Thursday 160714

21-15-9 Reps of:
Deadlift, 225#(155#)
Front squat, 135#(95#)

Post times to comments and BTWB

Jeremy working through some heavy dips, trying to find a 1RM.

Jeremy working through some heavy dips, trying to find a 1RM.




















You must work for what you want By Courtney Shepherd

Imagine graduating from college, putting hundreds of resumes out into the world and finally landing your first post schooling job. Imagine walking in to work on the 2nd day, going up to the boss and saying “I want to be paid more now”. I would hope that for those of us that have been through similar situations, we are all laughing at the thought of asking for more money when we haven’t done anything to earn it. If we can appreciate that we would not do this in our jobs then how far fetched is it to understand this same concept carries out in other aspects of life? Dear friends this may be a hard knock life style post, a come to jesus meeting of sorts, where I express to everyone that we absolutely must work for what we want. Want to lose weight? That takes work. Want to do a workout RX? Yep, you guessed it, gotta put the work in. Wanting to lose weight, wanting to lift more weight, wanting to have muscle ups does not make it so. And wanting it REALLY, REALLY BADLY, really doesn’t make it so either.

Where is this coming from? Courtney, why are you so mean today? This is not meant to be mean but really an attempt to be helpful. I’ve expressed before that I feel as though I am the Taylor Swift of blog posts, I have a conversation with you one day and the next it’s the topic for a public blog. Only difference really is I’m not winning Grammys or pulling sweet iPhone commercials for this stuff. I know, I should, but I’ll save that issue for another day. Well there have been a few conversations lately. And when I have a conversation with the same person multiple times or the same conversation with multiple people. . . then folks, we have a blog on our hands. Here is a sampling of the conversation:

Athlete: I want to do this heavy weight for the workout.
Me: Okay. Can I see you warm-up with it?
Athlete: (struggles through warm-up with heavy weight, no speed, loss of mechanics, cannot do unbroken sets)
Me: I would suggest we go lighter for the workout. I want to see you move it faster and look better doing it.
Athlete: But I want to do this weight. I don’t want to do the light weight.
Me: I hear you, but you are struggling through the heavy weight. I need for you to use a weight you do not struggle with. Go lighter for the workout.
Athlete: But I REALLY WANT to do this weight.
Me: (I no longer use words, but merely a look. The one that lets the athlete know what the answer is. Some of you have seen this look before, just close your eyes and let it come to the forefront of your mind)

Congratulations on REALLY WANTING to do something. I really want to win the lottery one day. I know what I will do with all that money too. I will buy a spot on the next shuttle trip to space. . . for Clancy. I don’t play the lottery though, I don’t buy tickets, ever. But man do I REALLY WANT to win.

Some of you may say to yourself, “but I do work hard, during the workout”. That’s good to hear, I want everyone to work hard during the workout, but there is more that goes on in an hour than just the workout. There is a warm-up. Do you do the warm-up? Or do you do enough of it until you see someone else stop and then you stop? Or better yet, do you take the warm-up as the time to put your shoes and socks on while sitting on the couch? The warm-up is an integral part of the hour. It is during the warm-up that some capacity can be built in certain movements, with light weight and good technique. This consistent work during the warm-up can sometimes build more fitness for us than the workout itself. Think of the workout as the test and the warm-up as your study material. If we constantly bypass the study material, can we really be surprised if we also regularly fail portions of the test?

At the end of the day we may have to ask ourselves, “am I doing 60% of the work and expecting 100% of the results?”. There are some folks out there that are doing 60% of the work and understand why they get 60% of the results. I will always do my best to encourage anyone and everyone to give more than 60%, but if that’s all you have to give and there is no argument about what you get in return. . . well okay then.

I also get questions about extra work. “What can I do before or after the WOD to work on. . . .?”. Before asking me about extra work, again, first ask yourself about what you do during the workout. If we come to class consistency 5 days/ week and put in full effort from start to finish, there are very few of us that will actually need extra work to see ourselves progress. Jason Kaplan is my favorite example of this. Jason comes to class consistency 5 days/ week. He shows up a little early to do a bit of mobility before class starts. When class starts, it’s go time for Jason. If the warm-up is 10 burpees and a shuttle sprint, the man does 10 burpees and SPRINTS. He doesn’t do 6-8 burpees, waiting for those around him to finish up so he can also be finished, and he doesn’t jog. If the warm-up is 3 weight jumps to get to workout weight, 5 reps at each jump, he does 3 weight jumps with 5 reps at each jump. He pushes during the workout and when it’s done he does whatever else is written on the board. Clancy and I could write a post WOD of 3 rounds of 10 pirouettes and I guarantee he would do them. He gets the most out of every hour at Verve and the results are consistent progress, PRs, and improvement.

