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Entries in jennifer (53)

An Open Invitation to the Champions Club College Kids 2018

The first time I wrote one of these Jennifer Banet was a freshman in high school. Now I'm writing it to her.

Last night I was watching some of our old videos to get an idea of how our form stacks up at the moment. The mid-2013/early-2014 is the Golden Era in my mind when it comes to Coaching, Movement, and Community so I always reference back to those videos and posts. But this time I got lost; the technique was thrown out the window in favor of that good ol' feeling of nostalgia. Remember those kids in the picture above? Some of them are about to graduate college! They were in Danielle Worden's shoes while I was writing to Aly Baringer, Ryan Richard, Jack Trastevere, Shannon Marchant, Jay Junkin, and Matt Morrow about coming home. Elizabeth Banet was doing cleans like a noob. Erika Banet's hand-me-down shorts looked like I gave her fashion advice. Ricky Carey was the chunk who was just starting to get coordinated. Alyssa Jabara thought rolling out of a handstand was a big deal. David Saporito could't do a muscle-up and got dunked on by Aaron Sexton, and yet Katie Bromm still Promposal'd him.

This generation was collectively known as The Freaks. Taken from King Julien of Madagascar, the first time I remember referring to them as such was my Calling Out the College Kids post. It's tough to say they were "better" than the OGs like Murley, Ryan, Emma, and Jack because what are we really comparing? But man this "new" group was absolutely electric, and they had advantages the old kids did not (better coaching, equipment, space, and session times.) The entire gym just vibed out for about a year.

Their technique was really, really good, even by today's standards. Jason, Elizabeth, Lauren, and Saporito were breaking all kinds of Champions Club records and the rest of the crew put up Beast Mode after Beast Mode. Amy Potter and Collin Skorupski, as fit as they were, found themselves in the middle of the pecking order for most workouts. But most of The Freaks' lore came from their before and after workout antics. Imagine like 15 teenage Josh Bennisses with no turf space to run around in. They used to sing Kelly Clarkson, invent a voodoo snapping language, had three shoe fights (there were like 12 snow days that winter), and birthed a legendary character named Master P. And they were always at the gym. They literally never left.

The Freaks used to be as fun as fun can be. Now they are boring, stale, and, in Katie Bromm's case, overwhelmingly basic, resorting to study hours, deskwork, and Starbucks beverages. Saporito is in accounting, Bromm is in pharmacy, and to this day I have never asked Ricky Carey what his major is, but it's probably nothing that involves racing foam squares. It's a shame, you guys. A darn shame.

Lucky for you, the Champions Club is not boring! Well, I am. But the rest of the gym is not. And maaaaaan is there some new things to get caught up on. The big news of the late-Summer/early fall was the turf; Dave's stuff is gone and we put down turf and hung nets so baseball, soccer, softball, and lacrosse teams can use it. We have quite a few new families that you should get familiar with - especially the Colussi and Bennis houses. You might see some of the Babies bouncing around the gym while you're working out. That's because I allow the Babies to bounce around the gym while everyone is working out.

Also, this Summer brought some great new College Kids around: Josie, Cecilia, and Ally all found themselves on the Dream Team, and Noah and Luke were right there as well. We saw some of you guys here and there over the fall, but this might be your first crack at consistent workouts since the Summer.

As usual, it's best not to take all my words and phrases literally. I slang a lot. Aly B, Ryan, Steven, Sydni, and the rest of the OG College Kids, you guys will always be College Kids and are welcome back just as much as any of The Freaks.

Lindsey, you can come too, I guess. Bring Kasey if you must.

Price breakdown. 20 bucks covers your entire Christmas break. I understand there could be some gray area for kids only back for a few days, so just talk to me and we'll figure it out. The Christmas Eve Workout is always free, so if you're just in for that day then definitely drop in.

As usual, I hope you guys finish up the semester strong with your finals and such, then find your way back to your second home here at the Champions Club. We're never quite the same as when you left it, but we're never the same without you.

Hope to see you guys soon!

Chris

From the Vault: The Forgotten Summer

Summer 2014 will go down in my mind as The One That Got Away. It seemed like we had everything primed in the spring, but things just didn't turn out the way I hoped for the Summer as far as attendance goes. But in terms of movement, this is the first Summer that can stand over time, so to speak.

I always look back at old videos of what I thought was good form and cringe. Summer 2014 is where I really started to get a grip of what standards to hold our athletes to.

This video is from August 8, 2014 and is a deadlift/shuttle sprint/burpee triplet with a built-in rest. We did a mashup from all the sessions. You might recognize some familiar faces (or might not, in Shake's case).

