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Bladium CrossFit is a fitness training program with workouts consisting of constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity.
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News & Announcements

Hey Bladium Denver CrossFit Family! 

Be sure to check out our Members Appreciation party and Kids Fest back to back. October 17th and October 18th. See you there!



Friday 10/31/14 (Halloween!)

Hey Bladium CrossFit family!

The 4:30pm and 5:30pm Class will be cancelled of Friday 10/31/14, Halloween! Have a great holiday!

10 toes to bar
20 dips
30 pull ups
40 KB swings
50 walking lunges
60 wall balls
50 walking lunges
40 KB swings
30 pull ups
20 dips
10 toes to bar

400m Run
2 Rounds
10 Banded Good Mornings
10 Strict Press W/Empty Barbell
10 Front Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Back Squats w/ Empty Barbell

All Levels

Clean and Jerk. By. Aaron Ferencik


Jerk specific warmup (5 minutes max)


3 sets of 5 jerk balance-front foot and back foot.


*This exercise begins in the front rack.  The athlete splits his or her feet slightly less than full spit jerk stance.  The athlete dips, drives, and punches the bar overhead while simultaneously pushing either the front or back foot out further.


15-20 minutes to find a heavy complex:


1 Squat Clean + 2 Front Squats + 1 split jerk


If you are uncomfortable with the squat clean, please power clean, freeze in the catch position, and ride the bar down into a full squat.



For Time

10 Rounds
5 Goblet Squats
10 Swings
2 (Total) Lunges w/Kettlebell

M-Comp = 70/53
RX = 53/35
M1 = 35/26

Thursday 10/30/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit family!

The 4:30pm and 5:30pm Class will be cancelled of Friday 10/31/14, Halloween! Have a great holiday!

2 Min Row


Coaches Choice

“Open Test”
50 Wallballs (20/14)
50 Double-Unders
40 Box Jumps
40 Toes to Bar
30 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
30 Burpees
20 Power Cleans (145/100)
20 Jerks (145/100)
10 Snatches (145/100)
10 Muscle-Ups

M-Comp = Barbell 145/100
RX = Barbell 115/80
M1 = Barbell 95/65

Love CrossFit? 5 Tips to Avoid CrossFit Burnout

CrossFit, Masters Athletes

Is it possible to be sick of CrossFit? Them’s fightin’ words, to be sure, but think about it. CrossFit is so engaging and addicting that we often go at it so hard and fast right from the start that memes have arisen about how we can’t shut up about it. Tosh.0 joked about it:



And this College Humor video has been burning up the Internet:



From the first WOD, we live it, inhale it, love it. CrossFit has such an amazing impact on our bodies, minds, strength, and skills, that we just want more. More of the addictive tonic that CrossFit becomes. We love the box, our friends, making gains, hitting goals, andgetting on the leaderboard.


RELATED: The CrossFit Games Open: Let Go of the Leaderboard


Early on, everything is a personal record. It seems like the trajectory can only ever be up.Then we hit a wall. We level out on progress, so we adopt some new goals (competitions, a muscle up, ten muscle ups, the CrossFit Games). You tinker with nutrition, you place well in a few local throwdowns, you make the top 200 for the Master’s qualifier or make your regionals team.


But then one day, you realize you have been doing this for years and, ultimately, doing pretty much the same thing.


Going Through the Motions

Does it seem like every year, year after year, your training consists of: winter, WOD WOD WOD, CrossFit Games Open, spring, WOD WOD Murph, WOD WOD WOD, summer, WOD WOD, competition, WOD, fall, Barbells for Boobs, Halloween party, WOD, Twelve Days of Christmas WOD, repeat?


Perhaps you have been stuck at a 125lb snatch for two solid years or you’ve gotten your “Fran” time down as far as you can possibly get it. You’re achy, you’re busy, and your hands always hurt. And so help me if you drag yourself into the box and see the “Filthy Fifty” one more time on the whiteboard, you may just eviscerate your coach in full view of the kid’s class.


crossfit, burnout, plateau, Programming, goals, competition, specialist


It’s called burnout. It happens with any activity after enough high-intensity exposure. It can be tantamount to putting a piece of wood on a lathe and letting it spin at high speed for too long. You initially create some pretty spectacular woodwork, but eventually, you just whittle it down to a nub. And if you’re not careful, you may end up dreading the thing you love the most: CrossFit.


5 Tips to Avoid CrossFit Burnout

1. Talk to Your Coach About Switching Up Your Programming

If you are attending the classes, perhaps you’re ready to move on to individualized programming that targets your specific goals. If you have been going to the 10:00am class day after day, year after year, then it may be time to change up your game.


Unless the programming is spectacular, years of the same thing can result in plateau and burnout, so moving into a different track may be what you need. There are a number of online sources for quality daily programming such as CrossFit InvictusOPT, and more, so this may be the shot in the arm you need. Do this in consultation with your coach.


“[I]f you’re not careful, you may end up dreading the thing you love the most: CrossFit.”

2. Develop One-, Two-, and Five-Year Plans

One of the ways I see burnout flaring up the most is when athletes hop from goal to goal but never really accomplish any of them. Step back and really ask yourself, “Why do I do this?” Write the answer down. If it’s, “To be healthy and viable when I am 85,” then by all means continue (in which case you are likely not experiencing burnout anyway). But if you answer, “I am not really sure,” then perhaps it’s time to figure it out.


