Renegade Rowing Club getting ready to Race!  Will you join them?

Renegade Rowing Club getting ready to Race! Will you join them?

Hey CFB!

Awesome work attacking the training this week.  It was great seeing everyone at the Holiday Party and then getting after it again on Monday.  I love our community and I love seeing all the hard work.  Keep getting after it.  We’re going to ring in the New Year Strong!

Speaking of the Holidays, I wanted to thank everyone for donating a toy to the Operation Homefront Toy Drive Box at the entrance to the gym.  There were 5 toys in there by the end of classes on Saturday and I enjoyed every single one of the 50 burpees that I did.  The best part is that we now have over 10 toys in the box ready to go to Military Families in the Boston Area.  Keep them coming!  We have until the end of the weekend to fill the box and show our support for the hard working families of our Armed Forces!

Renegade Rowing League 2!

Saturday, December 20th @8am

2,000m Race – Head to Head- aka: 7min of Glory!

Register Here!

That’s right, if you’re looking for some fun competition and you want to find some glory then sign up for the second race of this Winter’s Renegade Rowing League.  We’ll have athletes from other gyms and schools coming by the gym to throw down and fight for Personal Records at the 2,000m distance.  It’ll be the perfect lead into the Holiday week.  Have some fun working hard with the Renegades!

If you have any questions just ask one of the Renegade Rowing Club members at the gym.  They will tell you all about it!

Have a great weekend CFB!

All joking aside, though, I think this is a great move. Last week the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) published the final rules about the new menu and vending machine labeling requirements. This requirement was originally mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) back in 2010, but is just being implemented fully now (although some establishments have already voluntarily done so, and some local governments had already made this requirement legislatively). 

According to the FDA, the rule states 

“Calorie and other nutrition labeling will be required for standard menu items offered for sale in a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items.”

You should start to see labels on your restaurant menu sometime this year, and restaurants have to be in compliance by December 1, 2015. 

What Does This Mean?

Basically, every time you pop into Starbucks, Panera, or Dunkin Donuts for a coffee or baked good, the calorie count will be on the menu. You’ll also see it at places like Chilis and Applebees, McDonalds, Chipotle, etc. You’ll also notice them on vending machines (the information has to be posted so you can read it BEFORE you make your buy), on Whole Foods Hot Bar or other grocery carry out foods, and on move theater snacks (yes including the infamous buttered popcorn). Conceivably you could see it on Tavern In The Square or J.P. Licks’ menu if they opened more than 20 restaurants (right now Tavern is at 8 and J.P. Licks is at 13). 

The Good, The Bad, and The Guilty

Part of me likes this rule, probably the “RD-MPH who knows just how hard it is for people to manage their weight and calorie intake in America’s toxic food environment” part. The other part – the “athlete who does CrossFit and goes running so I can afford to crush a cheeseburger every now and then” side doesn’t necessarily want to know. So, here’s how I think this label is great, and not so great:

It’s great because…

  • You can only estimate so much, and most people underestimate their calorie intake. This provides a helpful tool, and makes decision making that much easier for people who are trying to manage their calorie intake.
  • It requires food companies to be transparent about what’s really in their food (not ingredients wise, but macronutrient wise, which is a start), and might might might just encourage them to produce something a little more healthful if the customer demands it. 
  • Speaking of the customer – this truly gives the customer the power to speak by choosing the healthier options and NOT choosing the less healthy ones. Taco bell isn’t going to offer the Chalupa anymore (I haven’t been there in ages so maybe they don’t even) if everyone is choosing the lower-in-calories tacos instead. 
  • It will inform the public of the real cost of eating out. Maybe seeing 800 calorie sandwiches everywhere will encourage more people to just spend $10 on a loaf of whole wheat bread and some deli meat instead (which will definitely be healthier and include fewer processed/refined ingredients than the eating out option). 

