Friday 151106

Everyday Warrior Workout #1

1a. As many reps as possible in 3 minutes:
Bar-facing burpees

1b. Take 12 minutes to establish 1RM clean & jerk

Details for the workout can be seen here

Post reps and load to comments or BTWB

Erin giving us overhead squat goals!

Erin giving us overhead squat goals!

Risks of CrossFit and How to Stay Safe for Baby Boomers by Rick Krakowski

This is the 2nd part of a multi-part series on CrossFit for Baby Boomers. If you have not read Part 1 on CrossFit Benefits for Baby Boomers you can start with that by clicking here. The goal of this piece is to explore the risks of participation in CrossFit by baby boomers and how these risks can be alleviated.

A number of my baby boomer friends, some of them not having worked out for quite some time, are hesitant to try CrossFit because of concerns about the risks of injury and that the intensity of workouts will be beyond their capability. The anxiety of jumping into something new and the fear of doing more harm than good are real concerns and inhibitors to starting a program of exercise. It is important to address these concerns because research in the United States and Canada reveals boomers have more chronic disease and disability than their parents did, at the same age. In addition, baby boomers are more sedentary, more obese and more susceptible to diabetes, hypertension and illnesses related to high cholesterol. The good news is that for baby boomers regular exercise can help mentally, and also increase active life expectancy by reducing disease and conditions such as arthritis.

Aging is a result of a combination of our genetics and physical activity (4). As we age our bodies go through genetic changes that result in loss of muscle cells, loss in muscle mass, increased body fat, performance loss and reduced flexibility. We also tend to take it a bit easier and our activity level is reduced. These changes can be slowed by getting and staying fit but requires that CrossFit address any risks associated with the aging process.

Risk of preexisting conditions

Before starting any exercise program baby boomers should assess their physical condition to determine if they have any health risk factors or orthopedic conditions that would prevent them from safe participation. As a minimum, adults who are planning to start an exercise program should begin with a self-administered assessment using the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. Results from the self-assessment will suggest whether medical clearance would be useful or necessary prior to beginning CrossFit. For baby boomers that have recently been inactive or if you are concerned about your health it is best to consult a physician before substantially increasing your physical activity.

Risk of muscle soreness

A common effect of aging is reduced flexibility (4). Older athletes not actively involved in a flexibility and mobility program will naturally have less joint, tendon and ligament movement capacity. These tissues are also at a greater risk due to lack of elasticity when performing jerking or more thrusting movements. Common complaints when engaging in an exercise program are muscle soreness and joint pain. A good CrossFit trainer can help baby boomers avoid these issues by providing greater attention to transitioning and scaling the movements and limiting higher force repetitive movement at the end of their available ranges.

Risk of injury due to overuse frequency

A critical issue for baby boomers is ensuring that you don’t overdo it and risk an overuse injury. Overtraining is the result of high-volume or high-intensity training, or both, without adequate recovery, that results in the body’s ability to compensate for training stress and adapt to it (4, p27). How much training frequency is adequate? One study found the most benefit in a program of 45 min high-intensity weight training sessions twice a week and one 45 min moderate-intensity weekly session.

Injuries in older athletes take longer to heal. Thus, physical preparation and attention to detail in sports performance skills are vital (8, p216). It is crucial to have a CrossFit trainer that can assess the needs of the baby boomer. Proper instruction, which includes learning the basics and how to properly perform exercises, will provide the confidence to take on high-intensity work and willingness to try. Don’t overdo things. Start off slowly. Most CrossFit affiliates will not allow you to participate in regular workouts without having first completed an On-ramp or Fundamentals series of classes. For example, Fundamentals at Switch CrossFit in Clinton Township, MI, is a series of five sessions that each member must complete before participating in regular workouts; they step through and drill each of the core exercises paying great attention to proper form until the member and trainer are confident in execution.

Risk of lack of rest and recovery

Recovery is vital to all athletes, but especially to older athletes. Proper rest is as important as the workout itself. As people get older muscles require longer periods of time to recover (8, p223). Without adequate rest and recovery between workouts you will not gain strength from the workout and can risk injury through overtraining. We actually get stronger not during the workout but during rest and recovery as our body adapts to the stress of exercise.

How much recovery time is required varies from person to person. Personal accounts of recovery for 7 adults from 55-78 years old doing CrossFit vary significantly with several of the people indicating that recovery for them would depend on the workout and can vary between 4 days on 1 off and 1 day on 3 days off. To insure sufficient rest between workouts you need to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. When starting CrossFit don’t push it early on. Err on the side of more rather than less recovery between sessions.

Risk due to exercise intensity

CrossFit workouts are high-intensity but of short duration–usually 10-20 minutes. Most CrossFit workouts of the day or “WODs” are either timed performing as quickly as you can or are given an amount of time where you need to complete as many repetitions as possible. The workouts are not for the faint of heart, but each exercise is scalable for any level of fitness from the novice that has not worked out in 20 years to the professional athlete. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing an exercise bring it to the attention of your CrossFit trainer to find an alternative. Intensity is not as important with boomers. If you are over 50, properly prepare your body and work hard enough to challenge yourself. Listen to your body and don’t try to fight through pain and soreness.

