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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2018!

Next Theme Workout: Shark Week/Hawaiian Mashup - Saturday at 10 am!

Entries in summer 2017 (13)

DIV: Destination In View

On August 20, 2016 I went to the Warren Mott Alumni Cross Country; our 11 am goobers were all running, as well as Matt Fecht, who was probably using the 5k race as a warmup to his warmup. But when I started walking towards the entrance gate the first thing I noticed was not the goobers, or Fecht’s flying-V upper body, or even Coach Mark’s high socks. What I saw produced a glare that could blind a man. Or at least a small child. 

A 110-lb. pale, shirtless David Saporito - a sight that had been absent for over two years.

Sap first joined the Champions Club in October 2013 during the prime of The Freaks Generation; Jason was Jason, JZ and EP just joined, the Banets, Collin, and Aaron Sexton were coming off their first Summer, the Jabaras were about to join, and our Foley crew of Bubs, the Augustyns, the Kimmels, Connor, Bromm…

…Jesus that was an awesome group!

So David joined right in the middle of that as a high school junior looking to boost his already established running portfolio, and he was our best athlete from the day he finished Fundamentals. He rocked it from November through most of March. Then a little incident happened that was completely on me; combine that with a track season that did not go as well as expected and David made the decision to step away from the Champions Club before Summer 2014. The interesting thing, though, was he emphasized that he wanted to come back after his running career was over. I would need chalk to tally how many times I heard this from departing athletes, but I always held out a sliver of hope for the Gingerbread Man.

Fast forward to last August: I tried my best to avoid any CrossFit-related topic when I saw him. But he brought it up almost immediately:

“Dude… I want to do CrossFit! And not to get better at running, but I just want to do CrossFit!” I played it cool, but this definitely got me thinking about the next Summer. Then I got a text sometime in November:

“I am not running Cross Country for Eastern any more. Do you know of a good CrossFit gym in the Ann Arbor area I can go to?”

And Summer 2017 officially began.


“Summer at the Champions Club is a 3-month long family reunion.” – We Love to Hate the Shakes We Love

Truer words may never have been spoken on this site. And Summer 2017 proved that there is just something about this place that you can’t leave unattended for long periods of time. I'm guessing it's the perfect mixture of nostalgia, guilt, and results. I mean, look at the names that came back:

  • Alan – 3-star prospect who met expectations and is sticking with us this fall
  • Binno – is Binno.
  • Cory – unranked coming into Summer, raised gym GPA, and also committed for the fall
  • Craigen – kinda weird with short shorts, but definitely out-performed 2-star status
  • David Sap – AOTS
  • Jacob – lived up to 5-star ranking. Brought in people. Commented on site. Hot in the face.
  • Jay – luck of the draw brought his job close to the gym. Balding but athleticism makes up for it.
  • Kris – D1 athlete who boosts our credibility and need for air fresheners.
  • Steven Carey – also out-performed 2-star status. Good attendance, excellent Coach Tim impression.

And that doesn’t include people like EP, Meghan Murley, Mike Pond, Mr. Fitz, and the Andersons – who have all hinted about coming back in some way, shape, or form. This place is like a magnet. And thank God for that, because this Summer would have been a rough one without those names above.

Jacob Augustine also deserves special recognition; I know he’s one of like 3 friends I have so I try my best not to be biased, but he had just as big of a hand in this Summer’s success as anyone. What started as a wings-and-grinder conversation in late-April turned into a verbal commitment to 2 days per week – which, in the right Jacob mood, is far better than zero days per week. Before I knew it, Jacob literally doubled-down on his promise and brought a crew of goons with him. A Filthy Fifty here, a mobility session there, and a different name might have been destined for the rafters. Which brings me back to the man of the hour.

Usually the best players on the team aren’t the leaders and team captains; it’s the walk-on, grind-it-out white guys who can yell loud and capture everyone’s attention. This is completely fine; usually the best players on the team are busy being responsible for things only the best players on the team can do. In the same way some people are just naturally the best, other people have a weird ability to get their teammates to do what they want. In rare instances when both characteristics reside in the same person, you hit the jackpot. This is the case with David; he is the main instigator for The Freaks group listed above, and he is by far our fittest athlete. His absence was not truly appreciated until we saw him back this Summer. Elizabeth, Jacqueline, and Erika all finished near the top in attendance, and he also had a way of encouraging people like Mrs. Fitz, Binno, Ricky, Shakes, and Crawford to keep theirs up. And on the workout side of things… well, you probably saw.

