Murph Primer by Mike “Rothy” Roth


 

As many of you likely know, I have done Murph for the last 9 Mondays as part of a
fundraiser (Murph for Meals) for Meals on Wheels Chapel Hill and CORA Food Pantry.
Thanks to all of you who have donated! If you would like to help feed folks in the area,
please check us out at Go Fund Me – Murph for Meals.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/murph-for-meals

I have learned a ton about doing Murph during this endeavor, and thought I would share
those lessons, as you prepare for Memorial Day!

PREP:
Murph is hard on the body and the mind. Show up ready. Doing Murph tired and/or hung
over sucks. Treat yourself right on Sunday, do a little extra stretching/mobility and get a
good night’s sleep.

On Monday morning, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get a nice warm-up –
stretch, jog a bit, pick the music you’ll be listening to (using headphones on the mile run is
advisable), decide where you are going to do your pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Don’t
come back from the run and try to figure this out – you want to be able to get right into your
first round of work. Have a way to count your rounds – I promise you will not remember
where you are in the workout once you get moving. I use chalk and make a line on the
ground for each round I finish. Chalk lines on the rig that you can erase as you go is easy,
and you will know how much work you have left.

If you are doing partner-Murph, know who your partner is and make sure you are on the
same page with your plan of attack. Communication is paramount. You make your “money”
with quick transitions, so always be talking, and ready to start the next movement
immediately after your partner finishes.

PLAN:
The first step in planning is to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Are you
trying to hit a specific time? Trying to beat last year’s PR? Or are you just trying to finish?
If you are chasing a time, lay out some “mile markers” – how fast do you want to run the
first mile, when should you get to halfway, when do you want to leave for the final run.
Make sure you have a clock you can see, or someone to update you on your time. Don’t
forget the second half of the workout will likely take you longer than the first, so take that
into account when you make your plan.

If you are not chasing a specific time, don’t bother looking at the clock until you finish. The
clock is going to keep ticking, and will get into your head. Just go out and do the work, and
you’ll know your time at the end of the workout.

I reward myself with “scheduled breaks” and allow myself to grab a quick drink and chalk
up after specific rounds. This avoids constantly stopping during the wod.

How you break Murph down depends on your personal strengths. If you are a good runner,
take advantage of that and know that you might be slower during the “calisthenics” but will
make your time up during the miles. If you are a slower runner, accept that and try to be
faster in the middle part of the workout. You are not going to magically become a 6-minute
miler, or string together butterfly pull-ups, for the first time on Memorial Day.

The key is finding a pace you can stick with. You want to spend as little time as possible
resting, so go into the workout with a plan that works for you. KEEP MOVING, even if that
means breaking the work into bite size pieces.

Push-Ups are the limiting factor in Murph. Divide up the work based on how many
unbroken push-ups you can do consistently. If you are wearing a weight vest, this might be
less than usual. Once the push-ups go away, the suffering really begins. Here are some
ways to break the work up, which give you push-up options.

A) 20 rounds of Cindy – 5 Pull-Ups, 10 Push-Ups, 15 Squats (I do this, but in most
rounds I do 10 squats, take 2 steps back to the pull-up bar, then do the last 5).
B) 20 rounds of 5 Push-Ups, 5 Pull-Ups, 5 Push-Ups, 15 Squats (more transitions, but
breaking the push-ups into 5’s keeps you moving)
C) 10 rounds of 10 Pull-Ups, 20 Push-Ups, 30 Squats (not for beginners!! Less
transitions, but way more pain)
D) 50 rounds of 2 Pull-Ups, 4 Push-Ups, 6 Squats (I think there are too many
transitions, but some folks believe the advantage is you will never have to stop)
E) Unpartitioned – 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Squats (not for the faint of heart,
or anyone wanting to do anything else for a week!)

The final mile is going to hurt. Period. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and
remind yourself it’s almost over! Your body is capable of more than your mind, so don’t
listen to the voices telling you to slow down, or walk. Try to sprint up that hill to the finish
line, it’s worth it.

POST:
The first thing you should do when you finish Murph (and can breathe again) is
“carbohydrate replacement therapy.” That’s right drink a beer. You just finished Murph –
you deserve one. Great job!

As exhausted as you will be, stick around to stretch a little and cool down correctly. Murph
is gonna beat you up, and you need to start the recovery process immediately. An Epsom
Salt bath is a really good idea as well; it really helps the muscles start to loosen up. Taking
Tuesday off is probably a good idea too.

