Friday 160819

Death by:
Burpee and back squat @ 65% of 1RM
Rest 3 minutes
Death by:
Burpee and deadlift @ 65% of 1RM

Post results to comments or BTWB

Nothing like some weighted Supermans after 150 Wallballs!

Nothing like some weighted Supermans after 150 Wallballs!  Those are forced smiles.


Yesterday, many of you experienced a spicy workout of running, double unders and toes to bar.  The first half of the workout went well for most, but when the second half of the workout came around quite a few athletes fell apart on the double unders; athletes who could normally string together 20+ in a row could barely string together 2 which led to extreme frustration and the look of “fix me” came on their faces.  I just want to take a second and tell you 2 things: First, don’t think that your double unders are going to heck in a hand basket.  Second, what you were likely experiencing was CNS fatigue (fatiguing of the Central Nervous System).  The following article does a great job explaining the roll the CNS plays in your movement and what happens when it gets taxed.  You can see the full article here.

Nervous System Part 1 – CrossFit South Bay

Every time you voluntarily move your body, there are 3 pieces involved, your cognitive brain deciding to move, your nervous system telling your muscles to move, and finally, your muscles contracting to move your body through space. Thus, in CrossFit, we train all three. However, we often focus on the brain (motivation) and the result (muscle contraction), but miss the middle. There always seems to be allusions to the central nervous system in conversations at the gym and in our posts, but we never seem to do a good job explaining why this system is so important to our training… well, that is about to change.

Your nervous system is a very important (and complicated) piece of your body necessary to lifting heavy weights, running fast, or jumping high. Sean did a great job from the anatomy and physiological side giving an intro on how your nervous system works and gets stronger here, but for our purposes today, we aren’t going to delve into the science too much: we are going to focus on how your nervous system affects you getting better. In addition, CrossFit is very, very good at challenging and improving your nervous system, so it is critical that we look at how the nervous system works and affects our bodies.

In plain language, your nervous system is what tells your muscles to fire, how much of your muscle to use and how fast the muscle should contract. By challenging your nervous system (through jumping high, running fast, lifting heavy, etc), you fatigue it similarly as to how you fatigue a muscle. Additionally, the closer you come to going 100% of what you are capable of (whether a box jump height, back squat weight, or all-out sprint pace), the more that your nervous system is stressed as opposed to your muscles. The difference is that as your muscle recovers, you feel sore, and as your nervous system recovers, you feel sluggish. And similarly to training muscles, as your nervous system gets more training, it becomes better at firing your muscles, resulting in jumping higher, running faster, and lifting heavier. I haven’t lost anyone yet, right??

Alright, so, when your nervous system is fatigued, it becomes harder to coordinate and fire all your muscles as you normally would. For example:

  • Have you ever had a day when even the bar bar felt really heavy?? Maybe you weren’t even sore, but for some reason, just picking up the barbell felt like 80 lbs??
  • Or, you were able to deadlift 200 lbs easily last month, yet 180 lbs feels impossible this week??
  • Or maybe, handstands are easy for you, but you can’t seem to hold one after a hard workout.

These are all examples of your nervous system being fatigued. Often, failing a rep has nothing to do with your muscles not being able to support the load, it is your nervous system that is struggling to continue telling your muscle to contract fast enough. Acute (read short-term) nervous system fatigue is why you cannot lift your 1 Rep Max (1RM) more than one time. Depending on the training age of the trainee, to fully recover and pull another true 1RM could take a day, a week, or a month to achieve, as their nervous system would not be capable of achieving the same amount of force more than once without a significant amount of time for their body to rest. On the other hand, chronic nervous system fatigue can occur when your training consists of a many high intensity efforts (read CrossFit). The recovery time from either version of nervous system fatigue will be increased when your sleep, nutrition, stress levels, etc are poorly managed.

I hope this article helps you better understand that sometimes when things aren’t going as planned, it may not be because of your fitness level but your nervous system.


