Monthly Archives: September 2012

Some Useful Knowledge…

Hopefully by now you know that a calorie is not a calorie.  Eating 600 calories from waffles is going to have a very different effect on the body compared to eating 600 calories from a steak and asparagus.  Not all calories are the same.  The same hold trues for our macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and protein.  Fats are not all the same.  Fructose is different from glucose when discussing carbohydrates, and protein from legumes are nothing like protein found in animal products.

Ever wonder what the difference is between saturated and unsaturated fats?  Not sure why soybean oil is bad for you?  Which carbs should I eat and why?  Chris Kresser’s article explains all of this.  It’s well worth it.  

9 Step to Perfect Health – #2 Nourish Your Body

Monday’s Workout

Intermediate skill:

Snatch complex

3 power snatches

3 snatch grip push presses behind the neck

3 overhead squats

15 minutes to reach your heaviest set for all 3 movements

Workout of the Day (WOD):
5 rounds, each 90 seconds long of:
50 double-unders
Max power snatches (115#/73# for women) the remainder of the round
Rest 1 minute between rounds

Score is total snatches

Beginner skill:

500 meter max effort row

Then double-under practice 

Beginner WOD:

5 rounds, each 90 seconds of:
75 single-unders
Max wall ball shots in the remainder of the time
Rest 1 minute between rounds

Score is total wall ball shots


CrossFit Homework

The more you put into CrossFit, the more you’ll get out of it.  Your progress with CrossFit, and thus your health and fitness, can be greatly improved by doing some homework.  

For most of us, CrossFit involves very new and technical movements (high skilled gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting).  CrossFit involves a new type of training that you may not be used to.  Many of you haven’t done high intensity training before, and it takes practice and mental toughness to work out like this.  To get better at movements and improve my training, I not only practice movements, but I watch videos and read articles on improving technique.  

Here are several websites that I use to help me with my training:

Catalyst Athletics – For all things Olympic weightlifting.  Great articles and video demos on pretty much every barbell lift.

Gymnastics WOD – Handstand push-ups, pistols, muscle-ups…great drills and progressions for developing these movements gaining greater body control.

Mobility WOD – For improving flexibility and position, and for recovery.  

Talk to Me Johnnie – A great resource for strength training, nutrition, attitude and mindset, and just general coolness.

Post some of your ‘CrossFit homework websites’ to the comments.

Friday’s Workout


Intermediate will do hang clean to thruster.  Deadlift the weight, then squat clean to a thruster. 
The bar cannot touch the ground inbetween reps
Workout of the Day (WOD):
12 Tabata minutes (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, alternating movements) of:
Dumbbell thrusters (45#/25# for women)
Box jumps (30″/24″ for women)
Count the lowest score, for each of the movements. 

Doing Something Other Than CrossFit?

“World Class 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, 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.  ~Greg Glassman

That’s CrossFit in 100 words.  Today I’d like to focus on the part that says “regularly learn and play new sports”.  CrossFit is awesome and it can create amazing results for you.  However, you need to mix it up and have fun with other things in life, even if you’re doing it with other CrossFit friends.  So I’d like to encourage you to try out new adventures in addition to CrossFit.

The Whole Life Challenge is in full force and one of the things that we need to get points is at least 10 minutes of  working out.  Not every workout has to be super high intensity that leaves you practically breathless on the floor.  So what are some ways in which you can get a good workout, get your heart rate going, and have fun without needing to come into the box?  Here are 5 activities you can do, in addition to CrossFit:

1)  Jog/walk the at the Rose Bowl –  It’s a 3 mile loop that if you just walk at a normal pace, it takes about one hour to complete.  It’s always full of people running and biking.  Wear your CrossFit Merge t-shirt and strike up a conversation with somebody new.  Or maybe invite your significant other to join you.  Bring your dog!  Get in a fun conversation, some sun and fresh air,  in addition to a great workout!

2)  Take a dance class –  Have it be salsa or tango or swing, get your booty rockin’!  It’s an absolute blast, it gets your heart rate going, and it might be a good excuse to ask that cute guy (or gal) out.  😉

3)  Bring out the wheels –  Go down to the Boardwalk in Venice and rollerblade down the beach.  Or maybe ride your bike.  Make it out to Muscle Beach and do a WOD with the bodybuilders 🙂  Get a tan while you’re at it 😉

4)  Take a rowing class –  This is an absolute blast!  Get out in the water, and experience what we experience on the rowing machines, for real.  You’ll hear the instructors tell you “Legs arms, arms legs” over and over…but it’s nice to smell the fresh ocean breeze and feel the sun on your skin.

5)  Moonlight Rollerway –  Bust out the knee pads and get in an hour of roller skating!  It can be so much fun.  And the DJ takes song requests!

