Thursday 141016

Bench press 2-2-2-2-2-2-2

Then, EMOM x 10 minutes, alternating:
Evens- :20 handstand hold
Odds- 10 chest slapping push-ups

Post loads to comments and BTWB

IMG 1085 475x633 Thursday 141016

Lillie going the distance. . . the whole length of the pool underwater. Fun times had at swim WODs.


High School shmigh school. . . I’m way cooler now. Seriously. By Courtney #whatsupwiththat” Shepherd

Not too long ago the workout of the day had something to do with heavy back squats. Man, who doesn’t love them some heavy back squats? I took a lap around the floor seeking numbers, when I happened across an athlete putting their weights away. I asked, “What did you get?”, I got my number and I followed up with, “was that a PR?”. The answer was “no”, but what followed that answer made me take pause. “I lifted more in high school.” Hmmmm. High school? To be clear there are only two Verve athletes that are actually in high school, this was not either of them. 

This got me thinking about what I was doing in high school. I was swimming, and not very well. I had stopped taking it seriously, I was many years into the sport with little to show for it, so the motivation to push on was lost. So during the off season I spent my break periods sitting with friends in a specially designated area of the school called “smokers corner”. Yeah, I smoked. It was a form of rebellion, I’ve made peace with it. I spent the weekends, in the wise words of Luke Palmisano, “gettin’ crunk”. Yeah, I underage drank. It was a form of rebellion, I’ve made peace with it. I spent lunch period walking to Burger King, it was the only way to eat cheaply and save money for cigarettes. I was not paleo in high school. I was a tomboy in high school. Still am, somehow it’s more socially acceptable now. Basically if you could take the unhealthiest version of myself and subtract 15 years, you would have me in high school. Based on this it might not shock you to hear I was not happy in high school. I hated my body, I hated that boys treated me like a boy and hit on my more girly friends, I hated not being really good at anything. I had zero direction in high school. So, pretty much, not my finest years. 

If I were to sit here and compare my current lifestyle to high school, hands down my current self is way awesomer. My high school years helped mold who I am today but they are not something I would use to define me today. Now I recognize this is not everyone’s story, I’m sure there is a good chunk of you that were athletes in high school, good ones too. So maybe it is hard to see where you are now and not want to compare yourself to back then. Well Uncle Rico, I’m here to tell you, just like me, A LOT has changed for you over the years. You got jobs, the kind that suck your life away. Maybe you sit hunched over a desk, maybe you are on your feet all day, maybe you build things and do hard manual labor all day. It doesn’t matter what you do, it takes it’s toll on your body. You are not 18, you do not rebound like you did. Maybe you have had kids. Kids take up your time. Between your job and your kids when do go to the grocery store? You don’t, you drive through McDonalds, it’s easy, it’s convenient, and it comes with a toy. Toys equal no tears. These things and more have happened since high school, you and your body are completely different than high school. 

Then came CrossFit. Oh, sweet, sweet CrossFit. It’s only 1 hour and you sweat buckets. It’s convenient, it’s on your way to work or on your way home from work. Your inner athlete has been reawakened. You love the drive and the competition, you learn how to better fuel your body to make you a better athlete. You bring your loved one to try it, to make a time during the day you can be together, and then you curse your decision when they start kicking your butt. You find yourself scrolling through CrossFit videos online, you find yourself ordering your third pair of nanos and first pair of olympic lifting shoes. Clearly things have changed. When you find places to CrossFit while you are on vacation, take note my friends, life as you know it is different. So how in the world can you look back to your teenage years and compare it to anything that you do now? I will answer that for you, you can’t. 

