Wednesday 150408

As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
10 Chest to bar pull-ups
10 Kettlebell swings, 32kg(24kg)
10 Box jumps, 24″(20″)

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Stephanie enjoying a workout of Barfees, a.k.a. bar facing burpees. Name credit goes to Stephanie and Mia.

Stephanie enjoying a workout of Barfees, a.k.a. bar facing burpees. (Name credit goes to Stephanie and Mia)


To be virtuous or not to be? A question for you to answer. By Courtney “the song bird of our generation” Shepherd

Yesterday during the morning and afternoon classes I brought up the idea of fighting for virtuosity in our overhead squats. I said that as coaches, making athletes move well is our goal. We use movement progressions to re-enforce good mechanics in a warm-up. We use verbal, visual, and tactile cues before and during workouts to continue to address mechanics. Before workouts we bring up scaling options that will allow an athlete to preform at their optimal intensity and maintain mechanics, including dropping weights, reps, rounds, or possibly altering movements all together. All of these are ways we try to keep athletes progressing forward, getting stronger, and staying safe and injury free. The problem is that’s it’s not enough for a coach to want these things for an athlete, the athlete needs to want this for themselves.

When I got home later in the day, by happy coincidence I came across an article that hit this concept home for me. In Box Magazine, Abi Reiland wrote Understanding What Coaches Can and Can’t Do: Take personal control of your progress and experience by knowing what to expect from coaches and what things are your personal responsibility in the box. (Click here for full article) 

A coach. . . 

CAN: Offer instruction on movements. A good coach will carefully instruct athletes on technique and progressions, and provide corrections continuously.

CAN’T: Force perfection every time. In the middle of a workout, although coaches will almost always observe and correct, it’s up to each athlete to take the fundamentals he or she learned and apply those to a workout.

CAN: No-rep you on slack standards. As a coach walks around assisting with standards during a workout, he may make you aware that your reps are not what he wants to see. A coach will offer the appropriate correction and watch until you’re able to apply or modify.

CAN’T: Hold you accountable for every rep every day. One or two pairs of eyes on an entire room of athletes won’t catch everything. Practice ethics and give yourself the benefit of the full exercise by sticking to standards and counting only the reps you know you should.

CAN: Give you options for modifications. CrossFit is scalable in so many ways that coaches will typically cover a number of options for modification and potentially give specific instruction to those who might have unique challenges.

CAN’T: Know exactly how hard you’re working. Coaches can tell whether something is easy or impossible, but the middle ground is more difficult to determine. So it’s up to athletes to know when a modification is too easy or when Rx is just too hard. Push yourself to progress.

CAN: Program workouts to help you progress. The best gyms will give you great programming specifically designed to help you progress in overall athleticism.

CAN’T: Require attendance and mandate extra exercises. Because every athlete is unique in his or her strengths and weaknesses, there may be some areas that require extra attention. And it’s up to athletes to tackle the workouts that address their weaknesses and put time in to skills they struggle with.

CAN: Provide guidance in case of injury. When an athlete makes a coach aware of an injury, he or she will often receive a modified workout or some suggestions for substitution.

CAN’T: Read your mind or serve as a substitute doctor. Coaches can’t know what’s bothering you and how much it hurts. And coaches are NOT doctors or physical therapists, so in the event that you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to address it with a professional health-care provider.

As a coach we need to provide you a safe environment to workout. We need to provide you with good coaching. We need to be a part of keeping you moving well and avoiding injury. . . be a part of. As athletes, we need to take responsibility for our actions that may interfere with these goals. This includes not keeping coaches informed about injuries. Coaches ask, we need to communicate with them. There are times we cannot be in the gym for a long time and/ or lose consistency. Verve is happy when athletes return but returning needs to be done with some easing back into WODs. It’s not always feasible to return to doing the same things we did before we left. We need to scale appropriately. But what if we don’t know what appropriately is? Again, a time to talk with a coach. When workouts are introduced the intent of the workout is discussed. Athletes are given ideas of time frames, weights, and ways to scale but if we are still unsure, better to ask the coach then struggle through a workout. 

Coaches provide CrossFitters with the tools they need to achieve peak performance. However, it’s up to each athlete to put what he or she has learned into play. Coaching is imperative in keeping athletes happy, healthy and successful, but where coaches lack control, athletes must hold themselves accountable. Take personal control of your progress and experience by knowing what to expect from coaches and what things are your personal responsibility in the box.”

Virtuosity is doing the common, uncommonly well. We may never be perfect but in working towards perfection we can reach virtuosity. Strive to be virtuous.

