Monthly Archives: February 2012

Two WODs in a Day

It’s called the WOD, workout of the day.  Workout, singular, not plural.  One workout, 15 minute AMRAP, 5 rounds for time, box jumps, pull-ups, front squats, etc.  I got it, good to go.  Now you want me to do a second workout?  Short answer, yes!

Now relax, kids.  I’m not saying splash some water on your face and then totally mash yourself by doing Fran back to back, I’m telling you to hit up the Mobility WOD.  The Mobility WOD might not leave you gasping for air, but it can certainly hurt in a good way.

The Mobility WOD from Kelly Starrett is more than stretching.  In fact, stretching is for losers.  This is about movement, mobility, and human mechanics.  Super tight hips hurting your squat, this will help.  Have a terrible overhead position, then you need this.  Shin splits make you cry after a box jump workout, then grab a lacrosse ball and watch some videos here.

Doing the Mobility Workout of the Day is like taking your car in for an oil change right at 3000 miles.  It’s all about proper maintenance so you can perform better in life.

Tuesday’s Skill

Front Squat

5 – 5 – 5

Workout of the Day (WOD)

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

5 ring dips

10 toes to bar

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

Post rounds to comments


Working out to improve your mood?

It’s amazing to see the many ways exercise can help us.  Exercising aids in our appearance, health, vitality, and overall quality of life.    Have you noticed that you feel better, sexier, happier, stronger, and more confident when you are in a consistent workout regimen?  This is undoubtedly true though when it comes to our moods.  Interestingly enough, it has been proven that exercising is one of the best medicines for depression.  Here’s an excerpt from an article on treatments for depression called Movement for Mood.

Americans spend more than 10 billion dollars a year on antidepressants, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that the study of exercise and its relationship to mood has largely been overshadowed by the push for psychotropics. In addition, exercise has had some unique methodological problems to overcome. For example, is there a social component to exercise that boosts mood separate from any physiological advantages? Over the past dozen years researchers have pushed people to walk, run, swim and bicycle in the name of science. And, after thousands of gallons of sweat, they’ve reached a consensus: for depression, exercise may indeed be the best medicine. As little as 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week may be enough for most people to stem the tide of gloom and feelings of worthlessness, with more being better. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found remission rates to be significantly lower for people who exercised compared to either those on antidepressants or taking part in behavioral cognitive therapy.

How It Works

Exercise may work in much the same way antidepressants do — by regulating neurotransmitters like the feel-good chemical serotonin. In addition, exercise appears to switch on certain genes that pump up the brain’s level of galanin. That, in turn, regulates the stress hormone norepinephrine, which helps to control the body’s stress response. A side-effect of exercise is an increased body temperature, which has calming properties all its own.

5 Bonus Benefits of Exercise

Besides helping us to remain calm in the face of new challenges, exercise has a few added advantages as well.

1. Exercise works immediately
Unlike other treatments, with exercise you don’t have to wait around to get results. Performing heart-pumping aerobic activities such as brisk walking, jogging or bicycling for just 30 minutes can give an immediate mood boost. Also, the more you do, the greater the benefit say researchers.

2. Exercise builds confidence
Not only will exercise make you feel better in the short-term, it can also be a big boost your self-confidence down the road. While setting exercise goals and meeting them is a proven way to make you feel better about yourself on the inside, you’ll also look healthier on the outside, prompting comments and compliments from others. Talk about a healthy feedback loop!

3. Exercise is a great distraction
When your feet are hammering the pavement or pounding the pedals, you’ll have a lot more on your mind than dwelling on today’s worries. Even better, choose an activity you enjoy such as tennis, swimming or briskly walking around the mall. Not only will your mind be elsewhere, you’ll look forward to the next opportunity to get back to it.

4. Exercise invites social interaction
If you haven’t heard, human beings are social creatures. One of the best ways to stave off depression is to interact with other people. Whether you hit the gym or simply walk around the block, there are likely going to be lots of chances to connect. Take the opportunity to smile while you work out as well — you might even brighten someone else’s day.