I’m going to take this a step further. . . how many of you compare yourself to your pre baby self? Or how about your pre injury self? Or pre surgery self? You are a different person. I speak from experience. I had shoulder surgery, there was physical change done to a part of my body, it is not the same shoulder I had 3 years ago. Now, do I compare myself to 3 years ago. Yes, I do. Now. But I didn’t for a while. I took my logbook pre surgery and tucked it away. I started a new one and watched my progress from day 1 post op. I started fresh and new. It was over a year later, when I saw some progress that I was making, when I dug out that log book. I had come a long way, it was exciting to see it, but before I looked I had no idea where I stood in comparison to my previous athlete self. I had nothing looming over my head that I felt like I had to get back to, there was no pressure to achieve something sooner than later. My only goal was to move along and remain pain free. I’ve done that and more. Starting over is a good thing. But when is your start over? The day you started CrossFit. The day after you give birth. The day after surgery. The day after the life changing injury.

You may have multiple start overs, one for every kid, or injury. There is nothing wrong with that. With every start over brings new knowledge, new understanding, and new PRs. Relish in them. Rejoice in them. Do not poo poo them because in a previous life you could have done better. It’s about what you can do now. And what you are doing now is pretty badass, I bet your high school self would be jealous. Unless of course you are Jordan or Ethan, in which case keep CrossFitting and kick high school in the teeth, it just keeps getting better. 

Wednesday 141015

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
20 Box jumps, 24″ (20″)
5 Muscle-ups
30 Double unders

Post rounds to comments and BTW.

IMG 0287 475x712 Wednesday 141015

AJ loading his skeleton smartly.

Jumping.  We do a lot of it.  Probably not as much as kids do on a daily basis, but we definitely have a fair amount of jumping and landing in CrossFit.  In box jumps, double unders, olympic lifting, etc. because it’s important for improving coordination, balance, strength, power, speed, agility, accuracy, and agility.  So you could say its good for us.  It’s necessary, it’s functional and shouldn’t be avoided as we grow older.  Often times chronic pain and injuries have developed from years and years of consistent loading and pounding on our joints and tissues, so we hear to “go swimming” or get on an elliptical to decrease that high impact.  Fact is in generally healthy and well-nourished people, 15-24 weeks of progressive training is long enough to remodel and harden bones into well adapted force-transmitting machines.  

A New York Times article, “Why High Impact Training is Good for Your Bones” states:

“Bones should be jarred, for their own good. Past experiments have definitively established that subjecting bones to abrupt stress prompts them to add mass or at least reduces their loss of mass as people age.

Recently researchers at the University of Bristol gathered male and female adolescents — the body accumulates bone mass rapidly at this time of life — and had them go about their daily routines while they wore activity monitors. The bone density of the volunteers’ hips was also measured.

A week later, the scientists reclaimed the monitors to check each teenager’s exposure to G forces­, a measure of impact. Those who experienced impacts of 4.2 G’s or greater — though these were infrequent — had notably sturdier hipbones. Additional work done by the same researchers showed that running a 10-minute mile or jumping up onto and down from a box at least 15 inches high was needed to produce forces that great. The significance of these findings is that people should probably run pretty fast or jump high to generate forces great enough to help build bone.”

Bone remodeling and the formation of additional bone can modify the strength of bone in direct response to the amount of stress that is applied to it.  Stress to the bone increases osteoblast activity in the bone tissue.  A removal of stress decreases osteoblast activity. Stress is defined as load bearing, so does it feel heavy?  If yes then you might be able to call it stress.  So you should be gradually getting stronger and adding weight, eating your veggies and gradually increasing the consistency and intensity of your loading, aka jumping abilities.  

Train your bones with proper technique and intensity and you can avoid serious potential injuries. Our bones can change shape and density over time to adapt to our changing lives and activities.  Then we can catcall across the gym about “those amazing femurs on you or wow, look at that humerus!”  Don’t avoid high impact activities, just be smart about them and gradually improve them.  If you haven’t already, start today.