Take pride in the fact that you have participated in one of the oldest CrossFit traditions, and
congratulate yourself for a job well done 🙂

Bodyweight/Travel WODs


BODYWEIGHT/TRAVEL WODS
Our intention is for you to establish a commitment to your fitness – even when you have to travel. Time away from the gym is a great opportunity to take something you’ve learned and apply it to a workout on your own. Try some WODs from this list! Thanks to Eva T for these!

In true CrossFit style, unless otherwise listed, these are for time! 3, 2, 1… GO!!!

3 Rounds:
Run 1/2 mile
50 air squats

10 Rounds:
10 push-ups
10 sit ups
10 squats

200 air squats for time.

“Susan”
5 Rounds:
Run 200m
10 squats
10 push ups

3 Rounds:
Sprint 200m
25 push ups

3 Rounds:
10 Handstand push ups
200m run

Tabata squats and tabata pushups.
Tabata = 8 rounds of 20 seconds works, 10 seconds rest

20 Rounds:
5 push ups
5 squats
5 sit ups

Walk 100 meters on your hands, even if it is 2 meters at a time.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sets of sit-ups with 100 meter sprint between each set.

Invisible Fran:
21-15-9
air squats
push ups

Spend a total of 5 minutes in a handstand, or headstand. If you are using the headstand do not stay over a minute at a time.

6 Rounds:
10 push ups
10 air squats
10 sit ups

5 Rounds:
3 vertical jumps
3 squats
3 long jumps

8 Rounds:
30 seconds handstand hold
10 squats

10 Rounds:
10 push-ups
100M dash

Tabata squats.

5 Rounds:
400M sprints

10 Rounds:
100 m dash

Run 1 mile, lunging 30 steps every 1 minute.

5 Rounds:
30 second handstand hold
20 air squats

100 air squats for time.

4 x 25 jumping squats

4 Rounds:
10 vertical jumps
10 push ups
10 sit ups

10 air squats every 1 minute of your 1 mile run.

100 burpees for time.

Run 1 mile for time.

5 Rounds:
10 vertical jumps
Run 400 meters

Spend a total of 3 minutes in a handstand.

5 Rounds:
1 minute in a handstand
1 minute in bottom of the squat

10 Rounds:
Sprint 100 meters
Walk 100 meters

100 push ups for time.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Burpees and Sit ups.

3 Rounds:
50 sit-ups
400 meter run or sprint or walk

10 Rounds:
10 walking lunges
10 push-ups

50 split jumps for time.

4 Rounds:
30 second handstand OR 5 handstand push ups
400 meter run

10 Rounds:
“L” sit off the floor x 10 seconds…if you can’t do it sit with your legs straight out and try to lift your heels of the ground for 10 seconds instead!!!

4 Rounds:
Run 400 meters
50 air squats

5 Rounds:
Ten vertical jumps ( jump as high as you can, land and do it again)
10 push-ups

Run 1 mile with 100 air squats at midpoint, for time.

7 Rounds:
7 squats
7 burpees

5 Rounds:
Burpee to the push up position, do 10 push ups, burpee out.

Run 1 mile followed by 50 squats for time.

10 Rounds:
5 push ups with a 30 second plank hold at the end of each 5 reps
Followed by 3 Rounds:
100m dash @ 80% max effort

Handstand practice: 25 tries at free handstands, then a 1 mile run at 80%.

5 Rounds:
50 air squats
Rest equal amounts as it took to do each 50.

Run 1 mile and do 10 push-ups every 1 minute.

8 Rounds:
Sprint 100m
30 squats

3 Rounds:
30 push ups
30 second handstand or plank hold.

10 Rounds:
10 sit ups
10 burpees

250 jumping jacks for time.

100 jumping jacks, 75 air squats, 50 push ups, 25 burpees for time.

Tabata Push-ups.

5 Rounds:
10 push-ups
10 hollow rocks
Run 200 meters

10 Rounds:
50 meter sprints
10 push ups

3 Rounds:
20 tuck jumps
30 second handstands

3 Rounds:
400m run/sprint
30 air squats

3 Rounds:
20 jumping jacks
20 burpees
20 air squats

10 Rounds:
50 meter sprint

Test yourself on a max set of push ups. After that do 100 air squats for time.

Tabata tuck jumps and then sit ups.

