The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Keep lean and mean over the holidays!

Workouts can now be found at:

or alternatively at or

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Check out my SAC!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Training at Powerplay

I have become tired of working out at campus rec. as it is too busy, too crowded and lacks proper equipment. I will now be doing Crossfit, O-lifting and strength workouts at Power Play Training Centre (865 Florence street, London, ON N6G 5W5). They have all the equipment I need to do any workout I wish (2 full O-lift sets/platforms/racks, GHD, Back ext, pullup station, kettlebells dumbbells, barbells and weights a plenty, box jumps, a 40 yrd indoor track, treadmills, bikes, med-balls, etc. and I'm bringing a C2 rower, some rings and a few other goodies that I will leave at the gym for general use). I have a deal setup with the manager Ryan for anyone that is interested it's $50/month and you can come by whenever they are open but they do run training sessions throughout the day so it can be a little busy at times especially 6-8:30pm (though the O-lifting platforms are usually free at this time) . I train at lunch time 12:30-1:30pm since that is their slow time (we had the whole place to ourselves today), so if you want to join me and Brad for a workout drop on by or give us a shout and we can car pool from Western.

*Additional Note* - Winterlift is in Sarnia on February 13th, 2010 and Crossfit Sectionals are in Toronto March 20-21st, 2010. It's never too late to start preparing so get out and work hard!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Killin' it For a Cure!

October is breast cancer awareness month and today I had a chance to participate in the "Killin' it for a Cure" fundraiser at Crossfit Will County. It was a fun event consisting of a team WOD. Teams of two had to complete the following: 3rnds of 20 Clean&Jerk 135#, 40 Kettlebell swings 53#, 30 pullups. My partner Mike (Crossfit Naperville) and I finished the task in 13:25, here's a pic of the two of us post workout.

Crossfit Chicago

I had a few hours off from doing research at the APS so I dropped in to Crossfit Chicago on Friday. Little did I know I would be in for a little treat called "Linda" aka 3 bars of death! Good bunch of guys/gals and a puppy make up this quaint little box. Coach Rudy Tapalla ran the WOD while Coach Bryce Wood motivated and spotted me through out the workout. I had a great time guys and I look forward to sporting my new crossfit chicago t-shirt.

Good Crossfit - Bad Crossfit

There are a lot of crossfits out there, some are good and some are bad!

The truth is that people who offer great Crossfit or other services will do exceptionally well and people who offer mediocre crossfit will still do ok. The reason being is that even poorly executed crossfit programming and functional movements provide a better workout that 90% of the programs / globo gyms / personal trainers out there. The magic is in the movements, even when those movements are not done exactly as they should be. It seems wierd but it is the truth. There are 1000's of people a month becoming new crossfit trainers and opening up their own affliates who know nothing about how to train people. Some of these will do well as coaches and others not so well but hopefully they will be constantly learning how to be better coaches and that makes all the difference. All good coaches and trainers started off as amateurs before they became all-stars it just takes time. New unqualified trainers will unfortunately injure a client or two but this will hopefully remind them to keep improving their knowledge in exercise physiology, biomechanics, olympic lifting, etc. I have trained at a lot of bad crossfits, some get better everytime I go back and some don't. The only good thing is that eventually there will be 5-10 Crossfits in every big city and 2-4 in every small town and the crappy crossfits will all be weeded out.

Alec Hanson from Crossfit Costa Mesa says it best (CFJ article )- "A great trainer is someone who inspires those they train. They create new opportunities for their members. They push them and encourage them and are invested in their lives and their success. If they are bad trainers, their clients will either get hurt, hit plateaus or realize they don’t really know anything and leave."

For all new trainers I think it is important for them to stick with what they know and slowly expand their knowledge. People can get very fit doing 4rnds of 400m run, 50 air squats or 3rnds of 30 pushups, 50 situps. Sometimes less is more (effective and safe)! Use the tools you have and then build from there. As your clients grow so will their needs and your coaching will have to follow suit because if you can't keep up they will leave. If you can't do a clean and jerk or if you don't know the proper way to teach the movement then you can't expect your clients to perform them in the workout. When you have some idea of how the C&J goes you can put it into the programming at low weight for high reps and when you have a solid foundation of the C&J you can start to get your clients lifting heavy singles. (This is the same reason I don't teach people how to do backflips.)

