Monthly Archives: January 2012

Eating Right

Nutrition is Everything….really, it is.

Have you ever wondered why you’re working your butt off at the gym, but you still are not losing weight? Not setting PR’s? Not improving your times? Well, it’s probably because you’re not addressing the most important aspect of being an athlete; nutrition.

Training, determination, and heart are all important to your athletic success, but the fuel you put in your body to achieve that success is of utmost importance. What you buy at the grocery store makes a huge difference in your appearance and your performance. What you eat shows itself in your complexion, your eyes, and your ability to be alert. Subsequently, what your body is processing determines your improvement, your success.

“You are what you eat” is such a commonly used phrase. But regardless of it’s commonness, it’s so undoubtedly true! This article found on Women’s Day discusses Foods That Look Like Body Parts They Are Good For. In all honesty, it’s hard to believe that it’s coincidence that the food we eat has such an uncanny resemblance to the body parts we are aiding…there is a reason why we push proper nutrition so much.

I don’t care if you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, zone eater, strict paleo, or just taking baby steps to reduce sugar intake, as long as you’re eating healthy, you’re WAY ahead of the game. Keep it up, you have more than half of the battle won 🙂

Monday’s Skill

2 power cleans on the minute for 10 minutes (use 85% of 1 rep max)

Workout of the Day (WOD)

2 power cleans (use 85 to 90% of skill weight or 155# for men/103# for women)
100 meter run
4 power cleans
200 meter run
6 power cleans
300 meter run
8 power cleans
400 meter run
10 power cleans
500 meter run

Beginner’s Skill

250 meter row
Rest 3 minutes x 3 sets

Workout of the Day (WOD)

5 wall ball shots
500 meter run
10 wall ball shots
400 meter
15 wall ball shots
300 meter run
20 wall ball shots
200 meter run
25 wall ball shots
100 meter run

Post times to comments.

Chris H. is back with a killer time of 10:10 to beat!


All the Best, Morgan

On Saturday we had to say goodbye to one of the original CrossFit Mergers, Morgan.  It was very bittersweet.  If you didn’t get the chance to meet Morgan, then you must check out her Athlete Spotlight.

Morgan has been with our gym since March, and she always brings a positive attitude and an incredible work ethic.  She gives everything she has to her workouts but only allows herself a little bit of rest at the end so she can be sure to cheer on her fellow CrossFitters.  I am so proud of her growth as a CrossFitter and it was a privilege to be called her coach.  

I am so happy for you and you’ll be truly missed by all us here at CrossFit Merge.

Morgan’s Goodbye WOD:

Run 800 meters

Then 5 rounds of:

5 clean and jerks (135#/93# for women)

10 sit-ups

20 double-unders

Finish with a 800 meter run


A favorite movement of Morgan is the clean and jerk. 


The start of the WOD.


Fred was a regular workout partner of Morgan and was not going to miss her last WOD.  


It was one of our biggest classes.  And they were all there to send off Morgan in style.  


Best of luck for you and Ticia.  Be sure to come back and visit.  If not for a WOD, then at least for some Karaoke.  

Why Gymnastics

Gymnastics, not the competive sport, but bodyweight movements of pull-ups, push-ups, kips, and handstands is a major part of CrossFit.  But why do gymnastics?

“Gymnastics has no peer among training modalities for developing the four neurological components of the ten skills of fitness-coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.”

-Coach Glassman, CrossFit founder

In ancient Greece gymnastics was used to train the Greek military and ready their soldiers for warfare. After WWII the US Navy developed a training program which utilized several manuals outlining movements that should be performed in daily fitness regimens, this included a manual called Gymnastics and Tumbling. Gymnastics has trained Olympians and world class athletes. It is by far the best thing a person can do to increase their strength, body control, and spacial awareness.

Plus, the burpee back handspring looks even cooler than it sounds (jump to 1:30 of the video)

Thursday’s Skill:

Jump rope practice

2 minutes of max double-unders

1 minute of max single unders (Beginners)

1 minute of max double-unders (Beginners)

Workout of the Day (WOD)

5 rounds for time of:

Run 400 meters

20 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

40 double-unders

Rest 1 minute between rounds

Get to know your Wills.  This is Will G.

