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Big ups to Josh Howey and Danielle Worden!

Josh finished 4th in the state for wraastling and Danielle finished 3rd in the state for powerlifting

Entries in jennifer the drinking fountain (16)

Part-time the School Workouts

Going into my freshman year in college I was given a workout packet from Albion's basketball team that I was supposed to follow over the summer. I never looked at it once. When the time for team testing came, I beat every upper classman in the mile run, dips, pull-ups, and all these other machine exercises I'd never done in my life.

Going into my senior year at Marygrove the coaches decided they were going to hold off-season workouts. I never attended one of them. When the time came for testing I won the mile, won all the 400s, won 3 out of the 4 200s, 3 out of the 4 100s, then got the highest weight in back squat, most strict pull-ups, and second-highest in bench press.

In high school I... you get the idea. Let's stop using me as an example.

In 2013 AJ Morey ditched the Alma College football strength and conditioning packet. When he got to fall camp in August he teted the highest out of any linebacker and pr'd on his bench press - despite not doing a single bench press rep for the previous three months.

In 2013 Shannon Marchant ditched the U of D track summer workouts, then came into fall winning all the sprint tests. That was usual, but what was unusual was she also won the distance tests. And the jumping tests. Another unusual thing was she tested with the guys' team, not the girls team. She was also a team captain and set school records.

In 2018 Cecilia Steinwascher ditched the Grand Valley soccer summer conditioning packet. By the time she got to fall camp she had cured herself of shin splints doctors told her were hereditary, improved her Beep Test, and was named 1st team All American and Defensive Payer of the Year. She's also a team captain.

In 2018, Jennifer Banet was a part-timer with Warren Mott's winter track conditioning. By the end of May she won the team's MVP award at the banquet - as voted by the coaches and the athletes.

In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Nicole Murley was a part-timer for Madonna University's summer Cross Country conditioning. She steadily improved her times each year, competed without injury, and went from the 2nd worst runner on the team as a freshman to in the top 3-4 by the time she was a senior. She was also a team captain.

In 2016 Alyssa Jabara part-timed the Concordia summer softball workouts. During team testing her coach told her she needed to slow down a bit so the other girls could catch up. Last summer she ditched them completely and she won every testing category and is their starting catcher.

These people chose to do something instead of their sports' off-season conditioning. They chose to do CrossFit. And, with the exception of me, chose to do it with the Champions Club.


Off-season workouts are voluntary. They have to be. It would be illegal to make them mandatory. A coach is not allowed to base their playing time decisions on the attendance for off-season workouts.

But the reality is, they do. And rightfully so. Kids that put in work in the off-season deserve to be rewarded for that in my opinion. I coach basketball and track (and have coached football before too), and I definitely have a subconscious bias towards kids who I see busting their butt in the summer months while everyone else is on vacation. There is also a lot of teamwork and chemistry that can be built in the off-season. The tricky part comes with doing what you know will make you better, and doing what makes your coach happy.

If you are serious about getting better as an individual athlete, the decision framework is simple: What is the minimum effective dose for my school's off-season workouts?

In other words, how infrequently can I show up? How little can I give do that would still keep my coaches and teammates satisfied? Then, in turn, whatever is left over from that is given to CrossFit.

Picture this scenario: Luke Heide is nowhere to be seen at Adrian College during the late-spring and summer workouts. He gives the coach a heads-up that he won't be there much, if at all. When August camp comes around he's suddenly in the best shape out of any tight end or lineman. He's winning the conditioning tests, he's putting up really good weight room numbers, and he's vocal and encouraging to all of his teammates. Is the coach really going to punish him? Legally he can't. Strategically he can't, at least not once it's time to break out the first string and second string.

In addition to coaching at the Champions Club and the various sports I coach, I also run off-season strength and conditioning for Stoney Creek's track team and Lamphere's football team. I see the value in that stuff and I think I run very good programs based on my opinion, the opinions of the kids, and the opinions of the coaches. If a kid had to choose between going to those sessions or coming to the Champions Club with Carter the Blob coaching every session, I'd want that kid to pick the Champions Club.

