3 basic nutrition principles

Imagine you are going on a road trip. You’re going to drive from Philly to your cousin’s wedding in North Carolina. You packed the car, you’ve left early. You’ve also decided to disconnect the monitor for the gas tank so when it runs out and the car abruptly stops, you’ll be forced to figure out some way to fuel it and see if you can complete the trip. When the car starts to sputter, you’ll just turn up the music.

Your cousin would be pissed. You wouldn’t ever do that. Instead, you would monitor the gas, understand your relationship to your fuel source, see where gas stations were so that you could arrive happy, on time and enjoy the trip.

If you’re in the gym without a plan on fueling your body – this is exactly what’s happening. The good news is that you don’t have to, there’s a better way.

3 basic principles

In all of the conversations that we’ve had around nutrition over the years and the varied plans relative to goals, needs and bodies, here are three things anyone can benefit from with regardless of diet or goals;

1. Sleep.WTF.. You said this was about food”. Remember, this is about fuel, and your body being able to effectively process that fuel. Sleep is one of the absolute most overlooked parts of recovery and building your body. Some simple ways it helps nutrition include improving digestion and regulating hunger. Set a goal of 8 hours, track it and watch how it changes your body.

2. Water. “Like a cleanse??” No, just actual water. Not with sugar and not 4 gallons a day. Carry a bottle so you know how much you’re drinking. Don’t like regular water? Try some with bubbles or a slice of lemon. Try and get at least half to 3⁄4 of your bodyweight in total ounces per day. That’s all, drink when you’re thirsty. 

3. Eat whole foods (not necessarily AT Whole Foods..).  As often as you can (I know we just told you to drink from a water bottle), try and not take your food out of plastic, but instead start with it in its natural form. Why is this good? It means you’ll eat foods that have fewer preservatives and are less processed. It also slows down your eating process and preparing foods gives you more insight into what you are actually eating or feeding others (yay cooking!). You’ll also create less waste – double win.

 Wait, isn’t there more to it?

Our Precision Nutrition Certified Coaches would love share stories of transformation, success and developing individualized maps to get there. However, our approach to anything we offer is how can we make the maximum impact with the smallest dose. Start with the basics, do them well, then start to dive down the rabbit hole.

Two questions to ask your Coach

We are in the golden age of unsupported health and fitness advice courtesy of the internet. Gone is the need to demonstrate proficiency before being a trusted source of information, just flash a set of abs and a smile. In its place, many have shown results (let’s say abs in 8 minutes for example), without a grounding in reality. They have shown a map, without no sense of the actual territory within it (your life). That’s where actual professionals come in, and that’s what you should seek out when you start a training program. Here are two good questions to start with when you begin that journey.

 Question 1:

“How will what I’m doing help me achieve my goal?”

 First, this means communicating a goal, which is incredibly important. Do you really need to be jumping rope on top of a balance ball? Should I be doing hours of intense cardio per week? Maybe, but probably not. What is the point of what you’re doing in the gym and do you (and your Coach) truly understand it? If not, it’s hard to know if your valuable time and money are being spent well.

 Question 2:

Does your Coach use these same methods?

You’ve joined a gym, paid a trainer, signed up for a class – all because they come with a knowledge to help you achieve a goal. This means that you’ve given your hard-earned money to a subject matter expert. If they’re having you do things that they don’t or wouldn’t do – why should you do it?

 This also ensures that whoever you entrust with your goals is practicing and learning, not just giving you 60 minutes of chit-chat with weights. Just because someone is a professional doesn’t mean that they don’t need to continue learning, it is actually the opposite. We define professionalism by someone who keeps learning and refining their craft. You deserve to be getting a five-star dining experience, not the test kitchen of Instagram.

 Know the territory

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that if your Coach considers the principles of your training to be the same as theirs, if they’re walking the path as well – you’re off to a great start. That’s using a pre-determined map of experience in the real world which happens to be your life and making sure you stay happy and healthy.

What should I expect in a CrossFit class?

“Ok, class, today we’re doing an EMOM of power snatches at 60% and building followed by a 12 min AMRAP of  four pistols, two muscle ups and one clean and jerk. Ready? 3,2,1…” CUE THE ANXIETY. What does any of that even mean? Let’s clear a few things up..

What should you expect in a CrossFit class?

