Friday 160805

5 Rounds for time:
20 Wallballs 20#(14#)
10 Pull ups
*10 minute time cap

At the 12 minute mark

3 Rounds for time:
30 Air squats
10 Power cleans 115#(75#)
*10 minute time cap

Post times to comments or BTWB

Don't let this be you!

Don’t let this be you!

Tight shoulders?  When athletes approach a coach mentioning pain or tight shoulders and asking for suggestions on mobility, there can be a long list of issues leading to those tight shoulders such as tight lats or traps or even chest muscles.  The following video gives you one approach along with a GREAT anatomy lesson for one possible reason your shoulders could be tight or painful.  Please note that if pain persists, do not simply rely on mobility and stretching, consult a physical therapist.

  Unsolicited PSA – I have been doing this stretch at home 3 – 4 x a week and my shoulders have been feeling great!


-Verve outing SATURDAY @ Union Resevoir from 4p – 6p.  If you have your own board, feel free to bring it.  There will be paddleboards available for rent as well!


Thursday 160804

Shoulder Press

Then, 2 rounds of max effort shoulder press into push press
(Go to failure on shoulder press and then push press as many reps as you can)
Rest 3 minutes between

*Score for the day is total pounds pressed in the 8 sets (keep track of your lifts and yes you’ll have to do math, just like Monday)

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Do you even lift bro?

Do you even lift bro?


Scale more, more often By Courtney Shepherd and The CrossFit Journal

Tuesday’s post was about intensity. We need intensity in our workouts. Intensity is what gives us the results we want. If you have ever attended a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar, during the opening lecture, “What is CrossFit?” there is the discussion of relative intensity. Intensity is relative to the person and their physical and psychological capabilities. Whether you are an elite athlete or an elderly grandparent, you can get the intensity needed from a workout. The needs of the elite athlete and the grandparent differ by degree, not kind. The elite athlete seeks functional dominance while grandma seeks functional competence. There is no need to change the program to help these people get their personal needed intensity, we simply need to scale the workout. 

Let’s look at the workout “Fran” for an example. This workout absolutely should be less than 10 minutes. That is the desired intensity. An elite athlete might do this workout as it is written (RX) in around 2 minutes. My grammy B can also do “Fran”, she might do 21-15-9 reps of ring rows and air squats to a box. She might do it in 6 minutes. And she will have gotten her necessary intensity for the day. . . the same way the 2 minuter got their intensity for the day. These 2 can even workout right next to each other. 

When we introduce workouts at the board, trainers give their expectations for the workout. If the expectation is 10 rounds in 20 minutes, that should be a goal everyone shoots for. Some of us may have to make changes to the workout to achieve this, AKA scale the WOD. Scaling is not a bad thing. It does not make us weaker or less of a human. Scaling is a necessary thing to get the necessary intensity. Because if you are the person who avoids scaling at all costs and then gets 5 rounds in 20 minutes. . . while you may be sweaty and out of breathe, you did not get truly intense. What you did is exactly half the work. And the questions becomes, can we expect to get 100% of the results doing 50% of the work? You can wish it to be true, but as my dad use to say, you can wish in one hand and poop in the other, see which one fills faster. It is the person that refuses to scale accordingly and does 50% of the work that often finds me several months into their CrossFit journey and asks me why they are not seeing improvement? Intensity gets results. Period. If you avoid intensity because you think having an “RX” next to your name is more important and way cooler, then you don’t get results. 

The CrossFit Journal published an article titled “Scaling: How Less Can Be More. There’s no shame in scaling a WOD. Here are some ideas on how to do it effectively” by Clea Weiss (click here for full article). It is an amazing read for those of you who want a bit more insight into scaling. For some of you science geeks out there that enjoy putting numbers to concepts, the article gives examples of how scaling a workout actually yields a higher power output, AKA intensity.

“There are various ways to scale. How to elicit the most effective response is both subtle and complex. You don’t always scale by reducing the duration of workouts, for instance. Scaling correctly will increase work capacity more efficiently than attempting to complete workouts as prescribed before you’re ready for them. Properly lowering the weight and achieving a faster time will actually yield a higher level of power.

