New At the Box

Athlete of the Quarter: LYSHIA “LOLITIA JENKINS” DELRIO!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Lyshia Del Rio is our first Athlete of the Quarter for 2018!! She always brings a smile and a laugh in everyday she comes to Rebels. It’s obvious she loves it here. Lyshia is one of our busy moms – always on the run, always doing something and yet, every day she comes in smiling. Lately she’s become an accidental leader on our Rebels on Paleoish FB group. She’s been asking people how they’re doing and holding them accountable. She says she loves it because it helps her stay accountable herself. Lyshia is always focused on family and relationships, she’s one of the most loving women we have ever met.


What is your favorite WOD?  Cindy – Because I finally have Rx pull-ups!

What is your least favorite WOD? Anything with Box Jumps or Burpees.

What do you like most about CrossFit?  The camaraderie and friendships that hold me accountable every day.

What has been the hardest/most difficult skill or movement to learn? Snatch, but really the most difficult thing is taking a break from Crossfit and then re-starting. It’s so hard coming back.

How has CrossFit changed your life? When I started 4 years ago I was at a pretty low point in my life. The biggest thing that’s changed is my self-confidence. Crossfit has also brought my whole family closer.


Battle of the Sexes 2018

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2018 is IN THE BOOKS!

battle of the sexes logoSaturday, Feb 10th,  2018, like so many years past, the girls of CF Rebels took on the guys of CF Rebels in a full day of WODs, adventures and games. And once again, like so many years past, the guys reign as supreme sex.  Congratulations to the men!

And also this year, our Battle fell on a very special day: Coach Moana’s 48th Birthday! If you have a facebook account, check out Moana’s Birthday kicking off the Battle.

So, this is Sam, recapping the day after conferring with Ed on our  our “home runs” (positives), our  “base hits” that could have been doubles, triples and home runs” (things we did well  but could have done better) and our “strike outs” (negatives).

We do this once a year. It’s a big deal to have something for the community that’s fun, somewhat competitive and that brings us all together. Our Head/Lead Coaching Team gelled on this event considering we’re always pushed back by something important and tend to pull these things together with very little time. Nicole, Paul, Phil, Jaida, Jenn…really owned their respective responsibilities for the event and executed superbly! I don’t think they all realize the impact they have allowing everyone to push hard for the sake of fun!

The Home Runs:

  • Coach Nicole – everything she touched for this event turned to gold.
    • She and Trish organized babysitting for the parents who wanted to participate in the battle but would have had to find (or didn’t have) childcare. Nicole and Trish orchestrated a group a volunteers who cared for at least 8-10 kiddos for the entire event! That’s a long time to keep kids occupied and happy. We’re so grateful for this new addition the box and owe it all to Coach Nic and Trish.
    • Nicole was at the box even before Ed and I and got right to the things we’d yet completed. She stayed on task judging and organizing during the vent and working the kids room.  And of course, she was one of the last ones to leave, helping to button things up in the end. She really deserves some major kudos – she worked harder than anyone.
  • Yoga Coach Tiffany – adding a new twist to the event this year, and proving we all need more flexibility! This will definitely be an event returning next year!
  • The Reams (Oreo & Uno (Nicole & Kyle)) made a surprise visit to us driving all the way from Atlanta to join the fun. We hope to have them back in our Rebels Fam soon!IMG_4355
  • Strokers provided the food and beer, and just like last year, it was a huge hit! Many thanks to Jose for delivering!
  • This years’ captains: Stephanie (aka “wife”) and Justin.  Seriously calm cucumbers under all the pressure – possibly proving that having attorneys as captains is a good idea? Yea, I think so too.

The Base Hits:

  • The new structure with the AMRAP Scavenger hunt (which can most definitely be improved dramatically next year), the Team WOD events and the occasional breaks for food and drink. We will continue to innovate and keep things fresh!
  • The Nerf Gun in the drinking game…next year better timing of the event so we can have a longer AMRAP!
  • I truly appreciated the constructive feedback from some of you on how we could make this event better next year.  That feedback included scoring the scavenger hunt differently, putting the benchmark girls near the end of the event, and figuring out how to have “competitive events” and “non-competitive events” so that those who want to “compete” can and those who want to have a good time also can. And I need to mention again – it was constructive and appreciated!  With events like these we can’t please everyone.  This is a fun event – hearing athletes bludgeon the coaches who are running the event  because they felt something was “off” or unfair…not constructive. We’re all adults..just saying I appreciated the adult feedback 😉

The Strike Outs:

  • Our timing – laying out the WODs and events so we stayed on time was difficult because we didn’t have everyone signed up for events in advance…but we still finished around 3pm – close to our target. This is always a challenge!
  • Sign ups!  Next year I think we’ll have a draft!
  • We forgot to get a group photo

The fact that in the end, after another exceptionally long attempt at busting the piñata, no one even asked who won. Y’all were making plans to go out and celebrate the day, Moana’s birthday, the Reams…Coach Nic needed a drink, etc.  It does us good to see the box gel like that.

There are a few extra shirts we ordered to ensure we could swap sizes that will be for sale Monday if anyone wants one.

