22 May / 2015


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Push Press 3RM. Bar Muscle-ups. Power Clean 3RM. Pistols! I personally witnessed breakthroughs in these movements this week and that gets me totally FIRED UP! This is what gets me up every morning and excited about coming in to the gym. People giving 100% to improve 1%, EACH and EVERY day.

Greg hitting his first pistols. Omri stringing 4 bar muscle-ups together. Zoe hitting 3 Power Cleans at what was her previous 1RM. I love it! Nothing is impossible, as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort (100% to improve 1%). Keep it up!


Memorial Day Murph is Monday at 10am. There will NOT be any other classes the rest of the day. After join us for some food and drink. To help me gauge the amount of food, reserve your spot on ZenPlanner Here.


Beginning in Monday June 1 the following class schedule changes are going to be effective:

  1. PM Classes Shift to 30 Minutes Later
    1. 5pm
    2. 6pm
    3. 7pm
    4. Gym will remain open until 8:30pm Mon-Thurs
  2. Friday PM Schedule
    1. 5pm
    2. 6pm
    3. Open Gym Until 8pm
  3. Saturday AM Schedule
    1. 9am – 1pm OPEN GYM AVAILABLE
    2. ONE Group Class at 9:30AM
    3. 10AM Oly remains unchanged
    4. Various workshops will be made available by staff
  4. Sunday 9:30AM HEROWODS
  5. Mobility will be offered on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm


Many of you responded to our survey stating that the schedule was impacting your ability to attend classes more regularly. This is to help with that specifically. If you still have trouble getting in for the class, we are going to remain open until 8:30pm Monday – Thursday.

On Saturdays the 9 & 10 have been far more popular than our 11am class. In the summer, there are far more people traveling or those wishing to get in for a workout and then shoot off to the beach. Thus we are going to consolidate to a 9:30AM class. The programming for this class will be a Partner/TEAM WOD accompanied with a throw down type of atmosphere. Saturday will be Funday!

Sundays will remain the same and the programming will become HeroWods!


Saturday 5/23
Strength/Skill – Pull-up Ladder 4 x 1-5 (scale up with weight)

Conditioning: “Tailpipe”
With a partner, each complete 3 rounds for time
Row 250m
Double KB rack hold

One begins on the row, the other begins in active rest with 2 24kg kettle bells in the front rack position. Switch positions when the 250m is rowed. The WOD is complete when both have completed 3 rows and 3 rack holds.

Sunday 5/24
Strength/Skill: Overhead Squats – Max Reps Bodyweight
scales – 3/4BW, 2/3BW, 1/2BW, etc

Conditioning: 7 rounds for time
30 Unbroken double unders
15 Power Snatch, 75/55

Memorial Day 5/25 – 10AM class ONLY
Run 1 mile
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
Run 1 mile

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats any way you want. Begin and end with a 1 mile run.

Tuesday 5/26
Strength/Skill: Jerk 7×2 (ascending)

Conditioning: “Guts”
Complete for time
Row 1k
30 Front squats, 135/95

Wednesday 5/27
Conditioning: 10 x 100m sprints
record your fastest time

ABS: 5 x 10-15 GHD Back Extensions
5 x 10-15 Knee to Elbows

Thursday 5/28
Strength/Skill: Back Squat – 5RM

Conditioning: AMRAP 8
15 Hang squat cleans, 95/65
5 Handstand push-ups

Friday 5/29 – RETEST DAY
TEST: Max Pull-up Test
TEST: Max Ring Dips

Conditioning: “Jonescrawl”
3 rounds for time
10 Deadlift @ 115% of bodyweight
25 Box Jumps, 24″/20″

18 May / 2015

More “AND”, Less “OR”

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Side note: This image has nothing really to do with the topic at hand. It’s just funny.

It seems – to me at least – that in the health and fitness world, everyone likes to boil big questions down to dichotomous choices. What’s more important for weight loss, diet OR exercise? Should I follow a paleo diet OR eat less meat? Is CrossFit better OR should I be running?

Dan Heath, a very smart business guy who wrote a couple of books with his brother on decision making, spoke at the IHRSA Convention a few years ago, and emphasized the importance of “yes, and”. We talk about this a lot at work when we’re planning projects for the coming year, trying not to limit ourselves with false dichotomies. It wasn’t until I saw a recent article on exercise being “pointless” (or some such dismissive word) for weight loss that I put the two together.

