New At the Box

Not Much Has Changed

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Ed and I met the founder of Bubs naturals. Sean Lake is a Navy Seal who was roommates with Glen “Bubs” Doherty…you’ll know that name from our CF Hero WOD “Glen“. Sean was instrumental in getting that Hero WOD created.

Sam and Ed here again. Ending day one, on to day two.

Not much has changed in four years…maybe an emphasis on genetic testing, epigenetics and stem cell therapy…but the basics are still the same:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed food avoiding highly processed, highly palatable and therefore addictive carbohydrates and combinations of carbohydrates, fats, and chemicals. => maintain gut health
  • Move.  Lift heavy, sprint, do some long-slow cardio.
  • Sleep well.
  • Maintain quality social relationships.
  • Manage stress (meditate, journal, enjoy life).
  • Get quality light exposure during the day (circadium rhythms and vitamin D)
  • Experience new things; have novel experiences

…basically, lead a balanced, healthy, fulfilled life – that’s 80% of the battle.

We hit a good Biohacking Panel, but again, with the premise that biohacking occurs (or should occur) after your “house is in order” (see 7 bullets above). The panelists felt that the biggest mistake being made “out there” was there was that people don’t want to fix the basics to form a solid foundation, and were trying to hack themselves healthy eating donuts, being sedentary and overly stressed out. Sort of what we say with weight loss: 80% of it is in the kitchen…put athletes will still say “how many calories did I burn in today’s workout” – such a mainstream rookie thing to look at – or “what exercise can I do to get a six pack…or get the fat off my triceps?”.  It just doesn’t work that way. Clean up your life and you may not even want to experiment with biohacking!

Supplements weren’t a high focus which was a relief. In fact, at one point Chris Kresser asked the audience how many people took up to 5  supplements a day – the masses raised their hands. Then he asked how many took up to 10…again…a sea of hands. He bowed and shook his head and said: “…and you think is a good thing…that’s what’s so disappointing”. He’s a huge advocate of cleaning up the basics and letting things settle in before supplementing/biohacking.

Paleo remains a logical framework from which to BEGIN. As we continue to believe, everyone should do this as an elimination diet for 30 days and then gradually add back, one at a time, the foods you miss and wish to reintroduce.  You’ll know immediately if you “react” poorly to ingesting them. From here you can make your own decisions as to what your individualized diet should be made up of.

Tomorrow’s tracks (written on Friday night, so Saturday’s tracks) include the following:

State of the Paleo Union Mastermind Panel with Sarah Ballantyne, MD, Robb Wolf, Joseph Mercola, MD, Chris Kresser, MD and Mark Sisson (all linked yesterday).  This panel is about where we’ve been and where we’re headed.  The wins, the losses and where the heavy lifting remains. 

Dealing with Cortisol Dysfunction in the Gym with Emily Schromm. [We’ll have to cut out of the Mastermind Panel to hit this so it’s a maybe]. This lecture focuses on how hyper or hypo cortisol can impact your ability to recover, see results and how to understand adrenal patterns for optimal health. How “adrenal fatigue” is a bit of a junk term and how the problem is truly HPA Axis Dysregulation and how to tell if you’re being properly diagnosed. 

Leveraging Lifestyle Choices for Brain Health with David Perlmutter, MD. This lecture is about neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and how they have an ever-increasing impact on society. Despite the recent emergency of novel and effective interventional protocols, by and large, attention dedicated to utilization leading-edge research in the development of preventative programs remains virtually absent from medical discourse.  This presentation will explore how lifestyle choices that emulate those of our ancestors play a powerful and highly validated role in determining the destiny of the brain. Specific emphasis will be placed on favorably influencing the balance between inflammation and neurogenesis. In addition to exploring the direct effects of lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, this program will evaluate these factors as they are seen through the lens of the gut microbiome.

The Pitfalls of Keto + Exactly How To Do It Right with Dr. Will Cole (linked yesterday). This lecture will explore how to do the brain-boosting, fat-burning, hormone-healing, energizing benefits of a ketogenic diet without falling prey to the top keto pitfalls.

The Ketogenic Diet for Health, Performance, And Vibrancy Mastermind Panel with Nora Gedgaudas, Robb Wolf, Luis Villasenor, and Allie Miller, RD. (others linked yesterday). This panel will discuss keto as another variant of the Paleo diet. But what makes the ketogenic approach so effective? What are the dos, don’ts and pitfalls? And how do we the keto approach to address common concerns like adrenal fatigue and hormonal dysregulation?

How to End Chronic Disease with Chris Kresser, MD.  This talk is about being in the midst of an epidemic of chronic disease, unlike anything human beings have ever experienced. It’s destroying our quality of life, undermining the health of future generations, threatening to bankrupt our economy, and driving physicians away from medicine. Unfortunately, our current model of “disease management” has not only failed to address the problem, it has contributed to it. In this presentation, a new paradigm of healthcare—and health—with the potential to prevent and reverse chronic disease and create personally and financially rewarding practices for healthcare professionals will be outlined. This approach combines functional medicine, an evolutionary perspective on diet and lifestyle, and a collaborative micro practice model to revolutionize patient care and restore the vibrant health that is our birthright.

5 Mythis about Dietary Protein for Body Composition with Mike T Nelson. This lecture discusses how protein seems to stir up lots of controversy from the amount that you need to support muscle growth or changes in body composition to health (kidney damage, it rots your bones, etc). We’ll find out how much you really need based on the current research.

