Friday 150814

For time:
Run 1,600m
Row 2,000m
Run 1,200m
Row 1,500m
Run 800m
Row 1,000m
Run 400m
Row 500m
Compare to 130605

Post time to comments or BTW


This rag tag group of Ververs just completed this cycle of Hot Dogs and Cupcakes and will be enjoying a deload week before the next Olympic lifting cycle starts!! More details to come!

This rag tag group of Ververs just completed this cycle of Hot Dogs and Cupcakes and will be enjoying a deload week before the next Olympic lifting cycle starts!! More details to come!

VERVE OUTING – STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING – August 30th from 8am – 10am

We got a GREAT response for the upcoming SUP outing @ the Evergreen Lakehouse; 45 people signed up!!  Here are some important details if you signed up or if you missed the sign up sheet and would like to see if there is a plan B.  PLEASE NOTE: If you just want to come and hang out and not get on a board, you are more than welcome.

PAYMENT – The cost is $10 per person, but Verve will be covering half of that, so you owe $5.  Payment must be made IN CASH no later than Wednesday, August 19th by 5pm.  You can give your money to a trainer in the office and they will mark you off of the list.  IMPORTANT: If we do not receive your payment by the aforementioned deadline, we will open up each unpaid space to another interested member.

THE BOARD – Your $5 fee will cover the rental of one of their 20 paddleboards and a life jacket.  Being as how we have 45 people signed up and only 20 boards, 2 things:
     #1 – If you don’t have your own board, we will be setting some times so everyone gets a chance to get on a board. We will also have some fun activities to do while you are waiting for a board!
    #2 – If you have your own board and life jacket, you can bring them and will only need to bring $4.  You MUST have a life jacket, so if you don’t have one it is an additional $5 to rent one.

GETTING THERE – Sound out in the comments if you are interested in car pooling.  According to Mapquest, it will take approx. 40 minutes to get there – ANTICIPATE TRAFFIC!  Here is the physical address for you to plug into your navi system:
        Evergreen Lakehouse
        29612 Upper Bear Creek Road
        Evergreen, CO 80439

Bathing suit – preferably one that won’t fall off in the water! (Nate and Clancy, they have outlawed speedos at that lake so you are SOL)
Bloody Mary’s (we won’t judge)
Flip Flops or shoes of some sort

DON’T FORGETSaturday, August 29th Amy S. and the Rino Beach Club are hosting a GYM TAN BEACH party.  There will be a fun WOD on the beach beforehand followed by a party containing a whole lot of fit people!  There is a cover charge of $5, but all of that will be going to the EVERYDAY WARRIOR Foundation.


Thursday 150813

Squat clean

Then, 3 rounds for quality:
3 High hang squat clean @ 50% of 1RM
6 Box jumps, 24″(30″)
Rest 2 minutes

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Saturday's guest coach, Trevor.

Saturday’s guest coach, Trevor.


Do not be scared by the heavy artillery, this is Trevor Gibson and he will be our guest trainer this Saturday. Trevor is a trainer at CrossFit Roots in Boulder, CO. He has been kind enough to agree to stop by for Saturday’s classes and lead the charge. Now, so you don’t think we would let just anybody come to Verve and coach you guys, here’s a little bit about Trevor:

Trevor has been at CrossFit Roots since 2013. His background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara U, four years active duty as a Marine Officer, a Masters in Education from Stanford U, and three-years teaching math at a public school, Summit Preparatory Charter HS. During his time as a teacher, he led his students to the school’s highest Algebra 2 testing scores in its history and started a CrossFit club for students. Trevor’s official CrossFit qualifications include CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course, CrossFit Kids Course, Coaches Prep Course, and Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3). And on the weekends Trevor travels around the world working for CrossFit Headquarters as part of the CrossFit Kids staff.

So basically, the dude is legit. Now that we’ve made it officially awkward for Trevor to walk in to Verve on Saturday and have you know all about him without him having ever met you, be sure to introduce yourselves and give him a warm Verve welcome. Something I know you would do whether or not I even mentioned it here, cause that’s how legit Verve members are. 