You see, it doesn’t have to be diet OR exercise. I foresee very few situations in which a person truly has to make a feet to the fire choice between just one or just the other. If you want to lose weight you should clean up your diet AND get plenty of exercise (at least 150/75 minutes of moderate/vigorous exercise a week for baseline health, more for weight loss). If you’re interested in a sustainable diet, you can go paleo/primal AND eat less meat. They’re called vegetables, and you should eat far more of them than you eat meat. If you want to be in the best shape possible, you should do CrossFit AND you should also go running sometimes. You don’t have to choose between eating organic fruit and exercising daily. You don’t have to choose between coming to CFB 6 days a week or running on the treadmill at 6.3 mph 6 days a week.

Asking the “either, or” question limits what we can do and achieve. So unless your question is “should I eat a cannoli OR an ice cream sandwich for dessert tonight,” you should be thinking AND far more than OR.

PS. I vote cannoli. There’s a Mikes in Harvard Square now.

Photo c/o

15 May / 2015


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The month is already half way complete and it is great to see the whiteboards being re-written. Nothing is more gratifying for us than seeing the smile of a new Personal Record. NOTHING! Ali rocked out as the first female to complete “Nate” as Rx’d and there were 5 in the 5:30pm class last night that hit a 2RM at more weight than his/her previous 1RM!

WushuFoodie, Zack, Cissy, Evan, Shannon, and Courtney rocked the 5:30pm class.

WushuFoodie, Zack, Cissy, Evan, Shannon, and Courtney rocked the 5:30pm class.

Memorial Day Murph is fast approaching. We need a head count of those that will be attending the workout. (5/25 10AM) and how many plan to stick around for some food afterwards. Bring some side dishes to compliment the meat on the grill.


Saturday 5/16
Complete 3 rounds each for time in teams of 3
Run 400m
15 Ground to overhead, 135/95
12 Pull-ups

Performed Relay style with one person working at a time. While one person is working, the other two teammates are holding a 45# plate against their chest.

Sunday 5/17
Strength/Skill: Heaving Snatch Balance – work up to a max single

Conditioning: Complete 5 rounds for max reps
1:00 – Airdyne Calories
1:00 – Wallball shots, 30/20
1:00 – Kettlebell swings, 32/24
rest 1:00

Monday 5/18
Strength/Skill: Push Press 5×3

Conditioning: Reps of 21-15-9 for time
Push Press

Tuesday 5/19
Strength/Skill: Dips 5×5 AHAP compare to 5/7

Conditioning: AMRAP 15
Row 500m
20 Push-ups

Wednesday 5/20
Strength/Skill: Power Clean 3RM

Conditioning: 3 rounds for time
40# DB Split Clean, 15 reps
15 Strict Pull-ups

Thursday 5/21
Strength/Skill: Front Rack Reverse Lunges – 5×5 each leg

Conditioning: EMOM 16
Odd – 3 Pistols each leg
Even – 7 Burpees

Friday 5/22
Conditioning: 6 rounds for time
Run 200m (Everett Street & Back)
10 Deadlift, 225/155

Skill/Strength: Handbalancing – 6 x hold for max time
Handwalking – 6 x max distance

Today is, apparently according to the Today Show, National Eat Whatever You Want Day. My first reaction was, well…

But then I realized I basically eat what I want most days. Maybe not whatEVER I want, but for the most part I don’t dread lunch, I don’t hate breakfast, and my dinner isn’t boring. I like what I eat, and it’s not like I’d actually enjoy eating a cheeseburger everyday. There is a way to eat healthy AND like what you’re eating. I think that’s actually something the Paleo community has done better than any other diet – instead of trying to make some sort of frankenfood no carb no calorie bread or tortilla, they just said F the grains, let’s use delicious herbs and spices to make meat and vegetables taste amazing. Or, let’s repurpose vegetables into old favorite (e.g. Cauliflower rice or “mashed potatoes”). For many, that focus on good food is what makes Paleo sustainable – if your Paleo diet is grilled chicken and broccoli most of the time, you’re either one of those weird people who don’t much care what they eat, or you’re going to run into trouble.

There’s a quote I remember hearing (I don’t remember who said it) that went something like:

“Happiness isn’t having everything you want. It’s wanting everything you have.”

I think that’s a relevant message when it comes to diet. It’s not about being able to eat the things you love when your habits aren’t ideal and achieve your goals, it’s about wanting the foods that are healthy. About choosing baked sweet potato wedges over Ore Ida fries, or choosing cage free eggs and fruit over a waffle. About wanting a healthy, home cooked meal more than you want Shake Shack.  And LIKING that choice.

