Nerves from

I’m always nervous before a CrossFit workout. Always.

Aren’t you?

If you don’t have a little bit of nerves before your workout, then maybe your workout is not hard enough. It’s a cliche, a slogan, the back of a t-shirt, but here’s the thing about that kind of stuff: there’s usually an element of truth, that’s why people repeat it and wear it. Good workouts scare you a little bit. They make you throw up a little bit in your mouth before — and maybe some during or after. (Ewww. But true, admit it.)

If you’re looking forward to today’s WOD with a smile and a skip and a song in your heart, then something is probably wrong in your WOD or your head. Or you’re the trainer. (Ha! We are some sick folks.) Because very few people actually look forward that much to pushing themselves into the red zone. There will be more pain than pleasure during most WODs. As someone a lot smarter than me said last week: “You have signed up for something whose mascot is a vomiting clown. What made you think this would be pleasant?”

Anyhow, the point is this: Performing at a high level is not a walk in the park, a jog around the track, or a nice and steady heart rate. No matter what you’re engaged in, if you want to achieve, you’ve got to put it out there on the line, push yourself into discomfort, and do it again and again and again. (Although not every single workout: be smart and listen to your body.) This holds true for CrossFit, for writing, for love, for life. Achievement does not come without discomfort. And, if you’re planning to achieve, then you might be a little bit nervous. That’s okay. People cope with nerves in all sorts of ways: breathing, drink, drugs, pills. We cope with anxiety by going harder in the workout. Yup, we’re sick mothers. Now go get your butt in the gym and train like hell.

1/Sept/2011 Thursday WOD

10-1 Front Squats (75/53)

10-1 Pullups

10-1 Box Jumps 24/20

Complete 10 reps of each, 9 reps, 8 reps, etc down to 1.


Oly:  5:30pm class or 5×1 Hang Snatch @ 70%, 5×1 Snatch @ 80%.

Endurance:  Row 2K on 1/1 breath, then row 1K on 2 inhales/1 exhale per stroke.

With Bob’s permission I’m sharing an email he sent me this week on the day of his 1 year Crossfit Anniversary:

Hey Damon, exactly 1 year since you, yourself, started me on CrossFit – 8/29/2010.  I started at 201 lbs, Bicep 13in, Quad 23in, Waist 41.5in, couldn’t run to any extent, do pull ups or push ups for the most part.  64 years old, not on Medicare.

Today, a year later at 179.5 lbs, Bicep 12.5, Quad 22, Waist 34, run a mile, better all around abilities but lots of room for more improvement.  65 years old, on Medicare even though I have no intention on using it.  Injury free which quashes the fear I keep hearing from others of my age.  Modified diet primarily by cutting out the breads.

So thanks to you, Damon and Priscilla, your very talented Coaches (in no particular order) Tiff, Carol, Jen, Zack, John, Jill) and my  fellow athletes for pushing and supporting me.  I’ve met a lot of really great folks in CF.

Especially thanks to Kim, Shane, and Lu of the family for prompting me and keeping me motivated as fellow CFers @ CFCV in Logan.

And to Suz for supporting me the past year to the extent now she is beginning CF as she retires from her work-life.

Looking forward to the coming year.


31/Aug/2011 Wednesday WOD, courtesy of

Eight rounds for max reps of:

75/53 pound Push press, 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Jumping alternating lunge, 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds

Each round lasts 1 minute, this WOD runs for 8 straight minutes.


Strength:  Good morning 3×5 @ 50% of back squat 1RM.  Stiff legged Deadlifts 3×5 @ 50% of DL 1RM

Endurance:  Run 2.4 mile (the loop x2)


SKILL – deadlift


2 Deadlifts

4 Box Jumps

6 Push Ups


SKILL – kettlebell swing


5 Kettlebell Swings

5 Tetter Totters

5 Sit ups

I heard Anne smiled through all 20-some minutes of her Birthday WOD too

Today’s WOD is in honor of Coach Jen’s birthday which was yesterday.  She said she’s turning 21 so I was tempted to do Fran but after last week’s Baby Fran decided we’d do a couple of her favorite movements.  The pullups are chin-ups:  Palms facing you and strict!  If sets of 5 are easy for you feel free to add a chain or two.