So what do you want? Are you working towards getting it or are you thinking about how much you really want it and waiting for the day it comes? There is a saying, “Don’t wish for it to be easier, want for you to be better”. At this point I hope it’s redundant for me to say don’t “want for you to be better” either, work. . . work hard. Trust the process and the journey. Your hard work will pay off.

Wednesday 160713

Weighted pull-up 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
Weighted dip 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Posts Results to BTWB

A lot of times we throw around buzzwords like mobility and stability and throw those exercises into our warm-up routines. However, every once in a while when you only have 45 minutes to get a workout in, you don’t want to spend your entire session playing with bands and foam rollers. This is a perfect chance to utilize a dynamic warm-up

What is a dynamic warm-up?
A dynamic warm-up lasts between 5-10 minutes and is the first part of your workout. It involves a series of bounds, hops, skips, runs and ballistic stretches that increase your core temperature that prepares your body for the activity that takes place. You’ll work out or compete better if you warm-up properly and go into your workout sweating. 

What is the purpose of a dynamic warm-up?
The main purpose of a dynamic warm-up is to increase blood flow to the joints and parts of the body that will be used in the workout you are about to perform. Another purpose is to increase the nervous system awareness by stimulating the parts of the body that will be used in bouts of effort to come. 

The video above is from Matt Chan demonstrating good use of his time by having a set routine he follows every time he goes into the gym. Having a set warm-up leaves the guess work out of the equation and ensures that your time will be best spent on improving your fitness rather than deciding what you should do

Tuesday 160712

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
300m Row
3 Rope Climbs

Post rounds to BTWB

Above is an interesting video that was on the mainsite the other day.  The video has to do with freedom of choice when it comes to the foods we consume.

Watch the video and post your thoughts in the comments section.  


Monday 160711

Take 20 minutes to establish a heavy front squat

Then, 3 rounds:
5 x 1 1/4 squats @ 70% of today’s heaviest
1 time through jump course
Rest 1 minute

Post weight to BTWB

Kendra and Bailey using their fitness to run with, or away, from the Bulls in Spain.


This may not be a news flash, but CrossFit can be hard on the shoulders.  At Verve, we take your shoulder health seriously!  For those of you that do not know, we have 13 Crossover Symmetry units for you to use to help keep your shoulders healthy, wealthy, and wise.  We are going to take some excerpts directly from their website so you can see how Crossover Symmetry can help you and your shoulder pain.  Please note: We are not advocating you utilize Crossover Symmetry in lieu of seeking help from a physical therapist.  If the pain persists, please seek help from a professional.



The primary function of the rotator cuff is to keep the ball of the humerus in the shoulder socket throughout a full range of motion. If the rotator cuff is weak or fatigued, the humeral head tends to move upwards excessively and closes off the subacromial space. The WOD listed above would undoubtedly fatigue the rotator cuff and reduce its ability to perform the primary function of keeping the ball centered in the socket. Crossover Symmetry will improve the muscular endurance of these stabilizing muscles to help athletes withstand demanding workouts with repetitive overhead movements.


Poor shoulder posture from a lifestyle with the shoulders rounded forward (e.g. driving, sitting at a desk, texting, ect.) results in a combination of tight chest muscles, weak upper back muscles, and poor thoracic spine mobility. This creates a dysfunctional position which alters the proper movement of the scapula and has been shown to cause a reduction in the subacromial space during overhead motions, resulting in shoulder impingement.


The deltoid is the primary muscle involved when elevating the arm overhead. The deltoid moves the ball upward in the socket during arm elevation, which must be balanced by the opposing pull of the rotator cuff muscles (See image below). If the pull of the deltoid vs. rotator cuff are not balanced, the ball will move upward in the socket, further narrowing the subacromial space. CrossFit™ training places a huge emphasis on deltoid strength through an abundance of dynamic overhead movements such as the push press, hand stand push-ups and Olympic lifting. The nature of this training develops the deltoid to a greater degree than the rotator cuff resulting in a muscular imbalance that may lead to shoulder impingement issues.


Scapular Dyskinesis describes poor movement of the scapula often due to muscular imbalances of the upper back. The upper trapezius, lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles work together to rotate the scapula upwards allowing the arm to move overhead (See image below). Much like a tripod, the three legs work together to form a stable platform; however, when one of the legs is off balance, the stability of the base is compromised. CrossFit™ athletes often have strong upper traps compared to their lower traps, resulting in limitations in the ability to upwardly rotate the scapula when going overhead. Recent research has shown an increased risk for shoulder injury when the upper trap is significantly stronger than the lower trap.


When in doubt, ask one of the trainers how to use it!! Rolling out and mobilizing will only get you so far, you must strengthen the surrounding structures and Crossover Symmetry is the way to do it.  HAVE FUN GETTING SCAPJACKED!!