Photo c/o TMAB2003

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08 May / 2015

FIRE IT UP! 050815

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Awesome training this week everyone. On Wednesday, the gym leaderboard was demolished for “Helen”. We had 3 new ladies claiming a Top 5 spot and 1 male. Great work by Lil’ O’Malley, Coach Alex, Ali and Matt. Avik just missed claiming the 5th best time by 2 seconds. Papa Grouse Yean-Rai dropped 3 minutes from his Helen time from just this past December!

Last Friday, Vijay rocked “Karen”‘s world with a time of 6:00. That placed him 3rd best time in the gym history. Great work!

Outside of the classes, participants of Coach G2’s Strength Challenge rocked their retest of the Our Crew Total. I don’t have all of the data yet but I know that Carlos increased his deadlift by 70 pounds in 12 weeks! Just yesterday Brian rocked a double PR in the Clean&Jerk and Snatch. More results will be posted soon.


This upcoming week will give us two opportunities for testing and benchmarking. Wednesday we have HeroWOD “Nate” and on Thursday we will be working up to a 2RM for the Power Snatch. Get those t-spines and shoulders mobilized!

Saturday 5/9
a. Pull-ups – 5×5 AHAP
b. Push-ups – 5×10 with a  2121 tempo

Complete reps of 30-25-20 for time
25# Dumbbell Thrusters

Sunday 5/10
Regionals Team Event
175 Snatches
25 rope climbs
115 Thrusters

Work in teams of 3 and share the work however you like. All reps must be completed before moving on to the next movement.

M-75# snatches, 115# thruster
W-55# snatches, 75# thruster

Monday 5/11
3 x 5 reps @ 85% of 4/29

Complete for time
Run 1 mile
100 Squats
75 Sit-ups
50 Push-ups
25 Pull-ups

Tuesday 5/12
Muscle-up practice – with a false grip: hangs, flex arm hangs, pull-ups, ring rows
dips, dip supports, bottom of the dip

3 rounds for time
20 Unbroken Wallball shots, 20#/15#
20 Unbroken Double Unders

Wednesday 5/13
Conditioning/Test: “Nate”
2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand push-ups
8 Swings, 32kg/24kg

Thursday 5/14
Strength/Skill: Power Snatch – 2RM

5 Rounds for time
600m run
15 Overhead Squats, 115/75

Friday 5/15
Strength: Front Squat – 5×5 (ascending up to heavy 5)

Complete reps of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 for time
Walking lunges

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If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know my skepticism of the US food system is pretty healthy. Just this weekend I was shopping for chicken, and stumbled upon the lovely scene above. In just this frame alone the word “natural” is used over 5 times. And that’s only part of the chicken section! I’ve written before about how “natural” basically means nothing, but it is nonetheless confusing. I am always telling people to eat foods closest to their natural form, meaning cheese versus Cheez-Its (although eating them a few times a year at the beach isn’t going to kill you) or roasted potatoes versus potato chips. Generally the “closer to earth” (I will avoid using the word natural because like I said, it means squat) variations of a food are less calorically dense and contain more nutritional value (and nutritional bang for your calorie). So the question is: how do you choose the right meat when everything is labeled natural?

The Best

The best way to get humanely raised, non CAFO beef, chicken, eggs, and pork is to buy it from your local farmer. Visit the farm or farmer’s market and buy it on the spot, or join a meat CSA. Take a look at how the farmer does things – how much time to cows hang out outside. Do chickens get to eat bugs? Look at the egg yolk – it should be more orange than yellow. And make sure the cows have plenty of room to rut around and get muddy. That’s natural for them. Side note: there’s a lot of irony in the fact that this “all vegetarian fed chicken” is promoted as “natural”. In nature (or on the farm), chickens eat bugs. They’re not vegetarians, and it’s not good for them, and may explain higher rates of illness and tendency to turn on each other among industrially raised chickens. This Chicago Tribune article sheds more light and is highly recommended. Seriously, READ THIS. Mainly because I feel strongly and want you to, too.

Back to our topic. As is usual, the right way is also the most expensive option. Patrick and I are currently trying to buy better meats, and this summer our goal is to get all our meat from a local farmer. Hopefully we can also make rent :)

If the above option is too many dinero, then…

The Next Best Thing

After getting it right from Old McDonald, the next best option is buying organic. I’m not super familiar with all of the ins and outs of organic regulations, and I’ve heard buzz recently about organic foods still containing some chemicals and maybe not being as rigorous as we thought.  I haven’t done enough digging to decide if this is a Food Babe rumor or a real concern, but it doesn’t change the fact that organically raised meat is still better than conventional farming right now when it comes to meat. So if you can’t get it form your local farmer, get it from a grocery store that buys from an organic farmer somewhere.

