Friday 141212

For Time:
30 – 25 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5 reps of
Double unders
Ring push-ups
GHD Sit-ups

Post time to comments or BTW

Shaina doing work.  Good Luck this weekend!

Shaina doing work. Good Luck this weekend! (sorry for the poor pic quality)

Verve would like to take this opportunity to wish SHAINA JORDAN the best of skill luck this weekend as she travels to compete in the American Open Championships.  Here are some interesting facts about the American Open Championships that will help you realize what a big deal this is :

#1 – To qualify, Shaina had to lift a combined total of 166kg (365.2 lbs) between her Snatch and Clean and Jerk to qualify.

#2 – Shaina is one of only 200 women from across the country who met the lifting criteria and will be competing for their respective weight.

#3 – Shaina has only been lifting for 4 years!!  Talk about natural talent!

You can watch the live feed for all lifting HERE






Thursday 141211

Find a 1RM of the following complex:
Snatch pull + hang power snatch + overhead squat

Then, accumulate 30m handstand walk

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Ryan putting in some work while his partners in crime, Robyn and Trey, watch on. Just a few of the athletes representing Verve during last month's Turkey Challenge.

Ryan putting in some work while his partners in crime, Robyn and Trey, watch on. Just a few of the athletes representing Verve during last month’s Turkey Challenge.


Dear Universe, knock that s#@t off right now. Thank you, Courtney

I’m 33 years old and the universe has not slowed down in serving me up some hearty life lessons. I suspect it never will. The universe is on a mission to constantly remind me that I am an adult, and as such have to deal with adult problems like paying bills, running a business, rehabbing injuries sustained most likely from an aging body and not from doing something fun and youthful. In the words of Jorge, #firstworldproblems. None the less, I thought maybe it was time I laughed in the face of the universe, time to get ahead of this situation and basically pre learn these ridiculous life lessons before they smack me over the head. So I did what any good universe defying rebel would do, I got on the inter webs and googled “important life lessons everyone should learn”. Yeah, I was hoping for some short, definitive list, turns out there isn’t one. What there is, is a plethora of people out their with their own opinion on what life’s most important lessons are.

Marc Chernoff, author of the article “7 Important Life Lessons Everyone Learns The Hard Way” (click here for full article), had some good stuff to say:

1) The people you lose remain a part of you.
2) The pursuit of happiness is about finding meaning.
3) Seeking validation from others invalidates YOU.
4) Regret hurts far worse than fear.
5) Life is too unpredictable for rigid expectations.
6) When you try to run away, you end up running in place.
7) Unanticipated hardships are inevitable and helpful.

Definitely valid and important information, but to be honest, I felt like I was already pretty solid with that stuff. I needed something more practical. I liked what I read when I got to “The life lessons school should teach you” by Lauren Laverne, this was the practicality I was looking for (click here for full article):

It’s OK to be a nerd If nerds ran the world there would be no wars. Only unconvincing battle re-enactments in meticulously correct period costume.

Love Never date anyone who is rude to waiters.

Style Never buy anything to impress someone you don’t know. Never wear a T-shirt with a face on it that’s more attractive than yours.

Socializing All the good bits of a night out happen before 2am. Don’t feel the need to stay up any later. Drugs have a terrible rate of return: they make you ugly, boring and ill, in that order. (The legal ones are the worst.) When talking to someone you like, don’t be nonchalant. Be complimentary. Everyone likes compliments, except dickheads, and it’s usually politic to identify them as quickly as possible.

Art Good art never makes you feel too stupid to understand it, even when you don’t.

Family If you love them, call them often and tell them so.

The internet Don’t use it as a junk drawer for your least interesting thoughts. Never post anything in anger. It makes you look powerless. If you wouldn’t get it out on the bus, don’t put it up online. Never sleep with anyone who uses more than three hashtags per post. #LOL #bantz #Purebantz #Psychicdeath #Shitinbed.

