Wednesday 150923

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
10 Handstand push-ups
10 Overhead squats, 95#(65#)
5 Buprees over bar

Post rounds to BTWB



Stan working on his acrobat skills

Sometimes just getting to the gym is the hardest part of a workout.  With some many other distractions going on in our lives, just walking through the doors can feel like an accomplishment.  How do we set ourselves up to have success when we are here.  The Poliquin Group posted a blog with 5 helpful tips to make our time in the gym as good as it can get.  Click HERE for the full article.  

#1 on the list is make sure you get enough sleep.  While most of us can’t get 10 hours of sleep a night, the best thing to do is a have a regular time you go to bed.  Try not fluctuate too much.  Don’t stay up to 1 am some nights and 9 pm on on others.  You’re going to confuse your body and this will result in a varied sleep pattern that leads to being over tired.  Avoid caffeine after 1 pm.  I’m guilty of this, as I really enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee, but this could have ill effects on our sleeping.  Eating your last meal before 8 pm is also advised so you’re body isn’t working late processing food.  

#2 Eating a high protein low grain meal as the first meal in the morning will help us stimulate cells in the brain that are responsible for keeping us alert and burning calories.  High carb foods could lead to a spike in glucose that could result in a sluggish feeling after eating.  

#3 Caffeine is great, but as discussed in point #1, we have to use it wisely.  Consuming too much caffeine can lead to too a rise in cortisol levels.  The best way to utilize caffeine is to use it sparingly.  If possible stop consuming caffeine for 5 days and then start with a 1mg/1kg of bodyweight ratio.  

#4 Work out with a time that works with your circadian rhythm.  This may be hard for some of us because we are so accustom to getting up in the morning and working out, but peak physical performance usually occurs between 3 and 6 pm.  If you do workout outside of the peak performance time, sleep and a good warm up are key.  This is why we focus a lot of attention on our warm ups to make sure you guys are at your peak.

#5 Make sure to eat carbs at night.  Carbs can lead to a better nights sleep.  Berries, leafy greens, and colorful fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that fight free radicals that can result from high stress hormone levels.  The higher carb foods also help increase your body’s natural serotonin levels which helps with sleep and improving your overall mood.  

Plenty more good information can be found on the blog as well links to the studies referenced in the above information.  

Tuesday 150922

4 Rounds, max effort per round:
400 Meter run
Rest 4 minutes

Post times to comments and BTWB

Josh Everett and his son Luke, bringing awareness to Autism.

Josh Everett and his son Luke, bringing awareness to Autism.

Lift Up Autism

This Saturday, September 26th, Verve will be hosting the “Lift Up Autism” workout to help raise money and awareness towards Autism. The workout will be Verve’s WOD for all classes and will be open to any one interested in participating. In similar fashion to other workouts hosted this way, we will not be asking for any drop in fees but rather ask that funds be donated to the cause. What is the cause you ask?

Josh Everett, TrainHeroic, and the CrossFit™ community rallied together in spectacular fashion to support the Autism community in a worldwide workout event called LiftUpLuke in October of 2013.

This”competition for a cause” specifically sought to support early diagnosis and treatment of Autism, raise funds for the Autism Tree Project Foundation in San Diego, and most importantly, turn a global spotlight on the measured and severe impact of Autism on families and individuals around the world.

This year, they are upping the ante and doubling down the efforts to take the impact of the event to another level. On September 19th, 2015 they are rebooting the event under the more inclusive name of “Lift Up Autism” and calling athletes and coaches everywhere to mobilize around this cause.

The workout is a 5 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), tilted “Luke”:

4 Power cleans, 155#(105#)
24 Double unders
10 Pull-ups

Because we are inviting and encouraging all those interested to participate, please remember that CrossFit is infinitely scalable. We can accommodate all levels of fitness, including those new to CrossFit or those who have never done it before. 

How can you get involved? Click here to go to the main website, register as an athlete, and look up Verve as the host gym. *Verve has it’s host date listed as September 23rd, this is incorrect.* You will also be able to donate the day of. Please go to Verve’s online schedule and reserve your spot in a class on MBO (this includes non Verve members). 

This is what our community does best, it rallies behind a cause. It helps support friends and families affected by bringing awareness through a good old fashion, butt kicking workout. Plus, it’s only 5 minutes. 


