Wednesday 150909

Death by power snatch, 115#(75#)

Minute 1 perform 1 power snatch
Minute 2 perform 2 power snatch
Minute 3 perform 3 power snatch

Once round can’t be finished, rest 2 minutes

Then, every minute on the minute x 5 minutes:
3 Power snatch @ 90% of # used in workout

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Erin getting after some overhead squats.

Erin getting after some overhead squats.


Are we are going to talk about Cortisol again? Yes. Yes we are. By Courtney “I like hormones, hormones are my favorite” Shepherd and several online articles to be named later

Last week I informed the diligent readers of the CrossFit Verve blog what cortisol is. To recap it’s a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, most notably in response to stress. That could be long term stress, like with school or a job, or acute stress, such as an argument or a workout. There are consequences to having chronically elevated or chronically low levels of cortisol in our system. Which I would mention but will instead have you click here, referring you to last week’s blog, so as not to fully re-blog myself.

The week before last I mentioned a need to cool down after workouts. I would now like to take information provided from 2 weeks ago plus information from last week, and bring them together in a big symbiotic blog post about how cooling down can reduce cortisol levels and help you get the gains you seek. Say what? Yeah, you heard it here first folks, cooling down helps you get stronger.

Exercise is a great way to manage and balance stress. Working out actually produces a healthy stress response by naturally stressing the body. Cortisol output increases, the heart rate increases, we sweat, and breathe harder. Cooling down after a workout decreases the cortisol response and teaches the body how to adjust it’s cortisol output as necessary, avoiding constant highs and constant lows. Cortisol is not the only hormone involved in the whole cool down/ gains cycle of life. Cortisol and testosterone are closely connected in men and women, although testosterone tends to be associated with men only. When cortisol levels rise, testosterone levels decrease. This a concern for athletes in training because testosterone helps build muscle, and cortisol actually breaks it down.

When the body is stressed and cortisol is produced, the production of testosterone is reduced. Following brief burst of stress, when we return to a normal state, so do our hormone levels, cortisol decreases and testosterone rises. In cases when stress cannot be reduced and cortisol levels remain high with testosterone remaining low, there can be several health effects including decreased sex drive, mood disorders, and the loss of muscle mass and tone.

What does cooling down have to do with any of this? Following a workout, when we allow our bodies to cool down and follow it up with static stretches, we increase the rate of bringing ourselves to a normal, steady state. The quicker we get to our normal state, the quicker our hormone levels normal out as well. Our hormones normalizing means our level of testosterone returns to it’s higher state. This higher level of testosterone is what helps us maintain/ build muscle mass.

I know it’s hard, timing wise, for some of you to get in a nice cool down and stretch session post workout. Sometimes our workouts run to the very end of class and some of you have to get out the door and back to work. My point is that making a habit of putting away our stuff, grabbing our jackets, and running to the car could be at a detriment to our progress. Attempting to take 5-10 minutes to let your heart rate come down, your breathing get back to normal, and your core temperature cool down, while performing some static stretches, can not only keep your muscles and joints healthy, but get you to gainzville sooner.

So post WOD walk it off, shake it out, and do a little stretchy stretchy.

*Info in this post come from:
Balancing Cortisol Levels & Avoiding Adrenal Fatigue
What is the Connection Between Cortisol and Testosterone?

Tuesday 150908

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
20 Wall balls 20#(14#)
15 Toes to bar
10 Box Jumps 24″(20″)

Post rounds to BTWB

Scotty getting down and dirty during burpee practice in yesterday's WOD.

Scotty getting down and dirty during burpee practice in yesterday’s WOD.

We talk about the importance of recovery all the time.  In order to make gains you need to make sure you are recovering.  Many different elements are involved in making sure you’re recovery is as good as it can be including sleep, diet, rest days, mobilizing, and elements involved in mental rest and recovery.

Along the lines of diet, there are foods that can help us with recovery and help us to reduce muscle soreness.  The Poliquin Group posted an article, Top Ten Foods To Reduce Muscle Soreness & Speed Recovery After A Tough Workout.  Here are a few of the recommended food items in the article, but click the before mentioned title to read the entire article.

Blueberries, Tart Cherries and other dark colored fruits to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.   These dark colored fruits have potent nutrients that help flush out waste produces we develop during training.  Tart cherries help increase melatonin in the body which aids in sleep.  If you do choose to go the dark colored fruit route to aid in recovery and you drink a protein shake after working out, make sure you wait at least an hour after consuming your protein shake to eat fruits.  The protein can inhibit antioxidant activity in the body.