How to Stay Safe

In summary, these guidelines will help baby boomers minimize the risks of doing CrossFit:

  • Properly assess with your physician your physical condition before you start.
  • Ensure your CrossFit trainer has knowledge of the needs of older adults.
  • Learn the basics and how to perform all skills properly.
  • Don’t overdo things. Start off slowly.
  • Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs–erring on the side of more recovery.
  • Work hard enough to challenge yourself. Don’t worry about the other guy.

CrossFit has huge benefits for baby boomers. Keep the above guidelines in mind and find an experienced trainer to be off to a great, safe start with CrossFit.


-There is no Yoga this Sunday, so get out into the great outdoors or spend 30 minutes in the gym working on mobility.


Thursday 151105

Take 20 minutes to establish a 3RM hang squat clean

Then, every minute on the minute x 5 minutes:
5 Hang cluster @ 50% of today’s 3RM

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Register and compete! Support and amazing organization

Register and compete! Support and amazing organization

This Friday is the first Everyday Warrior Battle Series workout. 

Everyday Warrior is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded with the primary mission to inspire, empower, and financially support individuals in the CrossFit community who have been diagnosed with cancer and are currently undergoing treatment.

There is no better way to show our warriors that no one fights alone than to go to battle with them. The Everyday Warrior Battle Series is an opportunity to WOD for a cause. It is a 4 week online competition that starts tomorrow, Friday November 6th. You can still get registered for the competition and see how you place on a leaderboard amongst other warriors. There are several divisions, RX/ Scaled/ Masters/ Teen. All proceeds benefit CrossFitters currently battling cancer. There are prizes packages for top individuals in each division as well as prizes for top participating gyms. 


Here’s the deal, if you already plan to come to Verve on Fridays to join a WOD, then you mine as well get registered for this competition. Verve is hosting the Everyday Warrior workouts every Friday for the next 4 weeks. Click here to register.

This year an estimated 1.66 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. For many of them, the financial burden of medical bills, co-pays, and deductibles coupled with the inability to work during treatment will make it nearly impossible to focus on the fight at hand. Everyday Warrior helps to ease, if not eliminate this financial burden.

Unlike may cancer-based charities, money raised by Everyday Warrior goes directly the individual or family affected by the disease and subsequent financial burden. This allows these individuals to spend funds however they see fit, whether it’s mortgage or car payments, buying groceries or simply breathing a littler easier each month.

WHEN: EVERY Friday November 6th – 27th. PLEASE READ: We will be opening up the gym to ANYONE from any gym competing in the Battle Series EVERY FRIDAY at 6pm to add to the exciting environment that comes with these workouts.

WHY: We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. I implore you to check out the website to see how and why the organization was created. You will also be able to read some of the stories of the CrossFitters that have received support from the organization. 

Get signed up today!!

Wednesday 151104

As many rounds as possible in 3 minutes of:
30 Double unders
10 Box jumps, 24″(20″)
10 Push press, 95#(65#)
Rest 2 minutes

Repeat 2 additional times

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Paul Buono is the newest addition to Verve's training staff.

Paul Buono is the newest addition to Verve’s training staff.

Over the last few weeks some of you have had the opportunity to meet Paul. Paul recently moved to Colorado and has become the newest member of Verve’s training staff. We are excited to have him and his wealth of knowledge about all things CrossFit, injury recovery, and how to handle living with Clancy. If you have not yet had the chance to meet him, here’s a little background on Paul:

Hello All,

My name is Paul Buono and I want to play two truths and one lie, so here we go:
• I have been coaching CrossFit for the past four years.
• I am Eric Clancy’s first cousin.
• I recently was a member of team CrossFit Milford, which took 2nd at the 2015 CrossFit Games.

So, now that you all know that Eric and I were pretty much separated at birth, I’m here to introduce myself. Some may recognize me as the creepy shirtless guy walking around Verve the past couple weeks or riding the Assault Bike in a corner by myself, while others may recognize me from past summers.

“The Matt Chan” was my first remote coach. When I was in college at Penn State. I would come out and train to either get ready for a regional event or just to come and do some exercise and hang. During these visits, I fell in love with Denver and Verve. Since then, it has been my goal to move out here.

I recently moved from Milford, CT where I lived and coached for the better part of 2015. Before then, I was a Civil Engineer for the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia and coached part time at CrossFit Center City.

Over the coming weeks, I will be doing a bunch of part-time coaching and “second-manning”. During this time it would be super awesome if people would keep coming up and introduce themselves to me! I’ve already met a ton of awesome people and would really like to get to know the whole gang a little better.

