Blog Archive

Archive for: October
31 Oct 2013


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1. Run 800m – max effort

2. Row 2000m – max effort

3. Weighted dips
2-2-2-2-2-2-2 (AHAP)

30 Oct 2013

103113 – Happy Halloween

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1. For time
100 double unders
15 Power snatch, 115/75
80 double unders
20 Power snatch, 95/65
60 double unders
25 Power snatch, 75/55
40 double unders

2. Jerk – 7×1

Happy Halloween!  I hope you’re planning on dressing up to WOD today!  I’ll be dressing up to coach!


Announcing the 2013 Renegade Rowing Club!


It’s that time of year again.  The weather has gotten cold and no one wants to row in the cold.  Now is the time to get pumped for training in the gym and crushing your 2k on the erg!  The 2013 Renegade Rowing Club will be held at 5:30pm on Monday nights at CrossFit Boston.  Practices will start the Monday after Thanksgiving, December 2nd.  The cost for the Renegade Rowing Club will be $47 per month or $94 for the whole winter.  We will be training for the Renegade Rowing League, which will be held in December and January, leading up to CRASH-B’s.  Who’s game?  Email me if you plan on joining the Renegade Rowing Club, [email protected]  There are only 16 spots available in the club, so let me know sooner rather than later!


Above is a video of the Wayland Weston Men’s Crew Team that I’ve been coaching this Fall.  I wanted to give you all a view of the sport of rowing from the water.  This was their last practice before the Head of the Fish Regatta, which is where that Fish Head came from that I hung on the gym wall earlier this week.  If you’d like to learn to row on the water and get your own fish head someday, it starts in the gym this winter with the Renegade Rowing Club.  Who’s game?

30 Oct 2013

Hannah Woodstock

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By October of my first year in Boston I’d begun to feel somewhat underwhelmed by the changes college had brought.  The binge drinking and pizza eating provided no satisfaction.  I struggled with the distinct sense that I had not yet found my place.  While my dorm mates seemed to thrive on the insular culture of group living, I felt stifled.  I couldn’t have articulated what was missing, but looking back I was longing for a sense of community and purpose.  During this time I was following CrossFit’s main site and doing their workouts independently, mixing in weightlifting with my existing running routine.  While the workouts were challenging I was bored, lonely and increasingly over-trained as I continued to increase the volume in search of greater gains (because more is always better, right?). 

Finally, at the end of October I decided to give CrossFit Boston a call.  At my uncle’s urging I called Neal and scheduled my intro session.   I remember walking into the gym and immediately feeling that I had made an egregious error by agreeing to this.  My thought was that they would immediately know that I didn’t belong.  Someone would take one look at me and smell my fear and that would be it:  exile to the island of the unskilled and untrained.  To my great relief the opposite was the case- I was welcomed in with open arms and more positivity than I can begin to explain.   I was hooked immediately, so thrilled to be learning new things and to once again be in an environment that was both supportive and competitive.  I remember well, Jon Gilson in my face, stridently informing me that I had more in me, that I didn’t need to put the bar down yet.  And honestly, everything was really hard. 

When I began I had no concept of where my body was in space and absolutely zero ability to integrate coaches cues into my performance of movements.  I flailed.  I struggled.  I hit myself in the face with a barbell more than once.  My arms were so weak they were useless.  I finished last every single day but just kept showing up.  I’d wake up at 5:30 four days a week to make it into the 7:00am class at CFB and hustle back to BU for 9:00am lecture.   As the months passed I steadily improved.  I gained muscle and learned for the first time how to use my upper body.  I learned to lift things and reveled in the newfound skill.

But the most noteworthy change wasn’t in my strength, endurance or coordination.  The big transformation was all in my head.  CrossFit provided the basis for a complete shift in how I viewed my body, my value and myself.  Not long after joining I found myself thinking not in terms of inches or sizes but rather in terms of pounds lifted and sprints run.  With this new metric for assessment, my thoughts began to change.  I berated myself less often for the size of my thighs and thought instead of how heavy I could squat and how far I could jump.   My confidence soared even as I had to buy larger jeans to accommodate my new muscular quads.  I cannot possibly overstate what a huge change in perspective this was.   Today I’m strong and it shows.  My shoulders, which I once would have called ugly and too big, are my favorite body part. I relish the fact that I am strong, I look strong, I feel strong.  It’s awesome.