Care and Feeding of a Healthy Gut Microbiome Mastermind Panel with Chris Kresser, MD, Sarah Ballantyne, MD, David Perlmutter, MD, and Vincent Pedre, MD. . This panel will discuss what makes for a healthy gut microbiome? And why is it so vitally important to understand and care for it? How do I know if my gut microbiome is happy and healthy? We’ll discuss that — and a whole lot more — in this panel.

Check out our Day 1 agenda if you missed it yesterday.

Today’s tracks were good, but some of the feedback we’d heard from past speakers and attendees who weren’t attending this year is starting to make sense. The true experts are being watered down with the “I had [insert disease here] and cured it with [check one: keto, paleo, IF]”…bloggers sharing their n=1 stories, versus credentialled medical and nutritional experts ruling the stages.  This was the most disappointing part of the day – two panels had “odd fits” in them where when the oddly inserted guest spoke, everyone in the room looked around like “where’d this guy come from”.

For the most part, however, our choices were solid.  We’ll sum it all up once we get back 😉



One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Hey Rebels!

Sam here. Ed and I “stepped out of town” this weekend to attend PaleoFX in Austin, Tx.  PaleoFX is a three-day health and wellness conference that’s been around for at least 5 years.  We attended in 2014 and it was amazing. The coordinators bring in experts from various fields in the natural health arena – including diet, primary care (MD’s), lifestyle and fitness.  We typically tend to migrate to the health and wellness and not the fitness, because, well, we’re pretty good at positioning the jerk and the DL :).

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The conference is set up like an ala-carte menu where we choose one of three to five tracks per hour or two.  Speakers, panels, and demonstrations are the types of tracks.  Today we’re hitting the following:

The Biomarkers of Health, Wellness and Vibrancy Mastermind Panel with Chris Kresser, MD,  Dr. Daniel Stickler, Dr. Will Cole, Ann Shippy, MD, Richard Mauer, MD.  A few of these presenters are highly credentialed physicians in the functional medicine field.  Others are accomplished authors and professionals in the same field. The panel’s focus is…To get where you want to go, you first have to know where you’re at; tools, tests and techniques for identifying the state of your current health, and how the same can be used to create a roadmap forward will be discussed.

10 Ways to Look Good Naked and Live a Long, Limitless Life with Ben Greenfield. Many of you may know him as the endurance expert.  The track tackles fringe yet proven tactics to look good naked and live a long time.  Topics including nutritional strategies such as intermittent fasting, cyclic ketosis, protein-sparing modified fasts; “hormetic” stressors, including hyperoxygenation, wild plant and herb consumption, pulsing molecular hydrogen, beta-hydroxy butyrate and ketone supplementation, cold thermogenesis and cryotherapy, heat and sauna; caloric restriction mimetic drugs, supplements and herbs, including rapamycin, metformin, MitoQ, resveratrol, pterostilbene, ketones and other traditional blood sugar stabilizing nutrients such as bitter melon extract, ceylon cinnamon and apple cider vinegar; stem cell enhancing and stem cell supporting nutrients and foods, including colostrum, chlorella, curcumin, marine phytoplankton, aloe vera, coffeeberry fruit extract and moringa; the sweet spot between excess growth hormonhttp://crossfitrebels.com/e and enough growth hormone to maintain anabolism as one ages, including strategies such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, colostrum, dairy extracts, injectable growth hormone precursors and growth hormone pulsing compounds and more; upregulating intake of activators of “sirtuins”, a family of genes that increase the efficiency of an organism to fight stress like excess heat or lack of food maintaining its power of natural defense, maximize the chances of survival of an organism, increase longevity and health if remaining activate, and deemed as “longevity genes” because they lower risk of diseases causing old age, including blueberry, dark chocolate, green tea and resveratrol; biohacks and strategies that address mitochondrial degradation, mitochondrial aging, and excessive formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS’s), including Pau D’ Arco bark tea, NAD injections and supplements, fenugreek, fish oil, CoEnzyme Q10, glutathione injections and supplements and other potent antioxidants, all of which can serve as compounds that specifically limit or mitigate mitochondrial damage and finally everything necessary to measure the efficacy of efforts to increase longevity, decrease the rate at which telomeres shorten and stave off decline of each of the systems and aging processes including both modern technology and observational data such as telomere measurements, handgrip strength, insulin/IGF measurements, blood glucose tracking, walking speed, facial appearance, muscular force production and more.

The Latest in Biohacking Mastermind Panel with Kirk Parsley, MD, Joseph Mercola, MD, Ben Greenfield, Alex Charfen,  and Kyle Kingsbury  The panel’s focus is the latest trends in physical and cognitive enhancement. And is biohacking even a legitimate pursuit, or is its popularity just an indication of how decrepit our species has become?

The System is a Lie Mastermind Panel with Robb Wolf, Mike Bledsoe, Hillary Bromberg, Mikhaila Peterson, & Mark Dhamma. This is a panel we attended in 2014 where the healthcare system is discussed and what the future of medicine SHOULD look like so we have more prevention and less treatment. 

What is High Performance with Kirk Parley, MD.  This lecture will be about the value of lifestyle modification (with -of course- a fair emphasis on sleep)  affects every aspect of performance – to include strength, endurance, cognition, resiliency, mood, sex, finances, etc.  

Metabolic Flexibility with Robb Wolf. Politics, religion, and nutrition are not pleasant dinner conversation. Why? Conflict. Drama. Why is this the case with nutrition? Perhaps instead of focussing on finding a “one size fits all” solution we should seek metabolic flexibility…the ability to thrive under a host of different nutritional scenarios.