Do you have competition goals? Local or national? Do you have specific strength-related goals? Do you want to make it onto an NPGL team? Lose weight? Get a muscle up?Whatever your goals, define them, then lay out a course by which to achieve them. Again, this should be done in conjunction with your coach. Develop a process by which to achieve those goals. SMART goals are all well and good but they don’t create a process. That’s what your coach is for.


crossfit, burnout, plateau, Programming, goals, competition, specialist


3. Choose Competitions Wisely

Seriously guys. Stop doing every weekend competition that comes along. You should do, at most, two or three competitions in a year, and that assumes you are not on a regionals team or going to the CrossFit Games. Competitions not only throw off your programming for a couple weeks (a week leading up and a week of recovery), but they beat you up. If you are doing one a month, you are doing too damn many. If you are doing more than one a month, then you are never recovering and it’s no wonder you’re feeling burnt out. You are, literally, burned out.


“Stop doing every weekend competition that comes along. You should do, at most, two or three competitions in a year, and that assumes you are not on a regionals team or going to the CrossFit Games.”

4. Consider an Even Bigger Change

Here comes the blasphemy. It’s perfectly okay to consider moving out of CrossFIt and into a completely different realm. There are a lot of people who started in CrossFit and moved on to a more specific discipline. Gillian Ward moved out of a fairly high-profile CrossFit presence into powerlifting and physique competitions. Tamara Reynolds did the same with weightlifting and coaching. Mark Nelson, a member of the second-place-in-the-world CrossFit Conjugate Black team has now dedicated himself to weightlifting.


The fact is, the landscape is dotted with thousands of athletes who started in CrossFit and as a result found weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, or some other specialty and have left the CrossFit world altogether. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with devoting a year or more to such a specialty. If you are burned out on CrossFit, think about weightlifting for a full year. You can always come back.


crossfit, burnout, plateau, Programming, goals, competition, specialist


5. Take a Break

I have read a number of similar “avoiding burnout” articles online and they suggest you can take a break but not a very long one or you’ll never come back. I disagree. There are a lot of people who try CrossFit and stop coming, and never come back.


Those people are not burned out CrossFitters. They are merely people who didn’t like CrossFit. If you are the type of person who loves CrossFit so much that you became burned out because you ground yourself to a stump, then there is little danger you will not have the motivation to return.


RELATED: Just Love the Bleep Out of It


Talk with your coach (notice a trend?). If you feel you need a month off to travel, see the world, veg on the couch and watch TV, eat donuts and reset, then I am sure your coach can work with you to plan a reentry process after your break. After all, don’t people who are injured do pretty much that same thing? It’s a forced break, but they always come back.


Have you experienced CrossFit burnout? How did you handle it? Did you move to another sport or take a break? Share your thoughts and experiences to the comments below.


Photos courtesy of Jorge Huerta Photography.

Wednesday 10/29/14

Hey Bladium CrossFit family!

The 4:30pm and 5:30pm Class will be cancelled of Friday 10/31/14, Halloween! Have a great holiday!

400m Run  
2 Rounds
10 Lunge and Twist
2 Wall Walks
2 Min Row

All Levels

4 Rounds
1 @ 85% +, 6 at a lighter weight.
* The goal is to increase weight each time on the 6 reps.

For Time

4 Person Teams:
40 Push-Ups

120 Deadlifts 135/85

40 Pull Ups

120 Kettlebell Swings 53/35

40 Box Jumps 24/20

120 Calories (Row)

*Switch Every 10 Reps

Use Eccentric Training to Improve Max Lifts, Says New Study

Contributor – Health and Fitness News, Reviews

Many lifters acknowledge that eccentric muscle actions may have a greater potential to elicit gains in strength and size. In a recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, researchers provided some advice to help us design good eccentric lifting programs.

What the research says:

  • Eccentric one-rep-max (1RM) on the bench press was about 50lb heavier on average than the concentric version.
  • At 90% 1RM, subjects could do 3-7 reps on the concentric portion of the bench press, but could do 4–11 reps on the eccentric portion.

The differences between eccentric and concentric actions go beyond the usual explanation of lengthening and shortening of muscles under load. It’s important to know the differences that occur at the filament level during concentric contractions, normal muscle lengthening, and eccentric contractions.


Concentric Muscle Contraction

The muscle is shortened and your body moves the external resistance. A concentric contraction is performed by myosin and actin filaments. The myosin filaments do the heavy lifting, so to speak, by chemically attaching to the actin filaments and then pulling them. This moves the actin filaments and the rest of that region of muscle into a shortened position. At that point, the myosin chemically detaches from the actin, elongates, and starts the process over again.


Normal Muscle Lengthening

Normal lengthening with no load is a gentle process that requires energy to perform. Much like the contraction above, unloaded muscle lengthening requires energy to unbind the myosin from the actin so that the muscle can lengthen smoothly. In fact, the lack of availability of energy to release these bonds is what causes rigor mortis after a person dies.


