Monthly Archives: August 2013

Injury And The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum

This issue hits awfully close to home lately. Here’s a great article by Logan Gelbrich for The Box Magazine regarding the issue of training hard and avoiding injury.


You know that least-talked-about model for determining who is fit and who isn’t? Yup, it’s the idea that there is a spectrum on which we all have a place. On one extreme end there is true sickness, and on the opposite end there is true fitness, while somewhere in the middle is this idea of “wellness.”


Logic, then, says that the more fit one is, the less sick he/she is. Also, the more sick one is, the less fit he/she is. The model doesn’t just stop there, either. With concrete health markers like body fat percentage, triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol, etc., we can get an aggregate level of sickness or fitness.


An interesting thought experiment with this is the role of injury in this spectrum. At least temporarily, it seems as though injury is one abrupt way to slide down the continuum away from fitness. Though blood levels and such may remain unchanged, at least immediately, a significant injury could hinder fitness quite drastically in an instant.


If you disagree, let’s vacate the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum for a moment and put an injury to the test in some of CrossFit’s other fitness models. A broken foot would cut my agility in half, for example. A bulging disk would cripple nearly all 10 general physical skills, capacity in any metabolic pathway and make redundant virtually any activity that could come out of the hopper model. Recently, I tore my biceps and was inspired to write this article, in part, because I seemingly went from being an extremely fit individual to losing what felt like a fourth of my capacity almost in an instance.

Think about a neck injury, say from a car accident. One moment an athlete has a fitness level of X and literally has a fitness level of .5X moments after impact.

So, what does this mean?

It may mean nothing. Or, it could mean a great deal about how we go about our business. If we can agree that injury directly inhibits fitness in a very logical, scientific, CrossFit-style approach to the definition of fitness, it seems as though it’s a master worth listening to. Sure, Twinkies and pizza can eat away at one’s position on the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum, but not even nutrition that poor can compete with the speed at which a significant injury can take a bite out of one’s capacity.

If we’re going to be nutrition, sleep and hormone Nazis, shouldn’t we at least be injury police, too? Relative to the impact of the two on our fitness, it sure seems so. Now, I’m not saying that folks have no regard for injury, but I think it’s worth using the definition of fitness in the vernacular that we all know to elevate the importance of injury-free training.

What else can have such an impact on your position on the spectrum of sickness, wellness and fitness?

— Logan Gelbrich

Friday 8/30

Skill: Press


5 Rounds of:

15 Box jump overs

15 Push presses (95#/63# for women)

Rest 30 seconds between rounds


Please Take Note

The Whole Life Challenge is less than 10 days away, and we have some important details to cover for our participants.  

Saturday, August 31st, at 1pm, we are holding a Whole Life Challenge Q&A.  

Not sure how the game works?  Want to know about the bonus points?  Need a team to join?  Or maybe you need some tips on how to tackle this eight week challenge?  If so, then please come to this meeting.  

We will answer all your questions, explain how the baseline workout will work, and also explain how are weekly events will run.  

This will be our best Whole Life Challenge yet, and you can rest assured that we have you covered on all levels.  

Then on Saturday, September 7th, from 10am to 12pm, we will have our baseline Whole Life Challenge workout, aka Occupy Strength: Merge Edition.  Clear your schedules, because while we will have a make-up day, you won’t want to miss the energy and excitement that will go down on September 7th.  

It’s not too late to sign-up and join the cool kids.  



All Levels and Beginner Classes

Skill: Deadlift



From the CrossFit Merge Summer Throwdown 2012

For time:

30 burpees

Then 3 rounds of:

10 deadlifts (205#/123# for women)

Run the short block

Then finish with 30 wall ball shots (20# ball 11′ target/14# ball 9′ target for women)

Women’s Class

Skill: Back squat

5×5 at 80% of 1 rep max

10 ring rows in between sets


12 minute AMRAP of:

10 burpees

15 kettlebell swings (44#)

30 double-unders

Advanced Class

CrossFit USAW Workout

Find a 1 rep max snatch in 3 attempts

Find a 1 rep max clean and jerk in 3 attempts

10 minute AMRAP of:

6 cleans (55 kg/30 kg for women)

12 pull-ups

24 double-unders

Check out 45 seconds in to find Lindsey Benson, now Lindsey Valenzuela, when she was an unknown and first came onto the scene.