I can’t lie though, I still think I need more. I’m certain there is a lesson to be learned about answering a business phone and the caller says “hey it’s me” and just starts talking. But you have no clue who “me” is. And now you haven’t actually heard a word they have said because you are meticulously studying every inflection in their voice to identify them. When do you let that cat out of the bag?

How about when you just meet a person for the first time and they have food in their teeth? Not just a tiny dot of something up in the corner but like some major food particles all up in their grill, front and center? You were introduced to this person by a good friend, who is in fact NOT blind. So if good friend wasn’t willing to point it out, do you as new acquaintance?

I don’t need a list of lessons on dealing with failing (in order to succeed you must first fail), or lessons on friendship (a true friend doesn’t put you down but lifts you up), blah, blah, blah. I get that, what I’m asking you for is lessons in professional etiquette and courtesy. Lessons, big or small, laced with humor or dead serious, that have profoundly impacted your life. I’ll take whatever you got.

Wednesday 141210

3 rounds for time:

30 Toes to bar
15 Clean and jerks, 155# (105#)

Post time to comments and BTW.

Life would be better if we just wore more tutus.

Life would be better if we just wore more tutus.  Words to live by Carmen.

“Mom, sometimes waiting is really hard to do. . .”  –a 3 year old wise beyond her years close to me. 

True, true.  Waiting is nearly always really hard to do.  Anticipation is a big, magical part of childhood.  Seems like we were always waiting for holidays, the end of the school day, summer break, or to be old enough to do something amazing.  Despite the fun in anticipating, we still never seemed to lose the view of beauty in each day.  Even in this season of anticipation for Christmas, she finds every snowflake sparkling, every taste of coconut water sweet, every snuggle warm and cozy.  

Sometimes in our fitness journey we forget how to enjoy all the small steps.  Whether it’s just dancing with friends between heavy sets of squats, high fives on a running loop, or the opportunity to even pick up a barbell.  Often our beginnings of CrossFit are filled with PR’s, many firsts, and huge leaps of improvement.  The longer we stay the journey it evens out more with a small but steady gain.  I PR’d my max clean last Wednesday, but then was disappointed not to PR my 3RM jerk  on Friday.  I got greedy!  Then I realized what a gift that I can even walk in our doors and pickup a barbell, that I can move my body each day, that I got to work out with Anna and hear her laugh (that seriously makes my day every time.)  

We clean up our nutrition and we want overnight results, we start a new workout routine and we want immediate changes, we are surrounded by an impatient society.  Technology teaches us to expect immediate results, but we can’t lose sight that it is in our small steps that true joy exists.  It’s in the fact that earlier this year maybe you did 21 pull-ups in a workout, but now you can do 30 pull-ups, that you can deadlift your bodyweight not 1 but 2 times in a row, that you are coming consistently 3x/week instead of 2x/week.  That maybe my jerks haven’t PR’d but my handstand pushups have improved consistency.  

It doesn’t get easier to wait, but we can enjoy each other and celebrate our moments of fun along the way.  Shout it out!  Our community loves to hear and celebrate with you.  What is one of your small victories this week?  Share to comments, we want to hear all about it.  

Tuesday 141209

For time:
Row 1000 meters
50 Medicine ball cleans 20#(14#)
50 Hip extensions
50 Dumbbell walking lunges 40#(25#)
50 Ab-mat sit ups
Run 1 mile

Post time to BTWB.

Rowing, it's best with a friend.

Rowing, it’s best with a friend.

Interesting articles from around the Internet.  

Weightlifting is great because it will helps us look great and get swole, but another benefit to lifting heavy weights is the benefits it has on our mental health.  In the article, Can Weightlifting Help Your Brain Perform, research proves that regular resistance training can provide benefits to our mental well being including, improved memory, slowing of onset dementia, and a boost to our overall brain performance.

Going To Bed Late Can Increase Negative Thinking And Worry

Of course going to bed late can lead to sleep deficiency, but according to a new study, going to bed late can also lead to persistent worry and negative thinking.  This is the first study to link repetitive negative thinking (RNT) to sleep schedules.  Those in the study that considered themselves morning people displayed less RNT than the people in the study that considered themselves evening people.  