Eccentric Muscle Contraction

Most people think of the eccentric action process as being like the muscle lengthening described above, but it is not. In an eccentric action the muscle lengthens, but because it is resisting a load, the myosin still binds chemically with the actin. Instead of chemically releasing the crossbridge, or the point of contact between the two, the fibers are mechanically separated. That is to say, they are forcefully ripped apart.


For these reasons, eccentric actions cause more muscle damage and usually more soreness than concentric actions. They may also result in greater strength and size gains, due the increased stimulus. However, the researchers in the Journal study noted that most of the research done on the capabilities of muscles in exercise were done on either concentric-only actions or the standard concentric and eccentric muscle action.


RELATED: 6 Powerful Benefits of Eccentric Training


Study Design

Thirty men were tested for their one-rep-max (1RM) on the bench press, both concentric-only and eccentric-only. Using those maxes, the subjects performed the most reps (again, either concentrically or eccentrically) at 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% of each action’s respective max.



The eccentric 1RM on the bench press was about 50lb heavier on average than the concentric version. At 90% 1RM, subjects could do 3-7 reps on the concentric portion of the bench press, but could do 4–11 reps on the eccentric portion. Keep in mind, the 4–11 reps was with 90% of the already heavier eccentric max. With the other intensities, the subjects performed roughly the same number of reps on the eccentric and concentric actions.


Based on these results, the researchers concluded:


These data indicate that eccentric muscle actions yield increased force capabilities (~120%) as compared to concentric muscle actions in the bench press and may be less prone to fatigue, especially at higher intensities. These differences suggest a need to develop unique strategies for training eccentrically.


Because normal gym training involves moving a weight eccentrically and concentrically in the same rep, the eccentric portion of the lift is often underloaded. The researchers suggested a portion of the strength and conditioning program be focused on properly loaded eccentric-only actions in order to achieve the greatest results.



1. Stephen Kelly, et. al., “Comparison of Concentric and Eccentric Bench Press Repetitions to Failure,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014, DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000713


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


Tuesday 10/28/14

Tuesday 10/28/14
5 rounds (each)
One person holds the top of the dead lift while the other person does 10 burpees, then switch

5 rounds (each)
One person does 40 (total) walking lunges with the other person holds plank, then switch

5 rounds (each)
One person does 10 KB swings while the other person does 10 goblet squats, then switch

5 rounds (each)
20 ab mat sit ups throwing the wall ball back and forth


Coaches Choice

Strength  (20 Minutes)

Snatch By. Aaron Ferencik

Snatch balance and freeze



*For this exercise, athletes begin with the bar on their back and hands in the snatch grip, feet in the jumping position.  Athletes dip, drive and catch the bar overhead with arms fully extended while simultaneously moving their feet outward.  Freeze in this position, butt back, for two seconds, then ride the bar down. The point of this movement is for athletes to move their feet and become comfortable in a better catch position.


15-20 minutes for:


5×2 Snatch at 80% of 1rm.


6 sets of 1 power snatch + 1 squat snatch + 2 overhead squats

Ascending Ladder for 7 Minutes:
20 Double-Unders, 1 Power Snatch
20 Double-Unders, 2 Power Snatch
20 Double-Unders, 3 Power Snatch

M-Comp = Power Snatch 135/95
RX = Power Snatch 95/65
M1 = Power Snatch 75/55



By William Imbo

I’m all for being gung-ho with CrossFit. When I signed up for my first 3-month membership a couple of years ago, I was in the box as much as humanly possible. Those first few weeks/months of CrossFit are the honeymoon stage for many newbies, but it can carry on for seasoned vets as well. However, there are risks of spending every day of the week in the gym.Aside from getting mentally burnt out from CrossFit, there are a number of physical signs that should convince you that it’s time for a break from the barbells.

1. You’re feeling ill far more often
Nagging coughs, headaches and sore throats can all come about from a combination of factors that include poor diet, lack of sleep and exercise and stress. But if this isn’t the case for you, the uptake in nagging ailments is likely due to you working out too often. Doing so taxes the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to ward off infections.

2. Insomnia or restless sleep
Sleep is a crucial time for your health, as this is when the body is resting and literally repairing itself from the day’s activities. And in case you didn’t know, good, consistent sleep promotes the boost of growth hormones, which are important for rebuilding muscle fibers. But if you are working out too hard and too often, your body can remain stimulated for a longer period of time, causing you to be restless and breaking up your normal sleeping pattern.

3. Elevated resting heart rate
It’s important that you know what your normal resting heart rate is, because if it starts to become elevated it could be a sign of stress. An altered resting heart rate comes about through an increased metabolic rate, which speeds up your heart in order to move more oxygen to the muscles and the brain in order to deal with the level of training you’re undergoing. Furthermore, people who overtrain will find that it takes longer for their heart rate to return to normal after a workout. Your body won’t know the difference between physical and psychological stress, so it’s important to take a break from the demands of both.

4. Insatiable thirst
It’s normal to crave some H20 following a hard WOD or if you’re spending a day in the sun, but when this craving starts to coincide with a period of increased time at the box, it’s a potential sign of overtraining, which causes the body to be in a catabolic state. And yes, you guessed it—being in a catabolic state naturally causes dehydration, and thirst is one of the first signs of it. So make sure you are getting an adequate daily water intake, as well as rest.