  • 25+ rounds on Cindy
  • 15:17 on Filthy Fifty
  • 275-lbs. on a 1 RM Front squat
  • 20 minutes on the running/l-pull-up workout
  • 355 1 RM deadlift with good form
  • Stoopid round totals on the Dallas 5 trilogy

In a setting where I value intensity over just about everything else, this kid’s overall motor on a wide range of workouts is about as good as I’ve seen – right up there with the Ryan Richards and Erika Banets in their prime. It was no surprise that David was also very open to getting his form back on point. The entire process is still ongoing – we couldn’t get rid of the deadlift setup flinch all the way, and same with loading his knees – but he made a ton of progress to the point where I’m fairly confident he should be able to workout on his own with minimal damage before coming back for Christmas.

Usually the best players on the team are also the least coachable. David had something to say about that as well.


I judge the Champions Club based solely on three categories: Coaching, Movement, and Community. It starts with me and whoever else can tolerate me at the time (usually Murley or Shannon) and comes down to what kinds of standards we set both inside the gym and out. Then we look at movement, and it’s really simple: how well can the Champions Club athletes move without being coached? Finally we have community; is the Champions Club a family or not?

Here’s a family test: Jack and JZ were both not on good terms with me when they left this past year. I am stubborn, they are them, and I didn’t budge so they did. It was pretty tense on both sides leading up to it. So did I miss them when they left? Hell freaking yes! Can they be replaced in the gym? Hell freaking no! Who will come in with skintight suites with dickbutt stitched in leather? Who will recite the entire Django KKK scene in perfect cadence? Family members cannot be replaced in any way, shape, or form, even if you don't want their professional service. Just because you don’t need your uncle the plumber to fix your faucet doesn’t mean he’s not your uncle.

Now when we do get people back after a long hiatus the Movement aspect obviously becomes an issue. Steven and Craigen took 5 years off; Crawford was probably just being born last time they were in here. There is zero chance their form will be good right away. Sap got to work out some kinks when he came back during Christmas, but then he had another 4-month break before starting back up in late-April. Luckily he has the combination of being athletic and coachable and his form was more than respectable by the end of the Summer. Here’s the way I look at it: I can live with a decrease in overall movement quality for 3 months if it means we get some old faces back because those very faces make our Community so much better. And should they want to stick it out after Summer, I know their form will gradually improve.

Bottom line: once in the Champions Club, always in the Champions Club. The timing might not be right at this moment, or next week, or even this year. But I have a good feeling most of those who wondered will be back within our walls someday. This Summer was a perfect microcosm of that, and it was led by David Saporito. Trust me on this one, if he came back, anyone can. But just a warning: there is a little grunch who also calls this her family who might attack upon return. It’s the magnet thing.


Summer 2017 Final Attendance

After some double checking, adjusting, and guessing, here's the Summer 2017 attendance numbers as close as we can see them.