Thursday 160818

For time:
800m run
100 Double unders
30 Toes to bar
400m run
30 Toes to bar
100 Double unders
800m run

Post times to comments and BTWB

Mike has the ladies enthralled with a riveting story of love, betrayal, and courage. Just kidding. They just talking about taking shoes off when you walk into someone's house.

Mike has the ladies enthralled with a riveting story about love, betrayal, and courage. . . and Stance socks.


Look Your Personal Best

By Hilary Achauer and The CrossFit Journal

In June 2016, a group of athletes ran hill sprints as part of Reebok CrossFit One Training Grounds, an invite-only camp for CrossFit Games qualifiers. It was hot that day. At the top of the hill, after the sprints were done, seven of the women posed for a photo. Six of them had their shirts off. Ben Bergeron, one of the coaches in attendance, took the photo and posted the picture on Instagram. Jamie Hagiya, a first-time Games qualifier, saw the photo, and instead of looking with pride at her place among an elite group of athletes, she only noticed one thing: her stomach.

“I’m standing next to Jen Smith, and Katrin (Davidsdottir) is in the photo, and Christy Adkins, and all these women and their abs are crazy,” Hagiya said.

“‘I look disgusting,’” this Games athlete said to herself.

Then she stopped.

“This is ridiculous that I’m comparing myself to these girls,” Hagiya said she thought next. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t work hard.”

A few days later Hagiya took to Instagram herself:

“My body does not look like all the other @crossfitgames female athletes with crazy ripped abs and zero body fat on their stomachs. I wish I could look like that, but I’ve come to the realization that this is my body. … But the bottom line is I need to eat to perform. I can’t worry about trying to look like a (Games) athlete because having a six pack doesn’t always make for the best athlete.”

Many people join a CrossFit gym hoping to make aesthetic changes but then discover it’s much more interesting to learn how to do a muscle-up or increase squat numbers. However, this newfound focus on performance rarely means athletes completely abandon aesthetics. We all care about how we look, and our feelings about our appearance can vary depending on the day, our mood, and the Instagram post.

Hagiya said she’s had body-image issues for as long as she can remember. The former collegiate basketball player at the University of Southern California was always bigger than her sister and all her friends growing up.

“When I found CrossFit, I was like, ‘Oh, (look at) Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. We have a similar body type, and everyone thinks she has a beautiful body and she’s strong, and that made me feel a lot better about myself and embrace being strong,” Hagiya said.

That didn’t mean her body-image issues vanished. It’s never that easy.

“I remember my very first CrossFit competition,” Hagiya said. “I was going head-to-head against this other girl … and she looked so ripped it was crazy, and I was like ‘I’m going to lose so bad,’ and then I ended up beating her, but I was still like, ‘Oh, wow.’ … Just by the way she looks, I was intimidated by that.”

Hagiya continued: “I’ve always been self-conscious of that. I don’t really work out with my shirt off in competitions.”

Not everyone feels the pressure to get smaller. Starrisha Godfrey-Canada has been doing CrossFit at StrengthRx CrossFit in Los Angeles, California, since April 2015. At first, Godfrey-Canada found CrossFit frustrating. An athlete in high school, she was usually the fastest one on her team, but she found she could barely get through her first CrossFit workouts. “When did this happen? When did I get so out of shape?” she asked herself.

A low point was when the workout involved overhead squats and snatches. Godfrey-Canada had 2.5-lb. weights on the 35- lb. barbell, and the coach told her to take those off. Then, after watching her perform a few reps, he told her it would be a good idea for her to switch to a PVC pipe.

“I understand it’s a progression and a personal journey, but that threw me off. I’m the only person in here doing overhead squats and snatches with the PVC pipe. I can’t even use the training bar,” she said. “(I got) more into the strength, really being a part of the community. That’s when my goals shifted. I made a commitment to continue to go on a more regular basis,” Godfrey-Canada said. Now, more than a year later, Godfrey-Canada can deadlift 240 lb. and do three bar muscle-ups in a row. “It’s a part of my fitness goals,” she said.

