Thursday 160211


Post loads to comments and BTWB

#TBT to Verve members trying to do their best version of some Russian dance moves in warm-up.

#TBT to Verve members trying to do their best version of some Russian dance moves in warm-up.


Robert “Maximus” MacDonald is the General Manager and Training Director at Gym Jones, which is an elite strength and conditioning facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. On his website,, he was posed with the following question from one of his athlete’s. I’ve heard the same question from Verve athletes and thought it was worth sharing.


Here are five tools that you can add to your routine that will facilitate better recovery. Remember that “training = work + rest”. Incorporate these and your recovery status will be much better. These can be done daily:

1) Cool Down: Post-workout recovery is a second only to sleep in the recovery hierarchy. A post workout cool-down speeds short-term and long-term recovery (defined as a return to a pre-training state) compared to not cooling down. Moving is preferable to static stretching because it supports circulatory activity (limb movement assists circulation so the heart doesn’t have to do it all on its own). Use a low-impact method like cycling, rowing, or walking. To flush the muscles move easily for 4-5 minutes and then “sprint” for 5-10 seconds. Do 3-4 cycles totaling 20 minutes.

2) Recovery Shower: A properly executed recovery shower stimulates circulation. Great benefits are scientifically recognized though the mechanism of action is not clearly understood. First, cook for 3-5 minutes under a hot shower, relax, and massage the muscles. The blood vessels will dilate. Then slowly turn off the hot water, until it’s unbearably cold. Deal with it. Remain under the cold water for five minutes. The blood vessels will constrict. Once well-cooled, switch the hot water back on – the blood vessels will dilate and inrushing blood will flush the muscles. Repeat at least two cycles. Finish with cold water. Again, 3-5 minutes hot + 5 (full) minutes of cold, 3x. This may be done immediately following the workout. There is no penalty for doing it more often than once a day.

3) Ice Bath: This can also be helpful. Following an intense workout or race, during which the muscles have been over-heated there is no reason to cook them more in a hot tub or simple hot shower. If an ice-cold stream is not available put 40-70lbs of ice in a bathtub, add water to waist height and get in. Try to accumulate a total of 10-15 minutes in 4-5 minute intervals.

4) Recovery Walk: Several hours (3-4 minimum) after training take a 20-30 minute walk with your dog or spin on the bike at an easy pace (HR no more than 65%) to boost circulation, flush the muscles again and create demand for more glucose. Afterward, eat a light snack, heavier on protein than carbohydrates if the next task is sleep.

5) Foam Roller: An essential self-massage tool. Use it daily. Rolling muscle and fascia under pressure stretches, separates and reorganizes it. This can be painful. This pain is indicative of bound-up tissue, or different muscles adhering to each other, which makes them inefficient. Frequent use of the foam roller increases the effectiveness of normal deep tissue massage because the practitioner won’t waste time releasing knots and tension, and can work on deeper, structural issues. Areas to emphasize are the IT bands, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.


Wednesday 160210

For Time:
21 Dumbbell thrusters
Run 400 meters
18 Dumbbell thrusters
Run 400 meters
15 Dumbbell thrusters
Run 400 meters

Post time to BTWB.











I know we have all heard it time and time again, “it’s important to trust the program”. There is nothing all too great about program hopping, and more often than not leads to overuse and injury. Over the next couple months, as you know, we are going to be following or also known as “mainsite”. This is a great time to gauge where your fitness is at leading into the open. Not only do you have access to the scores of the members inside the gym, but people from all over the world posting their scores online.

The reason we have decided to follow throughout the Open is because “Unknown and Unknowable”. We don’t know what tricks Dave Castro has up his sleeve, so we want to make sure we are programming adequately around those workouts to keep you guys healthy and keep building upon your fitness.

Greg Glassman says it the best, over the next couple months we will practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, we will work to master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. We will jump, run and row hard and fast. We will mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy.. We will be sticking to the principles defined and true to CrossFit.

We will be doing the 2016 CrossFit Games Open workouts on Friday’s at the gym, whether you are looking to be competitive or looking to get your first pull-up, the CrossFit Games Open is a great time to come together in the CrossFit community, bump some tunes and lift some weights. You can register here:

Tuesday 160209

In 20 minutes row as many meters as possible
Every 2 minutes get off the rower and perform
10 Burpees

Score is total meters rowed

Post meters to BTWB

It's starting to look like a gym!