Physical training is designed to challenge your body, not stress you out. Let’s start by defining CrossFit. Constantly varied, functional movements performed at a (relatively) high intensity. In our gym, constantly varied means that you won’t work the same part of the body or type of training (sprint efforts to longer, steady-state) on the same day each week, this allows for you to avoid stalling on a plateau and not improving. We carefully program out weeks and months ahead of time to measure overall volume (how many times per week you are squatting or pressing for example) and then writing fun and challenging workouts.

What is the flow of a class?

Each class is planned out to the minute, allowing for a fun and safe environment. Each day’s workout is different, but here’s a sample peek behind the scenes:

  • Minute 0-5: Welcome the class, gather warm up equipment

  • Minute 5-15: Warm up – a series of movements to prime your body for the session ahead and allow the Coach to watch how each athlete is moving that day.

  • Minute 15-35: Strength or skill development. Some days this portion will focus on a weightlifting movement or maybe gymnastics. This is where each athlete is honing technique and receiving Coach feedback on movements.

  • Minute 35-40: Workout explanation and set up. Most days, the workout will incorporate some or all of the movements we’ve been working on in the strength/skill portion of class. The Coach will explain the point of the workout (either accomplishing a task, or working out for an amount of time).

  • Minute 40-55: Workout! Here’s where we dial in the relative intensity part of the definition of CrossFit. Each athlete in class will perform the same workout, however the load they are using may vary by a hundred pounds or more. How do you know what’s right for you? Our Coaches coordinate a plan with every athlete in class ahead of time.

  • Minute 55-50: Wrap up! The class isn’t over until everyone gets a fist bump and recognizes the hard work that EVERYONE put in for the day.

“So, I’m only going fast for 10-15 minutes of the total hour?”

Yes, the reason there comes back to intensity. We want to achieve the maximum benefit from the minimal dose. Crushing your body for an hour isn’t hard to do, dialing in the intensity for your session with a Coach is how you’ll see the most benefit and greatest overall return. Expect to balance the energy of a group class with the personalization of private training – that’s how we provide value to our members.

“I’m not great at all the movements..”

That’s why you have a Coach whose entire job is making sure that you are challenged, safe and have an awesome time in your class. There’s ALWAYS things to learn (even for us! We do this stuff too!), that’s part of the fun, pushing yourself, but in an effective and structured way. Let’s get started!

How a burpee could save your life – Peggy’s story

“If I were to fall down, I wouldn’t be able to get up, I don’t know what I would do.”

Here’s how the much-maligned burpee, can potentially save your life.

Meet Peggy, that quote was one of the first things she told us. Peggy is 76 years old, a cancer survivor, retired dancer and complete badass. She contacted us about 9 months ago asking if we could help her with a few goals. The first was to be able to get off the floor and back to standing if she fell, because after years of chemo, she had been robbed her of much of her strength and balance.

“Let’s learn the burpee”

 There are two rules of training in our CrossFit classes. One, methods will only be taught that have direct utility in the real world. Two, that the movements be coached to be appropriate for everyone regardless of age, ability of experience in each class. Cue, the burpee.

If you were to fall in the street, and need to get back up quickly, you would be doing a burpee (ok, maybe you could skip the clap over-head…). Therefore, we started by breaking the movement into parts; a squat, a plank, a push up, balancing back to standing. Peggy’s needs weren’t any different than anyone else’s, just the methods to learn and achieve them, and so that’s where we began.

 13

That’s how many burpees Peggy did, unassisted during a workout of the day a few weeks ago that was a 3- minute burpee test. Peggy came in looking for greater self-sufficiency, to take back control of her life, to learn a burpee. Now, she does them as part of class warm ups (with a smile) and along the way she’s learned all the rest of the movements we use in CrossFit classes. And that’s the point. To understand, and not be limited by our bodies, but rather embrace our body. So, next time you’re doing burpees, say a breathless “thank you” for the body you have and if you’re in the 6am class, watch out for Peggy closing on you…

Member of the Month – GEORGE!!!!

Wowowow, Congratulations George!

