New At the Box


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

Welcome Coach Holly

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

CrossFit Rebels welcomes Coach Holly to the Team



It makes me exceptionally proud to announce to our community that Holly LaRossa has joined our box as a new Coach. She has been shadowing the past month, passed her CrossFit Level 1 and will now be on the floor with us  on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Holly has a long history with CFR and we are so excited to now have her as a part of the team to influence the health and fitness of our community.  Holly is very diligent and methodical in her own health and fitness, and will be a shining example to those looking to improve any part of their personal game at the box.

Holly has trained with us for over 5 years!  I have a personal love and respect for this lady as I’ve watched her gained mental strength and leverage on her vices. She’s made progress in the past year that the whole box has taken note of. And we’re super proud of that!

Please help us welcome her to coaching team!



Testimonial from Janice Piro

Thursday, October 13th, 2016


     I first started private coaching with Paul Chapman a year and a
half ago because I was getting frustrated with the squat snatch.
Also, I wanted to work on ring muscle ups, not really believing
that I would ever actually DO one, but I wanted to give myself a
chance at it. That was a year and a half ago. Since then, I have
gotten much more comfortable with the squat snatch and can
perform this lift pretty well, knowing where to correct myself
when it doesn’t go as it should. My squats are much better, too.
Previously, I was one of the athletes that always got the
“LOWER, JANICE!” instruction by a coach whenever we were
doing a move with a squat in it. (I haven’t heard that in a very
long time now…yeah!) We are still working on ring muscle ups,
but I am getting closer, and I now believe I will actually be able
to perform this gymnastic one day.

     Besides those specific things, I cannot say enough about how
much Coach Paul has helped me overall, not only with
correcting my lifting technique in general, but working with my
mobility and with my confidence under heavier loads. Good
technique and mobility are paramount to safety, which is a big
reason I will continue to work with him. (I plan on being a
CrossFit athlete for many more years, so that means I need to
stay injury-free.) Coach Paul is expert at seeing exactly where
my technique needs improvement. Even if my technique is
pure crap, he never overwhelms me with too much instruction
all at once. He corrects one or two things at a time, building to
the next and the next. He has an excellent ability to
communicate exactly what he needs me to do. His care and
attention to his private coaching is evident as he always comes
prepared with something he has thought out for us to do in that
session. I also appreciate his up-beat, incessantly positive
attitude. He tells me what I am doing right, as well as what
needs improvement, so I never feel like a complete idiot. His
confidence in my abilities is contagious, which helps me reach
levels I otherwise may not.

     Since working with Paul, I have noticed more general
improvements, too, such as:
-Having more focus in my WODs
-An improved ability to critique myself
-Executing more purposeful WODs (I know what one or two
things to specifically work on within each WOD)
-Having more confidence overall.

     No matter what kind of CrossFit athlete you are… experienced
but wanting to improve upon your weaknesses, or wanting to
improve your technique to avoid injury, or a new CrossFit
athlete wanting to ramp in and avoid developing bad habits…I
highly recommend private coaching with Paul. He is truly
outstanding and I guarantee it will be fun!


New Entry Into Rx+

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

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Hey all!
Coach Paul here, just wanting to share some information with all of our athlete! As you may or may not know, the Rx+ program is a program designed for athletes that would like to take their fitness to the next level… Competition! The program is designed and structured on all CrossFit movements but with higher volume and higher skill level movements on a more frequent basis. The design and methodology of this program is to fit the style of, and prepare our athletes for CrossFit competitions such as local competitions all the way up to The CrossFit Open and even Regionals.

Due to the heavy lifts and high skill level movements, there are standards that need to be met in order to be “accepted” into Rx+.  These standards are guidelines for loads and movements the athlete “should” have. Not all standards have to be met but you should be close to reaching them. If you are interested in competing at a higher level, you may apply today! These applications are on the front desk at CFR. They need to be filled out entirely and turned into a Head Coach no later than Friday, Oct. 21st 2016.

Please note that once you have turned in your application, I will look over the information and then the Head Coaches will confer a vote. We vote based on your ability, consistency in training and punctuality to class, proficiency with lifts, your ability to be coached (do you listen and transfer what you’re told to your training), and your attitude (arrogance and a “separatist” attitude have NO place at Rebels.) I would like to clarify that strength and efficiency in movements are not the only standards for the Rx+ program. We expect (and demand) that you have a humble attitude and lead by example. Rx+ athletes are required to be on time (up to fifteen minutes early) for class and have basic understanding of the movements and workout designs. We ask that you have at least 9 months of CrossFit under your belt and are confident in your lifts (Power lifts and Olympic lifts.)