Thank you again to everyone who worked the event, participated in the event, helped clean up, and gave us all great memories that will last until…Battle 2019!




Chalk Etiquette

Thursday, January 18th, 2018


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It’s one of the fun parts of CrossFit. Make you feel like a bad ass, right? The slow saunter over to the bucket – you’re feeling a little John Wayne meets Gangster gunslinger.  The silky feel of the chalk on your hand that are about to grip and rip a new snatch PR…oh you can taste it, right?

Well, with every accessory in our gym comes responsibility. Whether it’s your jump rope, your knee wraps, or yes, your use of chalk, be prepared to be asked to have some knowledge of “chalk etiquette”.

  1. Our Box Rules include chalk etiquette: Rule #9: Use chalk over bucket.  In other works, put your hands in the bucket, rub chalk between your hand IN THE BUCKET, and then clap them together IN THE BUCKET.  Easy enough right?
  2. Do not take chalk blocks out of the bucket to your “station” or workout area. Blocks remain in the buckets at all times.
  3. Weightlifting Chalk is different than blackboard chalk, and baby powder talc. Don’t try to mix it up!
  4. A fine layer of chalk between your hands and the barbell helps you achieve a stronger grip by soaking up any of perspiration from your hands.
  5. Chalk buckets…they’re not yours! We “share” chalk bucket in the box. The kids area has one, the adult area has four. Please don’t consider this “your” personal chalk bucket for your class.
  6. Sweaters. No, not Christmas sweater, but people who sweat – a lot. We live in Florida, folks!  It’s hot and you’re going to sweat. If you’re pouring out sweat and doing pull ups or high rep cleans, no amount of chalk is going to keep the sweat from running down your arms to your palms.  Consider sweat bands, as corny as that might sound.  Excessive chalk + excessive sweat = paste, and this defeats the purpose of chalk.
  7. Chalking hands is typically for pulling: DL, Cleans, Snatches, and pull up bar or ring work.  Chalking your hands for pushups and presses…kind of makes you look like a goof.
  8. Clean up your chalk mess after the WOD: barbells, handprints on the floor, whatever. Cleaning up your mess after a WOD is a part of your job. Do it!
  9. Try not to use a trip to the chalk bucket like a trip to the water fountain during a WOD: as a rest break.  Others may legitimately need the chalk bucket – use it only when needed.
  10. If there is chalk in a bucket – use it. There doesn’t have to be a chalk block in the bucket to be effective. Chalk blocks break down into fine chalk silt. That is fine – if the chalk bucket is empty, please ask a coach and he/she will get you more chalk.

We’re lucky. Many gyms won’t let athletes use chalk because it creates a mess.  We understand the value of chalk but also need your help in controlling the mess it creates.




Sunday, December 31st, 2017


Happy New Year Rebels!  Sam here.  And this is our New Year’s Post!

The new hip thing is to say you don’t have or don’t do resolutions or goals…but why? Why not commit (openly to others and to ourselves) to try to be a little better this year than last? Why not? Because of the everyone gets a trophy era where if we resolve to be better at “X” and we fail, we can’t accept that we failed and need to try again? Because we don’t know how to measure and identify if we’re getting better or not? I’m always stumped at this.

Well this year, at Rebels, we are “resolving” to be better this year…in several ways.  Join us in this bit of commitment and let us help you, as your community…as your family…achieve your goals!


As coaches, we never cease to be amazed by the athletes in our community. Their passions, their professions, their ginormous hearts!  Get to know your fellow athletes because we have one of the most exceptional communities out there!

Three of our exceptional athletes come to mind as I write this.

Luke Bernard was brought to us in July of 2015 by his sister, Faith.  Luke was a little fragile from a tragic car accident and subsequent surgeries.  I recall discussing with Faith how to keep him safe, especially considering things like Handstand Pushups and swinging from the bar.  Fast forward to today, and Luke is an accomplished screen writer and actor, and consistently finds himself Rx’ing CrossFit workouts and continuing to improve his mobility, strength and fitness.  If you’ve never trained with Luke then you’ve never had the privilege of his laughter and animation…something you should experience in 2018!

John Templeton is easily one of Rebels most loved athletes.  His easy going mannerisms, his humble approach to the WOD combined with his high level performance, and his “Mr. Congeniality” presence puts him front and center as the guy you want to set up next to for tomorrow’s WOD! We’ve had the privilege of training John and his sister Maggie in the past several years.  What you may not know about John is his exceptional character, evidenced at age 19 when turned his life around and began a path that would forever be in the service of others.  Check it out. We’re honored to train someone like John, and consider him friend and family – such a positive force in the community!

Elin Gottschalk is one of our Legends athletes.  At 80 years old, she shows up every day, and regardless of the health challenges life throws at her, she gives it her all (and sometimes we think more than she actually has to give!), and continues to persevere.  She squats below parallel (when she wants to), always wants the heavier bar always does a few more reps than we tell her to. Elin, unlike most of us, has had a very challenging upbringing and seems to have used her past as a source of strength today and in planning her future.  On days we feel the world is against us, whether it’s because our day has gone to crap, we missed our workout or we jumped head first off the diet wagon, we can always look at Elin’s past and her positive attitude when she walks through the door and find inspiration to make today a better day.