Talk about Verve members being legit, there is a pretty cool opportunity for you all to showcase it. Starting the week of September 8th, CrossFit will begin it’s second year of the CrossFit Team Series. It is an opportunity to have some competitive fun in the off season. Teams are made up of 2 men and 2 women. ANY 2 men and 2 women. During the first week CrossFit will announce several workouts, that much like the Open, will have to be completed and scores submitted within that week. The second week of the event will take place October 6th-12th, with another series of workouts announced and another week to complete them. 

Last year the 4 full time trainers made up Team AC/EC. This year we are coming back with a vengeance, with a slight roster/ team name change. Courtney, Anna, Nate, and Eric are getting signed up to throw down, all you need to do is find 3 friends and throw down with us. We will schedule some times throughout those weeks to get any registered teams together for some fun/ friendly competition. Click here for all the extra information you may seek, including who can be on the team, as well as understanding RX division vs. scaled division. 

Registration starts August 18th, mark your calendars. 

**Also mark your calendar that this Saturday open gym has been cancelled. However, we have added an open gym time on Sunday from 11am-12:30. These changes are for this week only. Don’t try hanging around on Saturday after the 12pm class hoping no one will notice. :)

Wednesday 150812

For time:
10 Kettlebell swings, 24kg(16kg)
10 Kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull, 24kg(16kg)
1 Rope climb
9 Kettlebell swings, 24kg(16kg)
9 Kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull, 24kg(16kg)
1 Rope climb
8 Kettlebell swings, 24kg(16kg)
8 Kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull, 24kg(16kg)
1 Rope climb. . . .
– – – –
1 Kettlebell swings, 24kg(16kg)
1 Kettlebell sumo deadlift high pull, 24kg(16kg)
1 Rope climb

Post times to comments and BTWB

A warm-up made of fast feet drills.

A warm-up made of fast feet drills.


 **We have some changes to the schedule this weekend.**
-We will have a guest trainer coaching the Saturday classes. Trevor will be traveling down from CrossFit Roots in Boulder to lead classes. We are grateful he is helping us out while all the Verve trainers travel to Winter Park this weekend.

-Open gym will be cancelled on Saturday. There will only be the 9am, 10am, and 11am classes. 

-We are having an open gym on Sunday instead, from 11am-12:30pm. 

How to be one with the rope. Kinda, sorta By Courtney Shepherd, but mostly By Duane Waits of WOD Talk

Who’s got two thumbs and wants double unders? Everyone. If you already have double unders, we get it, you’re cool. . . but not as cool as Trevor Norris who holds the world record for double unders in 1 minute at 169. So let’s just say we all have room to improve. . . unless we are Trevor Norris.

Some of you have heard me mention in class the importance of being able to control your rope, go from single to double and back to single. Learning to control your rope is one of several steps described by Duane Waits in his article “Double Under Jump Rope Training – Success in 5 Easy Steps”. So see, sometimes I know what I’m talking about. While he does not mention this in his article, I think it’s also important, if you truly want to get double unders or get better at the double unders you have, to get your own rope. It’s not my goal to send anyone out into the world and drop a ton of money on all kinds of CrossFit goodies but I think everyone can benefit from dropping $20-$30 on their own jump rope. Once the rope is fitted to the person, it makes it that much easier to work consistently on double unders. And consistent practice is the name of the game when double unders are concerned. Be Tea Dubs, when you make said purchase. . . please for the love of all that is holy, put your name on it!! In a crazy scheme to make money, Rogue/ JumpNRope/ RX Rope, all made more than 1 jump rope.

Here are all of the tips recommended for training the double under:

1) Choose a Rope

This is the most important element in this exercise. Ropes come in many different colors, lengths, weights, materials, and levels of thickness. I recommend a thinner or slightly weighted rope to facilitate a quicker moving rope. This skill is about speed and control. The rope needs to be at a length that is comfortable for you.

The jump rope handles should go past your waist about 3 – 6 inches when you stand on the rope with both feet about shoulder width apart. You will be able to compensate for the length by moving your arms closer or further away from your body when you start jumping.

2) Learn to control the Jump Rope

This is key because you have to learn to jump the rope and not let the rope jump you. Develop a fast-moving rope with single unders, and with practice you will develop the ability to speed the rope up and slow it down. If you can get control of the rope, controlling your jump becomes easy. Naturally, regardless of your level of coordination you should feel your timing becoming better and better to where it becomes muscle memory.

