DSCF Programming Updates

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on DSCF Programming Updates
2017Q2 Programming Preview (Week 1-3)
2017Q2 Programming Preview (Week 4-6)
2017Q2 Programming Preview (Week 7-9)
2017Q2 Programming Preview (Week 10-11)

(download the PDF version here: http://www.divisionstcrossfit.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2017Q2-DSCF-Programming.pdf)

Beginning today, we will be welcoming a few updates to our programming for Q2 2017:


Conditioning Workout Design

Most notably of this quarter’s changes, Coach Lucas will be designing all Conditioning workouts. Between his years of CrossFit training and programming design, he has built the experience and knowledge necessary for writing challenging and effective metcons. His affinity for simple yet efficient couplets and triplets will create the backbone to our training, in the same way those ideas have made the CrossFit training methodology so potent. We look forward to seeing your fitness improvements from this change!


Murph Day 2017 Training

Murph Day 2017 will likely be Saturday, June 3rd, so, like last year, we have planned specific Murph-training metcons which build upon each other in preparation of the event. The nine blacked-out Conditioning workouts in the schedule above represent those days. Between these metcons and the days in which pull-ups and push-ups are programmed in our Strength training, those planning on participating at Murph should target these days to train. Until then, keep your eyes open for the official Murph Day 2017 announcement!


Strength Training Updates

The Strength training planned for Q2 2017 follows the same design principles as described in the previous “DSCF Strength Programming Explained” post but has undergone another round of adjustments over the previous two quarters. Some of the changes include:

    • wave sets (a style of set/rep programming where a sequence of sets with decreasing number of reps per set is repeated again at a heavier weight per set)
    • unilateral dumbbell work is spread out more evenly throughout the initial volume phase weeks
    • jerk training is introduced earlier and more frequently in the quarter
    • overhead squat training is included in some of the squat and snatch training days
    • deadlift training is extended deeper into the quarter
    • lighter intensity strength training days have been placed into certain weeks to better facilitate the possibility of training more frequently


Accessory Strength/Size/Skill (“S3”) Programming

(this programming may be performed in classes instead of the Conditioning – aim to perform at least 2 out of the 3 movements due to possible time constraints)

For this quarter, we will be experimenting with additional, accessory strength programming. This training is intended to augment the day’s Strength training, in a way to build strength, size, and/or skill, and for members to complete instead of the day’s Conditioning workout in classes. This programming is intended to help the following populations:

    • members with upcoming endurance races who are planning on following a training plan but do not want to lose strength nor have their endurance workouts impacted by metcons
    • members who would like to build overall strength and power while also continuing to work on gymnastic skill and strength
    • members who would like to build body mass (adequate caloric intake will be required)
    • members who may be considered “hyper-mobile” who would like to increase stability around their joints
    • members who want to continue training for balanced fitness (CrossFit) but find on certain days they need to back off of performing a metcon yet still want to work out

“S3” programming does not need to be followed exclusively but will be most effective in gains of strength, size, and skill if done so. Regardless, even if performed sporadically or even after performing the day’s Strength and Conditioning programming, it will still prove beneficial.

Members looking to take advantage of this accessory programming should familiarize themselves with and possibly practice the following movements:


Other, more common movements which can be searched for on their own include:

    • Romanian deadlift
    • goodmorning
    • clean pull
    • snatch pull
    • (incline) dumbbell bench press
    • front/lateral delt raises
    • banded tricep pull-downs
    • wall run


Accessory Speed/Stamina (“S5”) Programming

(this programming is to be performed outside of class on your own)

This programming is intended as energy systems training to replace the metcons not performed while following the above Accessory Strength/Size/Skill programming. “S5” programming is designed to improve both Anaerobic and Aerobic capacity and power by following a progression toward improved performance in all energy systems. If “S3” programming is completed in classes, members should perform “S5” programming directly after class or later in the day. Alternatively, “S5” programming can be performed on “off” or active rest days by members.


Please let us know if you have any questions! We hope you enjoy the upcoming changes!

DSCF Strength Programming Explained

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on DSCF Strength Programming Explained

2016q4-dscf-strength-programming-preview(download the PDF version here: 2016q4-dscf-strength-programming-preview)

Starting this week, we will be beginning our next training cycle. And what better time than now to take the opportunity to explain a little bit more about how our programming is designed and what can be expected over this quarter. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to derive the greatest benefit from our programming based on your needs, especially if you are on a limited membership.


General Characteristics of DSCF Strength Programming

Division St. CrossFit’s programming has been, for the past few years, based around 13 week cycles. While each iteration has been a little bit different, they each have contributed in some way to what will be described here. Our current programming cycle incorporates 11 weeks of training (a volume/accumulation phase which transitions toward an intensification phase prior to testing) and 2 weeks of testing/deloading (deloading is characterized by a reduction in intensity [weight] and/or volume [reps & sets]). The first week tests single-modalities (such as weightlifting 1 RMs, gymnastic skills, and mono-structural time trials) and accounts for the reduction in volume of the deloading aspect of the testing week. The second week tests mixed-modal conditioning pieces (typically we have been testing CrossFit Benchmark workouts which incorporate multiple modalities); this is the deload’s reduction in intensity. Training cycles typically begin during the last week of the last month of the quarter (this allows testing to occur prior to major winter holiday breaks) and allows for four training cycles annually.


