Jeff is stronger than Paul.

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, 12 minutes of EMOTM completing 5 (160#) dead-lifts and 10 pull-ups or pushups did not make for a challenging WOD. I returned to the box before coaching the evening sessions and did some additional work. But first, yesterday’s metcon was quite challenging to most everyone else, and John was the only other person to complete as prescribed. Oh, and I continued to be impressed with the strength of Surmounties this soon into their fitness journeys. There was some heavy lifting going on yesterday.

I completed today’s programmed WOD. Well, sort of.

Establish 1RM

I pressed 115 and failed at 120#. My 1RM from more than a year ago is 125, so I’m quite pleased. I’m very much looking forward to gaining strength through following Wendler programming.

Clean & Jerk Ladder
Begin with a weight on the bar. EMOTM increase the weight by 5# until unable to complete clean and/or jerk, taking no more than 3 attempts to do so.

I began with 65 and worked up to 140, i.e., bodyweight. This was exhausting. It was also challenging to remove and/or add weights within the minute. I had originally planned on programming this for today, and I’m glad that I attempted myself before doing so. Too much work! I completed a mere 16 C&Js, and that was more than enough.

As mentioned, I coached the evening sessions. Many folks joined us at CFS after the 6:30 session for beer, soda, and juice, and Luke met Gracie (who may be his new girlfriend).

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy having Luke with me all day? Although he sometimes sniffs people inappropriately, for the most part he’s a very good boy. He most certainly enjoys all of the attention he receives.

Jeff and I arrived at CFS after 8 this morning, and I ran the shopvac over the entire area. So much pollen! Every surface is covered in pollen, and our new color scheme is black, blue, orange, and green.

No one attended the 8:45 session, and this may be because they were hung-over from last night’s festivities or they planned on attending a later session so as to attend the first “Second Saturday” session. As Jeff established his press 1RM, I rowed and worked on mobility. Jeff pressed 120#, 5# more than I did. He made sure to let me know, just as he did last night when he dead-lifted 325, once again 5# more than I did. He’s getting so very strong!

Even though I was feeling somewhat sore in the shoulder region, I joined him for the new and improved metcon.

Complete 50 ground to shoulder to overhead
Complete 5 burpees at the top of every minute
15-minute time cap

I had originally planned on lifting 75 or 85#. Uhm, as I told Jeff to lift 95# I thought it was only fair that I should do so as well.

Wow. This was brutal.

I recorded reps on a sheet of paper, counting up. I completed 7, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 5, and 3 reps. Dammit. If only I had completed 5 instead of 4 reps a round as the time passed I would’ve been able to complete within 10 minutes. Jeff did! As much as I love burpees, it was challenging, as I knew it would be, to transition from burpees to lifts.

To make matters worse, I lifted the bar from shoulder overhead by completing push presses. It wasn’t until about the 8th or 9th round that I saw Jeff push jerking and I thought, “That’s a good idea!” Heal thyself? No, coach thyself. I didn’t do a very good job of coaching myself today. I finally yelled “Time!” at 10:45. Those last 3 clean & jerks nearly killed me. That’s 50 ground to shoulder to overhead and 55 burpees. I did manage to work continuously throughout the metcon, so that’s something.

Jeff kindly led the mobility session for both the 10 and Community WODs, and he did a spectacular job. (Thanks, Jeff!) I was once again impressed with the weights that athletes were pressing. I truly enjoy watching and individual go far beyond what she or he thought was possible.

After the Community WOD, I led the first in the CFS “Second Saturday” series. The afternoon of the second Saturday of each month will be dedicated to a special topic, and today’s session dealt with “Creating SMART Goals”. How did you like the session, folks? Your honest feedback is always very much appreciated.

I heart dead-lifting

Luke "coaching" Brittany and Mike
Luke “coaching” Brittany and Mike

Yesterday was a rest day; although I did coach endurance at CFBC and lead Foundations, part 2 at CFS. I don’t know that I’ll ever again get a true rest day. And, as I like to say, that’s okay!

Folks struggled with today’s WOD, and as they were doing so I thought, “Dammit, Paul, you should always try the WOD before programming. Keep a day ahead of the game.” Having now completed the WOD I realize that I most need to remind myself of is that Surmounties are working toward improving fitness, and that I must always post scaling options, e.g., fewer number of reps.

Establish 1RM

I’m starting all over again, so I’ve thrown away all previous 1RMs. I recorded all sets. I lifted singles @ 295, 310, 315, and 320, and failed at 325#. I just couldn’t get the bar off of the floor. I was also seeing stars after each and every heavy lift.