Tuesday 141014

With a 12 minute running clock, accumulate as many reps as possible:
1 Minute of power snatch, 115#(75#)
1 Minute of GHD sit-ups
2 Minutes of power snatch, 115#(75#)
2 Minutes of GHD sit-ups
3 Minutes of power snatch, 115#(75#)
3 Minutes of GHD sit-ups

Post reps to BTWB

IMG 0391 475x316 Tuesday 141014

The whiteboard, friend or foe.

What’s the first thing we all do when we get into the gym?  I’m talking about after we’ve changed, said hello to our friends, and put all our belongings away.  Look at the Whiteboard of course. Maybe you look to see what your friends were able to do or maybe you look to see what the best score, time, weight of the day is.  

I have a love hate relationship with the whiteboard.  I love it because it’s great to help us track our progress but I hate it because many of us are so concerned with seeing an RX next to our name that we sacrifice certain things to get said RX.  Workouts are written and programmed for studs of CrossFit.  I’m not talking about the athletes in our gym, I’m talking about the Matt Chan’s, Jason Khalipa, Julie Foucher and Rich Fronings of CrossFit.  When we program workouts we design them to have a certain intensity to them and then we scale so that everyone still feels that intensity.  Now clearly not all of us can do all the workouts as written and that’s a good thing.  We need to scale to keep intensity high, have great mechanics, and get better at movements we need work on.  There are many more benefits to the whiteboard, but also some negative aspects as well.  

Here are a few good things about the whiteboard as referenced from an article in BoxLife Magazine.  

Motivation.  The scores your friends or friendly competition put up are great for motivating you and also to give you an idea of how you should approach a workout.  Perhaps you see that your friend did a workout at a certain weight.  You know that you and your friend are pretty close in strength so seeing her weight might convince you to do a similar weight.  

Goals.  Writing your score on the whiteboard shows that you’re moving in the correct direction to your fitness goals.  A few days we did “Karen” and I heard people saying they beat their previous time by 2 minutes!  That’s amazing.  Put that on the whiteboard with a big ass PR next to your name!

Now here are few of the not so positives with the whiteboard.

Loss of Focus.  Say you’re in a workout and you know what your friends time is.  Well what happens if you look at the clock and realize you’re not going to be able to beat his time, what happens?  We lose focus and start our brains running, instead of busting your butt to finish the workout and put up your best time possible.  

The Whiteboard doesn’t tell the whole story.  What if an athlete messed up counting and ended up doing a few more or less reps but that loss of counting was reflected in the time on the board?  What if something effected the workout result? We may not know the whole story behind the time listed.  

My advice is take the whiteboard for what it is, a board we write your name on and keep track of your score.  That’s it.  The real question should be how much better are you than the day you began your fitness journey?  We try to describe a workout and it’s intended intensity so you can choose how you scale so you get the best workout for you.  

What are you thoughts on the whiteboard?  Love it?  Hate it?  Let’s hear it.


Monday 141013

Front squat

Then, tabata bottom to bottom squats, followed immediately by 400 meter run for time.

Post score to BTW.

IMG 0614 475x712 Monday 141013

Good looking front rack from Clay.

CrossFit: Is It Really For Everyone?

This is a post from – you can find the original article here.

There is a lot of buzz around CrossFit. There are the lovers. There are the haters. Then there are the ones who do not think they could ever do it. I have been asked three times, just this week, “Really? Can anyone do CrossFit or do I need to be in shape to start?” Preconceived notions seem to surround the sport of CrossFit. Those on the outside seem to fall into two camps. They either watch The Games and think that every workout in a box looks like THAT, or they look at the people who walk in and out of a CrossFit box and think they have to look like THAT. Here’s the inside scoop: The Games athletes can only complete workouts like THAT from doing CrossFit, and the people look like THAT by doing CrossFit. You have to do it. The catch is, you have to start somewhere, and very few of us have started CrossFit in the shape we are in now.