I’ll share one other anecdote about my CrossFit experience before I wrap this up.  A few years ago, after a flare-up of an old injury, I started to focus on Oly because it was one of the few things that didn’t bother my back.  I took a step back from CrossFit and focused my efforts on learning the complex lifts.  Over the months the movements began to click and I was thrilled by the progress I made.  I put the work in, drilled my form relentlessly and eventually became proficient in the lifts that had previously been the absolute bane of my existence.  I went on to compete at lifting meets, winning my weight class on a few occasions.  What was previously a major weakness is now something that I identify as one of my greatest strengths.   Again, cue major shift in perspective.  Olympic lifting allowed me to understand that excellence isn’t something that just happens to people.  Skill and strength are the hard-won result of dedication, attainable if you are truly willing to pursue them.  I feel so lucky to have grown up at CFB, having had the opportunity to learn so much about sport and about life.  It’s been an incredible gift.

So here’s a big thank you.  Thank you to CFB for helping me to lay the foundation for a healthy, happy and strong adulthood.  Thank you to Neal for creating a gym where respect, compassion and encouragement are paramount.  Thank you to the coaches for inspiring excellence.  Thank you to the whole CFB community for being my friends, my training partners and my acquired family.  While I’m excited to begin a new chapter in Denver, my next gym Front Range CrossFit has some serious shoes to fill.  I love you fiercely and am so fortunate to call you all friends.

29 Oct 2013


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1. Front Squat – 3×8
Beg/Int – straight sets
Adv – ascending

2. AMRAP 20
15 Wallball shots, 20/14
15 GH sit ups


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Earlier this week I was reading an article titled something along the lines of “halloween candy is awful and horrific for kids”. Obviously candy is empty calories, sugar, and often times additives and other flavorings, and it’s not exactly the ideal food for kids, or anyone. But seeing all these articles and awareness about the evils of candy and the healthier alternatives, I realized I’m a bit torn about halloween.


2218351961_e3d06fe880The nostalgic in me remembers dressing up in costume, running around my neighborhood with other kids, collecting a bunch of candy. When we got home, we traded it with other neighborhood kids while our parents made sure all the candy was safe, and then ultimately ate a bunch of it. We got to go to bed late and eat sugar, and it was awesome. By the end of the week we’d either eaten it all – or at least all the good pieces – or gotten sick of it. Nobody died and nobody gained 20 pounds – probably because we ran around all the time and burned it off. All was well and we had a blast, so what’s the big deal?


Knowing what I know about food behavior, I worry that demonizing bad foods like candy and making a big deal about the calories and sugars can negatively effect kids’ relationship with food. Yes, it’s important to educate people about the negative effects of too much sugar and promote healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. But I’ve also seen kids who grow up in healthy households that will eat “forbidden” junk foods outside the home, almost compulsively. 




Cherry TomatoesThe nutritionist in me knows the realities of child obesity, childhood type 2 diabetes, and inactivity compared to the mid 90’s. I know that sugar is a much bigger part of kids lives today. In my elementary and middle schools, we had no vending machines and 30 minutes of recess AND physical education, but many schools today are quite the opposite. Fewer kids play outside or on sports teams today. Basically, the food environment is worse, kids are less healthy, and a few days of too much candy has a much bigger impact today than it might have two decades ago. And when people are taking positive steps to eat healthier, get more active, and improve their health, throwing 10 lbs of candy at them because “it’s halloween!” isn’t all that helpful.


So, for now, I’m torn. I probably won’t buy any candy for myself, and tricker or treaters don’t come to my door (they’d rather over by John Kerry’s house, where they hand out better candy). So, what do you think about halloween? Do you give out candy or a healthier option for trick or treaters? How do you deal with halloween candy your kids bring home? Let me know in the comments!