What are some ways in which you get in your workout of the day when you don’t come into the box?  Post your ideas in the comments section and share with us!

All Classes:


Review Workout movements of:

Kipping for toes to bar and Sumo deadlift high pull

WOD #1:

7 min AMRAP of:
7 ring dips or hand release push-ups
7 kettlebell swings (70# for men/44# for women)

5 minutes rest


7 min AMRAP of:
7 toes to bar or v-ups
7 sumo deadlift high pulls (70# for men/44# for women – kettlebell)

Bring Yo Friends!

Mark your calendars, October 4th, 5th, and 6th, are Bring a Friend (or two) Days at CrossFit Merge.  

Any class, during any of those days, you are welcome to bring someone in to do a CrossFit workout.  These are a ton of fun and a great way to introduce CrossFit to someone.  So start putting the word out to your friends and family.

Bring a friend or just make some more friends at the gym.

Wednesday’s Workouts

Intermediate and Power Hours

5 rounds for max reps of:
-Max reps of back squats (225#/155# for women) or  ~ 70% of a 1 rep max
-Followed by an equal number of burpee box jumps (24″/20″ for women)
This workout is not for time, but you must finish all 5 rounds including the last set of burpee box jumps within 25 minutes.  
Score is the total number of back squats.
Beginner Class
Skill:  400 meter run test, rest equal time it takes you to complete the first run, then run 400 meters again.   
15 minute AMRAP of:
5 knees to elbows
10 wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)
15 sit-ups

Athlete Spotlight – Michael Kremin

I love my job. Seriously, I have the best job in the world. How often is it that people get to say that they come to work and see some of their favorite people on a daily basis? See them succeed, see them accomplish things they never thought possible, see them fall and get back up? I get to do it everyday! And among those favorite people is Michael Kremin. Michael is a gem of a man. He radiates such kindness and love. But don’t let that fool you! He’s one heck of a stud when it comes to woding it up at the box! There’s not a day in which he comes into the box without the desire to set a PR, accomplish something new, show the world just how awesome he really is. Every time he is at the gym, he makes the effort to brighten someone else’s day. Michael is simply wonderful. He’s the epitome of an athlete, a hard worker, and a friend. And without further ado, here’s Michael!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

A year and 3 or 4 months.

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

Last year, when I was relocating from Washington DC to Los Angeles, I started looking for a gym that would be a good fit for my style of working out. After trying several of the “big box chains” (and being completely turned off by the members and facilities) and interviewing a couple personal trainers, I came across CrossFit Merge while searching the web. I even drove by one evening to see what was happening before I set up an appointment. I was unfamiliar with Crossfit and did some research and the concepts appealed to me. I had done some TRX training with a personal trainer in DC and came close to buying the P90X disks to work out at home, so I thought it would be similar. As it turned out, it was much better than I expected. After meeting Bryce and doing an individual workout, I liked what I saw and felt. As I say, CrossFit Merge had me at first squat”!

What was your first CrossFit Merge WOD experience like?

I do not remember much about the first WOD other than being totally spent and thinking that I must be a complete masochist. I also realized that despite working out regularly at a gym and with a personal trainer, that I still needed more to achieve a higher level of fitness. I recognized that the intensity of CrossFit was lacking in all of the other workouts I had ever done before.

What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

How grateful I am to my family and friends for always being there for me and helping me achieve the successes I have had in life. I try not to take things for granted and strive to reciprocate whenever possible.

What is your greatest CrossFit Merge accomplishment thus far?

Graduating from Beginner to Intermediate level after about a year, LOL. Actually, I feel my greatest accomplishment has been the friendships and bonds that I have formed with so many Merge members. I am also pleased with the improved stamina, strength, and in my opinion, muscle definition that I have achieved from these workouts. This weekend I was able to do handstand push-ups, something I had not done since I was in college. That put a big smile on my face.

What is your favorite WOD and why?

I do not have a particularly favorite WOD. I have enjoyed some of the Merge “birthday” WODS. My favorite skills and routines keep changing as I learn more and gain confidence, but I will always entertain doing WODs that include various squats (front, back, overhead), box jumps, v-ups, burpees, and deadlifts.

Least favorite WOD and why?

I avoid WODs that have complex weightlifting skills, but as I learn more and practice more, I say to myself “bring it on!”. Wall ball shots/squats remain among my least favorite skills, though.

What advice would you give a new member?

If you are intimidated, just go with the flow, listen to the coaches, and appreciate the camaraderie of your fellow athletes. Expect to be sore after the WODs, especially for the first few months. Relax, focus, and have fun!