Is The Whole Life Challenge For You?

On September 7, we will be staring The Whole Life Challenge!

 It’s a chance for you to challenge yourself, your family and friends, and challenge the world!


The Whole Life Challenge is an all encompassing physical and mental challenge, available to CrossFit Merge members, friends, and families.  This is an 8 week challenge of your overall health and commitment.  Nutrition, exercise, mobility, recovery, lifestyle…all of it will be tested and improved.

Obviously you’re going to say, “well, Marianoel, you’re a coach, of course you want me to do this.” But don’t me convince you about what a positive change this will have in your life.  Let Jane, one of the winners of the WLC tell you all about it:

It’s all or nothing…


I joined my 1st challenge in the fall of 2012, and I never expected the impact this would have on me. Bryce approached me about joining WLC because he knew I was struggling with my food consumption and my main goal, “weight loss”. THANK YOU BRYCE!! After much research and soul searching, I decided to sign up. The first few weeks were truly a test for me. I had headaches, cravings, constant hunger, fatigue, weakness; nausea took over and was especially crabby. The sweet ladies at work were constantly offering me coffee and made sure we had an abundance of brewed coffee to help me along the way. I learned that having meals planned really helped. Sundays were my grocery shopping and cooking days. It made such a difference to start the week off prepared vs. scrambling throughout the week to stay compliant. What also helped me were the reflections of my fellow mergers that were participating alongside me. It made me realize my issues were NOT THAT unique and this was something most all of us were all experiencing. And of course brain-picking fellow mergers for their recipes; what they were doing to curve their cravings, etc. So much info comes out of this. Here, I came to the conclusion that this is not achievable without community and support of loved ones. I started educating my friends and family about WLC so they were well informed on what it was and why I was doing this. I made sure to emphasize how important this was for me. Thereafter, they made sure to have compliant foods for me for events or if we went out to eat they were courteous enough to let me have my pick of restaurants so that I may stay compliant. It is important to educate those that are close to you about the WLC. It makes the challenging task a bit easier, and also helps when it comes to sparing feelings of friends and family for turning down their foods. Of course, I had to remember all this is very helpful and is essential but I still needed to make sure I was in check and be accountable, determined and consistent throughout the challenge. I have an “It’s all or nothing approach”(so I’m told) for most things in my life. It has its positives and negatives, but this is the approach I took with WLC. Just took a deep breath, recognized why I was doing this, and jumped right in “all or nothing”. It worked for me. The humbling and awesome part of this was seeing all the changes in everyone participating in the box. I was lucky enough to witness and most of all be a part of it. I say try it once. If you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to do it again, but I doubt that’d be the case. I am gearing up to join for the 3rd super excited about it. What does one have to lose? There is much more we gain from participating in my opinion, and it opens your eyes to your capabilities, drive, and determination. Little did I know that I possessed these qualities at this caliber. A lot of my friends and family tell me I am such a different person today versus a year ago; not only in appearance but my thought process as well. I think it’s the highest form of compliment I can receive at this point in my life. Whoo hoo!!! Let’s do this!!

YOUR TIME IS NOW!!! NOW!  Register yourself and friends today! 


All Levels/Intermediate Skill:

Weighted Pull ups

Beginning Skill:

Kipping Handstand Push Ups

Workout of the Day (WOD):

800m Run


3 Rounds of

10 KB Swings (70/44)


800m Run



Back Squat


We’ve Got You Covered

We have a lot of your friends and family members signed up for the Whole Life Challenge.  That’s awesome, because not only are you an influential person to those around you, but you are helping people improve their lives.  And to make it easy in setting your friends up for success, we’re going to provide them with an eight week workout guide, for FREE.

The eight week Whole Life Challenge now comes with eight weeks of workouts, so you don’t have to worry about what workouts to do.  All the workouts are scalable, up or down.  All you have to do is follow them.  Minimal equipment needed, just a stop watch and sometimes a jump rope.  We’re also going to provide video demonstrations of movements, so you’re not lost during these workouts.  

We will email you the eight week workout guide to all the Whole Life Challenge participants on Friday, August 30th.  Be sure to check your inboxes.  The Whole Life Challenge begins 10 days!



