New At the Box

Entry into Rx+

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

IMG_4501.JPGHey 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 as of Monday, March 28th 2016. These applications are on the front desk at CFR. They need to be filled out entirely and turned into me (Paul) no later than Thursday April 7th, 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. I 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 mainly programmed based on the programming from Ben Bergeron of CFNE and Competitorstraining.com. As your coach, my main focus is simply on bettering our athletes as competitors. Our programming will be based purely on the needs of our athletes as competitors. My 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 me. I guide our athletes into loads and progressions 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+.

Hemi’s New Adventure

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

It’s time we pull all the facts together and let everyone know what’s going on with “Mal’s new box” now that we have a lease and have applied for affiliation.

Many of you may know (and if not, now you will), Mallory joined us as an athlete in November of 2010 and soon thereafter became a coach (February of 2011).  Believe it or not, she was on a band with pull ups!  Same crappy shoulder she has now, but same unstoppable engine.  She and Nicole were our first two coaches, and we love to brag that they have grown with us and continue to do so!

Several years ago we looked at doing this, but for reasons that someday will reveal themselves, things didn’t pan out.

Fast forward to the middle of last year, 2015, Coach Mal (aka “Hemi” for those of you who don’t know that’s her nickname) approached us that she’d like to consider opening a box. Knowing we’d offered this in the past, the deal was made.  Ed and I agreed to fund the start up, and partner with her, continuing our relationship and growing her career.  Mallory is a managing partner in the new LLC, Hemi Strength & Conditioning.  Ed and I will support her on the financial and operational side, but she is and will be the day to day “boss” at the new box. She has applied for CrossFit affiliation and we are awaiting their response.  Until then (until they approve our name choice(s)), we are Hemi Strength & Conditioning.

Our goal was to open north of Rebels, at least 5 miles, and west of US19. We have been looking for space in that area FOR YEARS.  We were truly at a standstill, and in the past three weeks, not only did a new opportunity reveal itself, but the deal accelerated and here we are….

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Mal’s box is located in Palm Harbor/Ozona.  The address is 305 Bear Ridge Circle, #103, Palm Harbor, FL  34683.  We HOPE to hear back from CrossFit by around the first of April. As soon as we do, we’re a GO!

We are two separate companies: Rebels and Hemi.  We have discussed long and hard about reciprocity and things like this that will come up, but have ultimately decided to keep them separate. But don’t worry, though we are separate entities, we will keep both boxes connected with social events and team WODs here and there. We know many of you will want to see Hemi S&C if you haven’t already, so we’ll keep you abreast of the Grand Opening date.

Mal is and will have some of the same challenges Ed and I did when we opened Rebels:

  • Space and equipment. Hemi S&C is 1,950 sf.
  • A blank canvas that needs work – she’s already painting and hanging plywood (as you can see above)
  • Things break…like the overhead door (above) within a week!  She’s learning to fix things!

Ed and I had similar challenges – Rebels was a sh#t-hole when we moved in!

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But all of these things are memories, and create a huge sense of ownership.  Business ownership is great – especially in our industry. We don’t sell wigits, we don’t manufacture “things” and frankly, we don’t “sell”.  We provide a service. Our product is us – our coaches and their personalities, their level of dedication, their brains and communication skills.  We create athletes.  We create robust health and elite fitness.  We change lives.

There’s a huge sense of satisfaction in what we do. We make a difference.  We teach kids to love fitness, we train 20 and 30 years olds to be monsters on the gym floor. We keep 40 and 50 years in the best shape of their aging lives.  And we increase the functional independence of our “senior” members 60, 70 and up.  Our jobs are very important.  Yet, we also carry a lot of heavy responsibility.  Injuries, struggles with form and technique, body composition getting in the way of progress, balancing the rate of progress with what the body can safely handle….just to name a few.  Nightly Ed and I talk about our athletes from A to Z: progress, jobs, relationships, kids, mobility, goals….NIGHTLY.  Sometimes nightly is the only time we see each other!  I carry every injury we’ve had at Rebels with me personally.  Everything that happens at that box is our responsibility. Good or bad.  But it’s this level of commitment and caring that makes a good box owner.

Mal is ready.  As Ed’s said: there are days when she’ll hate us for letting her get into this (LOL!). But in the long run, and more often than not, she’ll feel the same satisfaction and pride we feel as she creates a new group of athletes up north.

Here at Rebels, we have a plan for transition, and frankly have been “overcoached” for the past year plus in anticipation of this.  I will assume Mal’s shifts, which will generally oppose Paul’s shifts (me AM/Paul PM and vice versa). I’ll split the middays with Jaida and Phil. Adam will ultimately transition to be with his sister as her volume grows.  Hemi S&C was designed to have the sister/brother team of Mal and Adam with Liver there as well…family business, just like Rebels!  Rebels will have Paul and me back the floor with Jaida and Phil coming up and growing into bigger positions.

Lastly, we will be bringing a group of the advanced Legends athletes to Rebels during the 10am closed hour three days a week. They have advanced to the point of needing “more tools in their toolbox”. We hope that will occur in April or May. Paul, Phil and I will manage that group.

We’re so excited for Mallory and this new adventure. This is a big 12 month span for her: marriage, new business owner…. she deserves this opportunity, and ready or not, it’s here! We often rise to the occasion when pressured to perform (a’la CrossFit Competitions).