3) Attempt your first Double Under

Once you have adequate control of the rope, where you can actively control the speed of the rope without stopping, then you are ready to attempt your first double under. Take 3 – 5 single jumps first then with a quick strong wiping motion of your wrist, speed the rope up and jump about 2 – 3 inches higher to have enough clearance as the rope goes under your feet 2 times. Your jump should be as relaxed as possible. If you find yourself expending a large amount of energy to successfully execute one double under, then some more fine tuning needs to take place. Efficiency in movement is the key to your success.

4) Develop a Rhythm

Once you can execute one double under successfully it is time to start stringing 5 – 10 – 15 jumps together in a row. Start developing your natural jump rope rhythm. For example, use a rhythm of 3 single jumps to every 1 double under. Doing so will allow you to reset mentally as you prepare for the next attempt. Experiment with a few different jumping patterns and as you continue to practice, as you get better start taking away the single jumps until you are only doing the double unders.

5) Adjust and Refine to develop consistency

Based on your coordination level developing the double under jump rope skill will vary. The key is to continue to make small adjustments as you continue to practice. Just like learning to ride a bike or drive a car you must develop a feel for the double under jump rope skill. A comfortable, controlled and relaxed jump is what you are searching for. Once your skill level improves experiment with different speeds by slowing the rope down and speeding the rope up. Remember the better you can control the rope the easier it is to jump the rope. Practice until it becomes muscle memory. When you can make 20 in a row look easy you have made it to the top of the double under mountain.

Troubleshooting: 4 common problems addressed
1) I have trouble controlling the rope.

Try using more wrist and less arms. Try adjusting your grip on the handles (i.e. move hands closer to the rope). Try extending your arms out further from your body. Try a rope made out of a different material. Experiment with different rope lengths.

2) The rope keeps hitting the front of my toes when I try to jump.

Try raising your knees higher when you jump until you get better control of the rope speed. Try raising your toes up as you jump.

3) When I attempt a double under I land hard and start falling backward.

Try jumping higher using mostly ankles and your calf muscles. Lean slightly forward as you jump to counter act your tendency to fall backward.

4) I can only get about 3 – 5 in a row before I mess up, what is my problem?

You must relax and increase your concentration level. We are not perfect beings so you must pay close attention and continually making small (micro) adjustments to keep your rhythm steady. Your mind and body must be in sync in order to roll off 50 – 75 double unders in a row.

Click here for full article.

Tuesday 150811

For time:
1,000m Row
50 Thrusters, 45#(35#)
30 Pull-ups

Post time to BTWB

A good old fashioned Verve faceoff!

A good old fashioned Verve faceoff!

Why Benchmarks?

We use our workouts as one of many markers of fitness. Along with your resting heart rate, triglycerides, cholesterol, body fat %, blood pressure,… workouts like “Fran” and “Jackie” are an excellent measure of your current fitness. Why, you ask? Because “Fran” requires a very specific amount of work to be completed; forty five repetitions of thrusters with 95#/65# and forty five repetitions of pull-ups to be completed as quickly as possible.  Jackie uses monstructural, weightlifting, and gymnastics, and provides a great test of fitness that encompasses all the major modalities we use in CrossFit.  

The load, distance, and time are used to measure your power output, which equates to a measurable, observable, and repeatable outcome. This workout can be completed again and again over the years and your results act as a marker of your current fitness. For this reason, we use benchmark workouts like the CrossFit Total, “Cindy”, “Jackie”, “Helen”, and even run/row 5k to indicate changes in your fitness – for better or worse. 

Many of you might be doing today’s workout, “Jackie” for the first time.  Well here’s what you should do, make sure you write your time down.  Be sure to note if you used modifications or scales for any of the movements.  The idea is that when we retest this in the coming months, and we will, you will have actual data that suggest that you’re overall fitness levels are changing.  You’ll be able to look back through your journals or search on any of the apps you use for tracking and see what you did previously and compare it moving forward.  

This goes for all the workouts we do as well.  Be sure and write down, record via BTWB, or if you have an amazing memory simply remember what time you got or how much weight you lifted.  We record all this data so we can look back and see how far we’ve come and the changes we’ve made during our CrossFit journey.   