For the past few quarters we’ve employed a three-day movement pattern rotation (Monday-Friday), based on priority. This rotation runs as follows:

  1. squat
    • back squat, front squat, etc.
  2. upper body/trunk
    • press, push press, jerk, HSPU, pull-up, ring dip, push-up, TTB, etc.
  3. bending (or pulling)
    • deadlift, clean, snatch, etc.

Monday through Friday rotations occur every three weeks (12312, 31231, 23123, repeat). The exercises selected on each of those priority days changes daily as well, which creates training variation while still maintaining a progression toward greater intensity.


Conditioning pieces incorporate similar movement patterns to the day’s priority strength movement (e.g. if back squatting for strength, you may see air squats, wall balls, or thrusters in the metcon OR if deadlifting for strength, you may see deadlifts, hang/power variations of cleans/snatches, etc. in the metcon). Designing conditioning workouts around this principle allows for a number of benefits:

    • It reduces the number of movements which need to be drilled per class, which:
        • allows members to prioritize specific training days based on their needs
        • eases strain on coaches and confusion for members
        • allows for more coaching and practice of fewer movements in a single session
        • creates opportunity for muscle endurance work on an already warmed-up movement
        • etc.
    • It allows for optimal rest (72 hours) between days training similar movement patterns. This decreases the chance for overuse injuries and prevents having to work through soreness by not performing similar movement patterns on back-to-back days.
    • It allows members with injuries to avoid specific training days due to the inability to perform specific movement patterns. On the other hand, it also lets members with injuries know precisely which days to attend since they will be unimpeded by the exercises selected that day.
    • No one week is like any other so if training days are consistent from week to week, the movements trained will vary from week to week. What you will not see is a squat programmed every monday, a press every tuesday, deadlift on wednesday, etc.

Despite these reasons, this does not mean that:

    • the priority movement pattern is exclusive to that day ONLY (it’s possible it may show up in small amounts on any of the other days)
    • the priority movement pattern is the ONLY movement used that day (other movements will be incorporated each day)
    • training days should be selected based solely on preference; they should still be selected based on your fitness needs and what biases/imbalances need correcting.


As mentioned previously, strength programming will begin with an accumulation phase which is typically characterized by high volume (reps & sets) and low intensity (weight). Our first few weeks of training focuses more on absolute strength and the “slow lifts”, or the lower technique movements (squat, deadlift, press, etc.). Over the course of the training cycle, we transition toward the intensification phase which is typically characterized by lower volume and higher intensity. Throughout these weeks, you’ll start to see things transition toward more dynamic strength and the “explosive lifts”, or the higher technique movements (snatch, clean, jerk, etc.).


In general, weights should get heavier as the training cycle progresses. This may happen on almost a session to session basis by priority movement. For instance, the final weights used in a previous deadlift training session may be used as guidance to start the next training session for the same movement. To be more precise, if the previous deadlift training session called for sets of 10 and today’s session calls for sets of 8, then the weight selected today should be heavier than the one used in the previous deadlift training session. Thus the weight gets heavier as the weeks progress and the number of reps per set decrease.

As an aside: When multiple sets are prescribed for the same rep scheme, they can be performed at either a single weight (“straight sets”) or they can increase in weight across each set of the same number of reps (“progressive sets”). Some rep & set schemes may be repeated throughout the training cycle as well and both approaches may be used at different times for the same programming on different days. For example, a back squat of 2×6,5,4 will appear twice in our programming. The first time around, perhaps straight sets should be used in order to stay within the rep range. Then, the second time around, progressive sets are used to go a little heavier than the previous session of the same reps & sets.

As the training cycle progresses, shorter rest periods transition to longer rest periods and the tempo varies throughout the entire cycle (leading to greater metabolic changes and increases in force production). On Saturdays, general, full-body conditioning workouts take place. They are typically longer duration partner or team “sweat” workouts, typically incorporating work/rest periods.


How to Read DSCF Strength Programming

Division St. CrossFit’s strength programming is written in the following way:

“sets x reps (tempo), rest”

Sets are the number of times the indicated number of reps are to be performed while reps are the number of times the movement is to be performed in a single set. Tempo is the pace, speed, or duration at which repetitions are to be performed. Tempo is typically written with four numbers, which represent the number of seconds each phase of the lift should be performed:

  1. eccentric phase (where the muscle lengthens under contraction – sometimes referred to as the “lowering” phase)
  2. isometric phase (pause)
  3. concentric phase (where the muscle shortens under contraction – sometimes referred to as the “raising” phase)
  4. isometric phase (pause)

An “X” indicates “explosive” in intent, which may not effectively be explosive if the weight is sufficiently heavy. Rest dictates how frequently sets are to be performed or how much time to take between sets. Basically, the line above should be read:

“Perform A sets of B repetitions at a tempo of WXYZ, performing one set every C minutes.”


