Blog

This is a special blog post by Niki Marek

Change has seemed to be a common theme here at CFLA these past few months, so in true Niki fashion I didn’t want to be left out and decided to stir the pot some more, creating a little of my own change. In two weeks, on June 15, I’ll be wearing non-lululemon clothes and will be starting a new adventure of my own. Yep, I got a job. I know, I can’t really believe it myself, but I did. And if you’re wondering, yes, you’re still stuck with me — a girl’s still gotta workout!

I can still recount my first day as a member at CFLA like it was yesterday. I remember driving home after my first intro session wondering why I had signed up for a $200/month membership. As a college student I had no business committing to pay for that. I called my dad, half eager to tell him about this CrossFit thing I found, half hoping that he’d bail me out and offer to help pay the bill. He listened to my not-so-sly way of asking for money, and calmly responded with: “Well, looks like you’ll need to get another job then, huh.” And so began my desire to make it work. I begged for work, and finally a coach at the time, Becca, let me start inputting waivers for the CrossFit Kids program. I showed up every day and did my waiver data entries, and slowly started getting to know the staff. As much as Michael tried to ignore my presence, even he eventually had to learn my name. After I graduated in 2011, I became a full-time employee at CFLA. It was the year of trying to gain the respect of my coworkers (so Michael would stop ‘forgetting’ to invite me to his BBQ’s), transitioning to post college life (what’s a budget?), and making some new friends (hello future roomie, nice to meet you). Team CFLA made it to the CrossFit Games, and I learned a new dance called the Cupid Shuffle. Hooverball became a regular Sunday event, and the word community started to mean something to me. Shirley became my new idol, and I too cried when I saw her get her first muscle up at regionals. I was finally invited to a Michael Stanwyck BBQ. In short, 2011 changed my life.

I want to relive each and every memory I had with some of my former coworkers and still current friends, Sam, Jonesy, Logan, Lauren, and Embo, but I’ll save you guys from a really, really, long blog. Instead, I’ll sit here for a moment and be grateful that the universe brought us together to experience what we did at CFLA during that period of time. I laugh at all of the dumb things we did in that office, all the songs we sang, all the jokes we told, and all the bacon we ate . Looking back, I cannot believe how much I’ve grown and yet, how familiar it still feels to be back with those guys.

Keeping with the theme of change, CFLA’s current staff represents yet another era of people I will hold most dear to my heart. Danette, Kenny, Chip and Shirley …..Kevin, Adam, Jamie, GC, Benet, Renee and Jen…. You won’t meet a better group of people to learn from. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them day in and day out and can tell you that no group of people is more committed to seeing you guys succeed than they are. They are who made this decision most difficult to make, and who still make me sometimes question what the hell I’m doing. No one is more supportive of this decision than they are, and it’s been an honor working with them.

But, it’s time. Time to leave the nest and see what this next adventure has to teach me. I’m not sure it can top the lessons I’ve learned here, but I’m eager to find out. I’m also terrified – why am I choosing to leave a place where I have so much love, freedom, and familiarity? That I cannot yet answer, but curiosity compels me to take this next challenge and be open to pursuing growth in new ways. Each and every one of you has taught me something; it doesn’t matter if we’ve only spoken once via email, or if I see you every day at the top of that that too-long staircase, know that you have truly affected me in the most impactful ways.

I thank Andy for giving me the chance back in 2011 to prove that I was capable (even though I was not his first choice hire—true story). He wasn’t sold on me and man, I had to prove myself to him. Thank you for the guidance you’ve given me these last few years. Michael, thank you for meeting with me also, and not giving up on me during those weekly meetings (haha). Kenny, thank you for your unwavering support and guidance in this sometimes not so easy process, you deserve a gold medal for tolerating my daily dose of nonsense. To my noon class, I’m sad to say we will soon part ways…….. I’ll miss you all more than you know. To everyone, I love you all. I feel like I’m saying goodbye, but I’ll be around, don’t worry. I just won’t be answering your emails any longer or bothering you to update your credit card information. If you need to know where to find me, catch me in class or right around the corner at the Water Gardens on 26th and Colorado working for a company called Cornerstone OnDemand. Get ready guys, you’ll soon have a new student in class!!