Sunday 160710

As many reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
1 Muscle-up
1 Deadlift, 265#(185#)
1 Box jump, 24″
2 Muscle-up
2 Deadlift, 265#(185#)
2 Box jump, 24″
3 Muscle-up
3 Deadlift, 265#(185#)
3 Box jump, 24″
4 Muscle-up
4 Deadlift, 265#(185#)
4 Box jump, 24″. . . .

Post reps to comments or BTWB

The sauce is what makes the kabobs fabulous!!

The sauce is what makes the kabobs fabulous!!




















Grilled kabobs are always a staple for grilling season, but it can sometimes be challenging getting creative.  Here is a great recipe, with not only delicious ingredients but a tasty sauce as well.  You can see the full recipe here


  • 1 1/4 pounds beef, (sirloin or Angus) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 18 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour


  • 2 packed tbsp parsley, finely chopped (no stems)
  • 2 packed tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste


  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  2. For the chimichurri, combine the red onion, vinegar, salt and olive oil and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix; set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use (can be made a few hours ahead).
  3. Place the onions, beef and tomatoes onto the skewers.
  4. Prepare the grill on high heat. Grill the steaks to desired doneness, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a platter and top with chimichurri sauce.


Yield: 6 skewers, Serving Size: 1 skewer

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 219
  • Total Fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 20g

– YOGA tomorrow!!! 11am!!! with what it feels like in the gym, you could call it bikram yoga!!





Saturday 160709

For time:
Run 1 mile
Rest 3 minutes
100 Toes to bar
Rest 2 minutes
Row 1,000m

Post times to comments and BTWB

Got tickets? To the George Washinguns Show? Nate does.

Got tickets? To the George Washinguns Show? Nate does.





















I’m not yelling at you, I’m just boldly reminding you. 

Verve will be having it’s regularly scheduled classes and open gym times. Starting at 12:30pm Verve will have a guest host, Miles Nichols, discussing the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These benefits do not just include outward aesthetics but also our internal healthy. Is our internal health as sexy as our external abs? Uh, yeah. So come hear all about it.

This discussion is open to anyone and everyone. . . Verve members, members of other CrossFit gyms, non CrossFit folks that have no interest in doing CrossFit but enjoy knowledge, and of course that family member or friend that hasn’t heard you shut up about Crossfit and wants to give it a try. This discussion will help enlighten us all to the notion we don’t need to go “get in shape first” before we start CrossFit, we simply need to get started. It will also go into the concept that CrossFit is infinitely scaleable to meets the needs of anyone that walks through our doors. 

Following the discussion, right after you hear about all the amazing things doing CrossFit has to offer, you can test run it for yourself. We will host a free introductory workout. The discussion is approximately 45 minutes long and so is the workout. Got an hour and half in the middle of the day tomorrow? Then stop by Verve at 12:30pm and get your learn on and then get your sweat on. 



Friday 160708

Take 20 minutes to establish a heavy complex of:
1 Hang power snatch + 1 power snatch

Then every minute on the minute x 7 minutes:
3 Hang power snatch @ 65% of today’s heaviest complex

Post load to comments or BTWB

Verve has an adorable new member, Beckett Ames Canning born 5/23/16!! Mom Cheresa, Beckett, and the whole Canning family are doing great!!

Verve has an adorable new member, Beckett Ames Canning born 5/23/16!! Mom Cheresa, Beckett, and the whole Canning family are doing great!!






















I have to give full credit to Danni for pointing me to this episode of the podcast from brUTESTRENGTH titled The Body Achieves What the Mind Believes.  I don’t want to get all Tony Robbins on you, but in the famous words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, this episode will PUMP YOU UP!  The interviewer, Michael Cazayoux talks with the Red Sox Mental Skills Coordinator (yes that’s his job title) Justin Su’a.  Mike and Justin discuss topics such as the power of purpose, how to find your purpose, building confidence, “you give power to what you focus on”, and ways to change your mindset and take control of your thoughts.  I have officially listened to the entire discussion twice and will probably have it on a regular rotation while I drive.


  • Free Intro Class including guest speaker tomorrow from 12:30pm – 3pm.  Grab a friend and get assaulted with knowledge bombs
  • Yoga will be this Sunday at 11am with the always-awesome Kacey!!!

Thursday 160707

For time:
15-12-9-6-3 Reps of:
Thruster, 115#(75#)
Chest to bar pull-ups

Post times to comments and BTWB

Like father, like son. Two fourths of the Afraimi family working out side by side.

Like father, like son. Two fourths of the Afraimi family working out side by side.