With this, I will also be doing some personal training for any one that is interested in that type of thing. Over the years of competing in various regional events and most recently the 2015 CrossFit Games, I have had the opportunity to deal with some pretty radical injuries. The two doozies that I’ve dealt with are both a Bankart and SLAP tear in my left shoulder and as of recently two bulging discs, one in my L4-L5 and one in my L5-S1. During this time I’ve gotten to know some pretty good tips and tricks to keep training and eventually get back to doing CrossFit as prescribed.

It has been quite the journey and learning experience. Along with the experience gained, I have had the privilege of getting to work with some of the best coaches in the game. I would love to help share what I have learned, whether you are interested in refining skills, help with working around injuries or just looking for some more individualized attention, I’d love to help. Some of my certification and seminars include:

• CrossFit Level 1
• CrossFit Level 2
• CrossFit Endurance
• CrossFit Weightlifting
• CrossFit Gymnastics
• Power Monkey Fitness Camp 4.0
• OPEX: Assessment and Program Design

If there is anything else you would like to know just e-mail me at

CrossFit Milford finishing 2nd at the 2015 CrossFit Games.

CrossFit Milford finishing 2nd at the 2015 CrossFit Games.

Tuesday 151103

3 Rounds for time:
21 Deadlift, 185#(125#)
15 Pull-ups
9 Front squat, 185#(125#)

Post times to comments and BTWB

Air Force Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell

Air Force Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell


Air Force Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell, 23, of Erie, Pennsylvania, assigned to 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, died January 5, 2012 at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Today we will do a workout named after this Hero. We workout to honor his sacrifice. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, Hero WOD Verve has posted. Most may not even realize these workouts are, in fact, Hero workouts named after a man or woman, written to honor them.

“CrossFit’s Hero WODs are challenging tests of fortitude—but they also represent something greater.”

Here is a little insight into where Hero WODs come from and why they are an important  part of the CrossFit community, as written by Russell Berger (click here for full CrossFit Journal article):

On June 28, 2005, four Navy SEALs on a reconnaissance mission in the Kunar province of Afghanistan were ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Team leader Lt. Michael Murphy, unable to call for help from his location, walked into the center of enemy fire, where his satellite phone might work. He punched in the numbers to HQ and calmly requested reinforcements.

Even after being knocked to his knees from a gunshot wound to his back, Murphy calmly sat back up, steadied himself and continued the call, knowing that it was the only way he might save his men. Once the call for reinforcements had been completed, he returned to the fight with an MH-47 Chinook helicopter on the way.

Outrunning its escort of attack helicopters, the Chinook rushed into the battle for a daring daylight rescue. Attempting to set down in tremendously rugged terrain filled with hostile militia, the Chinook was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. The eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard were killed, leaving Murphy and his men to continue the fight. When the battle ended, Murphy and all but one of his men had been mortally wounded.

Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day. Among those killed in the rescue attempt were Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor and Lt. Michael McGreevy. Both SEALs were posthu- mously awarded Bronze Stars for Valor and Purple Hearts. These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.

A Community Honors the Fallen

To the average CrossFitter, Hero workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for our fallen. CrossFitters from all over the world, regardless of country or allegiance, throw themselves wholeheartedly at these intentionally gut-wrenching workouts that serve as a tribute to our lost protectors.

Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, commander of the 20th Engineer Battalion from Fort Hood, has a unique understanding of just how important the CrossFit Hero workout can be as a memorial to the friends and family of the deceased. On Nov. 5, 2009, an Islamic terrorist gunned down four of Andrysiak’s soldiers at Fort Hood in an attack in which 13 were killed and 30 wounded. Andrysiak’s soldiers were members of Lumberjack CrossFit, a military affiliate in Fort Hood, Texas.

Teaming up with CrossFit Headquarters, Andrysiak set out to create a brutal test of fortitude to honor his men, a workout based on a template they had previously used as a readiness test for Lumberjack soldiers. It became known as the Lumberjack 20. One month after the attack at Fort Hood, the workout was posted, and in a simultaneous showing of support, the community raised over $50,000 for wounded warriors.

“My soldiers (friends of the fallen) really appreciate what the CF community did,” Andrysiak recalls. “We will do the Lumberjack 20 on 5 November this year, and the leadership in this organization will make it a tradition. Forever, these kids will remember the Lumberjack 20 and what it represents.”

What Andrysiak and CrossFit created was a way to immortalize the fallen and remind ourselves that even in their untimely deaths these fellow CrossFitters were committed to the safety and freedom of the rest of us. The Lumberjack workout gave the community a way to show its support and perhaps help ease the pain of a terrible tragedy. But Andrysiak also noted that the Lumberjack 20 played an important and often undiscussed role for those with personal connections to the victims: assisting with the healing process and helping friends and family grieve.