Monday 150921

5 Rounds for reps:
10 Deadlifts @ 70% of 1 rep max
Followed immediately by max rep set strict pull-ups
Rest 3 minutes between rounds 

Post weight to BTWB

Maddie and Lev getting after a little deadlift action on.

Maddie and Lev getting after a little deadlift action on.


As noted in Saturday’s blog, there are 7 teams from CrossFit Verve participating in this years Turkey Challenge held at MBS CrossFit.  

The Turkey Challenge sells out really quickly so we were fortunate to get as many teams in as we did.  That being said there are many other competitions coming up that may be an interest to the members so below are just a few of the local competitions happening in the coming months. 

CrossFit FTB in Federal Heights is hosting the Pick Your Poison Competition.  This is a 2 day competition and is being held Saturday night October 24th and Sunday October 25th.  This is a team competition with teams being made up of 2 men and 2 females.  The cost is $240 and there are prizes for the top 3 teams.  This competition is a little different in that they have announced all the workouts all ready, with the exception of the final workout.  The board near the office has all the information including how to register.  

CrossFit Sanistas in Boulder is hosting a one day Monster Mash Competition on October 31st.  This competition is for individuals and there are Open and RX divisions.  There will be 3 workouts and 1 Floater.  Since it is Halloween themed, they are also having a costume contest for all participants.  The cost is $85 and there is a discount if more than 10 athletes from the same gym register.  The flyer is located next to the office.  To register visit;

CrossFit Lodo is hosting their Denver Pound for Pound Competition.  This competition is for teams and individuals. All workout weights are based off a percentage of your weight so if you’re lighter you use lighter weights.  Weigh in normally takes place the night before the competition and all the weights used are calculated off your weigh in weight.  This competition will be held on Saturday October 10th from 8 am to 5 pm.  Individual entrance fee is $75 and teams are $150.  For more information click HERE.

These are just a few of the local competitions happening this fall.  If you know about a competition that you think might be fun, post the information in the comments section.  We will continue to update you via the blog as well.  

Sunday 150920


Post reps to comments or BTWB

Hash is so simple and so tasty!

Hash is so simple and so tasty!



  • 3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cut sweet potato into small cubes. Once water is boiling, add sweet potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Drain sweet potatoes in a colander and set aside.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and saute onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until crumbled and brown; do not drain any excess liquid.
  3. Next add sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder and sea salt, mixing well, and cook until potatoes are slightly caramelized and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Top with fresh parsley, serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 1 cup • Calories: 264 • Fat: 4.8 g • Carbs: 25.9 g • Fiber: 4.5 g • Protein: 30.8 g

– See more at:

-Yoga @ 11am with Kacey then mimosa’s at Jake’s!! There is no reason not to go!

Saturday 150919

For time:
150 Wallball shots, 20#(14#) to a 10′ target

Post times to comments and BTWB

A wedding rowing WOD for Kelly on the morning of her big day.

A wedding rowing WOD for Kelly on the morning of her big day.


*Congrats to the 7 Verve teams that got registered for the Turkey Challenge, as well as the several additional athletes that got signed up for the individual competition!!

Now, let us know your names. If you are registered to compete put your name or your team name (and teammate’s names) in the comments section.

* We will be hosting the Lift Up Luke workout all day on Saturday September 26th. Stay tuned for more information about this workout in this week’s posts.

*October 3rd-4th is the Front Range CrossFit’s first annual Do More Charity Challenge. Verve has two 6 person teams signed up. So get ready to do some cheering.

*The next, and final, Team Series workouts will be announced the week of October 6th.

*Verve is in the talks for a ladies only WOD & Wine event in October. So ladies start making a list of girlfriends you think might want to try out a CrossFit workout and then do some drinking.


Friday 150918

For time:
5 Rope climbs
25 Ab-mat sit-ups
25 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
400m run
4 Rope climbs
20 Ab-mat sit-ups
20 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
400m run
3 Rope climbs
15 Ab-mat sit-ups
15 Box jumps
400m run
2 Rope climbs
10 Ab-mat sit-ups
10 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
400m run
1 Rope climb
5 Ab-mat sit-ups
5 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
400m run

Post time to comments or BTWB

Joe said "I don't need to watch the Broncos game, I need to PR my overhead squat!" and he did!

Joe said “I don’t need to watch the Broncos game, I need to PR my overhead squat!” and he did!


