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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Entries in mrs. kroll (29)

Beast Mode: Cecilia and Mrs. Kroll

We had quite a few good performances on last Thursday's max effort clean day. In the morning, Mrs. Kroll and Cecilia both showed good technique as the weights got heavier. Mrs. Kroll was a little hesitant to fall under, and Cec had a tendency to use her arms too much. But still ended up looking pretty good.

Mrs. Kroll topped out at 75 lbs.

And Cecilia topped out at 125 lbs.

Beast Mode: Mrs. Kroll and Mrs. Fitz + Workout Notes

Most people spend their birthdays partying, making bad choices, or just lounging around doing nothing. Mrs. Fitz might very well be doing some of those things right now as I post this, but before all of that she kept her workout as a priority and hit the 8:30 am session. Her and Mrs. Kroll were going at it for most of the time as they took their best shot as the classic CrossFit benchmark workout, "Eva." Check out the highlights.


Days like today really make me appreciate the collection of people we have at the Champions Club and the culture you guys have created. It was freezing out. And icy. Sure, I threw some salt patches on a few spots in the parking lot, but there was clearly black ice all over the place. That is the recipe for a crappy workout. As a result we saw 10 pr's (12 if you include Jay using Ol' Red and Erica doing unbanded pull-ups) and first-timers like Coach Casey, the Benni, Dylan, Sam, Mrs. Vickie, Mrs. Nevarez, Olivia Pinili, and Evan out-perform expectations. Even scaled to ring rows and a 400m run "Eva" is, as Coach Casey put it, "a lady with very little integrity for herself." The conditions made it that much worse.

Overweight, out of shape, and diseased people often get into their current state from thousands of small, seemingly insignificant decisions that push their health down on the priority list. As these decisions keep happening, it becomes easier and easier to justify not working out or eating poorly. "Well the meal comes with a free fountain drink!" "I'm not feeling great today." "I'm busy." These apply to our workouts at the Champions Club as well.

In reality, conditions will never, ever be perfect for a workout. The session might not fit your time, there might be too many, or too few, or not the right combination of people at your session. Or the parking lot might be icy. But in reality, you always have a choice. All it takes to move in the right direction is one decision on the positive end. Now you're on your way!

Running on the ice is a great Pose drill, but not something that should be done in a group CrossFit session. Running in icy conditions? Eh. Depends. Is there a risk? Of course. How much of one? I wouldn't have the Babies or Alicia "Oh Look Something Shiny" Miranda run in it, but otherwise it would take an unusual straying off-course to make someone fall. The reward is a notch on the toughness and tolerance belt and it outweighed the risk here. These are habits that will last.

When the entire sidewalk is glazed in ice, we won't run. If it's a close call, it would depend on the workout. "Eva" is one of those workouts. I have observed at gyms that allow members to opt-out of running even on beautiful spring days. I can see the appeal, and I can see their membership numbers reflect that.

They can have the numbers. Give me the Champions Club. Any day. Any conditions.

Recommended reading: An Appropriate Time to Swear

Athlete of the Fall: Mrs. Kroll

My first thought was she miscounted her reps. Doing 100 burpees and a mile does not take 14 minutes for a mom. Fresh-off-100%-attendance Ashley Fry took 15 minutes to finish. So two days later I secretly counted just to make sure and nope, no cutting reps whatsoever. Well maybe it's just a lucky string of workouts, so a week later we went heavier on deadlifts then made her do a full 800m run. Still one of the top times of the day. At that point, I had to concede; after 3.5 years Mrs. Kroll is now the real deal.