Drink water.  Recovery doesn’t have to be super complex.  This probably goes without saying, but drink water throughout the day, not just after a workout.  Water is critical for body temperature regulation as well as muscle and heart function.  Decrease hydration by only 2 percent and you’ll see a decrease in strength and athletic performance.

Eat eggs to help speed up tissue repair.  Eggs are the second highest natural source of Leucine which is an important amino acid for building muscle.  Eggs can help enhance energy production, stimulate protein synthesis, and aid in recovery from intense training.  Plus they are delicious and go great anytime of the day.  Breakfast at night is the best and whoever doesn’t agree is just plain crazy.

There are plenty of other great tips in the article so click through and give whole thing a read.  If you have any tips that might be useful or you’ve used to help recovery, let’s hear about them in the comments section.

Monday 150907

For time:
30 Handstand push-ups
40 Pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings 24kg(16kg)
60 Ab mat sit-ups
70 Burpees

Post time to BTWB

The CrossFit Team Series starts this week.  If you’re interested in putting together a team, you have until Sept 8th to register your team.  Big time athletes partner up to for this Team series.  Check out the video above for some more information and ask a trainer if you have any questions.  If you would like to compete but don’t have a team, use the comments section and perhaps we can help.

Reminder that we are having an abridged schedule today.  We will still have two open gym sessions for those of you that want to come in and do your own thing or make sure you are able to do Verve Weightlifting for today.

Here are the classes we have available today:

10:00 Open Gym
1:30 Open Gym
Close at 3:00


Sunday 150906

For time:
Sumo deadift high pull 75#(55#)
Ring dips

Post time to comments or BTWB

You want some dressing for your salad??

You want some dressing for your salad??

End of summer.. YES.  End of healthy salads…. HECK NO!
Just because summer is drawing to an end, doesn’t mean our delicious green-eating comes to a halt as well.  Here is a great recipe for a dressing to add to the top of your greens. See the whole recipe here


  • 1 medium red ripe tomato
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot

Chop tomato in food processor. Add crushed garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, water, dijon mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times until smooth.  Add chopped shallot and mix well. Set aside a few hours to allow the flavors to blend well.

Nutrition Information:
Serving size: 2tbsp. (8 serving yield)
Fat – 5.1g
Carb – 1.3g
Protein – 0

Saturday 150905

Death by burpee box jump over, 24″(20″)
Rest 5 minutes
Then, death by dumbbell thruster, 40#(25#)

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Sometimes receiving a "no rep" just comes across easier when given by someone in a skirt/ dress.

Sometimes receiving a “no rep” just comes across easier when given by someone in a skirt/ dress.


It’s kind of a busy little weekend, we’re not sure if you’ll have time. . .

*Verve is closed this weekend for a Level 1 Seminar. Verve will host a 7am WOD Saturday morning and Sunday morning only. CrossFit Lodo is opening their doors to Verve members to join their WODs, at no cost, this weekend. This is their provided schedule for Verve members to attend:

9am WOD at CrossFit Lodo @ Rino location (3595 Wynkoop St)
10:30am WOD at CrossFit LoDo (2363 Blake St)

10:15am Yoga at CrossFit Lodo (Blake St)
11am WOD at CrossFit Lodo (Blake St)
12pm WOD at CrossFit LoDo (Blake St)

*Saturday night is Verve Night Out @ Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer St, starting at 7pm. Meet up with some cool guys and gals that like to workout, grab a beer, and talk about anything other than working out. 

*Monday is Labor Day. Verve will have an abbreviated schedule. Please see MBO, sign up for classes and reserve your spot.

Have an awesome long weekend everyone!! 

Friday 150904

For time:
Run 1200 Meters
21 Power Cleans 115#(75#)
21 Pull Ups
Run 800 Meters
15 Power Cleans 135#(95#)
15 Chest to bar pull ups
Run 400 Meters
9 Power Cleans 185#(125#)
9 Bar Muscle ups

Post time to comments or BTWB



For the most part, all of us have some sort of mobility issue that affects our performance.  As coaches, we try to throw many mobility option to you via class time or individually.  Let me tell you, there are TONS of options for mobility, so much so that it can be really overwhelming choosing what to do before a workout.  This article will help you prioritize your mobility for the task at hand.  Before I post the article, let me give you my 2 little gems of wisdom when it comes to mobility.

#1 – Our biggest concern is safety!  Safety equals a strong bracing of the spine/midline.  If you know that you have strong issues squatting with a neutral spine or going overhead without giving up the goose in your lower back, YOUR MAIN mobility concern should be to work on the thoracic spine and hips.
#2 – LOOK AT THE WORKOUT!  We see people come into the gym, grab a foam roller, and inherently roll their quads, whether the workout is shoulder press or thrusters.  Take a look at the workout and see what glaring mobility issues the WOD presents and start there.  If it is all overhead/pulling work, trust me, your quads can take a back seat to your overhead position.