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

I probably think about Crossfit an inordinate amount of time each day – it is one of my obsessions, and I am certain many of my colleagues are tired of hearing about my workouts and classes. I try to get in a Crossfit class 3 times a week. On the non-Crossfit days I try to do stretching exercises or at a minimum, 10-20 minutes of squats, sit-ups, lunges, push-ups, etc. that I can do at home. I only occasionally watch videos or sports programs that feature CrossFit, but I do get into them when I do have the opportunity.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have many favorite movies, but at the top of the list are “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – the original romantic comedy, “To Kill a Mockingbird” – its focus on intolerance and prejudice, and “Slum Dog Millionaire” – because there is always hope for a better life.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?

On a beach in Nicaragua or Argentina with my family. My fondest memories are time spent with my aunts, uncles, and cousins at the undeveloped beaches.

What do you like to do for fun?

Crossfit, of course. But also trying out new restaurants (I am a total foodie), shopping (clothes horse), checking out museum and gallery exhibits, hiking, bicycling, and beach-combing.

If you could be any superhero who would you be? Why?

Aquaman, because I like the water. However, being Robin, Batman’s sidekick, has always been appealing.

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

Living a full life with family and good friends – not much different than the present.

Michael, you have enriched our lives with your wonderful spirit, charismatic personality and tender heart. In fact, we could easily say that you had US at first squat 😉 We couldn’t ask for more!! And the rest of you, if you haven’t met Michael, be sure to look for him as he’s setting PR’s!

Continue reading


When you’re warming up on a back squat, does your first rep with an empty barbell look the same as your last rep with 200+ pounds on the bar?  Between your first repetition and your 30th repetition, nothing should change on the movement.  The proper and safe mechanics should not change from rep to rep or from a lightweight to a heavyweight.  Consistency in your movements is a prerequisite for intensity in your movements.  

But even more important than consistency in movement is consistency in just showing up.  Here’s the cold, hard truth: your fitness goals are going to take time, practice, and a lot of work day in and day out.  You must establish consistency in your life that enables you to exercise on a regular basis.  It’s not necessarily the former college athlete, or the triathlete that makes the most progress in CrossFit.  Your athletic background matters much less compared to your consistency in just showing up and working out week after week.  

If you haven’t been as consistent in your exercising as you’d like, don’t fret over it.  It’s in the past.  The good news is that today, and every other day, is another opportunity to get back on track and in the gym.   

Intermediate Class:

Split jerk


3 handstand holds for max time between sets of jerks

Workout of the Day:

9 minute AMRAP ladder of:

4 pull-ups

1 clean and jerk (135/95# for women)

4 pull-ups

2 clean and jerks

4 pull-ups

3 clean and jerks…keep adding an additional clean and jerk every round.

All Levels & Beginner Class

1 push press + push jerk, 6 sets increasing the weight

Workout of the Day:

9 minute AMRAP ladder of:

3 pull-ups

1 dumbbell push press/jerk (45/25# for women)

3 pull-ups

2 push presses/jerks

3 pull-ups

3 push presses/jerks…keeping adding an additional push press/jerk every round

Fred and Kevin, two of the most consistent AM Wodders.  

Paleo Gone Wrong

Trying this Paleo gig can yield some pretty remarkable results.  Eating a diet comprised of meats and fish, loads of veggies, fruit, and then rounding it out with healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados can be your path toward a fitter, healthier, and better looking life.  But, and you knew a ‘but‘ was coming, you can take Paleo down the wrong path and end up not seeing your desired results.

Ways Paleo Can Go Wrong

1.  Fruit and Too Much of It – Fruit, it’s delicious, succulent, sweet…and it has a lot of sugar.  Just because fruit is Paleo does not mean you should sit down and finish off an entire watermelon.  Moderate the fruit, will ya?  And as a corollary, don’t drink fruit juices, it’s all the sugar but none of the fiber.  Just eat a piece of fruit instead.

2.  Getting Crazy with Nuts – Nuts are a good source for fat, and they can make a pretty convenient snack.  But that innocent handful of almonds can pretty easily turn into sucking down a whole pound of nuts.  No bueno.  Don’t turn into a vacuum cleaner on the nut consumption.

3.  Paleoizing Foods – A steak is just a steak, not a Paleo steak.  A salad is salad, not Paleo salad.  But if you find yourself chomping down on “Paleo cookies”, or your morning meals are a lot of “Paleo pancakes”, or “Paleo muffins”, then you’re definitely bending the rules.  You want your shopping cart to be loaded with meats and veggies, and not so much of almond flour and sugary dates.

4.  Paleo Snack Bars – These are becoming quite popular.  Their packaging has ‘Paleo’ emblazoned on them, but their ingredients usually include a lot of honey, dates, and nuts.  If fat loss is a goal, be careful with these.  