Sharing a Soldier’s Story

The Hero workout McGhee, first posted on on April 15, 2010, was submitted to CrossFit headquarters by Staff Sgt. Brendan Souder to honor his friend, Cpl. Ryan McGhee, after the Army Ranger was fatally wounded by small-arms fire while operating in Central Iraq. It’s hard enough to wake up in the morning and find another Hero workout posted on It can be unimaginable to think of seeing the photo and name of a friend or loved one above that workout.

Souder, like Andrysiak, is connected to Hero WODs by something more than patriotism and community.

“It was about telling Ryan’s story,” Souder explains. “Guys that don’t even know Ryan, if they knew his story, they would love him … . The point is to let everyone know that he did something for them, and the least you can do is complete this workout to honor him.”

Souder and McGhee had been good friends, and Souder had been the recruiter when the high-school football star had decided to pass up college scholarships for a chance to get into Ranger Regiment. Souder helped McGhee fight for weeks to secure the difficult-to-attain Ranger contract that allowed him the chance to attend selection into Ranger Regiment.

After McGhee’s death, Souder knew he needed to honor the soldier by submitting a Hero workout—something for Ryan, those close to him, and Souder himself.

“Every time you do that workout,” Souder said, “you try to think about what it was like to be in that guy’s shoes, everything up until the point he died … . Once you get over it, you need an outlet to let loose some of your frustration.”

Souder also reminded that these sorts of gestures and tributes are neither new nor unusual.

“Everybody gets it,” he said. “We already say, ‘One for the Airborne Ranger in the sky,’ and this is just one more thing.”

In similar fashion, many members of the military wear KIA (killed in action) bracelets in memory of fallen comrades, and police officers often emblazon their vehicles with the badge numbers of officers killed in the line of duty. CrossFit Hero workouts are just another expression of this sense of brotherhood, and they are uniquely suited to a unique community. Even close friends and family members of the victims who have never heard of CrossFit understand a Hero WOD to be a tremendous honor.

Lest We Forget

For those of us who undertake these physical tests, the psychological effects of performing a Hero workout are tremendous. It’s easy to treat these prescriptions as any workout of the day, but for those who take the time to learn about the heroes they honor, the WODs can become as spiritual and emotionally demanding as they are physically grueling.

When keeping the stories behind the real-life heroes in mind, slowing down during a Hero workout becomes harder to justify. When the pain of pushing harder becomes too great, I am reminded of the sacrifice these men made for my freedom, and my struggle becomes laughable. And when I compare my temporary suffering to the lifelong sorrow felt by the grieving families of these men, dropping the bar becomes an embarrassment to my country.

The Hero workout is more than a test of physical ability. It bridges the gap between the body and the mind, emotion and experience, and gives us the chance to do more than just remember our soldiers. It gives us the chance to sweat, bleed, suffer and grieve for our fallen heroes one rep at a time.

Monday 151102

10 minutes at each station to find your 2 rep max of:
Weighted pull- ups
Weighted dip on p-bars
Weighted push – up
Compare to 6/15/2015

Post weights to BTWB


Mobility never looked so good.

Mobility never looked so good.


Pretty interesting article from The New York Times about the effects of cutting back sugar in diets of obese children. We all know that sugar has negative effects on health, but for some time there has been a debate in the health community if sugar itself was harming or was it the weight gain that comes from sugar that results in negative effects.

In this latest study, researches took out the high in sugar foods and replaced them with other carbohydrates so the subjects weight and caloric intake remained the same.  After just 10 days, the children in the study showed improved heath markers while losing little to no weight.  The subjects in the study had been receiving about 27 percent of their daily calories from sugar.  In comparison the average American receives about 15 percent of their caloric intake from sugar.  Children typically have a higher sugar intake percentage due to sugary drinks.  

In just a 10 day period, although their weight didn’t change, there were changes to other health markers; “LDL cholesterol, the kind implicated in heart disease, fell by 10 points. Their diastolic blood pressure fell five points. Their triglycerides, a type of fat that travels in the blood and contributes to heart disease, dropped 33 points. And their fasting blood sugar and insulin levels – indicators of their diabetes risk – likewise markedly improved.”

Though the study was small the researchers are encouraged by the findings and are looking to expand on the information.  For the entire article click HERE.  The article also features links to the study.  


Sunday 151101

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
20 Calorie row
20 DB snatch, alternating arms, 40#(25#)
20 Wallball shots, 20#(14#)

Post reps to comments or BTWB

Gluten-free pizza goody!

Gluten-free pizza goody!

Saturday aka Faturday doesn’t have to be as bad with this delicious Pizza substitute. You can view the recipe in its entirety here.