Looking forward to bringing back some good info!

Also, we’re hoping for some good ideas to help the community in total push back against the way life can derail our efforts to be “generally healthy!” Stay tuned!

Athlete of the Quarter: Zack B.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Congratulations Zack Barriger on earning our Q2 Athlete of the Quarter!!!



Rebels is pleased to announce our Athlete of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2018: Zack Barriger! Zack started with us about a year ago and has fully embraced CrossFit. He always has a smile and a quick joke. Zack is friendly to everyone he meets and upholds our standards constantly. He’s always striving to improve and is always open to coaching and constructive criticism. Zack recently joined Rx+ which has helped him to find something to be competitive about again.

What is your favorite movement? Handstand Push-ups, Muscle-ups, Olympic Lifts. Anything challenging, really.

What is your least favorite movement? Thrusters.

What made you start CrossFit? I was completely burned out by lifting at a globo gym and just wanted to try something new. I never expected to love it so much!

How has CrossFit changed your life? It has given me a creative outlet that’s been missing since college. I have learned so much about nutrition and adapted a massive change to the way I eat. It’s been really awesome!

A Post from Ed

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Sometimes “Thank You” doesn’t seem like enough.

My 2018 CrossFit Season ended today. I’m a bit embarrassed to share, but Madison, WI, and the CrossFit Games was my goal…and I came up short.  You know what they say “Go Big or Go Home”.


My note today, as measly, simple and understated as it may sound is to say “Thank You”. Thank you to Samantha,  my #1, hard ass, no-nonsense coach, and biggest fan, the entire coaching team, and most of all, to each of you, my friends and fellow teammates…yep, it takes a village.


In reflection, it really is about the journey and not the destination.  That’s not an excuse, nor is it letting me off the hook for 2019.  Sam has already outlined some 2018/2019 priorities and I’m focused – but training, commiserating, suffering and laughing with each of you this year has been a gift and the highlight of my 2018/2019 season. Your support of me and my goals….let’s just say “I’m truly blessed”.











And speaking of blessed, as a community we’re blessed.  The impact we all have on each other… the impact we have on our kids…we don’t yet know the magnitude of the positive environment we have created for our children by having them in the box with us.  We’re setting healthy, positive examples for each other and our children. IMG_9128

This post is to also ask you to make sure you see us, this box, and CrossFit as a journey – a health journey – YOUR HEALTH JOURNEY.  Some of you (you know who you are) NEED to focus on this journey and let us help you like you helped me. I used the words “no-nonsense” to describe Sam but all of my/our coaches are that way. They know how to tell you when somethings not right without crushing your soul…and it’s because they care…alot! Whether your arms aren’t locked out overhead, your chest isn’t on the deck in a pushup or your diet is out of whack and it shows (bodyweight/health issues), they are your first line of defense. Use them.

Everyone’s got a goal…what’s your goal?


Wednesday, April 11th, 2018


Maximizing Your Potential


CrossFit Games athlete and former Navy SEAL, Josh Bridges was recently interviewed and what he said really resonated with me.

He was asked if being a Navy SEAL benefits him now while training and competing in CrossFit.

He responded by telling a story of when he was in BUD/S training. ‘BUD/S’ is the school Sailors go through to become Navy SEALs. He said that the only thing that was certain was that time would not stop. He stated that during the last five days of BUD/S (also known as hell-week) they would not be allowed to sleep for the entire five days (except two 2-hour naps) and the rest of the time was spend moving, working, running, swimming and basically just being miserable, wet, cold and sandy.
Bridges told the interviewer that the sailors who quit were the ones who lost focus of the present. The ones who thought: “Oh God, there are still four more days of this”  were the weak ones and the ones who wouldn’t last.

The sailors who succeeded and went on to become SEALs where the ones who kept the mentality of just getting done the work that was in front of them. The ones who kept telling themselves that when it is over it will be over, but most importantly… it will eventually be over.

He explained that when we workout, there is a part of our brains that start to feel sorry for ourselves. We start to realize how many more rounds we have or how much more time we still have left.  Josh stated that he wasn’t going to give up and he wasn’t going to stop no matter how much time was left so why feel sorry for yourself? It will only make it worse.

Why this stands out to me so much is because this affects us daily in WODs. Are you going to give up? Are you going to stop the workout and go sit down? No. No you are not. So quit feeling sorry for yourself. This is what we are doing right now. You are doing this workout to get fitter, to look better naked and to be healthier overall. This is the process. You decided to do this and you have to stay focused on your goals. So get after it. When you finish you will feel accomplished and satisfied that you did better than the person that wanted to sit there sulking.

I truly believe it now. This week I had a workout that seemed like it wouldn’t end. You know the kind of workout I’m talking about. I was at that point where I looked up at the clock and knew immediately that I SHOULD NOT have looked at the clock. I started feeling sorry for myself because of how much time I had to keep working for and remembered what Josh Bridges said. I immediately reminded myself that I chose to do this. I want to be fitter and I want to get better at these movements. I am NOT going to quit so stop feeling bad and get the work done. Put everything you have into it and you will feel great when it is over… and it will eventually be over. It actually made the workout go by faster and I felt much more satisfied with my performance.

This is how you maximize your potential. Every step you take should be toward your objective. Don’t take the easy route. If it was easy you wouldn’t want it. Be proud of your path and stick to it. Take the challenges head-on and put max out effort into your small term goals and you will succeed.

We want you to stay FOCUSED this year and do everything you can to succeed in the goals you set.