A Practical & Effective Daily Journal Routine


Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics

The morning for me has always been a special time that offers a sense of inspiration, renewal and optimism. Even if I’m exhausted, it’s always my most productive time of day, the time when I’m able to work with the most enthusiasm and clarity. It’s a time when my mind is open to possibility and unburdened by the often overwhelming pressure of responsibility and obligation. Your mind is also more receptive to suggestion first thing in the morning than it is later in the day—in other words, any mindset work you do is going to be far more effective.

A morning journal routine is meant to take advantage of this unique window of time. The following prompts and ideas rely on that timing send you into the day ready to be who you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve. It’s a chance to reflect on the previous day, make adjustments, and prepare your mind for the day now beginning.

It’s a fact that this sort of mindset remodeling and control is effective, potentially to a staggering extent. However, it’s also a fact that it only works if you actually do it, and do it sincerely, and for it to work as well as possible, it has to be done consistently over a long period of time.

Knowing this for years hasn’t magically made me do it. The question for me became, How do I get this done in a way that isn’t daunting and off-putting in its extensiveness, that is concise but maximally effective by stripping away extraneous activities but preserving the critical core, that isn’t just tolerable, but even enjoyable? If I couldn’t answer that, I knew this kind of activity would never become a habit for me, and I’d never be able to benefit from a practice I knew without any doubt would help me immensely.

None of this is original. I certainly didn’t create the idea of journaling or even the basic prompts here—you can find variations of these ideas in plenty of books, and they’re pretty obvious if you spend a bit of time considering the issue. All I’ve done is pare down the process to what I’ve found to be the most important ideas to focus on daily—what you need for this to be effective, and nothing more.

This process done precisely as written is going to be effective if you take it seriously, but you can also use it simply as a framework to expand from and create your own process. In other words, you can respond to the prompts exclusively, or you can use them as launching points for more in-depth consideration and writing. In any case, I suggest allowing yourself to go as far-afield as your mind carries you each day as you write—as long as you answer the prompts directly first. Be sure to do the basics, but once you have, don’t restrict yourself if there’s more on your mind. You may discover a new prompt that you want to include in your daily routine in the process.

In order for this to work as well as it can, you need to do it right. First, of course, you need to take it seriously. You need to put genuine thought into what you’re writing. The results will be commensurate to your effort—if you do it half-heartedly, you’re going to get minimal benefit. If you’re going to spend the time to do it at all, do it well.

Second, create a situation that allows you to relax and focus. Don’t just jot down some notes while you’re creeping through commute traffic. Get outside first thing in the morning and take a short walk if you can. Leave your phone and anything else you know will distract you inside. Before you go back inside or do anything else—especially check your phone or computer—find a quiet place to sit alone and do your thinking and writing.

You don’t need to commit a lot of time to this—10-20 minutes should be plenty, although if you’re able to commit more, take advantage of it. If you can’t get even 10 minutes to yourself to have a few clear thoughts every morning, you need to take a serious look at your lifestyle and make some changes.


The Prompts

Following are the prompts I suggest using. For each I’ve written an explanation of what’s intended and how to best use them. Remember, if you have more to say, by all means, say it. Just be sure to take care of these specific prompts first.


I am grateful for:

Write 3-5 things you’re grateful for. Do your best to come up with something new every day, but of course over time, you’re going to repeat a few things. However, don’t get lazy here. Part of the purpose of this prompt is to really make you take a look at your life to recognize and appreciate things you may neglect or take for granted that in fact are important elements of your happiness. Don’t be afraid of pointing out tiny, specific details—these things matter too. The primary purpose of this exercise is learning to find and recognize these things when they’re not immediately apparent, and in the process, realizing how much you have to be grateful for even in times of frustration, discouragement or even depression.

In addition to what you’re grateful for, try briefly explaining why. What does this thing you’re grateful for provide you? Why is it so valuable that it’s worth writing down?


What am I proud of from yesterday? Did I live up to my standards?

This is a chance to reflect on yesterday and compare your intentions with your execution. You know what you wanted to do, who you wanted to be, what you wanted to accomplish—did you do it the way you planned? What did you do well? What turned out exactly as you intended? Where did you fall short of your vision?

This is meant to be an inventory to allow you to stay on track and evaluate your daily practices and habits and continue improving your focus and mindset. It is not intended to be fodder for self-flagellation. Take an objective look rather than making a judgment of your self-worth, and use that evaluation to make adjustments and corrections today. In the next prompt, you can make reference to any shortcomings and what you intend to do differently to avoid the same problems.