Once a month, our community votes to recognize a single member who embodies the spirit of Subversus Fitness. He/she is someone who has a good attitude, even on the toughest days, is always there to lend support to fellow athletes, and generally goes the extra mile to help build our community to become even more awesome. When it’s time to vote, we send a reminder email out to the entire crew, but if you ever see another member do something really cool for you or the gym in general, feel free to shoot us an email at info@crossfitcc.com or leave a note in the box to tell us what happened! Our Member of the Month is always awarded a FREE month of membership to Subversus.

What some of you had to say about G Baby Elephant Tito!

Yay George!!! Super deserving of MOTM (how has he not already been it??). Even though his strength and skill (and height, relative to me) can be intimidating, he always has a smile on his face and takes the time to say hi along with a high five or fist bump. He’s super friendly, laid back, genuine, and if you’re lucky enough to catch a class with him+Nick Shafer, expect to laugh. And bonus: he’s a fellow Taurus. Congrats George! Keep killin’ it!

— Julie

It’s about time! One day about 2 years ago this giant Greek God-looking guy, who was new at the gym asked me if he could work with me doing some strict presses during a WOD, and all I thought was “I gotta lift more than this new guy”. I don’t know what he was thinking, but it was probably something like “Don’t dance while strict pressing”. I soon realized that with George, he cares more about lifting other people up and encouraging others, more than just doing more than them or being on top of the whiteboard. Since he joined the gym, he has
become not just mine, but so many people’s favorite person at the gym. He always brings a positive attitude and makes all the time spend at the gym just a little better. If you’ve never had the pleasure of doing a workout with him, you are missing out. Just get ready to dance and get a yelled at a little.

— Nick Shafer

First of all George is hilarious. Every time I’m in class with him I’m always laughing. If you’re having a bad day just go to a class with George, his singing will cheer you up. He always brings positive energy and cheers on others. Congrats George!

— Mike Popo

OMG OMG OMG! So well deserved! George is easily one of my favorite faces to see at the gym. He is a real gift, duh! Honestly, just make him member of the year! Sorry every body else. 225!!

— Lane

Congratulations George!! George has so many strengths and that is not including his pure strength! He is the most positive person always. George cheers on literally every single person in the gym. He will scream “UP” at you when you are at the bottom of a squat, which is great because you may forget that is what you need to do when you are at the bottom, get up.. totally makes sense. He is so light on his feet whether he is dancing mid workout or stringing triple unders together, he just glides across the gym floor. (We won’t mention there is video evidence of him tripping while running during a metcon, but he was surprisingly graceful during this as well) He takes the workouts seriously but does not take himself too seriously. He works so hard, but it is effortless and he makes everyone around him feel his positive energy. You cannot help but laugh or dance or sing along with him, his happiness is truly infectious. So happy for George!! Well deserved.

— LCal

Congratulations from the Coaches!

The best hype man in the game. George is relentlessly positive, encouraging and a master at jumping rope #triplesfordays. He brings excitement and energy to every class and you’ll hear him cheering for each athlete until everyone is finished. Well done, George – keep it up!!

— Wylie

Yay! Congrats George! Can’t believe it’s taken so long for you to win this!!!

George is such a great member of this community and when he takes one of my classes I know I’m in for a good time. His humor, willingness to learn and positive attitude make for a memorable time. Whether if we are working out together or if I’m coaching George I can always rely on him to put a smile on my face.

Good stuff Georgie! You deserve it!!!

— Luis

George is the most energizing presence I’ve ever encountered. He’ll elevate any class he walks into, and no one can resist that charm. No one. This win was a long time coming. Kudos!

— Tim

George is everyones best friend. Everyone’s celebrity crush. Every fathers dream come true. He is so energetic and full of spirit – he EFFORTLESSLY influences the energy of the room, coaches included. I’ve seen him have a bad day like once, and that day was a very bad day for me too. He knows the words to every song, he has had personal dance lessons from Shakira, and he is the light of my coaching life.

— Voz

FINALLY. I assume the reason it took this long is because while he’s an amazing member and an inspiring athlete, George is just so demure and unassuming people weren’t aware he was in the room. Hopefully this helps him break out of his shell a little. Sincerely— George is always a bright spot for an evening of training, unconditionally supportive of his fellow members, and part of the glue that holds this community together. We’re better for having him, and lucky to call ourselves his home. Congratulations!

— Justin

And now, from our winner!

What’s your day job and profession?

Currently I am a 3rd year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in the process of figuring out what I would like to pursue as a career.

WHATS A SKILL OR GOAL THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON?