It sucks because…

  • It takes the fun out of a night out. Sometimes, a treat feels better when you don’t know it’s costing you 2000 calories. Then again, it might temper my “cheat meal” a little, which benefits me too, right?
  • The consumer thing could backfire – everyone knows McD’s salads are higher in calories than their burgers (and Arby’s turkey on whole wheat is higher in calories than their roast beef and cheese whiz on white bun). So, if people use calorie info alone to pick the Big Mac over a salad, maybe McDonalds assumes people don’t want salad after all. But really, I’m no economist so I don’t know how this plays out. 
  • It could cause trouble for people struggling with an eating disorder. Which is not a huge portion of the population, but with obesity rising in prevalence and the media’s standard of beauty getting smaller in size, eating disorders are on the rise in both men and women. 
  • It’s pricy for restaurants to implement. Then again, it’s only required on those with over 20 locations. If you’ve got over 20 locations, you’re not a mom and pop and can probably afford a few new menus.

Ultimately, I think this is great. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, we should all agree as Americans that freedom of choice is a top priority. And I think this rule helps more and more Americans make better choices.

What do you guys think?

For more info, see a Q and A on the new rules.

Photo c/o Craige Moore  

Erik Balsbaugh, Shannon Foley liked this post

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What a weekend! First of all, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who made it out to Tasty Burger, Daedalus, and the Hong Kong on a fairly gross Saturday night. It was really great to see all of you in your street clothes and even greater having a little extracurricular fun with you. An even BIGGER thanks goes out to to Neal, without whom the night would have been impossible. It’s truly been an honor to work with such a great team and membership at CFB. Rather than talk at length about our upcoming move (there’s some blah blah blah paperwork that has been completed and some other blah blah blah paperwork that is hasn’t been completed), and talk about our next Team Throwdown (save the date: Saturday, January 31st!), I’d like to share with you a little piece I would like to call:

CFB Holiday Party by the numbers:

Number of burgers consumed at Tasty Burger pre-party: 6

Number of attendees: 50-ish at Daedalus

Number of backless dresses: 2

Number of first-time stiletto wearers: 1+?

Number of bottles of bubbly consumed: 16

Number of Old Fashions fashioned: 30+

Number of cherries in Coach Mike’s drinks: 9

Number of dessert plates devoured: 16

Number of toasts given: 0

Number of times Jobert filled my bubbly glass: probably 9

Number of people who made the trek to the Hong Kong: 20-ish

Number of pupu platters demolished: 2 (plus 1/2, if you include the leftovers that Natalie scored from some new friends)

Number of scorpion bowls sucked down: 6, though I’m a little fuzzy on this one…

Number of minutes we waited until the third floor opened: about 40

Number of coats we fit on one hook on the coat rack on the second floor: 12

Number of randos that wanted to join our crew: at least one

Number of times we dropped it to the floor: 21

Number of times we turned down for what: 15

Number of times we put our hands up for Detroit: 9

Number of panda dogs in attendance: 1

Number of members I went home with: 1

Number of members who showed up on Sunday morning: 15

Number of members who showed up to Afternoon Tea on Sunday afternoon: 5

Number of ciders consumed post-Afternoon Tea: 2

Number of beautiful CFB ladies in the house: too many to count

Number of people who I should credit for photos used in this post: At least two (Judith and Shannon), but I think one more — sorry for forgetting!



That is all. Thugs and kisses. Peace and bacon grease!


05 Dec / 2014


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The first week of training is in the books. CrosbyStills&Nash cracked the top 5 leaderboard on “Annie” with a blazing time of 6:01. Great work brother!

Photo Caption Contest! What is Crosby thinking? Best caption wins $15 Starbucks gift card. Post caption to comments.

Photo Caption Contest! What is Crosby thinking? Best caption wins a $15 Starbucks gift card. Post caption to comments.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Now is the time to begin thinking about what you would like to get from your training with the New Year quickly coming upon us. When you are setting a goal remember to make it S.M.A.R.T.

