Month: October 2014

Note the upright torso and fully extended hips, legs and ankles. Also not that Emily is leaving the ground only as the rope passes below her knee. That's the timing you want for double-unders.
Note the upright torso and fully extended hips, legs and ankles. Also note that Emily is leaving the ground only as the rope passes below her knee. That’s the timing you want for double-unders.

Front squat 10 sets of 2

3 4-minute rounds:

20 burpees to a target

50 double-unders

As many pull-ups/ring rows as possible

Rest 1 minute between rounds

Thanks to all who dressed up for Halloween!
Test: which member or members are undead?

In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, be it resolved that CrossFit 204 will take the following precautions:

1. All members will report to our Sergeant at Arms, Junior/Ragnar, for weapons and weapons training. Should members have their own weaponry, they may present items to Junior for inspection. Kerri will handle all weapon modification.

2. Neil and Analyn will allow us to purchase high-end kitchen knives and heavy frying pans at friendly prices.

3. Brett will lead the barricading of the gym and the construction of fortifications.

4. All military members—including Christine, Jen, Catherine, Neal—will meet in the command center (office) for strategic planning sessions using a Risk board. Mike will provide heavy-metal action figures.

5. Kurtis will wire all rowers to a generator, and all members will be required to take shifts on the rowers to keep power levels high. Jenn will ensure all environmental standards are enforced at all times.

6. All zombie remains will be sent to Jo for analysis and research purposes.

7. Lindsey and Natalie will stand by as the medical team and be in charge of all first responders and health-care personnel.

8. Mike K. will be in charge of imposing martial law in the area surrounding the gym.

9. Cole will manage the brig and deal with any captured zombies being held for research.

10. The Drs. Yue will be in charge of zombie tooth removal to reduce risk of infection.

Zombie jokes no longer acceptable.
Zombie jokes no longer acceptable.

11. Joel, Cliff and Shaun will handle accounting, finance and safekeeping of valuables.

12. Cody will be our reconnaissance officer and shall be consulted should other mythical creatures appear on the battlefield.

13. Kirsten and Crystal will be point people for all food and supply runs.

14. Dave will commence research on a gym-surrounding ring of turbine-powered zombie-repellent motors.

15. Tamara will store food and manage rations and begin construction of the rooftop gardens. Greg will advise on livestock.

16. Micah will be in charge of sizzling solos, and Deb and Lisa will handle morale. Christen will be installed as the Director of Dancing.

17. Shaen and will provide child care and ensure all naps are taken at the appropriate times. In a weird dual position, Shaen will also provide caffeine to keep us alert.

18. Felicity and Kim will manage the official 204 Zombie Kills Leaderboard, and, with Glynis, will be considered our experts on hand-to-hand combat.

Apocalypse or no apocalypse, we have rules.
Apocalypse or no apocalypse, we have rules.

19. Mike G. will be considered the IT department and will decline all requests to play Candy Crush Saga.

20. Sonya will be in charge of safety inspections and enforcing cleanliness standards in the bunker.

21. Steve will direct creation of “Warning: Zombies Inside” and “Send Pre-Workout Powder” signage.

22. Geoff will run the counseling/tattoo department.

23. Chris will handle maintenance and modification of the bike fleet.

24. Paul and Carly will be in charge of negotiating supply trades and purchases with other outposts.

25. Shawn and Jason will comprise the Road Warrior Division and maintain the requisite hockey sticks, snow machines and vehicles. Ryan will be consulted for all strategic/geographic planning of assaults outside the Winnipeg Perimeter.

26. Will will be consulted on all decisions involving male apparel and will be Commissioner of the College Football Playoff Pool.

27. Kylee will develop the in-house education program, including dissemination of all info from the research and assault departments.

Your leaders.
Your leaders.

Aside from a few key positions that needed to be filled, this list was compiled from the team photo of the Thanksgiving 2014 workout. All other members will be placed in the pool of general labor and will be assigned to various work details as needed.

Be ready.