Please join Ed and I in congratulating her and supporting her.  We love you Mal!

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Why CrossFit is BETTER!!!

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Coach Paul here!
Being that we are almost at the end of January, I wanted to share a little something one of our athletes (Dorothy Suggs) shared with me.
Dorothy found a little article in USA TODAY  stating what kind of DROPOUT statistics there are after New Years. It’s funny because New Years day is like black Friday for gyms all over the world. Everyone knows this and I’m sure we all have seen funny things on social media about how happy gym owners are that it’s New Years. Well the month is almost over and I’m sure the buzz is wearing off and people are slowly starting think the couch at home looks a lot better than going to the gym.
The article tells that “46% of new gym members drop their memberships after January.” That’s CRAZY HIGH! Almost half?!?!? You freaking slackers! I knew the number was probably high but dammmmmn. Any way the coolest thing is that Crossfitters (pssst! that’s you!) are the MOST LIKELY to stick with it! How sweet is that?!
I’d just like to spend a few minutes of your time ranting on about why this makes me happy and why I think CrossFit keeps its members. We have stumbled upon something so special and so incredibly remarkable with this fitness methodology. CrossFit keeps its members more than any other gym or fitness regiment because its FUN! What the heck? Fitness can be fun?! “Coach, you’re telling me that 40 burpees at the START of a workout is FUN?!?!” ……..You freaking showed up didn’t you? You bitched the whole time and hated every second of it but after you finished you got that satisfactory accomplished feeling of not only completion, but PRIDE that you actually committed to it and did what you thought would kill you. Sorry to say, but that is FUN! You are figuring out a way to measure your existence! You have a new way of proving your worth to yourself! You can measure your fitness! How awesome is that?!? AND there is ALWAYS something to get better at!
We also have found a way to keep our bodies guessing and our minds entertained. Let’s be honest people, you still get excited and/or nervous before a wod and the first thing you do in the morning is check the blog to see what the wod is! You’re not alone my friend! We are all showing up to put ourselves through the same torture and you know what??? THAT’S THE BEST PART! We ALL know how bad it hurts and how much of a struggle every single burpee and every single goddamn thruster is and we are crazy/stupid enough to do it WITH YOU!!! So we don’t trash-talk each other, we don’t put each other down or make fun of how much weight the other person is doing. We are here to embrace ‘The Suck’ together! This is what makes our community so strong and makes CrossFit the BEST part of our day! THAT is why (in my professional(sort of) opinion) CrossFit has such a high retention rate!
So, if you are the athlete that is thinking, ‘man, am I EVER going to get better at this?! Is it really worth my time to keep going?!’ The answer is YES! MAN UP!!! We all walk out of here thinking ‘man, I suck at that movement!’ or the infamous, ‘IM SO OUT OF SHAPE!’ Just think back to the very first day you started and tell yourself… ‘ no… THAT GUY SUCKED!’ You aren’t that person anymore. Every day you come in it is a new experience and new adventure. Give yourself credit for becoming better and more useful as a human-being!

Thanks for listening and for motivating me people!
Coach Paul

P.S. Yoga has the highest DROPOUT rate =-D



A Day in the Life….

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
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I’m not photogenic and don’t normally like to be in photos, but I do love this one – it’s from my Coaches Bio, and it’s calm, sweaty and happy. My goal in life!

Today (Monday 1/4/2016) is a day I have to share…as an example of following your dream, indulging your passion, and doing what you love.  It’s not often that I survive a day like this without a breakdown at some point due to the volume of work, but today all the stars lined up and it was a good day.

Thank God I ate a lot today….and because I knew I wouldn’t have time to train, I upped the fat to help keep me calm on a typical Monday.

I love my box, I love our athletes (I say “our” because you all are all of our (the coaches) responsibility), and I love days like this even though by now, 9pm as I write this, I’m Jonesing for either a glass of wine or a pillow.  Yes, it’s only 9pm, but let me share how the day started…just in case some of you catch me on a not so calm version of today!

Sunday night, I was in bed early – by 9pm I was out! Lame, you might think? Not if you just set your alarm for 4am and counted backwards on your fingers to ensure you’d get 7 hours of sleep if you could put yourself out quickly!

4:00 a.m. my alarm goes off.  No snooze – up and at ’em. Big Day! First work day of the year (aside from Saturday!) and new things happening today.

5:15 a.m., at the box…still have to email the landlord for the fix to the shower and the broken window in the Kids Room – CHECK! Tidy up, spray some Lysol around (it IS a warehouse, but it needs to not smell like one!), double check the whiteboard, eat breakfast (yes, at 5:15am – roast beef, potatoes and guacamole)..and it’s time to open the doors.

5:45 a.m., our athletes start rolling in – big day – new squat program that no one really understands!  Check on everyone – bodies OK? -weekends OK? – got goals set for the New Year?  Huge group rolling in…I have to admire anyone who gets up at 5am to train at 6am…and can muster the energy to push as hard as these folks do!

6:00 a.m., lead the group warm up. Make sure we don’t have anyone not ready to squat!  Lead the explanation – new program – old school – and should be not only a challenge, but fun!  With Coaches Mal and Liv, coach up the class – watch the split between the Strength-bias group and the daily WOD.  Make sure Phizzle is doing OK – the only one in RX+ at the 6am class and his WOD is horrifically difficult, especially by himself.