Off-season team conditioning workouts are very limited. They are designed for a (usually) large group of 30+ kids to (usually) come in 2-3 days per week and assuming the kids are not doing already doing CrossFit, or, even better, another sport. A session at the Champions Club is designed for 5-7 days per week, year round, regardless of what sport you play, and is done in a semi-private/small group setting that allows for coaches to be more picky on form. There is really, honestly no comparison.


It is weird to write this. I have looked back at the "how little effort/infrequently can I show up" paragraph about a dozen times. I wondered if I should reword it, or take it out altogether, or soften it up a bit. And I probably should. I also need to be as unbiased as possible. I've thought "CrossFit > team sports conditioning" since I was in high school. Now seeing case after case after case after case after case of the great benefits from kids pushing their sports conditioning to the side in the off-season and fully immersing themselves in the Champions Club, how else should I put it? It's short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. At the start of the season the coaches and teammates might be a bit disgruntled. By the time the first scrimmage hits, they'll forget about it when you (or your child) is by far the best conditioning and best prepared athlete on the team, and the only one not worried about some nagging injury.

Also understand that this is completely flipped during the season; the question becomes, "What is the minimum effective CrossFit dose?" The team practices become, rightfully so, the top priority. In the off-season, use the word "voluntary" to your advantage. Find out what days the coach will be there watching. Find out what the important workout days are. Definitely make sure you attend any summer or winter league games or meets! That's sport specific, not conditioning, and those are more important than any CrossFit workout. Find out if there are any sessions where a coach will "voluntarily" sneak in some team strategy stuff. And... that's about it. Leave the rest of the 3 sets of 10 8-lb. kettlebell side squats to those not fortunate enough to do rope climbs, deadlifts, and pull-ups.

CrossFit done correctly and consistently is not only the cure for most chronic diseases we know, but it's also the best strength and conditioning program for any and all sports. That is not an overstatement. The Champions Club when attended consistently follows the best expression of CrossFit when it comes to preparing for sports. In the long run, investing your time here will not only pay off for you, but for your team as well. That has never not been the 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; 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.

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).

Senior Tribute 2018

by, Danielle Worden...

Jennifer Banet aka Jen

One of the most hard working athletes I know. She never gives up especially when it comes to breaking records. Off days you ask? Jen doesn't know what those are. Not only is she a top athlete but she enjoys what she does. Whenever I see her in the gym she never fails to have a smile on her face. She shines bright and inspires those around her. Overall she is an amazing person and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for her!! Good luck girl!

Jennifer's first day at the Champions Club - Summer 2014

Brendan Crawford

I honestly didn't know his first name until a month after meeting him; I only knew him as Crawford. Oh boy where do I start...besides calling everyone a "Jew" Crawford is a pretty good kid and actually quite intelligent, outside the gym. But in the gym he works hard until the work is done and from there on out it's all fun and games. He is definitely the goofball of the gym yet his dumb jokes never fail to put a smile on someone's face. The gym will be much quieter without him but overall his work ethic and personality will be missed. Good luck at Macomb and Lawrence Tech!

Crawford and his 11 am goobers from Summer 2016

...and Carter the Blob

Aaron Sexton

Aaron is one of the weirdest people ever. He can roast you and then be cool with you. A big part about what kept me trying to compete with the rest of the people in a workout is just to beat Aaron a brag to him(never beat him). He has this weird catchphrase that makes no sense whatsoever but is just so odd and catchy that Chris and I both say it. Holy potatoes Jim, its been awhile since you been in the gym.  (That rhymes, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it)

7th grade Aaron Sexton - Summer 2013

Dawson Bielski

I was hella impressed ever time I saw dawson play football and he'd be out on the field. Crossfit has worked wonders on him and from a perspective of a younger highschooler it was interesting to see someone built to be a jock be so chill and relaxed. I would always laugh when he pulled up with the purple Dodge Charger. That was so funny to me.