5.  BACON! – Okay, gang.  I know you all love bacon, and I think I saw one poll about how Bacon is making a serious run at surpassing Judaism as a popular religion, but don’t live off the stuff.  Bacon is cool and all, but think of it more as seasoning.  (That’s doesn’t mean you can’t sport your favorite bacon shirt to the gym.  Those are always welcomed.)

Friday’s Skill:


5 reps at 75% of a 5 rep max

5 reps at 80% of a 5 rep max

5 reps at 90% of a 5 rep max

5 reps at a new 5 rep max

Workout of the Day:

6 rounds for time of:

8 deadlifts (185#/115# for women)

100 meter run

8 box jumps (32″/24″ for women)

Laura is rocking the Whole Life Challenge…nutrition, exercise, mobility, attitude, she’s getting all her ducks in a row and is making great results.



Why Do You CrossFit?

We have all experienced CrossFit and have come to love it in one way or another.  There are things about CrossFit you can’t explain with mere words, you have to live it, experience it, breathe it to understand it.  So with that being said, why do you CrossFit?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

All pictures, courtesy of Again Faster Equipment.

Review the push press 10 minutes to warm-up to a heavy weight for the WOD.
Workout of the Day (WOD):
10 rounds, each round is 90 seconds long, (15 minutes total) of:
21 double-unders or 63 singles
7 pull-ups
5 shoulder to overhead (as heavy as possible)
Rest remainder of the round

What is CrossFit?

Ask 100 CrossFitters what CrossFit is and you’re likely to get about 100 different answers.  “It’s a killer workout…It’s all different sorts of movements done as fast as possible…It’s totally fun and gets you sore everywhere…It’s this exercise cult I belong to.”  You get the idea.

And what about when you try describing CrossFit to a friend?  How does that conversation go?  It’s hard to explain, right?  You probably just whip out your smart phone and show them a video of a CrossFit workout?

The exact definition of CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity.  Never has there been a more precise definition that has been pretty much useless in explaining itself.  But here are three videos that break down each of the three elements of CrossFit.  

Constantly Varied

Functional Movements

High Intensity

What do you think about these?  Does this make it easier to understand and explain CrossFit?  Would you show these to a friend if they wanted to know more about CrossFit?  How would you describe what CrossFit is?  

Post a one sentence answer in the comments to the question of “What is CrossFit?”

Wednesday’s Workout

Intermediate and Power Hour

Part 1:  Power Clean – Find a new 1 rep max

Part 2:  20 second AMRAP of ring dips x 3

Part 3:  6 rounds for max reps of:

1 minute of 3 power cleans at 70% of the new 1 rep max followed by max front squats

1 minute rest after each round

Score total front squats and the weight

Beginner Class



10 minute AMRAP of:

7 goblet squats

5 push-ups

7 sumo deadlift high pulls

5 push-ups

Is this CrossFit or rehearsal for the latest Kid N Play movie?

Easy and Delicious Sausage Frittata

The WLC is on and we need to toss around ideas to help each other out….SO here’s a fun and easy recipe that can be prepared for yummy breakfast!!!  

Easy and Delicious Sausage Frittata

by Sarah Fragoso –


Sometimes the simplest of recipes are the best crowd pleasers and this frittata was a home run in our house!  Rowan, Jaden, and Coby all voted this “The Best Frittata Ever” so therefore, I must share it with all of you. It’s way too easy by the way, so no need to even fully wake up before you read and make this meal.

Sausage Frittata

1 pound mild Italian sausage (we used our fresh pork in the freezer from our recent half a hog purchase that I mention in my Basil Pork Burger post but also check out US Wellness Meats for quality sausage options!)

Easy and Delicious Sausage Frittata

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated

4 green onions, diced

10 eggs

3 tablespoons coconut oil

Pepper to taste

1. In a large oven proof skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.

2. Crumble in the sausage (remove from casing if necessary) and brown.

3. Add the shredded sweet potato and cook until the potatoes are tender.

4. Add the diced green onion and saute together with the sausage and sweet potatoes for another 2-3 minutes.

5. Evenly spread the sausage mixture over the bottom of the pan. Whisk together the eggs, and pour evenly over the meat, sweet potato, and green onion mixture. Sprinkle all over with black pepper.

6. Cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbly and you can see that the edges of the frittata are almost done.

7. Transfer to the oven and cook under the broiler on low until the frittata is cooked all the way through.

As always, enjoy!

Intermediate’s Skill:


Hang snatch


Workout of the Day (WOD):

10 min amrap:
4 hang power snatches (95# for men/63# for women)
6 overhead squats
8 bar facing burpees

All levels and beginner’s Skill:

Back squat


Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 min amrap:
100 meter run
8 back squats (75/53) taken from the ground then placed on back
6 lateral hop burpees over the barbell

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