Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why I CrossFit

A little over a week ago I asked the members why they CrossFit. Some of you responded through the blog and others responded with me face to face. A lot of the responses were very personal. I always envisioned this blog to solely focus on the gym, and not specifically on me. One of my pet peeves is seeing a blog from a trainer, and having it be all about how amazing they are rather than them trying to make you better. But after hearing some of the personal accounts of why people CrossFit, I figured I’d give you my own.

I grew up very close to my father. My father was the kind of guy people wanted to be around. He always made time for people and always listened to people no matter what the issue was. My father was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when I was very young. While I grew up, he slowly declined as his muscles gradually grew weaker and weaker. Even as this disease destroyed his body he continued to go to the gym, go to work, work on the house, and spend time with his family. I remember going to Tom Young’s with him, and even as a little boy lifting more weights than him. He never let his ego get the best of him. He would tell me good job. He would ignore all the “meatheads or natural athletes” as they gave him looks or told him that he needed to use more weight to get stronger. He went to all of my games and did his best to teach me how to play sports and how to lift properly. To this day I remember him telling me two things in relation to sports: One was simple motivation, “Push it Mijo (son)”, the other was personal, “You are my legs, I might not ever be able to run again, but you can. You are my legs”.

My Dad passed from complications of Muscular Dystrophy while I was halfway through my rookie year at the Fire Department. I saw how frustrating it was for him to not be able to run, or walk, or drive, or hold his cell phone, or eat. I also saw just how much he was able to accomplish despite his lack of physical strength, because of his willpower. When I was little, I worked out and played sports because I truly believed that I was his legs. If he couldn’t do it then I would do it for him. Now as I’m older and slower I still do a lot of this because of him. To me, CrossFit is the best form of physical expression. I can do gymnastics, run, lift, throw and move my body through a multitude of tasks at a high intensity. I enjoy pushing myself in workouts because quite simply I can. Because I am healthy and able to do so. As long as I am healthy I want to see how good I can be. Not how good I am compared to others. When I was younger seeing how I measured up against others was very important, but now I’m more interested in pushing my own personal limits and seeing  if I could be a better me.

I do not CrossFit to make it to Regionals or to the Games. Don’t get me wrong, if that were to happen it would be a very happy day, but thats not the goal. I am still competitive and I still love to go to a CrossFit competition and compete, but what I truly enjoy is the training. The hard days, where your legs and lungs are burning and you’re fighting with yourself to just keep going. The training days where you and those around you are feeding off of each others energy and killing PR’s! At the end of the day I could care less who beat me at a workout (unless it’s Jeremy Hale, it kills me when he beats me). What really matters to me is the physical expression of it all. Getting my body to do the things that others might not have the opportunity to do. I still hear those two things during some of my workouts. I tell myself “Push it” when I start to get tired and on a hard run I still hear “You are my legs”.


8x50m Sprints

4×3 Front Squats (5 second pause at the bottom)



rest 1 minute


Squat Clean and Jerk (135/95)




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Fight Gone Bad!

Fight Gone Bad is one of the oldest Benchmark workouts. The origins go back to when MMA fighter BJ Penn first started in the UFC. Penn went to the original CrossFit headquarters,which at that time was no bigger than the size of our gym, and participated in a few training sessions. Penn asked for a workout that would mimic the physical demands of a 3 round fight. After the workout Penn was asked how the workout was. Penn responded “it was like a fight gone bad”.

Establish a 1 Rep max Clean and Jerk

“Fight Gone Bad!”
3 Rounds
Sumo-Deadlift High Pull (75/45)
Box Jump
Push Press (75/45)
Row for Calories

1 minute rest after each round. There are 3, 5 minute rounds with 1 minute at each station. There is no rest between each station only at the end of a round.

