Why I Signed Up for the CrossFit Open

by Coach Blake B.

Let me start out by saying that the following content is 100% my opinion, and I was not coerced, or compensated for any part of the message. I will, however, be attempting to influence each of the readers to at least entertain my thoughts and beliefs on this passage. It’s January 25th and to most, this point on the calendar signifies the first week you weren’t accidentally still writing 2016 when addressing the actual date. To me January 25th means that there is ONLY 25 days until the CrossFit Open 2017 (and yes, I typed that right the first time.)

For those of you readers who have been doing CrossFit for less than a year, you have yet to experience what kind of impact the Open has and what to expect. For those of us that have had the privilege of being a part of the annual ritual, it’s kind of our sacred vow to let you sweat with as much anticipation as we did approaching our first. I’m gonna break a small piece of that vow and let you in on a little secret though, and if I had the ability to whisper via typing I would, so instead I’ll shout it out….IT’S NOT THAT SCARY!

Maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, let me first explain what the CrossFit Open is all about. Each year toward the end of February, CrossFit hands over the control to The CrossFit Games which begins with an Open competition for any and all whom desire. Wait! Don’t stop reading yet, don’t let the word “competition,” steer you away from the rest of the explanation. Yes, the open is considered a comp, and yes it leads to regional comps for the elite athletes, and eventually the Games for the best of the best. But that is just a textbook answer, there is much more to it frankly. The open is a test….crap, ugh, I probably just lost another couple. As a Level 1 Coach I’m supposed to tell you that it is your local box’s way of seeing if you are improving. Has your mobility expanded to full range of motion on movements, or your strength and stamina improved during grueling AMRAP’s. This much I agree on, and now entering my third open as a trainer/coach I can admit that I am excited to see all you folks that I worked with over the past year show your improvement. I am not gonna lie, the open workouts are extremely easy and not nearly like the extremely hard workouts we normally go through. Okay, I straight up lied to you, they can be brutal. This is the main reason that every year, at this time, a lot of people need some sort of realignment in order to sign up. Well not everyone, some love it, some cherish and invite the bar over burpees or the inevitable thrusters. And while I don’t share those exact feelings, I do appreciate the tradition of it all. Believe me when I tell you that nothing compares to pushing yourself through an open workout and having numerous others screaming you past your breaking point. Their genuine chants of, “You can do it,” never seem more true. And the sweat flows with so much more clout during these 5 weeks than seems the other 47 weeks of the year.

I know that plenty of you have already made up your mind, and will elect to not sign up and participate in this year’s open, so my last-ditch efforts to attempt to persuade anyone must end with a story from my first open. With less than two full months of any CrossFit experience, I blindly hobbled into my first workout nursing a severe groin injury that left my squatting mobility a bit shaky. And by ‘a bit shaky,’ I totally mean I was hard to watch! Surely, I would receive some sort of beginner’s luck and will draw a workout calling for pull-ups, and some sort of easy pressing lift, right? Nope, I draw overhead lunges (which I had never done) and box jumps. My groin officially was petrified of what was about to go down…. literally. So, with my nerves through the roof, my heart-rate already climbing when the clock on the wall is counted down 3, 2, 1, go! I find a way to do my best imitation of a snatch (which looked more like a broken wide gripped clean and jerk. I settle my stance and begin to grind out 10 of the most questionable full range of motion squats that gym had ever seen. I drop the barbell with pride, nauseas with the combination of exhaustion and butterflies both in my chest. At least I could catch my breath on the box while I do my step up’s, or could I? As I reach the top of my third step up I finally feel confident enough to make eye contact with both my coach, and many close by cheering supporters. “Go ahead and stop bud,” my coach says to me over the blaring choice of gangsta rap in the background. Stop? Why, stop? “The clock on the wall just froze…we don’t know why, and you’re just gonna have to do it again.” A part of me died on the top of that box. I may have cried just a little. That was my first open experience. And it was awesome. I did it again, just as bad as the first time. Just as painful to watch I’m sure. But I did it, and just like my high school coach used to tell me, “No one can ever take away what you’ve just accomplished.” And each year I get better, and each year my goals change. And I get to do it with people who’ve become like family to me. And that is awesome. That’s why I CrossFit. That’s why I test myself. That’s why I am signed up for this year’s CrossFit Open. #AdaptandOvercome #WarpathStrong #CrossFit