Be smart about how you set your goals and make the short-term goals achievable. That way you have a bunch of small goals you can check off frequently and before you know it you are already THAT much closer to achieving your long-term goals.

Time To Go To Work!

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!

Now we’re at the “take action part”. You should be enlightened, motivated and focused after reading Part 1 and Part 2.  So what now?

If you competed in the Open, you surely have goals!
Your coaches have TONS!  

  1. Were there movements (probably gymnastics) you WERE NOT ABLE TO DO? That’s a goal. Forget what we did? Below is a list of the movements that have appeared in the last 7 years of CF Open Competitions and the frequency that they have appeared. It’s a great work list and one that helps you prioritize based on how often you might see these!
  2. Were there movements you got firsts on? C2B Pull ups? HSPUs?  Becoming proficient in them is a goal.
  3. Were the RX loads too heavy for you? If so, strength on those lifts is a goal.
  4. Did you not get as far as you wanted in one or more of the WODs? ( your “engine” couldn’t keep up)? Time to embrace the short, hard fast suckfest that is “good scaling”. Good goal!


If you did not compete in the Open, here’s a good place to start:

  1. Ask several of your coaches what THEY would list as your goals. Those who coach you are good judges of where your efforts should be if you are uncertain. Those blue shirts know you pretty well =-)
  2. Grab a Skill Level 1 Sheet (see below) and begin using it! We have used these since 2010 to help our athletes focus on creating “balanced fitness” across strength, speed, skill and metabolic conditioning. There are four Skill Levels (adopted from CF Seattle), each progressively more difficult but all ensuring we progress as balanced athletes between weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning.
  3. Sign up for a competition…no better way to find your weaknesses than being put to the test!


How to increase your abilities, reps and loads:

Not to get too sciency on you but in fitness, there IS some science. Here, when we talk about getting stronger and achieving an “RX” gymnastics movements like pull ups, pushups or handstand pushups, this “science” matters and you need to be sure you’re being led by coaches and trainers who understand this.  Sometimes the CFL1 isn’t enough if the coach spends his or her time on YouTube watching elite muscle up skills versus honing his or her skills for corrective exercise and progressing the new athlete from Scaled to RX (off soapbox, but we’re passionate about the quality of our coaching and the levels of education of our coaches!).

  • SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.  This term is used from fitness to rehabilitation.  In a nutshell, if you don’t increase your fitness demands (in load, repetitions, volume, intensity or skill level), your body adapts and does not progress.  Maybe NOW you understand why we want you to go heavier or harder (safely) a lot of the time!  You can accomplish this by increasing load strategically, or increasing reps of the same load (be it body weight or barbell weight).  Over time, as you’ve increased your repetitions, your overall volume increases and when you return to a heavier load or a higher level of the gymnastics skill, you’ll be able to do it.  Ask your coaches for help. These little mini-programs are easy to sketch out and easy to progress.  They WILL help you achieve your goals, but you have to do them!
  • Supercompensation. (Supercompensation-2) Coach Glassman uses this a lot and it’s at the root of the programming in building an athlete, HOWEVER this is one part of the equation that requires you to play a role in your success. It relies on YOU listening to your body to recover. That can either be you knowing when it’s a rest day (even though today’s WOD is YOUR FAVORITE!) or by you knowing that today you need to run through the WOD at 1/2 or 3/4 effort. This DOES NOT run in contrast to what is listed above when we tell you “don’t quit” and “push through”, but rather it’s your role in “if today is a training day or a competition day”.
  • Progressions. Here’s where WE come in.  Let us help you choose you the right progressions to take you from handstand to handstand pushup, from elevated pushup to RX pushup, or from Ring Row to pull up.  We can guide you to the right progression but YOU have to show up and commit to do the work.


What if it’s your body weight that’s holding you back?

Excess body fat or  body weight can help your power lifts but harm your gymnastics and running/jumping.  The goal is to maintain strength while losing unwanted body fat.  You cannot crash diet, take your calories below 10 or 11x bodyweight and expect to excel with your training…and that’s what this whole post is about…your training!  Diet changes are a tough goal…but whether it’s your health, your performance, or simply you want to look good naked, there’s never a better time to start than now.  Here are some ways we can help:

  1. Keep a three  day food log and turn it in to Coach Sam.  No, you may not stand in front of a coach and dictate what you’ve eaten….they’re not your secretary. Write it down, hand it in, email it or log it in MyFitnessPal or Cronometer and screenshot it and text it to the box…we’ll get it to the right place.
    • Sometimes there are easy little tweaks you can make without a complete overhaul that can get you where you want to be. For instance, on athlete recently mentioned he wanted to lose “his gut”.  First question: “what do you start your day with?” Answer: Rice Krispies 😩.   We replaced those with more calories from potatoes, eggs and ham and the dude dropped 4 pounds over two weeks! Quality matters too.
  2. Learn about the food you eat. We promote a primal-ish diet – whole foods, minimally processed – and with the CrossFit theme:
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    • We do “challenges” throughout the year. Look for the next one and sign up!
  3. To tweak your diet to an elite level you need to fully understand how what you eat affects your body.  The macronutrient composition of your diet directly affects your body composition and the quality of your food directly affects your health. You have choices!
    • These are our three educational posts we have published in the past that will help you learn about your macros or the nutrient makeup of your diet from protein, carbohydrate and fat:  Macros Part 1, Macros Part 2, Macros Part 3.

Finally, get your goals up on the goal board!
It will help us, as coaches, to better push you toward reaching them. 