Dana Honbo has been working out at StrengthRx for two years after getting frustrated with not seeing results from his traditional gym workouts. “My main goal was to get a better physique, but I never really got it,” Honbo said about his time in a globo gym. Once the 35-year-old started CrossFit he began eating better. “When I started off I was subpar, couldn’t Rx any (workouts), but as I started to develop strength and form it started taking off. I lost 30 lb., and I’m in the best shape of my life,” he said.

Then he turned his attention to the whiteboard, trying to be one of the top five in the gym every day. A minor wrist injury forced Honbo to take a step back and think about his long-term goals. He said his goals have shifted again. “Now it’s for my health. I want to be able to play with my (2-year- old) daughter,” Honbo said.

April Zusman, 44, started CrossFit in 2014 at CrossFit LVI in Po- way, California. Zusman stopped eating processed foods, started cooking for herself, and lost about 25 lb. She felt herself getting stronger and faster and mentally tougher.

Zusman said it felt good to lose weight and feel healthy, but over the last two years she realized that’s not what motivates her. “I used to be more concerned with wanting to look like a certain body type,” she said. “Then as time passed and I dropped all the weight, I realized I don’t even care about looking like that body type, I want to look like me, I want to be strong, I want to look strong, I want to feel strong. I stopped worrying about being a specific body type because, you know, I’m just not built to be tiny and I’ve definitely embraced being thick and muscular.”

Zusman has been a belly dancer for close to 16 years. She said she used to get out of breath at the end of her performance, but after going to CrossFit classes four to five days a week for two years, her routine feels like a warm-up. “My endurance has definitely increased,” she said, “and my muscle control is much better. 

Zusman’s focus on performance over appearance is not just for her own benefit. She has a 10-year-old daughter, which causes her to think a lot about the implications of an aesthetics-focused life. “I don’t want her to feel like she has to be a certain body type to feel beautiful,” Zusman said about her daughter.

“She is an athlete and she has really started to get into CrossFit because of me. And the environment she’s around, there are all different body types. I’m constantly telling her, ‘Every body is beautiful, it doesn’t matter what size you are, you don’t have to be this way because that’s not realistic,’” she said.

Zusman tells her daughter to stay active, eat a healthy diet and avoid worrying about achieving a certain body type.

Through hard work, talent and dedication, Hagiya has reached the height of performance in the sport of CrossFit, but she doesn’t have the defined six-pack abs that have become the aesthetic ideal in the CrossFit community.

“I don’t look like these girls,” she said of fellow competitors like Davidsdottir and Smith, “but I think it’s just come to the point where … this is how my body is and if I wanted a six pack I’d have to lose about 20 or 30 lb. and I probably wouldn’t be able to perform.”

The point of her Instagram post, she said, was to let everyone know that “it’s OK that you don’t have a six pack. If you think you have to look a certain way to make it to the Games … you don’t, because I made it and I don’t look like that.”

When Hagiya placed fth at the 2016 California Regional, she looked at the other four qualifying women and noticed she didn’t look like any of them, but still she felt like she belonged. Hagiya has been posting more photos of herself in a sports bra to reinforce the idea that this is the body she has, she worked hard for it, and she’s proud of it.

Her advice to other CrossFit athletes who aren’t completely satisfied with their physiques is not a new diet plan or specialized programming.

“Be yourself and (accept) what you have. Embrace it and love yourself and your body and be proud of how hard you work,” she said.

The trick—and it’s a difficult one to pull off—is to eat well and exercise regularly, then accept the results, which might not be exactly what you imagined. It’s unlikely you will stop caring about aesthetics, even with a performance focus, but you can make an effort to accept and celebrate the results of your consistent hard work.

Click here for full article.

Wednesday 160815

Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes:
Odd= Calorie row, 15(12)
Even= 15 Wall Ball Shots to 10′ target

Post Results to BTWB


Join us on the Verve Social page this Thursday (8/18) @ 10am for an AMA with coach Paul.