I’m going to talk about an eating experiment I’m doing but with one caveat:  This is for people who are on a Paleo template, have their eating pretty much dialed, and have a low level of emotional attachment to food.  We’ve got a 30 day “Whole 30” (google it) challenge coming up next month so don’t by any means feel obligated to do what I’m doing.  On the other hand, if you’re able to think of food as fuel and don’t mind a short-term increase in met-con times balanced out by leaning out quickly read on.  For the next 16 days I’ll be following a simple eating template.  On days 1, 2, and 3 I’ll eat no more than of 25g of carbs.  That’s pretty much a packet of ketchup and so what that really means is only leafy green vegetables.  Otherwise I’ll be eating lean meat and fat from the healthiest sources possible.  For me that’s olive oil, egg yolks, and avocados.  Overall I’m striving to take in slightly more calories than I normally do so anytime I’m hungry I’ll eat and load up on meat & fat.  On the evening of day 4 I’ll carb up from healthy sources like sweet potatoes, fruit, maybe even some rice while continuing to eat a ton of lean protein and good fats.  I’ll repeat this cycle of 3/1 for 16 days.  During this time I expect to drop 2-4% of my bodyfat while maintaining the same weight or even slightly gaining.

There really aren’t a whole lot more details than this.  I’ve been eating a Paleo template for the last 5+ years and like to experiment occasionally and see how my body responds.  I expect some ketosis and for day 3 to suffer a little as my glycogen is depleted but then the evening carb up on day 4 should put refuel my tanks.  If you’re interested and have questions let me know but again….this is for people who have their eating down pat and want to play with leaning out a little.  Typically as you lean out your performance will increase until you reach a point of diminishing returns.  From there you’ll add fat until you’re at the point of optimal performance.  For me that’s 6-8% BF with my strength being highest on the high end of that range.

30/Aug/2011 “Happy Birthday Jen WOD”

5 Rounds for time

3 Deadlifts

5 Chin-ups

Gold:  315/223  Silver:  225/153  Bronze:  Scale as needed.  Go heavy but with great form.


Oly:  Hang C&J x 5 @ 60%, C & J x5 @ 70%.  Focus on finishing the shrug on the clean as well as quickly shooting your front foot out on the jerk.  Or come to our 5:30pm Oly class.

Endurance:  Run 10x100m on grass.  %’s:  70, 70, 80, 80, 80, 90, 100, 100, 100, 80.

Perfect Thruster lockout:  Elbows, hips, knees fully extended, head through the window.

This weekend was great because of the amazing friendships I’ve been fortunate enough to make at WCF.  A BBQ Friday night, O-lifting with my friends Saturday at WCF, then go boating at Pineview, swim and cliff dive at Causey Sunday after church, and then attend a small Birthday party.  All with Wasatch Crossfitters.  When we first moved to Utah in 2004 it was supposed to be temporary.  I had signed a 5 year contract and was literally counting d0wn the days until we left.  Then Wasatch Crossfit happened.  We started building friendships, relationships, and a tremendous level of community.  Now we couldn’t imagine leaving behind the tight-knit community we’re a part of.  We’ll be doing some community events in the next few months and I strongly encourage you to attend.  And if you’re doing something fun next weekend?  Feel free to invite a WCF’er if you’ve got a little extra room.

29/Aug/2011 “Happy 24th Birthday Coach Anne”

Row 750m

24 Burpees

Run 800m

24 Burpees

Row 750m

24 Burpees

Run 800m

24 Burpees


Strength:  Squat 3×5 (add 5 lbs to last workout)
Press 3×5 (add 5 lbs to last workout)

Endurance:  Tabata Row (meters)

It takes a certain level of mental toughness to smile during a tough WOD

I wanted to blog about pushing through tough WODs but then I read this interview with Games competitor Pat Barber and it expressed what I was feeling better than I could say it.  Take a minute to read it:

26/Aug/2011 Friday WOD

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Hang Power Cleans (135/93)

KB Swings (1.5/1)
Strength:  Bench Press 10, 10, 10
                Ring Pullups (rings to chest) 10, 10, 10
Endurance:  30 min Run TT

The 1.8 mile (3.3km) trail run for the Retro Game is good to go at East Mountain Wilderness park.  A couple of our athletes have already demo’d it and found it not to be too bad.  Of course they weren’t running it as fast as they could so we’ll see how they feel at the Retro Games.

The cost to enter the Retro Games goes up $15 as of Sept 1st so if you know you’re going to do it hurry up and get registered.  So far we have Rogue Fitness, Concept 2, and Progenex signed on as sponsors plus several local ones.  We should be able to put together some cool swag for the athletes plus you’ll have a blast competing.

