Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tips for Success

And for your viewing pleasure…here are some pics of the awesome peeps that came to WOD it up in costumes!

And now  a great Post from CrossFit Invictus:

Tips for Successful Goal Setting and Achievement
Written by Nichole DeHart

Goal setting is an incredibly important task but is not widely used. Goal setting is incredibly effective and can provide clarity and focus not only for the future, but also for the present. The process provides structure and direction when working towards a stated purpose.  Goal setting also provides motivation and can help you organize your time and resources so that you can make the most of your efforts. I recently read this statement on a blog and thought it reflected the true essence of goal setting: “Set goals that yield a positive effect on your life whenever you think about them, long before the final outcome is actually achieved.  Treat goal-setting as a way to enhance your present reality, not as a way to control the future.”

Here are six steps that have helped me not only identify and set my goals, but also accomplish my goals! There is nothing better then setting a goal, having perseverance to stay on track and finally accomplishing it. Okay, here are my six steps:

  1. Identify what your values are. This is important because you need to make sure your goal is in line with your values. Identify your core priorities and make sure your goal doesn’t detract from your overall values. Instead, your goal should support your values and work in harmony with them.
  2. Identify what it is that your really want. Be very specific; don’t leave any room for questioning later down the road. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. Once you identify what it is that you really want (this can be a challenge within itself), then set your goal.
  3. Write your goal down and share it with a loved one. Make your goal visible so that you can have daily reminders to stay focused. This is very helpful because when you don’t write a goal down, it tends to become obtuse. The goal suddenly shifts depending on your circumstances at the time, gets pushed to the side if it is inconvenient and can change from its original purpose. If your goal is written down and shared with someone then you can be held accountable for your goal. Your goal now becomes real and not just an idea that never comes to fruition.
  4. Be precise when setting your goal. Give your goal a deadline and give your goal dates, amounts, times, etc. so that you can measure your progress.
  5. Identify how you are going to accomplish your goal. This is important. Anyone can set a goal but not everyone can accomplish a goal.  You must identify how you are going to reach your goal. Are you not drinking alcohol for the next 30 days? Then write out how you will stay on track for those 30 days (don’t go to certain restaurants where it is tempting to drink, prepare a polite reply to decline alcohol when it is offered, etc.) Anticipate any roadblocks that may come along and find ways to overcome those roadblocks.
  6. Build a support group. It is crucial to have support when you are trying to achieve something that takes perseverance, dedication and determination. Your support group should be made up of people who have your best interest at heart. They can help motivate you and provide encouragement along your journey to success. They also provide needed accountability. Identify those who detract from your stated goal and try to eliminate their influence as much as possible.

These six steps have helped me set attainable goals and will hopefully get you started on your own journey to goal setting. Here are a few resources that have been helpful when setting goals:

If you have other techniques that have helped you set goals, stay motivated to accomplish your goals and/or have any success stories then please share them in the comments section.

Happy goal setting!

Beginner and All Levels Classes

Push Jerks
4 rounds for time of:
21 kettlebell swings (53/35)
12 push jerks/presses (115/78)
Short block run

Happy Halloween

The zombie apocalypse is here. How would you use your CrossFit fitness to survive? Would you out run the undead zombies? Maybe you would bust some zombie heads with a kipping leg kick to the face? Or maybe you would take your speed rope and double-under whip some zombies to death.

Post how CrossFit has prepared you to survive when the zombies come for your brains. By the way, who knew that zombies were in to paleo eating?

Happy Halloween. Check out the teeth on this pumpkin I carved a few years back.

Wednesday’s Workout

Back squat

3 x 5 (same weight for all 3 sets of 5 reps)

Then choose your death by:


Thrusters (95#/63# for women)

Wall ball shots (20#/14# for women)


Power cleans (115#/78# for women)

The Mental Benefits of Exercise

Be sure to get your WOD in! Looking good is not the only reason why you’d want to show up consistently 😉




All Classes


Deadlift – 15 minutes to build up to a 2 rep max.


10 reps down to 1 of:

Deadlifts (~60% of the skill weight)

Box jumps (24/20)

Wall ball shots (20/14)

OHS Monday

Monday’s Workouts


Overhead squat



For time:

50 double-unders, then:

10-8-6-4-2 reps of:

Overhead squats (135#/93# for women)

Chest to bar pull-ups

Then finish with 50 double-unders.

Beginner & All Levels




13 minute AMRAP of:

7 dumbbell front squats (45#/25# for women)

13 jumping pull-ups

45 single-unders


So you’ve probably already seen this, but if for some cruel reason your work blocks Facebook and you haven’t seen it, here you go:

Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups

And here’s what thinks about it.

“Why can’t you do pull-ups?” – video [wmv] [mov] [HD mov]

If anyone wishes to do a pull-up, I will get you there.  It will take time and a ton of work, but you will do a pull-up, guaranteed.