Alright you crazy exercisers, none of you have asked for it, but we delivered. This Thursday (8/18) from 10-11am, Paul is going to be on the Verve Social Facebook page to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything – but kinda not really, please ask about fitness things). 

You can ask anything from training, nutrition, rehab or really anything else that involves exercising for time or weight. Ideally, you should be thinking about this as an office hours situation. Take advantage of this opportunity to get some of the questions you have answered. 

Date: Thursday, 8/18/16
Time: 10-11am
Place: Verve Social Facebook Page

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Tuesday 160816

5 Rounds for reps:
Max effort bench press, body weight
Max effort pull-ups
Rest 3 minutes

Post reps to BTWB

It's almost football season! We may not be so chummy a few months from now.

It’s almost football season! We may not be so chummy a few months from now.

What is it about burpees that keeps so many of us away?  We can see a downward trend in the size of our classes when there is the dreaded movement programmed in our workouts.  If you’re one of those people that would rather do anything than burpees, then perhaps the below article from Box Life Magazine will change your perspective.  

It’s the exercise everyone loves to hate. Buck Furpees, as the not-so-elegant saying goes. Burpees are a simple, straightforward movement. Drop down to the ground in a pushup position, chest and thighs to the floor. Get back up to a standing position in the most efficient, fastest way possible. Jump a few inches in the air with your arms over your head. Repeat. Nothing flashy, nothing complicated. So why all the hate? In my opinion, burpees have been given an unjust reputation. The benefits far outweigh the discomforts. 

1-The burpee is simple.
I already alluded to this above, but it’s worth some extra reinforcement. No bars, no weights (unless you wanted to wear a weighted vest…yikes), you can carry the burpee with you wherever you go. The burpee is built on straightforward movement standards that a massive range of people can do, and its simple to scale for those who don’t have it yet. Exercise in its purest form, people.

2-Burpees ARE functional fitness.
Can you think of a major muscle group that isn’t utilized in the execution of a burpee? Your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abs will all be called into action with every rep, and after a few of the suckers you’re body is going to start feeling like lead. Given that you are required to use your entire body weight to hit a burpee, the movement can be defined as a high-load, high-rep (if programmed as such) exercise. Which is great news, because findings from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research has shown that high-rep and high-load exercises are effective at increasing muscular endurance.

3-Burpees will boost your anaerobic capacity.
Anaerobic is a word coming from the Greek word “αναερόβιος” which literally means living without air. Sound familiar? Anaerobic exercises are high intensity, short duration (1-2 minutes)-think of a 100m sprint. Now, if you are attacking your burpees with high intensity (easier said than done, I know), you will not only reap the benefits through muscular endurance (as mentioned above), but your lung capacity, heart health and ability to work faster/harder in a shorter amount of time will be significantly increased.

4-Burpees are great for weight loss.
As has been mentioned numerous times, burpees are a full-body exercise, intense exercise that shoots your heart rate up, resulting in large caloric expenditure. In fact, burpees burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training, and better yet, they will increase your metabolism for the rest of the day, long after you’ve finished throwing up from them.

5-Burpees are versatile, and they make you think.
Burpee muscle-ups, burpee box jumps, burpee pull-ups, burpee toes-to-bar, burpee…the list goes on. And, you can combine them in with any workout that needs another piece of equipment. Any.
Lastly, the burpee really does make you think. In the midst of the lung-burning, acid-building, vomit-inducing burpee workout, your mind tends to wonder and ask yourself just why exactly you are putting yourself through such misery. When you finally finish, and get that post-wod elation 30 minutes later, you have your answer. Over time, when you see the results in your performance and in your appearance, you’ll know for sure.
And, like me, you may just come to love the burpee.

Monday 160815

5 Rounds for time:
200m weighted run, 20#(14#)
10 Power clean, 115#(75#)
10 Box jumps, 24″(20″)

Post Results to BTWB

Big congratulations goes to Courtney Shepherd and DIona Gouker for completing a 2.4 Mile and 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim!

Big congratulations goes to Courtney Shepherd and Diona Gouker for completing a 2.4 Mile and 1.2 Mile Open Water Swim!