For the Puree
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Casserole
  • 12 slices pepperoni
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For the Puree
  1. Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbl of cream and 1 Tbl of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six minutes on high (or until tender.) Remove from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the 8 slices of pepperoni and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust the cream and butter to your preference for consistency.
For the Casserole
  1. Spread the cauliflower puree into an 8 x 8 oven proof casserole dish. Cover with ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, and layer with pepperoni. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for about 20 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave this for 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Approximate nutrition info per serving: 207 calories, 15g fat, 4.75g net carbs, 10g protein
*I will be modifying this recipe to replace the regular cheese with low-fat cheese and deleting the heavy whipping cream to help knock down the fat.  I will let you know the taste.
-Daylight Savings Time ends this morning, so set your clocks back Saturday night!!
-Yoga is at 8am with Molly!  You get an extra hour of sleep, so come in and get limber.
-Voting for the costume contest is due by 6pm today!  We will announce the winner Sunday night.
-Everyday Warrior Battle Series starts on Friday!  If you haven’t registered, get on it.  We will be opening up the gym to anyone competing at the 6pm on Friday to help with the energizing atmosphere.

Saturday 151031

For time:
10 Strict handstand push-ups
30 Power clean, 135#(95#)
50 Burpee box jump over, 24″(20″)
30 Power clean, 135#(95#)
10 Strict handstand push-up

Post time to BTWB


Verve yoga is happening this Sunday. Get signed up on MBO and get bendy with Molly Sunday @ 8am.

*Halloween is today.  Wear your favorite costume!! I’m looking at you Scotty!

*Mark your calendars, November 1st is Daylight Savings time, we get to set our clocks back 1 hour and get a little extra sleep.

*November 14th Jake’s will be hosting the DeVito Strong Party and Fundraiser starting @ 5pm. It will be featuring a silent auction, raffle and drink specials. All of the money raised will go towards Sarah DeVito’s fund. There is also a clipboard with info regarding purchasing DeVito Strong apparel on Verve’s front desk. 

*November 14th-15th Verve will be hosting a Level 1 Trainer Course. We will provide an early morning WOD and then be closed the remainder of the day. Stay tuned for reminders. If you are interested in attending the course, click here for more info and to register.

*November 21st-22nd is the Turkey Challenge hosted by MBS CrossFit in Broomfield. Verve has 7 teams registered to compete. Start dusting off your cold weather gear and get ready to scream loud.


Friday 151030

Rowing for time:
Rest 8 minutes
Rest 4 minutes

Post time to comments or BTWB

Howard and Eric going head to head on the rowers!

Howard and Eric going head to head on the rowers!


In keeping with the “Aging CrossFitter” theme, I wanted to take a second to remind ALL of us, young and aging alike, why we do this thing called CrossFit.  For many of us, there is a vanity aspect as our reason which is fine, no judgement here.  For others, we are working towards regaining health and happiness.  For all of us, there are unintended rewards that we reap by doing CrossFit; which become ever more apparent as we get older.  The following is an article which will help guide those of us that are here for vanity, and also those of us looking for other rewards as we age.  You can view the full article here.  Ladies, this article has to do with testosterone, but please don’t be intimidated, we need testosterone too!

CrossFit Masters: Mastering the Art of Staying Buff

CrossFit is continually giving us reasons why it is one of the best training programs for all-around fitness and health. Besides creating amazing athletes across all age groups and forging an unshakeable, close-knit community, for older male CrossFitters in particular, some of the reasons go far beyond just being fit: this is about a longer life and higher quality of life.

Older athletes face unique challenges as they strive to stay fit and competitive. Similar to younger athletes, they want continued muscle growth, increased strength, and stamina. But as we age, these desires can become more challenging to achieve and maintain. The key to meeting these challenges starts with understanding the hormone testosterone.

So…what is testosterone and what does it do for you?
What most people don’t know is that 1) testosterone plays a major role in metabolism, memory, & cognitive function, and 2) the presence of normal testosterone levels contributes to maintaining optimal weight as well as reducing risk of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. An even more powerful hormone than you thought.

Check Your Testosterone Levels

In case you are wondering what your own testosterone levels are like, see if any of these symptoms of low testosterone apply to you.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Reduced strength and endurance levels
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Sleep problems

Natural Ways to Increase Testosterone
Were you nodding your head looking at the list above? Now check out what lifestyle changes you can make to improve your testosterone levels on your own, without taking supplements:

…And where does CrossFit come into the equation?

Interestingly — though not surprisingly — CrossFit workouts have the perfect structure for improving testosterone levels naturally. Studies show that one of the best ways of increasing testosterone is high-intensity exercise (CrossFit definitely fits the bill). The short intense workouts and heavy weight movements that are the foundation of CrossFit are the perfect prescription for increasing testosterone levels. Engaging large muscle groups using compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts & burpees (gotta love burpees!) are some of the best testosterone-boosting exercises. The duration of workouts should be short (5-30 minutes) and have very little rest periods between sets. Can you say “CrossFit”?

Now, lest we get too excited, let’s also add a word of caution: It is not recommended that you go into the box tomorrow and start throwing around huge amounts of weight that are beyond your normal abilities.