I know…I’m always harping on your diet. But without a solid diet, you just won’t have the CrossFit career you truly want. You probably also won’t have the body composition, strength or recovery you want.

CrossFit’s “prescription” or Rx for diet has always been this: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”  Pretty simple right? Well, it is…but you probably have to change a few things about you view food.  Choose protein in it’s most natural state from grass-fed, pastured and wild animals.  The word protein by it’s very definition in the mid 19th century from French protéine, German Protein, from Greek prōteios ‘primary,’ from prōtos‘first.’ tells us it’s of primal importance and should be prioritized in our diets.   Carbohydrates should come from non-starchy, highly nutrient dense sources like broccoli, carrots, peppers, greens, fruit, etc.; also from (safe) starchy sources like white rice, potatoes and some (safe) grains. Your levels of  starch should be commensurate with our activity and level of your training. Fats should come from varied sources and round out your diet.  Animal fats, some fruits (olives, avocados), nuts and seeds…all great sources of fat.  

If you have never done a strict 30 day reset, you owe it to yourself to educate yourself on what foods may affect you poorly. This is the easiest way to find out and often provides some eye opening results!

If improving your diet is something you aspire to accomplish, let us help. We can meet with you and help you lay it out or tweak where you are to move you in the right direction. Just remember: you cannot out-train a crappy diet.


Your WODs are strategically periodized and planned to ensure you hit heavy, medium and light loads, short, medium and long durations on the WODs, all of the various movements, skill practice and time to work on the things you need extra time to become competent in and with. Use your coaches, the “Spiderweb” drill in the Skill Crate to help you design your work days on Thursdays (Open Gym) and Saturdays (8am Open Gym). Two days a week you have the ability to hone your skills, work your weaknesses and utilize the skills of your coaches to bust through barriers. Have a plan and employ it!


Your muscle get stronger, and your body heals during rest days and when you sleep. Bragging that you train 7 days a week never impresses your coaches. It makes us wonder if you are being guided by magazines and poor examples that float around the interwebs.  Trust us: if you are full on CrossFitting, you need two days of a break in your week. That doesn’t mean you don’t come to the box, but work on mobility, love up to a lacrosse ball and a foam roller, and maybe hit a slow recovery row.  But for heaven’s sake: honor your body and rest!

Also, get a handle on your sleep. Lack of sleep and high, unmanaged stress levels, are two things that will sideline your recovery. Ask for help!


CrossFit is your sport, but have a life! “Regularly learn and play new sports”: the last line of World Class Fitness in 100 Words. Golf, cycling, KanJam, recreational sports ….have fun doing things CrossFit keeps you fit and healthy to try!

Read, experiment and find things in the community to join in and do.  TBO.COM


Studies show that by continuing to learn we not only improve the quality of our lives, but we also ward off mental illness and keep our spark for life high, even as we age. In this age of technology, there is no excuse for lack of learning. I have stacks of text books and journals just waiting for time to dig in.  Find something you’re passionate about and start diving in! TED Talks are great sources of education in all areas and great place to start. They’re free and easy to access.  EdX offers free online university courses from some of the best higher education sources out there.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Happy New Year to our Rebel Family!  We’re proud and honored that you choose us to provide your training program and facility.  We have big plans for 2018 that include providing more variety in your training, more services (child care for one) to make getting your training in easier and with our best coaching team ever, and upstanding year ahead of health and fitness!


Friday, September 29th, 2017


We are CrossFit Rebels!

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Welcome to CrossFit Rebels!

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I’ve been trying to frame this post since January.  At times I’m stumped, and sometimes tongue-tied.  Other times, I’m fuming, and then, elated. Most of the time, I know I’ll be too long winded so I just put it off.

But today – finally!

I got a text from a friend who said “did you know your box is known as the Scientology box?”.


Yep! Like it’s a special certification or something…sure, we train people who have adopted Scientology as their religion or practice.  And some of them are close friends.  And…that’s an issue… why?


We (Ed and I) are Catholic and Presbyterian, respectively.

So what, right? Exactly!

In fact, both our churches weren’t jacked about either us marrying outside our respective religion..it requires extra “course work”.
Good grief!

Rebels also trains athletes who are Methodist, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist and Agnostic.


It certainly doesn’t give them a better Fran or Grace time…so not sure why that would be a concern.


Earlier this year this whole post was spawned when we were accused (our box,..maybe me) of “hating cops”.  Really?  

Maybe they didn’t know both my folks worked for the Police Department in Winchester, Indiana and that my first birthday party (yes, I was once “one”) was at Police Station.  It pissed me off at first, but now it’s so laughable…the ignorance!

We train Police Officers, Firefighters, EMT’s, members of all branches of the military…heck, some of our coaches are Police Officers, Firefighters, members of the Army, Air Force, Marines…wow…what ignorance and  disrespect to even think of accusing us of this.

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We train competitors…at all levels. Brand new CrossFitters who aspire to compete, recreational competitors, and the past two years running, our men’s individual Elite Team won the Bacon Beatdown…but I know…so what right? Right.  


Yes, we train competitors too. 