6:45 a.m., on the fly, change the metcon – too long, too many athletes for three sleds.  Made it too long. Change it to keep everyone working at a higher intensity and to get them done on time.  Class is wiped out at the end, and accomplished with a new 5RM LBBS and the start of the 20 Rep Squat Cycle under their belts. Loving it!

7:00 a.m., first 1:1 onramp session with a newbie – the kind of newbie that keeps me in this business.  Yes, I love the competitors – who doesn’t. And I love seeing Heather get her first, second…fifth kipping pullup on her first try!  I love all of that. But this is a 50 year old woman, a little (OK, very) nervous about starting. She saw the CF commercial with the 70 year old woman training at a CF gym and thought if she can do it, so can I.  I’ll admit I had to reassure and persuade her to try it, but today she was glad she did.  First onramp session a success – and I’m changing someone’s life for the better. The strength, confidence and healthy future this woman is going to experience because of this sport is beyond what I can conceive at this early stage, but I’m on fire! I’m super jacked!  Ran her long – a little late, but finished by 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m., grab my container full of Rosemary Ham, nuts and sweet potato mash (yes, cold) and eat it on the way to Legends. Legends is our “functional fitness” program for seniors. It started in March with 12 athletes, and we’re initiating 16 newbies today at 9:00am and adding a fifth hour long class this week!  We now have a total of 64 ACTIVE SENIOR ATHLETES!  Let’s get ready to rumble!

9:00 a.m., walk in to meet Charmaine, the first newbie on site.  Hubby’s there getting everything set up – name tags on newbies..and without as much as a “Good Morning, Babe”, we’re off!  Try to remember all 16 names…who has the total hip, who has the limited shoulder range of motion, who has the tibial plateau fracture, and who’s nervous…THEY ALL ARE! Try to be funny, don’t use big terms, don’t over-coach, don’t under-coach, be reassuring…we’re doing good (and I’m starting to perspire…and it’s air conditioned!  Uh oh…deodorant fail so early!). Well, maybe their sense of smell has waned over the years (one can only hope!). Where’s Paulie?  Oops, scheduling snafu – it’s just Ed and on the 16 – wowzers.  But, day one of new Legends athletes in the books and a success.

10:00 a.m., back to the Legends Athletes who know the program. The 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 1:00 sessions run smoothly.  Some half kneeling is always a challenge, but a huge ego boost when we’re successful (for them AND us!).  We were able to fit in a few bottles of water (hallelujah for Amino Energy about right now!), an Epic Bar and the best Fuji Apple I’ve had in a while.   Each session or class has its own personality, and at least one always yields a gut-busting, side-stitch-causing belly laugh.  Thank you for that – these athletes are amazing…inspiring!  When I’m 87, I can only dream I move that well.  Ellie is standing up so much more erect, Jan’s waiting for the next scheduled rest time, and Carole is counting everyone’s reps to make sure they’re all honest (joking, but that’w what we say!).  Energy still up – doing well!

2:00 p.m., head back to the gym. I have an hour before the first season session of the Pinellas Heat Volleyball conditioning starts and I have no idea how many girls, let alone who they are, so I need to be prepared.  Workout is written up, paperwork all ready for the parents.  And I have time to eat!…except that we have a walk in wanting information on joining.  I got it…

2:45 p.m., shoveling some more meat and veggies down my throat as the first girl walks in. Oh, and made a quick coffee too – it’s cold in the box and I’m getting tired – perfect combination at the perfect time.   We have three girls today, all bubbly and eager.  Parents introductions made, questions answered, philosophy conveyed.  Check on any injuries or issues with the girls and we’re off. Expectations laid out, orientation to the box, and we’re on the rowers.  Everything is new to them to we’re overexplaining everything and asking for confirmation.  Quick warm up and we’re going to start cleaning, front squatting and cash out with a quick metcon.  Pulled a plyo box off the stack and smashed my finger between two of them. Don’t scream in front of the girls, I’m telling myself!  But in need of a bandaid before one of them passes out because I’m bleeding.  Thanks to JD for saving me with the First Aid box and to the Hubs for starting their metcon so I could recoup!  Metcon done. Girls did well – still smiling.  Day one of Heat Training in the books.

4:00 p.m., and it’s time to check phone texts and email before I leave…Oh Lord!  Should have checked in a few times during the day.  Several newbies to be scheduled, a food log to review, and the boyfriend of an athlete wanting to start.  We had mailed our holiday newsletter to some of the athletes of the past and several of them were in my email wanting to reactivate.  It’s the first of the month, so we’re logging dues and verifying statuses.  4pm athletes are starting to work through their warm up and Coach Mal finishes up her private client so we chat about how our bodies feel – Mal’s beat up a little and we’re worried about a weird hip thing – called Ed over (the Hubs!) for a consult…so that sticks in my head as an ongoing concern.  Hate to pack up because I love being here – love the athletes in the 4pm class! (all the classes – don’t get jealous!).  But, I have a cat and a fish at home that need fed (and cat needs insulin – oye!) and they’ve been alone all day…time to go.

5:00 p.m., finally out the door.  Home by 5:30, dinner ready by 6:00…and I cooked. I never cook anymore. Sad, I know. No time. But I had some grass-fed flank and stir fry veggies in the fridge and it whipped up ever-so-quickly!  Dinner cleaned up.

