Saturday 150110

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
200 Double unders
100 Air squats
80 Burpees
60 Wallballs
40 Toes to bar
20 Strict handstand push-ups
10 Muscle-ups

Post score to BTW.



Gym Updates

The Teton Waters meat truck will be outside Verve TODAY from 12pm-2pm. Bring your cash or credit card and get some grass fed beef!!
We are 3 days into our “Change your habits, change your life” Challenge. We will make sure everyone is fully buddied up before Monday if you are still without. 
If you are interested in the next installment of Verve’s Competitor Crew, the final Q&A session will be tomorrow at 12pm with Anna. This time around we are purely focused on prepping for the 2015 CrossFit Games Open. 
Sunday’s mobility boom sessions will be taking a hiatus. You will not see them on the schedule starting this week. 
Nest weekend Verve is hosting a Level 1 seminar. Get up early and get your WOD on at 7am or you can:
1) Hit up the swim WOD Saturday @ 9:30am and 10:30am at the Glenarm Rec Center.
2) Sign up for an indoor adventure Sunday @ Urban Acrobatics. Learn some ninja skills from 12pm-1:30pm for only $5. Sign up on MBO to reserve a spot, space is limited.

Friday 150109

Back squat


Post loads to comments or BTW



Mobility Series – SHOULDERS

This week we dive into mobilizing the shoulders with a roller and some other tools you find around the gym.

#1 – Lateral Banded distraction – YES, we did banded distraction last week, but this was too good not to include in this shoulder series.  The key mobilizations are at 1:17, 3:35, and 5:25, but his dialogue throughout is very helpful.  I speak from experience that these are GREAT techniques, but keep the motion small in the beginning.

#2 – First Rib Mobilization - As coaches, we hear that sometimes athletes have numbness and tingling in their hands and forearms.  This can mean many things, but one possibility is your first rib is slightly askew.  If the first rib is askew, it can also lead to decreased overhead shoulder mobility.  This is a great mobilization technique that you can do sitting at your desk or anywhere as often as you would like.

#3 – Kettlebell Shoulder Capsule Mobilization – This is a great mobilization for all of you desk warriors that sit at a computer ALL DAY.



-COMP CREW / CF Games Open Prep program MEETING TONIGHT @ 7PM!  Find out all of the answers to your burning questions.

- Free COMMUNITY WOD tomorrow @ 8am.  Open to anyone who wants to check out CrossFit and Verve.  Bring a friend or family member and show them what you are constantly talking about!

- We will be going to Urban Acrobatics on Sunday, January 18th at noon for some fun Parkour / America Ninja Warrior antics!  You can sign up in MindBody.

Thursday 150108

2 Rounds of:
As many rounds as possible in 5 minutes of:
8 Power clean, 55-60% of 1RM power clean
16 Kettlebell swings
Rest 3 minutes

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Just getting a little mobility action in before the WOD. Is more mobility one of your goals for the year? It's a good one to have.

Just getting a little mobility action in before the WOD. Is more mobility one of your goals for the year? It’s a good one to have.


The “Change your habits, change your life” Challenge run down, By Courtney Shepherd

After sitting with many of you through two meetings about how to approach this challenge, I felt like the information discussed would be worth sharing with everyone. Cause things I say are kind of important like that. We are super excited about the number of Verve athletes that have signed up for this challenge, however, I get the feeling there may be some of you out there that may have set some goals for yourself independent of the challenge. It’s a new year, it’s a natural time for us to approach making changes in our lives, the question becomes, how do I approach those changes? Specifically how do I do this in a way that sets me up for success and sustainability?