Showing Up vs. Participating

We get asked a lot if showing up to a class 4-5x/week is enough for your general fitness. The answer is simple, no. Showing up is not enough to get you the results that you are most likely looking for. If you want results you have to participate. What’s the difference?

“Showing up” means that you arrived to CrossFit Verve at the exact time that class started. “Showing up” means that you did half the reps during the warm-up. “Showing up” means that when the WOD is over, rarely do you do the Post WOD written on the whiteboard. “Showing up” means that you don’t plan to make any better health and fitness choices outside the one hour a day you are at the gym. 

“Participating” is when the coach calls the class to the whiteboard, you have already been at the gym for fifteen minutes working on mobility issues or weaknesses you may have. “Participating” means you give full effort and attention from the time you are at the whiteboard until the moment the Post WOD is done. Participating” means that you continually work on your diet and sleep patterns when you are not at the gym. 

So, in short, will you reach your goals just by “showing up”? No. You have to participate. 

Sunday 160813

Tabata This:
Pull ups
Air Squats
Ab mat sit ups
Push ups
*Complete all 8 intervals of a movement before moving on to the next movement. Score is lowest interval for each movement.

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day yesterday to make this event possible!

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day yesterday to make this event possible!  Not everyone was pictured here.

For those of you who were able to enjoy some of the delicious Progressive Paleo food yesterday at the competition, you probably got a tasty paleo tortilla on the side.  If you were wondering how you can make something just as good, here is a recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo that holds its own!  See full recipe here

Serves: Three 8″ tortillas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) melted ghee (sub: melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) water
  • ¼ cup (33 g) arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp (3 g) coconut flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • *If making crepes for a sweet application, add ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and whisk in the melted ghee and water.
  2. Add the dry ingredients—arrowroot, coconut flour and salt—and beat well to combine.
  3. In a small (8″) skillet over medium heat, pour in about ⅓ of the batter and immediately roll it around to evenly coat the bottom. The tortilla should start to pull away from the edges as it cooks.
  4. Cook for 1 minute on each side.
  5. If saving for later, cool completely and store in a plastic bag or airtight glass container.

Have any of you made paleo tortillas? If so, what recipe has worked best for you?


  • YOGA – TODAY – 11AM!!!
  • Thank you to all of the participants and volunteers for the Femme Royale!




Saturday 160813

Verve is closed while we host Femme Royale today!!!

If you are not competing, stop by and cheer the competitors on. There will be vendors, food, and a whole lot of ladies working out. 

Event Info

Athlete Check in: 7:30am

Athlete Briefing: 8:15am (Athletes AND volunteers need to be present for this)

Heat 1 of WOD #1 starts at 9am

Parking: Northeast corner of Larimer and Downing is a triangle parking lot with signs that read “Reserved for CrossFit Verve”. This is right across the street from the main entrance to Verve.

There is a parking lot on the West side of Walnut, between 35th and 36th street (across from Tracks), this is a overflow parking lot available for use.

There is plenty of street parking around the whole neighborhood, it’s free.

PLEASE, no pets allowed inside Verve. If you bring your dog, they will have to remain outside.

There are two parking lots and plenty of street parking.

There are two parking lots and plenty of street parking.

Friday 160812

As many rounds as possible in 4 minutes of:
3 Deadlifts 275#(185#)
3 Bar facing burpees
Rest 3 Minutes
As many rounds as possbile in 4 Minutes of
5 Deadlifts 225#(135#)
5 Bar facing burpees
Rest 3 minutes
As many reps as possible in 3 minutes of
Bar facing burpees
*Score is rounds per each workout

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Big congratulations to Erin and Jeremy on their recent nuptials! We are all happy for you!

Big congratulations to Erin and Jeremy on their recent nuptials! We are all happy for you!

TRAVELLING – Don’t let it derail your goals!