6:30 p.m., Time to sit down and dome some paperwork, clean up emails, and check the schedule for tomorrow.  And so it begins: laptop on my lap, cat on one side, Hubby on the other side…we’ll be here for a while!

9:30 p.m., closing up shop. Don’t have the energy to shower (don’t worry, I will in the morning). Hitting the hay, hope to be asleep by 10…zzzzz.


Whoever said owning your own business was easy is a goon!  It’s never easy, but it’s more often than not, rewarding at a level I’ll not look to change anytime soon.  Making people better – at a lot of different things, including adapting to change.  Changing lives.  Being as excited to see them as they are to see us. We run several lines of programing at Rebels and I couldn’t be prouder of how smoothly (generally) everything intertwines:  The CrossFit “WOD”, the main programing for the box, the strength-biased line of programming, Rx+, CrossFit Kids (Nicole’s just the master!), the Heat, all the coaches private clients (and yes, we make sure the coaches that are providing one-on-one services as “personal trainers” are in fact, personal trainers with the credentials to back that up (even if they’re in pursuit of that actively).  Not sure why I threw that in there – must be an issue I see in our industry! My coaches are top notch – I mean really good. Their care factor is as great as their coaching abilities. This box means so much to so many people.  This is my first day of the new year gratitude post. I’m thankful for all of the great things I can list above, but also for the stress, forced time management, need to continually learn new things and be “uncomfortable”.

Today was a long day with no breaks.  Other than missing spending any time with my husband outside of the box today, it was a good day.  Bring on tomorrow!


CrossFit Kids Nutrition Workshop

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015


IMG_5921.JPGCoach Nicole and Coach Christina led the CrossFit Kids, their friends and parents through a guided tour of what eating looks and feels like, versus what junk food and unhealthy eating looks and feels like. The energy and alertness and “feel good” that comes from healthy eating was well known by all these kids. Rock stars, they were!



Coach Nic has been with these kids for years…they trust her, and they were eager to not only ask questions, learn but also willing to change!  Here’s where we were blown away: they already knew what to do! Great parenting, right? YES!  And in their CF Kids classes, Coach Nic is always asking, if they bonk on a WOD: “did you eat before you came?”, “what did you eat?”.  And trust us, she knows when they reach for Cheetors or Doritos as snacks in the middle of class – BUSTED!


During the workshop, they made lists of healthy foods and junk foods, and built good meals on their worksheets (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) from their list of healthy foods.IMG_5926.JPG


Many of them participated in a label reading exercise for both junk foods and healthy snacks…and some “labeled healthy” snacks that read more like junk food! All in all, they learned that natural is better.  (Then they ate the healthy options!).
They exchanged great ideas and comments on the importance of good nutrition for their health, their training and their activities (school, family activities, friend activities.


We had several parents chime in and help – communicating the struggles of keeping their kids healthy at home but fearing losing that battle when they visit friends houses.  The importance of limiting kids exposure to the media and the food industry’s advertising campaign toward our kids (crazy, right?).  And don’t think we’re Nazi’s, we discussed the importance of joining our friends in a birthday party or pizza party, and moderating our consumption of pizza, ice cream, and other junk foods, that are unfortunately a big part of the kids social scene.  Eating before you go to an event so you’re not “as” hungry was a great tip given!

IMG_5930.JPGCoach Christina (M.D.) shared some key factors in keeping our immune systems top notch!  Eating healthy, smart exercise, hand washing, and enough sleep all play a roll in keeping our immune systems running strong, which help us stave off illness, and the upcoming flu season!



Great work to everyone to participated! We’re so proud of how healthy our CrossFit Kids are!

Volume, Recovery, Health and Choices

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

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I encountered an interesting series of events yesterday and they culminate in this post.  As many of you know, Ed, Paul, Adam & I have the great pleasure and honor of training about 50 athletes over the age of 70, at an off site facility. They are AMAZING!  And smart…they ask smart questions.  Yesterday when we announced Ed and I would be out of town this weekend at a competition in Indianapolis, one of the athletes asked why we did CrossFit? She further asked “I mean, do you do it for fitness/to stay fit? or for run? or for competition?…”. I could tell she was stumbling a little but understood her question. “Why the heck do you do this is if it’s so hard!?”.

The answer was easy!  Ed said for competition, and I said for fitness and fun.  But all of those reasons that someone CrossFits can produce very different results.  In fact, the higher level athletes (Regionals/Games) often sacrifice the health benefits that CrossFit CAN produce for the problems that arise as a result of overtraining and training at such a high level. And we (all of us!) should understand this so that we train with our brains too.

A veteran coach mentioned to me that last week we had an overly aggressive day and he felt some of our athletes should not have done part two or three (Tuesday’s 10 min AMRAP’s). Often when we program, which we do by committee so that it’s not one coaches desires thrust on the box, but rather a culmination of a template and what we feel we “need” in the box, plus a little periodization thrown in there. Tuesday was not a great programming day, and it’s not often we have those.  The balance was off. The WODs weren’t tested.