Name          Attendance        Total Possible          Percent
1Andre 26 31 84%
Shakes 58 72 81%
Elizabeth 57 72 79%
Binno 34 48 71%
Sabal 47 72 65%
David Sap 42 68 62%
Murley 43 72 60%
Erika 42 72 58%
Crawford 41 72 57%
10Conor 40 72 56%
Fry 39 72 54%
Jacqueline 39 72 54%
Mr. Warthman 39 72 54%
Jacob 38 72 53%
Josh 38 72 53%
Mrs. Fitz 37 72 51%
Issac 29 58 50%
Mrs. Carey 36 72 50%
Ricky 31 63 49%
20Josh H 14 29 48%
Erica 33 72 46%
Mrs. Howey 13 29 45%
Craigen 31 72 43%
Kroll 31 72 43%
Mr. Carey 31 72 43%
Mr. Z 31 72 43%
Mrs. Dawkins 25 58 43%
Avery 30 72 42%
Pat 30 72 42%
30Maria 29 72 40%
Reggie 29 72 40%
Bubs 27 68 40%
Steven 28 72 39%
Sophia 22 58 38%
Mrs. Pip 27 72 38%
Jay 11 30 37%
Cory 26 72 36%
Lindsey 26 72 36%
Kenny 25 72 35%
40Crystal 24 72 33%
Jennifer 24 72 33%
Kris 12 36 33%
Emily 19 58 33%
Alyssa 22 68 32%
Mrs. Bass 13 42 31%
Olivia 14 47 30%
Carter 21 72 29%
Mrs. Kroll 20 72 28%
Alan 19 72 26%
50Arlene 18 72 25%
Nolan Wesner 15 62 24%
Mr. Wonsil 17 72 24%
James 13 72 18%
Madelyn 13 72 18%
Mr. Auggie 11 72 15%
Elle 7 72 10%
Nate 7 72 10%
Fecht 4 72 6%
Mama V 4 72 6%
60Finegan 2 72 3%
EP 1 72 1%
Conamora* 10 10 100%
Zeena* 9 10 90%
Simone* 7 10 70%
Sydni* 7 10 70%
Drew* 7 10 70%
Natalie* 4 6 67%
JT* 4 6 67%
Josh* 5 8 63%
Ender* 6 10 60%
Lily* 6 10 60%
Jacqueline* 6 10 60%
Bryce* 2 4 50%
Samantha* 5 10 50%

The attendance numbers were a little bit down this Summer, and while there may be some mistakes in there it's probably not too far off. If you think your attendance number should have been better, let me know and I can send you the days there were marked absent and you can double-check.

On the plus side, we could have a pretty solid carry-over from the Summer to the fall. Jacob, Jay, and Alan are on board. The babies are staying. And I'm working on our 10 am session as well.

So again, thank you guys for another fun Summer and let's keep it rolling for the next couple months!

Champions Club Summer 2017 Dream Team + Athlete of the Summer

Since around mid-July, the Athlete of the Summer race was down to two athletes in my eyes: Jacob Augustine and David Saporito. Both have shown a great rebound from some time away, both have an incredible domino effect within the community. And, most importantly, both were 5-star prospects on the Summer 2017 Wishlist. Over the last couple days I have been pondering over this decision and it even rode into this morning. I'll be honest, I didn't do a great job on making sure the attendance recording was as accurate as it needed to be, so there might be some days missing for some people. However, I am still at peace with the decision. David Saporito is the Athlete of the Summer.

Sap can just flat out go, man. He has that ability to go to "that place" on workouts like Cindy, Filthy Fifty, and just about anything that involves running. However, the most impressive thing for me was his ability to jump back on track with our form standards. We worked all Summer on the knees-forward fault on everything, and also his setup on deadlifts. David showed very good patience in relearning some of the technique points that were once second-nature to him. Ironically, I thought Jacob was on point with this as well. David and Jacob were both very similar in their dynamics this Summer, and that will be covered more in the Athlete of the Summer Feature Series I write on Sap. Their attendance stories were very similar, with neither showing up to quite as many days as I initially thought once I checked the stats. Jacob missing the Filthy Fifty and the day before played a big part late in the Summer, while Sap's stretch in early July put him in the doghouse for a bit. Over the course of the Summer, I think David had the better consistency, therefore he's going up in the rafters.

I am truly thankful to have you back on board David! As usual we had a good supporting cast for this Summer. Here's the official Dream Team selections (percent attendance in parenthesis):

1. Andre Saffar (83)

2. Katie Shakes (80)

3. Elizabeth Banet (79)

4. Binno (70)

5. Aaron Sabal (65)

6. David Saporito (61)

7. Nicole Murley (59)

8. Erika Banet (58)

9. Brendan Crawford (56)

10. Conor Fitzgerald (55)

How about my man Andre finishing in first place by percentage points! This rookie came in right after the 80's workout and missed only 5 days in the mix. He led the way for a 10 am crew that started off slow, but ended up being a vital addition to the Champions Club Summer. Aside from the Jacob and David race, I was heavily considering Elizabeth and Jacqueline for the honor of Athlete of the Summer as well. Elizabeth, as I wrote about in the Z-axis post, bounced back from her lackluster Summer 2016 and is near her peak physical shape. Jacqueline is, in my opinion, in the best shape I have ever seen her during the last 4+ years. She's doing butterfly pull-ups, running like a normal person, and still has a squat only rivaled in form by Mrs. Carey. Finally, if Conor Fitz didn't spend the first half of the Summer in bed sleeping until 4 pm, he might have been up in the running as well.