The Story of Jennifer in America

In August 2015, Jennifer Banet earned an Athlete of the Week honor. I was mad, actually, because I like to do a small write-up on the athlete in question, and I could not figure out how to put Jennifer Banet into words. She was there, kind of; not quite strong, not quite fast, sort of awkward, but somehow really good. In fact, arguably the best trending athlete in the entire gym at the time. In retrospect she was like the 2009 Kid Cudi of the Champions Club. I remember sitting by the pole under the loft on that Saturday having the toughest time trying to write the post, so I just compared her to a drinking fountain.

Now she is the Athlete of the Summer 2018 and I get to write an entire article about her. Not sure how this will turn out.

...........

Summer 2013 was an all-timer. While it is famous for the injection of the best college athletes we’ve ever seen (Shannon, DeJour, Josh, Cam, Buzz, Faust, AJ), it was also the arrival of a name that now lives in Champions Club lore: Banet. Elizabeth and Erika were superstars of the 10 am rookie session, and Jacqueline did Fundamentals so she could be with her former G.A. classmates (Ricky, Jason, Katie Bromm, etc.) at 1:30. There were many posts the following year that highlighted pull-ups, muscle-ups, perfect technique, play time, and Beast Modes from the sister trio. They were in the middle of the generation we called The Freaks – not necessarily in the athletic sense, but the obsessive way the entire group bought into the Champions Club philosophy.

Then leading up to Summer 2014, we heard that there was, in fact, a fourth Banet in existence, confined to her room, saving Christmas, birthday, and chore money, doing crunches and Insanity workouts, and carving tallies on the walls with her fingernails to count down the days until her parents allowed her to join. And on Saturday, May 25, a few days after her 8th grade graduation, Jennifer Banet came in for her first workout. Here’s how the following Summers went:

  • 2014 – Great Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2015 – Best Summer for Jen, best overall Summer the Champions Club has seen
  • 2016 – Bad Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2017 – Worst Summer for Jen, average Summer for the Champions Club

For both Jennifer, and the Champions Club as a whole, the glory Summer of 2015 is something that would always serve as the compare-to link for every workout and every season. Missing a pr is never fun.

The trend continued downward for Jennifer until February 2018, when she expressed to me that she had “figured some things out” in her life and decided that she wanted to make her fitness a higher priority. This was not something new, as Shannon and I both made regular attempts to get her back to where we thought her potential was. But we gave it another try and slowly but surely she got her way back into shape. Soon we found that “slowly but surely” translates to 2 weeks in Jennifer time. And by May, she set Champions Club high school girls records in Murph, Michael, and Helen, and earned MVP honors on her track team. It helps to have the Banet gene, I suppose.

After Jennifer’s performances in the late-spring, I had an eye out for her as a potential Athlete of the Summer. Is this playing favorites? Definitely. But being under a microscope leaves little room for error. Needless to say, Jen got the “preferential Chris treatment” envied by absolutely nobody in the gym; it has little to do with increased weight or rounds, but heavily leans on testing for weakness, which is not quite the way I operate on a daily basis. As a whole, I pamper everyone in the gym by scaling; CrossFit.com recommends a prescription for the day – designed to exceed the capacity of Matt Fraser over time – and we adjust so Reggie and Woorden can do it. This is both necessary and the best way to improve fitness over the long haul. This is not, however, the best way to test fitness. Throw them to the wolves and see how they fare.

So Jennifer got tested more this Summer than I remember doing with anyone, and I can say with certainty that she responded every single time. Every. Single. Time. Her worst workout was Fight Gone Bad, where she pr’d and nearly hit 300 reps. And as for body language, mental toughness, and tolerance: drinking fountains don't show emotion, they just do their job. When it comes to pure performance, this is the best Summer I think any Champions Club athlete's ever had. During that power clean/toes to bar couplet, I remember trying to enjoy the fact that after 4 years of waiting for Jennifer to reach her potential, I was suddenly watching it.

...........

In the Champions Club Checklist, I mentioned patience as the first bullet point.

“To be patient, you are constantly thinking and operating in the present. Although it seems looking ahead is the key to patience, doing so will often skew your present thinking – which can cause you to doubt yourself and act impatiently. [...] Someone who is patient understands that there are good snapshots and there are bad snapshots and trusts in the process to get through both of them.”

Guess who I listed as my "good" example. 2015 Jennifer was a rising star who showed flashes of what she was capable of. She was protected by light weights and modifications that helped ensure success, and the end result showed an athlete who looked ready to take the next step. But for a million reasons the payoff did not happen the next year. So we regrouped, came back rejuvenated, and… another year of disappointment.