But we also train the person new to ANY kind of training, the person completely out of shape and wanting to get in shape, the person who’s generally fit but wants a challenge…we don’t discriminate. We just want to help people get healthier.

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Ed graduated from the University of Florida.  A testament to our “all types are welcome here” vibe….he never hung a Gators flag.
His theory was, “I don’t want to offend those who root for the Seminoles, or Hurricanes, or Bulls, or Knights or (insert the team I missed here)”.

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We used to have a lot of single athletes.


Then LOVE happened.


Then babies happened.


Now we have lots of single people, couples, babies and kids!


Once, one of our athletes called us the “Posh Box”.

Yes, we’re a clean box, with a lot of equipment.

Not many of our athletes (who’ve not contracted MRSA from our box) complain about our cleanliness.


We train “old people” too. We call them our Legends athletes.


If you have a problem with that, it’s probably because they squat better than you!


We’re no more a Scientology box, than we are Seminoles box, than we are a “Cop Box”.  We don’t discriminate.

To those who keep stereotyping us,
spend more time on YOUR athletes.



We’re proud of our box and all that it stands for. Most of all, the community..our community is one the tightest and supportive of each other I could ever imagine. They’re friendly, healthy, love their sport…CrossFit.  Every box should be focused on this: their community. Not trashing other communities.  What a waste of time!



HGH, HIIT, Sleep and Fasting

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017






All of the above are things we truly, secretly want whether we have the guts to say it out loud or not.

Even those women wanting that waify look should take heed to the third statement “want to build muscle faster” – there is a direct relationship between amount of muscle mass a person has and mortality.

Below are a few good and super short reads on why your sport is not only fantastic at building unparalleled work capacity and fitness, and but also is one of the best at building lean muscle tissue and burning fat.

HGH (human growth hormone), among other hormones, is one we want to maximize and ensure our bodies get a proper dose of AT THE RIGHT TIMES. Super high focus on “at the right times”. From burning fat to tissue repair…to our general health (which should be our overall biggest priority before anything else) there are magnificent things about how our bodies work that allow to have optimal health and function well.

One of them is tailoring your activity to help your body produce HGH. High intensity interval training (CrossFit) and lifting heavy loads (CrossFit) are both well documented and proven ways to help your body elevate the level of HGH your body can and will produce.

Another way is allowing HGH to do it’s thing overnight. I recall at the Poliquin Biosignature Course I took years ago, that Poliquin was hot on the topic of not eating late at night, and keep fat levels in the diet low in the last meal of the day, and carbs a little higher to allow Serotonin to do it’s job in helping us sleep well.  Sleeping well and allowing our bodies to enter a fasted state is one of the reasons we caution in advising our athletes to follow the old “bodybuilding lifestyle” of doing casein protein before bed or eating so regularly into the evening that you’re never in a fasted state.  HGH is produced and functions well in the absence of insulin…so on low blood sugar or in a fasted state.   Overnight is the perfect opportunity and allows your body to perform this ancestral function naturally.  We can, and do, however, “eff” that naturally occurring trait up by strategizing to eat late at night to “preserve lean muscle mass”. We actually might be working against our bodies natural processes.   Humans didn’t eat on an every two hour schedule in our history, and we were less disease  ridden…is there a connection?

Laying off the late night eating and using the overnight period as a true fast that your body needs to clear damaged cells and produce the hormones it needs for health and longevity is a good idea.  And in addition to CrossFit, a smart way to build a rock solid body!







https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2318-13-74 (study in older Americans)




So Now What?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017


The 2017 CrossFit Open is over.  Maybe you’ve worked for months or a year or more to achieve something special for this.  Maybe you signed up from peer pressure or on a whim.  Either way, whatever your motivations were, it’s over.  You DID IT!  Some workouts were better than others, some crippled you for days, others left you feeling like the strongest version of yourself – stronger and more resilient than you imagined.

We talk about the magic of the Open, that somehow, $4 per workout produces personal greatness.  PR’s abound during the 5 weeks of the Open. It’s the crucible of competition.  Of knowing this is your chance to give your absolute best this workout.  This one time.  You dig deep into your suitcase of courage and find something special you didn’t know you had.

So now what, now what do you with all this? Flaws were highlighted; greatness achieved. Open enrollment for Rx+ is on, Murph is coming up, we’re going to run another Strength Cycle, and there’s always local competitions you could try.  The Open highlights any chinks in our CrossFit armor, anything you’ve been avoiding or haven’t worked magically comes up in these 5 weeks.  It’s almost like Dave Castro knew I haven’t been working my DB snatches or Bar Muscle Up’s or that I have a tantrum anytime I mess up DU’s.

How many no-reps did you have on the WB’s in 17.4 because you missed the wall or didn’t squat low enough?  Nothing sucks more than squatting like a punk all year only to get beaten on by your judge during the Open.  You know what else?  It’s breaks your judges’ hearts to no-rep you. Yeah, we hate it. So when we hammer you in class, it’s to make you better.  Not to hurt your feelings.  Let the coaches help you. Have you taken an honest assessment of your abilities on the spiderweb? When was the last time you looked at your skill level sheet? Ask us questions about programming, about mobility, about tweaking your start position on an Oly lift. You may find your row gets a little worse when you first start doing it right, but if you stick with it, if you keep practicing the right way to do it, you will get better.  We promise.  Plus you’ll look WAY better in your social media posts if your form is textbook perfect.