S-pecific – What do you want to accomplish? Why? Don’t overlook the importance of WHY. For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds so my pants fit better and I can be more active with my children” is a specific with a very powerful WHY.

M-easurable – It must be quantifiable otherwise there is no way to know when you it is completed. “I want to get in shape” is not measurable. What does that mean?

A-chievable – Your goal must be attainable. It can and should be a challenge but it cannot be extreme. For example, if I were to say that I want to be 200 pounds that would not be attainable unless I am willing to remove one of my appendages.

R-ealistic – If I were to say that I want to run a marathon in 2 hours and 5 minutes, you would look at me and say, “Awesome Neal, you f*@#ing NUT”. However, If I say I want to run a marathon in 4 hours, now I am being realistic and a training plan can be laid out to complete it. The last two parts, achievable and realistic, allow you to start answering the question HOW to get it done.

T-ime bound – The last part is you need to put a time frame as to when you would like to reach your goal. Lets go back to my first example, “I want to lose 10 pounds so I can be more active with my kids”. By when? Next year? Tomorrow? If this step is skipped it is too easy for it to get lost in the day-to-day demands that arise.

If I rephrase my goal as, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 35 days so that I can be more active with my kids and lead a more fulfilling family life” then it meets all the requirements of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It has a “WHY” and I can come up with a plan on “HOW” to get it done.

Once you have decided WHAT you want to achieve this year, reach out to your Coach and we can help you put together the plan. Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail!


  • Saturday 12/6
    1a. Push Press – 3×5
    1b. Pistols – 4 x 6

    2. 3 rounds for time
    8 STO, 115/75
    16 KTE
    24 A. Sqts

  • Sunday 12/7
    1a. Front Squat with a 21X2 tempo @ 70%, women 3×8/men 3×5
    1b. Rope climb – 2 ascents and descents, rest 2:00

    2. Partner 5k row
    Alternate every 50 calories

  • Monday 12/8
    1a. Strict Pull-ups – 3×4.4.4
    1b. Back Extensions – 3×10, rest 1:00

    2. 10-8-6-4-2
    Snatch, 115/75
    Ring Dips

  • Tuesday 12/9
    1a. Shoulder press with a 22×2 tempo @ 70%, women 5×8/men 5×5
    1b. Heavy DB row (no torque) – 4×6-8 reps, rest 2-3 minutes

    2. Run 4 x 400m
    rest 3:00 between rounds

  • Wednesday 12/10
    1. Accumulate 100 Hollow Rocks – every time you stop, perform 10 unbroken double unders

    2. “DT”
    5 rounds for time
    12 Deadlift, 155/105
    9 Hang Power Clean
    6 STO

  • Thursday 12/11
    1. Clean 7×2

    2. AMRAP 3
    6 Box Jump, 24/20
    6 cal row

    rest 9 minutes

    AMRAP 3
    6 Box Jump, 24/20
    6 cal row

    rest 9 minutes

    AMRAP 3
    6 Box Jump, 24/20
    6 cal row

  • Friday 12/12
    1. Overhead Squat – Max reps @ bodyweight
    scales – 3/4 bodyweight, 1/2 bodyweight

    2. AMRAP 20
    2 Thruster, 95/65
    2 Pull-ups
    4 Thruster
    4 Pull-ups
    6 Thruster
    6 Pull-ups

  • Saturday 12/13
    1a. Ring Push-ups – 3×3.3.3, 21X2 tempo
    1b. Strict KTE – 3×6-10 reps

    2. For Time
    Run 700m
    20 Lunges with DB (FR), 35/20
    20 DB Split Clean
    Run 1200m
    20 Push Press, 35/20
    20 Lunges with DB (FR)
    Run 700m

Hey CFB!  I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving and you’re fired up for getting strong this month!  In the spirit of getting stronger individually and as a community, this month I’m hosting a Toy Drive!  What better way to improve ourselves and our community than to show our support for others, especially those serving our country.  Checkout the details below and show your support by donating a toy at class this Saturday or at the CFB Holiday Party Saturday night!