Friday’s Workout

Skill:  Push press

5-4-3-2-1 rep

Handstand practice between sets


10 min AMRAP of:

6 push presses/jerks (115#/73# for women)

10 toes to bar

30 double-unders

CrossFit and Functionality

CrossFit is all about learning how to move efficiently.  In fact, as CrossFitters, we pride ourselves in knowing that all we do is a functional movement.  As a matter of fact, it not only  improves our ability to CrossFit, but more importantly, it improves our ability to become efficient in our daily lives.  

According to, “CrossFit is built around functional movements, which mimic how we stand, step, and move through everyday life. According to Tony Budding, CrossFit Director of Media and Co-Director of the CrossFit Games, “We have evolved a set of standards for movement that are the most effective, efficient, and safe we know of.” So unlike crunching on a BOSU ball (how often are we doing that in the kitchen?), these strength and balance exercises aim to improve daily activity, making us stronger everywhere— not just at the gym.”

Andrew can back squat an insane amount of weight:

All that hard work and training has prepared him for this; to be able to back squat his friends in Vegas! 😀

CrossFit is simply awesome, wouldn’t you say? 🙂 

How does CrossFit translate into your daily life?  Post thoughts in comments section.

Thursday Skill:

Turkish Get-up – find a 3 rep max. Use any arm, just up and down for 3 reps.

Workout of the Day (WOD):

12 minute ascending ladder AMRAP of:

1 clean (full squat) (95/63)
1 kettlebell swing (70/53)
2 cleans
2 swings…keeping increasing the reps by 1.

Fitness versus Sport

When first came online in the early 2000s, it was about top level fitness…constantly varied, functional movements, performed at relatively high intensity.  You would do the workout of the day  (WOD).  The WOD is one workout.  It could be a heavy barbell lift like a back squat, or it could be a couplet or triplet of movements, like a combination pull-ups, push presses, and running done for time.  Workouts are shorter and more intense than an easy jog on a treadmill.  Every fourth day is a rest day to allow the body to recover in order to get stronger, faster, and fitter.  The CrossFit diet consists of meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.  This is CrossFit for fitness.

The overwhelming majority of people doing CrossFit do so for improved fitness.  These people want to live healthy and productive lives, feel good, look good, and be prepared for whatever life may throw at them.

In the past few years we have seen the birth and slow maturation of CrossFit the sport.  CrossFit the sport is for serious athletes that do CrossFit on a competitive level outside of just their local box.  They may train multiples times throughout the day.  They may periodize their training to prepare for the competition season.  They will target their weaknesses, learn and perfect high skilled gymnastic and weightlifting movements, and train with a wide array of equipment (atlas stones, yokes, tires) and modalities (swimming, biking, etc.)  They probably perform not just at high intensity, but at max intensity during a competition workout.  In a competition like The CrossFit Games, that includes more than 10 workouts in three days, competitors are not really improving their fitness level during such a grueling event but are instead testing their fitness at the very highest level.  This is CrossFit the sport.

For the record, I love CrossFit the sport.  I salute top CrossFit athletes.  My hat is off to them.  They are the best at what they do and they surely work their ass off to get there.  And it’s a blast to see it first hand.  Unfortunately, it’s very easy to conflate CrossFit the sport with CrossFit for fitness.  People see photos or videos of someone like Rich Froning and think that’s what CrossFit is all about.

But this is CrossFit the sport and only a small percentage of CrossFitters fit into this category.  CrossFit for fitness is when people come to CrossFit Merge and get healthier and fitter than they were last week, last month, or last year.  It’s setting personal records on a deadlift, despite never having lifted a barbell prior to coming in.

CrossFit for fitness is overcoming fears and seeing the remarkable things the body is capable of.

So next time you see the CrossFit Games on television, or you come across a ridiculous photo from some local CrossFit competition, remember the difference between the CrossFit for fitness and CrossFit the sport.

And remember, CrossFit the sport, even for the very elite, can also be pretty damn stupid and unsafe.  As a coach, I can confidently say that there is nothing CrossFit (sport or otherwise) about this.    


All Classes

Skill: deadlift


Workout of the Day:

4 rounds for max reps of:
30 sec max hang power cleans (50/30# dumbbells)
30 sec rest
30 sec max strict pull-ups (bands are okay but still must be strict)
30 sec rest
30 sec max burpees
30 sec rest

Athlete Spotlight – Chris Molnar

One of my favorite things is getting to do the Athlete Spotlight.  I get to find out so many neat things about all of you, and this time is no exception!  Chris is one of our newer members, but he has embraced the CrossFit ideals like very few newbies have done.  He’s become one of our 6:30 am regulars, always comes in with a great attitude and lots of energy.  Chris is extremely consistent, logs all his WODs, even takes monthly photographs to track improvement!  If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.  

Ladies and gentlemen…here’s Chris Molnar!

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I’ve been doing Crossfit for 3 months

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

When I decided to change from a gym to Crossfit, I did a search online to find a Crossfit gym near my house.  That afternoon I drove over, talked with Bryce and started Crossfit the next morning.

What was your first CrossFit WOD experience like?