It’s starting to look like a gym!

I guess it’s time for another update on our new space.  As you can see from the picture above, they have started laying the flooring down.  This is a big step as we will begin to move equipment over in the next week or so.  Following mainsite and trying to move equipment at the same time is going to be challenging but we feel as long as we plan accordingly we should be able to pull it off without having to affect the normal Verve hours.  

The bathrooms are also moving right along.  After a delay with the permits, we finally have them and the bathrooms are finally starting to look like bathrooms.  The showers are in place and the walls have been painted.  The rest of the projects in the bathroom should be finished in the next week.

We have a couple other rooms that we are working on as well including the new retail room.  Nothing too fancy here, just simply trying to keep the gym space the gym space so all retail will be in a room off the gym floor.  

We are excited for you all to see what the new space looks like so stay tuned for more information and updates.  

Monday 160208

3 5-minute rounds for max reps at each station:

From 0:00-2:00, run 400 meters then double-unders
From 2:00-3:00, Dumbbell push jerks 40#(25#)
From 3:00-4:00, Pull-ups
From 4:00-5:00, Dumbbell hang squat cleans 40#(25#)

Rest 5 minutes between rounds.

Post to BTWB

Weighted pull ups Chance and Kaplan style. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Weighted pull ups Chance and Kaplan style. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

I think we all fall victim to thinking we know more than we actually do.  The CrossFit Journal had a fantastic article on the topic when concerning the most basic of movements, the air squat.


Your ego has cursed you. Break the spell in three steps.


“There is a compelling tendency among novices …
to quickly move past the fundamentals.”
—Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO

Read that quote twice. Maybe three times. Now admit that you—yes, you—are afflicted by the novice’s curse. Far more powerful than the Madden Curse combined with the Curse of the Hope Diamond, the novice’s curse is utterly indis – criminate: It affects 99 percent of people who do anything. Luke Skywalker succumbed when he brushed off the last of his training and went to fight Vader. Your partner bowed to the curse when he or she tried to assemble the new barbecue without reading the instructions. Your kids got a taste when they fired up “Guitar Hero III” and tried to play “Through the Fire and Flames” on expert mode before they mastered easy mode. You’re burdened by the curse when you squat. I’d bet this is true no matter how long you’ve been squatting.

In fact, the longer you’ve been squatting, the more certain I am that you’ve neglected the fundamentals. At a recent CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course, I learned that I’ve lived under the novice’s curse for some time. After sinking into the bottom of a squat first learned at a seminar in 2009, I was quickly reminded that a technically sound air squat is way more difficult than it seems.
Instead of drilling the air squat every day for the last seven years, I’ve viewed it only as “some shit I need to do before I load up the barbell and max out.” Similarly, I tried to snatch more than I could overhead squat, and I tried to walk on my hands before I could hold a handstand. As I sat in the bottom and worked to hold the best squat I could, it became clear that I haven’t struggled to achieve the position in years. Nevertheless, I hoped I was in the sort of glorious air squat that would coax a single tear from the eye and draw slow, deliberate clapping. “Shift your weight back a little,” instructor Rory Zambard said. “Squeeze your butt.”

I shifted and turned on lazy hamstrings and glutes, and the squat became even more difficult—but it felt stronger and more balanced.  If you haven’t reviewed the fundamentals and practiced air squats recently, it’s high time to do so.  As I performed more reps with the right muscles engaged, I had a revelation: I miss PR back squats because I let the weight shift toward my forefoot, which is a real problem when you have a decent load on your back. And there, of course, is the laser beam that shoots through 5,000 bad reps to connect a single good air squat at a Level 1 course and the PR back squat I keep missing

So how do you squat better today? I’ll lay it out it three simple steps:

1. Shake off the novice’s curse by reading “Virtuosity” and “Squat Clinic” by Glassman.

2. Spend a full hour working on the air squat with a skilled coach or film yourself and ruthlessly identify each error. Fix as many as you can in 60 minutes—and you won’t get all of them. Revisit this step regularly.