Studies have shown that overtraining actually significantly reduces testosterone levels for 1-4 days afterward! By the way, it doesn’t matter whether it is endurance or weight training — the lowering effects of overtraining on testosterone levels is the same.

So for my fellow Masters athletes, the story on staying buff is to be aware. Be conscious of how you feel before, during and after training. Know your training cycles and keep a record of your progress. CrossFit is an amazing tool in your bag if you use it correctly.


  • SATURDAY!!! Halloween costume contest! We will take pictures throughout the day, post them to Verve Social Facebook page.  On Sunday, based on how many likes each picture gets, we will decide the winner.  The winner will receive a free bag of the protein of their choice!!!
  • Yoga is at 8am this Sunday!
  • Daylight Savings Time is Sunday morning, so don’t forget to set your clocks back so you get an extra hour of sleep (or partying) and come to yoga.




Thursday 151029

Front Squat

Then, 4 x 3 reps of tempo front squats @ 50% of today’s heaviest 1RM
Tempo = 3331

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Ali just giving Matt a lift around the gym.

Ali just giving Matt a lift around the gym.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Athletic Performance? By William Imbo of BoxLife Magazine (Click here for full article)

I’m not a very big consumer of the adult beverage, but I went to a wedding over the past weekend and gave my best effort at making up for lost time. That was Saturday. . . come Monday when it was time to get back to training I still wasn’t feeling quite like myself. Man are those college days of drink & rally long gone. Truth is I’m probably preaching to the choir. Not that I think you all are a bunch of alcoholics but I do know many of you enjoy a nightly glass of wine or bottle of beer to unwind from the day. I also know that many of us live by the motto “work hard, play hard”, which can translate to awesome parties on the weekend or elaborate trips to far away places. Following those awesome parties and pretty sweet trips, when we get back to the gym, some of us can’t quite put together why we may not be performing to our optimal standard. Well luckily I’ve stumbled across an article that may tell us why. This is not a blog post mean to give a lecture or guilt trip, enjoy your beverages. This is merely meant to give some answers to why, following that enjoyment, we may have some negative effects to our performance. 

How alcohol works
When you consume an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol (ethanol) makes its way to your stomach where around 20-25 percent of it gets absorbed into your blood stream immediately. The rest of it continues to your small intestine where it is later absorbed by the blood stream once more. Once it’s in your blood stream, the alcohol makes its way to the liver where it is metabolized (broken down).
Alcohol is metabolized by a normal liver at a rate of about one ounce (one shot, a normal beer, a regular sized glass of wine) every 90 minutes. There are a number of varying factors that can affect this rate. These include body fat percentage (lower the body fat, lower the blood alcohol level) and gender (women typically process alcohol slower than men). Any amount of alcohol over the one ounce per 90 minutes ‘quota’ doesn’t get processed right away, and instead saturates your blood until your liver is able to process the excess alcohol. Since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, the first couple of drinks you have can help you relax. But as the amount of alcohol in your blood increases, the effects become more and more apparent: this is officially known as getting drunk. 

So now that we know how alcohol works, it’s time find out why drinking too much, too often, can really hamper your progress as an athlete.

It negatively affects protein synthesis
Alcohol disrupts your body’s ability to absorb protein, impacting protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins. If you expect to see your muscles grow and become stronger, you must have a positive muscle protein balance. Which means that a lack of exercise or protein intake could mean that your muscle breakdown would exceed your muscle growth. This would lead to a catabolic state in which you are losing muscle tissue. A study published in Alcohol and Alcoholism in 1991 found that consistent intake of alcohol halted protein synthesis and caused myopathy in many cases. Myopathy is a condition in which muscle fibers do not function properly, resulting in muscle weakness or loss of movement.

It lowers testosterone levels
Testosterone is a key hormone within the body that allows muscles to grow and repair. Low levels of testosterone (or decreases in the hormone) are linked with decreases in lean muscle mass and muscle recovery, which is obviously bad news. The presence of alcohol in your body triggers a multitude of chemical processes, including the release of a toxin from your liver that attacks the amount of testosterone you have. A 2009 study published in Bonefound that frequent drinkers in the armed forces had significantly low testosterone levels, as well as high estrogen levels. This is important because estrogen lowers the amount of testosterone in the body, and yep, you guessed it, alcohol slows down your ability to process estrogen, allowing it to build up in your blood stream.

It causes dehydration and depletes your energy
Alcohol is also a diuretic: A substance that promotes the production of urine. This means that the kidneys have to work overtime in order to filter very large amounts of water in order to break down the alcohol you consume (through urine). And depending on how much you drink, this can actually lead to severe dehydration. While dehydrated, you’re at a greater risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries such as cramps, and muscle strains. Furthermore, your appetite will decrease, despite the fact that you still need to be consuming the same amount of food as before to fuel your body for training.