EMOTM for 12 minutes
5 dead-lifts @ 50% 1RM
10 pull-ups (odd numbered rounds)
10 pushups (even numbered rounds)

This may have been the easiest metcon I’ve completed to date. Again, I need to consider the fitness and strength levels of all athletes – and not just my own – when programming.

I completed rounds of pull-ups in 30, 28, 26, 28, 27, & 27 seconds and the rounds of pushups in 24, 21, 20, 21, 21, & 21 seconds. This allowed far too much time for me to rest. All rounds were done unbroken with little struggle. I didn’t even drop the bar after the 5th rep of dead-lifts.

I think I’m going to do tomorrow’s WOD later today. Yes? Yes.

25 reps both legs

Another fun day at CFS! Today was all about establishing 1RM bench press, and quite a few athletes posted impressive weights. Mike, Rob, Emily, Brittany, Glenda, Ashlee, Tom, Chris… the list goes on and on. Steve was the only athlete to attend the 7:15 session, so I joined him for the strength component.

Bench press
Establish 1RM

My all time PR is 180, although a very ugly 180. I successfully and easily pressed 165, and then failed at 180 and 175. Yet again, I increased the weights too dramatically.

JM was the only athlete to attend the 11:45 session, so I joined her for the conditioning.

Run 200m
25/leg mountain climbers
Run 200m
25/leg grasshoppers
Run 200m
25 air squats

I truly enjoyed this metcon, as it was a sprint from start to finish. (Dave, I not only program WODs short in duration and high in intensity, I complete them as well!) I completed all rounds unbroken and finished in exactly 4 minutes.

I not only enjoyed doing this metcon, I enjoyed coaching it as well. Everyone completed the metcon as prescribed, although form for grasshoppers was often, well, more cricket- or cockroach-like. I also enjoyed telling folks that the 25 air squat were per leg as well. Ha!

2-min max rep double unders
I completed 147, with as many as 50 unbroken.

I don’t miss my former job one teeny tiny itty little bit. I’m having the time of my life!


Another exhausting and rewarding day! I love my job. I truly do.

I coached Rob and Mike @ 6, Steve and Brittany @ 7:15, and Emily @ 8:30. Mike jumped onto a box 41.5” high, and he made it look easy. Emily overcame her fear of the box jump. Steve consistently squatted below parallel for thrusters (but not for wall ball shots). What about Rob and Brittany, you ask? They are just plain awesome.

As no one attended the 11:45 session today, I completed the WOD I had programmed, although I programmed Abmat back extensions and sit-ups. It was tough. I did not, however, attempt a maximum height box jump, as I scraped my right leg on the box a few days ago and I still have scabs.

10 RFT
5 thrusters, 95#
10 GHD back extensions
5 wall balls, 20# & 10’ target
10 GHD sit-ups

Uhm, yeah, so my quads and glutes are still a little sore from yesterday’s WOD. I had to make myself complete this WOD. I feared that I would make excuses to not use 95# for thrusters, so I put 25# plates on the bar and did not attempt a single thruster, other than warming up with the bar, before the WOD began. I also didn’t set out a yoga mat or Abmat for back extensions or sit-ups, thereby eliminating the temptation to not use GHD machine.

My goal was to complete in less than 20 minutes. I did not set a goal to complete all activities unbroken, as I felt certain that I’d drop the medicine ball at least once and/or not be able to complete a set of back extensions or sit-ups.

Did I mention that this WOD was tough? I completed all sets of thrusters by completing a full squat clean, i.e., I didn’t power clean and then front squat. I was very pleased. In fact, thrusters went surprisingly well today. During the third or fourth set I noticed that I was going up on my toes, so I told myself to keep the weight in my heels. And I did.

I did complete all rounds of activities unbroken. I did, however, have to walk a short distance from GHD to wall ball and back. I needed the short rest!

I began the 10th round of sit-ups at 19:40, and really had to work hard to finish within my goal time. I did, with just 2 seconds to spare!

I don’t ever want to do that WOD again. Ever.

I coached the endurance WOD at CFBC tonight, and Stephanie, Einar, Sean, and Rob attended. They completed 4 reps of 400m, and I ran one rep with each of them. I did indeed feel like I worked out twice.

I coached the 6:30 session at CFS. I was once again impressed with the height of the box jumps. Glenda, Angie, John, Jeff, and quite a few others got PRs. My good friend Jay jumped 45” during the 5:30 session led by Kirk. Wow! His son Jacob jumped 42”. Wow, again!