We program for beginner, intermediate, advanced on one class. The WODs are fully RX, and sometimes elite.  Then we scale
down and add progressions for Alpha and Bravo. It works 99% of the time. We have to keep the higher level athletes stimulated and progress the newer athletes up to that higher level.  Sure, we could consider having advanced classes and beginner classes, but we’ve often reviewed that and decided against it.

The pros of mixed classes (the way we have them now):

  • class time options are greater for everyone,
  • better athletes inspire other less advanced athletes
  • less advanced athletes have an idea of where they need or want to be.

The cons:

  • the intermediate/beginner athletes often feel they need to keep up with the advanced athletes

121.JPGPros outweighed the cons – and always do. But the that con is what often happens on high volume days. On high volume days we’re giving the advanced athletes a good “dose” of training, and hope that the scaling options keep the intermediate/beginner athletes training but not “overtraining“. We don’t worry about overtraining from one WOD – it doesn’t happen that way. But we do know which athletes come to WOD 5 days a week, attend Saturday Team WOD and still work out, whether it be running, cycling or swimming on Sunday. THAT will lead to overreaching/overtraining.  Your bodies need rest – they NEED time to heal. There is a sensitive dose-response curve with CrossFit – more is not better when there’s not planned rest and recovery.

The real point here is that as athletes, you need to know your bodies.  You have the right to tell a coach that you’re toasted, you’re so sore you can’t move (at which time we will ask you why you’re here!).  But we get it – you love to be here. We love to have you. But if you’re so sore you can’t move, you probably shouldn’t train. If you complete the first of a two or three part WOD and you can’t peel yourself off the floor to even set up for part two, we would respect you a lot more if you said “coach – I’m out. I’m toasted. I’m kaput!”. We’ll give you a few stretches and put you in the corner and let you rest and watch the rest of the class.  That is nothing to be ashamed of or concerned about. That might be a great decision for your body, your training and your health that day.  Remember, balance is the key!


IMG_4477.JPGIf you are CrossFitting for fitness/ health, you need time off, you need mobility…not 7 days a week of CF & running.

If you complete a fast, under 10 minute WOD and you have the energy to “do more” or even immediately put your bar away, walk to the board and look for a cash out, you’re doing it wrong. And shame on us for not catching it and setting you straight.

If you CrossFit, you need to have this information in your arsenal of “why” you CrossFit:   What Is Fitness?

We recently did four blog posts on how you’re getting CrossFit wrong – many of the points covered above are in these articles.
 16 Ways You Eff-Up CrossFit: 1-4
 16 Ways You Eff-Up CrossFit: 5-8
 16 Ways You Eff-Up CrossFit: 9-12
 16 Ways You Eff-Up CrossFit: 13-16

We want you to use your heads, listen to your body and communicate with your coaches.  This is the only way we can maximize your training (of course other than being honest with you that your technique is off and your loads are too heavy and we can tell your diet sucks)!

Rule of thumb when you’re feeling “off” at the box and you’re not sure what to do: Talk to a coach. Be honest. Let us help.

Thanks in advance for using your brain!








On Sleep

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

On Sleep… Related to Performance, Body Composition & Stress Management

We all know sleep is essential. You can’t live without water, protein and sleep. Literally.

Ed, Paul, Adam, Nic, Kristin and I attended a Masters Athlete seminar recently and sleep was one of the topics, presented by Nataranjan Subramanian, MD. Last year when Ed and I attended Paleo FX in Austin, Tx, we hit the sleep topics with Kirk Parsley, MD. When we do Paleo Challenges, one of the criteria for “points” is sleep. We all know it’s crucial for good health, athletic performance, weight management and stress management. And every time we attend one of these presentations, lately (in the past 5-ish years) the findings and the recommendations are almost always consistent.

One thing we DO find is that in OUR community – the CrossFit/Paleo/Non-mainstream approaches to health and fitness – we’re a bit more preventative and natural in our approaches. While medications were discussed in the Masters Athlete course near the end, you don’t hear about them much in our community. Rather, “sleep hygiene” and getting all your ducks in a row with the things that contribute to a good nights sleep are more important. After that, we look to a few more natural supplements and food suggestions.

affects almost every facet of you day…and if it’s chronic, every facet of you life.

  • If you are suffering from pain, lack of sleep can increase pain/perception of pain. Pain can disrupt sleep – vicious cycle.
  • Lack of sleep can increase carbohydrate cravings by decreasing leptin (satiety hormone) and increase ghrelin (hunger hormone).
  • Lack of sleep can increase cortisol; cortisol causes the release of glycogen from the muscles and liver, thereby signaling the body to produce insulin, the storage hormone. This is the mechanism that is thought to relate weight gain and lack of sleep.
  • Lack of sleep can have deleterious effects on your cardiopulmonary system (heart).
  • Lack of sleep lowers immune system.