As coaches, we have athletes come up to us periodically in fits of frustration stating “I don’t know what’s going on? I am following the programming, doing the strength class and I am not getting an stronger?”.  Generally, we will ask you a couple of questions:
#1 – How is your diet?  Are you eating enough? What are you eating?
#2 – How often are you training?  What does your week look like?

Regarding the second question, we are going to reference an article we have referenced before, but it encompasses overtraining issues that you may be suffering from.  There is a short Q&A at the end of the article, PLEASE TAKE IT and take proactive steps to change your training if you score poorly on it.

In an article by Andrew Read, in Breaking Muscle, titled “Overtraining Can Kill You“, the author discusses 3 stages of over training. He first states:

“Overtraining, in its early forms is often unrecognizable as a medical condition as no symptoms may appear. The only signs may be slight decreases in performance, injuries that never seem to heal, or a cold that simply won’t go away. It’s the accumulation of all the stress of work and training that contribute to these factors.”

The body goes through 3 stages of stress adaptation:

Stage 1– Diagnosing the early stages of overtraining can be difficult. Things may appear as slight back pain in a cyclist, a touch of ankle or foot problems in a runner, or as shoulder pain in a lifter. Usually during this time blood tests will still come back showing normal ranges, which can lead to further frustration as injuries continue or performances start to decline further. Interestingly, in this first stage of overtraining big gains in performance can be made afterwards if used correctly. Commonly called overreaching it is not uncommon for athletes to deliberately be pushed into the red zone so that after an appropriate recovery period they have adapted better and return faster and stronger. The problem here lies in the excitement of heightened performance. The athlete and coach usually end up continuing down this road, pushing more and more until, like Icarus, they burn out and come crashing back to earth. Symptoms of this first stage include: 

  • Increased vulnerability to back, knee, ankle, and foot injuries.
  • Abnormal hormonal output. Including changes to menstrual cycle in women.
  • Reduced sexual desire.
  • Mental stress, depression, and anxiety.

The important thing to do here is to recognize the early stages of overtraining and appropriately manage other factors such as diet, sleep, and lifestyle so that the work part of the equation is balanced. This may mean reducing your training volume and intensity in the short term.

Stage 2– This stage is most often seen by athletes who perform high volumes of anaerobic or strength work, particularly those who have high lifestyle stress. Strangely, a feeling of increased energy will be felt as the adrenal system kicks into high gear to cope with the extra demands. This will be shown in a restless, over-excited state – a feeling of not needing any sleep and of being able to go and go and go. The resulting high cortisol levels can lead to increased insulin, which reduces fat burning and increases fat storage. Maximal training intensities increase the insulin response significantly. This leads to a desire for more carbohydrate (also needed to refuel the work done at the higher intensities). The body’s growing intolerance of these, due to the heightened insulin response, however, will lead to the carbs being stored as fat, not as potential energy – further heightening the problem. While it may seem like this is an unwinnable position to be in, at this stage the entire downward spiral can still be reversed through changing diet and training and recovery strategies.

Stage 3- Chronic overtraining can lead to serious brain, muscle, and metabolic imbalances. These parallel chronic adrenal dysfunction and aerobic deficiency. Eventually the body becomes exhausted and many hormones are significantly reduced. The most notable side effect of stage three is severe exhaustion. Performance at this stage is likely at an all time low and many athletes retire at this point. Athletes in this third stage are seriously unwell, with high risk of developing chronic diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and other areas.

Reaching stage 3 constitutes a serious medical problem, one that takes much, much longer than a few rest days to recover from. If we listen to our body earlier on in our training and take the appropriate rest we can stay away from stage 3. The problem, however, may be that we don’t know when our body is talking to us and what signs we should be “listening” for. There are list of 10 physical markers that we as athletes can track on a daily basis. Paying attention to these markers can help dictate whether or not today is a good day to train or maybe it’s best if I stay away from the gym.  These markers should be trended, at minimum over 3 weeks to create a foundation for comparison:

1) Resting heart rate. Check it first thing in the morning when you wake up while still lying in bed. Note any change +/- 5%.
2) Weight. Check first thing in the morning, before using the restroom. Note any change +/- 2%.
3) Urine shade. There are 3 ways to describe it, Pale Clear Yellow/ Yellow/ Dark.
4) Hours of sleep. I know it’s hard but the goal every night is 8+.
5) Sleep quality. There are 3 ways to describe it, Deep Sleep/ Occasional Tossing & Turning/ Restless.
6) Appetite. There are 3 ways to describe it, Very Hungry/ Hungry/ Not Hungry.
7) Mood. There are 3 ways to describe it, Very Good/ Normal/ Bad.
8) Soreness. There are 3 ways to describe it, Not Sore/ Sore/ Very Sore.
9) Immune system status. Make note of any issues, cough, runny nose, etc.
10) Previous day’s performance. There are 3 ways to describe it, PR Day/ Normal Training Day/ Bad Training Day.