5. Exercise helps you cope in a healthy way
Many people with depression choose to self-medicate using alcohol or other drugs but, as most of us already know, these “solutions” rarely help and often exacerbate a downward spiral. You’ll be doing both yourself and your family a big favor when you reach for a water bottle instead of the vodka or pill bottle.

Get Motivated

If you’ve ever been caught in the cycle of depression, you know that one of the most pervasive symptoms is a nagging lack of motivation. One of the best ways to break out of the vicious cycle is to break a sweat. It makes perfect sense. We humans didn’t evolve for the sedentary lifestyle most of us are accustomed to today. Our ancestors had more immediate concerns than dwelling on an unsatisfying job, for instance — concerns that required a high level of fitness, like outrunning a saber-toothed tiger or chasing down a wooly mammoth dinner. Although there’s probably no way to ever know for sure, depression wasn’t likely a condition our pre-agrarian predecessors could afford to live with for very long. When you take into account all of its other benefits — including preventing and healing a range of other illnesses and ailments, its low-cost and confidence-boosting abilities — exercise is not likely something modern humans can, or should, live without. Think of it as one of the key ingredients for living a charmed life.

So stop setting excuses for yourself.  Come in and tackle a WOD.  You will be happy you did!

Monday’s Skill

Power snatch

2 – 2 – 2 – 2 – 2

Workout of the Day (WOD)

2 mins max overhead squats (115, 73)
(1 rep = 1 point)
Rest 1 Minute
2 mins max double unders
(every 10 dunders = 1 point)
Rest 1 minute
2 mins max push-press (115/73)
(1 rep = 1 point)
Rest 1 Minute
2 mins max air squats
(every 4 reps = 1 point)
Rest 1 minute
2 mins max burpee lateral jumps
(every 2 reps = 1 point)

Beginner’s Skill

2 push press + 2 push jerks
4 sets increasing the weight

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 min AMRAP of:
100 meter run
12 lunges
12 squats

Top Tips for CrossFit Newbie Success

Here are the top 5 tips that will set a newbie up for succeed here at CrossFit Merge.

1.  Introduce yourself to others in the class

How will this help you ask?  When you introduce yourself to someone you’ll feel more comfortable in the class and realize that you’re not the only one that’s new to CrossFit.  So instead of feeling totally nervous and awkward holding a PVC pipe overhead, you feel a little bit more at ease and focus more on what you’re doing.  

2.  Watch the video demonstrations of CrossFit’s 9 fundamental movements

The 9 movements are the: SquatFront SquatOverhead SquatPress,Push PressPush JerkDeadliftSumo Deadlift High Pull, and Medicine Ball  Clean.  Get familiar with these as they are the foundation of the functional movements we perform.  Even though you will need a coach to ensure you are doing the movements correctly, you can still learn a lot from the videos and then concentration more on the finer points when we learn and review the movements during class.  

3.  Keep a journal  

Write down the warm-up, the skill, the WOD, and your results.  This will greatly accelerate your progress. We often do workouts and lifts based on weights and reps that we have previously done.  If you don’t know which kettlebell to use because you never recorded the weight you used last week, then you end up picking the wrong weight.  Write stuff down and be able to reference it.  

4.  In your journal, keep the CrossFit Merge Beginner Level Test and bring it with you every time you come to the gym

The beginner phase is a necessary and essential phase of your CrossFit journey, but it should only be  temporary one.  Most people will spend about 2 to 3 months in the beginner classes, but if you never have the Beginner Level Test to check off the items as you pass them, then we can’t do much for you.  Pass the beginner skills, and then get a coach to sign off on it.  