Tuesday 150407

5 Rounds for time:
12 Calorie row
12 Overhead squats, 95#(65#)
6 Bar facing burpees

Post to BTWB.


Part 2 of the lecture by CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman.

Here  is the description from the CrossFit YouTube page:

Part 2 of Coach Glassman’s discussion of nutrition addresses the refined dietary needs of athletes and what’s required to optimize your performance. If you want elite physical output, you must be precise about your intake. “Close enough” won’t cut it–or as Coach Glassman more colorfully puts it, “If you want top-fuel- type performance, you need top fuel; you can’t just piss into the gas tank.”

Most of us are familiar with CrossFit’s nutrition prescription: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. But to achieve top performance, you have to be specific about the balances of those things and accurate in your macronutrient consumption. You can get far on the workouts alone, but you will not–cannot–reach your true potential without getting particular about your fuel. There’s a 1:1 correspondence between elite CrossFit performance and accuracy and precision in your consumption.

Monday 150406

Weighted pull-ups

Then, every minute on the minute for 10 minutes:
1 Chest to bar pull-up + 1 toes to bar + 1 bar muscle-up

Post to BTWB

Below is a video that was originally published in 2007 but has since been re-promoted because the message is still very valid. The video feature CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman speaking to nutrition and how it can be a touchy topic, like politics or religion, that people take very personally, but good nutrition is the foundation not only for general health but also for high-performance fitness.

Much of the public information about diet, particularly the emphasis on low fat and high carbs, has resulted in a near epidemic of obesity and type II diabetes.  This is the first video in a two-part lecture excerpt.   Coach Glassman explores some of the science behind nutrition and the body, particularly the role of insulin in health and disease. “Syndrome X,” the “deadly quartet” (obesity, glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides), and coronary heart disease, he claims, are avoidable through dietary means.

Part 2 of the lecture will be featured on tomorrows blog. 



Sunday 150405

Complete as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes of:
800m  Run
25 Dumbbell thrusters (35lb/25lb)
400m Farmers carry w/ dumbbells (35lb/25lb)

Post reps to comments or BTW

This does NOT include Shaina getting to the top of the salmon ladder!  Fun night at Urban Acrobatics!

This does NOT include Shaina getting to the top of the salmon ladder! Fun night at Urban Acrobatics!

Two food loves in my life: Pizza and Breakfast!  This dish from Against All Grain just happens to combine both of them! You can find the full recipe here


  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1/2 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (use 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese for SCD)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces pepperoni (nitrate and sugar free)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in an oven proof 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the mushrooms and spinach for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, nutritional yeast, oregano, and sea salt then pour the mixture into the skillet. Remove from the heat and place the tomatoes and pepperoni over top.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through.

Saturday 150404

Teams of 3 with one person working at a time:
“Running Angie”
300 Pull ups
Run 400 Meters
300 Push ups
Run 400 meters
300 Sit ups 
Run 400 meters
300 Air Squats
Run 400 meters
*Runs must be completed together

Post times to comments and BTWB

Throwback to Lacy taking on the Urban Acrobatics course!

Throwback to Lacy taking on the Urban Acrobatics course!


The Verve happenings:

Saturday April 4th-
Ladies only Parkour @ Urban Acrobatics at 8pm tonight. There is a Facebook event page you can RSVP to or email Anna with any questions, – ANYONE with 2 X chromosomes are welcome and it is FREE!

Sunday April 5th-
Yoga @ 8am, sign up on MBO.

Verve is hosting a Level 1 Seminar the weekend of April 11th-12th. Verve will have a 6:30am and 7:30am WOD. Verve will be closed the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday. Interested in signing up for the course, go to Verve’s Events Page for more details.

Saturday April 11th-
Collabeeration 5K and brew fest in Longmont, CO. For more details and to get signed up, click here.

CrossFit Football Trainer Course, July 11th-12th-
This course is an introduction to the concepts, movements and level of intensity needed to be successful in training for sport. In the course, participants are provided with a foundation for training athletes. They are taught the fundamentals of sport-specific training, including sprinting, basic movements, warm-ups and cool downs, change-of-direction and agility drills, jumping and weightlifting. Participants are given information on programming, nutrition and diet, and film study. Film study demonstrates the practical application of the CrossFit movements to football and other power sports. Anyone who trains groups that are required to be strong, agile and powerful can benefit from this course, no matter the level of athletes. Click here to register.

CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Course, August 29th-30th-
Two days are spent detailing each lift (snatch on Day 1, clean and jerk on Day 2). The focus is on participants experiencing the basic positions and learning the foundational teaching points for instructing others to achieve them. The snatch and clean and jerk bring speed, power, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance to training and are indispensable to CrossFit programming and developing a well-rounded athlete. Click here to register.


Friday 150403

Push press

Push jerk

Split jerk

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Beth Romero and future baby Romero tag teaming the 2015 Open. Congrats to all our preggo moms for participating in the Open!! Way to start 'em early.

Beth Romero and future baby Romero tag teaming the 2015 Open. Congrats to all our preggo moms for participating in the Open!! Way to start ‘em early.


The 1,000 Rep Problem, #whatsupwiththat – (Not originally by, but brought to your attention) By Courtney Shepherd

Yesterday I addressed the risk vs. reward dilemma we face during workouts. I brought up the fact that our ability to really weigh it out can be heavily biased by our egos. I would like to address another concept that sounds great on paper but again doesn’t always play out in real life when our heads get in the way. That is the concept of Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity. Good old MCI. You’ve probably heard of it, I know I may have mentioned it a time or two previously. MCI is actually CrossFit’s mantra. We want to nail down the mechanics of a movement first, we want to maintain those mechanics consistently, and then we want to add some intensity into the mix. Intensity doesn’t just mean doing it harder or faster (that’s what she said), intensity refers to adding weight, adding reps, adding volume, and yes, adding speed. These are all forms of intensity, they are all a way to make a workout that much harder or more difficult. A problem for most of us is we put these types of intensities ahead of our consistent mechanics. We want to have the “RX” by our name, we want to see if we can beat that guy or this girl, we just feel like we should be able to do that weight or all those reps. Do any of those statements sound familiar? We can say a lot to justify adding intensity but what we need to realize is that we have to earn the intensity. How you ask? Consistent mechanics.

Seriously though, why do we need to be consistent? This just seems like a way to “harsh my gig” or “waste my flava”.  Well, do we really only want to be able to perform a lift perfectly once? Well, maybe, if we are in a 1RM contest and we plan to retire immediately following that one perfect lift. But I don’t see that to be the case. Instead I foresee a WOD in which we will have to perform a lift upwards of 50 times. We want to make sure we can make that lift 50 times with good form, because as stated in yesterday’s blog, we know there is a price to be paid for lifting with poor form. It is not enough to have good mechanics, we NEED to have them consistently.

There is an idea known as the “1,000 rep problem”. Matt Foreman wrote an article about this for the Catalyst Athletics website, you can click here to read the whole thing. This is what Matt has to say:

“The 1,000 rep problem is the situation that exists when a lifter has finally found the correct technique of the snatch or clean & jerk. After tons of work and coaching, they’ve done it right. But now they have to do it right another 1,000 times to memorize that correct movement.

We’re talking about things like muscle memory, nervous system memorization of a specific movement, motor learning, that kind of stuff. Some people think of this as learning correct technique and then making it a habit. I don’t really see it as a habit. I think of it as learning correct technique and then continuing to do it right until you basically don’t know how to do it wrong anymore. Habits are just recurring behaviors, like peeing in the shower. You can stop doing those things any time you want. I’m talking about a more fanatical level of performance, where your body just instinctively executes a certain movement because that’s all it knows how to do.

I think you have to do a massive number of correct lifts before you’ve got that kind of muscle memory. I picked 1,000 for the name of this concept because it emphasizes long-term development and it sounds cool. I know there’s no set-in-stone number.”

Fanatical level of performance? This article specifically targets the Olympic lifts but we can have a fanatical level of performance in anything, from the kipping pull-up to making our bullet proof coffee in the morning. It simply means taking the time to do something right and continuing to take the time to keep doing it right. What’s the rush? When we position our body correctly and move it through space maintaining that right position what results is correct form and highly efficient movement. The question becomes, how do we maintain correct form and highly efficient movement? Answer: Repetition. Even better answer: Repetition of the correct form and highly efficient movement. Anything that’s worth doing right is worth doing right a lot, like 1,000 times.

Some final thoughts:
- We only get the 1,000 rep problem after we’ve done it right for the first time. Our first correct rep is #1. There is the possibility some of us haven’t even had this rep yet. That’s okay. Our goal is to get that first good rep and work from there.

- Bad lifts don’t count towards our accumulated total. So if we’ve done 287 correct lifts and then we have a workout where our technique is lost, we make no attempts to correct it, and we wind up doing thirty sloppy snatches, we are still at 287 at the end of the day

There is a word used in CrossFit that has become a favorite of mine, virtuosity, doing the common uncommonly well.
Lighten the load, slow the pace, master the technique, strive to be virtuous.