Here are some key takeaways from the article PRIORITIZE YOUR MOBILITY – Tony Gentilcore.  See fill article here.


I see too many individuals performing mobility drills without actually having a legitimate reason. They just feel that they need to do it. It’s almost as if they truly believe that their entire body “needs” mobility.

Stop. Please, STOP!

Before you go any further, put the foam roller, the lacrosse ball and the stretching strap down for two minutes.

I’ll use the shoulders as an example. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Should you perform an excessive amount of mobility drills if your shoulders already have plenty of range without any limitations? No.
  • Should you perform a couple short mobility drills for your shoulders if they’re especially tight/naggy due to a recent workout, but typically have very few limitations? Yes, go for it, but keep it light.
  • Should you perform a handful of mobility drills for your shoulders if they’re especially tight/naggy due to a recent workout, but are usually limited in several areas? Yes, definitely: address what needs to be addressed.

My point: have a legitimate reason for performing mobility drills with a thoughtful goal in mind. Don’t just do it to do it; have a purpose.

Case in point: apply mobility where it is needed most at the time of most need.

Simple enough? Yes, but that’s the point!

For example: it wouldn’t make much sense for me to focus the mobility program solely on shoulder/thoracic spine drills for the aforementioned college football players. They wouldn’t benefit much since they aren’t really lacking in those areas.
Always make sure there is a reason as to why you are doing what you are doing when it comes to mobility.


You’re not always going to need mobility everywhere in your body.

Note From TG: Read THIS (<— it will melt your face)

It’s important to be able pinpoint what areas may need the most attention.

I’ve created three short mobility sequences below, where the body has been divided up into three separate compartments: lower, middle and upper. Select the compartment that you need to focus on the most.


1.) Lower Compartment

If you’re someone who has a tough time loosening up the areas of the calves, ankle and feet, then give this mobility drill series a try for 2-3 rounds:

  • Lacrosse Ball Rolling
  • Lacrosse Ball Pin and Extend/Flex
  • Tibial External/Internal Rotation Shifting
  • 1-Leg Ankle Rocking

2.) Middle Compartment

Do you find it challenging to get limber in the hips, glutes and posterior chain areas? Try out this sequence for 2-3 rounds:


  • Quadruped Rocking
  • Inchworm
  • Hip Series: Spiderman, External Hip Rotators, Lateral Lunge w/Toes Up

3.) Upper Compartment

Tight shoulders? Naggy thoracic spine? Give this series of mobility drills a shot for 2-3 rounds:


  • Overhead Floor Slides
  • Scap Push-Up
  • Lateral Crawl
  • Linear Crawl
  • Quadruped Thoracic Spine: 4-Way Reach w/1-Leg Abducted

We do our best as coaches to prepare as much as possible, but there is no way we can hit every mobility issue that will arise, so prioritize if you have an extra 5-10 minutes before the workout.


-The gym is closed this weekend, BUT we will be having a class both Saturday and Sunday morning at 7am.  get outside and enjoy your Labor Day weekend

-This Saturday night we will have an Unofficial End of Summer Party @ Ratio Beerworks at 7pm.  Come enjoy some cocktails and meet some of the new faces and reacquaint yourself with some of the old ones!!

Thursday 150903

Take 25 minutes to build to a 1RM snatch

Then, every minute on the minute for 7 minutes:
1 Snatch @ 70% of today’s 1 rep max

Post loads to comments and BTWB

Connie, Robyn, Maddie, and Amy are a 4 woman wolf pack. They are the 4 best friends that anyone could have.

Connie, Robyn, Maddie, and Amy are a 4 woman wolf pack. They are the 4 best friends that anyone could have.


What is cortisol and what does it have to do with my workouts? By Courtney “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on TV” Shepherd and The Adrenal Fatigue Solution For full article, click here.

What is Cortisol? Cortisol is a steroid hormone, known as a glucocorticoid, made in the adrenal glands and then released into the blood stream, which transports it all round the body. Almost every cell contains receptors for cortisol and so cortisol can have lots of different actions depending on which sort of cells it is acting upon. Cortisol is responsible for a wide range of processes within the body including immune responses, the regulation of metabolism, and acting as an anti-inflammatory. It also plays an important role in the way in which the body responds to stress. 