Common CrossFit Misconception #2

I know you’ve heard this one. You may have even said it a few times. But is it really true? Does it hold up to scrutiny?

People are always injured during CrossFit

…or something similar. The issue with myths is that there is always a bit of truth in them, and this example is no different. Let’s look at the stem of this myth.

Anytime you move your body, you put yourself at risk for getting hurt. Walking across the street, wrestling with your child, carrying groceries, and simply picking something up off the ground all carry risk for injury. The reason we still do these things is because life requires it. But we can do things to reduce the risks associated with those movements.

People can and do get hurt doing CrossFit. There are many reasons why this happens, but let’s look at ways we, and many other CrossFit boxes (CrossFit slang for ‘gyms’) do to reduce these risks.

  • Hiring certified training staff – all CrossFit boxes should have a certified (CF-Level 1) coach facilitating each class. The coaches have been trained and are continuously being trained on proper movement patterns.
  • Modifying movements – all workouts can and will be modified for each person based on skill level, flexibility, mobility, strength, and many other factors.
  • Providing initial fitness assessments – Each new member should go through some type of assessment to determine their current level of fitness to determine any modifications needed.

Now that we have reviewed a few things CrossFit box owners and coaches do to reduce risks, here are a few things you as an athlete can do to help your coach reduce your risk even further.

  • Listen to your coach – The hardest thing for many people is that they see John/Jane Doe doing something and they say, “yeah, I should be able to do that, let me try”. Nooooo!!! Take it slow, swallow your ego and listen to your coach!
  • Form must always come before intensity – Intensity is a tricky word. Intensity can mean lifting heavy weight, but it can also mean lifting light weight quickly. In both instances ‘intensity’ should not be performed until your form is perfect! Again, listen to your coach. Your goal is to PERFECT your form first. That is much easier said than done.
  • Don’t “fight through pain”  You will soon learn the difference between discomfort and pain. Discomfort caused by using new muscles or pushing your body in different ways can be ok. Pain is your body saying something is wrong. Talk to your coach about what you are feeling. Your body can be sore and you should be somewhat uncomfortable during the workout, but pain is an indicator to stop before it gets worse.

Finally, people get injured all the time. I have heard of people tearing their ACL or MCL playing basketball, softball, running, skiing, and even playing horseshoes. I have been around CrossFit for 4 years and in my experience have never heard of an knee ligament injury caused by CrossFit. Could it happen? Yes. But every time I hear a coach get on someone about proper knee position in a squat, I know that person is less likely to get an ACL/MCL injury in life.

CrossFit and its core principles are about injury prevention and functional movement.

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle #3!

Misconception #1


Common CrossFit Misconception #1

We’ve heard it all, and it increases at this time of year when people are beginning to ponder New Year’s Resolutions. What I’m referring to is reasons why people can’t do CrossFit. They are numerous and they often depend on the individual, their personal experiences and their stage in life. In every misconception, there may be some truth, but you must look at the whole picture to decide the truth for yourself. This week we’ll look at 3 CrossFit misconceptions. Let’s look at the first CrossFit misconception.

#1 I’m not in good enough shape.

Nine times out of ten, when I talk to someone who has never done CrossFit, this is one of their reason for not trying it out.

This is caused by two problems. The ESPN coverage of the CrossFit Games and fear of the unknown.