Your time is now.  Now is the time to objectively assess where you’re at, where you’re going, what your goals are.  Are you surprised at how heavy the snatches were in 17.3? Or in 17.4, when you couldn’t hold a steady row pace?  It’s time to focus on the chinks in your armor, it’s time to stop avoiding warm-ups and using your time in the box to get better.  If you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten.  Mediocrity and complacency do not produce results.


How To Set CrossFit Goals

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

It’s January, the month we all tend to make annual plans, we’ve wiped out the 2016 goal board and are starting to push you to put new goals up, and registration for the 2017 CrossFit Games Open is live.  There you have it:  THREE MAJOR REASONS for putting some thought into your CrossFit training and what your goals are for this year.

But many of us have trouble figuring out what we need to work on, typically because the answer is often “EVERYTHING!”.  Here’s a quick way to evaluate where you are and what you need to focus on.

Let’s break down what we do into just a few categories:

  1. STRENGTH (Barbell/Loaded)

Pretty easy right?  You could say I’m pretty strong, I do OK with my gymnastics and I have a decent engine.

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And if that’s your response, good – you don’t feel generally any weakness in one specific area. So let’s break it down a little further.

  1. STRENGTH (Barbell/Loaded)
    • 1RM’s in all the major power and olympic lifts. Is your press up to par with your DL? How is your snatch?
    • High repetition/muscle endurance. How you you do on heavy barbell WODs like DT? How about lighter high repetition WODs?
    • Technique. Is your technique spot-on with your lifts or could you still use some fine tuning to make you more efficient? The first two bullets here are improved by technique.
    • Benchmarks: How does your 1RM rate with the rest of the box or other CrossFitters? How is your DT score, Complex 1, Grace, Isabel, Karen?
    • Strict gymnastics: 20 strict pull ups, 50 pushups, 10 strict HSPU, 15 strict dips, 30 UB pistols…how we doin’?
    • Dynamic gymnastics and in high repetition: kipping and butterfly pull ups, kipping dips and HSPU, T2B
    • Advanced gymnastics: muscle ups (bar and ring), handstand walking
    • Skill/technique.  How is your technique on all of these? Is your form broken or solid, tight and springy? The first three bullets here are enhanced by technique.
    • Benchmarks: Cindy, Angie, Barbara, Mary…how does your score rate on all of these WODs?
    • Your work capacity is the key to improving your CrossFit performance.
    • Straight line cardio: your 5K run, 1 mile run and 400M run, your 500M and 2K row, and 100 DU for time. Benchmarks for this steady state cardio include Triple 3’s and Jerry.
    • Mixed modal training: the combination of a loaded movement, a gymnastics movement and possible a mono structural cardio element is the magic in CrossFit’s programing and the true test of your CrossFit performance.  Benchmarks for this include Helen, Eva, Kelly and Jackie.  Couplets can be even more challenging!  Diane, Fran, Nancy and Nicole.  How do your scores on these benchmarks rank?


It’s a lot of stuff, I know!

So where do you go from here? There’s so much!

You have a lot of options. If you’re a good goal setter and planner, start making a list!  If you need help, we’re here for you! Over the years we created several guides to help you identify the areas you need help with, and then you have your team of coaches to help you from there.  In that file crate that sits on the top west side of the desk are several things that can help you.


We created the Suck List for those who needed a guide to identify what they sucked at, so they could make a list.  Check it out: SUCK LIST

Next up…

Early in 2006, I believe, Dave Werner of CrossFit Seattle developed the four Skill Levels to help his athletes learn their priorities for progressing in order to remain “balance”. In other words, not just barbell strong, but bodyweight strong. Fast, strong and agile.  Everything in balance. We adapted these Skill Levels to our box back in 2013 and they’ve remained a part of our athlete development program since. It might be time to take a look at them!  They’re also in the crate. We have a binder we keep them in at the desk. Coaches “test you out”. Once you’ve completed every test in Level 1, you can move on to Level 2, and then Level 3 and 4.  Check them out:  SKILL LEVELS 1-4


Ed and I were lucky enough to attend the CrossFit Competitors Course in 2014 in Boston led by Chris Spealler and Matt Chan.  From that weekend, we came home with a list of loads and scores that they had compiled and created as Open-worthy, Regionals-worthy and Games-worthy scores.  It’s both enlightening and humbling to review this, as these are numbers from 2014! CROSSFIT COMPETITORS BENCHMARKS

The system they used to determine where we needed work was this SPIDERWEB.SPIDERWEB

And finally, in 2015 ( yes, two Open’s ago) CrossFit posted this infographic as the standard for the Regionals Athlete. Pretty humbling.

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90% of us are generally happy with a good workout, a healthy checkup at the doctor, being full of energy daily, and looking pretty darn good (even if you have to add “for your age”). But most of us do want to see improvement, and we can guarantee you that you’re never going to be fast or strong enough – you can always improve. The question is where to put your energies to get better.  And here you have it.