A habit is a behavior or action done without thought. I have a horrible habit, when I wake up first thing in the morning, the first thing I do is check my email. Because apparently I believe people attempt to conduct important business with me while I sleep. This morning, when I woke up, I looked at my phone and made the conscious decision to not look at it. I just got up and started my morning. Breaking a habit takes thought, it takes effort and work, until the new habit is formed. We want to spend the next 5 weeks breaking or creating habits based on goals we want to achieve. Here is my example: for the next 5 weeks my goal is to lose weight. Losing weight is not a habit. I will not wake up tomorrow and make the conscious decision to lose weight and have it be so. What I need to do is examine the habits I currently have that are enabling weight gain or preventing weight loss. I eat out 3 meals/ day, 5 days/ week. I drink 5 Cokes/ day. I only go to the gym 1-2 times/ week. Within each of these is the opportunity to change a habit, I can decide to go to the grocery store, buy whole foods, cook and prep meals so I only eat out 1 meal/ day, 5 days/ week. I can start by drinking only 4 Cokes/ day this week, perhaps next week I drop it down to 3 Cokes/ day. I will go to the gym consistently 3 times/ week. While I’m still eating out and drinking Coke, I’ve begun the process of change. These changes will lead me towards weight loss as well as habits that I want to keep beyond 5 weeks.

Let’s talk about goals for a minute. When we write down goals it is important to have 3 things in mind:

  1. The goal needs to be specific and concise. Goal: “I want to go to the gym more”. What is more? When is more? Instead: “I will go to the gym 4 times/ week, I will go Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and 1 day of the weekend”. The more specific the verbiage the easier it is to follow, it leaves nothing open to interpretation.
  2. Goals need to be expressed in a positive tense. Goal: “I don’t want to eat crappy food for 5 weeks”. The words “don’t” and “crappy” are negative. Instead: “I want to cook and eat whole foods for 5 weeks”. You are expressing what you want to do, what you want to do sounds way better than what you don’t want to do.
  3. Goals need to be realistic and achievable (time frame). Goal: “After 5 weeks I want to have taken 1 minute off my Fran time”. Fran is a fast paced/ high intensity workout, if you did Fran yesterday in 5 minutes, try to remember how hard you worked and how you felt after. It is not realistic to believe you can take 1 minute off your time in 5 weeks, the ability for adaptation in your body to make that possible does not exist. It is realistic to want to take :05-:10 off your Fran time.

I want to dive into the idea of “Realistic vs. Non-realistic” goals but before I do, I want to remind everyone about the 10 General Physical Skills/ Adaptations:

  • Cardio/ respiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, strength.
  • Power, speed.
  • Coordination, balance, accuracy, agility.

I have them written this way for a reason. The first 4 are considered organic adaptations. Meaning you can see an obvious change with improvement in one of these, bigger muscles with more strength, longer tendons with greater flexibility, etc. To improve on these one needs to train. The last 4 are considered neurologic adaptations. Meaning we build neurologic pathways in our body as we improve but it is not visible, there is nothing outward that shows I have better balance then the person sitting next to me. To improve on these one needs to simply practice. Power and speed are adaptations that require both training and practice. This is important because if I were to lock you in a room for 24 hours and tell you upon my return I need you to have a 500# deadlift and a :20 freestanding handstand hold, which one do you think you could realistically achieve in 24 hours? The answer is the handstand hold, because it requires practice. Getting a 500# deadlift requires training. . . a lot of training. These are things we need to keep in mind when we set goals over certain time frames.

I broke down goals most of us would have into 4 categories, in each category I want to give examples of realistic vs non-realistic:

  1. Nutrition/ weight loss- It is not realistic to lose 20 lbs in 5 weeks. I mean it could be, but my guess is it would happen using techniques that are not sustainable beyond the 5 weeks. Remember we are trying to create habits for life. Rather than making a goal about a number on a scale, make a goal to change the habits that effect the number on the scale.
  2. Performance- I hit on this earlier about the Fran time. I will first say if you have performance goals and you are not dialed in with your nutrition, you need to change your goals. You cannot out perform a bad diet.
  3. Weightlifting- You want to improve on your lifts, does this mean you want to lift more or you want to be more technically sound with them? I’ll help you out those are not mutually exclusive. Being more technically sound transfers to lifting more. First, goals should be to get to Verve every Tuesday and Friday. Why? I’m letting the cat out of the bag with high hopes right now. . . every Tuesday and Friday we will be doing heavy lifting. Make these days a consistent part of your routine. More practice=better technique=lifting more weight.
  4. Gymnastics- This is an area that for some of us, can produce the most change in 5 weeks. However, let’s get realistic. You have made a goal to get 1 muscle-up in the next 5 weeks. Do you have unassisted strict pull-ups and unassisted strict rings dips? If the answer is no to one or both of these, you need to change your goal. Too often we put the cart before the horse. If the answer was yes, then you need to practice the muscle-up. Come to open gym, set a clock for 10 minutes and for those 10 minutes work on muscle-up technique. That does not mean jump on the high rings, try a muscle-up, fail, and shake it off cause you have 9 minutes and 30 seconds left to keep working on it. Practicing failing will not spontaneously turn into success.

At the end of the day, none of this will require we spend 2 hours a day in the gym, lifting weights, and doing 3 workouts. Spending 10 minutes, a few days/ week in open gym working on a weakness can go a long way. If you are unsure how to do this, where to start, or even what to do for 10 minutes to work a weakness, ask me. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can help us get the biggest results. I’m happy to help you explore ideas. 

Now is the perfect time to implement change. The kind of change that will become our next good habit to carry through a lifetime. Change your habits, change your life. 



Wednesday 150107

For time:
21-15-9 reps of
Thruster, 95#(65#)

Post times to comments and BTWB

Stan and Guy getting their bench on during Hotdogs & Cupcakes.

Stan and Guy getting their bench on during Hotdogs & Cupcakes.


Competitor Crew Part 3: Return of the CrossFit Jedi 

Before anyone jumps all over me, I know Return of the Jedi is not really part 3 in the Star Wars series. I am fully aware that it is Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. However it was the third film released in the Star Wars franchise in 1983. Don’t even try to out nerd me here. Now on to more pressing matters. . . the third installment of CrossFit Verve’s Competitor Crew, which for this most recent go round will also be known as the CrossFit Games Open Prep Crew. Because that is the plan for this 6 week closed program that will be starting the week of January 12th, to focus and get game ready for the 2015 CrossFit Games Open. 

What is this program? It is a closed program that will have specialized programming provided twice per week with 2 additional homework pieces, again, all of which designed to prepare you for the Open. What is this program not? It is not one on one/ personalized programming. It is not a feedback driven program. It is simply putting you in an environment surrounded by competitive people and working through tips/ techniques/ WODS to help gain insight and practice for what will come out of the Games Hopper starting February 26th. 

A closed program means it is only available to those who sign up in advance. The cost to register for this 6 week program is $99. The program will run from January 12th- February 22nd, ending the week before the Open starts. Here is what the program will include:

  • Open prep programmed classes held twice per week. Wednesdays @ 7pm and Fridays @ 6pm.
  • During these classes tips for efficiency, tricks of the competitive trade, etc. will be addressed and practiced.
  • 1 piece of stamina homework per week.
  • 1 piece of midline accessory homework per week.

This information will not be sent out via an athlete spreadsheet like previous comp crews. The reason being we want you to be in class. In class is where we will be addressing how to approach the Open WODs, how to be the most efficient, to create a game plan, when to pace oneself or when to push yourself to the max. Information that cannot be gained by doing the work on your own. Who is this for? The competitive athlete who wants to get ready for the Open. That’s it. There is no time doing CrossFit requirement, however, this will not be the time to teach movements. There needs to be a comfort/ familiarity with all CrossFit movements and gymnastics. This is also not a strength program. While some heavy lifting will be involved, again, it will be during WODs written in similar fashion to those seen in previous Opens. 