Thursday 150402

5 Rounds for time of:
Run 350 meters
Lunge 50 meters

Post times to comments and BTWB

#TBT to these two partnering up during a workout. Team Barang (Barb and Ange, see what I did there?).

#TBT to these two partnering up during a workout. #TeamBarang (Barb and Ange, see what I did there?)


Another post brought to you by Courtney Shepherd. . . or is it?

Last night while coaching the box jumps I discussed the idea of risk vs. reward. In the box jump the reference came about when discussing the rebound box jump. It comes with a risk of injury to the achilles tendon, the reward (assuming we don’t get injured) is it allows us to move through box jumps faster. We encounter a risk vs. reward situation quite often when working out. Whether or not we know it, that situation revolves around moving faster with bad form or doing it RX with bad form vs. . . . . well, not doing those two things. Slowing down, using less weight, simply making a modification that allows us to move more mechanically sound. The reason this situation is so hard for most of us has nothing to do with us thinking about the risk of injury but has more to do with us thinking about the blow to our ego. 

In keeping with the #TBT theme I’ve started with this post, I’m going to throw it back to one of Verve’s finest coaches, who’s infamy lives on to this day with phrases like “this is the best group of squatters I’ve seen all day” and ” beans are cool”. That’s right folks, I’m talking about the one and only Luke Palmisano. Henceforthy, here are his fine words on risk vs. reward:

Risk vs. Reward ~ Luke Palmisano

Have you seen Man Of Steel, the new superman movie yet? First off, if not, why not? SUPERMAN IS THE BOMB. But you know what always impresses me about Superman? The fact that saving the human race is what keeps him going. Not having a family, or even getting that yearly vacation to the Fortress of Solitude. It’s saving the human race from either themselves, or the alien threat more powerful than anyone can imagine. It’s saving the human race that propels him to take such. Huge. Risks. To both mind and body. Of course, when he receives his reward (that of saving the human race, yet again), the ending credits come on, and we never see Superman have to go through the after-effects of the choices he made. Meaning, did fighting General Zod and getting flung through multiple skyscrapers result in multiple concussions? And how long did Superman have to see a chiropractor after that fight? Or massage therapy??

I digress.

Let’s turn this conversation to us. Risk vs. reward. When it comes to human movement, what will you risk in body positioning to get what you want? Let’s take a rounded spine while deadlifting as a example. Maybe Matt Chan is trying to win the CrossFit Games, and he realizes on his last workout of 405# deadlifts that if he allows his back to round because he is fatigued, he will finish first and win his heat, and possibly the Games. He risks damage to various tissues and bones, but… It may be worth it to him. Maybe a baseball pitcher knows that with a tweak of his technique, he can get his 93 m.p.h. fastball up to a 97 m.p.h fastball. In doing so, he secures himself a multi-million dollar contract, even though he knows he’s probably going to need Tommy John Surgery in the next 5-10 years. The risk may be worth it to him. Now lets say YOU are doing a workout with deadlifts. Will you choose the weight you can manage, or the weight you want to use? What’s your risk vs. reward? The risk is you herniate a disk, pull a muscle in your back, or even scrape your shin!! The reward is… you finish a workout. Is the risk worth it to you? Now I realize we are competitive as a group. We take our lives and what we achieve seriously. Remember, though, that it’s just workout. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) The poor positioning that you practice in one movement will transfer over to another.

2) Sacrificing good form will eat away at potential benefits of the exercise you are performing

3) Your bad form is a ticking time bomb. You may get away with it unscathed today. Eventually though, it will manifest itself by way of pain.This is the tricky one. If we don’t feel the consequences immediately, the risk we’re taking may not seem like a risk at all.

These are the choices we must make. Every choice we make, in fact, has a risk vs. reward equation to it. So what are you willing to gamble to get the result you want?

Information for this post was referenced from the book Becoming A Supple Leopard, by Kelly Starrett.

Wednesday 150401

5 Rounds for time of:
20 Box jumps, 30″(24″)
20 GHD sit-ups
20 Hip extensions

Post time to comments or BTW

The last day of Sunday Funday Open Re-do!  Great group of peeps.

The last day of Sunday Funday Open Re-do! Great group of peeps.


Yum!  Who doesn’t love sitting down at restaurant on All You Can Eat wing night and shoveling  saucy, spicy, fried goodness into their mouths?  Chicken wings can be good in their fried form, but are NOT good when referring to muscles ups.