This is Will D. 

And under the hair somewhere is Adrienne.

Training Buddies

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to me and training, the hard work and intensity put into every workout is enhanced by the people I train with.  Looking over and seeing a friend beating me at the number of reps motivates me to try harder.  When I’m reaching that point that I want to give up, having words of encouragement and support help push myself just a bit harder.  Having your friends to cheer you on, tell you that you can do it, race with or assure you that you’ll get it next time, makes a world of difference!

Training is difficult, it’s hard, it’s challenging.  Training with others is still hard, but it definitely makes it an experience that is more awesome and rewarding all around!  Stop to think, who is your training buddy?  I encourage all of you to find a training partner.  Someone that can hold you accountable, cheer you on, and challenge you to become even better.

Here are some words from Katie Hogan on Training Partners:

So I just spent the day traveling with two of my closest friends Becca Voigt and Kris Clever.  We met each other over 3 years ago at Valley Crossfit where our journey as competitive crossfitters was only beginning…

Years of training together has brought us very close and we have learned a lot about each other through the long hours and sometimes painful workouts at the gym.  During these years we have also spent time training alone.  Just by way of conflicting schedules and different focuses we have had to train independently of each other at numerous times.  What I have come to realize is how much my development as a crossfitter is enhanced by the people I train with.

Here are my:

5 things I love about training partners

-They push me to improve

By training alongside aggressive, driven, focused athletes, I am forced to raise my level of training in order to keep up.  Whether through their encouragement or more indirectly through their performances I am constantly challenged and motivated to improve myself.

-They bring a positive attitude

On days when I’m finding it hard to get through a workout or tackle a particularly difficult skill, my training partners are there with a positive spin on things.  Somehow they aren’t feeling the overwhelming stress that I am and they have a more balanced perspective.  They can help me attack a weakness instead of moping about how difficult it is.  Training partners are friends that want to help you improve your training, so when they see a need they can jump in and assist.

-They can watch my form

When you train alone it can be tough to recognize things when you might be doing things less efficientlly or when your form is less than perfect.  Having a training partner watch your form and tell you what they see and what they think can be a helpful tool in the gym.  Coaching tips are often subjective, so anytime I can hear a different perspective or original cue I will take it.  You never know what might help and it can’t hurt to try.

-More people = more energy – it’s contagious!

While I have had successes and good training on my own, there is a lot to be said about the energy in the gym when there are more people working out.  I can feed off of my friends and create a more aggressive training environment than when it’s just me.  On days when I’m a little tired and not quite ready to attack a workout, having my training partners around warming up and working out creates an atmosphere of hardwork that I can’t help but be a part of.

-It’s more fun!!!

Training everyday can get monotonous, but seeing your friends at the gym can make it feel less like something you have to do and more like something you get to do.  I love trying to make Becca or Kris laugh and we all end up having fun every day that we are in the gym.  The workouts themselves might not always be the most enjoyable, but somehow having each other we find a way to enjoy ourselves everyday.  I look forward to training mostly because of who I get to train with.  

Wednesday Skill & Workout of the Day (WOD) – All Classes and Power Hour

Back Squat Tower of Power

1 minute of max back squat reps taken from the rack at 135# for men/95# for women(each rep is worth 1 point)

3 minutes rest

1 minute of squats at 185# for men/115# for women(each rep is worth 3 points)

3 minutes rest

1 minute of squats at 225# for men/155# for women(each rep is worth 5 points)

3 minutes rest

1 minute of squats at 185# for men/115# for women(each rep is worth 3 points)

3 minutes of rest

1 minute of squats at 135# for men/95# for women (each rep is worth 1 point)

Score is total points

Post scores and weights to comments

Arien working on the Back Squat Tower of Power
Kara, as she approaches full depth, keeps her cool.
Who would’ve thought that when someone’s holding you back, they’re actually helping you…

Mark Your Calendars

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!  Sunday, February 12th, the CrossFit Merge Throwdown returns for the Winter Quarter.  

Men and Women Divisions

Rx’d and Almost Rx’d Divisions

Multiple WODs, food, drinks, family, and friends.  It’s going to be awesome.  Stay tuned here and at the box for more details.  