The work and power output calculator on the Catalyst Athletics website shows that a 5-foot-10, 180-pound athlete who completes Fran with 95 pounds in nine minutes has a power output of 98.2 watts. If the same athlete scales the weight down to 75 pounds and completes the workout two minutes faster, his power output actually rises to 115.7 watts. So using less weight can sometimes be better.

Here’s another example of how using less weight can be the right thing to do: a five-foot- five athlete who weighs 130 pounds and completes Fran in nine minutes using 65 pounds has a power output of 64.3 watts. If the same athlete scales the weight down to 45 pounds and completes the workout two minutes faster, her power output rises to 72.9 watts.”

I often have athletes that tell me “it’s not the weight, that weight is light for me but it’s all the other stuff.” To be clear, it’s the weight. If asking you to hold on to a weight for many reps gases you so much that you can’t do the other stuff or doing the other stuff makes it hard to hold on to the weight for many reps, it’s the weight. 

“If the WOD calls for 30 clean and jerks at 155 pounds, it’s clearly a met-con WOD. If you turn the workout into 30 single reps with a minute rest between them, you’ve missed the point.”

We don’t just scale weight. We can scale rounds, reps, rest, and even the movement itself. We have another saying in CrossFit “scale more, more often”. If you over scale a workout that was suppose to take 12 minutes and get it done in 6 minutes, the benefits to that are far greater than taking 17 minutes to do it. If that happens, if you just crush a workout. . . write that stuff down. Start paying attention to what your new limits are. Keep track of your accomplishments and use that information to achieve even more. 

If you’re just starting out and can’t judge whether to hold back or push harder, hold back. Once you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while and learn what your real limits are, push harder. Careful scaling works—but it takes planning and experience. Track your progress, evaluate the results of your scaling and correct your mistakes. Talk to other coaches and athletes and ask for advice. Think, plan and educate yourself.

Most importantly, keep at it. While it may seem that you’re always scaling or just completing basic movements day-in and day-out, you’ll eventually start cranking out impressive CrossFit performances. The day will come. Just keep hitting the scaled workouts with all you have: blood, sweat, tears and patience.


Wednesday 160803

Death by 10 Meter shuttle sprint
Minute 1 = 1 10 meter sprint
Minute 2 = 2 10 meter shuttle sprint
Minute 3 = 3 10 meter shuttle sprint

Rest 5 minutes then:

Death by burpee to a 6″ target
Minute 1 = 1 burpee
Minute 2 = 2 burpees
Minute 3 = 3 burpees

Continue as long as you can. Score is total shuttle sprints and total burpees.

Post Results to BTWB

Attention Verve!

This Saturday we will be heading to Union Reservoir for some fun paddle boarding in the sun. Yes, we already have notified the paddle board company and all you have to do is show up. Here is what you need to know:

Date: Saturday, August 6th.
Time: 4-6pm
Place: Union Reservoir
Cost: $30 for 2 hours. 
Who will be there?: Verve members

Here is to a great Wednesday and hope to see you all this weekend up at Union Reservoir on Saturday. 

PS. We won’t be paddle boarding boxing. 

Tuesday 160802

As many rounds as possibe in 18 minutes of:
Row 20(15) calories
2 Rope climbs 15′
5 Strict handstand push ups

Post to BTWB

When the whole group is trying to do synchronized leg kicks, but one guy just can't get it.

When the whole group is trying to do synchronized leg kicks, but one guy just can’t get it.

Below is a great read from the CrossFit Journal that is most likely going to resonate with our Verve members.  When our trainers introduce a workout to a class, we often talk about the expected time domain a workout should be finished in.  The goal with hitting this time, is to keep intensity at it’s highest.  Later this week, we have some workouts coming up that have time caps on them.  The goal with a time cap isn’t to stop you’re workout before it’s over, but rather to make sure that the athletes have modified or scaled a workout so that their work output remains as high as possible during.  Read on and I’m sure most of what is below will sound very familiar to the way we approach workouts at Verve.

To move all significant health markers in the right direction, do more work faster, trainers say.

The only way to know intensity is to experience it.

It is not a mythical creature born of grunting loudest, sweating most or cheering excitedly. It is also not a matter of opinion. It’s physics. Scientifically speaking, intensity is defined as power: force multiplied by distance, then divided by time. Simply put: Intensity is doing more work faster.