You have options.  You have two or three systems here from which to draw up a list of things you need work on to bring you into “balance”, and you have a host of seasoned coaches just dying to help you.





The 2017 Rebel “Fitness” Manifesto

Sunday, January 8th, 2017




I have tried to sit down and write this so many times…usually invigorated by the “I need more cardio” or “I don’t want to get big” (from a female) or “I need to lift more” (from a male)…or the “We need longer WODs”, “We need shorter WODs”, and “We should run more (or less)”. Sometimes when you’re on the field you can’t see the big picture like those sitting in the stands.

This time, the desire to put this out comes from a 365 day look back at what our athletes talk themselves into as the ideal way to “train”, and most with the common goals of:

Look good naked

Feel good/Be healthy

Perform well

There might be a HANDFUL…yes, maybe ONE handful, who anticipate taking a real shot at making it to “The Show”  – really, the CrossFit Games.  The structured training commitment, the time, the nutritional dial-in…not everyone can commit to lifting heavy, giving 110% every WOD – exactly how it’s written, work on skills and deficiencies in their off time/Open Gym, avoid the diet/cheat traps in everyday life and lower the booze content to get their bodies in the competition ready shape they would need to be to make it to that level.  99% of our athletes want to be healthy, feel good, look good and have a good time progressing at “their sport”: CrossFit.


But first, a quick note on high level athletics and health:
Everything comes at a price.

The executive working for a promotion, or new business owner, spending 60-70 hours a week at the office and doesn’t see his family.  The bodybuilder who diets herself down to an immune system crash and ends up with Shingles the day after a show. And finally, the CrossFit Games or  Ultramarathon/Ultra-endurance athletes who train at the expense of heart and muscle health.  Elite athletes in high physical demand (not necessarily high skill) sports don’t live as long as the average person does. You can find evidence of this HERE, and HERE, and HERE. If you actually click on these links, you may say “Whoa there Sammy, you’re jerking my chain! These are “endurance athletes” and I CrossFit.”  Well, if you’re spending hours in what you think is a “metcon”…maybe, but you lost the glycolytic pathway at around 2 minutes.  WODs where you drone on for 35 & 45 minutes are NOT, I repeat NOT where the magic is…it’s Fran, Helen (under 11:00) Annie…THAT’s where the magic is.  Sure, we need some 20, 30 and 60  minute WODs to build some long term endurance, but you shouldn’t think that’s where your fitness is coming from. And way too many of you think that.  My fear is that your health isn’t ideal, and you’re living off of the adrenaline and endorphin rush of the WODs, so the after effect of the WOD is when you feel your best…versus day in/day out.  You should feel good and be energetic ALL THE TIME! When you was up in the morning, and yes, even after you see what the WOD is for the day!


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Those who think you don’t want to lift heavy are saying you don’t want to be strong. Being stronger makes Grace at 135/95 A LOT easier.  And Grace isn’t heavy.  If you think it is, you’re not strong enough.

If you aren’t typically RXing most of the WODs, then scaling the short workouts is key so that your time in the WOD is as we expect it to be for the targeted RX athlete.  Finishing way too early or blowing the cap  = completely missing the point.

Getting stronger on the barbell at the expense of mastering gymnastics is a mistake. Mastering gymnastics at the expense of losing ground on the barbell is also a mistake. Avoiding sprints/running because you don’t want to waste muscle is a mistake.  We try to balance all of that for you each week.

When we program for the week, we have goals for the week: Heavy, Light, Couplet, Chipper, under 6 minutes high intensity, 30 minutes low/moderate intensity, 15 minutes of mixed intensity…there’s a goal, and plan. We have been in this sport since 2007… 9+ years!   We’ve studied dozens and dozens of programming theories, and continue to morph ours to periodize you for the Open, give you strength program options to let your body “rest” from all the metcons…we’re overly confident about what we put out there for you to do! Trust the process.


We understand this business. We’ve watched CrossFit programming from 2003 to today. We’ve experimented with different patterns, quantities, strategies over the past 6 years.  We change our strategy when we see something new works…but most of the time, old is new.  The pattern we have programmed this past year for PP, FS, BS and Thrusters: 1-10-1-20-30 is a great example. That was originally on CFHQ’s mainsite programming back in 2005!  We know that CFHQ still dominates and influences many / most of the boxes out there who lay out programming for the community. We know history repeats itself. Sure, the Games came under some criticism over the last few years for the level of intensity, but we make that choice to partake in this sport. We could….go be Yogi’s.  Don the skirts and white shorts and play tennis.  Run until we look like toothpicks.  But we chose to incorporate all the things that come with a solid foundation of fitness (The 10 General Physical Skills) into our sport, and make that our sport! We get our strength, cardio, and sometimes our flexibility in one sport!  Dang!  I don’t have to worry about getting to the gym to lift for 45 minutes, and then jump on the hamster wheel for 60 minutes every day? What a BORE FEST!  Now I have to find something “fun” to balance out the mundane-ness of what I just did.   THANK YOU CROSSFIT!  Everything in one package…including the fun and time with friends.