 


Wednesday’s Workout
Competition

2RFT
1000m Row
50 KBS (24/16)
30 Sit to stands

And Coming Thursday
Recovery Practice

A) Air Squat Festival
Focus on external rotation

B) For quality load, working up across sets
10-10-10
Overhead squats

C) QAMRAP 10 at ≤70 RPE
200m Run
10 Pushups
10 DB Renegade rows (35/20)
–SOMSAVS Scoring–

 

Comments

comments

We have a lot of amazing members here at CFLA. One of them — who we all know and love — just celebrated a milestone birthday. Zach Goren turned 30 last month. Today, incidentally, is also his six year anniversary at CFLA.

We’re planning an event to celebrate Zach’s birthday the only way he knows how — or would want to: by working out.

At CFLA starting early on the morning of June 27, Zach will take on 30 workouts, one workout on the hour for every hour for 30 hours. He will finish the afternoon of June 28. This is his idea of good ol’ birthday fun. In all seriousness, this 30 for 30 marathon is a rite of passage; a gateway from what he’s been through to yet another level of his life. We couldn’t be more proud of his personal evolution from a reserved, tough-as-nails competitor to a well-rounded, kind, supportive, intelligent, generous, still tough-as-hell man.

You are invited to workout with him. Certainly not for 30 hours because that’s reserved solely as Zach’s personal journey. But he would absolutely love support. You are invited to do 1-6 workouts with him. He’ll need the most support during the late-night and dawn hours — the betwitching hours, if you will. And the last two workouts at noon and 1pm on June 28 are open unlimitedly to members, friends, and family as he will need us to get him through the home stretch. If you don’t want to do any of the workouts — totally ok! — your presence and loud cheering will be appreciated, too. We will celebrate with a BBQ afterwards.

A sign-up sheet will soon be posted if you feel moved to participate in a workout or two. Be on the lookout for that. Shoot Niki an email with any questions at [email protected]

Amazing, right? We’d expect nothing less from an amazing guy.


Tuesday’s Workout
Practice: Recovery

A) For quality load, working up across sets
5-5-5-5-5 Presses

B) EMOM 20 at ≤70 RPE
1st min: 6-12 Alt Pistols
2nd min: 10-20 Hollow rocks
3rd min: 3-5 Squat cleans (40%)
4th min: 10-20 Arch rocks
5th min: 6-12 Strict pullups
–30sec Cap each round–

And Coming Wednesday
Competition

2RFT
1000m Row
50 KBS (24/16)
30 Sit to stands

 

Comments

comments

Many of you know that I recently bought the gym from Andy. Both of us will be making formal announcements in the coming weeks. In the meantime, know that we aren’t changing radically nor are we going to triple your rates.

Now, here’s what we’ve got for the week:

Monday – Work 5 heavy quality front squats under a little bit of aerobic stress. The play with getting lower to the ground on the plate pushes to leverage the weight.

Tuesday – Work up to a heavy 5 on your press. Remember to get the elbows under the bar, rip it apart and activate your lats and triceps before applying force.  The volume on the EMOM is intended to give you space to push or ease off assuming your lines are great.

Wednesday – Inspired by “Jackie” this Competition style workout is sure to be a burner. Conditioning may get you but not as much as lack of mobility. Not using your hands to get up off the ground is helpful at any age. If your squat is 300 plus but you can’t do this well some ninja training may be necessary to supplement the training.

Thursday – Key today is Overhead Squats. If you’re mobility was challenged yesterday it’ll show up today. Just an opportunity to challenge yourself and make improvements. Personally this is my biggest goat and it is indeed humbling. Let it go, let it go… get in and overhead squat.

Friday – “Amanda on Roids” – Heavy deadlifts coupled with difficult body weight movements. Meant to be short and powerful yet elegant and graceful.