100 Tricks To Help You De-Stress

I’m pretty sure we all get stressed at some point.  If you don’t, not only am I jealous of you, but you may be a cyborg.  The above link provides a resource to 100 quick tricks to help you get rid of your stress.  Some are quite simple and others may require a little more work, but if they work, I think we can all agree that it’s worth it.


Verve is having an Ugly Sweater themed holiday party Saturday December 13th @ Jake’s starting at 7pm. All are welcome, including kids. There will be food, drinks, good conversation, and of course door prizes. We will also be accepting coats and winter clothing to be donated to the Denver Rescue Mission. Please RSVP to comments, or on our Facebook event page, with the number of people in your party.




Monday 141208

Box squats

9-7-5 reps for time:
Front squats 60% of 5RM above
Bar muscle-ups

Post score to BTW.


Why It’s Time to Break Up With Your Knee Sleeves


Are you a chronic “knee-sleever”? Do you wear your knee sleeves for workouts that include wall balls, air squats, or any other lower body movement?

What follows is an excerpt from an article I found on – a lot of really good points!

The research is clear. Knee sleeves are helpful for managing pain in people who already have arthritis. They also give people a sense of joint positioning. But using proper mobilization techniques is a better method for joint positioning because you can see the difference during your test and retest.

Compression is only helpful when worn for extended periods of time, not just for one to two hours while you are exercising.

 The bottom line is you should have a warm-up and mobility piece planned to accompany your workout (don’t wing it, that never works), and you should use the ideas above to identify and manage issues contributing to any knee pain. 

 “Compression is only helpful when worn for extended periods of time, not just for one to two hours while you are exercising.”

If you truly believe there are benefits to knee sleeves, then it’s time you started drinking your own Kool-Aid and just upgrade to the full-body sleeve.

For the rest of us, its time to man up (like Kendrick Ferris) and ditch the knee sleeves.

Check out the original article here.

Sunday 141207

3 rounds for time
7 reps Bear Complex, 95# (65#)
Run 400m
Rest 3 minutes
3 rounds for time
10 Deadlift, 95# (65#)
10 Hand release push ups

Post time to comments or BTW

Only serious business with serious weight!  Way to provide support your buddies Nate!

Eric is unamused by Nate’s antics!



This recipe may be a little heavy on the fat, but is equally heavy in the delicious!! You could replace the almond flour with coconut flour (don’t use equal parts, you would use 1/3c coconut flour).  Thank you for this delicious recipe.

Serves 9 ~ 1P, 1C, 5F

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Melt butter and coconut oil in the microwave or over slow heat on stove top
  2. Stir in and combine with eggs, vanilla and honey
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sea salt
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until they are combined well (Don’t overdo it!)
  5. Pour into greased 8×8 pan and stick it in the 325 oven for 20-25 minutes
  6. Test with a fork or toothpick in the center. When it comes out clean, this is done.
  7. Enjoy

Saturday 141206

5 rounds, each for time:
20 pull-ups
30 push-ups
40 sit-ups
50 squats

Rest precisely 3 minutes between each round.

Post score to BTW.

Jay, gearing up for a bar muscle-up.

Jay, gearing up for a bar muscle-up.

A Couple Updates For You:

  • New Foundations starts this Monday the 8th – you can sign up in person here in the gym.
  • Ugly Sweater Party happening Saturday December 13th, 7:00 pm at Jakes!
  • Progenex Peppermint Bark Recovery is back! Pick up yours now – once it’s gone, it’s GONE!
  • Modified schedule during the week of X-Mas and New Years – see MBO for details.
  • Level 1 Seminar on January 17th and 18th.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend everyone!


Friday 141205

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Burpees
1 Rope climb
30 Double unders

Post rounds to comments of BTW

Congratulations to Jason Kaplan and his family on the recent birth of Scarlett and Sebastian.  Both mom and babies are doing great!

Congratulations to Jason Kaplan and his family on the recent birth of Scarlett and Sebastian. Both mom and babies are doing great!