Accepted as policy Oct. 31, 2014, by the 204 Zombie Apocalypse Council/Department of Heavy Metal.

One of the scariest and anatomically correct costumes we've ever seen.
One of the scariest and anatomically correct costumes we’ve ever seen.

204 Monster Mash-Up

On a continuously running clock:

Minutes 0-10 – The Walking Dead Lifts

3 rounds of:

20 wall-balls (20/14 lb., 10/9 ft.)

10 deadlifts (225/155 lb.)

Minutes 10-20 – Thriller

5 rounds of:

10 toes-to-bars

10 burpees

Minutes 20-30 – Zombieland

7 rounds of:

5 handstand push-ups

10 overhead lunges (45/25 lb.)

As soon as you finish the work, you can rest for the remainder of the 10 minutes.


3 sets of max banded triceps extensions

3 sets of 8-12 ring rows

Amass 1:30 in a side plank (one side)

20 1-leg glute bridges (per side)

Amass 1:30 in a side plank (other side)

Rest 45 seconds between all sets and 1 minute between activities.

You will get another run at double-unders in a class sooner rather than later.
Many people who struggle with double-unders jump too soon. Today, jump only when the rope moves below your knee.

In 20 minutes: work up to a hang power clean + power clean

9-7-5 reps of

Hang power cleans (185/135 lb.)

Bar muscle-ups

100 double-unders

Barb and a very large support crew.
Focus on the elite and you’ll miss beautiful moments like this.

The far end of the bell curve is sexy.

This statement is true for just about anything—fitness, vehicles, sports, housing, etc. If it wasn’t true, “Good Will Hunting” would have featured a troubled janitor who was very mediocre at solving math problems. Hunting would have stood at the chalkboard, perplexed, scraping out pedestrian attempts to solve equations. The professor would come in the next morning, see the incorrect work and erase it, thinking nothing of it.

But that doesn’t make for a good movie, even though it’s exactly what would happen 9,999 times out of 10,000.

It’s the rare cases that hold our attention, the outliers, the “special,” and the gifted. Those people, usually through genetic luck, have abilities most of us do not. Some of them amplify these abilities through hard work, while others squander them through laziness. Either way, they are members of the minority who sit on a thin sliver of the bell curve.

In fitness right now, I’m disappointed to see a fixation with the right side of the bell curve and the few Gretzkys, Jeters and Mannings who can be found there. I think placing undue attention on the so-called elite is a mistake.

There are perhaps 120-240 elite CrossFit athletes in the world. I’d suggest that number is actually closer to 50 of each sex, or 100 total. I’m talking the cream of the crop: Games-level athletes. Many, many people believe they are at this level, and almost all are mistaken. I’d suggest there are about a total of eight to 12 elite CrossFitters in Canada. Think about how rare these athletes actually are.

From there, I think you have about 2,000-3,000 athletes who are at or around the regional level, or about one for every three or four CrossFit gyms in the world. I’d guess there are about 200 of these athletes in Canada. These guys are more common but still very rare. Again, many, many people think they are at this level, and a great many are again mistaken. With a trained eye, a good coach can spot a potential regional-level athlete pretty easily—and there aren’t many of them.

From there, the bell curve fattens up relatively quickly and includes everyone from above-average athletes to those who are perhaps not genetically gifted but have worked and continue to work to achieve solid levels of fitness. The far left side of the bell curve is populated by beginners who are just starting a fitness program. We’ll leave the large sedentary population out of the curve lest they ruin the example.

Our new offerings are designed to help all our members achieve their goals.
Our focus: making everyone fitter.

Focusing on changing the shape of the far right side of the curve is pointless. It requires a titanic amount of effort to improve the performance of an elite athlete by even 5 percent. Good coaches can and should do it, and they should do the same thing for athletes at the regional level as well. Good coaches help all athletes improve and accomplish their goals, but they’ll never really change the shape of the curve because there will always be only a precious few truly elite athletes. Canada has produced but one Gretzky, and not because we didn’t try to find another.