My current goal is to get to the gym at least 3x a week because my schedule varies week to week and is out of my control. Also not cherry picking workouts and just coming in and doin the damn thang. A more finite goal is stringing triple unders.

What is your favorite meal to cook for someone?

Unfortunately it’s been a while since Ive cooked, but when I do I’m big on breakfast and brunch. I love making crazy omelettes and ridiculous pancakes (pumpkin banana pancakes are around the corner).

What movement are you most hoping for in the Open?

I love anything with double unders honestly and workouts where I can string butterfly pull-ups!!!!

If you had to be one CrossFit Girl workout, which one would you be and why?

If I could be a Girl workout I would be Annie! I think it’s an overall straightforward workout that can be modified for everyone, and who doesn’t love a nice little core burn that lasts three days?

What song gets you hyped up when you feel like dying?

This is tough because I have a few songs that always get me hype for decades now, and some newer songs that currently get me hype. Of note:

Oldie but goodie- till I collapse- Eminem

Currently:

-Megatron

-hot gurlllll summmmerrr

Thanks, George! Keep crushing it in workouts!

Member of the Month – Matt!

Congratulations, Matt!

Once a month, our community votes to recognize a single member who embodies the spirit of Subversus Fitness. He/she is someone who has a good attitude, even on the toughest days, is always there to lend support to fellow athletes, and generally goes the extra mile to help build our community to become even more awesome. When it’s time to vote, we send a reminder email out to the entire crew, but if you ever see another member do something really cool for you or the gym in general, feel free to shoot us an email at info@crossfitcc.com or leave a note in the box to tell us what happened! Our Member of the Month is always awarded a FREE month of membership to Subversus.

What some of you had to say about Matt!

Congrats, Matt! I am so excited to see you win! In your own words you are trying to “stay under the radar” but as an OG member you were long overdue for this honor and I am so happy to have been able to be a part of your win! Matt is a quiet assassin and long standing 4:30 attendee. He shows up, works hard, and is always a cheerful and fun face in class. He is a phenom on the bike or rower and when he gets off minutes before me EVERY time, I am just amazed. In addition, his gymnastics skills are super impressive and I always enjoy taking Elevate with Matt! Thanks for always being a great friend around the gym. Cheers to you!

— Alexa

Well, things are certainly looking up for Matt. Of course they had nowhere to go but up after he was mistaken for my doppleganger, but this is a very deserved honor. I always love when one of the more quiet members of the gym get voted as MOTM because it shows that people notice actions at least as much as words, and Matt’s actions make him a great choice. I have two recurring thoughts in my mind when I think of Matt. The first is that when I show up before a 5:30 class, and check out the whiteboard of the classes before, Matt almost always has a great score/time for me to shoot for..and I almost without fail end up falling short (especially if it involves a rower…he’s a beast on the erg), but pushing myself to try to get his time always drives me harder. The second thought is that he frequently pushes himself to do an air bike finisher of his own design after class!!! What sort of maniac does an Air Bike finisher?!?!?! The newest MOTM that’s who! Congratulations Matt, and keep working hard cause I have a feeling 2020 might be a busy year for you.

— Kit Hoffman

Very happy to hear that Matt is MOTM! He tends to be one to avoid the spotlight, but he is consistently a hardworking, dedicated athlete… and yes another member of the epic 4:30 crew. I found myself wanting to shout him out on the *un*official subversus whiteboard page many times only to realize he does not have social media! He is a positive light and persistent in any workout that comes his way! I especially love doing ele>ate with him, where he puts me to shame stringing toe to bars together and doing handstand shoulder taps effortlessly! Now is your moment, Matt, so enjoy!

— Emma Greenstein

Congratulations Matt, I couldn’t have picked a better person to pass the MOTM baton on to!
You’re always such a great energy to have in class and your travel stories about identity-stealing soccer hooligans don’t hurt either! You have a great sense of humor and we’re lucky to have someone as supportive and thoughtful as you at the gym. You may not always be the center of attention, quietly working on your handstands in the corner, but you’re such a hard worker who really earned this spotlight and I hope you embrace it! Keep crushing your workouts and elevate skills…enjoy the win Matt, you deserve it!

— Sara W.

Congratulations from the Coaches!