Once alcohol is absorbed through your stomach and small intestine and moves into your cells, the water balance in your body is disrupted. This makes the ability of your muscle cells to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that much harder. ATP is a fuel source that is crucial in helping your muscles contract. A reduction in your body’s ATP can result in a lack of energy and loss of endurance. In addition, water plays a crucial role in the muscle-building process, as muscles alone are 70 percent water. So even if you are just slightly dehydrated, your muscles will suffer for it.

It depletes the body of vitamins and minerals, if consumed in large amounts
We all need vitamins and minerals to keep our body healthy and functioning properly. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to all be drained at rapid rates. It’s essentially like taking one step forward and two steps back. Which is probably how you’d walk when tipsy, ironically enough.

It increases fat storage
Alcohol has about 7 calories per gram, meaning that you could be drinking a hefty meal on a night out without even realizing it. Unfortunately, your muscles are not able to use these calories for fuel, as instead of being converted to glycogen (a form of stored carbohydrate) your body treats alcohol as fat. As a result, alcohol consumption increases fat storage and can adversely affect your percentage of body fat.

Alcohol negatively impacts muscle recovery
After a strenuous workout, your muscles need time to recover and repair the tears in the muscle fibers. This is how your muscles grow and become stronger. One of the best ways to recover is through quality sleep, but because drinking alcohol negatively affects your sleep patterns, your body is robbed of a precious chemical called human growth hormone, or HGH, that is released during sleep. HGH is vital in the growth and repair of your muscles, but alcohol can decrease the secretion of HGH by as much as 70 percent! Unsurprisingly, the studies back this up. In 2012 a group of researches at Massey University in New Zealand published a series of studies showing that the consumption of alcohol post-exercises severely restricts an athlete’s ability to recover from delayed-onset muscle soreness.

But it’s not all bad news when it comes to booze!
In addition to its stress-relieving effects, certain types of alcohol contain beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. For example, red wine contains a chemical known as resveratrol that reduces your blood pressure, and consequently protects your cardiovascular system. Of course, one could get the same benefits from a host of healthy food options, but where’s the fun in that? The role of alcohol within your diet should not be underplayed, but I don’t think you should ignore it all together. Understand that it may be a reason you’re struggling to progress in your fitness goals, so cutting back is probably a wise decision. But at the same time remember that you only have one life so you should live it to the fullest! If that means having a nice brew once in a while then so be it.


Wednesday 151028

With a 4 minute running clock:
Run 400m
In remaining time, as many toes to bar as possible
Rest 1 minute

With a 4 minute running clock:
Run 400m
In remaining time, as many rope climbs as possible
Rest 1 minute

With a 4 minute running clock:
Run 400m
In remaining time, as many chest to bar pull-ups as possible
Rest 1 minute

With a 4 minute running clock:
Run 400m
In remaining time, as many ab mat sit-ups as possible

Post reps to comments and BTWB

Joe and Dan experiencing the joy that is max calories on the assault bikes.

Joe and Dan experiencing the joy that is max calories on the assault bikes.

5 Training Traps You Need To Avoid By William Imbo at BoxLife Magazine (click here for article)

We often write that training in CrossFit is a never-ending journey. You strive towards achieving your goals, but even when you meet them, you immediately set yourself new objectives for the future. There’s always more weight to be moved, more reps to be hit, you can always move faster and for longer. Fitness is a never-ending journey. But because it’s a journey, it’s easy for a traveller (or an athlete) to get snared in various pitfalls along the way that stop them in their tracks, send them down the wrong path or even make them regress in their fitness. As such, we must be wary of these common training traps that athletes fall into.

1) Jumping from program to program

Legendary powerlifter Ed Coan once said that his ‘program’ was called ‘getting stronger’, and that was the only program he ever followed. If the programming you’re following is getting you positive results, why change things? Keep doing what you’re doing! Of course, many CrossFitters will stick to the programming on offer at their box, and trust in its variance and effectiveness to help them reach their goals. However, many athletes take advantage of open gym hours and choose to follow different programs that are easily accessible online. And there are a plethora of programs out there: squat programs, gymnastics programs, Olympic Weightlifting programs, running programs, swimming programs—the list is endless. Now, sometimes having too many choices is a bad thing. Like a kid in a candy store, it’s easy to get distracted by all the programs that are available to you. Ideally, you’d identify one program that best suits your current objective. You have to give yourself—and the program—some time before you start seeing progress. If you get frustrated after one week of work and jump to a new program, then you’ll never break through a plateau. Similarly, if you are seeing improvements through following the program week on week, then why change anything? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Follow the program through to the conclusion (whether that’s the end date of the program or you reach your goal), then move on to a new objective and a new program (remember to keep your fitness balanced—don’t constantly follow squat programming!).