So which is worse, doing by yourself (can't see form) at a Globo Gym or working out at a Crappy Crossfit (doing horrible programming)? The answer is different for everyone for me it's the crappy crossfit but for someone who doesn't know the movements correctly it is the globo gym. Either way both are better than the typical "back and bicept" day followed by 30 min of cardio when trying to get fit.

Keep functional, keep fit!

Trainers - Keep learning you never know enough and keep up to the needs of your clients or lose them!

Athletes - If you are not seeing results or you find yourself getting hurt/injured find a new trainer!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Practise Your Gynmastics!

Williston working on an iron cross hold on the rings

Bodyweight strength is extremely important. The ability to control your body on a frictionless plane involves tonnes and tonnes of muscles throughout the entire body! Start with holding yourself up on the rings for 10, 20, 30sec up to 1-2 min. You can then start working on being inverted on the rings, "skin the cat", muscle-ups and finally back/front lever progressions. Progressions are the key! Don't just jump into a highly skilled move, go through each step until you can start combining them in the final product. Other progressions like the one seen above allow you to shorten the lever on which the forces act, therefore making it slightly easier to perform. So Practise your gymnastics and you will become a machine!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Take your workouts to go!

The following is a list of workouts that can be performed on the road, away from the gym. Look for pieces of the environment that can be used as equipment ie. benches (for box jumps), retaining walls (for box jumps), tree branches (for pullups), big stones (for "kettlebell" swings, press or thrusters) etc.

21-15-9 of Squats and Pushups rest 2-3 min and repeat as necessary.

100 burpees

Max rounds in 20 min of: 5 pushups, 10 situps, 15 squats

400m run x 4-6 (rest 2-5 min in between)

1 mile run, rest 5 min, 1 mile run

4 rnds for time of: 50 squats, 400m Run

3 rnds for time of: 20 burpees, 50 situps

100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats

5 rnds of: 15 clapping pushups, 25 hollow rock, 35 jumping squats

400m walking lunges

tabata (20s work, 10s rest) pushups, situps, burpees, squats

5 rnds of: 1 min Handstand, 10 pistols

10 rnds of: 100m sprint, 10 burpees, rest 1 min

3 rnds of: 200m run, 30 squats, 20m bear crawl, 10 burpees, 20m bear crawl

50-40-30-20-10 tuck jumps and situps/V-ups

21-15-9 Handstand pushups and pushups

3 rnds of: 20 squats, 15 burpee broad jumps, rest 2min

3 rnds of: 50 supermans, 50 situps

5 rnds of: 10 pushups, 10 jumps for height, 200 m sprint
2min rest
5rnds of: 10 pushups, 10 broad jumps, 200m sprint

Practise your Gymnastics:
Elbow levers
and all the one arm/leg and straddle/tuck variations

Go Hiking!

Go Swimming!

Go Bike riding!

Go Running!

Rings, or a jump rope are small enough to fit in your suitcase and will add even more variety to your workouts.

Calgary Trip

At the beginning of this month I had a chance to visit two kick ass crossfits - Crossfit Calgary and Crossfit Cowtown both located in Calgary NW and only minutes away from my sisters place. I was able to meet all time Crossfit great James "OPT" FitzGerald and join his morning class for a good butt kick. It is always great to train with great trainers, I always pick up some good tips on training and coaching. I spent most of my time in Calgary at the new Crossfit Cowtown box - owned by my friends Sean and Dani - Sean crushed me with a few killer WODs and we had a good time getting things ready for their grand opening on international bacon day. These new kids on the block are eager, ready and determined to make it big! Trainers with passion like this are hard to come by. I look forward to seeing where they are when I return next summer.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Blog

As of now I have moved over to a new blog where I will talk about nutrition and related issues. Check it out! Eat, Sleep, Fast!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Join the fight now! Fight Gone Bad IV will go down on Saturday, September 26th at around 6pm in the 4Horsemen Garage. Come out, have fun and show your support for prostate cancer research and the Wounded Warrior project. There is still time sign up or to DONATE!

Vegan vs. Carnivore

Thoughts? Comments?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Get Outdoors

(Flying sideways off a tree and over a ledge at Lindeman Lake, BC.)

Just do something fun and outdoors! It's summer time get off your butt and go hiking, swimming, running, etc. you can even try some gymnastics (just remember that nature's equipment is not as structurally sound as engineered equipment ie. the structural integrity of cedar bark is not enough to support a flag from a 165# individual - see pic). Getting some fresh air and a little sun it will do you good.