5. Your urine is dark yellow
This is another rather unpleasant indicator of dehydration—unless you ingested some interesting foods or supplements the night before. The dark color of your urine is a sign that your body is struggling to retain fluids because there’s not enough H20 to go around.

6. Chronic/Nagging muscle aches, joint pain and injury increase
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you start to feel sore (and worse, hurt yourself) if you are spending every day throwing heavy weight around and putting your body through the ringer. This may sometimes be related to DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness), but if it’s continuing for more than 72 hours, it’s a bigger problem. When you overtrain, you’re limiting the amount of time your body has to recuperate between workouts, which will eventually lead to you training in a weakened state. In addition to putting additional strain on your muscles and joints, the big risk here is that you quickly become more likely to sustain an injury. Try to incorporate forced rest periods, and take more active recovery rest days.

7. Poor workout performance
If you’re starting to struggle with weights, WODS and times that you would normally crush, you’re experiencing regression in your athletic performance. This is one of the more obvious signs that you are simply overtraining your body.

8. You feel upset and annoyed during and after class
We’ve all experienced the post-WOD highs of CrossFit, where the heavy rush of endorphins makes you feel alive and gives you a big smile for the rest of the day. That’s how you’resupposed to feel. Exercise should elevate your mood, not lower it. When your body becomes overwhelmed from training, it produces hormones like cortisol that can cause anxiety. In addition, the stress that coincides with overtraining impedes chemicals like dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that can severely lower your mood when depleted. All of this points to a lack of time given to your body to recover.

9. Loss of appetite
Have you heard of epinephrine and norepinephrine? Of course you haven’t. I bring them up because these two suckers are hormones that tend to inhibit your appetite—and overtraining can cause an increase in them. On top of that, the physical exhaustion and stress that come with overtraining can also have the same effect.

10. Losing lean muscle mass
Unfortunately, losing fat isn’t as straightforward as simply burning more calories through increased work output. In fact, when you overtrain, you’re creating an imbalance in your hormones. A positive testosterone:cortisol ratio generally means more muscle and less fat, but when you spend too much time training your testosterone levels drop while your cortisol levels rise, which causes catabolism (the breakdown of muscle tissue), and increases insulin resistance and fat deposition. The end result is that despite an increase in your weekly workouts and the close monitoring of your diet, you still see the pounds add up and your definition decrease.


Monday 10/27/14

3 Rounds
10 Air Squats
10 KB Swings

1 Min Goblet Squat Hold

All Levels
Back Squat

4 Rounds
1 @ 85% +, 6 at a lighter weight.
* The goal is to increase weight each time on the 6 reps.

10 Rounds

5 Wallball 20/14

5 Burpees
Rest 1:00

– Pick up where you left off on the last round

Score total rounds

The Theory of Cumulative Stress: How to Recover When Stress Builds Up

It was my first year of graduate school and my professor was standing at the front of the room. He was telling our class about a mistake he made years before.

About a decade earlier, my professor had been one of the senior executives at Sears, Roebuck & Company, the large department store chain. They were in the middle of a massive national campaign and preparing for a major brand launch. My professor was leading the operation.

For almost two months prior to the launch day, he was flying all over the country to strike up buzz with major partners and media companies. While criss-crossing the country on flight after flight, he was also trying to run his department from the road. For weeks on end he would meet with the media and business partners all day, answer emails and phone calls all night, squeeze in 3 or 4 hours of sleep, and wake up to do it all over again.

The week before the big launch day, his body gave out on him. He had to be rushed to the hospital. Major organs had started to fail from the chronic stress. He spent the next eight days lying in a hospital bed, unable to do anything as the launch day came and went.

Your Bucket of Health and Energy

Imagine that your health and energy are a bucket of water.

In your day-to-day life, there are things that fill your bucket up. These are inputs like sleep, nutrition, meditation, stretching, laughter, and other forms of recovery.

There are also forces that drain the water from your bucket. These are outputs like lifting weights or running, stress from work or school, relationship problems, or other forms of stress and anxiety. [1]

recovery bucket

The forces that drain your bucket aren’t all negative, of course. To live a productive life, it can be important to have some of things flowing out of your bucket. Working hard in the gym, at school, or at the office allows you to produce something of value. But even positive outputs are still outputs and they drain your energy accordingly.

These outputs are cumulative. Even a little leak can result in significant water loss over time.

The Theory of Cumulative Stress

I usually lift heavy three days per week. For a long time, I thought I should be able to handle four days per week. However, every time I added the extra workout in, I would be just fine for a few weeks and then end up exhausted or slightly injured about a month into the program.

This was frustrating. Why could I handle it for four or five weeks, but not longer than that?

Eventually I realized the issue: stress is cumulative. Three days per week was a pace I could sustain. When I added that fourth day in, the additional stress started to build and accumulate. At some point, the burden became too big and I would get exhausted or injured.

In extreme cases, like that of my professor, this snowball of stress can start to roll so fast that it pushes you to the brink of death. But it’s important to realize that cumulative stress is something that you’re dealing with even when it isn’t a matter of life or death. The stress of extra workouts or additional mileage. The stress of building a business or finishing an important project. The stress of parenting your young children or dealing with a bad boss or caring for your aging parents. It all adds up.

Keeping Your Bucket Full

If you want to keep your bucket full, you have two options.