3. Try to perform every single warm-up or workout air squat with virtuosity.

Sunday 160207

As many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
10 Deadlift, 135#(95#)
15 Box jump, 24″(20″)
15 Deadlift, 185#(135#)
15 Box jump, 24″(20″)
20 Deadlift, 225#(155#)
15 Box jump, 24″(20″)
25 Deadlift, 275#(185#)
15 Box jump, 24″(20″)
30 Deadlift, 315#(205#)
15 Box jump. 24″(20″)
35 Deadlift, 365#(225#)
15 Box jump, 24″(20″)

Post reps to comments of BTWB

Big congrats to Liz and Walter for competing in the recent Tuff Love competition at CrossFit Sanitas!

Big congrats to Liz and Walter for competing in the recent Tuff Love competition at CrossFit Sanitas!


Snacking during the Super Bowl can lead us down a delicious yet dangerous path of nutrition.  Many of us throw caution to the wind and go down the yellow brick road of fried food and ranch dipping sauce.  Others of us (myself not included) stay strong to our macronutrients and look for healthy options.  If you are one of those people #1 – GOOD FOR YOU #2 – This recipe is a great dip recipe that can be whipped up quickly and will not ruin your macros in one bite.



  • 2 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes (about 5-6)
  • 1/2 cup fine-diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Carefully dice the plum tomatoes. An easy method is to quarter the tomatoes and then cut each quarter in half, as shown in the photo above. Remove the membrane and any excess seeds. Then, dice into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a medium bowl, add all of the pico de gallo ingredients and toss well to combine. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite chips! 

Anna’s suggestions for dipping vehicles: your basic crudites (I totally had to google that spelling) or plaintain chips!  If you have any other great, macro-saving suggestions, comment below!  

Saturday 160206

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
2 Muscle ups
4 Handstand push ups
8 Kettlebell swings 70#(53#)

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

Meghan crushing some thrusters.

Meghan crushing some thrusters.


Schedule change for Saturday!!

Verve is hosting Mile High Sprints Saturday from 7am-2pm. Verve will have two classes scheduled following the sprints at 4pm and 5pm. If you want to attend either class, please sign up on MBO. There not be any open gym time or competitor hour.

What is the Mile High Sprints?

The sport of indoor rowing was created in 1981 when Concept2 developed its first rowing machine and, within a year, the first race had taken place. Hundreds of indoor rowing races are now held around the world each year, including the CRASH-B Sprints—the world championships of indoor rowing. 

Most races take place over the Olympic regatta distance of 2000 meters, and there are recognized age group records for this and a number of other distances.

The Mile High Sprints is a qualifying event for rowers to earn a flight to Boston for the World Indoor Rowing Championships, aka Crash B’s. Which means some pretty serious rowers will be hanging out at Verve crushing some meters Saturday. To see someone dominate a rower is a pretty cool site, so come down and watch it all unfold. A projector is set to watch each rower race those around it. Perhaps you get inspired to sign up for it next year??

Following the Mile High Sprints Verve is hosting the workout “Nate” on behalf of One Summit. One Summit is a company that aims to help children battling cancer build courage, self-confidence, and resilience through experiential learning and mentorship with a U.S. Navy SEAL. They have chosen the workout “Nate” to honor Nate Hardy, their friend, Navy SEAL and purple heart recipient killed in action in Iraq on February 4th 2008. In remembrance of Nate, One Summit has teamed up with 8 CrossFit Gyms around the country for “Nate’s WOD” challenge.

The goal is for every round completed to donate $5 to One Summit’s Boston Marathon Team. To learn more about it and to make a donation, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend. . . and Go Broncos!!

United in orange!!

United in orange!!


Friday 160205

3 Rounds for time:
30 Burpees over paralette
800 Meter run

Post time to comments or BTWB




I have made a point, using it more as a barometer reading than anything, to ask our athletes if they have joined the CF Open yet.  I don’t do this to pressure you or call you out if you don’t, I am simply trying to gauge interest level and see the barriers that are preventing some from participating.  I asked one athlete recently if they would be joining, and the response was “no”.  After further inquiry the athlete mentioned, among a few other well-versed reasons, that they did not want to pay the $20 for workouts they would already be doing.  While I am not trying to discount their reasoning nor say they are not correct in their thinking, I wanted to post the reply that Rory Mckernan recently made to a similar comment made to his Facebook page.  Here is the comment that started the conversation:

“Compared to what 99.999% of the open participants get out of it, yes, $20 is a lot of money. Especially when they could just do the exact same workouts for free. I can’t justify paying $20 just to find out whether I’m in 8000th place or 7999th place in my region. It’s not even a good way to measure your progress from year to year because of how different the workouts are and how many more people compete each year.”