At around the time in September the picture above was taken, Mrs. Kroll started to get the Jennifer Summer Treatment. Her capacity in the wheelhouse workouts were now a legit thing, so let's see what happens when we remove some of the scaling. This fall Mrs. Kroll went heavier on the weights, further on the runs, longer on the rounds, and less on the bathroom breaks. She also dropped something heavy on her big toe while at work - which kept her hobbling around for a few weeks - and that gave her the opportunity to learn how to train while not at 100%. Needless to say she's been on point. September also saw Mrs. Kroll move from 3 days per week to 4 days per week for the first time in her CrossFit career, and the results seem to show that. Doing CrossFit more days than you don't adds up pretty quickly.


I have many wishes for the Champions Club, and one of the most prominent ones is that some day Mrs. Kroll finds a way to split between morning and afternoon sessions. There are very few people in the gym who are exclusive to a session, and Mrs. Kroll in the morning and nowhere else has been a thing since 2015. As such, there are a lot of people that'll just have to take my word on Mrs. Kroll's Beast Modes because they don't get to see it in person. On the other hand, she lives and works a traffic-induced hour away and is in a position that makes it difficult for her schedule to be flexible. It's somewhat understandable. What is cool, though, is the 8:30 session has finally grown past the Kroll/Shakes duo show and now will feature Mama V, Mrs. Pip, Schornack, Mrs. Vickie, Angie, and even a random Bewick sighting here and there.

The mornings spent in private or semi-private sessions has definitely done a lot for her technique, but it has also given her planty of opportunity to annoy me. Most of you know I go by What Have You Done For Me Lately when it comes to the gym. Good workouts in September don't mean much for October. But for whatever reason I have found myself being more impatient with Mrs. Kroll than just about any other athlete I've coached, and sometimes I tell myself to just sit back and enjoy the product. Part of it is the private attention. Part of it is her incredible lack of composure (think Georgia Tech on a passing down, or Arlene getting her quds mashed). Part of it is the constant bathroom breaks. And part of it is me being greedy and seeing how much more she has in the tank. Mrs. Kroll's biggest limitation in the gym sits perfectly between her ears, but at the same time that mindset is also responsible for her putting her health at such a high priority.

I am going to go on record saying that Mrs. Kroll will be our first-ever repeat Athlete-of-the-Not-Summer (Shakes, Bubs, and Jason have both school year and Summer awards to their names). Of course, I'm in charge of the vote, so I could just rig it, but I'm telling you guys once Mrs. Kroll learns how to not be fearful for her life when she's in a handstand you're going to see the fittest mom in the Champions Club. Bar none.

With all that being said, today is today. And if Mrs. Kroll does not improve one atom in her body for the rest of her life, she'll still be in a condition that many moms in the country wish they were in (including the July-version of Mrs. Kroll). Love ya missy! Great work!


Fall is usually a down time for the Champions Club. 2013 was an exception as The Freaks were in their high school prime. Last year was brutal. This year was actually pretty good. We were almost always in the mid-20s for attendance and we retained a good amount of rookies from the Summer. We picked up Olivia Pinili, the Miranda family, Joel and Jonah, and a fewmore New Kids in the works. Shannon agreed to come back to coach once-a-week. We got turf. And the Thanksgiving Workout was sweet. The Athlete of the Fall was actually a really tough choice between Mrs. Kroll and Mrs. Pip. The fact that Pip is still doing her thing and setting prs 8+ years into CrossFit is really amazing. Mama V was in 3rd place for AOTF running, and Evan Pugh also caught my eye from late-September on. We're in a good place now and looking to have a great winter of training. Let's keep it going!

Beast Mode: Mrs. Kroll and Mama V

My mornings have gloriously featured Mama V and Mrs. Kroll this entire fall. It's been equal parts entertaining and frustrating, but most important is we've seen their fitness take a dramatic uptick since the Summer.

Both hit 100-lbs. on their front squat yesterday. Check it out:

Pics of the Week: Parking Violations and Pickup

Is it against city regulations to take up 4 parking spots in a public lot with your RV camper thing?

Barry doesn't give a flying you-know-what about city regulations! He's going to drive whatever he wants to the 5:30 sessions.