5.  Show up

2 classes a week, 3 classes a week, unlimited classes, whatever.  Set a schedule, commit to it, and show up.  We are committed to training you so you can reach all your fitness goals.  But you have to be consistent.  In my experience, the people that see the best results with CrossFit are NOT necessarily the star athletes that are naturally gifted.  Instead it’s the people that show up week after week and keep plugging away.  They get a little better each time they come into the gym and before you know it, they start doing double-unders, they no longer need a band for pull-ups, and they look forward to setting a PR (personal record) when we do lifting.  There are no shortcuts to elite fitness, so let’s do this thang!

Nothing like a little mobility to get you performing like a well-oiled machined.

It’s Game Day!

What do Mikko Salo

Julie Foucher

Chris Spealler

Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet

Rich Froning

Annie Thorisdottir

and you have in common?  No, it’s not that they put their pants on one leg at a time, because I’ve seen Mikko throw both feet simultaneously into his gaberdines.  It’s that they and you will be doing the first CrossFit Games Open WOD!

The CrossFit Games season is underway.  And the first workout is:

7 minute AMRAP of:

Burpees (each rep ending with a 6″ jump above the max reach)

How much ‘hurt’ are you willing to endure for 7 minutes.  Come on in today and find out!

Checkout this pretty legit performance of 139 burpees.  Can you beat that?

2012 CrossFit Games Open: WOD 1

The 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Open is HERE!!!  

Take this awesome opportunity to participate in a worldwide event that involves all the other CrossFitters from around the globe.  This is a 5-week competition where EVERYBODY is welcome to compete.  How many of you are excited to see where you rank worldwide?  How many of you are excited to see what kind of WODs will be thrown our way?!  The first WOD has been announced.  Watch Katie Hogan do the first workout of the 2012 CrossFit Games Open with the appropriate Video Submission Standards.

Bring your A-game every Friday at 6:30 pm for the next 5 weeks to CrossFit Merge to do the assigned WOD and participate in some friendly, inspiring competition.  Make sure you are staying on top of your diet, your rest, your hydration and to take note on all the tips you’ve learned thus far to execute the WOD’s to the best of your ability.  

These next 5 weeks are going to be very very exciting! Don’t miss out on all the fun!

Wednesday’s Skill:

3 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 1
Workout of the Day (WOD):
Run large block
30 power cleans (135# for men/95# for women)
Run large block
30 shoulder to overhead (135# for men/95# for women)
Run large block
Beginner’s Skill
5 – 5 – 5 – 3 – 3

Workout of the Day (WOD): 

3 rounds of:
-15 deadlifts (use 65% of skill weight)
-21 jumping pull-ups
-400 meter run
Power Hour
5 sets of:
3 power cleans
2 front squats
1 push press/jerkPush
Press holds @ 60% of body weight.  Do 9 reps and hold the 10th rep as long as possible

Post times to comments 

Arien getting through the jumping pull-ups!

Andrew, Steve, and David WODing it up!

The CrossFit Games Open is Now!

Click on this link to register under the CrossFit Merge Affiliate.  

We will be doing the CrossFit Open Workouts every Friday starting this week and going for 5 weeks.  This is going to be an  awesome and fun time to compete with other CrossFitters all over the world.

Do you have what it takes to compete with the best in the world, your region, your gym?  Let’s find out.

Athlete Spotlight – Chris Backley

If any of you have been around Chris, you know why we have chosen him for our featured Athlete Spotlight. Chris is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!  Funny, dedicated and hard-working are just a few adjectives that would describe him.  He holds himself to high standards and works very hard to achieve the results he aspires for.  It’s been an incredible journey to watch him grow in the time that he’s been training here at Merge. This guy is a machine!   

Ladies and Gentlemen…Chris Backley! 

70# KB swings are no joke!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I’ve been doing Crossfit for about 7 creaky sore awesome pain filled months now.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

I think I googled it. Bryce’s face popped up and he was giving a thumbs up and I thought he looked like a reputable chap.

What’ was your first CrossFit WOD experience like?