2) Setting yourself bad goals

When it comes to setting goals, we all know about the acronym S.M.A.R.T. This is in reference to good goals being specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If one of these elements is off, then you’re going to struggle to reach your goal. For example, a good goal should be grounded within a time frame—otherwise where’s the sense of urgency to complete it? Yes, some of the more complex movements of CrossFit may require longer deadlines—but you should still have a deadline. “Someday” is a word that should be stricken from your vocabulary. The best goals are the ones that keep you motivated and excited to train every day. You shouldn’t set yourself a goal just for the sake of having one—you’d never follow through with trying to achieve it! Nor should you set yourself one that is completely unrealistic. You may crave that muscle-up, but if you can only do pull-ups with a resistance band, is it smart to make the objective to get up on those rings? Of course not. Setting yourself a goal that is unrealistic will sap your desire to train (as it will take forever to get there) and put you in a bad mood. A more effective and enjoyable game plan would have you make the right jumps towards the over-arching objective. So instead of immediately trying to transition from pull-ups with bands to muscle-ups, first set yourself a goal of hitting one strict pull-up without a band. Then hitting pull-ups consistently. Then a bar muscle-up. And THEN a ring muscle-up. Each of these benchmarks builds upon the previous one, they are realistic attainable, and moving through them will make you happy as you know you’ll be en route to achieving the main objective.

3) Ignoring a gaping hole in your fitness

CrossFit’s definition of fitness is as follows: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Broad time and modal domains is an important part of that definition. Basically, we as CrossFitters want to be balanced across the board—we want to be able to move heavy weight quickly, and light weight for long periods. We want to be able to run for long distances, but be good sprinters as well. We want to be efficient gymnasts and great Olympic lifters. We want to be able to move well. Being too proficient in one area at the cost of being highly inefficient in another is to be avoided. If you spend all your time trying to move as much weight as possible, your cardiovascular endurance is going to suffer. Similarly, if you focus on long-distance running, the loads you’ll be able to move in the clean and snatch will be limited. Ignoring such blatant holes in your fitness is a cardinal sin. As an athlete, you should strive to have a good base level in all 10 skills of fitness (strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, agility, accuracy, coordination, speed, power and stamina). It’s a constant battle to try and raise your capabilities in all these areas simultaneously, but it’s better than being a one-trick pony. In addition, choosing to ignore your limiting factor—that element of a particular movement which gives you the most problems—can be just as damaging. Let’s say that you have excellent strength, but you are lacking in your level of mobility, and you are well aware of it. That’s good, but you need to go deeper in your analysis. Is your shoulder mobility the problem, or is it your hips? Perhaps it’s neither, and the real limiting factor is the strength and mobility you have in your ankles. The amount of dorsiflexion you have in your ankle is directly linked to your efficiency in performing the squat, but you may have never considered it to be your true limiting factor. You need to take the time to go beyond that initial assessment of, “Yep, I have bad mobility in the squat” to realize that that’s the case. Otherwise, you’ll be spending countless hours of mobility work trying to tackle multiple areas when there is one pressing area that needs your attention. Fixing a weakness in one area will invariably lead to success in another, because success in CrossFit is founded on the principle of balance in multiple areas.

4) Trying to mimic elite athletes online

Those of us who follow Games-caliber athletes on social media will often see them post videos of their ridiculous feats—such as doing muscle-ups with a weight vest and med ball, or completing X rounds of a monster workout in no time at all. While we can get great tips from following these coaches and athletes online, we have to remember that for the most part, their experience in CrossFit is completely different to what you and I are going through. The programs they are following are specifically designed for them to get to the Games and are tailored to improve their weaknesses. The volume and loads these athletes use is far higher than anything we will see, and they have to perform high-level skill movements and often work with odd objects. In short, it would be unwise to attempt to replicate the training regimen of the elite athletes. Stick to the program that work for you as they are better suited to help you achieve your goals.

5) Ignoring the intangibles (rest, diet, mobility and active recovery)

You must be bored of hearing it, but that’s only because you know how important these elements (rest, diet, mobility and active recovery) are to your fitness. It can be so easy to leave the gym straight after a workout without spending time on your mobility. You might get away with it here and there, but eventually your muscles are going to become so tight that your efficiency of movement is going to start spiraling downwards. Make no mistake, your mobility is integral to how much weight you can move, how quickly you can move it and how often you can move it. Don’t think your workout is over once the clock hits 0:00. Equally criminal (perhaps more so) is not placing high value on your nutrition. What you put in your body has a huge impact on how you perform in CrossFit, so why would you intentionally sabotage yourself by eating crap, not eating enough or eating too much? We’re not saying that you have to go on a diet immediately, but find a meal regimen that works for you (which includes a cheat day here and there—we’re not monsters) and stick to it. Lastly, don’t make the mistake of training all day every day. That’s a sure-fire way to get burnt out and injure yourself. You may feel like it’s the best way to improve, but your body needs rest and recovery days so that it can heal from the high-stress, high-impact work it goes through in a typical CrossFit workout. These are the days when the muscles actually repair themselves and get stronger, so choosing not to rest is a massive trap to avoid.