First, people think of CrossFit and they automatically relate to the yearly CrossFit Games broadcast on ESPN for the last 5+ years. These peak athletes, compete for a gruelling 4-5 days of everything under the sun. They are incredible, low body-fat percentage having, 600lb deadlifting, swimming, rowing, running, and climbing, top of the top athletes. Statistically, there is less than one of those for every 10 CrossFit boxes in the world. They are rare. Not impossible to find, but rare.

With that in mind, saying you need to “get in shape” before stepping into a CrossFit box is like saying I just need  a little batting practice before stepping to the plate at the World Series. Like saying let me get into better shape before stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson.

Stop it. Every athlete in a CrossFit box near you likely has very similar goals. They want to shed weight to be able to chase after their kids. They want to get in better shape to get off blood pressure meds. They are in their 30’s and 40’s and don’t like the way they look in the mirror.

That brings me to the second part, fear of the unknown. Don’t believe what I’m saying? Check out your local CrossFit. See the athletes that walk in there day in and day out. They are just like you. All shapes and sizes. Grinding it out, day by day to get fitter and healthier.

Misconception #2…It’s dangerous. We’ll dismantle that tomorrow.

How does alcohol affect your fitness?

This is a question we get on almost a daily basis. This article does a good job of teaching the basics about alcohol consumption and high intensity exercise.

Moderate alcohol intake likely won’t make you fat or significantly impact your athletic performance, and it might even benefit your cardiovascular health. That nightly beer or glass of wine probably isn’t the one thing standing between you and athletic greatness. If a nightly drink doesn’t affect your life or your well-being, then carry on. If you feel better when you don’t drink, that’s a great reason to abstain.

Read the full article

CrossFit Warpath Turkey Drive

We are striving to help families in need this Thanksgiving by donating turkey baskets to CHS students and their families. you can help us by donating a turkey, or any of the components of a basket.

What’s in a Basket?

We are looking for the following items, and we will assemble them into the baskets.

Turkey Gravy
Potatoes (whole or box/pouch)
Stuffing Mix
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Rolls
Dessert Items
**any other items you wish to add**

Please drop off non-perishables to CrossFit Warpath (4300 Kings Highway) anytime before Wednesday 16th. Perishable items can only be dropped off on that date.

Not hitting goals? This may be why.

by Arielle Gabarda, PharmD, BS Nutrition

I’m giving it my all every WOD, so why aren’t I hitting my goals?

You put in so much time and effort to schedule working out into your busy day. You’ve found the best workout routine that works for you and you give it your all plus more at every workout, yet you still don’t feel like you’ve reached peak performance.

Have you checked your nutrition?

This will be four-part blog series covering four reasons why diet is just as important, if not more than exercise itself if you want to perform to your fullest extent. A well-balanced diet is essential for a desired happy and healthy lifestyle, but proper nutrition is absolutely vital for all athletes who aim to maximize performance.


Part 1. Your body isn’t getting enough fuel.

Protein is the most important macronutrient for building muscle. Your body consists of plenty of proteins (AKA amino acids) even down to your DNA. Amino acids play a huge role in muscle tissue repair, especially after an intense workout; so don’t forget to give your muscles the gains they need.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, recommend protein to be 10-35% of your daily intake (equivalent to 200-700 calories of protein if you follow a daily diet of 2,000 calories).

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (of your weight) daily. Many athletes aim to consume 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of weight; however, studies have shown that more protein does not necessarily mean better performance or stronger muscles, and may actually have more risks than benefits.

We all know we love our pre- and post-workout protein shakes, but sufficient carbohydrate intake is important too. I repeat: Carbs are NOT the enemy! They serve as your body’s glycogen stores and are critical for energy, performance, and muscle recovery. During exercise, hard-working muscles can deplete up to 70% of stored glycogen, and the more glycogen used, the more fatigue felt. Fueling with the appropriate amounts of carbohydrates before a workout allow you to keep on pushing AND prevent from potential injury. Win win.