For every unwrapped toy that gets donated and placed in our toy drive box at the front of the gym by the end of classes on Saturday (11:59am), I will do 10 Burpees.  10 Toys = 100 Burpees.  20 Toys = 200 Burpees.  I made you guys do a lot of burpees in the programming last month, so here is your chance to return the favor and show our support!

If you can’t donate your toy by Saturday at 11:59am, no worries.  Please bring your toys to the Holiday Party at Daedalus in Harvard Square from 6pm – 9pm and I’ll bring them back to the gym for you.


Benefitting: Operation Homefront
Powered by: CrossFit Boston and Team Dangerous

Team Dangerous (“TD”) is proud to organize the second annual Toy Drive providing toys to the children of military families during the holiday season. TD is partnering with Operation Homefront to help distribute these toys. Operation Homefront is a charitable organization who provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors. The toy drive gives the fitness community the opportunity to show the world the true meaning of the word community by coming together as one and provide support to the true unsung heroes of this great nation, our military families.

The 2014 Toy Drive dates will run from approximately November 23rd through December 14th when the toys will be distributed to all the well deserving military families.

Goals for 2014:

    • Donation box placement in 35+ locations

    • Locations: Miami, NYC, Long Island NY, CT, NJ, Boston

    • Donations of 900+ Toys

    • Direct reach to 8,500 individuals

Operation Homefront

Alyssa Pomfrey liked this post

I feel like the question “why do we need to put a label on it?” is the purview of commitment phobic men in romantic comedies or friends in a sitcom storyline who’ve wound up in the sack together a few times. But I’m starting to feel that way these days – about food. Enough people ask “hey are you still Paleo” or wonder if I’ve gone vegetarian because I’ve opted for the quinoa black bean salad instead of the steak and potatoes. Or maybe if you’ve lost a lot of weight recently, and everyone wants to know what “diet” you were on. 

Here’s the thing though: why are we labeling it? Why do we need to be “paleo” or “vegan”. Because, want to know what my diet is? I’ll tell you: 

  • I eat oatmeal for breakfast. But sometimes I also eat bacon egg and cheese sandwiches from home, or the deli in my office, who makes the best ones around.
  • I try to mostly eat vegetables, grass-fed or humanely raised meat, and avoid additives I’m not familiar with. I definitely eat organic meat and dairy, but draw the line at produce because shits expensive yo.
  • I avoid grains, because diabetes is hard and I’ve found that’s the easiest way to control my weight. But sometimes I eat sushi and I have a soft sport for a good cheeseburger and fries.
  • I love beer but I try to keep it to Saturdays (but sometimes it gets into Fridays or Tuesdays, too. Hey, happy hour with girlfriends happens).

So, how do you classify that diet? Am I 80/20 paleo? Am I flexitarian? Honestly, I don’t even know. What I know is, i have energy. I feel good when I stick to this basic template (and go easy on the cheeseburgers and beer). I’m happy with my weight. I don’t need to count calories. So why label it? I’m happy. 

PS I think it’s the same with exercise. I wouldn’t say I’m a runner, or a CrossFitter. I’m certainly not a pole vaulter anymore (very sad sad face for that fact). I play tennis and golf occasionally, but I’m not a golfer or tennis player. What am I? Maybe I’m just active?

So what do you all think? Am I being the nutrition version of Barney Stinson, or do  I have a point going here? 


Photo c/o Bryan Kennedy 

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02 Dec / 2014

CFB Holiday Party is This Saturday!