Noting a bad score in one of these markers is not bad, so you slept crappy. . . it’s the culmination of multiple negative markers that should make us take pause. If 2 or fewer markers are negative, keep training, you are good to go. If you have 3-4 negative markers, think about taking a rest day, proceed with caution. If you have 5 or more negative markers, you should rest until you feel recovered, this may include completely stopping your training program for a period of time. This is why it’s important to listen to our body early, not push through these negative signs. The more we push through, the longer the recovery may become. Remember, REST is a part of your training. Ignoring rest days, never deloading our bodies, does not build the gains we seek. Our bodies need to adapt to the stresses we put on it, these adaptations happen during rest. 

Thursday 150917

Take 20 minutes to esatblish 1RM overhead squat

Then, 1 tempo overhead squat @ 50% of today’s 1RM x 7 sets. Tempo = 3331

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Jeremy grinding through yesterday's 20 min barbell AMRAP.

Jeremy grinding through yesterday’s 20 min barbell AMRAP.


What’s my biff with butterflies? Completely, 100%, in the opinion of/ by Courtney “because they are basically like painted moths” Shepherd

And everyone knows moths are basically like flying vermin. Goo. However I’m not talking about that kind of butterfly. The biff I will be discussing is aimed at the butterfly pull-up. Now before anyone gets in an instant tizzy about this or, on the other hand, gets overly excited to bash the movement with me, just know now I think the butterfly pull-up is a great tool to have in one’s CrossFit tool box. With that said, I also believe not every CrossFitter needs to or should have this tool at their disposal. I also want to make it fully clear, the information that is about to follow in defense of why I feel this way is, as previously stated, 100% my own opinion. No part of this blog has been stolen from another. None of the statements made will be based on any kind of scientific fact or statistic. I base my opinion on 2 things, 1) being a CrossFit coach and what I would like to refer to as a professional level of creepily watching human movement, 2) being an active participant in the sport of CrossFit for several years. Am I qualified? That’s probably up for debate but I’m about to open my big mouth and blabber on anyway.

What is the butterfly pull-up? It’s that thing everyone watches The CrossFit Games athletes do on the pull-up bar that gets them a crap ton of unbroken pull-ups done in a really short period of time. Some outsiders may refer to it as seizure like activity on the bar. The butterfly pull-up is done in a continuous, circular looking rhythm. In contrast to the kipping pull-up that has a front to back change of direction with each rep. It is the continuous circular motion of the butterfly pull-up that, if done correctly, increases the cycle time of the pull-up, hence more done in less time. And overall what I would claim to be the number 1 reason everyone and their mother wants to work on their butterfly pull-ups. So let’s take this opportunity to address why having butterfly pull-ups in our arsenal is a good thing. Because in a competitive setting, butterfly pull-ups help you get more work done in less time. And. . . . . . that’s it. That’s what butterfly pull-ups are good for.

The kipping pull-up is CrossFit’s default pull-up. Because in comparison to the strict, dead hang pull-up, this is the first way we introduce increased work in less time by way of utilizing momentum from the hips. Both types of pull-ups require a great deal of work from the hips, the kipping pull-up  involves a pull with lat activation. The butterfly not nearly as much. And now is where I would like to address the benefit of sticking to the kipping pull-up just a bit longer before rushing to get your butterfly on. Because of this lat activation, kipping pull-ups help build pulling power. Increased pulling power, as well as mastering the rhythm of the kip translates to improved knees to elbows, toes to bar, chest to bar pull-ups, bar muscle-ups, and ring muscle-ups. The kipping technique needed for each of these movements is based off the kipping pull-up. The butterfly pull-up translates to the butterfly pull-up, it is essentially a dead end movement.