Sets and reps may be indicated by ranges within which the number of repetitions should be performed to achieve the desired dose response. The amount of weight used is indicated by the rep range which should be achieved (also potentially by a recommended percent range of your 1 RM). If more than the indicated range of reps can be performed, then the weight should increase. If less than the indicated range of reps can be performed, the weight should be kept the same and the same number of reps should be attempted to be repeated in the next set. Additionally, you should make note of the over-estimation for the next training session in which this movement is performed so that appropriate adjustments can be made. Beginners, or those of low-training age, should steer toward the higher end of the rep ranges. Advanced, or those of high-training age, should steer toward the lower end of the rep ranges. The number of sets performed may vary based on external factors (sleep, stress, caloric consumption, hydration, etc.) and motivation/energy on any given day (based on “feel”).


dscf-balanced-strength-worksheet-2016q4-christopher-james(download the Excel template here: dscf-balanced-strength-worksheet)

In order to optimize your training at Division St. CrossFit, use the above “Balanced Strength Worksheet” to assess your current strength balances and biases. We’ve recently completed testing on nearly all of the possible movements we can check in this worksheet so those numbers should be at-hand (if you happened to miss any, look to complete those tests during an upcoming Open Gym session). This worksheet will provide ratios for specific sets of movements where accepted standards and norms have been established to let you know which ones of yours are outside of those trends. The instructions are provided in the worksheet but some interpretation will be required to understand which movements should be prioritized in your training. Additionally, please do not overreact to seeing red on your worksheet. For instance, the above completed worksheet is mine (Coach JJ’s) and, as you can see, there are more than one red cells. But what this worksheet is saying is that, for balanced fitness, I should prioritize raising my deadlift strength as well as my bench press in addition to my back squat (which I’m interpreting as increasing strength overall). I also notice my biases toward Olympic weightlifting but that makes sense. Regardless of what the worksheet ends up saying for you, it should be used to get a better grasp on an aspect of your fitness as well as, with the programming description above, what to do about it.


Hopefully this has been a helpful explanation and will arm you with the tools to maximize your training at Division St. CrossFit. Please let us know if you have any questions – enjoy!

In-Advance Class Registrations

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on In-Advance Class Registrations

Hi all,


We would like to remind our members that we request that class registrations happen in advance (by the end of the preceding day, at least) moving forward. While we would prefer not to enforce policies (loss of classes, account charges, etc.) for things like late registrations, no registrations, and no class cancellations, there are a good number of benefits we can all enjoy when classes are signed-up for in advance.


Some of these benefits include:

    • members having access to the equipment they require for training.
    • members knowing that there is space allotted for them because of their class reservation.
    • members having the opportunity to select which class time they would like to attend based on expected class size.
    • coaches having the ability to plan warm-ups which address the needs of expected class attendants based on the day’s planned training (e.g. running-based warm-ups would be avoided for those with foot or ankle issues).
    • coaches having the ability to include specific mobility or movement drills in warm-ups for those whom especially need it.
    • coaches having the opportunity to prepare member-specific scales and substitutions for expected class attendees.


Additionally, here is what your coaches appreciate the most when members sign up for classes in advance:

Coach Natalie:

“Signing up for classes in advance is helpful for the coaches when we are trying to prepare for class in advance. Especially in the winter when we can’t run outside, I try to program a fun team building warm up activity. Anyone who has been to my classes knows that I love games. I usually have a few ideas in mind, but it helps to know how many people will be attending class. After a long day at work, I am energized by our amazing members. Thank you for coming to my classes and for signing up early!”

Coach Rachel:

“It’s great for everyone who attends classes, coaches, and for yourself! It takes some pre-planning, but at the end of the day, it couldn’t be easier. Download the app, have the classes go into your calendar, and you are more accountable to your goals! We all want great workouts and to have coaches give us attention. Let’s keep the class sizes manageable and sign up for class ahead of time!”

Coach Joey:

“It is beneficial for athletes to register for weightlifting class ahead of time as it allows me to plan the programming for the class ahead of time. Each lifter has different abilities and areas of focus and although they generally benefit from the same training, I do make tweaks depending on who is coming and what level of experience they have.”

Coach Lucas:

“When you sign up for class it helps give me a better indication of how my class is gonna be run, from logistics to skills I need to touch on before the workout. Plus, if you’re relatively new then I know to introduce myself beforehand.”