“You have to teach people how to do it,” said Chris Spealler, a member of CrossFit Inc.’s Seminar Staff and a seven-time CrossFit Games athlete who owns CrossFit Park City in Utah.

Fran, for example, is a workout most of the general population should be able to finish in roughly 7 minutes or less, he explained. The workout calls for 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. For an athlete who is trying to break into that time domain, Spealler provides the road map: Do the 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups in no more than 2 sets each, and the break can be no longer than 5 seconds. At the end of that round, the clock should read “2:00” or “3:00.”

“Giving people targets is hugely helpful, and I think that’s where a lot of affiliate owners miss it in the application,” Spealler said.

He continued: “Really, intensity is being comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

That discomfort—doing 5 more reps when all you want to do is stop—is how you become fitter.

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman wrote in April 2007’s “Understanding CrossFit.”

Favorable adaptation includes improved body composition and improved health markers such as fasting glucose and triglycerides. It takes people from sick to well to fit.

“Be impressed by intensity, not volume,” Glassman is quoted as saying as early as 2002.

Crudely translated, it means this: Do more work in less time—not more work in more time.

Explained via a CrossFit scenario, if you took 10 minutes to do Fran and then did another workout because “10 minutes wasn’t enough,” you did not perform Fran with intensity. If you had, you’d still be on your back. Likewise, you will not reap intensity’s benefits.

The scenario is becoming increasingly common at affiliates worldwide.

“There’s a pervasive thought process going on in kind of the competitors’ circle that more volume equals better, and I see that leak into our regular classes where everybody wants extra work to do,” said Ben Benson, owner of CrossFit Terminus in Atlanta and coach to Games athletes Emily Bridgers, Stacie Tovar and Becca Voigt.

When he started CrossFit, he remembered, the mentality was to give 100 percent effort on every workout.

“Now I’m seeing people approach them with a gaming-type attitude,” Benson explained. “It’s a very insidious problem that I’m trying to address.”

Games athletes are able to do more because they can maintain intensity throughout all the additional workouts, he noted.

“They’ve earned that volume, and they have the measurables and the resiliency to do that.”

One way Benson addresses the problem is through scaling.

“On a day-to-day basis … we do a lot of scaling to try to get classes to be on the same page, especially with finishing times. We do a lot of time capping also,” he said. “It’s a culture thing we worked on: not letting people make short workouts huge aerobic-capacity endurance tests.”

For a workout like Kelly—5 rounds of a 400-meter run, 30 box jumps and 30 wall-ball shots—he typically institutes a 30-minute cap. For Grace—30 clean and jerks for time—it’s a 5-minute cap.

“I might do an 8-minute cap (for Grace),” Benson said, adding that he tries to balance such goals with ensuring all athletes feel included. “I don’t want to make the cap so damn hard that nobody ever finishes anything.”

Most members have the ability to complete workouts in a timely fashion and also get a dose of intensity relative to their fitness, he noted.

“That’s one of the arts of coaching a group class: You have to accommodate for what is relative intensity.”

In other words: scaling.

“It’s so important when we get to driving intensity in a class,” Benson stressed.

Monday 160801

Back Squat 5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1

Then 3 rounds for quality of:
10 alternating back rack step ups 24″(20″) with 30% – 40% of todays 1 rep

Post Results to BTWB

Garrett working hard to get into a good overhead position.

Garrett working hard to get into a good overhead position.


















What defines your success?

I had the opportunity last week to have an enlightening conversation with one of the members at Verve. We got to talk about training, nutrition and life. Something that came up was how people define success. I think it important to understand that people have different interests and hobbies and within each one of their special niches, there is a way to find success.

However, during this conversation he brought up a very special point about success. Yes, you can be successful in your different avenues and facets of your life, which is awesome. However, are you truly successful if you haven’t found success in all avenues of your life?

Where this conversation is going is balance. Yes, you can have a job that makes you six figures and an amazing family, however if you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror, have you found success? Yes, you can have a six-pack of abs, but no meaningful relationships and people in your life, have you found success? You can flip the script and change the scenario, but I hope you are picking up what I am putting down.