Some of us wish we did it more, some of us less, but travel is no reason to fall behind on you fitness goals.  i talk to many of our athletes who travel for work and one resounding topic I hear is how challenging it is to stay on track with their diet and fitness.  Here are some great pointers from an article I recently read.  You can see the full article here


‘Tis the season to travel. Planes, trains, and automobiles may be taking you places this summer, but that doesn’t mean they have to take your healthy lifestyle and throw it out the window.

Stuck in an airport? Automatically think that travel days are “goners” for eating well and exercising? Make the most out of your long waits, layovers, delays, and discomforts with these unconventional travel tips.

#1 – Pack Your (Lunch) Bag. The best food in the airport is the food you bring with you. For day-of travel, pack your sack with non-liquid based foods. Salmon and roasted veggies tossed in olive oil. Burger patties, sweet potato wedges, and asparagus spears. Homemade chicken salad, cashews, and an apple. Traveling home from your destination, stop by Whole Foods or another clean-eating restaurant spot on the way to the airport to find grub that’s healthy (and more budget-friendly) then you find at the airport.

#2 – Always Prepare. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, especially when layovers, missed flights, and changing schedules happen. Keep easy travel snacks with you at all times: coconut butter packets, almond butter packets, nitrate-free jerky, canned wild salmon and tuna packets, additive-free protein powder and a shaker bottle, Kale Krunch, apples or oranges, carrots and celery, plantain chips, raw nuts and seeds, Bulletproof collagen protein bars, RX Bars, and more.

#3 Handle Your Poop Problems. Traveler’s constipation does exist (#TheStruggleIsReal). Your bod is thrown off from schedule changes, poor hydration, and the change in cabin pressure. Arm your digestion and elimination to work like a champ with these tactics:

  • Drink Up. Make a conscious effort to drink water the days before travel and throughout your travel day to keep things running smoothly
  • Probiotic Power. Carry a quality probiotic supplement in your bag to ensure you are armed with good bacteria.
  • Chew Your Food. As simple as it sounds, being “on the go” often times means eating fast, which is not optimal for digestion. Chew your food. Rest and digest.
  • Enzyme Supplements. The second line of defense for digesting your food after you’ve minded thorough chewing, water, and probiotics. Enzymes supplements give your body the extra oomph to break down your food and send it on its merry way through the digestive process.

#4 Get Your Sweat On. For years I’ve been saying there need to be gyms in airports. Until that happens, bring your workout to a long travel day. Instead of using the downtime between flights sitting and working on your computer or reading (you can do this on the plane), move a bit. Stretch your legs, walk around, or even break out your jump rope or do a bodyweight WOD. Here are a few ideas:

  • 7-minutes Max Burpees
  • 20-minute AMRAP 20 Push-ups, 20 Sit-ups, 20 Air-squats
  • 21-15-9-15-21: Squat Jumps + Sprawls
  • Tabata x 8-minutes: Hollow Body Holds & Push-ups (alternate between the two movements, 20-seconds on, 10-seconds off)

#5 Roll Out. Don’t let stiff muscles happen to you. Use the downtime on the plane and sitting around to roll out. Pack a lacrosse ball or band in your carry on and take advantage of the opportunity to mobilize.

#6 Boost Your Brain. How many times have you said, “I don’t have the time to ______ (read, write, learn, listen)”? Now you do. Use your travel day to boost your self-development with a book, audible book, podcast, or a good ol’ pen and paper brainstorming session to grow some brain muscle.

#7 Om. I can’t help it – I always fall asleep on airplanes. I have a philosophy that there is a lack of oxygen higher up in the air that knocks me out like a sleeping baby. Sometimes you just need to chill out. If you are a go-go-go person like I am, naps, Zen, and even sleep are sometimes neglected. Consider your travel day a restoration day.


  • Don’t Forget: No classes on Saturday because of the Femme Royale competition.  If you aren’t competing, make sure to stop by and cheer on some fellow Verve ladies working on their fitness!
  • Yoga will be this Sunday at 11am.