  1. Refill your bucket on a regular basis. That means catching up on sleep, making time for laughter and fun, eating enough to maintain solid energy levels, and otherwise making time for recovery.
  2. Let the stressors in your life accumulate and drain your bucket. Once you hit empty, your body will force you to rest through injury and illness. Just like it did with my professor.

Recovery is Not Negotiable

I’m in the middle of a very heavy squat program right now. (It’s called the Smolov squat program. If you’re interested, I put the spreadsheet up here.)

I’ve spent the last two years training with really easy weights and gradually working my way up to heavier loads. I’ve built a solid foundation of strength. But even with that foundation, the weights on this program are heavy and the intensity is high.

Because of this, I’m taking special care to allow myself additional recovery. I’m allowed to sleep longer than usual. If I need to eat more, so be it. Usually, I’m lazy about stretching and foam rolling, but I have been rolling my little heart out every day for the last few weeks. I’m doing whatever I can do to balance the stress and recovery deficit that this squat program is placing on me.


Because recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Keep your bucket full.


  1. My image of the bucket was inspired by the original idea of the stress and recovery bucket mentioned in Paul Chek’s book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!

Thanks to Mark Watts for originally sharing with me the idea that stress is cumulative.

Sunday 10/26/14


2 mile run

30 min AMRAP
4 Bar MU (4 chest 2 bar + 4 dips)
4 Front Rack squats KB
4 One leg dead lift with KB in each hand
4 Farmer Carry Lunges KB
8oom Run

The Importance of Losing

by tarynhaggerstone | October 15, 2013 11:50 pm


Competition: Winning vs Losing

The Importance of Losing[2]
Winning is fun, and so is hitting a PR or destroying a WOD, obviously.

But when it comes down to it,  the “best” competitions[3] are the ones where the WODs don’t play to our strengths or we miss our lifts or we fall short of how we wanted to place — because those are the ones we can really learn from.

Now of course I am not using the word “best” in reference to “most fun” or “most memorable” (at least not in a good way); I’m talking about “best” as in what will help us become better athletes.

Having success is an important part of competition, because if we always failed/did poorly, it

a) wouldn’t be much fun;
b) would probably result in us quitting/giving up; and
c) we’d never reach a higher level (kinda hard to get to the next level of competition if you keep coming in last).

Raise your game: When we want to get better at something what do we do? We train with/go up against people who are stronger, faster, and/or more experienced…

However, there is often much more to be learned from the competitions where we are out of our league, under-prepared, or simply don’t perform as expected than there is from the ones where we killed it. When we want to get better at something, what do we do? We train with/go up against people who are stronger, faster, and/or more experienced because they raise the bar and can help us realize that almost anything is possible if we’re willing to work for it. 

Part-way through WOD 1 at the Crossfit Squamish Fall Challenge, about when I started to realize my metcon needs some work

Lessons from Losing

This is something I needed to remind myself after last weekend (I competed on a team with my older sister Sally in the CrossFit Squamish Fall Challenge[5], and I did a lot worse than I’d hoped), and I figured the best way would be to put into words the ideas that were bouncing around in my head.

Going into the competition, I knew there were going to be some REALLY strong competitors… and knowing Jesse Bifano[6] and Chris Schaalo [7](the competition organizers), I was pretty sure the WODs were going to be rough. But after training hard all summer and really focusing on my strength[8], I was feeling… well… strong.

And as it turns out, I was/am as strong as I expected. Sally and I came in 3rd on WOD 2 Part 1 (a 2-min AMRAP of 135# back squats[9]), which is by far the best I’ve ever placed in competition and it felt awesome (we high-fived when the results/rankings were posted). However, I didn’t really learn anything from this workout because I already knew my squats were good — I’d been squatting all summer.

Enter WOD 3, aka “The Most Uncomfortable WOD I’ve Ever Done”

WOD 3 = A 12 Minute AMRAP of 40 Yard unweighted Prowler Pushes

I died.

Going into this workout I thought we would do relatively well. Though I wasn’t expecting to win (especially as I’d never used a prowler before), I figured we were both strong and would have an easier time pushing it, right? Yeah… that didn’t exactly happen.

Sally was awesome, running the prowler out and back every round, but after round 2 I was having trouble keeping the damn thing moving, let alone being able to run with it. I’d spent all summer training my strength, but most of that was low volume/high weights (think sets of 5 reps or less), and I was not prepared for 12 minutes of “Death by Prowler Push.”

Mental toughness, like any other skill, needs to be trained constantly, and I clearly had not done so over the summer.

Technically speaking, I knew that focusing almost purely on strength training over the summer would decrease my met-con and muscular endurance, though I did not fully understand that impact until last weekend. What was worse, however, was the realization that my mental toughness[11] and ability to just keep moving during those, long grueling WODs wasn’t what it should be. Mental toughness, like any other skill, needs to be trained constantly, and I clearly had not done so over the summer. Yes, my legs did give out, but if I’m being honest with myself —  it was my brain that quit. 