Olympic Weightlifting today – Small group sessions during the day plus a 5:30pm class open to all members.  If you want to improve your Crossfit in every aspect O-lifting is the way to go.

Today’s WOD is challenging but fun!  The faster you go the more rest you’ll have.  Basically you’ll start the workout at 0min, 10min, and 20min.  So if you were to do it in 5 minutes flat each time you’d have 5 minutes to rest before starting the next round.  Make sense?  In that scenario your time for the day would be 15 minutes.  If it took you 6 minutes for each “baby Fran” your total working time would be 18min and you would have rested for 4 minutes each round.

25/Aug/2011 Thursday WOD

Triple Baby Fran
15, 12, 9 Thrusters/Pullups on 0 min, 10min, and 20 min.
Your total working time is your time for the whiteboard.
Oly:  Attend Oly class or C& J 10x 1 @ 80% (on the minute)
Row:  3K TT

Ben Novak has a team put together for Ragnar Las Vegas and we need 5 more runners.  Please post to comments if you’re interested.  One itsy bitsy warning…the team name is “Dragnar.”  Rumor has it that means at least 1 leg in costume.

Today and tomorrow’s WOD to me are the best of Crossfit, fun and challenging.  I hope you enjoy them.

23/Aug/2011 Wednesday WOD “Choose your WODventure”

Pick 3 of 4:
With a continuously running clock do 2 minutes of:
Max pushups, max cal rowed, max situps, max burpees.  Score is total reps.
Strength:  Front Squat 2, 2, 2, 2, 2
                 HSPU’s ME x 3, MU’s ME x 3
Endurance:  2x800m


SKILL – Front Squat


Little Karen – 50 Wallballs


SKILL – Back Squat

WOD 3/5 Rounds

10 Back Squats

10 Sit ups

10 Walking lunges

Last year we had someone walk in from the gym I will refer to as “Crosswalk Fitness” which is around a mile away from us.  She wanted to try Crossfit but her trainer told her it was too hard for “even him” to do.  Instead she was sold an expensive personal training package which consisted of a bored trainer with a clipboard following her around from machine to machine helping her count to 12.  If you’ve Crossfitted you know two things:  functional movement is hard but it’s also highly scaleable.  In a workout like yesterdays you’ll see athletes lifting 200+ lbs right next to newbies doing a hang power clean with 35lbs.  Regardless of how out of shape someone is life still makes demands on them.  We still need to lift things, move our bodies, sometimes run, jump, or even throw.  Crossfit can help anyone at virtually any level meet those demands.  We can adapt the load to people’s fitness (or lack of it) at when they walk through our doors.  Mike M is pictured above training his grandfather who is in his 80’s.  Guess he was lucky nobody told him Crossfit was too hard.

23/Aug/2011 Tuesday WOD

3 Rounds for time
50 Air Squats
25 Pullups
Oly:  Attend Oly class or Snatch 7×1 @ 80% (on the minute)
Endurance:  3x500m w/in :15 of PR pace

Well, maybe not anything.

I talked with one of our athletes this weekend and he said something profound but simple:  “I’m not going to erase years of neglect in a couple of months so I’m willing to do the workouts with a lighter weight some days.”  In what is not a coincidence, he’s also lost 35lbs while gaining muscle in 6 months.  Amazing progress can be made if you’re willing to check your ego at the door, slowly push your limits, and eat a Paleo based diet.  Sometimes a little patience goes a long way.

22/Aug/2011 Monday WOD

10 Rounds:

  1 Clean* then max box jumps in :20.  Then rest :40.  Score is load cleaned plus total box jumps. (24/20)


Strength: Deadlift 4, 4, 4, 4 @ 80% of 1 RM (1 min rest)
Strict Pull Ups 1 x max reps

Endurance:  400m, 200m, 4x100m

I see so many pictures on Crossfit blogs of people with the bar racked in a terrible position.  These two have the bar racked perfectly:  Hands relaxed, elbows up, ribs closed.  Nice!

Did you know?  We post a daily photo gallery both here on the blog and on Flickr.

We also have a gym subscription to and  If you need to be invited in to BTW send me an email and you can text/email for the Paleo Plan log-in.  Rumor has it BTW is working on an iPhone and Droid app which should launch sometime in 2011.

20/Aug/2011 Saturday WOD

9am – Olympic Weightlifting with Coach Erin (free to members)

10am – Free Crossfit WOD (Team WOD today!)