In order to be successful you must find balance. How can you find balance? Set aside time each day to make yourself a priority. Use this time to work on something that you would like to work of your own enjoyment. Know what your priorities are. Stop spending your time on things you truly do not care about. Create an efficient mindset. Work to get organized and plan ahead. Maintain a positive attitude. Everything you do is a choice. You have the power to choose the way you feel, always find the positive.


Sunday 160731

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of:
10 Medball power cleans 20#(14#)
30 Meter walking lunge with medball
30 Lateral hops over the medball

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Does it get much better than this?

Does it get much better than this?

Our very own Maddie Berky reminded us yesterday that it is COLORADO PEACH SEASON!!!  Maddie was nice enough to make us a peach cobbler for our trainers meeting a while back and it was to DIE FOR.  The following is a recipe from her blog Madwellness.  Enjoy!


  1. 4-6 peaches (or enough to almost fill your cobbler vessel)
  2. Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  1. 1 cup nuts of choice (I’m a fan of some combo of hazelnuts, pecans, and cashews for this recipe)
  2. 1/4 c honey
  3. 1/4 c ghee, butter, or coconut oil
  4. 1T + 1t cinnamon
  5. dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash, peel, and coarsely chop peaches. Place those beauties in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Zest lemon and add zest to peaches. Juice that same lemon and add juice to the bowl, mixing thoroughly. Set aside while you make the topping.
  4. In your food processor, add all the ingredients for the topping (nuts, honey, fat, & spices.) Pulse until nuts are broken down, but still a little chunky. Taste as many times as needed.
  5. Add peaches to a pie dish and using your fingers, crumble topping evenly over the peaches.
  6. Place pie pan on a baking sheet (just in case those awesome peach juices spill over the side.)
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
  8. Eat hot with coconut milk or ice cream. Eat cold for breakfast the next day (so freaking good.) Eat a bite or two throughout the day, because life is just a little bit better with peach cobbler 😉

Saturday 160730

For time:
30 Muscle ups

Post times to comments and BTWB




DudeFest. What happens when a couple of dudes call another couple of dudes and are all like, “Hey dude, wanna workout at the same time?” “Dude, you know it.” Then all said dudes meet up at 7pm on a Thursday night, creating an entire class of dudes. DudeFest.

Speaking of DudeFest. . . Verve needs all you dudes!! Saturday August 13th Verve is hosting a ladies only competition. While the ladies will be dominating the workout floor we need you men to help volunteer with the event logistics. We need judges. We need help moving equipment between workouts. We need you to help the day run smoothly. So put your volunteer pants on, give a few hours of a Saturday to support the strong women around you, and get signed up. There is a sign up sheet on the front desk at Verve or you can email 


TODAY- Verve is hosting a Paleo Pop-up from 2:30pm-5:30pm. 

The Paleo Pop-up is an expo of local paleo products and service providers. It is free to attend and open to all. 

Friday 160729

Take 20 minutes to work to a heavy 1 rep max Snatch

Every minute on the minute for 7 minutes
1 Hang squat snatch
1 Full Snatch
@ 60% – 70% of todays 1 rep

Post load to comments or BTWB



Here are some new and innovative techniques for loosening up your forearms and elbows to help that front rack from my favorite new mobility guru Trevor Bachmeyer!

You will notice in the video that Trevor uses a VooDoo band, which we have at the gym.  For those of you that aren’t too familiar with the Voo Doo Band and how/why we use it, here is a video from Kelly Starrett with some of the theory behind the band AND how to properly wrap your elbow.


  • Paleo Pop-Up tomorrow at Verve!  2:30pm – 5:30pm.  Come and check it out.
  • Verve SUP Saturday, August 6th from 4p – 6p @ Union Reservoir.  Keep an eye on the Verve Social Facebook page for more details


Thursday 160728

For time:
Run 1 mile
200 Double unders
Row 2K meters

Post times to comments and BTWB

It's pronounced La Croy, just like the word "enjoy" but without the "enj" and add in "cr" instead.

It’s pronounced La Croy, just like the word “enjoy” but without the “enj” and add in “cr” instead.


Fake Sweeteners Make You Crave More Sweets. . . say WHAT????

By Tom Philpott (click here for link to article)

As US diet soda sales fizzle, a mounting weight of evidence suggests that consumers may be onto something by turning away from artificial sweeteners. The latest: Researchers at the University of Sydney have identified a possible brain pathway that might push us to eat more sweet stuff after taking in calorie-free sugar substitutes.