Lucas McEmery
#1 Coach in the Universe
Division St. CrossFit

Coach Craig:

“Don’t you hate it when someone shows up to your place unannounced and you’re prepared for something completely different? It would be great if they told you they were coming! This is how the coaches at DSCF feel about signing up on mind-body prior to class. Letting the coaches know ahead of time not only benefits you, but also benefits your peers and your coaches. Classes run smoother and you receive an overall better experience”

Then I have some ending options that you can or not choose from:

“Don’t be snotty, sign up on mind-body”
“Get off your asses, sign up for classes”
“Don’t be a ho, let your coaches know!”

Coach Dan:

“It’s beneficial for us as coaches to have members sign up for class in advance. We want to be able to provide everyone with the best possible experience and the most individual attention for all classes. Having accurate class counts allows for us to set up efficient and meaningful warm-ups, mobility, and scales/advancements for each and every member. We continuously strive to provide the best environment and coaching for all our members; this will assist in making DSCF an even better place for everyone.”

Coach Meg:

“as excited as you are to find out what the next day’s workout is – is as excited as we are to know who’s coming to class. giving us the heads up ensures that classes are organized (who doesn’t love organization) and on time (cause I know my 6am’ers are oh-so-eager to start their workday). thanks in advance, my peeps.”

DSCF Murph Strategy Guide

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on DSCF Murph Strategy Guide

Division St. CrossFit Murph Strategy Guide (page 1)

Division St. CrossFit Murph Strategy Guide (page 2)

Division St. CrossFit Murph Strategy Guide (page 3)

Division St. CrossFit Murph Strategy Guide (page 4)

The above are image files. Download the PDF version here: Division St. CrossFit Murph Strategy Guide.

Murph 2016 is coming up soon (less than two weeks away!) and with limited training days left, we need to start thinking about how we’re gonna tackle 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and yet another mile. The training guide posted above offers up some strategies worth considering but is not an exhaustive list. Let us know which one you like best and if you have any other strategies!

Learning from Disappointment and Failure

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on Learning from Disappointment and Failure

image1Coach Aaron recently completed an Ironman – yet under some very extenuating circumstances. What he has written below is a reflection of what occurred at the event, which to some may be viewed in a disappointing or depressing light, but hopefully those same people will also be able to see the very real, honest, and motivating aspects to his story. While Aaron takes responsibility for what he calls a failure, it’s the way he responds to circumstances which is the most important lesson here. Thank you Aaron for sharing. Please read below.


“I am an endurance athlete, specifically an Ironman triathlete, which is about the furthest thing from a CrossFit athlete. However, there is very little translating or analogies I’m going to have to use in writing about my sport for a CrossFit box’s page. Why? Because sports and fitness on all levels, from an on-ramp class to a Trodo competition to the Ironman World Championships, all share a common trait: the ability to teach us. What we learn in our pursuits is not merely for the sport; it makes us wiser and stronger in our jobs and everyday life. But learning isn’t easy. In fact, many times it’s downright uncomfortable. As we get older, many of us tend to settle into a comfortable place in life and lose touch with the pain that growth brings. This is why I love CrossFit: it reintroduced me to the struggles of growth and the reward of goals met with hard work.


You may not consciously realize it, but goals are a driving force in your CrossFit journey. Whether it’s to shrink your waistline, put up a certain weight, or qualify for the Games, it’s what motivates you to get in the gym. I always encourage other athletes to sit down and write their goals in a timeline in order to sharpen their focus and fuel their progress. It’s not just for the sake of becoming a better athlete. The process also gives us a template for achieving outside of the gym.


What happens when you fail though? That’s what I’m currently dealing with. A few Sundays ago, I raced Ironman Louisville, which was my “A” (or most important) race of the year. The past six months I spent every waking moment preparing for that day, and quite frankly, I blew it. My race was filled with adversity, including a crash on the bike, and I feel that I let it affect me far too much. Honestly, I’m crushed. Beyond crushed. My friends and family have tried to console me by saying that given all the issues I encountered, just finishing was a major accomplishment. Although I appreciate their desire to make me feel better, I believe that viewing this as anything other than a complete failure would be doing myself a grave disservice. Sure, I’d get some temporary relief from my emotional suffering, but I’d miss out on the most valuable part of failure: the learning.


Perhaps no other experience contains as much information and opportunities to learn as does the experience of failing miserably. It’s like a crime scene where a chalk outline of  your dead dream is surrounded by forensic evidence and clues as to what went wrong and why. Your first instinct is to probably walk away and spare yourself the pain of thinking about it. But if you dig down and study the scene, you can start piecing together where things went awry. Instead of consoling yourself, be real and own your mistakes. Take stock of what you did wrong and what you could have avoided. These frank assessments are in the DNA of success. Some of the lessons that are most instrumental in reaching your goals can’t be learned without failing along the way.