What impresses me most about Matt is his quiet dedication. How he pushes himself and is always working on the small things. I also very much appreciate his stories about being mistaken for a soccer hooligan and nearly being banned from some countries in Europe as a result (ask him about it.).

— Wylie

Matt is a stone-cold competitor. His training is at a hundred percent every day. His mantra, take no prisoners. This man is a coaches dream. Asks questions and does work! I’m beyond excited that the community gave him this accolade. Congrats on the win.

— Tim

Congrats on a well deserved MOM! You’re everything a coach could ask for. You show up, do the work, and never complain. I applaud your consistency in your training and the positive attitude you bring to every class you’re in. You’ve been a staple in our gymnastics program and it’s been awesome seeing how much progress you’ve made. Congrats once more!!! Cheers to many more one minute HS holds in your future and robot music that Sam makes us listen to.

— Luis

Matt is a hard worker, a consistent member, and a receptive athlete – well deserved win!

— Voz

FINALLY! Matt has been a committed, friendly, wonderful, member for years, and continues to impress. He can be found doing extra work in ELEVATE and continuing to push himself and other in CrossFit. His sharp intellect comes along with a kindness and support for his community that others would do well do imitate— true MOTM material.

— Justin

And now, from our winner!

What’s your day job and profession?

I’m a professor at Penn, and during election season, I also work part-time as a Decision Desk Analyst for NBC News. I’m not on TV, I’m part of the behind-the-scenes team who work to call the elections.

What’s a skill or goal that you’re working on?

I don’t know that I have a current goal per se. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate more just being able to stay healthy and be able to do things, and that’s what keeps me going to the gym.

Are you a look at the workouts ahead of time kind of guy, or show up and be surprised guy?

I always look ahead of time! That said, I usually forget what the workout is by the time I show up at the gym.

Whats the best advice you’ve ever received that relates to your fitness journey here?

Treat it as a long-term journey. If you do it each day, it just becomes part of your life.

What song gets you hyped up when you feel like dying?

I know nothing about popular music of any type, so I have no idea. Seriously.

Thanks, Matt! Keep crushing it in workouts!

Ownership

Recently, news spread that the owner of the Equinox and Soul Cycle chains of gyms was holding a fundraiser for President Trump and met with backlash from many in the fitness world who didn’t agree with that position. As a business owner in this same industry (full disclosure – sadly, no politicians have approached me for fundraisers) and I think it’s an important opportunity to call attention to a few things.

 

Fitness is a multibillion-dollar industry and businesses exist at every level from world-wide fitness franchises, to large “globo” gyms, to boutique fitness, to personal trainers, to shake-weights. Some of those gym chain companies are packaged into even larger groups of companies with ownership structures. Fitness certainly isn’t unique in this either as there as the conglomeration of commerce is happening at a staggering pace (take a minute and google around who actually owns many of the brands you support – you might be surprised). The larger the company – the more money it both makes and requires to operate and thus gets harder and harder to ascertain where your money goes after you give it to them.

 

I solely own Subversus Fitness | CrossFit Center City and I live in the city. For better or worse (#blamewylie) the end of the line is me. CrossFit in particular, is an interesting model. CrossFit’s expansion has been the broadest in fitness history, over 15,000 affiliates around the world. As an affiliate owner, I pay CrossFit an annual fee to use their name, no other money goes to CrossFit HQ. What’s even more interesting is the fact that one person can only own one affiliate and affiliate owners are largely first-time entrepreneurs.

 

When you choose to support small businesses, you pay for car repairs, doctor’s visits, groceries, rent – the lives of those operating and employed by those businesses, not corporate jets. This isn’t meant to imply that large companies are evil empires or that all small businesses are without fault. Small business should still have to earn your money, it’s merely to point out that our money is our speech and the week’s events should give us pause as how we choose to speak.  As successful companies get gobbled up, our community spaces become populated with more and more franchises. Where this gets tricky is that these companies employ people locally – your Coach at Soul Cycle is likely not hosting political fundraisers in the Hamptons, not have they probably ever had any degree of contact with the owner of the company. This leads to many people who also need and deserve to make a living doing so as part of these complex systems. I don’t envy those who make those choices right now and I do my best to make sure that Coaches I employ are clear on my values, time and priorities.