This is my response to a recent comment posted on the CrossFit Games Facebook page insinuating that $20 is a barrier to entry for the CrossFit Games Open. I don’t get it.
   I disagree. Let me see if I can address some of your points.  Roughly 500 athletes have competed at the CrossFit Games since 2011. During the same period 443,758 people have participated in the Open. That tells me that hundreds of thousands of people have found the Open to be a beneficial mainstay of their annual training calendar, with ZERO delusions that they will advance to the Games. What does that look like?
    The story of Daniel Casey comes to mind. He has transformed himself through hard work and used the Open to make a statement to himself and the world that he is an athlete. There are about a half million more stories like this. Check it out:
    To say the growing participation numbers detract from your ability to gauge fitness year to year is a backwards argument – it’s actually additive. Casting the largest net possible to measure and evaluate where you stand is a priority of the competition. I personally find it fascinating to know that last year I was 22,080 in the World. More importantly though, let me offer another way to view the leaderboard. My main priority in terms of competition is beating one of closest friends in a tradition we have carried on for 5 years. I’ve also got side pots with friends and colleagues who are similar stages of life as I am (parents, career focused, 30 plus, etc). Regardless the growth of participation in the Open, my fitness in relation to those peers is what I value most. Check out the Custom Leaderboard:
     Programming. The Open is and will always be a test of fitness, not specialization. If the workouts were the same from year to year you would be testing your ability to train for those specific tests. Every year the combination of workouts and your performance against them give you a way point at that point in your life as to where your health sits. We measure our work capacity, observe trends and benchmarks, then repeat that frequently. That’s always been the recipe, and it’s something that I plan to measure over the course of my lifetime. (if you’re short on time, fast forward to 4:00).
    The Open gives you a 5 week period of your year to focus and prioritize. You’re right, you could do the workouts on your own. I could also run the Boston Marathon course on my own, but I guarantee you my training would look substantially different than a serious attempt at the course on race day.
Most importantly, the Open is very fun.
     In light of all of this and when I consider other things I spend $20, money does not seem like a reasonable excuse to not participate. Think about a few cups of coffee, parking and your recent trip to the fair or one meal out at a restaurant. If the $20 entrance is your last barrier to entry, I’m happy to pay it for you. You just have to complete the workouts at a CrossFit affiliate and tell me about your experience when the competition is over.
And… most affiliates have beer. I hope you read all this.
–If you haven’t had a chance to register yet, follow THIS link.  Registration deadline is February 26th.
–If you plan on completing the workouts and are trying to qualify for Regionals and/or the CrossFit Verve Team, we ask that you complete the Judges Course.  If you will need a certified judge to verify your workouts, do your fellow athletes a “solid” and be available to judge them as well.  You can obtain your judges certification here.
– Verve will not be conducting classes in the morning tomorrow, Saturday February 5th.  We will, however, have classes at 4pm and 5pm.  The workout is a charity workout for ONE SUMMIT MISSION, benefitting pediatric cancer patients.  You can see the event flyer here

Thursday 160204

Take 60% of your 1 rep max back squat,

Perform 10 sets x 10 reps @ 60%, rest 90 seconds between sets

Add 10# from last week if all 10 sets were successful. If not, remain at same weight until all 10 sets are completed unbroken.

Post weights to comments and BTWB

Handstand push-ups for days.

Handstand push-ups for days.


Now what?

Well folks we have officially come to the end of our 6 weeks of German Volume Training. Some of you may miss it, others probably not, and some of you have been waiting for this day for 6 weeks. It is never our goal to drive anyone away or create boredom out of routine. It is our goal to constantly try new things and bring new ideas to Verve in an effort to make you all more fit, happy, and healthy. But now that it’s over what are we going to do? Are we going to re-test our 1 rep maxes? Are we going to see some huge PRs and show off how ridiculously strong we’ve gotten in the past 6 weeks? Uhhhh. . . sorry but no. 

I have had an opportunity to speak with several of you about this but for those I may have missed. . . German Volume Training was not introduced to Verve to help build 1 rep maxes. So we could do some testing but we most likely will not see any drastic changes. German Volume Training was brought to you for the purposes described in it’s name, we wanted to build volume. We wanted to build stamina and endurance in your pushing power and squatting power. 