Rx+ is programmed based on the programming from Ben Bergeron of CFNE and Competitorstraining.com. As your coachs, our main focus is simply on bettering our athletes as competitors. Our programming will be based purely on the needs of our athletes as competitors. Our focus lies mostly on your weaknesses as an individual competitor. Programming layouts will be guided in the direction I see to be most adequately beneficial to the fitness of the Rx+ competitors.
Scaling will be done through the head coach for that class. The head coach will help scale loads and movements based upon INDIVIDUAL abilities. You can be an Rx+ competitor and scale WODs. Our focus is on getting you to be able to reach those Rx loads and movements as soon as possible. It will be demanded of you that you are in the program to better yourself in strength and efficiency as well as work capacity.

Lastly, Rx+ is our gym’s greatest opportunity to reach the highest level of competition in our sport. Being accepted into this program is a privilege and is to be treated as such. Failure to uphold the standards and requirements demanded of you will result in a dismissal from Rx+. If you choose to “drop-out” at any time, that will be acknowledged, although if you wish to get back into the program you will need to reapply at the next acceptance period. There will be no, I repeat, NO bouncing back and forth from the regular WOD to Rx+.


Feel free to submit an application asap! Thanks All!
Coach Paul out!




Congratulations, Coach Nic!

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016



Ed and I have been both blessed and overworked in our adventures with CrossFit Rebels.  But along the way, all of the strife is forgotten as we continue to be able to do things like this.  Especially when we can do it for the people who’ve made our lives easier along the way.

The picture above is my favorite! It’s exactly what Nicole would do if we made this announcement live with her standing beside us.  If you’ve even seen us try to brag about her at the CF Kids competitions or other events, she likes to quickly change the subject and move on. Her humility is one of the traits we love about her. And it’s an endearing characteristic that Ed and I are often attracted to.

What are we congratulating Nicole about? Well…

We are announcing today, August 1st, 2016, that Coach Nic, Ed and I have become partners in the Rebels’ CrossFit Kids Program!

By partners we mean we have separated the Kids Program from the Adult Program (on paper!) and we each own a percentage of the program.  Nicole is now an owner in this part of the business.  Her “upside” is not only greater, but limited only by her imagination.

If you haven’t noticed lately, the CF Kids Program is busting at the seams!  We have had a waiting list for the Junior Varsity and the little Kids classes.  Typically when I don’t know what do about something, I don’t do anything, and the answer eventually presents itself. And it has (presented itself) in this situation.  Many of you may or may not know about four years ago, we held Nicole in high enough esteem that we began the process of looking for space to open a second box with her at the helm. Being the mature young lady she was at that point, she recognized something within herself that told her she wasn’t ready. So we put it on hold. Fast forward to today, to where she has grown and built a CF Kids program like no other in the area, she recognizes her niche and is ready to put forth the commitment to have a a greater stake in the program.

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Both Mallory and Nicole are cherished friends of ours, but they are also fantastic business partners.  First and foremost, they embrace customer service.  They are also mature enough to understand fiscal responsibility when running a business. That’s important when you put your trust in them to grow something where there is also financial risk involved.

Nicole is currently masterminding the restructuring of the CrossFit Kids classes and times to open up the opportunity to grow both athletes and coaches.  She has a plan, and it’s in motion effective the second week in August.

Our future and the future of the Rebel athletes is brighter because we have Nicole (and Mallory) as partners within the Rebel organization. It is our hope that they will both serve as examples and resources to our up and coming full time coaches who also seek careers in the field of health and fitness. Not only is it life saving to the older athletes, stimulating and health-preserving to the middle aged group athletes (20-50) but it’s setting the stage for our youngest athletes – our CrossFit Kids – to establish a love of fitness that will hopefully stay with them their entire lives.



Please join Ed and I in congratulating Nicole on this new venture – it’s more than a promotion – it’s a future. I know she has big plans, and dreams, just like I did when we started CrossFit Rebels.  We can’t wait to see what she will grow this program into! Congratulations Nicole! We love you!