What will today look like?

This is your chance to decide who you’re going to be and what your life will be like today. This isn’t a series of wishes or a vague sense of hope—these are specific things you ARE and WILL DO. In other words, write this section as if it’s a foregone conclusion—it is a fact that this is who you are and what you do.

Remember that we’re literally rewiring our brains to function in a way that makes these things true, and, believe it or not, creates changes in our genes to improve our physical health and the tendency of our natural state of being to support these traits and abilities.

Include not just actions you may intend to complete, but describe your mindset, your attitude, your energy, your outlook, your personality… everything that defines the person you want to be.


Review

Every now and then, add a review of past entries to your morning journal routine. Pick a couple days in the past and read through what you wrote, paying attention not just to what’s different about what you were focused on at that time relative to the present, but how you described yourself and your goals—how has your outlook and attitude changed over time, and how has your ability to confidently and clearly describe yourself and what you want improved?

Include these observations in that day’s entry—what are you proud of having changed and improved, and what still needs work and needs to remain a focus every day? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? How are you going to change what isn’t working?

What is consistent over time in terms of your values? In other words, what does your writing make clear is most important for you in terms of who you are, what you do, and what you appreciate in your life? What have you moved on from after learning it wasn’t as important as you may have once believed?

Use this as part of the broader process to continually refine the daily routine and reap as much benefit as possible from the practice. And always remember, the more you put into it, the more it will deliver—you are ultimately responsible for the shape of your mind and your life.

Monday March 4, 2019


Protein Popsicles! by Coach Emily

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups coconut water
3 ripe bananas
4 scoops of protein powder (I use SFH Pure Chocolate)
3 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter

You’ll also need:

  • a blender (or an immersion blender and a pitcher)
  • a popsicle mold (or zipzicles – yes, it’s a thing!  You can buy them at Whole Foods.)
  • plastic wrap or plastic bags to wrap up the pops for freezer storage

First blend the coconut water and protein powder together until smooth.  Peel and break the bananas into pieces and add them to the mixture with the sunflower seed butter.  Blend the entire mixture until it’s completely homogeneous.  Pour the mixture into the popsicle mold or zipzicle pouches.  Freeze for at least six hours.Tips:

  1. Most protein powders have plenty of sweetener.  Make sure your coconut water and sunflower seed butter are sugar- and sweetener-free to avoid a cloyingly sweet pop.
  2. If you need to travel with the popsicles or use the mold again you can run them under warm water one at a time and wrap them in plastic wrap or plastic bags to store them in the freezer.  If not, save the plastic, store them in the mold, and take them out as you’re ready to eat them!
  3. I love chocolate and sunflower seed butter so this is a winning combination for me.  You could mix up the recipe by changing the protein flavor, fruit, or nut butter!

Wednesday February 27, 2019


Emma Mertens is a 7 year old girl fighting a very rare, inoperable brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

DIPG intermixes with healthy tissue in the pons, a region of the brainstem containing many critical structures for basic body functions, and causes progressive neurologic symptoms involving control and coordination of the face and body. Due to its location and diffuse growth pattern, it cannot be surgically removed. Radiation therapy is the standard treatment, but normally results in just a few months of temporary stabilization of symptoms.

Emma is a fighter, and is currently going through 6 weeks of daily radiation therapy. Emma, a huge dog lover, has requested that during this time she would like to receive letters from dogs to comfort her through her treatment.

That’s where all of you come in!

Let’s all send Emma letters/e-mails from our dogs. You can attach a photo or video of your pup as well.

If you’d like to send a physical letter to Emma, the address is:
Emma Mertens 
PO Box 230 
Hartland, WI
53029

You can also send an email to EmmaLovesDogs7@gmail.com.

Let’s all rally behind Emma and fill that inbox up with letters from our dogs!

Share this post to spread the word!

repsforrescues#repsforrescues#crossfit #dogsofinstagram #dogs#rescuedog #instadog #lovedogs#rescuedogsofinstagram #adopt#adoptdontshop #crossfitdog#gymdog #boxdog #pet #doggo#rescue #nonprofit #fitness #gym#friends #killcliff #teamemma #cute#funny #fun #instagood #love#followme #smile #puppy

Monday February 25, 2019


How Can 10 Minutes Change Your Time Here? byCoach Kelly

There are many ways CrossFit Local is different from a regular gym and our goal setting sessions are one of them! I have literally set aside 10-15 minutes to meet in person with every single one of our 200 members, not once, not twice but 4 times a year!