While part of our job is keeping the athletes happy and safe, another part of it is making them (you) better, fitter and  keeping you a little “off balance” as to what to expect. This makes you better too.


So let me take a quick second here to give you a little outline, or “manifesto” as to how your CrossFit training and “lifestyle” will contribute to the goals of being healthy, performing well, feeling good and looking good naked.  These are facts – and it’s often easy to lose sight of the facts when you get caught up63079-200 in the adrenaline rush of CrossFit.


Of course it starts with this!  Even CrossFit’s foundation starts with this.

I won’t get all preachy on you, but here are the facts:

  • The healthier your diet (whole food based), the healthier you will be
  • To help you see the link to your training, think about these two things:
    • Carbohydrates fuel glycolytic training.  If you are low carb and trying to CrossFit hard, you will fail.  Your plan will back fire and you will not accomplish your training or body composition goals. Your body will break down hard earned muscle tissue, turn it into glycogen to refuel low muscle glycogen stores (gluconeogenesis)
    • Protein repairs torn down muscle tissue.  That’s what we do: break it down so it’ll remodel stronger.  If you don’t consume enough protein, and at the right times, you won’t recover properly, strength gains will wane, and you’ll wonder where all of your  hard efforts are are going!
    • Balancing carbohydrate and protein is important. Vegetarian and vegan sources of protein (non-animal based) come with a huge dose of carbohydrates. So when you eat protein, you’re also eating carbs in this scenario. High attention must be paid to this balance so your carbohydrate feeds aren’t too generous.
  • The variety and nutrient density of your diet directly affects your performance via the little power factories in your cells: your mitochondria. Dr. Terry Wahls beat Multiple Sclerosis by feeding her body (and her mitochondria) a diet enormously high in nutrient density. What does that mean? It means these little guys contribute to your health, performance…everything.  The more nutrient-dense your diet, the better your mitochondria function. But what does nutrient density mean? Well, not only does it mean you cut the crap out of your diet, but you focus on variety and getting the biggest bang for your buck in the foods you choose – a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits is one of the keys (see list below).  While eating the same thing every day helps with discipline to stay on a healthy diet, it also causes some deficiencies that could affect your performance.  Matt Lalonde is one of my favorite gurus on this topic.  HERE is his most recent talk at the Ancestral Health Symposium – he’s a bad ass!
    • Red/Orange tomatoes,
    • all greens,
    • onions/garlic from the allium family (white),
    • blue/black/raspberries,
    • red and green cabbage and Brussels Sprouts (cruciferous family),
    • peppers of all colors, potatoes of all colors (orange, purple, white, red),
    • beets (red/purple and golden),
    • radishes and daikon,
    • carrots (all colors),
    • fennel, bok choi, celery…from the stalky family
  • Calories, Macros, Flexible Dieting, Reverse Dieting, Meal Frequency, AltShift…everything works as long as you put the effort into it. Just make sure the foundation of whatever you are doing makes sense for health….because without good health, nothing else really matters.

This has been the year of sleep research!  Everywhere you look we are being told that if we don’t get enough quality sleep  – focus being on the words “enough” and “quality”, it can adversely affect so many aspects of our lives and health, including

  • reproductive challenges
  • body compositions
  • hormone imbalances
  • poor performance at work AND the gym
  • memory and concentration problems…and the list goes on

Here’s a great post by Chris Kresser from this past year: 8 Tips for Beating Insomnia and Improving Your Sleep



You need to spend at least a few times each week on the barbell, working heavy lifts and skills on the Olympic Lifts so you can go heavy on a snatch.  If your overhead squat is horrific, you snatch will never be good. That’s why I say skills…many of the things we do are skill-based and require practice. It’s not always gut-busting, puke your guts out practice, but it’s important and it’s stimulating to your body and your growth as an athlete. Spending skill time on the barbell will allow you to do better on SWODs with the barbell!


You need to spend a few times a week working on your body weight movements (BW), aka “gymnastics”, and your strength on the strict movements.  No, I didn’t say Kipping, Butterfly or swings. I said strict.  How many strict pull-ups can you do without breaking? 10? Hope so. Can you do 30 pushups without breaking. You better!  Can you crank out 10 ring dips with ease.  Of course you…can?  How about that strict handstand pushup? You’re always working your press and jerk in open gym because you can do it and it’s fun, but pressing your body from a headstand into a handstand, with good form…how about that. Think about how great of a training session during open gym you’d get if you sent 20 minute pulling and pushing:  As many pull ups (strict) as you can do unbroken. Jump off the bar. Rest a bit. Then as many HSPU (strict) as you can do unbroken.  Can’t do them? Wall walk into a negative HSPU with a roll out is a great effort, negative strength work, and good skill work on the rollout.  Do that 5 times and go back to the pull. Keep this cycle up for 20 minutes. Boom. Great sessions with good gains! Ask your coaches for help, advice and drills…but don’t avoid it. It makes you an imbalanced athlete.


