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Congratulations to David Saporito, Athlete of the Summer, 2017

See his feature editorial here.


Entries in murley (117)

From the Vault: Michael Without the Secret GHD

Everyone in attendance got a good taste of one of the original CrossFit Hero workouts, Michael. Run 800 meters, 50 hip extensions, 50 sit-ups. We had a session of 12 today and were able to hit the workout without any problem thanks in part to our Secret GHD machine that fits 10 people at once (5 per side). Yes, might feel like riding the Gemini at Cedar Point, but it gets the job done and has since Ryan built it for us before the Summer 2014.

What did we do before the secret GHD, you ask? Well, improvise as the Champions Club always does. Here's Shannon, Murley, and Katie Bromm on their attempt at Michael from March, 2013.

Case Study: The Z-axis

I, Chris Sinagoga, can deadlift and squat more weight than Jacob at this time. And if I overheard correctly, Carter the Blob can deadlift more than Jack Trastevere. If that isn't an attention-getter, then I don't know what is.

...........

In the days before Summer 2012 was going to begin, Ryan Richard and I went out to Hyperfit USA (the Playboy Mansion of Michigan CrossFit gyms) to buy some equipment - the silver bars, the white rope, black box, and the black mats, to name a few. One of the coaches asked Ryan about some of his workouts and seemed genuinely impressed with the numbers. But he did say one thing in specific that I still remember:

"The thing you need to focus on now is not necessarily hitting a pr every time, but keeping everything within a certain range."

This also falls in line with Matt Fecht's former Quote of the Week about what would happen if people pr'd every time. And it also is parallel with the Pass it On post from December. And probably a ton of other things that has been up here on the site. But on a bigger scale, this was formalized on February 1, 2009 in the CrossFit Journal. Up until this point, Coach Glassman made waves in the exercise community by putting a scientific definition of fitness out for the world to test. But he realized that this formula - work capacity measured across broad time and modal domains - was limited. So he added a Z-axis to his graph that would account for longevity.

Graph of fitnessGraph of health

If fitness was defined as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains" then health could be defined as "fitness through the years."

In other words, your health and fitness is not determined so much by peaks and valleys as it is by consistency as you age. Whenever I get the chance to talk to other CrossFitters and coaches, this is the one thing I try to emphasize most because I think this is our specialty at the Champions Club. If your attendance is consistent, you can bet you will be in a steady-climbing constant ready-state for the next 10 years, and theoretically beyond that. That is a bold statement and avoiding pitfalls takes efficient coaching on my part, tons of patience on your part, and great communication from both sides.

...........

Elizabeth Banet had a Summer 2015 for the record books that resulted in a banner. She beat out a group of 5 athletes at their peak during the best Summer the Champions Club has ever witnessed. She was not a human being, plain and simple. And with all that being said, I am even more impressed with what she has done this Summer.

Biff made one good decision on Monday, April 24 to come in to the 6:30 session after a few months of hit-and-miss attendance; she stayed within the restrictions of what her fitness was at that time. Then made another good decision the next day. And then one more the next day. And she kept making good, daily decisions; all of a sudden I looked up in July thinking, "dang...this might be the fittest Elizabeth has ever been!" The same story can be said for her sister, Jacqueline. During the early winter, Jackie caught a bout of Mono; not only was she out of it for a few weeks, but she never could quite get that consistency back even when she was healthy. That is, until she did. And now she beats Elizabeth in most workouts.

Similarly, Summer 2016 Nicole Murley is probably the best female "CrossFiter" to ever call the Champions Club their home. I'm sure there is some level of bias, obviously, but when I think about the all-around demands of CrossFit workouts, you really can't say she's outside of the top 7 in anything, scaled or unscaled. She was not as fast as Shannon, not as strong as Shakes, not as flexible as Elizabeth, but her all-around ability was Mario with a Star in Mario Super Sluggers for the Nintendo Wii. In fact, Murley was on pace to challenge Shakes for the banner when she got a phone call about a Chemistry teaching vacancy at Riverview Gabriel Richard. Despite it being a year earlier than anticipated, she had to take it. As a result, her CrossFit ability decreased. But how much exactly? Here's her Filthy Fifty times over the years:

January 15, 2012 - 26:50 as rx'd pr

August 4, 2012 - 24:08 as rx'd pr

January 13, 2013 - 23:37 as rx'd (minus box jumps - 20 in. box) pr

August 13, 2013 - 18:55 (16k/14#/45)

August 16, 2014 - 18:53 guys rx'd

Last Friday - 18:38 guys rx'd (minus 14 med ball/20 box)

Judging by just her times, I would definitely look at Friday as anywhere from a win to a major win. Assuming she would have done a 2016 Filthy Fifty in around 18:00 with guys rx'd, this is not too far off. For her to be in the 17-minute range at this exact time, she would need to not be a teacher, have another year of Cross Country eligibility, and be generally interested in doing CrossFit on a regular basis. None of those conditions were realistic on August 18, 2017, so with that being said, she was at-worse 2 minutes slower than her peak self. Again, I would take that as a win. And if you look at it from another perspective:

Filthy Fifty times for other teachers: DNF/TL;DR

...........

I actually don't know for sure that I can deadlift more than Jacob at this exact moment in time; my max is probably in the high(ish) 300's, so if he can do that with a herniated disk then so be it. But either way, I am going to let MS Paint illustrate how I see it:

In this theoretical world with Jacob and I starting CrossFit at exactly the same point in fitness and time, he has a couple options: 1. deadlift as much as possible as soon as possible and live with the results or 2. accept his limitations (mobility, midline strength, coordination, arm length), and take a slower approach to his lift - which should turn out much better in the long run. In other words: prioritize the Z-axis, or don't.

I did a post about framing while running a while ago - essentially the more compact you keep the frame, the better your running will be. Same can be said for your fitness. In my opinion, the Pretend Jacob model would be better than the Jacob model despite taking much longer to hit the mutual maximum weight because there is less down time. Now, if he was competing in a weightlifting meet, or just wanted to be as strong as possible right now, I cannot argue against that. My opinion would just be that it is smarter to go the long-term route. Ideally you want to be in a position where you can, at any point in time, say, "I can come pretty close to my best right now", and there is too much time "under the curve" for my liking. In the grand scheme of things, the weight difference on the plus side only matters if you value your deadlift number over everything else. Again, I can only speak on what I think is best to value, but to each their own. I just know I would be embarassed if, for example, one of my track kids asked me to sprint a 400 with them and I had to decline because I wore out my knees overtraining for a marathon.

The longevity expression of CrossFit is an area that I rarely compromise on; sometimes Matt Fecht has to be ready for a race in a month, or Big Kris needs to be able to run 5 miles before going off to Air Force, etc. But this realization of the Z-axis in our fitness, coupled with the idea of having a "constant ready-state" are both integral in our training. And this is precisely why I am so impressed with Murley's Filthy Fifty time, and Elizabeth/Jacqueline's overall Summer. Whatever their training was leading up to these events provided a solid base that made it really, really difficult to fall completely off the cliff. They each made small, smart decisions on a daily basis to help their long-term health and now they could reasonably say they have a chance to pr for anything that comes up (with the exception of Murley's Cross Country race, obviously). Going forward they might get greedy and see if they can eclipse their prime, or they might get greedy in a different way: prioritize other things in their life and see how little they can manage to deviate away. And it might be a different answer depending on what time of year it is. Whichever they choose, you can bet they will be somewhere in the ballpark of fitter than most of the girls they will ever meet, whenever they meet them, in 20 minutes or 20 years from now.

And if they are really lucky, they'll be Mrs. Carey, who is coming up on 8 years into CrossFit and still on the steady climb up.

Army Workout Recap

Earlier this morning we brought back the Summer 2014 Army Theme Workout with a few twists in the mix. First, we had an even group of 12, so we did teams of 4 instead of 5. As such, we took out the ring dip station in an attempt to keep the rotations even. Next we took out the partner deadlift because Coach T's monster sandbags are not here any more and added a bar swing in place, we subbed a medicine ball run for the double unders, and last but not least, Binno came up big for us and brought some 60-lb. logs from his house we could use for the cleans in conjunction with the tire flips.