By no means is this an enjoyable experience. It hurts. This one hurts especially bad for me. Perhaps this is the reason that many of us become complacent in our places in life. We choose to be safe in order to protect ourselves from the sting of defeat. The greater the goal, the greater the risk. My risks this year were not rewarded, but I’m owning my failure and sifting through the forensic evidence one painful piece at a time.


This specific race reinforced a few lessons for me. First, we create our own luck. Take the best in their field, whether they are an athlete or a doctor or a teacher. They didn’t reach the top by chance, they did it by design. They double check everything, no detail too small, and think of every possible scenario in their preparations. Yes, my little bike spill was a bad break, but I could have minimized the chances of it happening. Ironman Louisville is a rolling swim start, meaning that your race starts when you hit the water. It takes almost an hour for 3,000 athletes to jump in the Ohio River, and I decided it was smartest to get extra sleep and get in the back of the line instead of getting up at 3am to claim my space in the front. When it came time for the bike portion though, the roads were congested and I had to constantly fight my way through packs of slower riders. Had I started an hour sooner, I would have have more room to ride and the chances of my wheel getting clipped would have been greatly minimized. This is just one example of a small step I could have taken to change my luck on race day. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but this is the attention to detail that is required when you’re climbing the ranks.


Secondly, I was reminded that you can have excuses or results, not both. Something went wrong in every portion of the race for me. Although I didn’t quit, I gave myself permission not to succeed because I encountered legitimate issues. By nature, racing is very binary. You either win or you lose. There is no byline that states what troubles came your way. One must get into the mentality that they will succeed no matter what. There is no hanging on to survive, there is no go try your best, there is only win or lose. My mental game suffered with each bump in the road and I fixated my energy on the obstacles instead of solutions. Excuses don’t help get you to the finish line, so get them out of your head so you can make more room for solutions.


I’m sure some of you may view this post as anything but positive, and I suppose that is true to a certain degree. But I see this as a difficult learning experience that will ultimately lead to success. That success wasn’t this weekend. It may not happen any time in the near future. Eventually it WILL happen though. Being real, albeit frank, with myself today is the first step in the next portion of the long road to my Ironman success.”

– Coach Aaron

Double-Under Tips and Troubleshooting Guide

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on Double-Under Tips and Troubleshooting Guide

Double-unders got you down?

Try these pointers next time you pick up your rope. Then use the trouble-shooting guide below to assess and correct common faults!

Double-Under Guidelines

RPM-jump-rope-size-1024x443(image courtesy of boxrox.com: http://www.boxrox.com/5-reasons-havent-gotten-better-double-unders/)

1. Jump Rope Length

First things first, make sure your rope is an ideal length for your height and skill. Place one foot over the center of your jump rope, lining up the handles to see where the handles end up along the side of your body which is keeping the rope pinned down. The ends of the rope should line up somewhere between the bottom of your chest to just below your clavicles. When in doubt, aim to have the inside end of the handle sit right in the peak of your armpit crease!

2. Hand Placement and Grip

Next come the position of your hands and gripping the handles of your rope. Hands should loosely hang down by your sides next to your pockets and even with your hips, with your palms facing forward, and the handles sitting loosely in your fingers with your thumb along their length.

Try to avoid these common errors:

a. hands out in front of the plane of the body

b. hands pushed too far away from your sides

c. death-grip on the handles

d. thumbs wrapped around the handles as if you’re gripping a bar or barbell

e. thumbs placed on the part of the handle which rotates

3. Jumping Rope

With the length of your rope set and your hands in an optimal position, it’s now time to start jumping rope. Think about flicking your wrists and flicking your ankles while relaxing the rest of your body (pro tip: including your face and jaw!). If you’re new to jumping rope or if it’s been decades, start by finding your rhythm with single-unders. (If that is a challenge, drop the rope, bounce up and down on the balls of your feet, and rotate your wrists as if you had the rope in your hand.) Once you’re able to establish a rhythm with single-unders, try jumping a little bit higher and throwing the rope a little bit harder to attempt your first double-under. If you get it, don’t celebrate….yet! – keep going with single-unders until you’re ready to try again. Over time, decrease the number of single-unders between double-unders to the point that you’re performing doubles every other jump. Your next step is to try stringing double-unders together in small sets until you’re doing double-unders for days!

Try to avoid these common errors when jumping:

a. piking at the hips/not bending your knees to help you bound off the floor

b. landing flat-footed

c. driving your knees up

d. kicking your heels back

e. flapping your arms up and down


Troubleshooting Double-Unders

If you’re having trouble nailing your double-unders, check some of these common places you may be getting lash marks. They may tell you what the culprit is!



1. Back of the forearms/arms

a. Your rope may be too long. It should only be about 10 to 12 inches above your head when jumping rope.

b. Hands may be too far forward causing the rope to hit the ground early, then your feet, then the back of your arms.

c. You may be dolphin jumping/piking at the hips (see above). Soften the knees and imagine jumping straight up.