 

My point here isn’t to plug our gym, I believe that everyone should both move and have the opportunity to do so. All I will say is that in your city or town, you will be hard pressed to find a quicker line to ownership priorities than at a CrossFit affiliate due to the nature of the people and business model involved. Whatever the mode is that you believe in and find your tribe within – awesome – do it, embrace it. Some may argue that to attend a Soul Cycle or Equinox is also a convenience or the fact that those gyms are both god damn beautiful inside (which they are). They can pay those rents and use those towels because of money. Wish your local spin studio looked like Soul Cycle or had those towels? The best possible thing you can do is buy a membership there (and no, being a friend does not mean asking for a discount on their services). Trust me when I say that every member matters.

 

This post also isn’t one to decide gym or methodology superiority when spending your money, it IS to build a stronger community. I am so fucking proud of what we do and how we do it, but I’m not going to denigrate others in our industry to make a buck nor imply that we can’t be better. I stand by what we do. Learning how to improve on that is why I and I would argue most small business owners get excited to do what they do every day and yes, it’s nice when we can pay our bills and make a profit. One of the biggest reasons I decided to buy Subversus Fitness from the previous owner was because of my respect for our staff as well as community and making sure they had a path forward. I didn’t do so from as part of a hedgefund (my dog looks more like a hedgehog), I did it by borrowing, scraping and working my ass off to stay independent. I also won’t lie that remains a tough thing to do economically, not cede control. 

You, the athlete, the consumer, the member, the citizen, you have the power to empower or crush businesses with your money. All that I ask from my tiny basement soapbox is that these events give us all pause to decide how we choose to spend our money and the questions that we ask. Before we just boycott something and post on social media, let’s make sure we don’t run right into the arms of the same thing somewhere else, let’s use a moment like this to re-evaluate how we spend our money and our speech.

 

Member of the Month – Sara W!

Congratulations, Sara!

Once a month, our community votes to recognize a single member who embodies the spirit of Subversus Fitness. He/she is someone who has a good attitude, even on the toughest days, is always there to lend support to fellow athletes, and generally goes the extra mile to help build our community to become even more awesome. When it’s time to vote, we send a reminder email out to the entire crew, but if you ever see another member do something really cool for you or the gym in general, feel free to shoot us an email at info@crossfitcc.com or leave a note in the box to tell us what happened! Our Member of the Month is always awarded a FREE month of membership to Subversus.

What some of you had to say about Sara!

Sara is a religious 4:30 attendee and I miss her positive energy and contagious smile in class since I haven’t been at the 4:30 as often with a new job. Sara has NO idea how strong she is and I love when the coaches see this (especially Morgan) who always pushes Sara outside of her comfort zone and she always excels! I love seeing her in class and chatting with her before or stretching after class. One day she will finally join us in Elevate….

Sara has had a lot of firsts recently—first pull up and first ring dips! And she’s been crushing everything! She is a hard worker and dedicated member who is always friendly and welcoming to new and old faces in class. We are lucky to have Sara at Subversus and I feel even luckier to call her my friend.

Congrats to you, Sara.

— Alexa

So happy to hear that Sara won MOTM. As a fellow 4:30 regular, Sara was one of the first people I became friends with when I came to Subversus. Always friendly and welcoming Sara is a great presence to have in class. Not only does Sara work as hard as anyone but here persistence is admirable. After a hard WOD when most people would consider skipping the next day, you can count on Sara to be there, ready to go. Congrats Sara you deserve it!

— Mike Popo

Congrats Sarah! She’s one of the reasons I love the 4:30 class so much. Always brings a positive attitude to the gym and has been making so much progress! PR-ing something new left and right. She’s also been making awesome progress on toes to bar and rope climbs. Keep up the good work, Sarah!!

— K. Deily

Yay! I am thrilled to hear that Sara is MOTM. I have been voting for her for some time! A key committed member of the 4:30 class and quality DJ for Sunday tunes, Sara always puts a smile on my face. She has a positive vibe that is completely contagious, and she also has a way of making everyone around her feel comfortable. Sara is not the most competitive (in the most refreshing way), but it doesn’t mean that she’s not putting in the work. Fairly recently she has gotten her first strict pull up, first ring dips, AND first rope climb. HUGE! She also PRed her mile during the first mile of Murph, NBD. She has no idea how strong she is, and it has been great to see these gains. I look forward to seeing her continue to progress! However, more importantly than her talent, I truly appreciate how welcoming she is to everyone around her and her ability to just show up, have a good time, and work her ass off. I am so lucky to have a friend in you, Sara. You go girl!