All Levels and Beginner Class

Skill:  Overhead squats


Intermediate  Class

Skill:  2 power snatches + 2 overhead squats



For time:

200 meter run

9 pull-ups

21 overhead squats (95#/63# for women)

400 meter run

15 pull-ups

15 overhead squats

800 meter run

21 pull-ups

9 overhead squats

Mobility Mondays

And we’re back with more mobility drills! This week, we’re focusing on wrists 😀 How many of you have soreness in your wrists while doing overhead work? Or maybe during burpees/push ups? Ring dips? How about your front rack position when trying to do front squats?  All that could stem from lack of wrist mobility. Here are a few tips on how to target that weakness and not only get rid of pain, but possibly improve lifts!

In the video, you’ll hear Kelly often times talk about PNF. In case you don’t know what that is, here’s a definition 🙂

PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, are stretching techniques commonly used in clinical environments to enhance both active and passive range of motion with the ultimate goal being to optimize motor performance and rehabilitation. The literature regarding PNF has made the technique the optimal stretching method when the aim is to increase range of motion, especially in short-term changes. Generally an active PNF stretch involves a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle to place the target muscle on stretch. This is followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle. PNF can be used to supplement daily stretching and is employed to make quick gains in range of motion to help athletes improve performance.[1] Aside from being safe and time efficient, the dramatic gains in range of motion seen in a short period of time may also promote compliance with the exercise and rehabilitation program.[2]

So what does that mean? Basically, it means relax-contract the muscle. That will help you increase mobility. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up via email or at the box and I’ll show you 🙂

This video is a tad bit longer, so if you don’t have time to sit through the whole thing, start it at about minute 5 and get the exercises.

Keep up the good work!



All Levels/Beginner/Intermediate Skill:

2 Front squats + 1 Push press/jerk

Workout of the Day (WOD):

Complete the following number of reps:



Power cleans & push jerks (165# for men/115# for women)

Between each round athletes must complete 1 round of:

8 burpees

4 pistols

1 rope climb

Gearing Up

The Whole Life Challenge is upon us.  The time is now to start thinking of ways to strategize in order to be successful.  I decided early on, that if I was going to do this, I would have to figure out a way to make it fun.  I see it as an opportunity to not only actively participate in good health, but to try new recipes, and learn how to cook better.  I’ve already started experimenting and I can honestly say that not only have I learned to cook better already, but I’m having so much fun with this that I could see myself sticking to this for the rest of my life.  


Homemade Sriracha.  It is absolutely delightful on almost everything and is quite possibly the greatest condiment ever invented.  That’s right Heinz, you heard me!  I’m working on a WLC compliant version as we speak.   Oh yeah that’s pork shoulder sittin pretty in a nice brine.  If you’ve never tried brining anything, I suggest you start immediately.  It enhances the flavor exponentially.  


Brined pulled pork with homemade bone broth, sriracha.  Over the top amazing.  


Lamb Shanks from Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo Family cookbook.  By far the most delicious dish I’ve ever made myself.  

I encourage all of you to start gearing up as the Whole Life Challenge approaches.  Use the resources available.  Keep an eye out for group cooking sessions, potlucks, and other CrossFit Merge outings.  Need a recipe or 5?  Hit me up.  Heck, I might even make it for you.  Part of my plan is to make myself available to others who need help.  How’s that for resources?



This WOD had the epic energy seen only at a CrossFit Merge throwdown.


Good times, post WOD at Merge.


Chalk up!


All Levels Skill:  Clean – find new 1 rep max

Workout of the Day (WOD):



Cleans (135# for Men/93# for Women)

Ring Dips

Beginner Skill:

Hang Clean


Beginner Workout of the Day (WOD):

21-15-9 reps of:

Goblet Squats

Kettlebell Swings

Push Ups

Can You Spot The Fake?

Take a look at this photo.

This was from an article entitled 17 Signs You’re Obsessed With CrossFit.  

They forgot to add sign number 18, which is you automatically critique the horrible form in a “CrossFit” article photo, especially photos like the one in this article.

Why this so-called trainer is focused on her back when her basic setup does not even resemble anything close to a proper barbell movement, is beyond me.  But what do I know?

Shantanu was in shock after reading that article.  