I finished the WOD, sat on the floor, and said “OooooOOOOHHHHH so that’s what a workout is”. I had been a member of a nearby gym, let’s just call it “Schmally Schmotal Schmitness” for about two years at $10 a month and didn’t see a lick of results. The fact that I pay significantly more money now is a testament to how much I like my results, Merge, and the people in it (hugsies!).

Is there anything you’d like to people to know about you?

I love Crossfit as much as I love food. I guess that’s what makes me not 300 pounds.

What is your greatest CrossFit accomplishment thus far?

I surprised myself by winning the first Crossfit throwdown. Before Crossfit I had never done any Olympic lifts so I am grateful for Bryce’s tips and instruction before each skill. Crossfit has truly changed my life in very many ways, I’m in the best shape of my life, have made new friends, and now I only go through six bags of Oreos a day.

What is your favorite WOD and why?

I always like body weight WODs. Running and pull ups and such because I know they are skills I know I can excel at and they usually come at a time when I have been to the gym 3 consecutive days and can use a “lighter” day. And then I finish and vomit.

Least favorite WOD and why?

I underestimate myself with any lift that has the word “clean” or “jerk” in it. It’s a complex movement and I always worry about my form. It will be perfect one day though. Oh, and double unders can eat a ***.

What advice would you give a new member?

Talk to everyone. Make it fun. One of my favorite things about Crossfit, besides my rock hard pecs, is the level of community. Never underestimate the benefits of a workout partner and friendly competition to increase your results. If you love coming to the gym you are more likely to do it and therefore reach your fitness goals.

Out of all the hours in the day (both sleeping and awake) how much time do you spend workings out? Thinking about CrossFit? Dreaming it? Watching vids? etc.

I’d say more than normal but less than obsessive. There are a lot of physical aspects to my job and I know my fitness level will go great lengths to prevent injury. Plus, chicks dig it.

If I gave you 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?

I would buy a Leica, take the entire gym to a steakhouse in LA, and donate the rest to like underprivileged kids and some junk.

Who would win a battle between a ninja and a pirate?

Awww yea, now you’re talking my language. Ok let’s talk this out, ninjas are lightning quick and have the power of stealth but pirates have guns, ships, and booty. I choose the same thing I would have chosen when I was 6, cowboys.

What would you do if you had a time machine?

I would go back to college me, slap him in the face, and say “hey a-hole, this is the way you are supposed to do the following things…”.

If you were a character from Beverly Hills 90210, who would you be and why?

Anyone of them that ever dated Kelly. Oh, but I want Brandon’s hair. And Dylan’s Porsche. Then again Nat had an endless supply of milkshakes. Ugh, life is hard.

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

I want more people to mistake me for Cory, I want Sal to adopt me in to his family, and I want to be smiling at all of you from a muscle up. U-S-A, U-S-A!

Chris, we are so pleased to have you as a part of this CrossFit family and are so proud of you for already achieving so much! And just for the record…cowboys ROCK!! 😉

Monday’s Skill:

Push Jerks


Workout of the day (WOD):

3 dumbbell push presses (40# for men/25# for ladies)
3 pull-ups
3 ring dips
run 100 meters
6 dumbbell push presses
6 pull-ups
6 ring dips
run 200 meters
9 dumbbell push presses
9 pull-ups
9 ring dips
run 300 meters
12 dumbbell push presses
12 pull-ups
12 ring dips
run 400 meters
15 dumbbell push presses
15 pull-ups
15 ring dips
run 500 meters

The brave souls who came out on President's Day to celebrate with a WOD!

Class Schedule Update

Quick update of the Class Schedule:

-Sunday now has a 10am Beginners class followed by an 11am Intermediate class.  

-The Tuesday 7:30pm class is now All Levels.  

-No 6:30am class on Monday for Presidents Day (February 20).  All other classes are on the normal schedule.  

Thursday’s Skills:


5 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 3 (Beginners should try to pass their Deadlift Beginner Skill Test)

10 minutes to find a max height box jump

Workout of the Day (WOD):

Double Alternating Tabata:


Box jumps (30″/24″ for women)

Count the total reps of burpees and box jumps

Sarah made a huge jump in her max height box jump.  25″ ain’t too shabby.