Monday 150810

Split jerk

Then, every 2 minutes on the 2 minutes x 5 rounds:
3 Split jerks, after 3rd rep return bar to back rack, and hold for stationary barbell lunge x 12 reps total @ 40% of 1RM

Post weight to BTWB

This isn't the exact trail we'll be taking at Winter Park but it gives you an idea of how fun the O2X race is going to be.

This isn’t the exact trail we’ll be taking at Winter Park but it gives you an idea of how fun the O2X race is going to be.

5 P.M. Specialty Hour Update and O2X Summit Race schedule

This coming week is the final week of the strength cycle of Hot Dogs and Cupcakes.  After this week we are recommending a de-load week for anyone that  has been following HD&CC strictly for the past 2 cycles.  This means that whatever you do it should be light.  If you choose to join some WOD’s during your deload week consider cutting the weight, reps, or time involved in the workouts.  The idea is to let your body recover but still put it through some full range of motion work.  Consider body weight movements as a substitute and if you have any questions be sure and ask any of the trainers for suggestions.  

There will be specialty classes at 5 pm during the de-load week, week of Aug 17.  We will have some programming to follow for a de-load program. The following week, starting on Monday the 24th, we will be starting a new weightlifting class at 5 pm, Mon, Tues, and Thursday.  It will be a 4 week cycle and there will be a heavy Olympic lifting focus, but also a lot of squatting as well.  There will be accessory work as well that may or may not be homework depending on time.  As with all the specialty classes, teaching will be limited due to time, as our focus will be on correcting movement.  Please join classes if you have a solid understanding of the Olympic lifts.  If you are unsure as to whether or not you should join, please see one of the trainers for their recommendation.

O2X Summit Race Updates and Race Day Schedule

The O2X Summit Race at Winter Park is this coming weekend.  Most of the trainers will be up at Winter Park participating in the race as well as many of your fellow members.  The race kicks off Saturday morning.  If you want to participate and have not registered, please sign up on the sheet at the front of the gym and we will email you details on how to register.  Here is a schedule of events for the day of the race.  

Saturday August  15th
7:15am – Packet Pickup available
7:30am – Breakfast served – Coffee & Tea Company
8:30am – Pre-race stretch, yoga, music
9:25am – National Anthem
12:00pm – Kid’s Race (Day-of registration ONLY for Kid’s Race)
1:00pm – Awards Ceremony

Should be a great day at an amazing location.  Look forward to seeing everyone during and after the race. 


Sunday 150809

For time:
30 Toes to bar
60 Double unders
30 Ab-mat sit-ups
20 Toes to bar
40 Double unders
20 Ab-mat sit-ups
10 Toes to bar
20 Double unders
10 Ab-mat sit-ups

Post time to comments or BTWB

Adam working hard on the deadlift work!  That just may be double bodyweight.

Adam working hard on the deadlift work! That just may be double bodyweight.


Next weekend is the first Broncos preseason game and we need to start building our arsenal of healthy pre-game snacks. 

BAKED BROCCOLI TATOR TOTS – view the whole recipe here

  • 2 cups or 12 ounces uncooked or frozen broccoli
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup cheddar cheese
  • ⅓ cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley ( or cilantro, rosemary,
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet with a thin layer of oil or line with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute then remove and shock with cold tap water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
  3. Chop broccoli finely (or stick it in your food processor) and mix throughly with the egg, onions, cheddar, breadcrumbs, and seasoning. Scoop about 1.5 tablespoons of mix using a ice-cream scoop or your hands and gently press between your hands into a firm ball then shape into a tater-tot shape. It helps to wash your hands after every few tots to keep them from sticking onto your hands. Next, Place on your prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden brown and crispy, 18-24 minutes, turning half way. Remove from the oven and enjoy hot with ketchup, sriracha, ranch dressing, or your favorite dipping sauce!

34 Calories per serving (tot)
Fat – 1g
Cho – 3g
Pro – 2g

-Yoga is at 11am on Sunday so you can sleep in and still get your mobility on!

Saturday 150808

“31 Heroes”
As many rounds as possible in 31 minutes of:
8 Thursters, 155#(105#)
6 Rope climbs, 15′
11 Box jumps, 30″(24″)

This is a partner workout. Partner #1 will begin the AMRAP while partner #2 runs 400m w/ weight, 45#(25#). When partner #2 gets back, they will tag out partner #1. Partner #2 continues working on the AMRAP where #1 left off and partner #1 goes for a 400m run w/ weight.