Thursday 160811

5 Rounds for time:
100′ Handstand walk
Run 400 meters
5 Muscle ups

Post times to comments and BTWB

Today's public service announcement, #TheMoreYouKnow

Today’s public service announcement, #TheMoreYouKnow


Certified? Certificate? Does it REALLY matter? I certainly think so.

By Courtney Shepherd

I have had several encounters over the last few months with people in the CrossFit community misidentify their level of coaching. What does that mean? It means they have referred to themselves as “Certified Level 2 coach” or “Level 1 certified trainer”. Those are misidentifications because in the CrossFit world there is no such thing as a “Certified Level 2 coach” or a “Level 1 certified trainer”. It was because of these interactions that I took it upon myself to discuss this in a Facebook group specifically for Affiliate owners. I believe that these instances are simply due to a misunderstanding about the levels of coaching that exist in the CrossFit community. And what better way to disseminate the correct information than by going to the leaders of the community and reminding them. They can in turn use the information to remind their fellows coaches and staff. As you can imagine, dropping a nugget of information in a group setting on social media can be met with resistance. The conversation may have offended a few. It may have sparked some spirited debate. And, at this very minute, it may still be going on. I would not have written the post to begin with if I did not truly believe in it’s message, no matter how badly it’s message has been misunderstood by others. I also believe in putting my money where my mouth is, which is why I have brought the subject to this blog post. 

So what minor battle did I begin on Facebook? Clarifying what a CrossFit trainer can and cannot call themselves, and why. Why is this something that should be important to you? Because you deserve to know about what makes me qualified to do my job. And you deserve, as a consumer, to have as much information at your fingertips when it comes to choosing who you pay for any given service. 

To be able to teach a CrossFit class and take money in exchange for such teaching, at minimum I need to have a Level 1 certificate. I got my Level 1 certificate in July 2010. I starting coaching at Verve in January 2011. The Level 1 is a weekend long course where I was taught the basic information I needed to start my coaching journey. After this seminar, I was able to call myself a “Level 1 Trainer”. This seminar did not certify me in any capacity. The next level is Level 2, it has also been know in previous years as the Coach’s Prep Course. This course is designed for people to attend after they have some experience under their belt. It does not teach you the basics of coaching, but rather it puts the coach in the spotlight. The CrossFit HQ staff members watched as I coached groups of people. Following my coaching they broke it down and gave me feedback. Some good, some bad. I’m not a perfect coach, I’m not the best. . . but I will constantly work to be. So following a weekend of having my work evaluated, I left with so many things to work on, improve upon, and the knowledge to give Verve members a better product of coaching. I earned the ability to call myself a “Level 2 Trainer”. Still not certified by any means. 

The next 2 Levels are the Level 3, or Certified CrossFit Trainer, and Level 4, Certified CrossFit Coach. These are certifications. These are not credentials that can be attained in a classroom or over a weekend. The Level 3 is a 4 hour long written exam that is taken at an off site accredited testing center. Before anyone can even sit to take this exam they must have first put in a minimum of 750 coaching hours. The knowledge base covered in this exam goes beyond CrossFit. It covers nutrition, anatomy and physiology, the Olympic lifts, programming, seeing and correcting movement, and more. It covers information that requires someone to have gone above and beyond in research and study. It requires that over time, a Level 2 CrossFit Trainer made an effort to expand their knowledge, learn as much as they could, and put all their leanings into practice with coaching. A lot of coaching. The Level 4 is the practical exam. It is having a panel of HQ staff sit and watch you coach a class. But unlike the Level 2, there is no feedback. There is no discussion, it is an exam. They will evaluate the lesson/ class plan, the warm-up, how the movements are taught/ corrected/ scaled/ modified, and the trainers overall presence and attitude. This exam proves that not only do these people have the information but they know how to put it to practice. 

There are tens of thousands of Level 1 Trainers. Less than 400 are Certified CrossFit trainers. And less than 100 are Certified CrossFit Coaches. 