Pure Nastiness. The second picture is immediately post WOD and that is my lovely older sister (Sally) helping me up after I ass-planted into a puddle and tried not to cry (I'm a WOD cryer btw)

The Take-Away Lesson

I was disappointed in myself for not being able to keep up and push through (we came in 2nd to last out of all the teams for WOD 3), but I learned far more from getting my ass kicked in the prowler WOD than I did from destroying the squat workout because it showed me exactly what needed the most work:

  • Met-con
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Mental Toughness

I have about 3 weeks between now and my next competition (the Taranis Titan Challenge[13]), and I intend use that time to attack my weaknesses and be as prepared as I can be. I really hope I do better at the next competition (who wouldn’t?), and that I manage to address my current weaknesses; however, chances are there will be another horrible WOD that reveals a different glaring weakness.

As much as this constant “discovery” of weaknesses and shortcomings can suck, it is also how we become better athletes in the long run.

My sister and I just hanging out after the the Crossfit Squamish Fall Challeng

So… 2 Things to Keep in Mind

1. A disappointing competition performance isn’t necessarily a bad thing

because it can help us grow as athletes if we understand how to use/learn from the experience,


2. Remember to have fun with it

(even if a competition doesn’t go our way) because in the end if we aren’t enjoying ourselves, it isn’t worth it[15].

Visit Taryn Haggerstone’s blog Go Hard Get Strong[16] for more of her thoughts on training. Follow her on Twitter at @TarynHaggerston[17] and Instagram at @tarynemilyh[18].

Tags: Contributor Network[19], Taryn Haggerstone[20], competition[21], CrossFit Squamish Fall Challenge[5], Jesse Bifano[6], Chris Schaalo[22], strength[8], back squats[9], mental toughness[11], Taranis Titan Challenge[13], perspective[23]

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  18. @tarynemilyh:
  19. Contributor Network:
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  21. competition:
  22. Chris Schaalo:
  23. perspective:

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Saturday 10/25/14

4 rounds:

1 min per station

KB Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
Shuttle Run [10m out, 10m back]

Friday 10/24/14

For all movements you will work for 45 sec and have 15 sec rest


8 Rounds

Russian twist with wall ball

KB Swing

Goblet squat

Tire flip

Farmer carry box step up

Mountain climber

1 min rest


3 Rounds
10 Air Squats
10 KB Swings

1 Min Goblet Squat Hold

M-Comp & RX
10 Rounds (Find a daily max)
1 Deadlift + 1 Power Clean + 1 Squat Clean

10 Rounds (Find a daily max)
1 Deadlift + 1 Power Clean + 1 Front Squat

12 Min AMRAP
10 KB Box Step Ups (Total)
5 Deadlifts

M-Comp = Deadlifts 275/185
RX = Deadlifts 225/155
M1 = Deadlifts 165/115

Thursday 10/23/14

10 Rounds (each person)

One person pushes the sled down and back (yellow to yellow)

The other person does wallballs while the partner is pushing, then you switch!

3 Rounds
10 Air Squats
10 KB Swings

1 Min Goblet Squat Hold

M-Comp & RX
10 x 3 Strict Press @ 70%

Find a 1RM Strict Press
4 Rounds
400m Run
10 Thrusters
30 Double Unders

M-Comp = Thrusters 135/95
RX = Thrusters 115/80
M1 =Thrusters 95/65

How Do I Choose the Right Workout Program?

by Kristy Parrish | October 22, 2014 12:15 am

How Do I Choose the Right Workout Program?[1]

Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure it works, ask why it works, and put forth the due effort.

Results outline the efficacy of a workout program. With a sound, objective foundation (i.e., scientific principles of exercise, biomechanics, etc.), those results can be attributed to measurable variables on which that program can progress with predictability and continued results for the client. With a scattered, subjective foundation (i.e., anecdotal, lack of scientific principles), results are attainable, but the progression to follow will be difficult and convoluted because variables — especially those of the individual — were not accounted for. The latter is the challenge professionals and consumers face. 

One simple question: What are the clients’ goals and how can we (as trainers/coaches/professionals) get them there? Just 3 key variables matter: goals, a (systematic) process, and results. But for some reason(s), it’s never that easy. The following are some observations and patterns to consider/avoid when searching for and taking on a new workout regimen:

1. When You’re a Beginner, Everything “Works”

Probably one of the more difficult points to get across to many people. It’s usually regarded as Wilder’s Law of Initial Value, which basically outlines that the effect of any movement on the body depends largely on the initial exposure that body has had to that movement. This is the problem with taking other beginners’ advice on what they’re doing for their fitness: just doing jumping jacks every day, for example, will change a newly-reformed sedentary person who has never really exercised. “This works great for me!” is never a sufficient reason to take on someone else’s program. How do you progress once it stops working? Finding a professional who understands the human body and communicate its intricacies effectively is key.

2. Letting Emotion Play a Bigger Role Than It Should

Letting Emotion Play a Bigger Role Than It Should[2]

Regardless of whether or not your regimen is actually working, confirmation bias usually sets in.

It’s difficult not to bring emotion into something you plan on investing so much time in, and besides, we’re only human. Fitness is not an easy endeavor and commitment to it often becomes emotionally charged. Regardless of whether or not your regimen is actually working, confirmation bias usually sets in. This is exacerbated by the need, desire, and exploitation of a community (or shared suffering) – one of the reasons why the class setting for exercise is so popular. Realistically, very few people enjoy embarking on the fitness journey solo. Conformity is comfort, but this usually comes at the cost of becoming complacent with something that may be ineffective. Make the time and effort to find what works best for you, and always ask “why?” without the emotional attachment. 