So why haven’t I met with you? Quarterly, you get an email from me asking you to look at our Goal Setting Worksheet and set up 10-15 minutes with me to discuss.

I don’t hear from very many of you so… let me break it down for you.

🙂

What if I come at 6 AM and you can’t meet me then? I will not be seeing you at 6 AM, sorry  If we can’t find a time to meet, we can always chat over the phone!

Why are goals important? Failing to plan is planning to fail. We take goals seriously here. Feel like you’ve plateaued? Can’t seem to get the snatch? Persistent knee pain? You need goals to help you get past those hurdles.

What do we do during the goal setting meeting together?

Before you come… you can spend about 10 minutes filling out the aforementioned Goal Setting Worksheet. This will help you narrow your focus and make our time together efficient.

If we have ever met before or you set goals at your Intro session, we will follow up on those and see how you’re progressing.

If this is your first meeting, we will select two or three areas on which to focus. It sounds like this:

You: “I would love to get double unders. I just can’t seem to get them.”
Me: “Where you now? Do you have any?”

You: “One, maybe two or even three on a good day, with the right rope.”

Me: “Great, let’s set a goal for you to get 5 consecutive double unders 2 months from now.”

You: “Sounds good, how do I do it?”

Me: “Here, let me break it down for you.”

Then, I will break it down for you into smaller, achievable goals and arm you with information and resources to help you get there. Here’s an example of part of a follow up email I sent to a fellow Local who set goals with me:

“As promised, here’s some information that will hopefully help you with your double unders. First, remember that like most movements it is a skill and is learned through lots and lots of practice.

Here is a 3 part series on Double Unders with Carl Paoli (CF Gymnastics guru):

http://gymnasticswod.com/content/jump-rope-progression-pt1
http://gymnasticswod.com/content/jump-rope-progression-pt2
http://gymnasticswod.com/content/jump-rope-progression-pt3

Here’s a longer video with Jon Gilson:

🙂

Here’s a quick video with Chad 

Coach Emily is our resident double under fiend so I’m attaching a guide she created as well. ​

CrossFit double under guide.doc

If you feel like you need some one on one help with them, I know she or I would be happy to help you with that. Sometimes seeing what the error is on video and making corrections is helpful. Just try to work on them EVERY DAY and you’ll get them more consistently soon.”

Is your brain busy thinking of new goals already? Excited about the possibilities? What are you waiting for?! Email me and set up a time!!!

Wednesday February 20, 2019


“Comp Mode” by Huck

Let’s take a quick trip back to 2011 in the time machine. The last high school track race I ever ran. I came into the state track 3200-meter race ranked 4th place out of 12 athletes based on my previous regional performance that season. Supposedly I had the 4th fastest time of the 12 athletes when comparing our different times from respective regional competitions prior to the state track meet, which was only a few weeks later in the season.

I’ve always been analytical and followed the numbers. With the data I had collected from the other regional races, I had this hope and surety in my mind that I’d place at least middle of the pack and possibly podium at the state track meet. Instead, I ran the fastest 3200 meters of my short running career and walked away 11th out of the 12 athletes.

Our high school won the entire state track meet, but I was extremely upset. I couldn’t immediately understand how these other runners in the 3200 meter race had improved their times in only a few weeks by 1-2 whole minutes. How was this possible?! The answer: COMP MODE.

Competition mode is a special mixing of adrenaline, endorphins, and competitive energy that pushes an athlete to a new level of performance. You might be asking yourself, “Well Huck, where was your comp mode at this state track meet then?”.

Here’s the thing, I’d been accessing comp mode since the regional competition because I had a tough region in order to just qualify for the state track meet as a runner. These other runners from different regions that out paced me at the state meet had easier regional competition and hadn’t accessed that comp mode yet. This was how the other runners improved their times by 1-2 minutes in just a matter of weeks while I only improved a meager 10-15 seconds to set a lifetime PR.

Step back into the time machine with me. Let’s live in the present again. Two awesome CrossFitters and I recently qualified for team competition at the Wodapalooza CrossFit Competition in Miami. None of us train at the same gym so we had to individually record ourselves performing workouts to qualify. I entered some form of comp mode during this period of qualifying workouts because:
(1) These workouts were more than just my normal training routine.
(2) I strongly desired to help the team reach the international competition in Miami.