There are 2 main arguments that were brought up on Facebook. The first, “What does it matter, everyone uses the terms wrong, which makes them pointless anyway”. That statement is the exact reason my post was written. A lot of people use the terms wrong. If we, the people who know the difference, correct those using it incorrectly, the problem can be solved. . . because these terms ABSOLUTELY matter. These are our credentials. We would never let people get away with calling someone who took a first aid course “doctor”. If everyone that has knowledge about basic CPR and first aid was called doctor, you are correct, we would not understand the full credentials that make a doctor a doctor. That title would become meaningless. As a society we correct people when they make these misidentifications, “excuse me, that person is not a doctor. That person is a computer analyst that put a band aid on you”. Why do we fear doing this for the profession of a CrossFit coach? “Excuse me, you are not a Level 1 Certified Trainer. You are a Level 1 Trainer.” See. Not so hard. 

Second argument, “What does it matter? Those Levels don’t actually make you a good coach. I know plenty of Level 1 Trainers that are better than some Level 3 trainers.” Duh. Welcome to every profession in the world. I know some computer analysts carrying a case of band aids that are better doctors than some doctors. But this is where you as a consumer get to really be involved. This is the reason there are more than one doctor in the world, especially more than one doctor that specializes in a certain area. It allows you the opportunity to get a second opinion. . . because some doctors suck. Some coaches suck. Some coaches take tests well and don’t care about applying the knowledge. But as a consumer it allows you to narrow it down even further. Having credentials allows you to look through coaches bios and gather a basic understanding of their experience level. It will require you to go to the gym and actually see if they put their money where their credentialed mouth is. And you may find it doesn’t, it is a guide. These Levels work two fold: they give coaches a goal to work towards. They provide a dangled carrot that forces me to work towards virtuosity in my chosen profession. While I will never be perfect, I have something to work towards. Something that when achieved, sets me apart from others. Which is the second way that it works. It gives anyone looking to find a local CrossFit gym information that may help them choose. Granted, these Levels are not everything. They do not 100% define the person behind them or the people that may not yet process them. I would never claim they do. 

Verve has some of the best trainers I know, I may be a bit biased. They are my friends. I’ve watched them study, practice, stress, fail, succeed, try, try again, care, sweat, and bleed. . . as trainers. I’ve watched them over the years work to be the best they can be for not just Verve members but for anyone that walks through Verve’s doors. They come in at night for meetings where their knowledge is constantly put to the test. They get homework that they take seriously, even though, for most of them, this is not their full time job. The goal behind CrossFit HQ’s Levels is to give these amazing people some credit for that hard work. They deserve to be called the correct title and they should not feel weird to correct those that use the title improperly. Because yes, this matters. 




Wednesday 160809

Front Squat 3-3-3-1-1-1-1-1

5 Rounds for Quality:
5 Front Squats @ 40%- 50% of todays heaviest lift
50 Double unders
Rest 2 minutes between rounds

Post Results to BTWB.

Be cool, like Goia and Shaina.

Be cool, like Goia and Shaina.

Last week I wrote a post about defining success through balance. Below I am going to write about two things I have been doing first thing in the morning. Rather than waking up, rolling over and start checking e-mails, texts and messages from all social media outlets. I’ve been keeping my phone on “Do Not Disturb” until I have my beginning of my morning routine done. This allows me time to get ready for the day, rather than racing around to get out of the door. 

  1. RomWOD: I mention this because it is an outlet that most have heard of by now. I take 20 minutes first thing in the morning to stretch and relax before anything else. This gives me time to adjust my thoughts and get my head straight, while I am figuring out my day. It doesn’t have to be RomWOD, simply taking some time in the morning to move around before you do anything else will suffice just as well.
  2. Headspace App: After about 20 minutes of light stretching and moving, I get in about 10 minutes of breathing and meditation through the Headspace app (recommended to me by Gregory Jaworowski). The Tim Ferris show just did an episode on linking habits and traits of successful people together. The one habit that they all had in common is that they have some sort of meditation practice. 

Here are just two things I have been doing, I hope they help you find balance and help you slow down your day just a little bit. Taking an extra 30 minutes in the morning can make you much more productive throughout your day.