Last year, our gym produced four of 96 regional athletes in Canada West—4.2 percent. Producing a fifth would have required luck and spectacular effort over a period of at least a year, and it would have bumped the percentage only to 5.2. If we had produced one more, someone obviously would have produced one less. That math can be done in any CrossFit population.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying we shouldn’t give our all to each and every athlete who wants to get to regionals or the Games. We should and do.

That said, a focus on producing only top athletes is a shortsighted and foolish view taken by those who have no understanding of fitness, sport, long-term athletic development and CrossFit.

Elite CrossFit athletes are the tip of the spear, and a spear is useless without a shaft, just as the top block of a pyramid is but a pointy lawn ornament without a broad foundation beneath it. Elite athletes exist because of the huge masses of other athletes who train beside them. This was suggested to me by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, and he is, of course, dead on.

I don’t believe CrossFit gyms should seek to produce elite athletes. I believe they should seek to produce athletes, and a select few will turn out to be elite. The difference in approach is monumental.

Go back to the bell curve. With a laser focus on making everyone fitter—every single person in your gym—you can actually push the large part of the bell curve a little to the right and make its descent less steep. Basic improvements come so quickly in the early stages of training, and human potential is so great, that you can invest in beginner athletes and suddenly have a large pack of very good, very healthy athletes in 12 or 18 months.

Family time.
Ask this father-son duo what they’re lifting these days.

These athletes might go from a 175-lb. back squat to 300 in 15 months, as one person did at our gym. Others might go from pressing an empty bar to pressing 100 lb. in a period of six months—also common at our gym. They might never get to a 260-lb. snatch or 315 jerk, but who really cares? Most of them don’t. They just want to get fit and be healthy. And if that’s happening and they’re constantly improving their performance, they’re right where they need to be.

This actually happened with CrossFit as a whole. Back in the day, we all marveled at sub-five Fran and Diane times. Then larger numbers of CrossFitters used hard training to narrow the point of the bell curve as many of us got fitter, and those 4-minute Fran times got absorbed by the bulk of the curve. I’d suggest a greater percentage of CrossFit athletes can do a sub-five Fran now than in 2009, and elite Fran and Diane times are now in the 2-minute range. CrossFit created a huge mass of very fit people, and one of them turned out to be Rich Froning.

The best part of all? Millions of people can be moved from beginner levels to intermediate levels. Literally millions. They provide the reason for our existence as gyms, and they are most definitely our target market. They are the key to fulfilling our purpose. The elite? We’ll find more than a few of them in those millions.

But we’re not searching for the elite. We’re looking for the desk jockeys who want to start taking the stairs to their 12th-floor office, the university students who want to be fitter than they were in high school, the former athletes who want to come out and play again, the soccer moms who want to inspire their children, the dads who want to turn back the clock a few years, and the grandmothers who want to dig the garden like bosses. We’ll improve the fitness of all those people, and we’ll probably find some top athletes in the mix.

Congrats to Josh on body weight for 5 reps and 9 months without smoking
Nine months after he quit smoking, this friend squatted body weight for 5 reps, and we were thrilled to be there.

When we find an athlete with great competition potential, we’ve proven we can do great things with them, too. But it really just comes down to improving fitness for anyone who walks through our doors.

With all that in mind, I’m reminded of “The New Colossus,” that poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. With apologies to Emma Lazarus:

Give us your tired, your inexperienced,
Your weak and your unfit,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe fire,

The forgotten and the lost of globo gyms and misguided coaches,

Send these, and their limitless potential, tempest-tost to us,

And we will make an athlete of every one.

Whatever your level of fitness, we can make you fitter. To find out more, click here.

Nice job, Rob!
Got a message from Rob the other day. He’s doing well and staying fit in his new home, and he isn’t missing winter.

Thruster 1 rep

Push press 8-8-8

1 minute rest between sets

Ring/bar/box dips 3 max sets

1 minute rest between sets


5 2:30 rounds of:

Row 300 m

10 burpees

Max kettlebell swings in remaining time (70/55 lb.)

Rest 1 minute between rounds