I led part 1 of Foundations. While teaching the front squat I, well, lost my focus and taught the shoulder press. Huh? How did that even happen? How come I didn’t catch it? Jeff interrupted to let me know.

I’m tired. Night, night.

Hips forward!

A slow start and a fast finish – that describes my day!

This began the first full week of CFS, and I was very excited to start the day. I was even more excited when Mike attended the 6am session. The 6am regulars, however, appeared to take today as a rest day. No worries, Mike and I had a great time!

Today was all about the high bar back squat. I coached Mike as he established a 1RM of 315#. Impressive. I let Mike know that in instances when only one person attends a session, I will join them for the metcon and possibly lifting or skills. While I did complete a few HBBSs, I didn’t attempt a 1RM. I did join Mike for the metcon.

Just before we began Mike asked, “What’s the best way to keep track of rounds?” I replied, “This metcon is supposed to be fast and furious, so don’t waste time recording. You’ll just have to keep track in your mind.” “What happens if you lose track?” he asked. I said, “Let’s say you can’t recall if you’re on round 12 or 13. You’re on round 13. It’s similar to losing track of reps during a metcon. If I do lose track, I always start back at one.” This came back to haunt me.

15, 14, 13…3, 2, 1
Reverse lunges in front rack position
Russian twists

Mike and I both used 65# for lunges and I used 25# plate for twists. What made this metcon difficult was not the lunges or the twists, but keeping my eye on Mike and providing direction and support. This also meant that I lost track of rounds on two occasions; thus, I may have done the rounds of 11 and 6 two times. And that’s okay. My time was 11:36.

No one showed up for the 7:15 or the 8:30 sessions. Gah! I was getting rather depressed. This is not at all like me. The story gets better, so read on.

High bar back squat
Establish 1RM

My all-time best is 230#. I knew, however, that I wasn’t going to match that PR, as my focus on strength in the past three months has been, well, unfocused. I set a goal to lift 225#. It was perhaps one of the biggest struggles I’ve ever had, but I did indeed successfully lift 225#. I was ecstatic! I then visited Drs. Alex and Dave at Brennan Chiropractic. Dr. Alex let me know that Emily would be attending an evening session, and this also gave me peace of mind.

I took Luke for a nice, long walk on the American Tobacco Trail. It was a gorgeous day, and my mood continued to improve.

A first-time visitor attended the 11:45 session, and she’ll very likely become a member. We had a delightful conversation, and our approach to CrossFit is very similar. It was a lovely way to spend my lunch hour.

My mother and I then went for a walk, once again on the American Tobacco Trail. I’ve been so busy with the Grand Opening that I haven’t had much time to spend with her, so this was a very nice way to spend a couple of hours. Again, my day kept getting better and better.

Five athletes attended the 5:15, ten attended the 6:30, and another five attended the 7:30 session. How awesome! Many folks established PRs, and Josh lifted 385#! Amazing!

If I attended an open house or a grand opening at another CrossFit, I most certainly would not attempt to recruit attendees to join CFS. That’s all that I’ll say about this matter for now.

My hair hurts


I worked out before coaching the 10 and 11 sessions at CFS.

50/100/150 1-armed KB swings
50/100/150 chin-ups
50/100/150 V-ups
Run 800m/1600m/2400m
200m partner carry (Everyone must carry and be carried a minimum of 100m. If you’re completing as an individual, you have to find someone to carry – and find someone to carry you!)

Jeff was cleaning the last of the mess from yesterday’s Grand Opening. He’s such a nice person! I instructed athletes that they had many options. Unlike with some WODs, those who chose to work in teams could work the entire time, i.e., there was no requirement that only one person could work at a time. Jeff and I were the only ones who completed the workout solo, and all other members completed in teams of two. Not surprisingly, all teams finished within 2 minutes of each other. Also not surprisingly, all teams approached this workout differently. Some completed the work side by side, running together, doing chin-ups, V-ups, and 1-armed KB swings together, etc. Angie and Glenda were the most synchronized. Camellia and Marianne were the most evenly matched. Jay and May were the most supportive. Chris and Robin communicated the most effectively – mostly nonverbally. John was the most encouraging teammate, and Mark (and his hair) needed it. Cheri was the friendliest teammate, completing chin-ups for MJ (even though I had initially decided that this wouldn’t be allowed). Nice work, all!

I demonstrated partner carries by carrying Marianne, Jay, Mark, and Jeff.