We realize this is coming up quick, which is why we will have two opportunities for you to speak with Anna and myself (Courtney). You can ask any questions you may have, address any concerns, and Anna and I will clarify our expectations of you during the program. These Q&A sessions will be:

Friday January 9th @ 7pm w/ Courtney

Sunday January 11th @ 12pm w/ Anna

If you absolutely cannot make one of these meetings and have questions please email me, Anna and I will once again be doing the programming and communication for this crew. The Open is a fun time for us, we hope to make it fun for you too. . . and by fun we mean hard work, lots of sweat, and possibly a little discomfort. Seriously though, still a bunch of fun. 

*Don’t forget the Body Fat Truck will be out front of Verve all day today. Bring your suit and towel!!

*The “Change your habits, change your life” Challenge starts today!! The final “Change your habits, change your life” meeting will be tonight at 8pm if you were unable to attend Monday’s meeting.

*Teton Waters Meat Truck will be here Saturday January 10th at 12pm selling 100% grass fed beef by the pound.

Tuesday 150106

Shoulder press
Then, every minute on the minute for 7 minutes:
5 Strict ring dips
5 Toes to bar

Post weights to BTWB

That right there is a PR look!!

That right there is a PR look!!

We are just about ready to start our Change Your Habits, Change Your Lift Challenge.  We all have partners that are relying on us to keep on track and for us to keep them on track.  Let’s talk about motivation for a second.  What motivates us to want to do better?  Is it external rewards or intrinsic motivation, meaning that inside us is a drive to want to be better?  We all have long term goals but sometimes thinking more present tense allows us to stay on track better.  After a workout we have that satisfactory feeling of, we just kicked ass or got our ass kicked and I can’t wait to do it again.  

So how do we stay in the moment and make sure that we are following through on changing our habits for the better?  Here’s a great article that lays out ways to help us stay motivated.  The full article, Why the Answer to Motivation is You, by Michael Mantell, is HERE, and below are the highlights, but I recommend click through and ready the entire article.

Strategies to create sustainable motivation.

Self-Efficacy:  Believing that you can do something makes all the difference.  If we have such lofty goals and expectations that we think they are out of reach, how likely are we to really make an effort to achieve them?  You have to believe you can pick up that weight or are able to perform a workout the way you would like to.  If we have doubt before we even start, we are setting ourselves us for failure.

Fundamentally Independent Thinking (FIT)/Rational Thinking: Along the same line as the above ,what we think is typically a step in that direction.  Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goal setting: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely, developed Enthusiastically, and attached to Rewards.  Instead of a goal being, i’m going to work out today, make it more specific.  I’m going to go to the 7:30 am class and when it’s done I’m going to do 50 ab mat sit ups and spend 5 minutes with a foam roller.  Now you have a plan or what you’re going to do and the satisfaction of completing it is the reward. 

Monday 150105

For time:
Run 1 mile
Row 2,000m
Run 1 mile

Post score to BTW.

Fun with rope swings. Be sure to check out Urban Acrobatics on Sunday the 18th at noon!

Fun with rope swings. Be sure to check out Urban Acrobatics on Sunday the 18th at noon!

Today’s post is a little bit longer, but I found it well worth the read. You can check out the original post by clicking here.

Top 8 Things I Learned in 8 Weeks of Doing CrossFit

Today, I wrapped up my 8th week of CrossFit at All Heart CrossFit in Kent, OH. I have learned so much in these first 8 weeks and continue to on a daily basis. Today, though, I’d like to give you the Top 8 things I’ve learned in my first 8 weeks:

  1. Show up ready to give it all. There is no other way and a complete and devoted commitment to the task at hand has to be your focus.
  2. Resist the urge to compare yourself. Every person has a different reason for being there, has been there for different lengths of time, has a different physical makeup, and different levels of commitment. Focus on getting better and stronger every day. Focus on you and no one else. 
  3. It’s not about the weight, it’s about safety first. It is imperative to get form and safety first and the weight will come. 
  4. Listen to your coaches. There was a day where we did an EMOM followed by a WOD using the same overhead press. It was stressed over and over again to “lower your weight” after we finished that EMOM because the WOD would be very tough. My coach said it over and over again (which I learned later was pointed towards me because I wasn’t removing weight). The WOD began and halfway through, I had to remove some weight and I was called out. It was humiliating, frustrating and I left angry. I learned a humbling lesson that day: listen and follow the coach’s instruction. (This plays big with regards to safety as well.)
  5. Work hard and watch yourself change. I still run but not nearly as much. However, my running has become stronger and more confident. I am still able to go long distances and my endurance has not decreased. Physically, I have gone down two jeans sizes and my upper body is developing for the first time in 41+ years. As the changes progress and I see more changes, it’s simply more fuel to keep charging forward.
  6. Eat right.  If you’re following my first point of giving it all yet you still eat like garbage, my opinion is that it’ll all be for naught…or darn close to it. Not eating right only makes recovery worse and waking up for that 5:30am class feeling “bleh.” If you truly want change, it’s a lifestyle change and not just “one hour a day at the box” change.
  7. CrossFit YouTube Channel. In my spare time, I have found myself watching short training videos or competition videos on the CrossFit YouTube channel. I often seek out one that’s covering a lift or movement that I just did and want to get better at. With so many lifts and movements, it’s tough to keep them straight this early but in time, it will get easier and is.
  8. Remind yourself why you’re there. If you don’t know why you’re going, you need to know and keep going back to that. If not, you’ll feel defeated, compare yourself, and probably quit. I won’t forget what my coach told me on day 2: “It never gets easier.” It’s true. As you get stronger and faster, the bar just keeps getting raised. There is no top. Know why you’re there and you’ll keep challenging yourself.

Sunday 150104

3 Rounds for time:
21 Deadlift, 185#(135#)
7 Overhead squats, 185#(135#)

Post time to comments or BTW


Zone Muffins!!

Zone Muffins!!

I am all about grab and go meals, especially for breakfast.  Here is a great recipe from SWEET.SIMPLE.PALEO.ZONE for delicious 1 block muffins you can grab and eat whilst driving to work.


(Recipe makes twelve 1 block muffins)
4 eggs
3 servings protein powder (approx. 56g protein) — I used vanilla flavor this time
3 bananas
1 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Coconut Butter, slightly melted** (link below) (or coconut oil)
Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or BOTH!
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking sodaProcess:

Preheat oven to 365 degrees.Mix or blend bananas and pumkpin until well mashed. 

Add in eggs, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla and mix/blend until combined again. 
Add in protein powder and baking soda and mix until well combined. 
Pour into 12 muffins greased muffin tins and bake for about 15 mins until done. Once again feel free to substitute coconut oil or a nut butter for the coconut manna — just make sure to keep 18g of fat in order to keep the recipe balanced. 

Saturday 150103

4 rounds for time:
15 Chest to bar pull-ups
15 Chest slapping push-ups
15m Pail lid hollow walk
15m Handstand walk

Post score to BTW.

Dancin' fools.

Dancin’ fools.


  • Body fat Dunk Tank is here on Tuesday the 6th and Wednesday 7th. Be sure to claim  your spot asap, as they fill up quickly!
  • Tuesday Sign Up Sheet: Click Here
  • Wednesday Sign Up Sheet: Click Here
  • The Change Your Habits, Change Your Life Challenge Starts on Wednesday the 7th!
  • Free Community Workout next Saturday, January 10th. Register online here.
  • Next Foundations program starts on Monday, January 12th.
  • Modified schedule on Saturday and Sunday January 17th and 18th.
  • We will be having some fun at Urban Acrobatics on Sunday January 17th.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday 150102

Front squat

Then, 3 x max effort set hang squat clean @ 60% of 3RM front squat
Rest 3 minutes between sets

Post load to comments or BTW

We are going back to Urban Acrobatics!!  Who will tackle the flying ladder this time?

We are going back to Urban Acrobatics!! Who will tackle the flying ladder this time?