SLEEP HYGIENE  – getting your ducks in a row!Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 10.10.22 AM

  1. First, lay off the technology people!  Blue light from televisionS and electronic devices is wreaking havoc on our sleep. Think about it, before the invent of the computer and all of these higher tech mobile devices, a pre-bedtime routine was dinner and a book – neither emitting light that who knew would inhibit a good nights’ sleep! (Hint, hint: consider that old-timey routine – might help you sleep and make you smarter at the same time!).  Chris Kresser wrote a good article on this: How Artificial Light is Wrecking Your Sleep, and What to Do About It. Amber goggles and apps like f.lux are great for reducing your exposure to blue light.
  2. Sleep in a completely dark, cool room. Even that one light on your TiVo box is an issue – tape over it. Buy blackout shades…and eye covers if necessary.
  3. Avoid high intense activity right before bed…in other words if you train at 7pm, decompress before you settle in to bed.
  4. Dinner:
    • high fat dinners will inhibit growth hormone, an anabolic hormone our bodies use to repair cells (yes, muscle cells too) and contribute to optimum recovery; growth hormone is supposed to spike when you sleep – it’s the one time we get a nice dose of it
    • higher LOW GLYCEMIC carbohydrate dinners will help you fall asleep and stay asleep; contrarily, HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX carbohydrates will help you get to sleep, but not let you stay asleep. So opt for non-starchy vegetables, potatoes and nuts
    • protein rich dinners, especially those that include tryptophan (just 1 g which can be found in turkey, egg white, game meats, spinach, seaweed, pumpkin seeds) can contribute to a positive sleep experience (please disregard the soy included in the linked list of foods containing tryptophan!)
    • foods containing melatonin can also help ( pineapples, bananas, oranges,  rice, tomatoes)
  5. Your diet, in general, will affect your sleep.  Why Paleo People Sleep Like a Lion  Losing the processed and refined carbohydrates, ensuring you get adequate protein and high quality fats on a daily basis is your first line of defense.
  6. Decompress. If you are Type A, have a lot going on in your life and know your brain is working in power mode, consider keeping a pad and pen by your bed. Jot down what’s on your mind, what you’re thinking you need to do the next day…anything that’s “on your mind”. It might help to relieve the anxiety of those things, knowing you can deal with that list the next day.
    • Stretching & mobility can help relax you before bed
  7. Naps. Do it! They can help make up for lost sleep, benefit athletic performance, but beware, they may also prevent you from getting a good nights sleep if you’ve slept too much.


  • It should be assumed by all of us that if we don’t sleep well, our WODs are going to suck! Period.
  • If you’re competing, sometimes pre-competition anxiety, even if it’s positive nervousness or excitement, can prevent a restful nights sleep. You can combat this by using good sleep hygiene (see above).
    • If you’re traveling, take as much with you to the hotel that you can to make your sleep as similar to every other night as possible: pillow, amber colored glasses, etc.
  • Repeating something from above:  Lack of sleep can increase cortisol; cortisol causes the release of glycogen from the muscles and liver, thereby signaling the body to produce insulin, the storage hormone. This is the mechanism that is thought to relate weight gain and lack of sleep. This can cause poor performance the next day due to the lower level of glycogen in the muscle in liver – which is what we draw from in our WODs (in addition to blood glucose and other substrates)
  • Excess sleep has been tested in some sports. In some sports (basketball) studies showed that sleep in excess of 8 hours (e.g. 10 hours) contributed to increased accuracy and performance.  In other sports, however, (swimming) it showed no improvement.  Test it out. See where you perform better.


  • See third bullet under “LACK OF SLEEP”.
  • Lack of sleep increases carbohydrate cravings the next day… Repeating again from above:  Lack of sleep can increase cortisol; cortisol causes the release of glycogen from the muscles and liver, thereby signaling the body to produce insulin, the storage hormone. This is the mechanism that is thought to relate to weight gain via increase appetite.


  • When you are suffering from sleep deficit, your ability to manage stress is diminished.  Knowing that can possibly help you avoid situations that may be made worse by lack of sleep and tolerance.


  • While this should not be your first line of defense, there are some natural, non-addictive sleep aids in the form of natural supplements that might be of benefit:
    • Melatonin
    • Magnesium
    • Valerian Root (check supplement for contraindications like birth control)
    • Vitamin D
    • Zinc


  • Alcohol may help you pass out…I mean “fall asleep” quicker, but it inhibits your ability to STAY ASLEEP. Not recommended before bedtime for a restful nights sleep

For more information on sleep, here are a few of the foremost authorities on the subject:

ROBB WOLF,    & 2
KATIE, THE WELLNESS MAMA…great post on sleep



The Rebel Guide to Competition Prep

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015


The CrossFit Games season always brings a surge in everyday CrossFit athletes’ desire to “compete”. And why not? It’s exhilarating….so much more so than the daily WOD.  More pressure. More at stake. And it’s a whole day (or two day) event! Bring on the weekend and bring on the competitions!

IMG_1471.JPG paul crum dj    


The week before your competition…

you’ll want to practice the WODs (if you know them). Just because you know the WODs for the comp doesn’t mean you should do them twice a day every day leading up to it. Rookie mistake! The CrossFit  model trains us for the unknown and unknowable, so stick to your normal training. Over-emphasizing a workout could make you perform worse at competition time.

  • 5 days out (usually a Monday), train in your usual program.
  • 4 days out (Tuesday) same as Monday but based not the WOD, perhaps 1/2 or 3/4 of the volume/reps.  Don’t blow it out and risk injury or extreme soreness.
  • 2 and 3 days out (Wednesday and Thursday), start to taper down – active rest. Keep the blood flowing, maybe work some skills or just a few maintenance rounds of bodyweight movements.  Light barbells only.
  • The day before your comp, mobilize, do a little cardio (keep the blood flowing)


  • Alternatively, don’t wait too long to start “preparing” for competitions. If you are going to sign up for a competition you need to consider several things  WELL BEFORE the week prior to the competition.  For example: how to eat, how to sleep, what your max lifts are, how to recover in between your WODs,  and what it feels like to do a MAX EFFORT lift right before or right after a full out metcon. These are all things that matter in competition time. Waiting until the wods are released to do ALL of that is very stressful on the body and mind and almost always means you are over-training RIGHT before your competition.
  • The day of the competition, use the warm up areas to be sure your heart rate is up and you’ve lifted a little prior to your WODs. Warm, primed muscles perform better than cold ones.