Verve Ugly Sweater Party!!

When: Saturday, December 13th starting at 7pm ending ??????? (when the bar closes)

Where: Jake’s Food and Spirits

3800 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205

What:  A gathering of generally fit people who, not only like to lift heavy stuff, but party like rock stars!!  We will have food, drinks, games, and lots of giveaways.

We will also be having a Winter Clothing drive to gather donations for the Denver Rescue Mission.  If you have any items that you no longer need, bring them in and you can get an extra entry into the drawings throughout the night!

Voting for the Ugliest Sweater will be from the hours of 7pm – 9pm with the drawing happening at 9pm.  Any ballot stuffing will be frowned heavily upon, but who are we kidding, we wills till count them!

We realize that you may have many other parties that you may feel obligated to attend, but put this one on the top of your list!!

Thursday 141204

Push jerk 3-3-3-3-3 reps

Then, 50 hang power snatch for time, 75#(55#)

Post loads and times to comments and BTWB

Beth, Barb, Lisa, and Matt enjoying a little trap mash. How are your shruggers feeling lately?

Beth, Barb, Lisa, and Matt enjoying a little trap mash. How are your shruggers feeling lately?


When will we start programming the mental push-ups? By Courtney Shepherd. . . . and the original authors, to be mentioned later. 

When it comes to the WOD programming for Verve we have several goals in mind. We put weeks together thinking about time domains, variety of movements, skill work versus weightlifting, etc. Doing a chipper style workout that takes us 40 minutes has some easy telltale signs that hard work was done. We are drenched in sweat for one thing. Maybe we are out of breath, we feel fatigued, and at the end of the workout we find ourselves laying on the floor not ready to move for a considerable period of time. We love these workouts. So why don’t we love heavy lifting days as much as the long chipper style WODs? I ask this because notoriously gym attendance is down on heavy days. Is it because we don’t sweat as much? Is it because we don’t feel ourselves out of breath or fatigued to the point of having to sit down? Somewhere there has become the misconception that lifting heavy is not as good of a workout as running around for 40 minutes, I’m here to tell you that it is just that. . . a misconception. 

There are several reasons why we should lift heavy weights (click here for full article from the Poliquin Group):

1) We improve/ strengthen our skeletal structure. By loading the body with heavy weights, bone osteoblasts occur, strengthening bone, and tendons, collagen, and ligaments go through remodeling to become stronger.

2) We build muscle. Muscle allows us to do all these amazing things: It keeps your back safe when you pick your kids up off the floor or haul luggage into the trunk. It improves both your 5K time and your jumping ability. It allows you to flip a tire or push your car up the hill. It gives you the body you desire and the metabolism to help you maintain that fit physique.  The more muscle you have, the greater number of insulin receptor sites, which equals better use of energy in the body. Naturally, you’ll have less risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or metabolic syndrome.

3) We actually burn more calories and lose more body fat with heavy lifting. Lifting weights elevates post-workout energy expenditure significantly more than steady-state cardio due to the metabolic stress it causes. In a study that compared light with moderate weights on “afterburn,” women who did 2 sets of 8 reps at a “heavy” 70 percent load burned double the calories during the hour after exercise as a group that did 2 sets of 15 reps at a light 35 percent load.

Those are just a few of my favorite, you can read more on these and about several additional reasons by clicking on the above link to read the article “Seven Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavy Weights”.

But if that didn’t sell it to you enough, what if I told you lifting heavy weights was good for the brain? In another article titled “What Weightlifting For Just 20 Minutes Does To Your Brain”, a recent study “. . . . suggests that going hard in the gym for as little as 20 minutes can boost your long-term memory by around 10 percent.”  (You can read more about this by clicking here). The article goes on to say, “Previous research in older men and women (50 to 85 years old) has found that a brief workout improves memory due to the exercise-induced release of the stress hormone norepinephrine. Scientists have long known that the hormone, a chemical messenger in the brain, plays a strong role in memory.”