The Dude abides By Courtney Shepherd

During my travels to various other CrossFit gyms, I’ve seen several variations of “Gym Rules” posted throughout. Sometimes these rules say things like “There will be a 5 burpee penalty for every minute late to class”, or ” Do not drop weights”. I’m not in total agreement with all the rules I come across, especially the ones that penalize the tardy. I’m not a fan of athletes showing up late and there is a point in time when I don’t feel comfortable letting someone join the class, but I understand life happens and we try to accommodate. . . we may throw a few verbal jabs in, sometimes very deservedly so. However, last week, while I was in Tennessee, I saw a board of rules at the gym I visited, and I liked them all. So, I thought I would share them with you:

  1. Be Cool– Introduce yourself to newbies, bring your mom, teach someone something you’re good at, tell good jokes.
  2. Technique Is King– First comes form, then comes weight and intensity. You can go fast and heavy when you move well. It is really that simple!
  3. Be Positive– Think and say “yes you CAN!”. Push your boundaries and get comfortable with the struggle. Always cheer on your fellow comrades; no one finishes alone.
  4. Listen To Your Coaches– Their knowledge is hard earned, their advice is valuable, and their instructions are law – ABIDE!
  5. Respect The Box– Wipe down and return all equipment to its home. Don’t drop kettle bells or empty barbells – EVER!
  6. Clean Up Your DNA– Blood, sweat, and tears are signs of AWESOMENESS but clean that shit up!!
  7. Don’t Be A Chalkmonster– Chalk your hands in the bucket. Clean up spills and wipe it from equipment after use.
  8. Check Your Ego At The Door– You don’t have rivals here, you have teammates.
  9. Count Only Good Reps– Integrity is one of our core values. No one cares what your score is but everyone cares if you cheat!
  10. Track Your Progress– The more detail you can record, the improvement you will see. Several small victories can create momentum and lasting changes.

Verve does not have gym rules posted anywhere, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have any. We have kind of taken the “some things should be understood” and “follow the guides and actions of those around you” approach. Unfortunately, every now and again, we sometimes need to be reminded about some of these unwritten, universally understood to be true, rules. Sometimes we get complacent and don’t put away the things we took out. Sometimes we take for granted that someone else will pick up after us. And sometimes we are in such a hurry we forget that there is no one in the gym that really wants to put their hand in the left over bodily fluids of someone else. So look over the rules, courtesy of CrossFit Brigade in Chattanooga, TN, and try to remember Verve is a space shared by hundreds of people throughout the day. How can we best be a part of what continues to make it clean, thriving, safe, and fun? 

The Dude abides. 






Wednesday 160706

Take 15 minutes to establish a heavy overhead squat

Then, 5 rounds:
3 Behind the neck, wide grip push press + 5 overhead squat @ 50% of today’s heaviest
100′ Shuttle sprint
Rest 1 minute

Post Results to BTWB












There are many things that can affect your squat, two of which are your mobility and stability. Today, I am going to go over three different mobilizations that could potentially help your positioning in your squat. These three stretches should each be done for anywhere between 2-3:00/side whenever you do them. Here is to making some change in your wonderful hip mobility!

  1. Standing Banded Pigeon
  2. Banded Hurdler
  3. Banded Superfrog


It doesn’t take very long to make change. Take an extra 10-15 minutes out of your day everyday to make sure you are focusing on areas that you need to work on. Consistency gets results. 

Tuesday 160705

4 Rounds for time:
50 Double unders
25 GHD sit-ups
10 Strict handstand push-ups

Post time to BTWB

Andrew with one of the many great outfits from yesterday!

Just one of the many great outfits from yesterday!

So a long weekend has just ended and I don’t know about you but I feel less relaxed after a long weekend than I do after a normal weekend.  I always feel like I’ve lost a day.  Whether it’s things I need to do for work or even my own personal errands I always feel as if the extra day off,or really 1/2 day off,  screws up my schedule.  

I was looking for a few easy tips to help me relax on Monday evening and came across an article that had a little something for everyone.  For people that prefer to use beverages or food to help them relax or perhaps you are a person that prefers meditation, the article found HERE has a tip or trick for all of us.  

Here are a few that resonated with me.

Sip Green Tea.  Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger.  This is one of the easy tips, simply brew it and drink it.  What could be easier?

Eat some chocolate.  Just a little bit of dark chocoate can regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism.  

Meditate.  Five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear.

Drip Cold Water On Your Wrists.  As you’re probably starting to see, I choose the options that are quite easy but also yield the results that I’m trying to get. When stress hits, head for the bathroom and drop some cold water on your wrists. This works because there are major arteries right underneath the skin, so cooling these areas can help calm the whole body.

There are many additional ways to help deal with stress including exercising and utilizing creative outlets.  Click the link above and find the few that resonate with you and help you alleviate stress.  If you have other alternatives post them in the comments section.