If all organic all the time doesn’t fit,

Buy Organic As Much As Possible

Figure out what works for your budget, and buy organic when you can, conventional the rest of the time. I would start with organic dairy and butter, as those won’t add too much to the grocery bill. Move onto eggs next. Then go to meats, as those are probably going to be the biggest increase.

Tonight’s 6:30 class is canceled. Mobility class is also cancelled tomorrow (Saturday) morning, May 2nd. Coach Mickey will open the gym at 7:45 for open gym and the Whole Life Challenge.


Fire It Up Friday returns after a week off. I know that you missed it while it was gone so…The ladies have stepped up big time this week so far in rocking the PR Bell. Lil’ O’Malley, Audrey, Alex, and Ellen all rang the bell this week. There has been some rumor that Carlos and Nigel “Pencil Neck” dominated Grace during this final week of the Strength Challenge. Speaking of the Strength Challenge, Tony has gained 17 pounds of muscle! 17! Sager Juice saw him yesterday for the first time in weeks and was astonished as to how SWOLE he was.

I would love to hear what others have crushed recently. Post your last two weeks of Awesomeness to comments!


Each Sunday at 3pm members can meet with Nigel at Houghton’s Pond of the Blue Hills in Milton, Ma for a run. The Blue Hills are beautiful for both running and hiking. Its family friendly and you can check out the museum just down the road afterwards. I definitely recommend trying to make it when you have the day free.


May will be a continuation of the gymnastic strength work for the pull-ups and dips. You will also see more work with the rope climbs and hand balancing/hand walking. These are skills that must be practiced with some regularity to gain any sort of proficiency. Attack it when they pop up in class. If you miss the days they do, give yourself 5-10 minutes either before or after to put some work in.

Friday 5/1
Conditioning: “Karen”
150 Wallball shots for time

M-20# to a 10′ target
W-15# to a 9′ target

Saturday 5/2
Strength/Skill: Jerk 1RM

Conditioning: Complete 7 rounds for time
7 Push Jerk @ 50% of todays 1RM
21 Deadlift (same load)

Sunday 5/3
Every minute complete
7 Thruster, 75/55
7 Burpees

Add 2 reps every other minute: Rd 1 – 7/7, Rd 2 – 9/9, Rd 3 – 9/9, Rd 4 – 11/11, Rd 5 – 11/11…keep going until you can no longer complete the required volume of the round. Score is total reps completed. Tie breaker is the time the last successful round was completed.

Monday 5/4
Test: Max Consecutive Pull-ups
Test: Max Push-ups

Conditioning: 5 Rounds for time
250m Row
35 Squats

Tuesday 5/5
A. Shoulder Press – 4×6 (3 warm up sets then 4 straight sets)
B. Ring Rows – 4×8 (horizontal with a tempo of 2212)

Conditioning: AMRAP 12
15 Toe 2 Bar
15 Hang Squat Snatch, 95/65

Wednesday 5/6
Conditioning: “Helen”
3 rounds for time
400m Run
21 Swings, 24kg/16kg
12 Pull-ups

Gymnastic Strength: ABS
1. L-sits – 6 x 10 seconds
2. GHD Back Extensions – accumulate 75 reps

Thursday 5/7
Strength/Skill: Dips – 5 x 5 AHAP

Conditioning: AMRAP20
5 Box Jumps, 30/24
10 Push Press, 95/65
15 V-ups

Friday 5/8
Strength/Skill: EMOM 20
Odd: 2 Clean + 1 Jerk (AHAP)
Even: 3 Bar Muscle Ups

Strength: Back Squat – 4×6 (straight sets)
3 warm up sets then 4×6 straight across

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I’ve always loved sports, especially when it comes to learning and competing at new sports that I don’t get to play often.  Whenever we learn something new it’s far to easy to try and learn a couple of basics and then go full speed.  Whether it’s golf, tennis, running, olympic lifting, rowing, or any other sport.  The thrill of competition and grace in motion that sports played at full speed creates is amazing.  Full speed competition elicits that feeling of joy and excitement that we all live for.  However, a couple of problems usually arise at one point or another in our performance at full speed, especially if we take it up to full speed to quickly.

1. We lose form and things get sloppy.  Basically the wheels come off.

2. We need more speed to out perform our competition, but it’s just not there.

Drew's new Catch Positioning

Drew’s new Catch Positioning

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve experienced this situation with many of the athletes I coach, both on the water rowing and in the gym training.  We’re always fighting for more intensity and boat speed, but too often something falls apart and our true potential is never reached.