As I’m now a business owner, I’ve attempted to reign in my sense of humor. I’ve been unsuccessful in doing so. For example, Jay was bending his knees while completing V-ups. I said, “They’re ‘V-ups’, not ‘W-ups’, Jay.” Chris has to be frequently reminded to fully extend his elbows. He happened to be wearing a tee shirt from a now-defunct globo gym. I said, “Chris, fully extend your arms. This is CrossFit, so don’t do Lifestyle chin-ups.”

Back to me and my workout.

I ran 400m, and then completed 5 sets of 10 reps of GHD sit-ups, 44# 1-armed KB swings, and chin-ups. I completed all rounds unbroken. I ran another 400m. I had asked Jeff to be waiting for me, and I carried him 100m. He made me put him down because in his words, “You’re too bony.” My shoulders are indeed bony. I had planned on asking him to carry me the last 100m, but instead carried him an additional 100m. My total time was 14:54.

As Jeff also completed the workout solo, he carried me 200m. I’d much rather carry than be carried. I’m a pitcher, not a catcher. At one point while he was carrying me he asked, “Are you biting me?” I replied, “Did you just ask if I was biting you? No, I’m not biting you!” “Oh,” he said, “it’s your razor stubble.” Ha!

CFS Grand Opening!

Paul Coaching at CFS GO

Finally, the long-awaited CFS Grand Opening! I arrived early to mop the floor, finish some last-minute preparations, and complete today’s WOD. Luke had an upset stomach and requested numerous small walks. He ate grass, and then vomited. On the just-mopped floor. And that’s okay. I’m relieved that he was able to get everything out of his system before he began his mascot and host duties.

Speaking of relieved, I can’t begin to describe just how relieved I am that CFS is finally open for business. In addition to being relieved, I’m exceedingly excited!

WODs were held at 8:45, 9:30, and 10:15 and, as expected, few people attended the first and many attended the last WOD. My public apology to Sam, who wasn’t able to participate in the 10:15 WOD because we ran out of plates – but who crushed the Community WOD.

New Rule at CFS: Unless the inside and/or outside temperate is greater than 80 degrees, shirts are required.

Random thoughts in no particular order…

  • My mother and I have much in common.
  • Jeff’s mother, Brenda, is one of the sweetest, kindest, most generous people that I have ever met. She arranged for all of the refreshments!
  • Cliques.
  • Angie often matches her shirt and shoes.
  • I enjoy coaching one-on-one, small groups, and large groups. Uhm, I guess I just enjoy coaching.
  • Amy Scott is a wonderful hugger.
  • I love burpees.

I had a tremendously fun time coaching founding members, old friends, and first-time visitors. At least one time during each of the 3 sessions I thought, “I can’t wait until I get to do this WOD. It looks like a tremendous amount of fun.”

It wasn’t until after 3 that I was able to do so. I wasn’t the least bit disappointed!

5-min AMRAP
6-count burpees
Rest 1 minute
10-minute AMRAP
Hand release pushup & bodyweight deadlift ladder

I set A, B, & C goals.
A: Complete all burpees unbroken and all rounds of HRPUs and DLs unbroken.
B. Complete all burpees unbroken and 5 minutes of HRPUs and DLs unbroken.
C. Complete 50 unbroken burpees and 5 minutes of HRPUs and DLs unbroken.

I was confident that I could complete 5 minutes of unbroken burpees. I wasn’t so sure, however, that I could complete more than 10 unbroken HRPUs and DLs – particularly since 6-count burpees, well, include a strict pushup.

My strategy was to complete burpees at an even pace, and that’s what I did. I wasn’t the least bit tempted to rest, even though I had thought I’d do so after 50 burpees. I completed exactly 70 burpees with 1 second remaining.

The minute of rest was more than enough, and I was ready to get started with 15 seconds remaining. While I can’t recall exactly when I reached milestones, e.g., round of 10 HRPUs and DLs, after I passed the 5-minute mark I was still feeling strong. I also recall thinking that I’d probably only be able to complete 10 unbroken HRPUs. I kept going and had little desire to stop.

I completed all deadlifts with mixed grip, and I didn’t drop the bar until the last rep of each round. So, when I say I completed all rounds of deadlifts unbroken, that’s what I mean. Okay? Okay. Uhm, yeah, so I also completed all rounds of HRPUs unbroken, i.e., I didn’t rest at the bottom or top of pushup. Okay? Okay.

I finished strong. There was just 20 seconds left on the clock when I began the last round of 15 deadlifts. I completed the very last rep with 1 second left on the clock.

70 burpees + 15 rounds = 310 reps. That’s 120 HRPUs and DLs. That’s an average of 14 burpees and 24 HRPUs/DLs a minute.

Today was indeed an awesome day! (In spite of the fact that some inappropriate comments were made by a select few.)