Most of our team redid a few workouts to improve former scores, and we qualified for the competition as the 36th ranked team out of 60 teams. After this week of performing qualifying workouts in comp mode, my body was more exhausted than it’s been in a long time. I knew three days of competing in Miami would only be rougher on my body.

The competition and atmosphere at Wodapalooza were phenomenal (more details on that to follow below). But I’ll cut to the chase. We ended the weekend of competition ranked 26th out of the 60 teams. This was the redemption I’d been waiting to receive for 8 years following that state track meet in high school.

I finally found a way to access an even stronger form of comp mode to excel in the competition. I attribute this to my amazing teammates. They were counting on me as I was counting on them. I fed off this and performed harder than ever before in my life. The accountability was much different than I’d experienced as an individual runner in track competitions.

The days following Wodapalooza, my body found a new, deep soreness I hadn’t felt in the past. Thank you, Comp Mode. I’ll happily take on that soreness.

I knew this concept of “comp mode” from running in high school and smaller, local CrossFit competitions, but it was strongly reinforced during the 3-day competition at Wodapalooza. That was the strongest take-home message from the competition for me: access and rely on your comp mode for optimal performance during competition. But as promised, here’s a fun list of other insights, perspectives, and lessons-learned from the Wodapalooza competition.

  • I don’t care if you were a former runner in your high school glory days, running barefoot in soft sand on the beach at 7AM is TOUGH.
  • Swimming in a calm collegiate pool doesn’t fully prepare you for an open water swim with salty water and waves. I probably swallowed half a liter of salt water. Prayed the boats nearby would quit coming near us creating waves. And eventually just told myself to survive because that was most important. Admittedly, the swim was probably more psychologically demanding than physically demanding. But it was a different psychosis than telling yourself to pick up the barbell and continue a workout. I’m more accustomed to that pain of picking up barbells when my body and mind don’t want to pick them up.
  • You’re going to have a bad judge if you compete long enough in CrossFit competitions. In my head, I renamed one of the workouts “No Rep” because that’s all I heard from our judge for nearly 10 minutes straight. This workout was on the first day of competition too. We were upset but let this fuel us to make a strong comeback in the next two days of competition.
  • Small mistakes are going to happen. It’s upsetting to lose a few seconds to something stupid you did during a workout. But look back on them and laugh. It was an extra moment of rest, if nothing else. We were randomly and unexpectedly given a pylon to move in one of the workouts. I spent a solid 10 seconds trying to figure out how and where to move this pylon during the competition. It’s hard to hear or understand your judge in the heat of the moment. Our very last workout after a weekend of grueling fitness required a handstand walk. I love handstand walks. I consider them a fun party trick. I took off on my handstand walk, and my beat down body went hard right into another team’s lane instead of straight in our lane. I corrected and hit the second attempt no problem. This loss of 2-3 seconds upset me for hours, but then I realized how hilarious it was to watch on video and no longer cared.
  • Don’t worry about the music at a competition. It may not be your favorite artist, but after about the first 30 seconds of the workout, it’s just white noise anyways. You’ll have no recollection if they were playing Pitbull throughout the entire workout or not.
  • With the new CrossFit sanctionals format, you see a lot of elite/professional CrossFit athletes bringing their A game. As an athlete at the same competition, you also get to see these high-profile athletes behind the scenes warming up with you in the athlete area. Rich Froning might be fist bumping everyone on his way to his heat. Noah Olsen might be doing some casual 245 lb front rack lunges prior to his heat. Sara Sigmundsdottir might think your handstand walk skills are pathetic and fall asleep on a bench beside you instead. And good grief if seeing Alex Anderson up close doesn’t confirm he’s indeed one of the sexiest men alive.
  • Make sure you eat, drink, and take recovery seriously during a 3-day competition. It’s paramount. I often don’t feel like consuming food or drinks during CrossFit competitions. Sometimes I can get away with this in a 1-day local competition. Granted, I’m a corpse the rest of the evening/night and next day. But you must take nourishment seriously in a longer duration competition. It’s the only way to keep your body going and moving efficiently in multiday competition settings.
  • Find yourself or your team at least one coach/manager at minimum. All the elite/professional athletes have these with them at nearly all times. You need someone in your corner watching for heat times, schedule changes, competition floor layout, extra perspectives on strategy, and finding you nourishment between events. This allows you as the athlete to keep more precision focus on performance and getting the work done for each event.
  • Have fun! Take a moment to look around. Whether it’s a 1-day local competition or multiday international sanctioned competition, you have to take a few moments to be proud of yourself for being there in the first place. You could be on your couch watching Netflix instead. You signed up and trained hard to be a contender in the competition. No matter the final outcome, work hard and enjoy it!