All Levels and Beginner Class


4 sets of run 400 meter, rest 30 seconds, then AMRAP of:

Handstand push-ups (Set 1)

Ring dips (Set 2)

Pull-ups (Set 3)

Toes to Bar (Set 4)

Rest 2 minutes between sets


12 minute AMRAP of:

6 pull-ups

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

100 meter run

Intermediate athletes upscale to unbroken pull-ups and wall ball shots

Women’s Class

Skill:  Push press



15 minute AMRAP of:

5 push presses (93#)

10 hand release push-ups

15 ring rows

Advanced Class

‘Unbroken 2.0’

7 rounds for time of:

4 handstand push-ups

5 cleans (135#/105# for women)

6 chest to bar pull-ups

7 kettlebell swings (70#/53# for women)

You must complete all movements unbroken

Bowling Extravaganza & Bon Voyage Mateo!


It’s not everyday we have the wonderful opportunity of meeting awesome, like-minded individuals that in one way or another enhance our lives.  Well, CrossFit Merge has had the privilege of having Mateo be one of those amazing people in our box.  His attitude, willingness, and determination are assets that have made our CrossFit Merge team a wonderful and fun one!  We hate to see you go back, but we can’t wait to have you with us during the holiday season.  We’ll miss you and good luck with your last year of college!  So in addition to that, we’d like to extend A BIG, BIG thank you to Mateo for organizing such a fabulous outing last Saturday night.  Mergers came out to Chatteu 39 Lanes and showed the world what great bowlers and video game players crossfitters can be!! 😀  Once again, a successful and fun event for CrossFit Merge goes down in the books.  Thanks Mateo for all your hard work organizing!


Warm up:

CrossFit Warm Up:

10 overhead squats
10 dips
10 pull ups
10 sit ups
10 back extensions


Review Snatch

Workout of the Day (WOD):

CrossFit Games Open 13.1

17 minute AMRAP of:
40 Burpees
30 Snatches (75/45)
30 Burpees
30 snatches (135/75)
20 Burpees
30 snatches (165/100)
10 burpees
120/210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

Olympic Lifting Class:


One rep max Bear Complex:

Bear Complex:

Without stopping or dropping the bar, complete the following sequence:

Power Clean;
Front Squat;
Push Press (have bar land behind head, in rear-rack position);
Back Squat;
Push-Press (have bar land on chest, in front-rack position).

Workout of the Day (WOD):

6 min AMRAP:

Bear Complex (155/103)


Arien practicing the Low Bar Back Squat!


Deone getting below parallel!

Competition Program

Quick reminder that we are holding an informational meeting this Saturday, August 24th, at 1pm on our new Competition program.  If you are interested in competing in the numerous local CrossFit competition, if you have your eyes set on the CrossFit Games Open in 2014, or maybe you just want to significantly raise your game and challenge yourself, then you should attend this meeting.

And speaking of competition, registration for the Legendary Competitor events is open.  If you’re interested in these local competitions, talk to one of the CrossFit Merge coaches.



All Levels and Intermediate Classes

Skill:  Low bar back squat



For time:

20 double-unders

10 deadlifts (use 60% of 3 rep max)

10 push-ups

20 double-unders

9 deadlifts

9 push-ups…continue until

20 double-unders

1 deadlift

1 push-up

Upscale to unbroken double-unders

Beginner Workout:

20 double-unders

10 back squats

10 push-ups

20 double-unders

9 back squats

9 push-ups…continue until

20 double-unders

1 back squat

1 push-up

Mobility Mondays

So far, in our Mobility Mondays blog, we’ve targeted the hips, the shoulders, and this week we’ll be focusing on the ankles.  You can have excellent hip mobility, but if your ankles aren’t letting you move around efficiently, you won’t have full range of mobility.  Imagine how much more weight you’d be able to lift if you were using full range of motion?! 10-15 minutes a day guys…that’s all it takes!


Warm up:

CrossFit Warm Up:

10 overhead squats
10 dips
10 pull ups
10 sit ups
10 back extensions


Power Cleans
*touch and go, no re-gripping

Workout of the Day (WOD):

6 rounds of:

1 minute of work
3 power cleans + AMRAP of front squats (65%-70% of 1 rep max front squat)
1 minute of rest

Beginners Skill:

Hang Power Clean

Workout of the Day (WOD):

6 rounds of:
1 minute of work
3 hang dumbbell cleans + AMRAP of front squats
1 minute of rest

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