When I am asked the question, “Is CrossFit really for everyone?” I generally encourage the asker to come try it out. I wish people who are interested in CrossFit would come to their local box and look around. In any given class that I have trained I have athletes that have scaled the workout up. They have added weight to their bars; they have added in an extra movements; they have made the workout just a bit harder to meet their training needs. I also have athletes who are keeping everything as prescribed. They work their tails off to tackle the WOD as it is written, and do it as quickly as they can… even if that’s not so quickly. I also have athletes who have scaled everything. They have deloaded their bars; they have replaced movements with ones that are more their speed; they have made the workout fit their training needs. There is not ONE way to do a CrossFit WOD. Every movement can be modified to meet the training needs of the specific athlete. For example, I have an athlete who is a regular at one of my classes. He has very limited mobility due to some health issues. While he is not able, at this point, to complete a workout as prescribed, he shows up, does the work to the best of his ability, and has already shown great strength gains in the work he has done.

CrossFit is functional fitness by definition. What this means is that the movements we do in CrossFit are movements you do in your daily life. A deadlift? Simply picking something up off the ground. A squat? Sitting down. A push up? Getting up off the ground. Don’t be scared of weights. You won’t start there. No one does. You will start at a level of fitness that is acceptable for you. Many athletes have limitations. Limitations can be worked with. Don’t confuse limitations with excuses. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you are overweight? That’s an excuse. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you have an old injury? That’s an excuse. You don’t want to do CrossFit because you don’t move well? That’s an excuse. Don’t let your excuses motivate your life. If you want to change your life you have to take the steps to do so. Don’t be scared of work. Is CrossFit really for everyone? Yes, but it starts with you. Don’t make excuses, make changes.


Sunday 141012

6 Rounds for reps:
With a 2 minute running clock:
12 Medicine ball cleans 20#(14#)
6 Handstand push-ups
Then, as many muscle-ups as possible in remaining time
Rest 2 minutes

Post total reps to comments or BTW

anw 475x267 Sunday 141012

Get ready for obstacle course fun!

Next Verve Outing!!

The next Verve get together will be October 25th @ Urban Acrobatics! 

What is Urban Acrobatics?  Urban Acrobatics is a multi functional gym and recreation center for cutting edge fitness and creative movement. Featuring Parkour/FreeRunning, Tumbling, Break-dancing, Yoga, Martial Arts, Aerial acrobatics, Birth Day Parties, and so much more. Our focus is to bring fun, fitness, health, and energy back into your life.

What will we be doing?  We have the gym reserved from 9am to 11am.  We will be coached on different Parkour moves and America Ninja Warrior-style obstacles.

How do you sign up?  You will sign up via MindBody like a normal class.  When you sign up, you will be prompted to pay $5, Verve is covering the rest of the cost.  The class is capped at 25 people, so sign up quick!

Check out this website to check out the gym and what we have in store.


Workout today will be at Commons Park.  Here is map to the park:


Saturday 141011

3 rounds for total reps:
With a 5 minute running clock:
Row 500 meters
Then, complete as many muscle-ups as possible in remaining time

Rest 1 minute between rounds

v 475x356 Saturday 141011

Maddie keeps her rowing class high and tight.

Modified schedule today – there is only one class in the gym at 7 am due to a seminar. Please check MBO and sign up ahead of time!

Today’s schedule:

7 am WOD at Verve.

9:30 Pool Workout

10:30 Pool Workout

The pool workouts are taking place at the Glenarm Rec Center, located at 2800 Glenarm Place, Denver CO 80205.

Friday 141010

For time:
150 Wallballs to 10′ target, 20#(14#)

Compare to 140608


IMG 0027 475x316 Friday 141010

Only seriousness allowed in Comp Crew! #impromptudanceparty

Mobility Series Continued!!  GOT KNEE PAIN?

Let me preface this post with a reminder that there are many causes of knee pain.  Depending on the source of the pain, doing any and all of these lower extremity mobility drills may help alleviate the pain.  This mobility post will focus on directly mobilizing the knee joint, but realize that the pain could be caused by upstream or downstream issues.