I’m not saying “down with butterfly, butterfly is weak sauce”. What I’m saying is the overwhelming urge some of us have to move on to the butterfly pull-up because we think, “well, I’ll be able to do more pull-ups that way”, is a completely flawed concept. You still have to have capacity to do pull-ups, butterfly doesn’t just give it to you. Chris Spealler can do 100 pull-ups unbroken. He didn’t get the capacity to do that because early in his career he just started doing all butterfly. He too was a kipping pull-up man. He perfected his kip, is was tight and efficient, and he built the hand and grip capacity to hang onto the bar for dozens and dozens of kipping pull-ups. He had a ton of pulling power and grip strength, so when he added butterfly into his bag of tricks, the capacity to do them wasn’t an issue. By the way, have you ever seen the video of Chris’s 100 pull-ups? Do you know how he finished the set of 100? Spoiler alert. . . . it’s with kipping pull-ups, the default pull-up. Because when the butterfly goes, he could still use his efficient kip to get the last set of 10-15 pull-ups in. What’s your default? If you skip mastering the kipping pull-up and go right into the butterfly, what do you have to fall back on?

Speaking of pulling power and capacity. I just told you kipping builds pulling power while butterfly does not. So if we skip the one that makes us stronger and translates to many other movements for the one we think makes us faster and more competitive, do we actually think it is truly giving us a competitive edge? Sure. . . . in one thing and one thing only, butterfly pull-ups. Would you be content in a world of 3-5 linked butterfly pull-ups, no muscle-ups, and poorly linked toes to bar? If so, butterfly on.

I’m certain you see people working on their butterfly pull-ups often. Most of these people worked up to them. I didn’t start working on my butterfly pull-ups until I was doing sets of 20 or more unbroken kipping pull-ups consistently. And to be honest, I would not of cared to even work on them at all if I wasn’t, at the time, getting ready to compete on Verve’s CrossFit Games Regionals team. We were heading into a big competition and I wanted to be as competitive of an athlete as I could be for my team. When I’m not competing, I sprinkle both into my training. I want to continue to work on my butterfly, I want to continue to improve on that competitive piece, but I like to keep my kip alive and improving.

If you are someone who has skipped ahead, or maybe you aren’t sure if you are that someone, do a little test for yourself. Do a max rep set of kipping pull-ups, a max rep set of butterfly pull-ups, and a max rep set of toes to bar. Not all at once, maybe over an hour. Check out your numbers, are they all below 15? Are the butterfly over 15 but the kipping and toes to bar below? I just threw that number out there, it’s not an official number but it might give you some insight into where you should focus a little more of your pull-up work.

Hey, you don’t have to listen to me. You are grown adults, capable of making grown up decisions. But. . . . if down the road, months from now, even years from now, you find yourself in a place where nothing has really changed for you. You’ve been doing “butterfly pull-ups” (that’s in quotes because most people that do skip ahead aren’t really doing what I would call the most efficient or technically sound looking butterfly pull-ups anyways), and you still don’t have muscle-ups or consistent sets of 10 linked toes to bar in workouts, come talk to me. You may not like what you are going to hear but I promise it will help. #keepthekipalive #freethekipanditwillfreeyou 

Wednesday 150916

As many rounds s possible in 20 minutes of:
10 Deadlift, 95#(65#)
10 Hang power clean, 95#(65#)
10 Thruster, 95#(65#)
10 Pull-ups

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

That moment just after you know you gave it your all in a 500m sprint row.

That moment just after you know you gave it your all in a 500m sprint row.


Does this fat make me look fat? By Courtney “I’m phat with a PH” Shepherd and the fine people of Eat To Perform

We have had a lot of people asking us about the Body Fat Test dunk tank and when it might be coming around again. Many of you have been involved in some nutritional changes, some of you want to see your starting place before you make some nutritional changes, and some of you have some weddings you want to prep for. No matter the reason, Verve will certainly look into getting the truck around sooner than later. In the mean time, and with the help of James Barnum of Eat To Perform, let’s take a look at “5 Reason You Aren’t Losing Body Fat”. Fat loss eludes people for many different reasons but there are almost always common threads. This short list goes over some of the most common reasons why people stall or quit on their way to achieving their fat loss goals.

1. You’re not eating enough – either too little or too much.

The key word here is “enough.” Eating too much is obviously going to prevent you from losing fat…But eating too little? That may seem to be a counter-intuitive statement. What gives?