Photo c/o Rochelle 

I just wanted to pass on this video I just watched about opening up your hips. If you frequently have lower back or hip pain, give these drills a shot and see how much better you feel. Remember that you may not see dramatic results immediately, but with continued application of these drills, you will notice a reduction in pain and tightness.

Two years ago when I first came to CrossFit Boston there was talk of creating a Master’s Team. I think after this weekend we can definitely say mission accomplished. Julie Glover, Kari Tannenbaum, Audrey Huang, Nigel Costello, John Zimmer, and me (Sandbag Ramos) participated in the CrossFit New England Master’s Competition. It was a fun group to participate with and cheer on.IMG_1254

Julie walked away with 7th place in the 40-44 age category. Not an easy group of women to top. We started the day with Horsepower. We had 1 minute for max number of reps on the bench press at 65#. This was followed by 30 seconds of rest, and then 1 minute of max reps of Hang Squat Cleans. Julie pulled out 4th place finishes in both of these events.

In Triple Take she took 9th, 19th, and 8th. Most impressive however was capturing 5th in the bonus round of Snatches at 85# after running an agility course that included jumping over 2 hurdles.

Kari came in 7th place overall in her age category. She will be humble and say there weren’t many women in her category but considering she just had surgery 5 months ago I look forward to watching her get stronger.IMG_0992

Audrey is STRONG! She was so impressive on the power snatches. She came in 18th place over all in her age category. She was steady throughout the day. On the obstacle course she missed going around the last kettlebell and had to go back to finish the WOD. She didn’t lose focus and came back strong with the power snatches.IMG_0870

I can’t say I was very impressive but I had such a great time. I came in 18th place out of 24 women. I have some work to do on my strength and Coach Neal gave some pointers afterwards about mobility and core strength work I need to do. I love competing and this was no different.

IMG_1013Nigel is always impressive. On Triple Take he didn’t slow down on the first WOD, thrusters and pull-ups. He was able to continue the momentum on the bench press in horsepower. He fell over on the Hang Squat Cleans and wasn’t able to continue. Every little mistake costs points and time, which is what makes CrossFit competition more about mental endurance and focus. Even if you’re the strongest athlete, if you lose focus it can get you during the WOD.

John takes the prize for best facial expression! He came in 16th place out of 47 men in the 40-44 age category. No sandbaggers in that group! I think that is something to brag about. It was a tough field of athletes. He was so positive and at every corner cheering all of us on. I haven’t had a chance to train with John much but look forward to getting to know him as we continue to grow the team. He is sure to be a leader.IMG_1179

The best part of the day was all the CFB athletes who came to cheer us on. We can’t thank you enough. We all have work to do but we have great leadership from our top athletes. I look forward to our other teammates getting healthy and stronger. Jason Sager and Shirtless Bob were both injured this time around. I would love to see Judith Donath and some of the other women who have never competed give it a try.

This weekend I will be attending a seminar with Eli Thompson from the Boston Posture Center on fascial training for movement and strength trainers. I will be learning more about how to help the body keep healthy while strength training.  I look forward to sharing this new information with all the athletes at CrossFit Boston.

28 Oct 2013


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1. Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time
Row (calories)
DB Snatch (alternating each time), 55/35

2. Weighted pull-ups
2-2-2-2-2-2-2 (AHAP)

Hey guys! I hope you are all recovered from your Halloween weekend. I mean that’s partially why we train right?… To enjoy our down time…

Anywho… looking at Neal’s post on Friday, it looks like this week is going to be(slightly) soul-crushing. Today’s… don’t even get me started. I’m going to do it, but I can think of other things I’d like to be doing… like anything I’m good at. Haha. But today’s is exactly what I need to do to get better. We’ve all got to remember to work on those things we don’t like to do or aren’t good at (Goats). 

That includes those of you who are involved in the Fran Challenge! There are only two movements that you have to get better at… Thrusters and Pull-ups. If you attended the pull-up seminar, you know what you need to be working on to get better. If you weren’t there, what are you doing to get better? When was the last time you worked on them? Every day is another opportunity to be getting better at your weakness. Today’s WOD will help you get more efficient at your Front squats and thus your Thrusters. 

That’s all for now.

Oh yeah, and GO SOX!!!!!!

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