The balance of cortisol levels in the body is important to our overall health. The effects of having too much cortisol in the body can include rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and severe mood swings that manifest in anxiety and depression. On the other hand, individuals who possess an extremely low amount of cortisol are susceptible to experiencing problems such as dizziness, fatigue, weight loss and a peculiar darkening in certain skin areas.

Cortisol levels are generally high in the morning as we wake from a prolonged period of sleep, with an increase of up to fifty percent in the twenty to thirty minutes after waking. This is known as the ‘cortisol awakening response’. Then, as the day progresses, our cortisol levels naturally begin to drop in a fairly constant and regular fashion that is termed a diurnal rhythm, ending up in low levels in the late evening. This allows the body to keep a regular sleeping pattern, with the cortisol level dropping for periods of sleep, then replenishing during the following morning. Interestingly enough the body can detect and change the timing and cycle of cortisol production and release for certain individuals. An example of this is individuals who work night shifts. In these cases, the pattern and timing of the release of cortisol is reversed to allow for higher levels throughout the late evening and early morning hours. 

Cortisol levels are not just dependent on the time of day. Cortisol levels are heavily influenced by stress. The cortisol release response depends on the type of stress, whether its short-term acute stress or long-term chronic stress. For short-term stressors, like an argument or a fall or a workout (yep, a workout of high intensity is considered a stressor to your body), we will see a brief spike in cortisol. For longer term stressors like work stress or illness, we see a consistently higher level of cortisol at all times of the day.

Let’s talk about the effects of chronic high levels of cortisol in our body. Chronic stress will raise our cortisol levels for a while, but eventually our body is unable to continue producing cortisol in such high amounts. At this point we start to see declines in not only cortisol, but also key hormones and neurotransmitters like aldosterone, testosterone, epinephrine and more. Additionally the diurnal rhythm of cortisol production is often disrupted, resulting in late-evening spikes that cause insomnia. This dysregulation of hormone production is the ‘burnout’ that follows long periods of stress. The body is no longer able to regulate cortisol levels effectively, which leads to symptoms like fatigue, a lack of enthusiasm, insomnia, and a general lack of vitality. High levels of cortisol also partially shut down the immune system, causing those of us with high levels of stress to find ourselves also getting sick. 

How can we reverse the effects of long-term stress and regain our energy levels? A combination of good nutrition, supplementation, and effective stress management techniques can quickly result in some significant changes. In the longer term, eliminating the causes of stress is crucial for a full recovery. Easier said than done, right? Some of you may be also asking, well if cortisol is released when I work out, is working out still an effective form of stress management? The answer is yes. There are ways we as athletes can resolve those acute spikes in cortisol after we workout, which I will talk about in next week’s blog. 

So this Friday you have one job, get everything work related finished up, done, not to be thought about again until Monday. Then join a bunch of Ververs Saturday night at Ratio Beerworks on Larimer St at 7pm. Kick back, have a few drinks, and just let that stress and cortisol melt away. 

**Verve is closed this weekend  for a Level 1 Seminar. We will have a 7am WOD Saturday and Sunday morning only. CrossFit Lodo is kindly opening their doors this weekend to Verve members, to join their WOD at no charge. Here is the Lodo schedule:

Saturday September 5th
9am WOD at CrossFit LoDo @ RiNo,  3595 Wynkoop St
10:30am WOD at CrossFit LoDo, 2363 Blake St

Sunday September 6th
10:15am  Yoga at CrossFit Lodo
11am WOD at CrossFit Lodo
12pm WOD at CrossFit LoDo

I will place a sign up sheet at the front of Verve with these classes listed, please sign up under the class you plan to attend so we can give them some numbers.

**Monday is Labor Day, Verve will have an abbreviated schedule, please see MBO.



Wednesday 150902

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

Calorie row,  15(10)
10 DB thrusters, 40#(25#)
20 KB swings, 16kg(12kg)
40 Double unders
1 Rope climb

Post rounds and reps to comments and BTWB

Team Raising C.A.N.E. is registered for the CrossFit Games Team Series, is yours?

Team Raising C.A.N.E. is registered for the CrossFit Games Team Series, is yours? (Verve trainers Courtney, Anna, Nate, and Eric. . . . see what we did there, with the team name?)


What is the CrossFit Games Team Series? And how can I get all up in that?

The Team Series is a fun competition started last year following the CrossFit Games. In a structure similar to the CrossFit Games Open, the Team Series tests the fitness of four-person teams, two men and two women. 

Starting the week of September 8th, CrossFit will announce a series of workouts. Every team will have 6 days to complete all the workouts and post their scores. Just like the Open, the workouts need to be judged by individuals that took, and passed, the judges course during the Open this year. . . and you thought you would never use that certificate again. Or your team can video tape the workout and submit the video to be scored and validated online. 