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

Laura and Ali working on their pulling power.

Laura and Ali working on their pulling power.


**Verve is hosting the 31 Heroes WOD today!! We have 2 class times, 9am & 10:30am. Please sign up on MBO to get a spot, this includes non Verve members. We would like to have a head count to prepare. All are welcome, we can scale for those who are new to CrossFit. We will not be charging a drop in fee but rather we ask that you go to and donate instead. Registering on their website is different from reserving a class spot on MBO. At the 31 Heroes website you can register and receive a t-shirt. If you are unable to get registered at 31 Heroes, we will also accept donations at Verve. The WOD is a partner WOD, bring a buddy, or be prepared to get paired up when you get to the gym, no one WODs alone!! For the 31 Heroes website, click here.

Saturday August 15th– The O2X Summit Challenge in Winter Park. The sign up sheet is at the front desk @ Verve.

Sunday August 30th– Stand up paddle boarding outing from 8am-10am in Evergreen. 

Saturday August 29th & Sunday August 30th– Verve is hosting the CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Course. Changes to the schedule will be made and announced as the seminar gets closer. Aside from 1 morning class, however, Verve will be closed the rest of the day. You can still get signed up for the seminar if you are interested, for more info click here.

Saturday September 5th & Sunday September 6th– Verve is hosting a Level 1 Trainer Course. Changes to the schedule will be made and announced as the seminar gets closer. Aside from 1 morning class, however, Verve will be closed the rest of the day. You can still get signed up for the seminar if you are interested, for more info click here.

Friday 150807

10 Rounds for time:
10 Calorie row
10 Overhead jumping lunges, 35#(25#)
100 Meter sprint
Rest 1 minute

Post load to comment or BTWB

TENNIS ELBOW VS. GOLFERS ELBOW: What is the difference and what to do about it – Anna Mattson

If you watched the video above, you now know the difference.  To relate it to CrossFit, Tennis Elbow can come from a lot of twisting of the wrists, loaded or unloaded, during movements such as muscle-ups, ring dips, and push-ups.  Golfers Elbow comes from the constant flexing of the wrist or gripping of objects including Olympic Lifts/pull-ups/deadlifts/Bicep curls……because we do so many of those.

What do you do if you have Tennis Elbow?  Here are some great exercises to help heal and strengthen those extensors.

What do you do if you have Golfers Elbow? I would like to show 2 videos for this ailment as both contain great exercises.

*When he says “golf” insert CrossFit*

 I am hoping you find some usefulness from these videos.  If your pain is persisting, please seek the guidance of a physical therapist.  Other recommendations are rest and icing sessions.


31Heroes WOD is tomorrow. There are only 2 class times but the class sizes have been increased.  You can go to this link to make a donation or we will have computers ready at the gym for you to make a donation.
-If you are bringing a friend, please come in 5 – 10 minutes early so we can have them sign a waiver.-If you have a preferred weight you would like to carry during the run such as body armour or a weight vest, please feel free to bring it.  We will be utilizing weight plates for the run portion unless you bring your own apparatus.

Thursday 150806


*These deadlifts will be performed with a controlled return and a brief hand release on the ground to let the bar “die” before lifting again.

Post loads to comments and BTWB

"Excuse me sir, your balls are showing. Bumble bee tuna. " That is all I see when I look at this picture of Ben and Zink going for their heavy weighted pull-ups.*

“Excuse me sir, your balls are showing. Bumble bee tuna. ” That is all I see when I look at this picture of Ben and Zink going for their heavy weighted pull-ups.*


*The first person to comment to this post with the correct name of the movie that quote comes from will get a free can of Kill Cliff from me.

In a fight between Technique and Intensity, who would win? By Courtney “I feel the need for speed” Shepherd

Haha, fool you. It’s a trick question. In CrossFit we don’t want it to be Technique vs. Intensity, we want it to a happy blended family of Technique AND Intensity. We want to have a nice medium between them both, where neither of them wins completely. We can’t have either of them be the Ronda Rousey, or dominating factor, in our workout.