So you’re super strong. You have good bodyweight strength and great barbell strength. But how is your barbell endurance? How do you do on Complex 1? (21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of DL, HPC, FS, PJ). Do you burn out? What about high repetition power snatches? They always come up in the open. This is just another one of the things we want you to be good at. Some of the WOD’s you see us program are specifically designed to help you with that.  Building muscle endurance, the ability for a muscle to contract a specific way over and over and over again requires specific properties of that muscle that are built by training higher repetitions.  The ability to recycle ATP and the number of mitochondria (like little power factories inside the muscle)  are enhanced by endurance training – so don’t cherry pick because the load is light – do the work, reap the benefits!


Again, so, you’re super strong. You have good barbell strength and great bodyweight strength..you can do a 100# weighted pull up. But how many pull ups (kipping of course!) can you do unweighted? Toes to bar? Push ups? Pistols? HSPU?  Remember those mitochondria – remember that they’re increased in number by high repetition, and high intensity interval work. Working in high repetitions of different movements will help you get better at performing high repetitions of those moments.  Funny how that works right?


This is where it gets tricky. Earlier I said long-slow cardio comes at a price. Essentially, it wastes muscle to create fuel for that type of training…which is OK, I guess, if you want to look flabby and less “toned”. We keep most of our longer WOD inclusive of gymnastics and barbell work.  But occasionally, you need a bout of long cardio -30+ minutes.  We need to make sure our training is working…though we don’t train THAT particularly a lot, our high intensity intervals carry over to longer cardio and allow to keep getting better at it without training it. Magic!


Skill = efficiency.  Practicing lifts, and gymnastics, and even running form and technique with the focus being on the most perfect, efficient and technically correct way you can move, will only make EVERYTHING easier.  A tight kip versus a broken kip? Tighter is lighter.  An efficient bar bath on a clean or snatch – vertical translation of a barbell versus the barbell swinging away from the body allows you to cycle faster or lift heavier.  Skill work is important.  It’s a must in our sport.


The magic of CrossFit is in the combination of all of the things listed above, plus this. Not solely in the metcons and conditioning.  By metcons we typically mean the balls-to-the-wall, all-out, go-get-it-fast, WODs.  By conditioning we mean the EMOM’s with scheduled reps – we’re either working to increase your strength or high repetitions movements by either limiting your rest or scheduling your rest, respectively. This is a very important and “sexy” aspect of your training, but it’s not the only thing.


We can’t stress this enough. You have options too!  Saturday Yoga or Open Gym time used as mobility. Thursday Open Gym  – use 1/2 for mobility. After your WODs, use your talk time for mobility – drag your chat buddies to the floor! If you don’t know what to do – ASK.  “I need a good stretch for_________”. One of our favorite questions!



If you are spending all of your extra time on cardio, exercise or stressing because you don’t think you did enough at the gym and you don’t spend any time reading, doing something you truly love (other than exercise), walking through nature, meditating…whatever!, then you need to make this change.  We need to stop living our lives with our parasympathetic nervous systems parked in the garage.  Your sympathetic nervous system is your fight or flight system.  It gets a lot of work/action from CrossFit, daily stressors, etc.  Contributing to yourself is an important aspect of self care we all tend to forget.  Why? Because we’re taught to put others first. But only to a degree!

This might be the time to begin learning new skills toward a new or second career.  Learning is never boring when you love what you’re studying.  Learning a new language as an adult can keep your brain active and ward off diseases of the brain.

If you’re still at a loss, let me help you out:

The 100 Best Books of 2016

9 Simple Points on How To Meditate

The Best Apps for Mediation

Things to do in Tampa Bay

How to Find a Hobby

Best Yoga Apps



I was lucky enough to attend one of the last held “smallish” Affiliate Meetings in 2009 in Miami where Coach Glassman spend a ton of time talking about quality…of coaching, of customer service, of caring and of running a box. Honestly, not a lot of it was any different than I’d known in my past career (healthcare/business).  In fact, it was hauntingly familiar. Fast forward to the boxes known for Groupons, Living Social and “Try us for free for a week (or a month or 3 months!)” and we’ve entered a time where new boxes think volume is where it’s at….and they suffer a revolving door of athletes, creating a need for more Groupons. Athletes don’t stay with them long enough for the coaches to get them through the progressions they’ll pass through on their way to mastery.  We followed Glassman’s plan of taking care of our athletes, keeping our facility top notch, having a HUGE care factor, and creating an inclusive community of like minded, humble individuals who want so badly for each other to succeed, many of them have partnered up (married…and with children!) or bought homes next to on another!  Let this be your happy place – your playground, not a stressful environment where you’re constantly frustrated you “can’t” do something.  Focus on what you CAN do, and practice what you can’t. Enjoy the process.  Enjoy the sport.

Lastly, to ur budding masters’ community, your bodies are different.  You might need a little extra rest, not a little  extra work because you can’t keep up with the dude or dudette next to you.  Strength/Skill may trump the metcon one day a week to allow more time for recovery.  You may need more of certain nutrients, like protein, because as we age we process it a little less effectively.  You may need some supplementation to help you recover.  But the one thing you don’t need is less stress because you’re getting older, you can’t do what you want to or used to with the same ease as 5-10+ years ago.  Lighten up, and realize you have found a sport that you can continue to train in until you’re….well, now that you’ve seen our Legends Program, there’s not end in sight!

~Sam Farina