Mobility Series – Shoulders continued

This week we will cover shoulder mobility using banded assistance.  Let me reiterate that we are throwing many different techniques at you; it is YOUR JOB to find what works best for you and incorporate it into your daily routine.

#1 – 5 Way Banded shoulder stretch:  We will give up the goose early and give you 5 mobilizations in one video thanks to Kelly Starrett!

#2 – Banded Scarecrows:  This is a great drill to REALLY warm-up the shoulders before Snatch, Overhead Squats, and Pressing.

#3 – Banded stretch for internal rotation:


-We are going back to Urban Acrobatics on Sunday, January 18th @ noon.  You can sign up in MindBody and it will be a $5 charge.

Thursday 150101

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
8 Strict pull-ups
8 Box jumps, 30″(24″)
12 Kettlebell swings, 32kg(24kg)

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Row coach Maddie just dropping some row knowledge bombs and possibly some jive beats.

Row coach Maddie just dropping some row knowledge bombs and possibly some jive beats.


Happy New Year!! The sweet, sweet ramblings of Courtney Shepherd. The sweet, sweet AND very important ramblings. 

We are ready to get 2015 started off right. We’re not talking about resolutions to lose weight, or stop eating sugar for a month, or not cussing any more. I mean seriously, who the f@%k gives up cussing any way? We are talking about starting the year off with good personal habits that will guide us throughout 2015. Starting January 7th Verve is kicking off it’s “Change your habits, change your life” Challenge. This 5 week long challenge is just that, a challenge for you to find those habits which you need to change or create and do it. Losing weight is not a habit. But buying whole foods, prepping and cooking them to create healthy meals ahead of time is a habit which will help lead to the weight loss you seek. Maybe the habit you want to create is no cell phones after 7pm, perhaps you are interested in removing your night time cocktail from your daily routine and instead going for just 3 nights per week only. These are all good habits and more. And what better way to be accountable for working on these habits then by having an accountability buddy, an “accountabilibuddy”, to answer to every week? So that’s it, that’s all you need to get 2015 started on the right foot, a couple of nasty habits that need be broken and a person to fess up to when you do or do not break them. When you find said person, get yourselves signed up on the sheet at the front counter and let’s get this party started. 

To officially get this party started though, we will be hosting two meetings, 1) January 2nd @ 7pm, and 2) January 5th @ 7pm. These meetings are to fill in any gaps with what this challenge is all about, talk about the habits or changes we want to make, and how to go about making them, and lastly we will dive briefly into the paleo/ zone diet should nutrition be a part of any of your habits. You only need to attend one of the two meetings, if by chance you can’t try to at least make sure your buddy does and they will fill you in. If you don’t have a buddy yet, sign up anyway, we’ll get you taken care of. 

Please remember the Body Fat Truck will be here all day January 7th, click here to get signed up for a time to get dunked. 

You may also have noticed that Verve has been hosting Level 1 Seminars fairly regularly. During some, but not all, of these seminars we are fortunate enough to be able to send Verve’s athletes in a scholarship spot. If you have found yourself interested in attending one please email AND with a short essay answering these two questions:

1) Why do you want to take the Level 1 Seminar?
2) What do you plan to do with your Level 1 once you have it?

Please note that sending an email of interest does not guarantee a scholarship spot. Eric and I choose the spots based on the needs of Verve, it is not based on seniority or time as a member of Verve. Please feel free to email us with any additional questions you may have. 

Lastly get ready for us to shake up the whiteboard. Starting January 8th it is “No RX January”. What better way to focus on your own goals then to see a workout with no RX weights. Now is the time to focus on our own mechanics, consistency, and intensity. Don’t fret my pet, all the coaches will be fully informed and prepared to guide you through the workouts so that you may continue to get the most out of them. 

So that’s it. Now let’s go out there and kick 2015 in the teeth!! I mean that in a totally wholesome and productive way, I’m not necessarily condoning violence.