#1 – First, let me recommend a 3 part video by Kelly Starrett called Solving Knee Problems.  Coach Starrett goes over why we have you squat the way you do and identifiying those upstream and downstream issues I mentioned above.

Watch Solving Knee Pain Part One here
Watch Solving Knee Pain Part Two here
Watch Solving Knee Pain Part Three here

#2 – Banded Torque and Tension of the knee – Wrap a green band low around the pull-up rig and wrap the other end around your ankle twice.  Sit down and scoot you booty away from the rig creating tension on the band.  Now you will use your hands to internally rotate your high-shin area while flexing you quad.  Do this for ~2 minutes each leg. To up the intensity, wrap you entire knee with a VooDoo band and do the same drill!!  BAM!!
Here is a short video showing the drill:

#3 – Banded knee distraction – Wrap a green band knee-height on the pull-up rig.  Step into the band with one leg, making sure it is at the back of your knee.  Step away, facing the rig, creating some tension on the band.  With your feet close together, squat down.  You should feel some light pulling on the front of your knee.  Move the knee around, into the different corners.  Do this for about :90 seconds on each leg.    Then, turn your side to the rig and squat more, allowing the band to pull you knee out.  Here is a video showing the drill:

Shout out in comments if you try any of these, or if you have any great GO-TO knee mobility drills.


– There is a CrossFit Kids seminar at the gym this weekend, so we will be having classes on-site @ 7am on Saturday and Sunday.  Courtney will be coaching swim WODS off-site on Saturday at Glenarm Rec Center at 9:30am and 10:30am.  Sunday we will have park WOD’s at Commons Park @ 9am and 10am.

-Let Nate know if you are participating in the Run the Rocks 5k Run Walk.  The race starts at 9am.  You can still sign-up with our discount code CrossfitRocks14 to receive a $5 discount.

Thursday 141009

Push jerk 2-2-2-2-2

Split jerk 3-3-3-3-3

Post loads to comments and BTWB

IMG 0390 475x316 Thursday 141009

An army of really, really, incredibly fit people.


It’s party time By Courtney “#whatsupwiththat” Shepherd, with some help from my now partner in crime Eric “the shot caller” Clancy

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the congratulatory messages yesterday. Clancy and I each have a different story of how we got to Verve as athletes and how we became trainers. However, I don’t think either of us saw it leading to becoming co-owners of Verve. Truth be told, I don’t even think we liked each other very much when we first met, ironical huh? Joking aside, we are incredibly honored to have been asked to take the reigns.

A huge thank you to Matt, Cherie, Joylyn, and Mas for your trust, faith, and support. We are ready to keep your dream alive and thriving. Thank you to the Verve community for your enthusiasm towards this big change, your support is amazing and we are incredibly grateful. We have a mutual goal of keeping Verve on its path of success. We want to continue to see it grow and the community prosper. And we are excited to do it all as a team. I was going to end this with some silly phrase from a movie, possibly with bad words, to really bring home my point, but instead I will simply say. . . . we are excited and we’re glad you are too. 

Thank you,
Courtney and Clancy

Wednesday 141008

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

10 Sumo deadlift high pull, 115# (75#)
15 Pull-ups
20 Anchored abmat sit-ups

Post rounds to comments and BTW.

IMG 0386 475x316 Wednesday 141008

New ownership team of Verve, Courtney & Eric.

We could not be more excited to announce that CrossFit Verve will be under new leadership (ownership). This is by no means a good-bye, simply a bright beginning.

Verve is an amazing place, with an amazing community and amazing coaches. We opened the “doors” (there were no real doors yet) in October 2008, with a simple goal.  To create a fit community that collectively transformed lives through functional fitness, so that each of us could live happier and healthier lives.  That mission has fueled the growth of Verve everyday. For us, never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it would take the form that you see today.  We are humbled and proud of how far it has come; from hauling equipment to Commons Park hoping a few athletes would show up, to finding a tiny location where we needed to cap the membership, to now an abundance of equipment and space, a staff of brilliant trainers and a wide variety of wonderful athletes.  But the future is even brighter. 