I can go on and on about all the benefits of lifting heavy weights but really it’s not about what I say it’s about how you feel. And during heavy lifting days you simply may not feel like you have done any work. I think this is the hardest obstacle to overcome, because for some of you, you are right, you may not be doing much work. CrossFit has a mantra, Mechanics/ Consistency/ Intensity. It’s hard to get the intensity piece down on a 1RM snatch day when we don’t have a very good handle on how to snatch. I get that. But, and I’m going to make one last plea for you to always come to heavy lifting days, how can we expect to get a handle on these movements and work towards increased weight/ intensity if we always skip the heavy lifting day? Perhaps it’s not the heavy lifting day you imagined right now but as you continue to hit them, you build confidence in the split jerk, the snatch, the overhead squat, until eventually you feel the way you should after moving something stupidly heavy. . . out of breath, sweaty, fatigued, and needing to sit down for a second. 

Lifting heavy builds the muscle, strength, coordination, and confidence to be carried over to the WODs. Squatting heavy improves your box jumps and runs. Fact. So keep calm and lift on, the weights are calling your name, you just need to stop in and mingle with them more often. 


****Verve is having an Ugly Sweater themed holiday party Saturday December 13th @ Jake’s starting at 7pm. All are welcome, including kids. There will be food, drinks, good conversation, and of course door prizes. We will also be accepting coats and winter clothing to be donated to the Denver Rescue Mission. Please RSVP to comments, or on our Facebook event page, with the number of people in your party. 

Wednesday 141203

Two rounds for time:
30 Front squats, 135# (95#)
30 Burpee pull-ups
then, run 800m

Post times to comments and BTW.

Congrats Trevor on a 45# PR Monday on his conventional 2RM DL!

Congrats Trevor on a 45# PR Monday on his conventional 2RM DL!

A Case for the 11th Fitness Domain: Self-Confidence
Written by CrossFit Invictus Athlete Justin Nahama

What do Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Chris Spealler and Kris Clever all have in common – aside from being generally awesome and having a huge fan base? While these individuals, like each of us, differ in background, strengths, weaknesses, shape and size, they all share at least one common characteristic: the ability to maintain self-confidence in the face of adversity or “failure.” While self-confidence is not one of CrossFit’s 10 fitness domains/general physical skills, I full-heartedly believe it is an integral part of the foundation for success in our quest to improve personally, professionally and athletically.

Webster’s Dictionary provides four definitions of the noun “confidence.” The key definition for our purposes is “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers, or of reliance on one’s circumstances.” This definition taps into the driving force behind self-confidence: we are in the driver’s seat. Failure is a relative term. Unfortunately, we often use the term failure and disappointment interchangeably. When you hit the bottom of your third thruster with twelve more ahead of you during the second round of Fran, that little voice in your head will usually start whispering something to the effect of “you suck.” Likewise, that inner voice whispers similar sweet nothings if your professional work is not up to par or your 15-month-old son does a reverse swan dive off the couch (I caught him…). While disappointment is part of life (and actually quite healthy if you are setting challenging goals, see George’s article on goal setting), characterizing disappointment as failure is unnecessary. It is the kryptonite to maintaining self-confidence.

I can make one guarantee based on my personal journey: not everything in life can be completed unbroken. At some point, everyone will drop the bar. Whether it is in the gym, at work or at home, it will happen. The opportunity for negative self-talk will invariably ensue and you will be at a crossroads. The easy and tempting path is to honor that negative self-talk, which is a road peppered with self-indignation and excuses. “I missed a few weeks of training, I can’t go back.” “I need another minute before I pick the bar back up.” “I ate terrible while I was traveling, I’m done with Paleo, ice cream has some protein in it.” Sound familiar? This path is a one-way ticket to a decrease in confidence and self-worth. Moreover, this path will, with very few exceptions, spill over into other areas of your life and impede your overall happiness, health and well being. By no coincidence, one of the examples Webster’s provides of using “confidence” in the proper context is “He lacked the confidence to succeed.”