3. Constantly Chasing Pain: The “More Is Better” Mentality

Constantly Chasing Pain: The "More Is Better" Mentality[3]
Soreness and hyperventilation-like breathing are the novice’s metric of a good workout. Don’t get me wrong — pushing and working regularly near thresholds is necessary for progress. “Regularly” does not, however, mean every day. Further, “regularly” is subjective to each individual’s (often unique) threshold, which is dictated by many different variables. Unfortunately, too many people think soreness and doing more is always the way (*cough* [functional fitness regimen] *cough*). The following quote outlines an important principle regarding this mentality:

“In biology, it’s rare to find an instance where more is always better. Biological systems respond in dose-response relationships. More is better — to a point. Once you get past that ideal range, more is worse.” -Myosynthesis

Eventually, there will be diminishing returns. Understanding how the body adapts to volume, frequency, and intensity are key to implementing a workout program.

4. Missing the Big Picture

Missing the Big Picture[4]
Finally, most novices and even veterans of the gym lose sight of the big picture too quickly… or never had sight of it at all. It’s not hard to grasp that strength, performance, and aesthetics are all drawn-out processes, but it’s hard to grasp the consistency it takes over the weeks, months, and years. Goals require long-term plans and long-term plans require discipline, hard work, and knowing your body. Says Bruce Lee, “Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity.”

Overall, just remember that obtaining fitness and good health are not easy endeavors. It’s easy to fall in to what everyone else is doing, but this in itself is a slippery slope. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure it works, ask why it works, and put forth the due effort.

Steve Kpa is the head coach and owner of Anchored Strength and Conditioning[5]. “Choosing a Workout Program[6]” was originally posted to his gym blog[7] on 16 October 2014.

Tags: Steve Kpa[8], Anchored Strength and Conditioning[5]

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Wednesday 10/22/14

2 Min Row
2 Rounds
5 Inchworms
5 Jumping Squats
10 Front Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Back Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Strict Press w/Empty Barbell  

12 Min EMOM

M-Comp & RX
Odd: Full Court SandBag Carry
Even: 3, Stone 2 Shoulder

Odd: Full Court Plate Carry (55/45)
Even: 3, Slam Ball 2 Shoulder

5 Rounds (For Time)
15 KB Swings
15 Burpees

M-Comp = 53/35
RX = 44/26
M1 = 35/15

*Don’t mod up, Don’t mod down. Move fast.

Pigeon (2 Minutes each leg)

The Sweat Complex

How do you know that a training session is a “good one?” Surely, there can be some physical enjoyment to training and the feeling you get afterwards, but I feel as though students often evaluate training based on the wrong things.

If the amount you sweat during training spoke to efficiency in developing fitness, Bikram yoga would develop the fittest men and women on Earth. It doesn’t.

“Man, that was a good workout,” is often synonymous with those days you breathe hard and sweat through your shirt. Of course, sweating a ton and feeling like you worked hard often go hand and hand with quality training, however, it’s important to recognize that it’s not the sweat or even how “hard” the workout feels that makes it good.

That’s silly.

Too many times I hear folks validating training by how hard it is, whether it’s yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, or otherwise. Training is done to come out on the other end different. To go about it any other way is silly, especially since virtually no one comes into the gym wanting to sign up for a membership so they can feel like their going to puke a few times a week. The purpose is adaptation. They want to look better, feel better, and perform better.

In that way, programs that are “great” because you sweat the most in them might not be that great. You know what would make me sweat through my shirt, challenge me every minute, and be excruciating challenging? Balancing on one foot while holding two encyclopedias with out stretched arms for thirty minutes, except that’s not smart training.

By all means, I’m not saying one shouldn’t enjoy the struggles of training and embrace getting a good sweat. If, though, that’s the extent by which your training is validated, it’s probably short sided, ineffective, or both. Believe me. We don’t write our programming here based on how much you’ll sweat or how tough it’d feel.

We’re changing your fitness.

Logan Gelbrich


Tuesday 10/21/14

Buy in:

100 DU (300 singles)

5 rounds

10 Tricep presses on one parallet

10 lateral jump overs (each way is one)

10 burpees

100 DU (300 singles)

Tabata plank

4 min regular

4 min left side

4 min right side

2 Min Row
2 Rounds
5 Inchworms
5 Jumping Squats
10 Front Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Back Squats w/Empty Barbell
10 Strict Press w/Empty Barbell  


M-Comp & RX
4×8 Front Squat @ 70% of 1RM

5×5 Front Squat

15 Min EMOM
Min 1: 10 Toes 2 Bar
Min 2:  10 Push Jerks
Min 3:  12 Goblet Lunges

M-Comp = Push Jerks 155/105
RX = Push Jerks 135/95
M1 = Push Jerks 115/80

*Mod Today is based on Jerks

Extra Stuff
5×5 GHR

10 Things I’ve Picked Up in My First Year of CrossFit

by Hilary Wiebe | October 20, 2014 2:00 am

10 Things I've Picked Up in My First Year of CrossFit[1]
This past September was my one year CrossFit anniversary. I’m really excited for what lies ahead, but I’m also celebrating a year’s worth of accomplishments.