Well, If you cut Calories too hard while exercising intensely you’ll overwhelm your adaptive abilities and actually end up fatter, as you burn muscle tissue in response to the incredible stress. Muscle is very costly to maintain and when your body isn’t fed properly, it will get rid of anything it doesn’t deem particularly useful. Fat is, unfortunately, more useful in times where energy intake is low; muscle tissue isn’t. This is not a recipe for a good looking body – you’ll actually end up looking “skinny fat.” Eating “enough” means fueling your body so you can build or retain lean mass and increase performance, while creating just enough of a Calorie deficit to gradually lose body fat. 

2. You don’t have a plan or a support system.

To achieve a goal – fat loss in this instance – you need to take a reliable route to get there, use the tools you have available to you, and (this is a big one) you need to consult people with experience and knowledge that you might not possess. Nearly everyone who’s made their dreams come true will reference the importance of careful consideration, consistent action, the guidance of their mentors, and the support of their peers – they’re universal constants. Without those variables in play, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter more than your fair share of obstacles.

A good fat loss plan should outline basic things like Calorie/macronutrient goals, what kinds of activity you’ll be doing each day of the week, and how long certain phases will last. It shouldn’t emphasize supplements or give you an overly-restrictive list of foods – eating clean is the absence of a plan – nor should it have you doing hours of cardio every day. It should be balanced.

If you’re just throwing stuff out there and seeing what happens, you may see some results but you can’t guarantee a specific outcome by engaging in random behavior.

3. You’re too rigid/restrictive and you hate your diet.

Let me tell you a short story:

Our subject – we’ll call her Molly – is 35, a mother of two, and she works a full time job. About six months ago, she started going to an awesome gym 4 days a week and started eating mostly Paleo but she’s just not seeing the fat loss results she wants. She convinces herself that if she goes 100% Paleo i.e. she cuts out ice cream with the kids on Friday night, ditches her nightly glass of red wine (two things that Molly enjoys very much) and starts going to the gym twice a day, she’ll get the body she wants.

Fast forward six months: Molly did lean out a bit, but she’s not even close to where she wanted to be. In fact, she’s at wits end; her energy levels are super low, she’s hungry all the time, she has intense cravings for the treats she cut out of her diet, and between the kids, work, and hitting the gym at 5 a.m. every morning to get in that extra training session, she’s hardly getting any sleep.

She can’t take it anymore – something has to go – so she stops exercising. A couple months later, she’s been done with Paleo for a while and she’s regained all of the weight she lost the past year.

Why am I telling you this story? Because we see people go through it far too often! When you take an “all or nothing” approach to fat loss, you’re bound to end up face down in a cheesecake wondering how you got there. Contrary to popular belief, people who’re flexible with their diets are the ones with the best overall body composition! If you can’t do it for life, it’s too much and you need to relax on things a bit before you’ve dug your own grave. Regardless of the type of diet you eat or how serious you are about exercise, adherence will be one of the most important factors to consider because real results take time!

4. You’re not logging your food.

I get it…Logging food kinda sucks. It’s another thing to keep track of, another worry, and that’s why we firmly believe in doing it only when necessary. When you start a new diet, training program, or come back from vacation, you need to know how much food you’re eating vs. how much you should be eating so you can make quantitative modifications to your nutrition that will result in fat loss without killing your performance.

Take a week or two to log your food and see where you’re at. Are you maintaining your weight with your current diet? Cool – drop some Calories here and there and you should be able to lose fat. Are you losing weight and feeling good? Awesome – you know that dipping below this number will probably be a bad idea. Gaining weight? Again, if you’re tracking your food you have numbers to go by and you can start reducing your Calories a bit to get things under control.

After you’ve established a general idea of how much you’re eating and what you need to do to work towards a goal, you can stop logging food for a while. 3-4 weeks out of a year isn’t a huge inconvenience, but without data you’re taking a shot in the dark and that can set you back months!

5. You’re not prioritizing performance.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Most of the people you want to look like are not worried about their body fat percentage; they’re worried about their performance! They (drum roll please) Eat To Perform! Increasing your performance is almost always a good indicator that you’re building or preserving lean mass. That means that most of the time, you should be eating to fuel your workouts to increase work capacity – strength, endurance, speed – and spend a few short months each year focused on gradually losing fat while maintaining performance. If you stray too far from that, you’ll probably end up making poor decisions and sabotage your results.

Click here for full article, and stay tuned for updates on the Body Fat Test truck.