I had no idea what to expect for my first WOD.  It included box jumps, burpees and Wall Ball Shots.  It was definitely challenging, but not enough to turn me off from Crossfit.  A great intro to the gym.  Though it’s where I first learned to hate Wall Ball Shots…

What is your greatest CrossFit accomplishment thus far?

My greatest accomplishment so far is running a mile in 6:38.  Typically I’m at 8-10min, so was pretty happy with my time.  Just can’t wait to beat it next time we run!

What is your favorite WOD and why?

For some reason I enjoy pull-ups, so I like WODs with those included.  I’m not quite there without bands yet, but hopefully I will be soon

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

My least favorite WOD is anything with Wall Ball Shots.  Give me anything but Wall Ball Shots!

What advice would you give a new member?

A piece of advice I’d give to new members is go at Crossfit with all you have.  You’re not going to get much out of it if you’re only coming every so often and not putting in your full effort while you’re there.  Luckily, I haven’t seen really any of that at Merge (the supportive atmosphere helps with that). Just like everything else in life, you’re only going to get out of it what you put in.

How many hours of the day do you spend thinking about CrossFit? (Asleep or awake…)

I’d say I think about Crossfit for a few hours a day, especially if I miss a class.  It tends to come up in conversation at least once a day (okay… maybe I bring it up and how much I like it, no matter how forced into the conversation it may be…) Haven’t started having Crossfit dreams yet…

What kind of music do you like to workout to?

I like to workout to 90s music (Weezer, Greenday) , something upbeat and familiar to me.  Throw in some happy, cheesy songs and some classic oldies (Billy Joel, Billy Idol) and for me that’s a great workout mix

What was your favorite movie and why?

Mememto is my favorite movie.  I like the idea of doing a movie non-linearly and making the audience think about what’s going on and figuring out what’s happening in a non-standard fashion.  It’s a unique and bold way of telling a story and I like it.

Thanks for being such an asset to our CrossFit Merge community, Chris.  It’s people like you, with your dedication and passion, that makes our box such an awesome place.  Keep up the good work!


All Classes:


Back Squat


Workout of the Day (WOD):


150 wall ball shots (20# for men/14# for women)



Friday’s Workout

Skill: 3 front squats + 1 thruster

5 sets, increasing the weight each set

Workout of the Day

12 minute AMRAP:

7 power cleans (135#/93# for women)
7 front squats (135#/93# for women)
30 double-unders

PR’s every day?

A great article from Katie Hogan.

We CrossFitters are PR-junkies so I know I have your attention. It feels good to improve. There is satisfaction, pride even, when your hard work leads to measurable results. Progress is success and PRs (personal records) are how we track our progress.

This quest for constant improvement is built into the CrossFit program. CrossFitters are expected to track benchmarks such as their max effort lifts and results for “the Girls” workouts. These come up periodically in training and the goal is of course to better your previous effort.

We track all of the data we can: weights, reps, time, food, sleep, etc. and we keep comparing and working to make ourselves better every time we step into the gym. But to PR everyday doesn’t mean 1-rep max lifts and Fran all week long. In my training, I have an ongoing Indicator List that covers a broad range of skills and workouts.

I might have something like a max height box jump, or as many 24″ box jumps as possible in 2min. On the list I have what the indicator is, when I last completed it, and what my result was. After reattempting anywhere from 6-12 weeks later I’ll track what my new (and hopefully improved) result is.

I have seen this work well with my group classes as well as with athletes I coach online. I continually throw out little check-ins where it’s no longer a race to the finish line, but each athlete’s individual quest to better themselves.

Katie Hogan Bench Press

The reason this is an Indicator List and not a PR list is because while it does give you an accurate record of your best efforts, you are using it as a check-in on your training and an assessment of where you may need to focus more attention. You can put almost anything on the list – Tabata bupees, 2 mile run, max strict pull-ups, 2010 Games wod with hspus and cleans…you get the idea.

As a CrossFit athlete I train to not specialize in any one thing. Which also means I need to be good at everything. These indicators show me where I may need to adjust my training and exactly what I need to work on. I don’t just tell my coach “oh, I’m not good at hspus” – I can tell him exactly when my technique fails.

Whether it’s in longer workouts that I loose stamina overall, or when I go for bigger sets and I loose my technique, or that I’m in the habit of resting too much and need to practice getting back on the wall when I’m tired.

The video above is of me adding a new indicator to my list. 15 push jerks at 155lb in as few sets as possible. I got it in 1 set, so next time I’m going heavier.

Creating an Indicator List is a great way to track progress and keep improving across all areas. Get a diverse and specific list of what your indicators are, check-in with at least one thing every day you train to see your progress, and keep PRing at everything!

Thursday’s Skill:

Spend 10 minutes on mobility work.  
Workout of the Day (WOD): 
In 8 minutes, run 800 meters, 30 v-ups, then max kettlebell swings (70/44)
Rest 3 minutes
In 5 minutes, run 400 meters, 20 v-ups, then max kbs
Rest 3 minutes
In 3 minutes, run 200 meters, 10 v-ups, then max kbs

Score is total kettlebell swings