Chris won the Almost Rx’d division last time.

But Len has been doing double day WODs to prepare for February 12th.

Tuesday’s Skill:

Ring Rows

3 max sets, as supinated as possible

Go until you lose your proper midline or cannot pull the hands to the chest

Workout of the Day (WOD)

6 rounds for time of:

100 meter run

12 burpee pull-ups

Beginners scale to 5 rounds

Advanced scale to 7 rounds


Botttom to Bottom Tabata Squats (count low score)

Romik and Joe “resting” at the bottom of the squat.

“I shouldn’t have had the fish before this WOD.”

Athlete Spotlight – Fred and Sarah

Our box is full of wonderful people.  We are truly spoiled with the best of the best.   With that being said, let me introduce to you some of the best, Fred and Sarah!

Fred and Sarah are an exceptional couple that train in our box.  Sarah is one of the sweetest, most determined girls.  It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that she gives her all in every WOD.  She always has excellent form and is constantly adapting to set and meet new goals.  Fred, as you all know, is one of the strongest guys we know!  He sets some incredible PR’s on every lift and completes most of his WODs Rx’d.   Not only do they add so much to our WOD experience, they always have encouraging words, warm smiles, and are a blast to have around!  Fred and Sarah are not only rocking the CrossFit world, but they are also parents to a super cute (future CrossFit fire breather) baby boy, Little Fred!!

Here’s a bit more from Fred and Sarah…

a typical Fred moment…

Sarah, always lookin’ spiffy during her WOD’s

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

We both started at the end of May, so I guess that makes it about 7 months now.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

SARAH:  Some childhood girlfriends of mine had become CrossFit trainers and encouraged me to find a gym after Freddie was born. One day, I Googled “CrossFit + Glendale” and found CrossFit Merge.  Since it was so close to our house, there was no way we couldn’t give it a go.   

FRED: After learning about Merge, Sarah used me as her guinea pig and sent me in for the intro session. I had been essentially sedentary for the previous 10 years, so it was pretty rough.

How long have you guys been married?

SARAH:  Four years, five months, not that I’m keeping close track or anything.

FRED:  Yes, we’re coming up on five years.  The traditional gift theme for the five year wedding anniversary is wood.  Perhaps I will whittle some wood jewelry for Sarah. She will fit in nicely next time we visit Oregon.

Sarah, what was the first thing Fred ever said to you?

SARAH:  I don’t really remember — we met on our first day of work during some awful tax training session, but I think it might have been “Are you going to eat that?”  I mainly remember thinking, “Whoa.  That guy’s name is FRED?  He looks so young.”  

Fred, what is the first memory you have of Sarah?

FRED:  I was deeply engrossed in this fascinating tax training session on my first day of work, when I heard this girl behind me grousing about how lame it was . . . the rest is history.
How has doing CrossFit impacted your married life? Do you talk about WODs over dinner? Do you help/encourage/etc each other?

SARAH:  CrossFit has had a wonderful impact on our married life. Before CrossFit, we talked about tax law all the time; now, we talk about WODs all the time. The only bad part is that I’m naturally competitive, and, well, I’m married to Fred, who is naturally athletic. It’s a dangerous mix, like when I come home and say, “FRED!  I got a 83 lb front squat today!” he replies, “Is that good?”  Sigh. 

The best part about CrossFit, however, is that we’re both involved in the same community, and our workouts are quick.  For some reason, our colleagues tend to favor long-distance, solitary sports (i.e. marathons, triathlons), or long-duration, drinking-optional sports (i.e. golf).  If Fred were out jogging around Griffith Park for 4 hours at a time, or drinking beer at some country club all day and riding in a golf cart a few days a week, I’d be pretty annoyed. 60 minutes, 5 days a week — I can handle that.       

FRED:  Sarah is always self-deprecating when it comes to her CrossFit prowess, but she’s made such amazing progress and I am so proud of her. It’s been really cool to watch her get into it, and to see her gain confidence. When one of us comes home from the box, we definitely talk about what the WOD was, how we did, whether Bryce told any jokes, et cetera. I’m pretty sure we drive our friends crazy talking about CrossFit and trying to get them to try it.