The team found that when fruit flies are fed regular doses of sucralose (brand name: Splenda) over an extended period, they consume 30 percent more calories (compared with sucralose-free control flies) when they have access to naturally sweetened food. And when the team removed the sucralose, the effect vanished.

To find out why, the researchers tracked the neural activity of the ravenous flies—the electrical impulses that travel through the nerves and trigger action, a system that’s roughly similar to that of people (which is just one reason the pesky insects are widely used in research as a model for humans.) They found that inside the brain’s reward centers, sweet flavor sensations are accompanied by the expectation of a calorie blast. Since the fake sweetener doesn’t deliver the expected calories, the flies go looking for more calorie-rich food to restore balance. They also found that the sucralose-fed flies experienced naturally sweetened food more intensely—it triggered a larger pleasure response, and “this then increases the animal’s overall motivation to eat more food,” they write.

Artificially sweetened foods, the researchers suggest, generate a kind of starvation effect—the brain perceives a calorie shortage and seeks to close it. And a case of the munchies wasn’t the only behavior “consistent with a mild starvation or fasting state” the researchers identified in the test flies. The flies also displayed “hyperactivity, insomnia, and sleep fragmentation,” the authors write, noting that similar effects have been found in people who consume artificial sweeteners. They also found that the artificially sweetened diet boosted insulin and reduced glucose tolerance—in humans, warning signs for diabetes.

To confirm that these effects apply to mammals, the researchers replicated the study with mice. Again, the mice that consumed a sucralose diet ate more food, and the nerve impulses involved were the same as for fruit flies.

This new paper lands on top of a slew of recent research I summarized in a column last year: population studies showing that people who regularly drink diet soda are more likely to suffer strokes and heart attacks and develop type 2 diabetes, as well as studies suggesting that fake sweeteners generate diabetic conditions by triggering a Pavlovian response to sweetness and altering the population of microbes that live in our guts.

More-recent research has found that exposure to the sweet-tasting chemicals is associated with early menstruation in girls; and in a 2015 study, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and George Washington University found that they show up in breast milk—even from women who don’t consume diet drinks. That result showed that avoiding faux sweeteners is tough because of “their omnipresence in the food supply and hygiene/cosmetic products,” the paper states. Indeed, they show up in everything from “reduced sugar” ketchup to “light” yogurt and even toothpaste. Read those labels carefully.

Ditch soda, enjoy a La Croix. (Verve is not a spokes person for La Croix, but rather just trying to be funny)

Ditch soda, enjoy a La Croix. (Verve is not a spokes person for La Croix, but rather just trying to be funny)


Wednesday 160727

As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:
10 Russian kettlebell swings 32kg (24kg)
5 Burpee box jump overs 24″(20″)

Post Results to BTWB







3 Things You Can Do Today to Harness Motivation From The CrossFit Games:

Did the performance and aesthetics from the high level CrossFit athletes you watched all weekend motivated you to push yourself to the next level? Well, instead of running rampant and going crazy in the gym for one week just to go back to old habits, harness what you became a witness of. In today’s blog I am going to give you three things you can do right now to help improve your fitness.

  1. Meal Prep. Make sure you are eating the right amounts of food. Meal prep takes the guesswork out of your nutrition from day to day. On top of making sure you are getting the right amount of food, make sure you are getting the right nutrients as well. I’m no scientist, but I am pretty sure that the amount of nutrients in a 12oz beer is not even close to the amount in 8oz. sweet potato, even though they are similar in calories.
  1. Sleep 7-9 hours a night. Sleep is important part of what we do in and out of the gym. Getting a good nights rest can help you curb your inflammation, aid fat loss and at the same time increase muscle mass. Sleep is also crucial for keeping your stress low, which again, helps with both fat loss and increase of muscle mass. Want to be happier? Sleep more.
  1. Enjoy your exercise. Walking into the gym with the attitude of making the hour you spend at the gym the best hour of your day will pay back ten fold. On average, let’s say that you spend one hour in the gym on five different days of the week. That means you will be spending 250 hours of your life inside the gym in one given year. This is not a small amount of time, making the most of your hour when you walk into Verve will help keep you progressing, healthy and happy. Enjoy your exercise.