Tuesday 150915


4 Rounds, max effort per round:
500 Meter row
Rest 4 minutes

Post times to BTWB

Death by power snatch has Eddie like.

Death by power snatch has Eddie like.

One of the cooler blogs I’ve come across recently is called  The blog written by Leo Babauta is all about as he puts it; “finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.”

There are many days where the number of task to accomplish is so many that sometimes just getting started is the most difficult part.  Leo’s blog helps with that type of problem.

Here is a recent blog he posted title How Not to Do it All.  If you like the piece below, be sure and visit his site and sign up to receive updates on his new blogs.

We all want to do so much: take on every request that people email us, complete our neverending list of tasks and projects, help everyone, travel everywhere, learn a ton of new skills, read every book and watch every good film, be the perfect partner and parent and friend …

And yet, we can’t possibly do it all.

There isn’t enough time in the day, nor do we have the attention bandwidth to devote to everything. Even if we were perfectly disciplined, we couldn’t possibly get to even half of what we want to do. Just as with eating, where our eyes are bigger than our stomachs … our hopes are bigger than our actual bandwidths.

So I say, give up on trying to do it all. Simplify. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to have the most perfect life you can create.

Instead, make your days count.

How do you do that? Here are some ideas:

Pay attention. When you eat a good meal, it’s wasted if you don’t actually pay attention to it and are reading on your phone instead. It’s an amazing meal only if you really savor it. In this way, if we savor each moment, they really matter.

Curate your days. Put only the best things in each day — don’t just let any junk into it. If you are going to read, be choosy, don’t just click on things because you run across them. When you’re going to choose your tasks, choose the important ones, not just the little busywork tasks. If you’re going to say yes to someone, make sure it’s worthy of being in your life. Would you pay $100 to say yes to this request? Would you pay $20 to read the things on your reading list for an hour? If not, it’s probably not worth it.

Be ruthless. You need to filter out the things trying to overwhelm your life. More things try to get into your attention bandwidth than you can possibly handle. So filter them out: say no to most requests, don’t make it your job to respond to everything, don’t just read everything possible, don’t have the firehose of social media always on, turn off your phone for awhile. Each day, take a step back and think about what you want to fit in it.

Be satisfied. We always want to do more, be more, experience more. And so, we’re never satisfied with the little we actually can do and experience. Instead, we can learn to be happy with what we’ve chosen to do, knowing that we let go of the rest for a reason. We can be grateful for what’s actually in front of us, for the experience we are given, rather than always wanting the greener grass that someone else is experiencing.

Be OK with imperfection. Even if you filter and curate, you’ll never create the “perfect” day or the “perfect” life. You’ll never be “perfect.” Those ideals don’t exist in reality. In this messy life, the reality is that what we experience will never fit with an ideal, and will always be imperfect. We can either accept that, or be dissatisfied. I suggest we accept imperfection, and be OK with what we are, and the messiness that finds its way into our lives.

Realize that we’re not really in control. The first few items on this list might give you the idea that you can control your life by simplifying … but the reality is that your day will never go as planned. You can try, but there will always be the unexpected, the unplanned. That’s just how things go. If we want to be in control, and things don’t go our way, it’s frustrating. If instead we realize we’re not really in control, but just experiencing what comes at us, we can learn to appreciate that experience as it comes, whatever it is.

I realize that some of the things on this list seem contradictory. And they are. That’s because these ideas are meant to remind us to be mindful of what we’re holding on to, and practice letting go.

Each idea can be practiced at different times, and we’ll see that we’ve been holding onto something: our distractions, our ideas of perfection, our desire to be more, our desire to say yes to everyone, our hope that we’ll get to the end of our task list or email inbox, our desire for control or simplicity or doing everything. None of these things is essential to life — they can all be let go of, and we can accept the reality that is exposed when we let go.

Monday 150914

Take 15 minutes to establish 2RM push press

Take 15 minutes to establish 2RM push jerk

Then, max effort attempt at shoulder to overhead @ 40% of today’s 2RM push jerk

Post loads to BTWB

That my friends is a damper.

That my friends is a damper.


You know that little device that moves up and down on the fan on a rower? (hint, it’s also pictured above)  It’s called a damper and often we get asked where we should have the damper during workouts.  I give you expert advice from our very own Maddie Berky.