Yesterday morning we played some handball and soccer with the moms in the morning for the warmup. Before any of that, Mrs. Kroll wanted to catch some buckets while I was shooting around.

Beast Mode: Mrs. Kroll

I was really considering skipping the max effort deadlifts yesterday because I didn't think it would look good. Man was I wrong. Coach Casey, Evan, Schornack, Barry, Angie, Erica, and Jesse all flipped the script and turned out excellent form even though I was not expecting as much. And we also saw some very impressive numbers.

Mrs. Kroll has been quietly having a fantastic fall of CrossFit training hiding out at the 8:30 am session. Yesterday she topped out at an impressive 155-lbs. for her 3 rep max! I think that is actually more than her previous 1-rep max. Check it out.

Beast Mode + Workout Notes

The workout on Friday was probably the first time in a while that I felt like I really messed up at the sessions; we needed to do the back squats from the racks so we could go heavier. But this really got me thinking a lot about barbell strength and lifting heavy weights. This is a topic that I ponder and has been covered on this site a handful of times - most famously in the editorial What is Strength? from the glory days of 2015. This topic also popped up in my head while watching college football over the weekend and seeing players continuously tap their helmet to ask for a sub, and also at our basketball open gym while noticing how much more our kids complained about getting fouled when they were tired. And also watching Planet Earth II.

I really, really think CrossFit hit the nail on the head with how they approach building strength. If you can do a 400-lb. deadlift then big ups to you. If you can do a 300-lb. deadlift in the middle of a brutal workout with running and pull-ups mixed in, then you are a different breed of beast.

Strength, in real life, is very, very rarely expressed at full rest. The ability to be strong, - in as many varieties as possible, while being tired is something that I need, you need, my grandma needs, baby Josh needs, and Shea Patterson needs. (Chase Winovich seems to have that covered.) A lot of attention was given last year to Saquon Barkley cleaning 400-lbs.

This is absurd. I would also love to see what his capacity would be doing Elizabeth (even if he needed to up the weight to 155 or 185 pounds). I think most coaches and programs will be blending strength with conditioning sometime in the future - probably when the younger coaches move up in the ranks - but until then it's mostly theoretical, though backed with some good anecdotes.

As far as our gym goes, it's tough to judge purely by numbers because of the variety of athletes. Alexis Anthes is a high school sophomore with 3 months of CrossFit experience and an average strength base coming from Coach T. NuNu is an 8th grader who's feet might well have never both been off the ground at the same time before joining in May. Jay is Jay. Mrs. Pip is Mrs. Pip. Saporito, Elizabeth, and Cecilia are all back in college. I would say Katie Shakes has a perfect capacity of being strong while tired, but then I'll watch her do a push-up in Cindy and reconsider.

Mostly, I judge things based on my gut feeling. We had to get our technique on point at the end of the spring/start of Summer, then we needed to build some stamina in the legs and feet. Now I really think it will help us to feel some heavier weight in the workouts. I don't like it. And Murley/Shannon might not come back until we're through this phase, but I think it's a big part of getting a great effect from workouts like Friday or today. I don't really want any 500-lb. deadlifters, or 300-lb. cleaners, but I would like to see what kind of capacity we can develop with heavier weights within the confines of a workout.

What does this look like? Well as luck would have it, our 8:30 am session did a nice job of showing us this morning.

Normally, Mrs. Pip would have been at 65 lbs., Schornack at 25 or 35 lbs., and Mrs. Kroll at 35 lbs.; here they were at 85, 45, and 55 respectively. Not huge increases, not a weight that would be a big sick of injury, just a little extra something that might require them to slow down a bit and really zone in on the lift. I thought the technique was really good considering it was the third round. Yes, it was technically supposed to be a power clean, but as long as the squat position looked good I wasn't going to mention anything; they already had enough on their mind. Either way, all three were able to keep their positions pretty well with a weight heavier than usual.

More to come!