CrossFit defines technique as the successful completion of a functional movement, it does not need to be done perfectly, however. The goal is to work to perfect our technique over time. Intensity is what gets us our results, intensity is what gets us more fit, and is our increase in work capacity. When we blend the two together, we get improved technique that overall lends way to increased intensity, which equals our progress in the sport of CrossFit. We blend these two concepts together through something called threshold training.

To really explain threshold training let’s look at 3 different athletes performing the same workout. The workout will be “Isabel”, 30 snatches for time. All 3 athletes will be using the same weight of 95#.  Athlete number 1 picks up the bar and just gets crazy. This athlete does not set up properly, they heave the bar over their head, and just let it drop to the ground, bouncing all over the place. For the first few reps they have a wide snatch grip but as the reps go on the athlete is just putting their hands anywhere and everywhere, by rep 30 the movement does not really look much like a snatch. Plus the athlete has managed to make their way across the room chasing their barbell, they finish the workout in 3 minutes. Athlete number 2 approaches the bar, sets their grip, takes a deep breath, and executes a beautiful snatch. It appears seamless as they guide it to the ground. Athlete number 2 does this for reps 1-30, each one looking exactly like the rest, like something out of an instructional video on how to do the snatch. They also finish the workout in 3 minutes. Athlete number 3 approaches the bar, sets up, and begins executing seamless looking snatches, reps 1-12 look easy. The athlete begins to move faster and suddenly they don’t quite set their back right, their hips shoot straight to the sky, and as they receive the bar, they take a few steps to steady it over head. This kind of break down in form happens for a few reps until the athlete slows down, focuses on getting set again, then proceeds with more technically sound looking snatches. . . until the last few, when this athletes again begins to speed up to finish this workout, and form breaks down. This athlete also finishes the workout in 3 minutes. So the question becomes, who is doing this workout right? Who is getting their best blend of technique and intensity, and therefore getting the greatest results from the workout?

Athlete 1 is all intensity. They are like the Tasmanian Devil, throwing all caution to the wind and just going. Unfortunately training this way has limits, some of which may include injury. Athlete 2 is all technique. They aren’t pushing themselves to move faster, work harder, or get uncomfortable. This type of athlete will never really know how to push themselves, how to see the limits of their abilities because they never get to them. Athlete 3 is right on the money. They are the love child of technique and intensity. They push themselves, adding intensity, until that intensity affects their efficiency. This break down forces them to slow down, regain it, and hopefully begin to speed back up again. That is threshold training, constantly riding the fine line between efficient technique and the loss of it, over time pushing that line farther and farther out, allowing us to increase our overall intensity. 

In short, don’t want to do bad movement fast. Do a movement well, then speed up with the goal being to do good movement fast. Working with too much intensity equals an overall drop in our technique. Working to be too perfect equals a loss in intensity. We need them both. 

*Remember the 31 Heroes WOD is this Saturday. All are welcome but please sign up in MBO to reserve a spot, this includes non Verve members. For more information about the event, click here.

Wednesday 150805

As many reps as possible, of an ascending ladder, in 12 minutes of:
1 Hang power snatch, 95#(65#)
1 Overhead squat, 95#(65#)
1 Burpee over the bar
2 Hang power snatch, 95#(65#)
2 Overhead sqaut, 95#(65#)
2 Burpees over the bar
3 Hang power snatch, 95#(65#)
3 Overhead squat, 95#(65#)
3 Burpees over the bar. . . .

Post reps to comments and BTWB

T Swizzle knows where it's at.

T Swizzle knows where it’s at.


Do you want to do the WOD RX or do you want to get fitter? By Courtney “the Taylor Swift of blog post writing” Shepherd

Taylor Swift is known for once saying, “If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”

So why would I even dare to compare myself to the lyrical genius that is T Swift? Because if you are working out at Verve and something is happening that, as a coach, I think might need to be addressed, there’s a good chance I’m going to write a blog post about it. There is also the chance you may not like reading it. But that’s how I operate.