Welcome to one of the greatest rowing – CrossFit controversies of all time: damper setting. And when I say controversies, I really mean the #1 thing I argue (yes, there have been legit serious discussions, and I’m not one for confrontation) with athletes about on the daily. Damper – or fan – setting controls how much air gets let not the fan, and this how much resistance that machine offers in return. A higher damper setting creates more resistance. Conversely a lower damper setting creates less resistance. Higher = heavier. Lower = lighter.

The heavier / lighter scenario is where we tend to get stuck when new / not very efficient on the erg. A heavier damper setting essentially cheats connection. We fell CONNECTED and like we are working our ass off. A) debatable. B) Cause you are, but is all that work really worth it?

Heaviness makes you feel like you are doing work every single stroke. It’s akin to how a heavy deadlift makes it aggressively obvious that you are moving load. But, should rowing feel like a heavy deadlift? Not usually. While rowing is of course going to have more pointed places of power than say, running, it should still be light and fluid in the vast majority of your pieces. Think about it more like a light deadlift you have to bust out 21 of at a time – yes, you feel yourself moving load over time, but how you do so is much quicker and lighter than your 5RM.

But here’s the problem: when you’re not good at getting connected at the front end of your stroke and you have your damper set at a 6 (gents) 4 (ladies) – you feel like you’re dicking around with a PVC pipe instead of actually doing work. Hence, damper gets bumped up. Plus, there’s the common misconception that rowing should feel heavy, always. And that we should almost attack each stroke like a separate rep.

What happens next in this scenario: you hate rowing.

So, in order to remove rowing from your – things you hate – list and nestle it solidly into your – things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside – list, we need to change some things.

1) I want you to bump your damper down! If you’re a gent I want you closer to a 6 and if you’re a lady I want you closer to a 4. Different ergs run differently depending on their age and how well they’re maintained. You might have to tweak your damper setting depending on the machine, but 6 & 4 are your basic start points.

Don’t think that I’m salting your rowing game by bumping your damper down. Collegiate rowers rock those damper settings. In fact, I’m being generous. I rowed lower than that in college (granted I was a buck 35, but still…;) Both of those setting help to simulate the resistance of the water. You can do A TON of work at those damper settings.

2) Take any and all pauses out of your stroke. This is the main issue I see for people who have difficulty connecting at the front end, hate rowing at a lower damper, and / or want to tell the entire sport of rowing to go F itself. There is absolutely a difference in ratio between the drive (work portion) and recovery (rest portion) of your stroke – it should be about a 1:2 ration – but that doesn’t mean you should ever pause. Ever.

The most common places I see pauses are at the finish (back of the stroke, arms resting at the base of the sternum), at arms away (right after you extend your arms from the finish), when the arms are right over the knees, or at the catch.

A great drill for removing the pause: Progressive Pause Drill

Start with pausing at the finish, arms away (just extend your arms) & arms and body away (just lean forward. Then start to remove the pause at the finish, the pause at arms away, and then finally the pause at arms & body away. After the last pause in the cycle take a full stroke, pausing back that the first pause (example: first cycle would be a pause at the finish, at arms away, at arms and body away, and then finish the stroke pausing again at the finish.)

5 – 10 cycles: Pause @ the finish, arms away, arms & body away.

5 -1 0 cycles: Pause @ arms away, arms & body away.

5 – 10 cycles: Pause @ arms & body away.

10 full strokes paying attention to not pause throughout the stroke.

Will this drill instantaneously want to make you row at a 6 or a 4? Probably not. But will it help to make you more efficient: absolutely. If it causes you physical pain to just cold turkey adjust your damper – I feel you. Instead slowly work it down over time. You’ll get there. I’m not worried.

Do I ever change my damper?

Excellent question. Rarely. The only circumstance I’ve really encountered where I’ve wanted a different damper is when rowing for calories when 1) there aren’t a whole lot of calories to be rowed, 2) the workout isn’t super leg heavy, and 3) the workout is super lung heavy. Why would I want a higher damper in this scenario: because I’ll slow my rating down and freaking haul on that handle. These long, heavy strokes aren’t great on my legs, but they give my lungs a break and I can get off that machine pretty darn quick.

Otherwise, you will always see my damper right around a 4. True fact.

Have more rowing questions that are keeping you up at night. I know. It happens all the time. Come to rowing! We’re in between a cycle right now, so it’s the PERFECT time to join. And I promise you will hate it a little bit less. If not I’ll personally do 30 burpees right then and there.