Super Gump in the flesh with his first double under. Summer 2016

Kenny Jensen

KENNYYYYY. By far one of the quietest people in the gym but that's ok. He works his ass off any work out I've seen him in. I remember the good ol' no on squad with Crawford, Kenny, and the little short kid(matt?mike? Something with an M). That was fun and I'm glad Kenny would be one of the few i tried to keep up with. He always gives his full and I'd like to see him back in the gym some day.

Kenny's death stare in his rookie class at Summer 2016

Beast Mode: Jennifer Setting Records

Champions Club senior Jennifer Banet had herself a weekend for the ages over the past four days. She started things off right on Friday by running a 2:45 split in the 800m relay at the Macomb County Championship meet.

Then on Saturday, her and Danielle spontaneously made up Helen from last Monday after our mobility session. Jennifer hit the girls rx'd version at 9:04, which is a Champions Club high school girls record.

Finally, Jen opted for Murph yesterday and finished with a time of 37:17, whick broke her sister, Erika's, record from 2015 for fastest for a high school girl.

Technically Jennifer will still be in high school for another few days, so we'll see if there's any other records she feels like breaking. But for real though, great job kiddo!

Beast Mode: Jennifer + Champions Club Track Gathering

I would like to take this post to give a special shout out to Jennifer Banet. Known as the drinking fountain from her 2015 Athlete of the Week post, and also as the forgotten Banet from just about everyone in the gym, Jennifer might also be known as the most athletic female we have in the Champions Club. This was on full display during the last two years.

Jennifer was a lifelong softball player in the spring, and even started on Mott's varsity as a freshman and sophomore. Then last year she decided she didn't really like softball. It was kind of boring and since she wasn't playing with her sisters any more, she'd try her hand at track and field. Over the last two seasons, she's been our most diverse female runner, trying everything from pole vault to the 2-mile. This year she really stood out!

She hit a pr in the 1 mile run last week at Regionals with a time of 6:06 - which was only 1 second away from qualifying for the Macomb County Championship meet. Then on Tuesday she pr'd in the long jump at the MAC Blue League Championships meet, jumping 14'2 on her final attempt, and finishing in 3rd place overall. She also hit 3rd place in the mile with a time of 6:08 at Leagues.

Today will mark the last meet of her high school career and I just wanted to give a shout to one of the favorite high school girls I've ever coached. I'm really proud of how she was able to apply her athleticism to 5 different sports through high school and end it on a good note. Jennifer will be running in the 4x800m relay, so try to catch her!

The Macomb County Track and Field Championships are tonight at Warren Mott High School (don't worry about the time, these meets literally last forever) and as luck would have it, there should be quite a few Champions Club peeps gathered. We'll have Jennifer Banet running in the 4x800m relay and Conor Fitzgerald running in the 110m and 300m hurdles for Mott, with Shannon coaching on the sidelines. Then we'll have reigning Athlete of the Winter Danielle Worden - a state qualifying powerlifter - running in Utica Ford's 4x800m relay. Izzy Barone will be doing the mile and maybe something else for Cousino. Robert Kroll is set to run the open 200m and a few relays for De La Salle. And finally, Marathon Matt Fecht is coaching at Cousino.

I'm headed to Mott after the 6:30 pm session if anyone wants to carpool. Should be a good group!

Beast Mode: Banets Fatigued

Last week we did the CrossFit Open workout 18.2 with the slight stipulation that some overtime was allowed on the cleans if need be. For most of the kids who did it, we either allowed 15 minutes instead of the prescribed 12, or 5 attempts regardless of time. The purpose was to use fatigue as a way to challenge their clean technique and positions.

Jennifer and Elizabeth Banet both performed really well in both segments of the workout, but especially the cleans. More than anything, I really loved their failed attempts because of how little they deviated in their form. Check it out.

It's one thing to have good form on max effort days when you have full recovery between sets, but it's a completely different story when you are breathing heavy and your body is screaming at you. Jen and Biff did a great job of calming themselves before every lift for a brief moment. This helped them keep the movement looking consistent.