Krixa continues to make gains in her fitness.  Here she knocks out 3 deadlifts at her bodyweight.  

Some wicked intensity from our Wednesday Power Hour crew.

Improving our Athleticism

A main thing that we focus on in CrossFit is intensity.  How much intensity we display in a WOD will determine if we did our best and ultimately give us better results.  One way in which we measure our intensity is through timing our WODs and recording the weights we lift.  This is an excellent way of keeping tabs on our improvement.  However, it can have a drawback.  When we become so focused on the numbers, we sometimes forget about our form.  What I mean by that is that we don’t do full range of motion movements or we lift such heavy numbers in order to do a WOD Rx that we miss out on the intended purpose of the exercise.  And if we stop to think about it, what good does it do us to have killer times with terrible, half-hearted form?  If that’s the case, our intensity is nowhere near where it should be and ultimately we are left with mediocre results and increased chance for injury.  So I’d like to propose to you a few pointers on becoming a better CrossFitter and a better athlete in general: focus on form, get full range of motions, and lift at a weight that is appropriate for you.

Here are 5 tips from Freddy Camacho from CrossFit One World on how to become a better CrossFitter.

1. Know what “full range of motion” means. Learn that first, then finish reading the rest of this post.

2. Concentrate more. Stop getting WOD drunk. Slow down a bit in your training and pay closer attention to your movement. Remember that you have to walk before you can run.

3. Have someone watch your movement and call you out on it when you suck. Make sure that you get someone who isn’t afraid to tell you that you suck. Make sure that you can handle being told that you suck. If you can’t handle being told you suck, you suck so please don’t compete.

4. Buy a cheap video camera [or use your phone] and film your workouts. I train a lot by myself, so I do this all the time. It’s eye opening to watch your workout after you are done. I always armchair quarterback myself. It’s a great way to see your movement, and it’s an even better way to learn about what you are and are not capable of when you start to fatigue. This is one of the ways I learned how to more efficiently strategize my workouts.

5. Don’t try and PR every workout, and don’t treat every workout like it is a competition. I’m not saying that you should NEVER go balls to the wall, I am just saying don’t do it day in and day out. Not only will your movement get better, you’ll be less prone to injury. It’s also an easy way to avoid CrossFit burnout. Yes, there is such a thing as CrossFit burnout. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you haven’t been CrossFitting that long.

Wednesday’s Skill

Muscle-up progressions and practice

Workout of the Day (WOD):

800 meter run
30 push presses (75# for men/53# for women)
800 meter run
20 push presses
800 meter run
10 push presses

Beginner’s Skill

True push-ups – 3 max sets

Workout of the Day (WOD):

3 rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
21 sit-ups
21 wall ball shots

Power Hour

5 x 5 front squats at 85% of your one rep max

50, 60, or 70 push-presses AHAP (as heavy as possible) for time – every time you break, immediately sprint to the drive way and back.  Continue with push-presses at rep where you left off.

Post times to comments

Stacy sporting awesome elbows technique while doing a front squat.

New Classes

Starting Sunday, February 19th, there will now be two classes on Sunday.

10:00am will be our beginner class

11:00am will be our intermediate class

As our community grows, so will the class schedule to ensure you continue receive high quality, personal coaching.

Tuesday’s WOD (workout of the day):


Every minute, on the minute, for 30 minutes, perform:

5 pull-ups

10 push-ups

15 squats

Scale reps up or down, but try to get to at least 15 minutes before you have to scale again.

One of the best training tools we have at the box is the PVC pipe. Learn the movement mechanics first, be able to replicate the movement consistently, then introduce intensity.

Mary, Daphne, and Sunny standing up on their squats.

5 out of 6 CrossFitters agreed that the push-ups were the hardest part. John, seen here standing, didn’t think they were so bad.