“GVT is all about volume and involves performing 10 sets of a single exercise, it puts the muscles under large amount of extraordinary stress, which results in hypertrophy of the targeted muscle fibers. . . German Volume Training aims at bulking up your muscles.” (click here for article)

This kind of training is not working our fast twitch muscle fibers needed for 100% effort expenditure during an approx. :10 1 rep max attempt. The 10 sets of 10 reps was building time under tension. So how can we test whether or not the last 6 weeks did anything for us? Well, you could do “Karen”, 150 wall balls for time. If we have built up leg endurance then our goal would be to move through more wall balls faster, with perhaps our lungs giving out long before our legs. Most of you did Tuesday’s WOD this week. . . so how did it go? Were you able to get off the rower and go straight to the wall balls? Did you surprise yourself with how well you managed that workout? Let us know, give us some feedback about whether or not changing the programming up for 6 weeks was worth it for you. 

As stated in the blogs earlier this week, starting February 8th we will begin following the main site programming until the end of the CrossFit Games Open. What are we going to do after? We’re not sure yet. It probably won’t be another round of German Volume training, not because we don’t believe in it’s methods but because we will be looking for something new. But your feedback will help us determine whether or not we ever bring it back. 

Let us know what you think, seriously, even if what you think is that the Germans are full of crap. 

Wednesday 160203

For time:
50 Double unders
21 Chest to bar pull-ups
21 Power snatch, 115#(75#)
50 Double unders
15 Chest to bar pull-ups
15 Power snatch, 115#(75#)
50 Double unders
9 Chest to bar pull-ups
9 Power snatch, 115#(75#)

Post to BTWB


Rest Days

By: Paul Buono

It’s important to understand your body, or at least for you to try to understand your body.  Too often we see people trying to eek out short-term benefits by trying to skip rest days. If you would like to maximize your workouts in preparation for a competition or continue a healthy pattern of being able to workout a handful of times per week for the rest of your life, the body needs rest.

The chart above is taken from one of my favorite authors in the strength and conditioning realm, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, a retired professor from The Pennsylvania State University. He breaks training down into three separate categories on a “preparedness vs. time” chart: depletion (training), restitution (rest) and supercompensation. Supercompensation takes places after a restoration period, the level of the given biochemical substance is believed to increase about the initial level.  In other words, we get better when we rest.

Greg Glassman’s recommended protocol for rest days is three days of training for one rest day. Again, this is going to vary from person to person, you must learn what is going on with your body and when it’s asking you for a break. Some of the determining factors for me for rest day are: resting heart rate, hours slept, quality of sleep, energy levels, mood, performance in the gym, appetite, soreness and illness. If I’m not happy with how some of these things are feeling a couple days in a row, I’ll take an unscheduled rest day and come in the day after to hit it hard! Remember, we get better when we rest.


Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1995. Print.

Tuesday 160202

5 Rounds:
2 Minute max calorie row
1 Minute max rep wallball, 20#(14#)
Rest 1 minute

*Score is round with lowest total reps of calories plus wallballs.

Paul working on some new stand up material.

Paul working on some new stand up material.

Post to BTWB

As you’re all probably aware now the 2016 CrossFit Open begins at the end of this month.  Read last Friday’s blog for a great write up and video on the Open and why you should participate.

This will be the last week of the volume training and starting next Monday, CrossFit Verve will be following the programming of  

We’ve done this in years past and the idea is that we don’t want to program something that might be programmed for the Open workouts.  Imagine having to do Fran or a Fran esque workout two days in a row.  

If you’re unfamiliar with how the mainsite programs, visit and scroll through some of the workouts that have been programmed lately.  You’ll see a lot of similarities to the way we program.  The one difference with the mainsite is that they have rest days programmed in every forth day.  We will be programming the workouts for Verve on days that the mainsite features a rest day.  The Tuesdays VO2 workouts have had great attendance so I’m guessing you all really enjoy those type of grueling workouts so we’ll be sure to continue to have similar workouts.  Might not be on Tuesdays, but we’ll be sure to fit them in when we can.

Friday will be the day we perform the Open workouts at Verve.  The workouts are announced on Thursday nights staring on February 25th and continuing for 5 weeks.  Verve will have them streaming at the gym so please come in and watch with your fellow Verve members.  Still on the fence about signing up?  Stay tuned to the Friday blogs for more information and reasons why you SHOULD sign up.