What are your favorite WODs?

SARAH:  Karen.  So simple.  So awful.

FRED: Lumberjack 20 (although I would substitute barbell cleans for the DB squat cleans).

What are your greatest CrossFit accomplishments individually and as a couple?

SARAH:  My greatest individual CrossFit accomplishment is (don’t laugh) being able to run a mile without walking.  I’m also pretty proud of my 113 pound low-bar back squat.  I think our greatest CrossFit accomplishment as a couple, however, is simply the fact that we’ve done it consistently for over seven months, and can’t quite imagine life without it now.  Prior to CrossFit Merge, our workout plans usually got ditched after a few months. . .  er, weeks.  

FRED:  Individually, my greatest CrossFit accomplishment is surviving the first throw-down. As a couple, I agree with Sarah, our greatest achievement has definitely been our consistency, which with our busy schedules and an 18-month-old baby has required a lot of coordination and effort.

What have you told your friends about CrossFit Merge?

SARAH:  I tell all my friends how hard everything is so they’ll think I’m a major bad-ass.  However, I temper that by mentioning how supportive Bryce is (despite my un-athleticism), that no one has ever laughed at me, (at least not to my face), and that if I can do it, anyone can do it.  I tell my mom-friends that it’s the most time-efficient workout around, since most moms are really into scheduling, and love to complain about never having time for anything almost as much as they love to complain about “baby-weight.”  Ugh.    

FRED:  I played organized team sports during high school and college, but have not been able to find a way to stay in shape since that has worked for more than a couple of months. I think the reason that CrossFit has worked for me is that it’s more like a sport than your typical fitness program, and the support and encouragement provided by the community at Merge makes it similar to a team sport in a lot of ways. We get excited when someone gets a PR, Rx’s a WOD, or learns a new movement. That’s what I tell my friends about, because for me, that’s what has made CrossFit special.

What words of advice would you give to newbie CrossFitting couples?

SARAH:  Try not to get jealous if/when your partner gets suddenly really good at CrossFit and you’re still struggling with pretty much everything.  Also (and this advice might be very controversial), I think it’s been a good for me to go to different classes than Fred.  Not only is my CrossFit ugly (and I don’t want Fred seeing me that beat), being in separate classes has helped me meet more people.

FRED:  Do not come home and brag to your wife about your new low-bar back squat PR.  


If someone wrote a biography about your life, what should the title be?

SARAH:  “That Looks Scary So I Won’t Try It:  The Sarah Thomas Story”  (Joan and/or Jackie Collins would ghost-write it, naturally.)

FRED: “The Exciting Life of a Tax Attorney by Frederick H. Thomas, Jr.”

What is your favorite music to work out to?

SARAH:  I prefer hip hop and Led Zeppelin, but Veruca Salt will do in a pinch.
FRED:  There are definitely a number of songs that I can no longer listen to without feeling the overwhelming urge to start doing box jumps.  (SARAH:  Black Keys = Box Jumps). For that reason, I like working out to things that I don’t generally listen to outside the box (e.g., Hip Hop).

Is there something about yourselves you’d want to share with us?

SARAH:  I was a French major in college, and have tried every year since graduation to find a non-creepy French conversational group.  Any good tips would be greatly appreciated.  I’m also a newly-minted housewife, but it’s not going that well — our house is still covered in dog hair.  Any good tips on this would be greatly appreciated as well.  Oh, and I got a D- in freshman P.E. even though I suited-up. Every. Single. Day.

FRED:  I love to read, both fiction and non-fiction; I love watching movies from the 80s; and the biggest challenge for me in eating paleo has been chocolate chip cookies.

If you could be any type of food, what would you be and why?

SARAH:  Kobe beef, because wouldn’t it be fun to drink booze and get massages every day?

FRED:  I can’t compete with Sarah’s answer, so I’m just going to copy it.  I would also like to be Kobe beef.