— Emma G.

Congratulations from the Coaches!

Coaching Sara is super fun because she still doesn’t realize how strong she has become. Next week, I’m going to ask her to rope climb directly back up to street level (and she’ll be able to do it). Keep up the great work!

— Wylie

Sara is the 4:30 ninja of progress and support. She shows up every day and works HARD, listens to coaches, is incredibly pleasant and supportive to her fellow athletes, and quietly is doing incredible work in the corner. Always ready with a smile and a compliment, she is an valuable member of our community, and might be the only person who doesn’t know how strong she is. Congratulations!

— Justin

Sara is a classic story of the timid new athlete becoming an unstoppable gladiator. Since day one, Sara has been willing to go heavier, try harder, and leaves it all on the floor. She’s awesome to have in class. It’s always exciting to see the community giving kudos to a deserving athlete.

— Tim

Sara is a total joy to coach! – She’s always up to try what we suggest, even if she thinks she can’t do it. She’s a great listener, an awesome cheerleader, and one of my fave members to coach – she is truly here to become a fitter person, and she has really hit her stride.

— Voz

Yay congrats Sara!!! It’s been so awesome getting to coach you over the past couple of months and seeing how much you’ve progressed. From finally getting DUBS, to getting your first pull-up a couple of weeks ago, it’s been so fun watching your journey and I’m so excited to see what’s to come. Thank you for filling the 4:30 with such great positive energy and for always giving me great song suggestions. I’ll promise I’ll play higher love over and over to celebrate your big win.

— Luis

And now, from our winner!

What’s your day job and profession?

I’m a Physical Therapist at Cooper University Hospital in NJ. I work in the cardiac unit, mostly with patients after open heart surgery. I’ve been at Cooper for just about four years since graduating PT school in 2015 and plan on staying there for a while!

What’s a skill or goal that you’re working on?

Because I have chicken arms I set a goal to be able to do 20 unbroken pushups by the end of the summer. Update? It’s a struggle.

Whats your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?

My favorite thing to do on a Saturday night would be to start the evening off with cocktails (preferably a martini) with a group of girlfriends, head out to a bar where I can get a seat so I don’t have to stand, then wrap up the night and be in bed by 10:30 because I can’t hang!

If you had to be one CrossFit Girl workout, which one would you be and why?

I would 100% be Annie. There’s no weights or barbells involved therefore it gives me the least amount of pre-WOD anxiety.

What song gets you hyped up when you feel like dying?

The song that always gets me hyped up when I feel like dying is definitely Countdown by Beyoncé. I can listen to that song on repeat, it never gets old.

Thanks, Sara! Keep crushing it in workouts!

Style

Miles Davis once said, “Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80%”. Style is the how, not the what. Those who don’t get it, will always be drawn to chase the what. 

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell examined how perhaps the most powerful hook of smoking wasn’t just the what of nicotine, it was the “smoking personality” – maturity, charisma, confidence of the people who smoked – how they smoked. We know these things literally kill us – yet it’s still iconic photos of Steve McQueen taking a drag while leaning against a vintage porsche that pull on our desire for cool. 

We also inherently know what kills style. A lack of clarity, vision or results. We are drawn to simplicity, we admire dominance. Recently, after the US Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup, the discussion turned to not just that they won, but the how – what was their style? As Rory Smith wrote in the New York Times;

“(Alex) Morgan also suggested that female athletes are expected to greet their triumphs demurely, diffidently, in a way that would not be expected of men. That is not, though, this American team’s style, and nor should it be. Morgan and her teammates regard themselves — with abundant supporting evidence — as the best in the world.” 

This relates to what we do in the gym because of how we lead, act and engage with our community. Our goal is to learn how to face difficulties and adversity with courage, ultimately with style. Not to apologize, not to hide – either from ourselves or others. To use our actions to inspire. I believe that style is our most powerful gift to others. Cultural and fitness renegade, Mark Twight has written;

“Our style in the face of adversity determines the degree of difficulty that comes with it. A smile and laugh are just as fake as the loud words we speak through our gritted teeth. Instead of posturing, flow with it. Bend. Accept. Then push as hard as is necessary but no harder. At the end of the day put false humility and ego aside. Just be cool. Because cool is good style.”

