages to do what he needs to.

Being in the legal system for a long time, if you could either make or change a law, what would it be?

Making or changing a law is a tough one to discuss without coming up with something that will offend people.  Although there are some that I would change I am going to change the question to something I think we should all agree on.  Rather than changing a law, I think we need to change the facilities.  Although jails and prisons will always remain important, I think we need more Mental Health facilities. 

You are probably too young to know about this, but in the 1980s there was a drastic reduction in these facilities under President Reagan (still one of my favorite Presidents).  However, this decision was shortsighted.  The number of people with Cognitive disabilities in facilities like ours is far too high.  Some do get sent to more appropriate facilities but there are just not enough of them.  Consequently, we end up with far too many people who just don’t belong in jail and they don’t get the help they need to change their future behavior.  This is really what people are talking about when they discuss “Warehousing” versus rehabilitating.

What is an every-day thing in your life that goes unnoticed by most people, but really pisses you off?

An everyday thing that really pisses me off is people just standing like zombies in the store.  Be aware of your surroundings!!! Don’t just stand there in the middle of the aisle blocking everyone while you look for the cheapest can of soup!!!

What is an every-day thing in your life that goes unnoticed by most people, but you really enjoy?

An everyday thing that makes me happy is just when the whole family is together.  Everyone gets so busy, it is rare when we are all together without somebody getting ready to go out somewhere.  I really like it when all just get to hang out

Is there a character trait that you kinda wish you had? Not in a serious or demeaning way, but just something that would have made your life better?

The character trait I kinda wish I had would be to be less argumentative.  Just something about a good debate that I cannot steer away from.  Definitely not normal, but it is just me. lol

...........

Bonus questions (both of which Mr. Auggie added himself!):  Favorite President and favorite inspirational quote. Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite President. If you need to ask why, just check into him a little bit to see some of the things he did and the obstacles he overcame.

Favorite inspirational quote:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

This is an illegal wraastling move, as far as I know.

Beast Mode: Jay

Jay Junkin is back in action full-time with the Champions Club after landing a local engineering job in the Madison Heights area. He is trying to get in his Summer 2015 shape and he's been off to a good start since early August. Last time today's back squat workout came up it was May 2015 - aka Jay's prime form. He started off at 225-lbs. for his set of 10 last time, and worked up to 275 for his 3 singles.

Today he low-balled his first few attempts, then on the way back up the ladder he finished the day with a set of 10 at 205 lbs. Check it out.

By the looks of it, 225 might have been a possibility. Either way, he's not too far off.

Recommended reading: The Z axis

Beast Mode: 6:30 Session Downpour

A little over a week ago we were dodging a thunderstorm all day for the sprint/dumbbell clean and jerk workout. Then the heavens opened up at the 6:30 session; within a matter of 20 minutes all of Madison Heights was flooded - our running path included. Fortunately, that did not stop Alan, Jay, and Mrs. Pip from doing the workout as designed. Check them out:

I have said this over and over again, especially in the Champions Club Checklist, but we have somehow recruited the most tolerant workout folks I have ever seen. From the hill, to the snowfight, to this; I am spoiled with the crew I get to coach!

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

 

Wednesday

5:30 pm

 

Saturday

9 am

 

Sunday

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.

Beast Mode: College Kids do QGB

The strength-oriented version of Fight Gone Bad came up last week, a classic known as Quarter Gone Bad. 5 rounds, 15 sec. of work, 45 sec. of rest: thrusters, weighted pull-ups, and burpees.

The 4:30 session consisted of Jay, Jackie, and Bubs; three of our college kids trying to get back in the swing of consistent workouts. Much to my delight, their form looked really good. Check it out.

As a bonus, this workout came up last time in 2008. As luck would have it, Brian and I both did it. Check out our retest numbers:

New Graduate: Lindsey

Yesterday morning Lindsey Eason finished her 8th and final Fundamentals session doing a Helen in 7:59 with 200m runs, 12k swings, and ring rows. She will now be joining the group with her sister, Kasey, and is primed to have a great Summer.

Lindsey is one of the most pleasant surprises I have seen go through Fundamentals in recent memory. Being the younger cousin of Jesse and Jay, I naturally heard a lot of teasing directed at her (and Kasey, obviously) about her athleticism. But Lindsey proved to be a very quick learner throughout the course of our Fundamentals sessions. On Day 1, she could barely do a 10 sec. hollow hold, and yesterday she did 4 sets of tabata rocks without breaking one bit. Running, unweighting, kipping, squats, and jump ropes all progressed very quickly. The only weak point I noticed was upper body pulling strength. But it's nothing a little consistent attendance won't fix.

Lindsey also seems to be having a good effect on her sister, seeing as Kasey's attendance has improved since Lindsey joined. Hopefully we'll be seeing both of them around a lot. Welcome to the Champions Club Lindsey!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: Katie Shakes with Jennifer Banet's laugh.