“Chicken Wing-ing” your muscle-up, bar or ring, is HORRIBLE on the shoulders.  When one elbow shoots high, the shoulder severely internally rotates, and you hang out there for any amount of time, you open yourself up for a host of rotator cuff and general shoulder issues.  While we recognize that it is always exciting to get your first muscle up, if your tendency is to chicken wing to get on top of the rings or bar, it may be time to take a step back and practice the basics.  Here are some suggestions from Al Kavadlo of Breaking Muscle for drills that you can work on to progress towards a smooth muscle up!

1.  Slow Negatives:  Get to bar support (locked out arms over the bar) by jumping or doing a pullover.  Perform a negative to a full lockout hang as slowly as you can, focusing on the transition.

2.  Gradually reduce your kip.

3.  False grip on parallel bars (if you can find them).

4. False grip on pull up bar: This is really difficult and uncomfortable at first. I would start with some controlled hangs from a low bar.

*In this video, he is using a bar, but you can use the same drills on the rings.

Tuesday 150331

For time:
21 Squat clean, 135#(95#)
21 Ring dips
50′ Handstand walk
15 Squat clean, 135#(95#)
15 Ring dips
50′ Handstand walk
9 Squat clean, 135#(95#)
9 Ring dips
50′ Handstand walk

*This workout has a 10 minute time cap.

Post to BTWB

Caption this photo.

Caption this photo.

We talk about recovery often, but how many of us actually make a conscious decision to recover or have the time to recover?  Now that the Open has ended, many of us can get back to a nice normal routine.  We all have extremely busy lives and just making it in for an hour a few times a week is sometimes difficult let alone allocating more time to recovering properly.  We work out so hard most days and wake up sore the next.  On days we wake up sore we are faced with two options; work out or take a rest day.  There is a third option, consider an active recovery day.  Active rest can be something as simple as playing basketball or tennis or taking extra time with a foam roller.

We tend to base our workout success on how sore we are, but what good is being so sore that it prevents us from working out for a few days?  Our bodies improve and adapt on the days we recover, so scheduling recovery time is vital to optimizing our performances.  The simple equation is work + rest = success.

The quicker you recover the sooner you can get back to high intensity workouts which leads to better gains and faster improvements.  In other words recovery is the key element to reaching or not reaching your goals.

Recovery is also important from a mental standpoint.  Even the most well conditioned athletes will burn out if they push the limits with their workouts and don’t make a conscious effort to rest and recover.  Scheduling active rest days during the week allows you to really push yourself during your workouts knowing you’ll be giving your body and mind time to recover.  Make a conscious effort to take recovery days and during those recovery days find different way to actively recover.  I mean we work our tails off inside of the gym so we can enjoy ourselves outside of the gym, right?

So how do we put this in play?  Plan ahead.  You know what a typical week looks like for you and when you’ll be training.  You’ll also have an idea as to when you’ll need a recovery day so plan accordingly.  Ask your trainers for different active recovery drills or invite a member to go play hoops or tennis.  Might as well take advantage of the great weather and get outside while we still can.

A quick scheduling note, we are going to have two classes before the Level 1 on Saturday April 11th.  The classes are in MBO. They are early, but we’ve heard requests for early classes so here you go.  

Monday 150330

For time:
100 burpee pull-ups

Ideally, the pull-up bar is 1 foot above your reach.

Post to BTWB

Deep in the pain cave!

Deep in the pain cave!


Well the 2015 Open is finished.  I for one am happy that it is.  What did you guys think?  There are a few things about the Open that are great.

A few observations from the past 5 weeks of the Open.

The Open brings out the best of CrossFit.  Everyone cheering each other on, staying after their class has ended to show encouragement to others as they power through the workouts.  The Saturday and Sunday re-do’s generated a ton of energy even if there weren’t as many people as a traditional class.  

With this years scaled option it made sure that everyone could participate and post scores.  In the past years there was only one workout, but with the scaled option this year, it presented everyone the opportunity to participate and post scores.  

The leaderboard.  I don’t know how much traffic the Games website receives but it clearly receives a bump in volume this time of year.

The Thursday announcement, for a few reasons.  I love seeing the elite take on a workout, then giving it a go ourselves to really understand how good the top athletes are.  I also the actual show on Thursday evening.  Gathering around the TV to watch the announcement and then see people start to strategist is always entertaining.  

The workouts.  Some of them are innocent looking enough but once you finish them you understand why they are the Open workouts.  Rowing and Thrusters, sounds easy enough but boy was it anything but.  

Well 2015 is over.  Now we wait and see how the leaderboard shakes out and look forward to next year and do it all over again.  

If you found anything interesting or have any insights you’d like to share, post to comments.