The theme of the Summer seemed to be The Reunion, with David, Jacob, Binno, Cory, Steven, Craigen, and Alan all making returns to their old home on Stephenson Hwy. This definitely specid things up for us and while the form was not always great, the community was. I'll take that tradeoff for 3 months out of the year.

Like I said, there are a few spots of attendance I need to double-check, so the final numbers will be posted sometime next week. Overall the attendance was similar to last Summer; lower for our regular crew, but evened out on the weekends thanks to another 5-star prospect (or should I say, many 5 star prospects).

Only one missing from the picture is Drew.

I would be doing a disservice not to include my favorite session at the moment: The Babies. These kids knocked every Saturday out of the park by their rapid improvements and milestones. We had tons of rope climbs, pull-ups, and vaulting pr's set.

Our group totaled 13 kids by the time Summer wrapped up, with Conamora becoming the first person since Katie Bromm to tally a perfect Summer attendance. This crew is so much fun to work with. Be on the lookout for more highlights from them as the fall rolls on.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Summer. This is my favorite time of year for the Champions Club, and you guys did not disappoint. Next year we're going to see if we can be a little more organized with session times/attendance, and we'll see if that gets the attendance numbers back up to around where they were in 2015. It was definitely a late-blooming Summer, so hopefully that means we have a good fall in the works. Either way, till next year...

Thank you,


New Graduate: Olivia

Another Berkley girl in the ranks! Olivia finished Fundamentals on Monday morning with a modified "Helen." She already fits in perfectly with the 9AM crew with her disdain for all things heavy and arm-related. Olivia will be training this summer to get her in shape for her fall soccer (and cross country we hope??) season.

Could she possibly be more sassy than Maria? You'll just have to find out. Come to the 9AM session and be the judge.

Summer Email Poll

This has definitely been a long time coming, but I finally got around to chopping up the Summer 2017 emails to be voted on by the fans. So without further ado, choose your favorite:

1. Alan Wisniewski, 3-star prospect

2. Jacob's profanity at the time change

3. David Sap is...

4. Lindsey tries to one-up her cousin in the foreign language department.

5. Murley hits "reply all"

6. Elle being Elle

7. Only Ashley Fry...

8. Only Pat...

9. Katie Shakes's meme

10. Faust being Faust

11. Juan Junkin returns...

Vote for your favorites to comments!

New Kid on the Block: Olivia

We have another sassy sophomore joining our ranks! Olivia Harbert is Maria's friend and Avery's soccer teammate (at least we think so?). She is also a sprinter in track. Her coach taught her some pretty solid mechanics in lunging, and she is pretty quick to pick up on everything except possibly jump ropes. Yesterday we wrapped up day 4 of fundamentals with a lot of push-ups, dips, handstands, presses... so say a prayer for her shoulders today!

Olivia will probably be joining a morning session starting next week, so be on the lookout and be sure to welcome her to the club!

Lego Workout Format

Brian the Trainer was kind enough to meet up with me yesterday and helped brainstorm the final details of tomorrow's Lego Theme Workout. Here's what we came up with:

Split group into teams of two.

There are four phases of Lego building:

  • Load-bearing (building a base)
  • Execution (following the directions)
  • Gift-wrapped (passing the set to someone else)
  • Out the door (letting your imagination run wild)

Each team gets four minutes at each phase of the workout to complete as many reps as possible. The more reps a team completes, the more Lego blocks from our stash they accumulate. After the final phase, each team will have 5 minutes to build the highest structure possible out of the Legos they have.

Winning team is solely determined by the highest Lego structure, not the reps completed.

You guys should know by now that any workout Brian is involved in creating is never this simple; there always needs to be rules in place to help Brian gain an advantage. So for this workout, there will be four "cards" available for teams to play on someone. They are:

  • Missing piece
  • Glued together
  • Angry sibling
  • Leg-oh! (don't step on the Lego)

Details will be revealed on the cards handed out during the workout.

Tomorrow. 9 am. This should be a good one!