The second series of workouts will be posted the week of October 6th, again giving teams another 6 days to complete the workouts and submit scores. That’s it folks. 1 week per month for the next 2 months to ignite your competition bug and just have a fun time working out next to some good friends. 

Just like the Open, teams will be able to choose between two versions of each workout: Rx’d or Scaled. Doing the scaled version of one workout does not mean you cannot do the RX version of a different workout. This year there will also be 3 divisions:  Open (all ages), Teenage (14-17) and Masters (40+). The 10 fittest teams at the end of the series will earn a piece of the US$151,000 prize purse.

I’m certain you will have more questions about who can be on teams, how the RX vs scaled division works, etc. For the rulebook (that contains all the necessary information) and to get a team registered, click here. Registration is $80 per team. If you get signed up, put your team info in the comments so we can start keeping track. 

**Verve is closed again this weekend for a Level 1 Seminar. Verve will have a 7am WOD on Saturday and Sunday morning only. CrossFit Lodo has been nice enough to open their doors to Verve athletes this weekend at no cost, to attend their WOD. I will post a sign up sheet tomorrow at the front of Verve with these class times. Please sign up under the class time you plan to attend so that we may give CrossFit Lodo a head count. 

**Monday is Labor Day. Verve will have an abbreviated schedule. Please look on MBO and reserve your spot in class before they fill up. 


Tuesday 150901

5 Rounds of:
Run 400 meters
15 Overhead squats 95#(65#)

Compare to 140901

Post time to BTWB

You can sneak a flex in just about anywhere. Case in point.

You can sneak a flex in just about anywhere. Case in point.

Yesterday evening we started our newest 5 pm specialty class.  This cycle, which should last between 4 and 6 weeks will be knows as “Verve Weightlifting.”  The programming will be put on the boards and updated each week.  We are setting it up for 4 days a week; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Provided the class is well attended we will keep it a 4 days a week.  

Next Monday is Labor Day and we will be having an abridged schedule.  We will have 4 WOD’s and 2 Open gyms.  The open gym hours should provide anyone following the Verve Weightlifting program plenty of time to come and get the work done.  We won’t be having any specialty classes that evening and our doors will close at 3 pm on Monday.  Hopefully these are enough open hours for you guys to come in and get a sweat on before you head out for you Labor Day cookouts. 

A special thanks to everyone that made it out to Evergreen Lake on Sunday.  After an early miscue with finding a point of contact, things went smoothly and everyone seemed to have a really good time.  We will make that type of a trip happen more often but may have to wait until next summer as our warm days may be coming to end pretty soon.  Can you believe it’s already September?  That means football is right around the corner.

Speaking of football.  Verve is going to have a little get together this coming Saturday. Nothing too formal just a chance for us to get together and meet and have some fun.  More details to come later this week but hopefully everyone can join us for a few hours on Saturday night.  The place will have TV’s and hence there will be football on those TV’s for those of you that weren’t sure of the connection.   

Monday 150831

Shoulder Press 5-4-3-2-1

Bench Press 10-8-6-4-2

Score is total weight for shoulder press and total weight for bench press

Post weight to BTWB

David Farmers Carry

A farmers carry never looked so good!

It’s sometimes quite amazing to me and the rest of the Verve trainers what is left behind and placed in the lost and found. One shoe? I can see leaving a pair behind, but how do you only leave one behind?

For those of you that are new to Verve, we have a lost and found. It’s in the red bin below the stereo shelf by the office. If you leave a shirt or pair of pants behind, most likely it will be found in the red bin. 

Wrist wraps? Have you lost yours, well check the red bin because at last check I believe there were at least 5 pair of wrist wraps in the bin. If you last name is Schultz and your first name begins with a D, then most likely your drinking cups can be found in the red bin as well.

If we find things such as glasses or phones or anything of value really, we most likely will put it in the office and do our best to track down the owner of the lost items.  If you find anything in the bathroom that you think may be lost, please give it to a trainer so we can make sure it finds it’s way back to it’s owner.  

If you leave something behind you can always send a quick email to the gym or give us a call and let us know to be on the lookout for whatever you left behind.  Jay Cain leaves something behind everyday so when in doubt about the process to recover lost items, you can always ask him.  

We do however take the lost and found to good will after an extended period of time. We normally give everyone a heads up that we will be doing this so they have another chance to go through and make sure that none of the clothes or cups or wrist wraps or jump ropes or shoes or watches belong to you. Log books are often left behind as well so if you’ve done a great thing by logging your workouts, it might also make sense to make sure that you stick the log book back in your bag, but if you forget remember the red bin is always there.