2. Back of the legs

a. Your hands may be unevenly spaced such that one is in front of you and/or the other is behind you.

b. You may be pulling the rope up with you as you jump, causing it to shorten as you lift it off the ground. Think about keeping your rope and hands down as you jump up.

0eff4238-dfbf-49b1-9f69-09feade1561c3. Back of the head/neck

a. Your rope may be too short for your height.

b. You may be locking out your elbows, causing the rope to shorten as it attempts to go overhead.

c. Your palms may be facing the ground or your index finger may be sitting on top of the handle. This causes the rope to sweep downward as it passes over your head.

content courtesy of JumpNRope.com

The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat (or Gaining Muscle)

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat (or Gaining Muscle)

etp-center-on-light1For the past two weeks we’ve made an concerted effort to post some delicious, whole-food recipes. But, since your diet is at minimum 80% of the game, it’s about time we take a step back to focus a little bit more on what kinds of foods comprise a healthy and nutritious diet as well as what we can do to make changes to that diet to see and feel positive outcomes from our efforts.


I recently read an article on Eat to Perform written by James Barnum entitled “The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat“. This post uses the same title but has been updated to reflect the fact that knowing a little bit more about losing body fat can still help those looking to gain muscle and/or fat as well.


Since it’s redundant to reinvent the wheel, and since you should still read the full article after finishing reading this post, I’m going to provide a TL:DR-ish (that’s “too long:didn’t read”-ish) version including some thoughts of my own provided in this Nutrition Guidelines post I wrote previously as well as the ETP article:


Nutrition Guidelines

  • Eat the right kinds of foods
    • Eating the right kinds of foods will ultimately provide the correct signals to your body for it to properly identify (and to tell you) what and in what quantities your body needs to function optimally while taking into account external stimuli (sleep, exercise, stress, etc.)
    • The process through which you can begin to eat the right kinds of foods may goes as follows:
      • remove alcohol and sugar while increasing your water intake
      • eliminate processed, packaged foods including snacks while structuring your meals around a lean protein, healthy fat source, as well as plenty of vegetables
      • consider avoiding inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, and legumes while including starchy carbohydrates at dinners on days you work out
      • when your budget allows, purchase grassfed meat and wild-caught fish


The Basics of Losing Stored Body Fat

  • Eat the right quantity of foods to achieve a desired response
    • Calories Ingested vs. Calories Expended DOES Matter
      • you don’t need to meticulously count your calories
      • calorie restriction will result in weight loss
    • Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
      • your goal should be to discriminately lose fat
      • the composition of your meals (Nutrition Guidelines from above) plus exercise will allow you to lose fat while preserving valuable muscle
      • carbohydrate cycling may create an environment for metabolic flexibility resulting in fat loss
      • the best exercise you can do to preserve muscle is resistance training (e.g. CROSSFIT)
    • How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Fat?
      • use a Basal Metabolic Rate calculator to estimate the number of calories your body expends on a daily basis
      • create a calorie deficit with that measurement
    • How Do I Lose Weight?
      • restrict calories for short periods of time between longer periods of maintenance
      • begin by eating the number of calories your body requires on a daily basis (this may mean that you INCREASE your caloric intake)
      • after your weight stabilizes, reduce calories by eating fewer fats on days you work out (without changing your protein or carbohydrate intake) and eating fewer carbohydrates on days you do not work out (without changing your protein or fat intake)
      • work back up to the new number of calories your body requires to maintain itself at your new/current height, weight, body composition, and activity level (you’ll need to recalculate this number again because presumably you will have lost weight from the period of calorie restriction)
      • learn how these manipulations effect your performance and body composition and adjust as necessary

(If your goal is muscle gain, create a calorie surplus in the same manner as described above/outlined in the ETP article. If you’re a hard gainer who is in desperate need of muscle AND fat gain, then I’d go as far as recommending the “Seefood Diet”: see food, eat food; your weight gain needs are likely a little more indiscriminate than others’.)


There’s more than plenty of information to take in between this post and all linked articles and posts but do please take the time to read them if you are at all interested in body composition changes. Please let me know if you’d like to talk more about your fat loss and/or muscle gain goals!

– JJ

Scaling Options

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on Scaling Options

Stay within your abilities, know your limitations, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!

Scaling workouts is one of the most important aspects of training. From the moment you start CrossFit, you’ll be confronted with the necessity and challenge of scaling appropriately to your capabilities and limitations. There are different ways to scale workouts though, each of which can be utilized to various degrees depending on the workout and the individual athlete’s abilities. At the beginning, choosing appropriate scales can be challenging and often relies on a trial-and-error process but, thankfully, everyone goes through this! So take solace that you are never alone on your CrossFit journey and arm yourself with the information we’ve provided on the page below so that you can help facilitate your scaling decisions:




If you’d like to refer to this link in the future, it can be found under the “Member Resources” menu option in the main menu on the upper left-hand side of the homepage (look for more updates to these pages here soon!). Additionally, this post will be added to the “Coach’s Tips” menu along the right-hand side of the blog.