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Hey guys! Our annual holiday party is happening this Saturday at 6 PM at Daedalus (45.5 Mount Auburn Street, just outside of Harvard Square). It looks like we’re going to have about fifty people so it’s bound to be a great time. I’ve been getting lots of questions/hearing lots of chatter about what people will be wearing and guidance is “smart casual” and dressier. NB: I *did* hear a rumor that Coach Jen may be going backless that night…

There will be a pre-party at Tasty Burger (40 JFK Street, Harvard Square) at 5 PM. The plan is to pop in, grab a quick bite and then head on over to Daedalus by 6 PM. After enjoying some bubbles and sweets at Daedalus, the plan is to head to the Hong Kong, where the floors will be sticky and dancing will be dirty. Need I say more? Oh, please do declare your intentions HERE. In addition to the folks on the FB event, we’re expecting:

Pencilneck +1

Santa Claus

FB-official couples


Audrey +1

FB-unofficial couples


Chau’s +1

Meatball +1


Paul Walker


Finally, we’re doing afternoon tea again on Sunday, December 7th at 4 PM. Last time we did Linda and this time, who knows? Maybe if we play our cards right, we’ll get some female representation… #TheBestThingsInLifeAreTea


Peace and bacon grease,


01 Dec / 2014


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Hey Ya’ll! 

Happy Monday!

Back to the grind, working hard, and giving your body some peaceful attention! That means MOBILITY, NOT “STRETCHING”! So, here is our direction this coming week, we are on for Wed. and Sat. YOU are going to pay attention to your entire body. I want everyone to shoot me an email, and let me know by Tuesday night, where you need to give your body some extra LOVE! The more I know the more you will seek happiness! 


“Our mind is our instrument. Learn to be its master and NOT its slave. It may be hard before it is easy but with an open mind, you will capture the feelings in knowing life is endless.” – J. 

Shannon Marshak liked this post
01 Dec / 2014

The Week In Training

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Welcome back from the long weekend of food indulgence! Here is what we have going on this week. There is an emphasis on time under tension and tempo squats in addition to short, high power conditioning. Be sure to choose your weights correctly so that you can complete the conditioning in the correct time, heavier may not be better.

Monday 12/1

1a. Back Squat – with a 21×2 tempo, women 5×8 @ 85%/men 5×5 @ 85%, rest 1:00
1b. Dips – with a 21×2 tempo, 4×5, rest 2:00

2. Complete reps of 21-15-9 for time (8 minute cap)
Front squat, 155/105

Tuesday 12/2

1a. Strict Handstand Push-ups – 3×3.3.3
1b. Toe 2 Bar – 3 x max unbroken reps, rest 1:00

2. Aerobic Power
Row 1000m

rest 10 minutes

Row 1000m

PR Wednesday 12/3

1a. Bench Press – with a 21×2 tempo, women 5×8 @ 70%/men 5×5 @ 70%
1b. GHD Sit-ups – 4×10, rest 2:00

2. “Annie” (10 minute cap)
Complete reps of 50-40-30-20-10 of:
Double Unders
AbMat Sit ups

Thursday 12/4

1a. 5 x Max pull-ups
1b. 5 x max reps thruster, 95/65

2. EMOM 12 

4 Power Clean (not touch and go)
1-4 60%
5-8 65%
9-12 70%

Friday 12/5

1a. Deadlift – with a tempo 21×2, women 5×8 @ 70%/men 5×5 @ 70%, rest 1:00
1b. Ring Rows – with a tempo 21×2, 4×8, rest 1:00

2. AMRAP 10

15 KB swings, 24kg/16kg
15 Burpee

Saturday 12/6

1a. Push Press – 3×5
1b. Pistols – 4×3 each leg

2. 3 rounds for time
8 Shoulder to overhead, 115/75
16 Knee to elbow
24 Air Squats

So I know I’m not the one who normally talks about food, but I was browsing the interwebs and stumbled upon this article. It’s a pretty short and interesting read. I think we sometimes reject others’ perspective because of our preferences and preconceived biases. I challenge you to read this with an open mind, regardless of whether you adhere to the paleo diet/lifestyle or the “see-food” diet (like myself as of recently). I know that food is a pretty sensitive topic for most people, but we must realize that science is constantly changing our working knowledge of what, when and how we should eat for both general health & fitness and performance. Does this stir-up any visceral emotion/reaction in you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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