Missed Parts 1 and 2? Check them out here:
Goal Setting Part 1: Who You are as an Athlete
Goal Setting Part 2: What it Means to be Focused



Tuesday, April 10th, 2018




What is the most you can do right now to maximize your potential?

Throughout the year we should have checkpoints: times that we address and re-address our short-termgoals and long-term goals. Short-term goals give us motivation for a long-term vision.

For instance, Coach Sam has a goal to string together five muscle-ups by the start of the third quarter.  Most of us would grab a marker and write up “get 5 muscle-ups” on the goal board and hit the muscle-up work really hard when it is programmed in the WOD. We may even tell ourselves that we’ll work on them in open gym on a Thursday or Saturday each week.
In reality, that is extremely vague and unfocused goal and easy to stray away from. Yes, she has a long-term goal of getting five unbroken muscle ups but her short-term goals are really the accomplishments she needs in order to achieve her long-term goal.

Sam knows that there are three short-term objectives she can improve upon and accomplish to help get her goal achieved.  She needs to:

  1. get her body weight down (read: diet in check, lose approx 8-10 pounds of bodyfat),
  2. get her ring dips stronger, both strict and kipping, and more specifically 7-10 unbroken ring dips (strict),  and
  3. improve her muscle up swing efficiency (she knows I’m telling you this stuff, by the way!)

She has laid out a plan to bring her diet in check that includes meal prep, knowing her macros and adding in some solutions to the most common obstacles that keep her from adhering to her diet (a buddy system would be good and a replacement for high calories snacking that happen in the afternoons). She has a way to measure this (bodyweight and body composition) and an estimated time it should take to achieve the goal without losing too much weight too fast, which would affect her strength and overall performance …no bueno!

While she is working on her body weight she will also be implementing more dips in her warm-ups. She will be aiming for 20 dips three times a week for 4 weeks then progress to 30 dips three times a week for 4 weeks and the progression increases. Sam has a plan to work on her swing and only her swing (versus practicing the swing INTO a muscle up) until she feels it is good enough to move in the actual muscle up. She will practice just swinging before her workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays. After her swing is looking and feeling better, which includes grip strength, she will migrate that into how to flow from one muscle up to the next. She is even as detail as to what month she wants to have completed each progression of her swing (short-term goals.)

This is a focused athlete. Someone who is willing to set out goals and accomplish them. Her check-in is her coaching team…honesty is the best policy and when you know your workout buddies care, the truth doesn’t hurt, it helps.

How Can You Be Focused?

We all get distracted throughout the year. You come in to train on Thursday for Open Gym and you want to work on your double unders (since it is a goal of yours) but the class is doing your favorite WOD. It is easy to put off the things you are bad at to throw down in the class WOD with some friends. It is easy to just say screw it and do something fun instead. It’s even easier AND more fun to do things you’re good at and you love…but that leaves your weakness as weaknesses and leaves your goals unmet.   So what matters more to you? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have that victory when those double under come up in a WOD and you can do them because of the hard days? The days when the WOD was enticing but you said no and did your grunt work to reach your goal?

“Hiding from your weaknesses is a recipe for incapacity and error.”                                                                ~Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO

Focused means taking action every chance you can to benefit your long-term goal. Each step you take ask your self, “is this step towards or away from my goals?

Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

Let’s do a little boring education.  It’ll make you better!  Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Below is an example of how Sam’s example above can be laid out as a  S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Specific:I want to achieve 5 unbroken Muscle Ups.Target a specific area for improvement and make sure its….(see Measurable).

Measurable: I will set up a WEEKLY ring dip template to perform X amount of reps each week and increasing reps by X every fourth week.You need quanitites or indicators that can be measured.

Attainable: I can currently do the number of repetitions I set for dip goals, so doing three sets of them regularly will be build strength so I can up that repetition number in four weeks! Achievable! Is it possible (or safe or smart?) to lose 10lbs in 1 week?  Make your goals realistic and doable. This way you won’t be defeated if you chose a ridiculously unreachable goal.

Relevant: Having better dips makes it easier to press out of the muscle up from the catch position.  Does your short-term goal affect your long-term goal?

Time-bound: After the first two months I’ll reassess and tie the swing into the full movement.  My body weight will make it easier to swing and press out of the dip.  Can you physically achieve your goal in the amount of time you have set?

Committing & Putting Your Plan In Place

Here’s that fun little NY Times article: How to Start Working Out.  AND, it lists CrossFit!!

And here’s Goal Setting Part 1 if you missed it.

Get your goals on the board and make them known to us so we can help guide you!


Are you doing the most you can right now to maximize your potential?


Monday, April 9th, 2018




What does it mean to be an “athlete?”

I could give you what Webster defines it as but what matters most is your perception of what it means.
We are so blessed to have found a form of exercise that promotes leaving the gym feeling not only accomplished but utterly hungry to do better at the movements you just performed. How many times have you finished a WOD and said to yourself or other athletes, I could have gone faster on [insert movement here] or I should have done a bigger set, or I could have gone heavier.
To me, THAT is what makes you an athlete.
The pursuit of excellence and the will to challenge yourself to move better is what makes someone athletic.  When you move better, you are “athletic”. Humans were designed to be athletic – whether you believe in evolution or creation…we roamed, sprinted, lifted, carried…it’s in our DNA to move well.

Each year, as the CrossFit Games Open season finishes and you either wish you would have done it or you wish you would have done a little better in it, a new opportunity arises for us to dig deep and set goals for ourselves. And it’s a good thing to self-evaluate and make plans to improve… do not be embarrassed. We all do it!