After people got the hang of it, it seemed to go pretty smoothly.  The playlist was also very interesting; Binno managed to find an Army Cadence station on Spotify, which sounded exactly like you would imagine. The winning team consisted of Elizabeth, Murley, Saporito, and Ricky. You can see the full results here. And I managed to snap a few pictures that can be seen in the August '17 Daily WODs photo gallery.

Great job to everyone today, good looks to Elizabeth for bugging me over and over to bring this one back, and I think we might have room for one more theme workout between now and Harry Potter. So be on the lookout.

Pics of the Week Are Drawrings of a Clown... and Copyright Infringement

First and foremost, Josh Ellsworth comes in on Monday with this shirt...

Can we sue? Do we know lawyers? Does Josh even know what is going on? Probably not, but Farmington Hills Harrison probably saw a shirtless picture of Jacob and knew it was time to bite our name. As Sap would say, "I'm pissed."

...........

Also, apparently there was a to-do in Berkley last weekend where its inhabitants drew on the sidewalk with chalk and such. Murley and her cousin, Meghan (former Champions Club OG), took their talents to the sidewalk. For those who were not around in the earlier days, Meghan is a pretty sick artist. She drew and designed all of the artwork here at the gym, including the scopes on the walls and Position-Movement-Purpose under the loft.

Welp, last week she drew this:

How to Recover After This Bogus Week

There was nothing good about this week. We know if Linda is in the conversation with the easiest workout in a set, it's a rough one. If you've been consistent with your attendance, you've probably decomposed into a fine paste. Heck, even if you were just at the Filthy Fifty you will be feeling that for a bit. Learning how to bounce back from these rough stretches of workouts is an important part of being an athlete.

Two years ago Murley did a good post about knowing when to just chill and rest or go through some kind of active recovery. Check it out.

Rest vs. Recovery

Giving Tuesday

Hello everyone! I normally wouldn't do this, but this is a great cause and if you're feeling giving, please consider making a small donation ($5 or $10 is appreciated!) to Gabriel Richard. All of the money raised from this fundraiser will go toward 

1) classroom renovations (including our favorites, standing desks)

2) the student scholarship fund. Since Gabriel Richard is private, students pay tuition to attend. The scholarship fund helps families who could otherwise not afford it provide their children with quality education.

Click the link to find the donation page: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GRBurgundyTuesday

Every little bit helps. THANK YOU!

Murley's Curtain Call

When Nicole Murley transferred back from Pitt after one semester in 2012, there was more than a few people who questioned that decision. It was hinted at in the post she made, but in the end it came down to her being where she wanted to be.

I was definitely glad to have one of my coaches back in action, but when she told me she wanted to run Cross Country while she was at Madonna, my first reaction was, "Whyyy?" I told her I didn't see a point to it and I didn't think she would last all four years - especially after hearing she was at the back of the pack her first few weeks.

I know you guys probably don't believe me when I say this, but I love it when you guys prove me wrong, and Nicole Murley was a constant reminder for the past four years of how my doubt can be dead wrong! Yesterday, she finished her last Cross Country race as a collegiate student/teacher/coach/athlete. I don't know how she does it, or why she does it, but she does, and I am definitely proud of her for it.

In the limited contat I've had with her since the Summer, I know she hasn't been able to hit the times she was anticipating back in June and July. I know she wanted to go sub-19 and stay in the team's top 7 - which would give her a chance to qualify for Nationals. But I think we can all understand that the new teaching gig had to take priority. And even with that, her times did not suffer much. Her season pr - 20:08 - came after 2 weeks of lesson planning, test grading, rule-bending Mama V lecturing, and virtually no running. Most of all, she didn't quit. I know from experience how difficult that can be, and I didn't have to answer to a boss at the time either (not like I'm going to fire myself from the Champions Club). Murley is a machine, dude. No other way around it.

Hopefully she can find some motivation to keep her fitness at least in the ballpark of what it's been the past four years and drop by the gym between studying for tests one hour and grading them the next. Either way, congratulations on a good career, Murley. You're the definition of an over-achiever. And that trait will take you a long way.