The other, more challenging path is one ripe with opportunity. Can you acknowledge that you, and you alone, are in the driver’s seat? Can you silence that inner voice and genuinely believe that each “failure” presents a new opportunity to dig in and overcome that obstacle? When you get kicked to the ground, do you get up because you have to, or because you are hungry to regroup and move on to the next challenge? Are you happy with complacency or do you seek out the “difficult-difficult” challenges (see article on difficult-easy). The decision to take control and maintain our self confidence in the wake of any shortcoming will play a pivotal role in our ability to succeed in the future. I submit that this skill or “domain” is equally as important as learning the proper mechanics of a deadlift or clean.

A common misconception equates physical appearance with confidence. Those who buy into this media-fueled notion are deeply misguided. Anyone can wear flashy clothes, a fancy watch and buy the latest (expensive) Crossfit gear. But even the most expensive clothing, an extravagant Rolex and the lightest Inov-8’s will do little to appease that inner voice when an individual falls short of a goal or is genuinely challenged. During a partner WOD where one partner works while the other endures some form of physical stressor (holding Kettlebells, etc.), I want the guy/gal with heart and confidence, not cool shoes.

A former professor of mine who has served for decades as a federal judge in Boston put it quite simply. During a trial advocacy class, the judge was discussing confidence in the courtroom. He shared an example of how he taught his grandkids to maintain their confidence in the wake of “parental adversity.” When his grandkids would spill something at dinner or fight over a toy, he would say “WHOGAS!” (pronounced “who-gas”) in a playful voice when the kids looked to him for reassurance. His grandkids picked up on the underlying message, learned their lesson and trudged forward. While the judge’s son and daughter-in-law always thought that WHOGAS was a silly word to make their kids laugh, the judge never shared that WHOGAS was short for “Who Gives A Sh*t?” The point of his story was simple, but well received. When you drop the barbell or spill the drink, in the gym or in life, you have to ask yourself WHOGAS. Is breaking up your thrusters (because 155# is the new 135#, which was the new 95#) or disappointing your boss really a bad thing if you can use it as an opportunity for growth? Learn from the experience and trudge ahead. Within adversity or “failure” lies the opportunity to get stronger.

Success stories of individuals with an uncanny ability to maintain self-confidence in the face of adversity are woven throughout history and deeply engrained in our evolving Crossfit culture. Michael Jordan’s unforgettable “failure” commercial illustrates the point perfectly. Similarly, Steve Jobs 2005 commencement speech at Stanford crystallizes the importance of maintaining self-confidence. Can you imagine the internal monologue that went on after being fired from a company you literally started and invested your life in? Was missing a PR on today’s WOD really that bad…

In the Crossfit arena, I can only assume that Josh (Bridges 2nd place male finisher of 2011 CF Games) was not mentally high-fiving himself after the second event at this year’s Games. (Hopefully the Navy and Marine Corps will integrate a softball throw into their basic training since apparently it is a useful tool for gauging overall fitness….) Regardless, Josh stood his ground, maintained his self-confidence, crushed the remaining events and wound up on the podium. Josh eludes to the importance of self-confidence in his October 31st article by providing insight into his strategies to deflate that inner voice and “break through the mental barrier.”

As another example in the Crossfit arena, Kris Clever, whether she liked it or not, became the face and inspiration for countless female athletes after winning the Games in 2010. Like Michael Jordan in a playoff game, the Crossfit community silently expected perfection every time Kris competed. While Kris clearly deals brilliantly with pressure, at least on the surface, I guarantee she chooses the right path when confronted with adversity. Kris’s continuing ability to perform is a true testament to her willingness to maintain her self-confidence despite countless challenges. I had the privilege of attending my Level 1 certification course with Kris a few years ago. After paying our dues to Fran, Kris had the same infectious smile on her face that she shared from the podium the past several years and will continue to display in the future.

In conclusion, confidence is an unwavering belief in yourself, regardless of external or internal criticism, when you are confronted with adversity. The critical question the next time you “drop the barbell,” whether it involves a project at work, the gym or your young son ignoring gravity, is how will you let it affect you? When your moment comes, stand your ground, believe in yourself and success will follow.