Extra everything: ropes, tape, grips, clothing, undergarments (things happen).

Everything you need for warm ups should be considered as well: PVC pipe, foam roller, LAX ball.

Tent, chairs, hat…create a home base for the day. Coolers with food and plenty of water.

Prepare for injures:  Ice packs, ibuprofen, ointments/linaments, ace wraps, blister first aid.


Don’t change anything you’ve been doing prior to the comp. No new pre-workout supplements. Eat what you normally eat (pack it). Choose easily digestible foods. Take post workout food/supplements to refuel glycogen stores immediately afterwards (sugar, quick digesting carbohydrates, some protein, no fat).

Some athletes can eat a whole pizza in between WODs, and some can’t tolerate anything but protein shakes.  Be sure you have ample time to digest whatever you do eat in between WODs, and consider floaters and other side events as well.

For two day competitions, beware of the Day 1 post competition binge – you might suffer on day two if you overdo it!


Negative self talk will be the end of your game.  Know your weaknesses, prepare to deal with the outcome of them should they appear in the competition.

If you need to take a headset to get away from the crowds, do it.  Bring your A-game, and that may mean removing some of the distractions from the day

Money  bag-of-money

Take cash for food or extra drinks if you happen to need them.

Sometimes the event charges for parking or entry. Usually athletes are free but guests/spectators may be charged for entry.

Event swag. There are almost always vendors and sponsors with tents selling their loot. Have some extra cash or credit card on hand in case you need a shopping break!


Represent Rebels


Full range of motion

Use good technique. We all notice poor technique – it wreaks of a poorly coached box.

Be on time for your heat and know the WOD/rep scheme 

Depending on the competition, your judge may offer to help you, or  not. You should know the movements, order of the movements and reps.

Know the standards 

Watch the videos and read what the competition lists as movement standards. If you don’t understand something, inquire – ask. There’s almost always an athlete briefing prior the start of the competition. If you’re unsure of a movement standard, demonstrate the movement for your judge and ask them to confirm what you are doing is satisfactory.

If you’re competing as a team versus as an individual, be a good teammate

Communicate with your teammates; pump them up (as they will do for you)!  Good teams are in constant communication and are building each other up. There’s no “I” in Team. If you hear that a lot, find another team.

Don’t yell at your judge

They’re almost always volunteers. Ask questions on how they based their decision. If you aren’t happy, go to the head judge, but again, be reasonable. You won’t do anyone any good yelling at your judge (plus it’s a bit sophmoric, juvenile, immature).

Choose the right division

We all have dreams of being “elite”, but if the RX or elite standards are “just slightly beyond your daily working loads”, then opt down a division.  While it is ideal to train with those better than you, you also want to compete within your abilities.

However, if you typically RX the WODs at your box, you certainly don’t want to sign up for a scaled division.

Either way, it becomes blatantly evident when someone is in the wrong division…don’t be “one of those people”.

Probably most importantly, have a good time! CrossFit is a pack-sport.  Your community will come out to support you. Your coaches will be there. Your friends and family will be in awe of what you can do. You’ll be proud of yourself and proud of your box…keep it a positive day!

Thanks to Coach Paul for contributing to this post.








16 Ways You “Eff-up” CrossFit: 13-16

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Compiled by some of your Coaches: Ed, Sam, Mal, Paul…

16 WAYS YOU ‘EFF-UP’ CROSSFIT: #’s 13-16

If you missed the first few posts, do check them out first:
Part 1: 16 Ways  You “Eff-Up” CrossFit: #’s 1-4“, and
Part 2: 16 Ways You “Eff-Up” CrossFit: #’s 5-8, and
Part 3: 16 Ways You “Eff-Up” CrossFit: #’s 9-12

Here are the last 4 of 16 ways you eff-up CrossFit,  (so you can cut it out and make some new gains, and only have to spend about 5 minutes reading)…

  1. You train when you’re stressed out and push it anyway.

Here’s where the coaches come in again. Depending on how you deal with stress, you need to be aware and stay smart with your training. Say your car breaks down that morning, your cat is sick at the vet, your boss is being a beotch, you receive an unexpected bill in the mail, your kids are in their “terrible twos,” etc… and now it’s time to train at the end of the day!

If you’re someone who can let off steam in a WOD — hit it hard. However, if you’re someone who sees CrossFit as a source of stress in and of itself, or you get anxious about WODs, talk to a coach. Sometimes treating a 3 rounds-for-time WOD as an AMRAP that finished 5 min under the real cap is a smarter way to get a good workout. Just be careful not to push your stress limits on an already stressful day unless you know yourself well enough to take a WOD on effectively.