The month of April, after the Open has concluded, is the most popular time of year for us to be fired up to train harder for next year.
Each year I have a talk with myself (Coach Paul here) and here is how it goes:

You are gonna train harder this year and be better prepared for next year’s Open.

I’ll tell you what, it works… but it doesn’t work well enough. About two or three months into this training-harder phase I get burned out. I tell myself  “Let’s get real Pauly (only I can call me that FYI)…you’re not going to Regionals, you have a full-time job, everyone is training just as hard but putting more time in so let’s just have fun with training and where you land in the Open is good enough.
There you go, now you know what goes on inside my head throughout the year.
What happens next? Well I continue training and I put a lot of effort into my WODs and when the Open comes, sure, I’m fitter than last year… BUT! It isn’t good enough for me. I am hungrier for more. I get fired up again and KNOW that I can perform better; I can be fitter.

Let’s get real. I am 100% aware that it is still statistically highly unlikely to make it to Regionals and to be frank with you, that is not my goal. I am going to keep my mind set on one thing this year…my focus. But enough about me…

Your Focus

How focused are YOU throughout the year? How quickly does your enthusiasm wane?  Do you just come in and hit the workout every day? It is what it is and I’m going to give it my best and what happens, happens?
This is a detrimental way of thinking.

Your training year needs FOCUS! And then it needs re-focus, regularly.

Here at CrossFit Rebels, we follow a few templates.  One is a blend of what CFHQ says is the best way to ensure we hit everything we need to without overtraining, and the other is our annual plan where we cycle in heavy power lifts, technique, Olympic lifts, high reps, “engine work”.  We have developed this over the years in order to ensure we use our year most efficiently.  I know CrossFit is constantly varied and ever-changing, but not having a structure is lazy and ineffective.

Each year after the Open we slow down the volume of crazy metcons and start pushing a lot more strict strength – barbell and gymnastics.
You are either the athlete sitting there rolling your eyes like, “Oh no! We’re losing our soul-crushing WODs?”, or you’re the athlete who is like, “Hell yeah! No more hard WODs and lots of lifting!”  It brings me 100% happiness in my heart to inform you that you both are wrong =-)

Soon, our programming will reflect a lot more strict gymnastics work and a ton more lifting.
Everyone (who knows what they are doing) slows down the high-volume metcons after the open. We train you guys to peak leading into the Open. Now is the time to get a crap ton stronger, better at your skills, better at Olympic lifting and strict gymnastics. Yes, you’ll still “metcon”, but our priority is no longer your engine, which is what it takes to do well in the Open WODs when we’ve run out of time in the year to “get those movements” or “make you stronger”, like February and March.  I’m almost positive you have a goal lying somewhere in at least one of those categories.

This is the perfect time to start goal setting and working towards achieving your small term goals to lead up to your long-term vision.


Motivation To Get Started

Here’s a fun quick read from the NY Times: “How to Start Working Out“.  It’s a good starter and covers goal setting!

Stay tuned for Goal Setting Part 2!



Ed and Janice made it!

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

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The word is out! Janice and Coach Ed made it to the next level in the Road to the CF Games!  

Each had to finish in the top 200 in the world in their respective age groups.
Ed finished 161st/4,520 male athletes in the 55-59 age division,
and Janice finished 70th/2,086 female athletes in the 60+ age division.
Congratulations to them both! We are all so very proud!

So what’s next?  The qualifier for the Masters’ age divisions (starting at 35 years old) is an “online qualifier”.  There will be four (4) workouts released on Thursday, April 19th.  We will stage a second round of Open-Like competition on the following days and times at the box:

Friday, 4/20 @ 7 pm
Saturday, 4/21 @ 10 am
Sunday 4/22 @ 9 or 10 am (posted at the box) and then again at 1 or 2 pm (also posted at the box)
Monday we’ll use for any re-do’s Ed and Janice want to take on.

We will post our event schedule at the box and you’ll probably see a FB event soon!

Please help us in congratulating them. This shows what a very structured and methodical approach to training can do (while still holding a full-time job, having a family and a life – somewhat:). Both athletes stuck with their training programs (Janice in the main WOD and Ed with CompTrain Masters).

Janice used private sessions with Coach Paul to identify areas she should spend her Open Gym time on…and did just that! If you’ve ever seen her on those days, she has a notebook, a plan, and she gets to work. She doesn’t spend tons of time on the things she’s already good at, as she gets to practice and works on those things in the WOD. She hits her weaknesses hard, and this year, her progress showed through!

Ed never veered from his schedule. Last year, many of you knew, we were sidelined with a business glitch that he backed out of the open to help with that. This year, his standing is 40 some spots better than two years ago…and yes, he’s getting older too (older and fitter!).  He sticks to his training plan veering only when his body tells him to.

Both athletes have dialed in their nutrition this year – Janice working on more protein and more carbs, and just generally eating more with her busy practice schedule, and Ed focused on increasing carbs and fat.  Both know the key to a higher level performance is a solid nutritional foundation.

Stay tuned to our blog and our FB page for more information!

Sharing Our CE Experience

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

So a few weeks, Coaches Nicole, Paul, Phil and Sam all went to a continuing education course together. We all need between 40 and 50 continuing education hours every year for our training certifications and we like to broaden our horizons outside just the CrossFit world at times.  Plus, CEU’s are often expensive so it’s nice to find a lower cost 8-hour course every once in a while.