Let us know if you have any questions or if there are other areas of scaling you’d like to know more about. Enjoy!

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend Open Gym

by admin in Coach's Tips | Comments Off on 10 Reasons Why You Should Attend Open Gym

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend Open Gym:




2. No, seriously. Open Gym is free.

Attending Open Gym periods does not count against your class total. Open Gym is essentially a free class, especially on Thursdays when a new workout is posted to the website. So, if you are a 3x/weeker, come to Open Gym on Thursdays and now you’re a 4x/weeker. Above all else, if you don’t know what to do with yourself during Thursday evening Open Gym, just do that day’s workout and there’s your free extra class each week.


3. To work on your weaknesses.

We all have ’em. The difference between each of us is what we do about them. Open Gym is your perfect opportunity to practice the things you’d most like to improve on. Unencumbered by a time limit or the necessity to keep your intensity up, Open Gym allows you the freedom to spend as much time as you need to work on your skills and technique. Read an article recently about how to progress through handstands or muscle-ups? Come in and try them out! Watch a really cool snatch video on some drills which will help you find positions? Give em a whirl at Open Gym!


4. Make up strength or conditioning you missed earlier in the week.

Are you looking to get your overall strength up and you missed a big back squat session earlier in the week? Open Gym allows you the flexibility to do the work you need to do when you need to do it. Maybe you missed a metcon you were really looking forward to doing only to be held up late at work. Then make plans to come to Open Gym to push yourself through that metcon you were excited about!


5. Try some crazy-ass workout you saw on xyz.com.

There are a lot of crazy CrossFit workouts out there. If you follow any number of competitor sites or even HQ’s site, you’ll often find stuff which will make you say, “EW.”, “What the f**k.”, or even “Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?” but will be followed up with, “I want to try that.” Open Gym is your opportunity to do that. These kinds of workouts can be fun sometimes but most of the time they are bad ideas so just don’t be stupid about it. If you’re not sure, ask. We’ll tell you when something is just stupid.


6. Coordinate with other members to work out together.

Use the Open Gym times to get in contact with your fellow DSCFers (right here on the blog or via our Members Only Facebook Forum) and work on one of the three things above (3., 4., or 5.). Working out is obviously great but it’s that much better when you have someone to do it with. Anticipation increases, motivation increases, intensity increases, and friendly competition increases which all results in increases in performance and results. Make Open Gym a synergistic experience by teaming up with your friends!


7. Meet new people, make friends, and make new training partners.

Sometimes classes are packed to the gills with activity. Between warm-ups, workout explanations, drills, Strength training, and the metcon there’s often not enough time to even catch someone’s name. The relaxed atmosphere of the Open Gym setting is the opportune time to finally meet the people you’ve only briefly seen before or even never have. As a veteran, you have the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with someone with less experience. As a new member, you have the chance to meet our veterans and learn from them.


8. Ask coaches for demonstrations, suggestions, or just to watch.

This can be tricky because it is often the only time we are able to work out on a given day. But if you catch us when we’re not busy, you may be able to steal a snippet of advice which may make all the difference for you. If you REALLY want our help, reach out to us ahead of time to see if you can secure a few minutes of our time during Open Gym.


9. To learn for yourself.

Open Gym presents the opportunity for you to learn as opposed to being taught (yes, there’s a difference). When you’re called upon to begin thinking for yourself, it can be daunting at first but ultimately you will become stronger and smarter for it. Even for something as easy as warming yourself up, simply draw from the many, many warm-ups you’ve gone through in class (if you’re not even sure how to start that, try 30 jumping jacks 😉 ). After that, select stretches which target what you plan on using that day or what is tight from previous workouts that week. Then, run through the drills your coaches lead you through when warming you up for lifts. After that, the world is your oyster.


10. It’s FUN!

Nutrition Guidelines

by admin in Coach's Tips | 8 Comments

Spring is FAST approaching which means it’s almost time for tank tops, short shorts, bikinis, and Chubbies. You’ve been working hard in the gym but have you been working hard outside the gym?


We recently completed a four-week Nutrition Challenge which saw a group of members overhaul their lifestyle and eating habits. Their results included:

    • loss of excess fat
    • increases in energy
    • increases in recovery
    • increases in performance and strength
    • increases in sexiness*

(*increases in sexiness have been unconfirmed)

Since we’d love to see all of our members get the most out of their training, for them to feel great, and for them to be proud enough to show off their hard work all summer long, I’m going to share our Nutrition Challenge plan with you! This four step process of weekly additions and removals which build upon each other will get you headed in the right direction as we start the new season. Take a look at the attached Nutrition Challenge PDF then read through the following directions which were provided to participants and you should be all set!


A couple things to remember before you begin:

“You are what you eat.”