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Vertical Torso in the Squat

There are two basic types of back squats: low bar and high bar. Both have their own benefits but the one that transfers better to a multitude of movements is the high bar back squat. The old argument used to be that one could move more weight with the low bar as opposed to the high bar. But there are plenty of people moving a LOT of weight with a high bar position.
The high bar back squat keeps your torso in a much more upright position and requires a ton of ankle and hip mobility. Since one of our goals here at CrossFit is not just strength but strength AND flexibility, this position is what we should strive for. Along with mobility the high bar gives us better transferability. Get good at high bar and cleans, thrusters, wallballs, and snatches will also get better. When approaching your next set of back squats keep in mind our goal is high bar with heels down and ankles flexed. This might take some time but with practice comes improvement. The first picture below shows the two squats. On the left is high bar (notice the knee position as well as the ankle flexion). The second picture is what we should all strive for in the high bar squat.



Back Squat
6×4 @ 85%

5 Thrusters (135/95)
12 Over the Bar Burpees
3 Wall Crawls

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Naughty Nancy

So rumor has it that this years CrossFit Games is going to feature a twisted version of the benchmark workout “Nancy”. Dave Castro, CrossFit Games Director, has named it Naughty Nancy. In typical Castro fashion he hasn’t given the exact details of the workout. So I figured we’d give the original workout a go before the Games athletes compete in the Naughty version!

Snatch Balance with 2 second pause at the bottom

5 Rounds
400m Run
15 Overhead Squats (95/65)

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Sisu-Finnish term meaning strength of will, and perseverance.The ability to be courageous against all odds. Sisu is a word used to typify the Finnish spirit, its an integral part of how the Finns view themselves. There is one CrossFit athlete that embodies this philosophy.
Who’s my favorite CrossFit athlete? Mikko Salo! Click his name for a short documentary on him.



2 High Hang Clean+3 Push Jerks (as Heavy as Possible)

Tabata Toes to Bar

2 minutes Max Double Unders

3 minutes Max Wallballs

Rest 2 minutes

3 minutes Max Kettlebell Swings (55/35)

2 minutes Max Double Unders


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Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Throughout the years here at our box I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people progress and improve their level of fitness in ways they’d never thought possible before they started CrossFit. These are the good times. These good times do not come often though. In order to get to the good times you must make it through the hard days.
The hard days can be a number of things. Maybe you keep failing on a weight that you should be hitting. Or you just aren’t “feeling it” that day and can’t find the motivation. Maybe the motivation is there but your body is sore and achy. These days are much more typical than the good days. But I promise you, if you can keep a positive attitude through the difficult times you will be rewarded.
When you first get serious in your training, PRs (personal records) come easily and regularly. I’ve seen lots of people get this false impression that every time they step into the gym it’s going to be a PR day. Eventually you hit a plateau in your training and the PRs are no longer 10-20 lb PRs but 1-5 lb PRs. Do not let this ruin months of training! This is called diminishing returns and it happens to everybody. If it didn’t people would be Clean and Jerking a thousand pounds! Sooner or later the PRs have to slow down. Do not beat yourself up over this. Do not freak out. If you are continuing to put the work in then you will continue to EVENTUALLY get better. If you are still hitting anywhere from 85-95% of your PR with good technique when you go heavy, take it as a win rather than a loss.
Should you always strive for a PR when shooting for a max? Absolutely. At the same time, don’t get too hung up on the numbers. Remember when you started out at the gym. All most people want when beginning this journey is to get in better shape and learn the movements. Somewhere along the way we lose sight of those goals. If you find yourself getting frustrated remember that improvement comes through patience, dedication, and hard work. Your new PR will be the end result. Focus on improving your movements, focus on the work not the PR.

Run 1 Mile for time
1×20 Back Squat

5 Rounds of Cindy
15 Power Snatches (135/95)
5 Rounds of Cindy
Hand release Push-ups on the rounds of Cindy

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Why Do You Do This?

CrossFit is difficult. There are other ways to get in shape. Yet there are those that walk through the doors of our gym knowing that they are going to work hard, suffer, and struggle. A good friend of mine asked me earlier this week, as serious as can be, “why do we do this?”. I have my own ideas why we CrossFit, but I’m curious what others think. So please leave a comment and post why you CrossFit.

Back Squats 7×3@85%
no this is not a typo. Yes I know we just did squats. Trust me, you will be ok if you squat two days in a row.

10 minutes Ring work

50 Double Unders
10 Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)


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