 

Monday’s workout
Practice

A) For quality load, working up across sets
5 Sets
5 Front squats
Accumulate 1000m Running

B) 1min max distance
Plate push

C) 3 RFQ
20 Air squats
10 Jerks (40%)

And Coming Tuesday
Practice

A) For quality load, working up across sets
5-5-5-5-5 Presses

B) EMOM 20 at ≤70 RPE
1st min: 6-12 Alt Pistols
2nd min: 10-20 Hollow rocks
3rd min: 3-5 Squat cleans (40%)
4th min: 10-20 Arch rocks
5th min: 6-12 Strict pullups
–30sec Cap each round–

Comments

comments

This guy holds the Guinness World Record for consecutive … pinky pulls ups. Ouch.

 

Happy Weekend, Friends.


Friday’s Workout
Practice

A) Pushup Carnival
Focus on external rotation

B) For quality load, working up across sets
5 Sets
5 Hang squat cleans + 1 Press

C) AMRAP 8
8 DB Renegade rows (35/20)
4 Burpee broad jumps

And Coming Monday
Practice Recovery

A) For quality load, working up across sets
5 Sets
5 Front squats + 200m Run

B) 1min max distance
Plate push

C) 3 RFQ
20 Air squats
10 Jerks (40%)

 

Comments

comments

Confident people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases their confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

Last month I stumbled upon an article on LinkedIn entitled “12 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently” by Dr. Travis Bradberry. I’m kind of a sucker for those types of articles, so I read it and was drawn to the above quote. The idea of seeking small victories stood out to me, because I believe that is a trait that can be honed in the gym.

Every time we walk through the door of our gym, we challenge ourselves, and many times during a workout, we compete with ourselves.  We always apply an amazing amount of effort, but sometimes the end of a workout seem so far away, and we get discouraged. Several weeks ago I did a long workout on a Competition Day, and I told myself I wouldn’t focus on getting to the end of the workout but rather on achieving small victories during the workout. Every time I completed 5 reps of a movement, I recognized my achievement and congratulated myself silently in my head. Each time I finished a movement entirely, I gave myself a huge mental pat on the back. This behavior kept my sights focused on small, manageable goals, and I was able to build confidence each time I achieved one. The victories kept piling up, and I felt like I could achieve anything.

Earlier this week, I did “Murph” and had a very different experience. I did not give myself any small goals to pursue and didn’t acknowledge any small victories during the workout. I felt miserable and beat down mentally and emotionally. I had little or no confidence in my abilities. Eventually, I finished the workout, with the help of Mark’s reminder to show heart when my skills fail, and it truly was an amazing experience that I will remember and appreciate. However, I think back on it and wonder what my state of mind would have been had I been more intentional about small victories.

Who we are in the gym is who we are in life, so I want to take advantage of every opportunity to better myself through my physical practice at the gym. The habit of pursuing and achieving small victories to build confidence in my workouts, is the same habit I can use to pursue and achieve small victories to build confidence in the things life throws at me. These can be simple things like my daily to-do list, or big things like my infinitely-long wedding planning to-do list. This tactic may not work for everyone, but I encourage you to at try it soon at the gym.


Thursday’s Workout
Practice

A) For quality load, working up across sets
2-2-2-2-2-2-2
Overhead squats

B) FQT
1250m Run
3min Rest
60 Air squats
2min Rest
40 Diagonal plate chops (20 Rt, 20 Lt)
1min Rest
20 Strict pullups

And Coming Friday
Practice

A) Pushup Carnival
Focus on external rotation

B) For quality load, working up across sets
5 Sets
5 Hang squat cleans + 1 Press

C) AMRAP 8
8 DB Renegade rows (35/20)
4 Burpee broad jumps

 

Comments

comments

We take pride in a lot of things here at CFLA. Form, quality, programming, coaches, ideas, the gym, you guys …

It only seems right that we take pride in the upkeep of our immediate community, especially the areas that we use often.

To that note, on Thursday we will again clean our 200m run route. We pick up trash (and discarded clothing), pull weeds, and clean up anything else that needs attention. Last time, we filled two garbage bins!

If anyone would like to come out to lend a hand, we’ll be out there Thursday, May 28, between 2:30pm-3:30pm.