Monday February 18, 2019


Congratulations to long distance Locals Brandon and Becki Santiago. They welcomed LD, Lucas Dang Santiago to their family on Friday, February 8th! Weighing in at 8lbs 13oz and standing tall at 21.5″, he sure is a cute bundle of joy.

We miss you guys and can’t wait to meet LD when he comes to visit Chapel Hill!

Friday February 8, 2019


What Does 30X0 Mean? – Why I Like Tempo Training

Written by C.J. Martin at crossfitinvictus.com

Slow down . . . it might be your key to avoiding injury and getting stronger.

Tempo training is not just for bodybuilders.  Olympic caliber athletes from all over the world use tempo training to become stronger, faster and more powerful.  The benefits of tempo training have been touted for years by the likes of Bulgarian Olympians and their coaches to internationally renowned strength coaches Ian King and Charles Poliquin.  I was introduced to the benefits of tempo training by my coach and mentor, James Fitzgerald, who uses it very effectively to train many of the top CrossFit competitors.

It’s time for the entire Invictus community to understand how to read tempo prescriptions and understand why tempo training is beneficial.

What Does 30X0 Mean?

Tempo prescriptions come in a series of four numbers representing the times in which it should take to complete four stages of the lift.  In a workout, the tempo prescription will follow the assigned number of reps, such as:

Front Squat x 2-3 reps @ 30X0

The First Number – The first number refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift.  Using our front squat example, the 3 will represent the amount of time (in seconds) that it should take you to descend to the bottom of the squat.  (The first number always refers to the lowering/eccentric phase, even if the movement begins with the ascending/concentric phase, such as in a pull-up.)

The Second Number – The second number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift – the point in which the lift transitions from lowering to ascending.  In our front squat example, the prescribed 0 means that the athlete should reach the bottom position and immediately begin their ascent.  If, however, the prescription was 32X0, the athlete would be expected to pause for 2 seconds at the bottom position.

The Third Number – The third number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes you to get to the top of the lift.  Yes, I am aware that X is not a number.  The X signifies that the athlete should EXPLODE the weight up as quickly as possible.  In many cases, this will not be very fast, but it is the intent that counts – try to accelerate the weight as fast as you can.  If the third number is a 2, it should take the athlete 2 seconds to get the lift to the top regardless of whether they are capable of moving it faster.

The Fourth Number – The fourth number refers to how long you should pause at the top of the lift.  Take, for example, a weighted pull-up prescription of 20X2, the athlete would be expected to hold his or her chin over the bar for two seconds before beginning to come down.

Counting – It seems silly to even mention how to count seconds, but I have heard many clients audibly count to 4 in less than one second while under a heavy load.  So, to ensure that your 4 second count and mine are the same, use “one thousands,” as in: 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand, 4-one thousand.

Got it?  If you need more practice, think about how you would perform the following:

Push-Up x 15 reps @ 2111

Bulgarian Split Squat x 6-8 reps @ 41X1

Pull-Up x 81X2

For many of you, just understanding how to read the prescription will suffice.  Others will wonder why they have to follow the tempo prescription.

Why I Like Tempo Training . . . and Think You Should Too.

Tempo training is important at all stages of an athlete’s development – from beginners who simply want to learn to lift weights and shed a few pounds to Olympic caliber athletes of all disciplines.  Here are my top 3 reasons for including tempo prescriptions with lifts:

Improved Quality of Movement

Quality of movement should be your first priority.  Intensity comes only after one can consistently demonstrate the proper mechanics of a movement.  Proper tempo prescriptions can help athletes develop awareness and body control by giving them an opportunity to “feel” which muscle groups are activating to keep them in proper positions.

We work with a lot of kids, and kids tend to be fearless.  They think nothing of plunging into the bottom of a squat, secure in their belief that their young, elastic connective tissue will catch and help propel them back to the top.  The problem is, as they descend their knees often collapse inward, their chest sinks in and their pelvis rolls into a posterior tilt (the dreaded “butt wink”).  By requiring a 53X1 tempo, for example, we can help them learn how to keep their chest up, knees out and lumbar spine neutral by allowing them the time to “feel” those positions throughout the four phases of the lift.  If the student is unable to control the descent and perform the movement at the prescribed tempo, we know the load is too great.