As far as math has taught me, two points on a graph can make a line, and this line was trending down. It really takes something to be able to look at that trend line, accept it, and calmly work to make it go in a different direction. This is exactly what Jennifer did this Summer. One small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision led to where she ended up on August 31 - a state of being commonly known as “legit." Of course, Jen hasn’t been in the gym a single day since then, and that’s okay. She started her freshman year at college, is living on campus, and is adjusting to a new style of life. It's part of the progression.

In football there is a definite end point: I want to be better than you by the end of the 4th quarter. In the Champions Club, there is no endpoint. We are playing an infinite game – a huge trend line (wait, wouldn't that be a ray line, or something?) comprised of an unfathomable amount of micro trend lines. Jennifer is going to have a worse Summer than 2017. Jennifer is also going to have a better Summer than 2018. Both are unavoidable. I think she knows that, and that’s why she’s so Jennifer about everything.

But this is now, and Summer 2018 saw Jennifer transform into a machine. The cool thing, though, is no matter how many Beast Modes she’ll put up or records she’ll break, the youthful, fun, cool core will always be there.

Athlete of the Summer Feature Series + Sneak Peek

There is one last drip of fantastic nostalgia from a great time long ago (or 3 weeks, on this case). Starting in 2015, I wrote a little mini-editorial on the Athlete of the Summer. They usually turn out pretty well, and I try to give little hints as to how the athlete in question can represent the gym as a whole. Here's the previous year's ones:

2010: Cool as the Unthawed

2011: The Blue Devil Beat

2012: Our Guide to the Great Valley

2013: A Wild Katie Bromm Appeared

2014: Some Days Even My Lucky Rocketship Underpants Don't Help

2015: I Am the CrossFit Oasis, I Got a Cup of Your Time I Won't Waste It

2016: We Love to Hate the Shakes We Love

2017: DIV: Destination in View

The Story of Jennifer in America comes out tomorrow at 5 pm.

Champions Club Summer 2018 Dream Team + Athlete of the Summer

While not quite as difficult as 2015, this Summer was a two-person race similar to 2014's between Jason and Lauren. Jennifer Banet vs. Erica Krueger: workout domination vs. Most Improved Player. Since early July, it seemed it would come down to these two, and neither budged. Jennifer slipped in attendance towards the end, and I was hoping she would make it to at least 70%. Meanwhile, Erica ran into a little dry spell during the workouts in late-July. Still both kids put up very impressive bodies of work this Summer, and made this decision difficult for me.

The Athlete of the Summer 2018 goes to Jennifer Banet.

For Jennifer, it really came down to performance, and she set the tone with the first two workouts of the Summer. From that point on I really kept a harsh eye on her for every session. And I have to say this is the first time I can remember where there were truly no off-days. Not a single one. We all know Jennifer's track background and how well she performs in the running/light weight workouts, but this Summer she really got challenged with heavier weights - whether it was the heavy dumbbells on Erin, 65-lbs. on the snatch/double under couplet, 45-lb.plate on the Overhead lunge workout, 125 lbs. on the deadlift/burpee classic, or 95-lb. sdhp's on the late-July sprint WOD. Her impressive performances on these "weakness" workouts, coupled with her usual dominance in workouts like Gunny earner her this award.

Congratulations Jennifer! Be on the lookout for her Feature Editorial coming soon.

...........

Jennifer Banet was the headliner for what proved to be one of the top 3 Summers the Champions Club has ever seen (2015 and 2013 were probably 1 and 2 respectively). We saw lots of new people, the return of some old people, and most importantly, we saw the attendance back on track.

Here's the complete Summer 2018 Dream Team (attendance percentage in parenthesis):

  1. Ashley Fry (100)
  2. Cecilia Steinwascher (93)
  3. Katie Shakes (86)
  4. Danielle Worden (84)
  5. Josie Junkin (82)
  6. Nick Bewick (73)
  7. Erica Gibbons (70)
  8. Lindsey (68)
  9. Mrs. Bennis (68)
  10. Jennifer (67), Mrs. Colussi (67), Ally Kauzlarich (67)

Ashley Fry. For the first time since Katie Bromm's legendary 2013 Summer, we had a perfect attendee in the books. We officially counted 73 days of possible attendance, and Ashley Fry was at every single one. The only day she was absent for was a random Saturday on June 16 where nothing of any importance happened whatsoever, and we did not count that weekend or Monday anyway. Fryday came into the Summer on a 3+ month hiatus, and it took her a minute to get her fitness and strength back where it was, but she closed out really well and is looking to have a great fall.