Our course was entitled “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” and was put on by a board certified Psychiatric Pharmacist named Angelo Pezzote. You know we loved this course concept because we’re all in the “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” camp whenever possible.

Some of the course objectives were to be able to identify the effectiveness of selected medical foods and medicinal foods for treating chronic or recurrent disorders of:

  • attention and cognition
  • osteoarthritis, backache, headache or neuropathic pain,
  • low grade, chronic inflammation
  • cardio-metabolic factors underlying type 2 diabetes., coronary artery disease and stroke,
  • initiating or maintaining sleep

We were excited because you’d be surprised how many of our athletes arrive with many of these conditions. We know exercise will help them* but maybe we’ll learn some cool new food-stuff that will assist as well!

*Did you know that exercise beats drugs in depression therapy?  But you know where I’m going….try to get a depressed person to exercise! Right?!


After (post) exercise in a setting like CrossFit, not only do endorphins rise, but that unconditional community feeling settles in. We hug each other all swollen and sweaty. We sit and chat about things that make us happy. We are not just healthy…but have lower stress and a greater social support system.

Some sobering stats from the course:


On weight loss

From the National Weight Control Registry, of 10,000 people who lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it  off for 5+ years:

  • 98% modified foot intake (lowering calories overall)
  • 78% ate breakfast every day
  • 94% increased physical activity
  • 62% watched less than 10 hours of TV per week
  • 75% weighted themselves every day

There are some things you can’t “fancy away”…and by that I mean to think that there’s a magic bullet that will last.  Sure, sometimes we all need a kickstart, but it can be a healthy one. While macronutrients do play a role in health (and weight loss, of course), if you truly understand diet, multiply out your macros and see how many calories you are eating. Increasing or decreasing this is the cause of your weight loss, not “just lowering starch”, cutting carbs altogether, going vegan or trying to exercise off additional calories.

Eating breakfast every day is a good idea. The quality and quantity of the food we eat fuels our cells and our bodies to be able to perform all the functions we don’t think about every day: heart beating, digestion in progress, liver detoxifying, kidneys filtering, lungs exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide…who thinks about these things during the day, right?   But eating for high nutrient density allows these functions to occur at a higher level, more effectively than fueling your body with processed crap.

More time outside, “moving”, exercising, playing and less time sitting in front of the tube or the computer should be a no-brainer.

And finally, I know people who “won’t get on the scale”. It’s not a matter of obsessing, but be an adult and face the facts. If you’re looking to put on weight or lose weight…as Ed always says: “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”.

Just some good tips from the NWCR.


Post workout euphoria causes grown men to hijack the box-camera and stage selfies. Adult men carrying on like kids lowers stress and creates some fun aftermath!



Hippocrates said:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, also created the Hippocratic from which physicians guide their practice.


On Sleep

We learned some interesting stuff here.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this…and my GP (when I had one) said it was OK.  How many of you have taken Benedryl to sleep? Or some type of diphenhydramine?  Just 50 mg, the average dose, disrupts sleep architecture and prevents stage 3 and 4 sleep. Sure, it knocks you out, but it doesn’t allow restorative sleep. Oopsie!

There are many natural and lifestyle hacks to assist with sleep – unfortunately, they’re so easy and simple that people often dismiss them and go straight for meds.  General sleep hygiene and some supplements that we know that help are:

  • Limiting screen time before bed. If you must be on a device, consider an app like f.lux or blue blocking glasses.
    • Better yet, move back to books. They don’t mess your brain the way a device screen does.
  • Consider reading before bed. Reading, as opposed to video gaming or watching television not only makes you smarter but will help induce sleep versus prevent it.
  • Have a little starch with dinner. Starchy carbohydrates help the body produce serotonin which can help calm you down and set you up for a good slumber
  • Create a very dark room with white, pink or brown noise. Get rid of your tech devices – store then in another room.
  • Take a hot/warm bath or shower. It will raise your body temperature so that as you cool down it triggers your body to fall asleep (remember – your body temp drops when you sleep).
  • Foods/Supplements that can help induce sleep are Green Tea (containing L-Theanine), Valerian, GABA, and Melatonin.
  • And there was also mention of CBD oil but we’ll not go there right now 🙂



On How Drugs Function in the Brain

And here’s where a bunch of CF Coaches and Trainers might have spaced off, and spent too much time poking fun things that were happening in the room versus listening to the speaker! (It happens!)  We enjoyed a cursory review of the brain and it’s communication system, specifically focused on the synapse and how mood altering drigs work within the synapse. It was refreshing to hear a pharmacists perspective on how the overall health of a person, their diet and lifestly quality which affect the gut biome (because gut bacteria manufacture some neurotransmitters such as serotonin), can and should be the focus when initially dealing with depression and anxiety. For those who don’t believe there’s a connection between diet and brain health – you should look this guy up. Someone in the medical community vying for lifestyle changes over drugs…especially someone in the pharmaceutical industry…it was compelling.

Without trying to purport I really comprehend the extent of the amino acids as precursors to the neurotransmitters and how that whole process can be messed up with “too many” drugs, I’ll just say this:  Start with diet. Clean it up to the max! Fix your lifestyle if it’s broken: stress, sleep, “enjoyment”, family, etc.  And if all of those efforts truly fail, THEN seek medicinal help.

….and speaking of medicinal help, we were introduced to a new industry (one we’d not been aware of) called “Medical Foods”. Where this gets interesting is as we learn that for  the more common medications for inflammation (NSAIDs), sleep, and even cognitive impairment, there is a bridge between supplements and drugs called Medical Foods.  They’re prescribed by a physican and and are showing good outcomes consistent with drugs.