In more experienced athletes tempo can be used to emphasize problem areas and shore up weak links in technique.  For example, if you struggle in the bottom position of an overhead squat, a prescription forcing you to spend some time in that position will help solidify your technique, create more comfort in that weak position, and permit greater improvements down the line.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Improving the quality of the movement obviously helps to reduce the risk of injury for athletes.  But in addition, slowing down the tempo of lifts can ease the stress placed on joints and shift that additional stress to the muscles powering the lift.  More stress on the muscles and less on the joints is a good thing.  Muscles are far better at adapting to increased loads.  Connective tissue typically takes longer to strengthen and adapt to the increasing loads, so by slowing down the tempo you can give your connective tissue some rest while still strengthening the surrounding musculature.

Tempo prescriptions also naturally control intensity (and perhaps, rein in egos).  Let’s use the bench press as an example.  If you excessively load the barbell you might be tempted to speed up the lowering phase and bounce the barbell off your chest – don’t lie, you do this.  But if you know that the prescription calls for a 3 second descent and a 2 second pause at the bottom, you’re not going to be tempted to load anywhere close to the same amount.  Don’t believe me?  Give it a shot.

Improved Strength Gains

This alone should have been sufficient, but I threw in the first two for all of the coaches out there.

Proper tempo prescriptions can lead to vastly improved strength gains.  First, different tempo prescriptions permit for greater training variety and stimulus.  This means fewer plateaus and more adaptation.

Second, they allow us to shore up weak links by overloading certain areas of movements.  For example, how many of you feel more comfortable with your second and third deadlift reps than your first?  I am guessing a lot, and it’s because you are using the benefit of either or both the elastic “bounce” of your stretch-shortening cycle or your rubber plates hitting the hard floor.  But if your tempo prescription called for a slow descent and a longer pause at the bottom, you might actually have to get stronger through your weak points.

Third, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions can allow for greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on an athlete’s central nervous system.  This can be particularly important for CrossFit athletes, who are often pushing themselves to the limits with maximal effort lifts and workouts, by creating a way to continue training and making an athlete stronger without overtaxing his or her system.

Fourth, isometric pauses at the top and/or bottom of lifts force you to recruit more muscle fiber, and more muscle fiber recruitment (particularly more fast-twitch fibers) equals greater strength gains. I know that sounds like coach’s geek-speak, but here’s how you will know you’re recruiting more muscle fiber – it will be really hard.  :)

If you’re not sure yet about the benefits of implementing tempo prescriptions into your program, I would encourage you to try it for a month or two and see if it benefits your lifts.  If you’re not sure how to create tempo prescriptions and you are looking for a program more specific to your needs than the Invictus workouts of the day, please shoot me an email and inquire about program design and online coaching packages.

Friday February 1, 2019


A box full of dreams

A Box Full of Dreams by Coach Kelly

Today is Local’s 9th birthday! As we look forward to celebrating this weekend, I have been reflecting on how much this place gives back to me and how much I have to be thankful for. Thank you to each and every one of you for allowing us to live our dream!

This year, not only was I able to reflect on many happy memories here, I was able to look forward with anticipation on all that the future holds. I am excited that our little Evelyn is growing up in a place where she can experience camaraderie, good sportsmanship and a whole other family firsthand! How great that she is surrounded by our Local family, helping shape her to become not only a great CrossFit athlete but a person who embodies a never-quit spirit in all aspects of life. I am happy she sees strong men and women on a regular basis and knows that this can be the norm and not the exception. I love that our little girl gets to experience who we are, because of CrossFit Local. She gets to see us, not only as her parents, but as visionaries, as owners, as coaches, as friends, as supporters, as athletes and as family to every single person who walks through our door.

We also have the exciting prospect of raising baby number 2 here as well. What a treat!

We can’t wait to celebrate with all of you tomorrow during all the classes and at the cookout. We’ll be completing the first workout Local ever programmed “Jeremy” and grilling some burgers. Just bring a side dish and enjoy a celebration of what makes Local special: YOU!

RSVP here so we have enough food and drink: https://www.facebook.com/events/285909122277865/

Happy Anniversary Local!