Wednesday’s Workout
Competition

“The Farmer And The Annie”
*50*40*30*20*10
Double unders
Situps
*100m DB Farmer Carry (½ BW / ⅓ BW)

And Coming Thursday (besides Neighborhood Clean Up :))
Practice

A) For quality load, working up across sets
2-2-2-2-2-2-2
Overhead squats

B) FQT
1250m Run
3min Rest
60 Air squats
2min Rest
40 Diagonal plate chops (20 Rt, 20 Lt)
1min Rest
20 Strict pullups

Comments

comments

Our growth and evolution as human beings often begins with a shift in perspective. We get stuck if we view — or insist on viewing — life from limited angles. But often we can expand our understanding when we are willing to respect another’s experiences — and listen.

My perspective on Memorial Day “Murph” was challenged and broadened yesterday. During our annual “Murph” event at CFLA, I was changed for the better because Mark Semos put some things in perspective, from his perspective. As part of SEAL Team Five, he has seen and experienced things I never hope to, but I gained a deeper understanding because he has.

“Memorial Day is just another day to me,” he began. “Every day I wake up and think of my friends who have died next to me.”

Though he spoke in a near whisper, this set the tone for the twenty minutes of story telling that followed. He is admittedly very reserved, but he expertly wove in CFLA’s own context and philosophy of practice into the storytelling. “You need skill and heart to win anything. We practice the majority of time here at CFLA. CrossFit gyms don’t do that, but we do. To become a SEAL I practiced my skills for untold hours.” He illustrated that heart was up to us as individuals.

Thinking he would tie skill and heart into how we honor veterans as we do Murph, he told us we weren’t honoring anyone by doing a simple workout. He said, “You cannot hurt yourself enough working out to know what it’s like to be shot to death. Or what it feels like to lose a child in combat. You can’t destroy yourself enough to know what a wife goes through when she is handed a flag.”

You could hear a pin drop in the gym. Tears welled, goosebumps raised. We were hearing something new about a workout simply named “Murph”– something so authentic and true, we hung on to every word. Mark finished with this: “The way you can honor those who have died serving our country is to be a better person. Be a better person. When you apply your skills today and when you have to rely on your heart — because you will — this is what makes you a better person.”

The idea of congratulating ourselves after Murph became a flat second thought. The only thing that became important was doing our best and helping others who were suffering through the experience. We always do that at CFLA, but yesterday, this energy moved into new spaces that new perspective had created.

During the workout, I thought of my own grandfather who died just a year and a half ago. Grandad, a 1st Division Marine, landed on the shores of Iwo Jima at the age of 19. I thought of him as a bean-pole private — younger than my own daughter — landing in the middle of a fight so horrific, U.S. historians have called the battle like “throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete.” Over twenty-two thousand Americans suffered casualties including almost seven thousand dead during the island fight that only lasted just over a month. I thought about what my young, fierce grandad must have seen, his own heart and skill full throttle as he survived the odds. I then realized that I come from good stock; I have great “heart” genetics. And Mark was right, this workout held no footing in what I have handled and could handle if need be. The only thing left is to continue the pursuit of being that better person.


 

Tuesday’s Workout
Practice

A) For quality load
20 Back squats

B) 3 RFQ
2 9yd Plate pushes
10 Pushups
10 RKBS (32/24)
–1-3min Rest between rounds–

And Coming Wednesday
Competition

“The Farmer And The Annie”
*50*40*30*20*10
Double unders
Situps
*100m DB Farmer Carry (½ BW / ⅓ BW)

Comments

comments

24 May / 2015

Today, we remember Lt. Michael Murphy. He died heroically in 2005 and we’ve been honoring him since by doing his favorite workout every Memorial Day since (this will be our 9th).

Join us at 8am before the workout heats begin for a special Opening Tribute. Heats run every 15 minutes after that.