Today I want to address the simple question of, do you want to do the WOD RX or do you want to get fitter*? (*I know the word “fitter” is not grammatically correct. Just go with me on it for a sec.) I’m certain in all of our minds the answer is “yes” because we want both, but unfortunately doing a workout as prescribed is not always the road to getting fitter. In fact, it could actually be what is holding some of us back from ever really progressing. To best illustrate my point I need to throw a numbers bomb at you. I am going to take the numbers from a recent workout at Verve. Here is my real world scenario/ Taylor Swift like moment that I want to lay disclaimer to, there are some athletes out there that my example may hit close to home. However, while I am using this as an example, I am not trying to make an example of anyone, and I hope you will see the difference. Every person who has entered a CrossFit gym and done a WOD, has bitten off more than they can chew. . . probably more than once. I just want us to see why making a habit of doing so, is not doing us any favors.

Here’s the WOD to be discussed:
20 Minutes as many rounds as possible of:
5 Muscle ups
50 Double unders
10 Handstand push ups
Run 100 Meters

There were several “RXs” throughout the day with scores ranging from 3 rounds to 7 rounds. Alright, it’s number crunching time. For the athlete that did 3 rounds that’s 15 muscle-ups, 150 double unders, 30 handstand push-ups, and 300m run. We can easily double those numbers for an athlete that finished 6 rounds. I will start by saying the design and intent of this workout was to get around 5 rounds. So for anyone that got less than 5 rounds I would start by asking, where did you get stuck? Let’s say an athlete is not super efficient at muscle-ups. They have them, consistently, but in single reps only, they are not yet able to link muscle ups. So at the start of every round, it takes this athlete around 3 minutes to chip away at 5 single muscle-ups, a movement that if done unbroken would take :15-:20. That kind of time adds up.

My next question comes after the first round, when we saw the time adding up, why didn’t we change something? Because our goal was to do the workout RX. But. . . . if perhaps our goal was to come to Verve, do an intense workout, and walk away with more fitness out of the deal, what would that workout look like? It would look like doing 3 muscle-ups/ round and getting 5 rounds. Because, after doing some number crunching, that still gives me 15 total muscle-ups, but it also gives me 250 double unders, 50 handstand push-ups, and 500m run. So next week when a workout comes up with somewhere between 200-300 double unders in it, the appropriately scaled, “5 rounds athlete” will be ready, they’ve built a capacity for that number of double unders. The “3 rounds of RX athlete” might end up stuck breaking down somewhere around 150 doubles unders because they have not built a capacity to do more work than that. If I’m really crunching numbers, 5-7 rounds of that workout is genuinely working out for 20 minutes. 3 rounds seems more like working out for 10 minutes with 10 minutes of rest. So what happens to me if I’m trying to build a capacity of stamina and endurance in a 20 minute workout. I simply don’t, and the next 20 minute workout that comes along, even if it has every movement I’m really good at and I can RX that one too. . . it will probably look similar in output, half the intended work. 

I’m with you on the idea that doing workouts RX is pretty cool. That’s why we make it part of our goals and we celebrate it as accomplishments. However, I would encourage a bit of a change in mindset. If we change our goals to being fitter, to doing a workout with the intended stimulus and intensity, if we push ourselves to keep moving and take less breaks, we may find that our level of fitness has risen to a point where doing a WOD RX just happens. If all we do is come into the gym and say to ourselves ” I can do all of this. It might take me a while, I might be pretty slow, or it might be pretty ugly, but I can do it. And I can get my RX.” I hope you all can see that this may be a recipe for not getting better at CrossFit but rather getting better at staring at a bar and resting, or staring at a set of rings and resting. Simply put, not progressing any farther than where I currently am, which is 3 rounds of RX. So my final question is, is that good enough for you? 

My final thoughts on the matter are this: you can always go lighter, do a few less reps, and get done way faster than everyone else AND that would be a better outcome, in my opinion, than doing the heavier weight, all the reps, and taking twice as long to finish the WOD. Why? Because the former option keeps you moving, it builds stamina and endurance. The former can build speed and a capacity for time under tension. The latter builds a puddle of sweat and a time of completion. 

As I said earlier, every single CrossFitter is guilty of overestimating their abilities or underestimating a workout or both. Doing so does not make us bad people, it doesn’t make us guilty of CrossFit heresy. But if we keep doing it over and over and either don’t learn from the experience or don’t care to learn from the experience, we can’t be shocked if 2 years down the road of our CrossFit journey, we are still a 3 rounds of RX kind of athlete.