Personally, I’ve experienced a similar situation while learning the piano.  I currently take lessons once a week and have worked up to playing 4 songs and almost all of the scales, but my progress tends to stumble when I go to fast.  It seems easy when I play a scale or a song slowly, so why not pick up the speed and just figure out how to not make mistakes playing faster?  Well because it just gets sloppy and I never really learn what I’m doing wrong or better yet, what I can be doing better.

After being turned on to two great blog posts on slow motion practice, one from the music world and one from the golf world, I decided to share this idea with the rowing and strength training world that I hope you all partake in.

Is Slow Practice Really Necessary? by 

Slow is Beautiful by Daniel Coyle

First, read through the above two blog posts and think about how slow is super slow.  To often we think we’re going slow, but we could be going slower.  Then, go out and practice super slow motion movements in your warmup.  Be mindful, find the points where your focus lapses or you make a mistake, figure out how you can be more efficient, smoother, and more consistent.  If you can take at least 20 minutes to practice this I guarantee you will find more boat speed, achieve more power, and perform at a higher level.

Above is Drew performing the Reverse Pic Drill in a single.  Think about how many hours of slow motion practice, balance, and boat feel it has taken for him to get to this point.  Look at where he slows things down to find better balance, feel, and connection to the boat and water.  For him to make this better and go faster at full speed, he will probably need to practice this even slower.  Now it’s your turn, get on an erg, setup a barbell, or get in a boat and master your movement skills with super slow motion.  It’s harder than you think.

Share your thoughts and experience to comments.

29 Apr / 2015

What Does Vitamin C Actually Do?

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We see vitamin C a lot these days, mostly in the context of cold prevention (or treatment). Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin found in certain foods and added as fortification to others. Humans don’t synthesize vitamin C, so it’s essential that we include it in our diet.

Roles of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, L-Carnitine, and some neurotransmitters, and is also involved in some protein metabolism. It is also an antioxidant thought to help regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E, helps the body absorb non-heme iron (meaning iron from plant based foods), and plays an important role in immune function. Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy (often linked to pirates and sailors, who went long periods without fresh produce), which causes fatigue and connective tissue weakness.

Collagen synthesis and immune function are the most notable and widely recognized roles for Vitamin C. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in muscle, bone, and tendons among other important tissues.

When Do You Need Vitamin C?

Vitamin  C has been linked to a few conditions over the years.

Cancer Prevention  – numerous studies show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many cancers, although similar to vitamin A, there is no research that demonstrates vitamin C alone is responsible for this reduced risk or that supplementation would offer any benefit. It seems the pattern of eating fruits and vegetables is more important than single nutrients.

Cardiovascular Disease – research suggests that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease, potentially due in part to the antioxidant content of these foods. This makes sense because oxidative damage is one of the causes of heart disease. One British study found that those with the top 25% in blood vitamin C levels had a 42% risk of cardiovascular disease, but the Physicians Health Study found no significant decrease after 5 years of supplementation.  Most clinical interventions and several larger prevention studies have showed no benefit from supplements. As with cancer, you are better off eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables than supplementing one single nutrient.

The Cold – evidence indicates that vitamin C intake greater than 200 mg a day does not prevent a cold. One study showed a small reduction in cold duration – 8% for adults and 14% for kids. Although if you think about the common cold lasting about 2 weeks, that adds up to about a day. Taking vitamin C after symptoms have already started provided no benefit. Research has shown vitamin C intake of 250 mg – 1 g/day to reduce the incidence of a cold by 50% among people exposed to large bouts of physical exercise and extreme cold – including marathoners, soldiers, and skiers. So, it would appear supplementation is mostly effective for people exposed to extreme environments.

How Much Do You Need?

According to recommended daily allowance (RDA) – a level that should be sufficient to meet the needs of 98% of the population –  the average adult male needs 90 mg a day and the average female 75 mg a day. This is super easy to attain, and most people get way more than that. If you eat 1/2 cup of red bell pepper, a cup of broccoli, and a glass of OJ, you’re already well over 200% of your daily recommended intake.

My Recommendation?

Eat your fruits and veggies. If you ski a lot in the winter, consider taking a supplement if you get sick often. Once you are sick though, forget about the vitamin C. Consider taking a zinc lozenge instead. Or just sleep and drink a lot of fluids.

One caveat: I do often recommend – and take myself – EmergenC when sick. I know, I just said vitamin C does not good, why would I recommend a supplement with 1,000 milligrams of it right? Well, for one because it makes me feel better. It has other vitamins besides vitamin C (including B6 and B12), and because it makes me drink more water. I like it because it works for me, even if the Vitamin C isn’t the reason.


Image c/o Keith Williamson 

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