Record signup. We finished with 94 freaking people signed up for the Summer. Our previous record was somewhere in the 70's. During the winter my goal was to have a 100-person Summer about 2 or 3 years from now. Hopefully this Summer is a sign that I may have been too conservative with my wish. This, of couse, made attendance-keeping very difficult, as many of the new kids came on as the Summer was already in progress. Thankfully, Jacob came through and helped me get the numbers on record. I'm fairly certain that the numbers aren't off my more than a percent for anyone, if at all.

Rookies. Going into the Summer I basically had to make the choice between our current people and prospecive new people. I chose the new people and while it definitely hurt people like Reggie, Mr. Auggie, and Shannon, it helped bring on our most populated Rookie session of all time. We had 24 rookies split between the 10 am and 5:30 pm sessions. Coach T brought in a fair amount, Shakes and Jacob each brought in one, and the rest seemed to straggle in from recommendations from you kind folks. It was awesome, and it looks like we're going to have a pretty good carryover.

Parents. The thing that spearheaded our Summer 2015 was the influx of awesome parents; the Andersons, Mr. Auggie, Mr. WA, and Mrs. Kroll all joined that May and it set us up for a great Summer. This time around we had two very crucial families join: the Benni and Colussis.

I'm telling you all right now, we are really lucky to have these two families with us. They buy in to everything we do, they spread the word, and, most importantly, they show up a lot! Their presence made it easy for other new parents like Barry, Angie, and Schornack to blend it, and also brought some life to our ancient elders like Mrs. Carey, Mr. Wonsil, Reggie, and crew.

The kids are the picture and the parents are the frame. When we have a strong parents crew, seasons go from good to great really fluidly.

Is this a liability? Probably. One of the most important things the Benni brought to the gym was their son, Josh. Not to the babies sessions, but to the regular ones. See there are two of them, and one Josh, and if they wanted to work out then Josh needed to come to or else their house would be a wreck when the returned. I never saw a problem with it, and soon Mallory Colussi joined in, as well as Kayla Pauly. But the most entertaining crew, by far, was the Nevarez family! Every day the five(!) of them would walk up to the gym and Mrs. Nevarez would do her thing while Natalie, JT, El, and Johnny J would run (or crawl) around the gym. It definitely added a lot of life to everything and I even opened the invitation to the rest of the crew.

Summary. Like I said before, this was really a great one. We introduced the SpongeBob workout, had Coach T help out 3 days per week, housed the entire Junkin family, produced high attendance numbers, and had a good variety of people at each session. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. There will be two editorials coming out soon: the first being a new installment in the Building a Champion series that will talk in detail about what was going on behind the scenes during the Summer and where we are going from here, then Jennifer Banet's Athlete of the Summer feature (which I haven't started yet) will talk about... well... Jennifer. And some other symbolic stuff. But before that - or maybe after, who knows? - I'll post the final attendance numbers and the results of the Summer 2018 Draft. So plenty to look out for in the coming weeks.

Thank you guys again for a great Summer! See you guys next year (or tomorrow, or whenever).

Beast Mode: 9 am Fight Gone Bad

Welp everyone, it doesn't get much worse than this. Fight Gone Bad is the hardest workout I have ever come across in my 12 years of CrossFit, and you guys put up really good numbers.

Our 9 am session featured two Banets, Cecilia, Div, Alyssa, and Olivia. Here's how they looked:

How does FGB rank on your list of toughest workouts?

Disney Doozy 2018 Recap

We had another good turnout for a theme workout this morning; 16 including me at the Disney Doozy! We made a few modifications on the fly with rep counting; Baloo's Bear Crawls were on the blue mat and counted for 4 each trip down (8 for down-and-back), Tinkerbells were synchronized and counted same as Hakuna Matata Tabata Squats. As expected, there were a few mix-ups on the station rotations, but nothing that couldn't be figured out. In the end it went pretty smooth, the team of Jennifer and Murley (MurleyMouse and IncrediBANET) won with a convincing score of 622.

We don't have a full photo gallery, but there are a few uploads in the July '18 Daily WODs gallery, and you can see the full workout results here.

Great job to everyone and that's for the turnout! This is probably my favorite Theme Workout. Also, big ups to Erica for driving an hour to the gym this morning just to come to the workout. Definitely earned some brownie points there, and adds to her resume' for an already very impressive Summer. Next week will be another theme workout. Check back soon for the announcement!

Traditional post-workout movie viewing. Lindsey convinced everyone on Tangled.