Odds are you will be sore no matter how you choose to scale later in the week. If so, do come in during Practice days for active recovery. (This may seem counter intuitive often but it get in to flush it out and you’ll be thankful you did…)


 

Monday’s Workout (AM only)
Mental Toughness

“Murph”

1 Mile Run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run

**The workout can be scaled any way needed**
Scale Suggestions:
“Cindy-Style” (Breaking up the bodyweight portion into rounds of 5pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats)
3/4 Murph (1 Mile Run, 75 Pull Ups, 150 Pull Ups, 225 Squats, 1 Mile Run – Cindy-Style or straight through)1/2 Murph (800m Run, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 800m Run – Cindy-Style or straight through)

And coming Tuesday
Practice

A) For quality load
20 Back squats

B) 3 RFQ
2 9yd Plate pushes
10 Pushups
10 RKBS (32/24)
–1-3min Rest between rounds–

Comments

comments

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Age: 47
Occupation: RN
When did you first start CrossFitting?: July 2012
When did you first start training at CFLA?: Jan 2012 Private sessions with Shirley Brown
Favorite WOD: Maya
Least Favorite WOD: Niki

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: Played hockey as a child, ran track, volleyball, field hockey, skied, iced skated, and gymnastic as teen. As an adult, I continued to exercise at gyms and did pilates.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I read an article about CrossFitters and thought it would be something worth checking out. I would drive by the gym and thought why not. I called, talked with Niki, explained what I was looking to accomplish and the next thing I was paired up with Coach Shirley Brown.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I went from a size 12 to a 4 in 10 months My 6 year old tells me I have more muscles than Daddy. I have more energy, strength, and more endurance.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? Not to limit yourself, try something unexpected!

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: For me, it’s the women’s 9am class. The group of gals are a riot to be with!

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t be intimidated! Jump into the advance class or as I refer to it ” the big boy’s and girl’s class” the encouragement you get is awesome!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Love my Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, baking anything, ( of course low calorie? Well maybe not so low calorie) and trying something new, which I recently did by joining the Speed Team!!


Friday’s Workout
Practice

A) Air Squatchella
Focus on spinal extension

B) For quality load, working up across sets
5-5-5-5-5
Overhead squats

C) 4 RFT on the 3:00
200m Run
2 Push press (85% of 1RM press)
3 Jerks
–2min Cap–

Coming Monday
Mental Toughness

Memorial Day “Murph”

1 mile run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
1 mile run

Scale however needed. Event starts at 8am. Heats begin shortly thereafter.
**No regular classes!**

 

Comments

comments

I had a moment coaching the other day when I was in total bliss. It was a Monday afternoon and I had 10 teens in class. They were all doing the workout and had just begun on the rowers. The room was full, the music was loud, but not too loud and I was walking by all of these amazing kids and I was so happy.

It was last fall when coach GC told me he was not going to be able to coach teens anymore. I was sad and nervous all at the same time. It meant I was to take over the teens. Yes, you all know me as the “kids coach” but I truly do love working with teens.

It might be because I was a teenager when I started on my strength training journey. Or because one of my favorite jobs in college was teaching teen strength training at my local YMCA. It’s just so empowering seeing teens (and adults) gain awareness of their bodies and build strength at the same time. What I really love seeing and hearing about is how my students go out into the world and use that confidence and strength they have gained working with me. That’s truly why I love coaching. I love helping people grow, learn and become stronger and more confident in and out of the gym.

To name a few of my favorite things: My favorite musician? India.Arie and one of her her amazing songs, Strength, Courage and Wisdom. My favorite ice cream? Haagen Dazs, vanilla swiss almond. And it wouldn’t be a complete blog post if I didn’t include a recipe for you all. I love eggs and sweets, so here is a little sweet egg treat you should all try and it looks beautiful!


 

Thursday’s Workout
Competition

“Franklin Hill”
2 Rounds on the 15:00
Up, over, back, and up

And Coming Friday
Practice

A) Air Squatchella
Focus on spinal extension

B) For quality load, working up across sets
5-5-5-5-5
Overhead squats

C) 4 RFT on the 3:00
200m Run
2 Push press (85% of 1RM press)
3 Jerks
–2min Cap–

 

Comments

comments


1 2 3 4 302
Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search

Blog Archives

Find Us on Facebook