Over the past year, my fitness has really improved. But I’ve also learned a lot, changed, and grown as a person. Here are some of my takeaways — some are cheesy, some are clichés, but they’re all true. So, here goes. In the past year, I’ve gotten…

1. Some mean hand calluses and sweet bruises.

Comes with the territory (and being slightly accident-prone and someone who bruises easily). Thankfully I’m not the type to get bent out of shape by a little black and blue on my legs. And a few calluses[2] are a small price to pay for the otherwise awesome results.

2. Clothes that fit a bit differently.

I’ve worked hard for these muscles, and I’m proud of them, despite the wardrobe inconveniences.

Skinny jeans are um, well, difficult to get on. And once they are on, the waist is loose but the legs are, shall we say, pretty snug (#quadzilla). Some of my favourite blazers and blouses begin to cut off the circulation in my upper arms when I sit down, bend over, or reach for something. It might sound like I’m complaining, but I actually like the way I look. I’ve worked hard for these muscles, and I’m proud of them, despite the wardrobe inconveniences. Plus, my arms and legs might be bigger, but my stomach and waist are smaller, so I’ll take that any day. 

3. A new crowd of people to hang out with.

A new crowd of people to hang out with.[3]
It’s hard to do CrossFit without meeting some great people. There’s something about the shared suffering of pushing through a workout together that creates a bond. Over the past few months, time spent at the gym has spilled over into camping, dinners and nights out. And I’m finding it’s harder to get in and out of the gym quickly because I spend so much time catching up with everyone.

4. A new vocabulary.

A new vocabulary.[4]
The word “chipper” no longer means happy, but rather conjures up fear and loathing of the long workout ahead. The name Fran instantly brings to mind exhaustion and the desire to vomit. My phone now autocorrects to WOD and AMRAP.

5. Five extra pounds.

You heard (read) that right. Despite the fact that I’ve received several compliments on how I look since starting CrossFit, I actually weigh slightly more than I did when I started (hello, lean muscle). But that number doesn’t bother me like it once would have. I’m healthier now than I was in my “skinny” days, and I actually like the look of my body with a little muscle on it.

6. Coaches who know me, care about me, and want to see me succeed.

Coaches who know me, care about me, and want to see me succeed.[5]
I love it when my coach[6] knows I can go harder and pushes me to a heavier weight or higher standard. Or on the flip side, when I’m encouraged to go lighter to keep form. I’ve put in the time to keep showing up, working hard, and asking for help, and been rewarded with coaches who are willing to invest their time in helping me achieve my goals.

7. A whole bunch of new skills.

Nothing is more satisfying than having a goal to work for, then putting in the hard work and knowing that you made it happen.

Being somewhat of a non-athlete, I have had to work hard to attain many CrossFit movements. But I made it my mission to conquer them, devoting time after class to extra work. I’ve still got things I want to accomplish, but I’m proud to say that in my first year of CrossFit, I’ve crossed double-unders[7], handstands[8], push-ups from my toes, and — most recently — rope climbs[9] off my list (Literally. I actually have a list of goals in my phone that get a green emoji checkmark when I achieve them). 

8. The vision to set goals, dream big and work hard.

The vision to set goals, dream big and work hard.[10]
Speaking of goals… The longer I stuck around CrossFit, the harder I worked. With all the time I was spending there, I wanted something to work for. So I talked to one of my coaches, set some goals, and developed a plan to work towards them. And when I’d met most of them, we sat down to re-evaluate and plan again. Nothing is more satisfying than having a goal to work for, then putting in the hard work and knowing that you made it happen. And I’ve found that goal-setting and drive has transferred outside the gym too.

9. A whole new perspective on myself.

I have told myself for my whole life that I wasn’t an athlete, that I would always be the worst or the slowest. In short, letting “I can’t” define me way more than it should have. Over the past year, I have been constantly surprising myself with how many times I can.

I wrapped up my first year of CrossFit by participating in my first ever team competition. I couldn’t believe how much fun I had, and my team didn’t do too badly either. Pretty good for a non-athlete, right? 

10. A workout I actually look forward to.

A workout I actually look forward to.[11]
I used to love Sundays because it was my day off from working out. And while I still do enjoy the rest day[12], I’m honestly excited to wake up Monday morning and get back to the gym. I may or may not go twice a day most days, to fit in a WOD and some lifting. At first, it was because I’m a pretty thrifty person and like to get the most out of what I pay for. But now I can honestly say that I go so often because I just love to be there.

After one year of CrossFit, I truly believe the sky is the limit. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and am armed with new goals going into Year Two. I can’t wait to see where I am in another year.

Your turn: If you’ve been CrossFitting for a while, what would you add to this list?

Originally posted to the blog 2 Babes and a Barbell[13] on 5 October 2014. Follow Hilary on Instagram[14] and Twitter[15] or visit her up and coming blog, 2 Babes and a Barbell[16], where she and her CrossFit BFF Jess blog on their CrossFit life.

Tags: Contributor Network[17], Hilary Wiebe[18], hand maintenance[19], coach[6], double-unders[7], handstands[8], rope climbs[9], rest day[12]

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  18. Hilary Wiebe:
  19. hand maintenance:

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