Of note are Limbrel (Flavocoxid), which has shown equal or better results when compared to Celebrex and other NSAIDs for osteoarthritis. (Note: There is a medscape alert that Flavocoxid has produced severe reactions and physicians are being asked to stop prescribing it. Flavocoxid’s primary ingredients are Polyphenols, Acacia Catechu (catechin – found in green tea) and Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap) which has been used for years for inflammation).

Axona, for Alzheimer’s disease, and whose primary ingredient is carpylic triclycrides (MCT’s) – many of us will connect that with Bulletproof coffee and the brain buzz we get after ingesting it.

And finally Theramine for pain.  Its primary ingredients are amino acids that are precursors for the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which are involved in the regulation of pain signals.


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So we trudge on, in hopes that those around us are influenced by our passion for nutrition is the foundation of our training, and our health, for that matter.  You are what you eat…and you are what your food eats!  Quality, quantity, and macronutrient composition all matter. Diversity matters.  I’m not saying be a food Nazi because friends and “outings” matter too.  That beer or cocktail with your friend or that greasy spoon your family always congregates at…don’t be a jerk and avoid it because it’s not in your plan. The stress of being a social outcast can have deleterious effects on your health the same way living on PopTarts, McDonald’s, CheezeIts and Dairy Queen can!

All in all, for most of us, it was a refresher and reminder of how important a quality diet is for a healthy life.

~Coach Sam, out!



Strength Cycles: The Proof is in the Pudding!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Our First Strength Cycle of 2018 is complete and we saw fantastic improvements!


We had a small group of 6 athletes complete the program this cycle, some with years of Crossfit experience, some with only a few months. Asking athletes to commit to the Strength Program during the Open is….well….always a challenge as we’re pushing athletes to do the Open at the same time. The Open requires us to prioritize your “engine” and the Strength Program requires us to prioritize your strength. It’s hard to do both at the same time!

Also, as you may or may not know, strength gains accumulate faster when you’re new to lifting.  Progress is faster and quicker if you’re not a veteran power or Olympic lifter.  So we saw results for both new lifters and veteran lifters in this cycle.

We recommend our athletes do at least one Strength Cycle a year. At Rebels, we’ve been offering this as a part of an athletes membership for several years now. It’s strategically planned throughout the year so that everyone has the same opportunity to opt in or out. Check out our summary page HERE.

To commit to a 10-week lifting program is a lot to ask.  Life often gets in the way of training consistently but the Magnificent 6 persevered and came out way stronger.

We followed a tried and true Wendler 5-3-1 Program and mixed in plenty of BSG (Boring Strict Gymnastics) for accessory work. Strict Gymnastics is often overlooked because it is…well…boring. Oh Great, 3×8 of strict pull-ups(eyeroll emoji). Consistent work on strict gymnastics builds body awareness and stresses your body in ways a barbell or dumbbells cannot. Strict gymnastics is important and I’m proud of the athletes for sticking to the program. We worked Low Bar Back Squat, Press, and Deadlift. Three essential lifts for a healthy body. We all need to sit on the toilet, push overhead and pick stuff up from the ground.

Alright, let’s do some numbers!

Back Squats: We saw an average of 13% improvement on Back Squats. These numbers range in improvements averaging 22-pound increases, with the highest at a 35 pound increase!

Deadlift:  Three of the six were unable to test the DL at the end of the program due to a schedule conflict or the desire not to re-test*.  The other three saw an average of an 8% or 20-pound increase with the largest at 30 pounds!  (*We don’t push masters athletes to 1 rep max if they’re not “feeling it”. At a certain age the risk versus reward for pushing maximal loads becomes one of less necessity than more time under tension). 

Press:  Shoulder presses are one of the slowest lifts (Google it!) to progress.  Improvements are slow and small.  But on avearge, we saw an overall 10% increase with a 20-pound increase being the highest!

We also saw tremendous improvement in the  Power Snatch and Power Clean – two lifts that we worked only moderately by comparison to the power lifts and yet, we saw incredible numbers. The Power Snatch improved by 12% (top increase was 25 pounds), and the Power Clean went up an astonishing 18% (top increase was 45 pounds).  Large increases typically occur with the strength program when technique is on the rise….which may have been some of the reason here.

So what’s next? The Magnificent 6 are stronger and back in regular class, time for them to get their metabolic conditioning back – it is all but impossible to stay metabolically conditioned while packing on muscle. We’ll be starting another Strength Program in late April. The next cycle will be 8 weeks and focus on building your beach body just in time for Summer. Our sets will be focused on hypertrophy (muscle size). You’ll get stronger of course but the gains will be visible. You’ll look a bit bigger in all the right places. Just time for beach season.

~Coach Phiz


All of the athletes improved by at least 5% per lift, which may not sound like much until you break it down.

If my press is 100lbs and it goes up to 105 after only 8 weeks, that is phenomenal. Take it a bit further, a 15lbs increase on your Deadlift sounds like a reason to celebrate!


Special notes:  Why the “pudding” reference in the title? Like any program where you aim to increase performance (strength, cardirespiratory capacity, and even mobility (we can argue that poorly fed or overly medicated your tendons and ligaments won’t be as supple and your joints won’t be as mobile due to inflammation to allow for increased range of motion)), if you are not properly fed – mainly if you are underfed, but quality matters – you’ll not reach your maximal potential.