The DHHS Guidelines recommend carbohydrates to make up 45-65% of your daily intake (equivalent to 900-1,300 calories of protein if you follow a daily diet of 2,000 calories). Take caution with the low-carb Keto Diet, where you stop burning carbohydrates as fuel and burn fat instead. Granted many have testified its benefits, this diet only works short-term and results in unhealthy consequences for you and your body.

Now fuel up! Give your body the proper amount of macros needed to set yourself up for success. Then come back next week to learn about the different types of nourishment and which type is best for you.

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Are You a “MET-Head”?

You’re a member of this gym subgroup if you dislike, avoid or simply see no point in strength work, to include heavy, low-rep powerlifting and weightlifting movements.

If you are a met-head, you generally hate the following:
• Any lifting workout involving singles, triples, ves or eights. • Any workout that involves rest between heavy efforts.
• Any load above about 95/65 lb.
• Any heavy variation of a Girl workout.
• The phosphagen system.
• Efforts lasting less than two minutes.
• CrossFit Journal articles by Bill Starr.
• Powerlifting and powerlifters.
• Weightlifting and weightlifters.

Check out the rest of this CrossFit Journal Article here

New WOD Format in November

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Each class will have a new format for WODs in November. The strength or Oly component will remain as it is today. However each WOD will be broken down in the following categories.


  • For newer athletes and athletes that are focused mainly on weight-loss. This will be lighter weight and less complex version of the WOD you MUST bring the intensity.


  • Standard CrossFit programming


  • This is for athletes looking to compete in competitions at the RX/Elite level or are looking to take a shot at regional competitions.

Each Metcon will be scored independently of the others and will be separated on the whiteboard for a better comparison of where you are and where you’re going. Ask your coach if you would like additional guidance on what version you should do.[/column_content]

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Example WOD in November may look like this.

Metcon (For Time)
21, 15, 9
Goblet Squats

Metcon (For Time)
21, 15, 9
Fronts Squats 95/65

Metcon (For Time)
21, 15, 9
Front Squats
Deficit HSPU’s

Intro to Energy Systems

There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.

“The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities,
those that last less than about ten seconds. The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes. Here’s an excellent reference for additional information: http://predator.pnb.uconn.edu/beta/virtualtemp/muscle/exercise-folder/muscle.html

CrossFit Journal

“What is Fitness?”

October 2002

When you get a chance, read up on the article, there are way more tid-bits of information than I can add in this space. CrossFit has largely been built on focusing on these pathways to find optimal fitness levels. Let’s look a little deeper at each pathway.

This table shows difference in work/rest intervals and repetitions for each energy system. CrossFit Journal “What is Fitness?” October 2002
This table shows difference in work/rest intervals and repetitions for each energy system.
CrossFit Journal “What is Fitness?” October 2002

Anaerobic Pathways

Two of the three metabolic pathways are anaerobic. Anaerobic means that the energy used comes from sources where oxygen isn’t present. The phosphagenic pathway uses phosphagen (phosphocreatine) as an energy source and the glycolitc pathway uses glycogen stores in our muscles for energy.

Anaerobic exercises also can also be broken down into two categories with distinct differences. Exercises where maximum power is unsustainable past 10-30 seconds are using the phosphagen pathway (100m sprint, 1 rep max lifts, max height box jump). These exercises are quick bursts of energy that require a longer rest period to recover. Exercises where sustainability cannot be kept past 30 seconds up to 2 minutes are glycolytic and use the glucose stores and not oxygen in our muscles for energy. (400m sprint, 800m sprint, 3-5rep max lifts). These exercises require approximately a 1:2 ratio of work to rest for maximum recovery.

Aerobic Pathway

The third metabolic pathway is the oxidative pathway. Aerobic means that oxygen is now being used as energy in addition to the glucose stores that remain past the glycolitic phase. Oxidative exercises are those that last longer than a few minutes. (1 mile run, 5k, longer CrossFit WODS without rest intervals).