    • As straight forward as this is, it is completely true. From a biological perspective, your body literally becomes what you put into it; proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are assimilated into tissues to maintain your body’s integrity. From a practical standpoint, if you eat sh*t you’re going to feel and look like sh*t (because, well, you are made of sh*t).

“You can’t out work a poor diet.”

    • I can’t stress the previous point enough so I will say it again in a different manner. If you think that working your ass off in the gym is going to allow you to eat whatever you like whenever you like then, unfortunately, you are sorely confused. I wish it worked that way but not even CrossFit gives you that license to kill.

You don’t take responsibility for your actions and that’s why this is all your fault! Well, you’re a mama’s boy who’s too chicken to sing in public!

    • Ok ok this doesn’t EXACTLY apply but I was on a roll with quotes and this was the only thing I could think of. Regardless, whether this has to do with your health, diet or anything else in your life, for the most part things don’t just happen to you. YOU are in charge of what YOU DO and what happens TO YOU. It’s a sad and sometimes painful truth but once you realize that the result of your actions is what happens to you then you control the ultimate power in your life.

“Knowledge is power.” / “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

    • Two-for-one! Changes in lifestyle or habits require the act of acquiring knowledge. Whenever you have a greater understanding of the situation at-hand, you will be poised to act on it and change the course of the future. So get your learn on!

“Will this help or hurt my progress?”

    • Ask yourself, is what I’m doing right now ultimately going to help me get closer to where I want to be?

“Drastic results require drastic measures.”

    • I don’t know if this is an actual quote but I’ve taken to saying it recently. Your results depend on your commitment. Question: “How many cheat meals should I eat? How frequently can I drink each week? When can I have dessert?” Answer: As many as allow you to get you where you want to be as soon as you’d like to be there. If you have a long way to go to get where you want to be, you’re gonna have to do a lot of things you don’t normally do to get there.

“Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

    • Building off the previous bullet point, if you’re not where you want to be then you’re gonna have to start doing things you’ve never done before. Likely things you don’t necessarily WANT to do….

“Do the things you have to do when you have to do them so that you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

    • I stole this from Jimmy John’s walls a long time ago so it’s funny that I’m using it for nutrition. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely still true (for many things) and continues to build off the previous points. If you want results, you’re gonna have to do things you don’t normally do, for as long as it takes to get you where you want to be. Want to have that cupcake/beer/burger/pizza every once in awhile and still look like a f’ing rockstar? Well, you’re gonna have to make some sacrifices in your current life so you can have that in the future. Once you’re where you want to be, it’s that much easier to maintain what you’ve achieved.


Got all that? If so, YOU CAN DO EEEEEEEEEEEET!


If you’re still not motivated to take control of your eating and convinced that you can do it, then read these (even if you’re ready to crush it, still read these):


Ok, now read the Nutrition Challenge presentation:


At this point, you know what to eat and how to construct meals (whole meals of real food based around an animal protein source, a fat, and vegetables of all kinds of colors – YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE).


Now that we’re armed with motivation and information, here are our goals. They are two-fold:

  1. Eat the right KIND of food (so we can change your taste for real food and begin feeling the effect of real food on your body)
  2. Eat the right AMOUNT of food (depending on your goals and activity level)

Luckily, our bodies have gone through an incredible process of evolution where if we take care of 1. it will automatically aid you in adjusting the quantity of food you should be consuming because it will start correctly sending the right kinds of satiety signals to your body and brain!


So, how do we go about getting there? For the next four weeks, do your best to follow the instructions in the Nutrition Challenge presentation but each week, above all else, include and exclude the following while building on the previous week’s suggestions:

Week 1


    • alcohol
    • pop (including diet pop)
    • other liquid calories including fruit juices (not including pre-/post-workout drinks)
    • refined sugar (sweets, desserts, etc.)
    • basically: don’t drink your calories and don’t eat sugar


    • 8 to 12 glasses of water per day (this isn’t nor does it need to be precise – just drink water at every meal and throughout the day)

Week 2


    • processed food (fast food, anything which comes in a package, has a criminal record, etc.)
    • snacks (things eaten between planned, whole meals of real food)


    • whole, real food: protein, healthy fats (eggs, avocados, etc.), green and cruciferous vegetables at every meal

Week 3


    • grains
    • pasta
    • dairy
    • legumes (beans, peanuts, anything in a pod)
    • soy


    • sweet potatoes, white potatoes, or white rice at dinner on workout days while avoiding starchy and sugary carbohydrates at all other meals

Week 4

    • adjust caloric intake on workout days (more calories and more starchy carbohydrates) vs. non-workout days (fewer calories and fewer to no starchy carbohydrates)
    • select grassfed meat and wild-caught fish


If you’d like to give this Nutrition Challenge a try, do your best to stick as closely to it as possible and let me know if you’d like to have your food log reviewed. I’d be happy to work something out. Good luck!


I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. Follow my advice at your own risk.

If you have a known disorder or disease, please consult certified professionals so that they may assist you.