The world of CrossFit is growing up and at a crossroads. The things that made it cool (off-street locations, dingy, loud, on the edge of disordered chaos and importantly – results), were the same things that now are being made mainstream. CrossFit largely gave birth to the boutique gym HIIT world. Spinning, boxing, pilates spin offs (to be clear Pilates itself long pre-dates CrossFit), etc.. Intensity has become standardized, branded and packaged and marginalized. Fringes exist because they are unsustainable. The fringe either falls away or is co-opted towards the middle.

CrossFit began as a feeling, none of it’s methods were new (ok, “American” kettlebell swings), it was the how that made it cool. It created a tribal response that ignited an industry chasing a feeling. Not only was its growth meteoric, but it changed the fitness industry in a profound way. There are studies now showing that for millennials, fitness communities are the new church. Move to a new town? Where’s the local CrossFit affiliate, where is the Soul Cycle, who are the coaches, what are their values? CrossFit also remains a unique model. Affiliates are independently owned and not franchised. That has both helped and hurt the expansion of it over the past 15+ years. Now, back to that crossroads. Does CrossFit put on a suit and trade in for the minivan? Increasing numbers of gyms now outsource their programming, standardizing methodology and technology – arguably in many cases for a better result and member experience. Just because everyone can program, doesn’t mean everyone always should. However, it inherently brings the fringe closer to the middle. It changes the how.

Those are moves towards institutional longevity for sure (unconfirmed data is now showing, this may be the first year of negative CrossFit affiliate growth), however, to bring it back to Miles Davis – the true success, and cool, will always be in how you play the notes. Clean the bathrooms and the floor, greet every member by name when they enter the gym, but don’t forget the roots, don’t forget the birth of the cool. I believe the recent success of our U.S. Women’s Soccer team points directly to this to again quote Rory Smith;

“This United States team does not, when it comes down to it, care what other people think of it. It is here to win games, to claim a prize, to conquer the world. Whether it makes friends along the way is secondary. It is not in the business of inspiring affection. It is here to inspire awe, and it has done that rather nicely.”

Turns out when you commit to that approach, you become World Champions and people line the streets for you. Use your actions to inspire. Never to belittle or demean. Accomplish great things every day, you never know who is watching your victory through effort.

Sources:

“With No Arguments on Substance, Critics Take Aim at U.S.’s Style” – NY Times, Rory Smith

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/06/sports/soccer/uswnt-world-cup-final.html?searchResultPosition=3

“Style Matters” – Mark Twight

https://www.nonprophet.media/style-matters

Cost >s Price

When people seek us out as a gym, one of the first questions is how much is a membership? Generally, the price. The majority of the Fitness Industrial Complex is set up on a transactional expectation. I want “X” (to lose/gain weight, increase athletic performance and so on) and in exchange and depending on my level of proficiency, one will either pay to use machines, meal plans and equipment or pay for someone to guide this process. Where this gets messy is on the other side of that exchange. Price is financial. Cost is emotional and physical. Price is what you’re willing to pay. The cost is what you’re willing to give. The difference between the two is critical to getting the outcome you desire from training.

Price is what gets you in the door. Gains you a spot in the class, an appointment with a Coach. Cost is deciding to challenge your body by working hard when you could be still at work, at home, at happy hour. Our entire life is a transaction of choices. Those choices are how we each determine the cost of change for ourselves.

The role of the environment is huge as it creates the space for us to determine the cost. If we don’t find value the environment, it’s nearly impossible we will pay the necessary costs to change ourselves. This is also why people leave gyms and coaches, when the cost no longer exceeds the price. The physical space is likely what it was at the start, the environment has changed. That’s why we as Coaches work so hard to establish a culture which share values related to the costs of change. To be clear, the cost is not low.

A high cost involves exposure. Price acts as a guidepost for this, but it doesn’t ensure it. The price of a membership at our gym is based on a model where we hope each member utilizes our Coaching to the greatest extent possible, not that you forget about it each month and passively see it on the credit card statement. We want each person who comes down our stairs to be proud of the commitment they’re making to themselves, to their community. Proudly paying the cost. The easy thing will not change us and we renew that membership with each member, each day.