Thank you Sarah and Fred for being such an integral part of our CrossFit Merge family! We are excited to continue watching you improve and achieve your goals.  You are truly an inspiration to us all.  And Fred, how’s that wooden jewelry coming along? 😉

Monday’s Skill:

Squat clean to thruster

3 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

1 squat clean thruster (135#/93# for women)

10 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)

2 squat clean thrusters

10 wall ball shots

3 squat clean thrusters

10 wall ball shots

4 squat clean thrusters…

Beginner’s Skill:

20″ or 15″ box jump test – max reps in 1 minute, perform 2 sets

Lateral hop jump test – max reps in 1 minute

Workout of the Day (WOD):

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

6 goblet squats

12 sit-ups

18 lateral hops

Monday is in the books…

CrossFit Merge Out and About

Korean BBQ dinner last Saturday with CrossFit Mergers.  


Good people, good times, all you can eat meat and veggies…that’s just how we get down.  


All smiles for sure.


The dinner was 100% Paleo as well.  

Who has suggestions for next month’s group dinner?  

Vegan + CrossFit…Really?

Hey, I eat meat, but you don’t have to in order to excel at CrossFit.

The Secret Advice of a Vegan CrossFitter

by Danette “Dizzle” Rivera

After a particularly grueling CrossFit workout, one of my gym mates motioned me over to the rowers. As I approached, he looked around – we were alone – and in low tones he said, “I’m thinking about eating less meat.” His eyebrows were arced. He seemed surprised by his own confession. “Cool,” I said. He said, “Can you give me some advice about a veggie diet?” This was not the first time I’d been pulled into the shadows to whisper about – gasp! – vegetables.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday’s Skill:

Take 15 minutes to find a 5 rep max deadlift

Workout of the Day (WOD):

15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

1 deadlift (use ~ 55% of the skill weight)

5 toes to bar

2 deadlifts

7 burpees

3 deadlifts

9 squats

Post rounds to comments

Fellas on this side of the gym.

Women on this side of the gym.

Why do you CrossFit?

Is CrossFit for you?

CrossFit is hard, it’s challenging.  It requires discipline and dedication.  However, CrossFit is designed to be for everybody.  The reason why it is all inclusive and fully scalable is because CrossFit produces results.  The Sport of Fitness is applicable to every person in the world.  It doesn’t matter where your fitness level is, whether you are interested in competing in the CrossFit games, or simply want to be in better shape, CrossFit is for you!  Every person has a unique reason, a different experience, a special story of how CrossFit has changed their lives.  What about you?  What has brought you to CrossFit? What are your goals and aspirations through the “Sport of Fitness”?

Wednesday’s Skill

Overhead squat

5 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD):

3 rounds of:
30 ohs (75# for men/53# for women)
21 pull-ups
Run 400 meters

Beginner’s Skill

Back squat

5 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 3


3 rounds of:
30 wall ball shots
15 pull-ups
Run 400 meters

Power Hour/Strength Class

Part A:

100# bag drag and farmers carry

Part B:

Highbar Pause Squats
5 reps @ 70% 1 rep max, 1 second pause
4 reps @ 75% 1 rep max, 2 second pause
3 reps @ 80% 1 rep max, 3 second pause
2 reps @ 85% 1 rep max, 4 second pause
1 rep @ 90% 1 rep max, 5 second pause

Post times to comments

Kara and Eric on their pull-ups.

Paleo “seems” to be working for Brian.

A pull-up rig just for the ladies.  

Adrienne and Arien with a contemplative moment after the WOD.

Dinner with CrossFitters

Just a quick reminder about our Dinner and a Movie outing this Saturday, January 21st, at Manna Korean BBQ.  Come hang out with your fellow CrossFitters in their non-WOD clothes.  Please sign up on the gym announcement board.  

Do you think you’re past your prime, that CrossFit isn’t for you, or that you don’t need to lift?  Check out Jean, 82 years old, setting a 153# deadlift PR.  

Tuesday’s Skill:


5 – 5 – 5 – 5

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute, as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of: 

6 hand release push-ups

12 kettlebell swings (53#/35# for women)

Kettlebell farmer’s carry to the driveway and back

Post rounds to comments

Adrienne finishes her press by driving her head through the arms.  

Adam was just getting warmed up with this set of 5 presses.

Jay going Rx’d on the WOD.

The nervous anticipation before the start of the WOD.