  1. You are problem versus solution-oriented; You don’t know what positive self talk is; You use the words “I can’t” vs. “I will” or “I’ll try”

We may have to insert some tough love here. We’ve all done it — negative self talk. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it, right? It just feels like the truth. But most of the time, YOU’RE WRONG. And when this attitude gets in the way of succeeding at CrossFit, talk to a coach. You’re your own worst critic, and sometimes you can’t see what they see. They can help you find the positives in your training.

At the end of every WOD, find the WIN! Maybe you did your first set unbroken. Maybe you blew the cap but used a lighter band. Find the WIN!


  1. You think that what you eat has no affect on your training/results.

If you’ve never heard something to the effect of, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym,” then listen up. You’re guilty of this! And trust us, we know who you all are. Facebook and Instagram are everywhere! If you are a binge drinker, post your McDonalds/pizza #foodporn on your personal social media accounts, a coach is bound to see it.

You cannot out-train a crappy diet or a ton of booze. Sure, there are anomalies out there who brag about donuts for 6 pack abs, and of course an occasional treat is a valid nutritional strategy. However, the majority of the solid, competitive athletes out there dial in their nutrition and feed their bodies properly. That means consuming nutritionally dense, low inflammatory foods that ensure your body performs optimally. It isn’t rocket science, you guys. And it’s easier to eat right and train than eat crap and keep chasing your training.

Don’t believe us? Look at those athletes who recently completed the Paleo Challenge at the box. Even the youngest and hardest-hitting athletes (Hello Coach Adam!) ADMITTED that once he fell off the wagon (post Bacon Beatdown….and wafter), he felt horrible during and after his WODs.

Not as strong, lean, metabolically fit as you want? Have everything else dialed in? Time to look at what you put in your pie-hole!


  1. You want overnight results or unrealistic expectations.

See all of the above…

16 Ways You “Eff-up” CrossFit: 9-12

Friday, July 10th, 2015

10Compiled by some of your Coaches: Ed, Sam, Mal, Paul…


If you missed the first few posts, do check them out first:
Part 1: 16 Ways  You “Eff-Up” CrossFit: #’s 1-4“, and
Part 2: 16 Ways You “Eff-Up” CrossFit: #’s 5-8

Here are the next 4 of 16 ways you eff-up CrossFit,  (so you can cut it out and make some new gains, and only have to spend about 5 minutes reading)…

  1. You don’t respect progressions and scaling.


When we introduce someone to CrossFit, we state: “It takes an average of 8 months to take someone ‘off the street’ to RXing these WODs.”

CrossFit workouts are written for elite athletes. Between the complexity of the movements, the heaviness of the loads and the time caps, that’s a good average of expectation for when you’ll feel like you’re “on fire.” Now that the loads in CrossFit are heavier, it takes more longer (about a year) to take someone from Day 1 to RXing.

All too often, ego gets in the way of the fact that this thing we call CrossFit is a fun, interesting and progressive means of “fitness.” It’s not boring. It’s not impossible. But when we see the potential for getting our name in red, sometimes we don’t see much else. And this can come at the expense of form, safety, the cap or even — heaven forbid! — cheating reps.

Your coaches, especially your head coaches (Ed, Sam, Mal, Paul and Adam) know you guys. We know your strengths, your weaknesses (yes, we do… and we always HOPE that’s what you’ll work on in Open Gym!), and your tendencies to under-scale or over-scale. We encourage you to lift more when we’ve seen your technique remain solid over a period of time, and we encourage you to drop the load when we see you’re unable to perform a movement properly.

  1. You’re focused on your age versus your abilities or you’re competitive with others — but not yourself.


We’re all going to get older! Some of us are already there, so we know — this is where ego comes into play again.

At Rebels, we truly see “Masters” as 55 and up. At this point, regardless of what point you entered CrossFit, the loads and some of the movements for RX will change. The longer it took you to get into the Crossfit scene and the older you are, the longer it’s going to take you to get there.

Progress is consistent with the effort and intensity you put into your training. Basically: you get back what you put in. At an older age, that effort and intensity might be a bit lower due to the longer recovery rate, hence the longer time it can take to mature (pun intended) into the sport. However, unless you’re hell-bent on making to the CrossFit Games, just remember that this is your sport. It’s supposed to be fun! Don’t let the red and blues on the board mess you up!

  1. You show boat. You know who you are, you peacocks!


Oy vey! We all know these CrossFitters. They practice their handstand walks in the middle of the gym… or in the middle of the WODs. It’s 40 degrees and they have their shirt off… before the WOD even starts. They choose to work on their snatch right next to someone who’s in the middle of their WOD.

If you’re guilty of any of these, you’re not impressing anyone. In fact, if you focused on your training as much you focus on everyone SEEING you train, you’d be much better at CrossFit… and more respected.

  1. You train alone… all Open Gym all the time.

“No one ever PRs in their basement, by themselves.” – Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder

This is a pack sport. Even though we’re competing individually at CrossFit, we’re a group, a team, a family — and we all perform better together. Even in team WODs, no one person’s ever “got this.” It’s a team effort.

You’ll also not work your weaknesses as much, or round out your training as much, if you’re programming for yourself. The best athletes out here have a coach and someone who programs for them.

Getting the most out of CrossFit means getting to know your community. Learn to introduce yourself, run the last 400 with a later finisher and wait until everyone’s done to put your equipment away…learn to be a part of the sport and you’ll find this sport much more rewarding!