All three pathways must be trained with out exclusion of the others to create the most well conditioned athletes. However, the anaerobic pathways provide some specific advantages over aerobic exercises. Anaerobic exercise is superior to aerobic exercise for fat loss. In addition, anaerobic exercise does not adversely effect aerobic conditioning. (What is Fitness?, p4)

Therefore, for athletes that are focused on fat loss and aesthetics, they should be mainly training anaerobic pathways and keeping workouts short an intense as opposed to long and measured. Aerobic WODS (longer than a few minutes) should be used sparingly to maintain muscular endurance and conditioning. Properly programmed anaerobic conditioning will increase aerobic capacity as seen in practice by Chris Henshaw’s work with CrossFit Games athletes. (aerobiccapacity.com)

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Goal Setting

As you all should know by now, we are focused on setting goals in the month of October. The advice we give our kids, co-workers, employees, and friends is that without goals in life you are at best aimlessly wandering about and wasting time or at worst you could be headed down a path that leads to trouble. The same is true in regards to our health.

How can we give great advice to others but not follow that advice ourselves? Day in an day out we walk into the box and do the workout. We understandably trust what our coach has programmed and what our coach walks us through all in the pursuit of “fitness”.

CrossFit HQ describes fitness in 100 words.

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, and presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”
– Coach Greg Glassman,
CrossFit Founder and CEO (Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.)

All of those things are great but what do they actually mean to your life? We should pursue those things, but how do they benefit you? That is the key question when it comes to defining your personal goals. CrossFit is the vehicle but your goals are the destinations.

Two Key Goal Ingredients

In defining your goals you need to identify the following, they are not necessarily related, but if you put the two of them together they can be incredibly powerful. Number one, you need to know why you want to be fit. Number two, you need to define what fit means to you.

Let’s tackle the first. Although both ingredients are personal, the first ingredient is the most. Any good consultant will sit take a few minutes to talk with their customer about why they sought out their help. You don’t go to your doctor because it seems like a good idea to sit in a waiting room for 45 minutes in the middle of your day. You don’t even go to the doctor to “get healthy”. You go to the doctor to get the benefits of health. The benefits are highly personal and situational. You may go to the doctor because you may want to keep up with your energized toddler, or your finding it difficult to get up and down. You may go see your financial advisor and set up a savings fund so your child can go to college, get a good education and live a good life.

These same situation holds true for CrossFit. Why do you do CrossFit? Why did you walk through the door?

Some of our early responses for why people joined CrossFit Warpath were about being a better parent after the hour of stress relief, help to redefine the notion that beauty is based on being as thin as possible, and just having or about to have a baby and want to be around as long as possible for them. Other responses were around getting back to feeling their best, like they felt when they were in peak shape.

You have to define the benefits of these grueling workouts yourself. These are the things you need focus on when trying to get out of bed at 5am or when you think of bypassing the box after work. This key ingredient is what you pull from when you want to quit and go back to the couch.

The second key ingredients is a more tangible goal. The first ingredient is the fuel and the second is the milestone your focused on.

Going back to the doctor analogy, a good doctor isn’t going to stop at “you need to get healthier”. A good doctor is going to give you goals, “you need to get your BP to xyz”, or I want you to get to xyz weight before your next visit”.

The difference here is that us as coaches want to hear from you about what your next milestone should look like.

CrossFit is always a good prescription for your goals because of the vast amount of tools available to us but if your goal is to get your first pull up, lifting heavy on Oly lifts isn’t the best path to get there. The reverse is true as well, if you want to increase your snatch, running will help but it’s not the best route to add 10lbs to your snatch.

We need you to define that next milestone based on your goals. Then we, as coaches, can use the CrossFit methodology, our knowledge, tools, and community support to get you there. The great thing is, each goal is just a milestone, once it’s reached, it brings the next goal/milestone into view.

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