Several years ago, Matt and Cherie decided to take their  jobs with CrossFit Inc. to full-time status, making it an employment priority.  We were looking for the life balance we advocated to our athletes. During that time we handed the reigns over to our partners Joylyn and Mas.  Our professional staff has continued to grow and continues to do a brilliant job as Verve has grown exponentially.  We’ve loved the opportunity to connect with each of you in our athlete and affiliate community near and far.   This community has held our hearts, it has changed our lives, ignited a passion for us and continues to be one of the best parts of our day.  

It became clear within this year that Verve was going to need some changes, including a new space. It was with heavy hearts that we all began planning for that change.  Be it for different reasons, we all know we would not be able to dedicate the time that Verve needs and deserves for it’s next big evolution.  We are excited to support Verve in a different capacity moving forward. 

We did not need to look very far to find the right people for Verve’s continued future.  It was within our own walls, two of the people who take such good care of each of you everyday.  Please join us in welcoming Courtney Shepherd and Eric Clancy as CrossFit Verve’s new owners.  We are unbelievably proud and grateful for everything they have done for us in the past and everything they are going to do in Verve’s future. 

Much Love – Joylyn, Mas, Matt and Cherie

Tuesday 140107

For time:
Run 1600 meters
150 Double unders
50 Burpees
Run 800 meters
100 Doubke unders
35 Burpees
Run 400 meters
50 Double unders
20 Burpees

Post time to BTWB.

IMG 0373 475x316 Tuesday 140107

Great turnout for this pasts weekend memorial WOD. Just another reason we all love this place!

We use our daily posts to provide you with information about  topics we feel are relevant to our members, whether it’s nutrition, mobility, upcoming events and so on.  I want to use this post to ask you the members what you like best about CrossFit and more importantly what you love about CrossFit Verve.  I’ll give you a few of my favorite things, but this is about you so let’s hear it. Post your thoughts in the comments.

My favorite part of Verve is you the community.  Some days I come in and I’m not having the best day, but after a few minutes of talking with the members I begin to cheer up.  Maddie calls me grumpy, but a few good talks with you guys changes all that!  Seeing you guys excel or hearing about you recent gym accomplishments is something I know all the trainers really enjoy.

Scaling workouts or coming up with modifications is another of my favorite parts of my job.  I may joke and give you a hard time, but one of my favorite things is being put on the spot and coming up with ways to help people figure out how they are going to get through a workout when dealing with an injury.  I love hearing how good the modifications are after the workout or even hearing that the modification may have been too easy.  It’s a learning experience for me and helps me help future members.  Keep giving me and all the trainers all your feedback so we know what works and what doesn’t.

Seeing new members become part of the Verve community.  When we start a new class of foundations, you can see the people in the foundations classes watching in awe what our members in the classes are capable of.  This can be pretty intimidating as many of us know. When people leave foundations and begin participating in WODs and Skilz classes it’s always great to see our current members so welcoming to the new members.  It’s such a good feeling to walk in to a place and be met with friendly faces full of encouragement.  I put a new member with a group of experienced members last week during our shoulder press, push press, push jerk workout and it was great to see the interaction and encouragement coming from our veterans. This goes a long way so keep it up.  

The up for anything attitude.  A lot of times I’ll work out during open gym and I love when we get together and just brainstorm a workout.  We have no idea how it’s going to feel, but we are always up for trying it out.  If you can make an open gym, I highly recommend grabbing a few people and finding out what everyone is going to do and just getting involved.  The unknown can lead to some great workouts and bonding with your fellow members.  

Those are a few of my favorite things about CrossFit and Verve.  Now it’s your turn.  What are some of your favorite parts of CrossFit and Verve.  Post away in the comments.