Elbow lever - Place hands facing backwards on object. Stab elbows into stomach on either side of belly button. Lift head and legs slowly until straight. Open elbow angle to bring body horizontal. (Tutorial)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


T-shirts are coming! The crest will be on the back, the front will have Conquest, Death, Famine and War around the collar. Does anyone want a saying on the back as well? Add your sayings to the comments section.

"the iron never lies"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Survival of the Fattest

" All God's creatures get fat and have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and then go to sleep, or at least starve for sugar for a while. That's why only our pets have heart disease, get too fat to walk, and have cancer. They live with us." T.S Wiley, Lights Out

In nature you could not live off sugar for very long, seeing as plants only fruit in one season and flower in the next. With seasons leaving food supply unpredictable we only had one option-obesity. A major killer now was once the key to survival. In order to put on enough fat to live off of during winter months you had to become insulin resistant when the carbohydrate (sugar) supply was available. The goal was to eat so much sugar that your muscle cells would close up shop (become resistant) to the effects of insulin and therefore store all incoming sugar as fat or pumped into cholesterol production. The evolutionary purpose of insulin is insulation.

" The point of being really fat is to keep you from starving and freezing. Insulin stores excess energy as internal fat around your vital organs first, before you ever see it ripple under your skin. The purpose is to insulate your heart, lungs, and digestive system from the cold, just as the fetus in a pregnant women is protected with a layer of fat energy."

This higher than normal insulin would flip the switch on increased cholesterol production to keep your cell membranes from freezing. The greatest evolutionary edge would come with the out of control high blood sugar seen in type 2 diabetics .

" A higher than normal concentration of blood sugar would keep the interior of your cells from freezing because of the effect carbohydrates have on water molecules. All anti-freeze, even what you use in your car, tastes sweet."

Type 2 Diabetes is truly the end-state of the vestigial hibernation instinct. The problem is we don't live in the real world anymore, the food supply (sugar) never runs out and we never turn the lights off!

" As a mammal, you are hardwired to eat sugar, make babies, store fat, and then sleep it off, and then do it again and again."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Over-training or Under-recovery

When performance drops the 1st question you need to ask is WHY? Most likely it is due to over-training or under-recovery both terms are basically interchangeable. When you are over-trained it is because you are have not fully recovered, therefore over-training is simply under-recovery. You must be very careful to not train in excess of what you can recover from, it is all about time management - how much rest do you need between workouts to be recovered. Will one day of rest allow you to recover from 1, 2, or 3 days in a row of hard workouts or do you need 2 days of rest for every 3 days of workout. Finding the right work to rest ratio is a tricky task and differs from individual to individual and also varies for each individual based on their current workload, nutrition and sleep habits. Workload or Volume is the sum of the loads you lift multiplied by the repetitions you perform (eg. 300# x 20 reps = a 6000# workload, 150# x 60 reps = 9000# workload), usually it is easiest to disregard the warm-up sets and only calculate this for the work sets. Depending on your program you may want to have a high workload (muscle gaining phase) or a low workload (right before a competition), but either way, the higher the workload the longer it takes to recover. Nutrition has a profound impact on recovery - you need to put the right building blocks into the body so it can repair itself (branched chain amino acids, glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, calcium etc.) not to mention you have to refuel for the next workout. For proper eating check out Foundations and Post-workout-feeding or check out Crossfit Cowtown's blog, or Robb Wolf's site. I recommend that my athletes eat a fairly "clean" diet (ie. as close to paleo as possible) to reduce inflammation and auto-immune responses caused by grains etc., to increase their rate of recovery. Protein:Carb:Fat ratios will depend on the needs of the athletes but most O-lifters can keep the carb intake very low. The last major aspect of recovery is sleep. As an athlete you need a minimum 8 hrs of sleep in order to recover I recommend 9-10 hrs for anyone wishing to be a highly competitive athlete. Make sure this is quality sleep - Super dark room (with no lights). When you are sleeping your body is performing the majority of the repair work. Workload, Nutrition and Rest are the main factors to recovery but there are also small things you can do to aid recovery. These minor aspects include - post-workout stretching, PNF stretching, foam rolling, contrast showers/baths, Epsom salts. The Most important thing is to listen to your body! If you are overly sore, tired, sleepy, or tight you might be on your way to being over-trained, remember it is better to take more rest than not enough. Use the rest-day to actually rest!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Warm-up!

A good warm up is the key to a successful workout. In general, the shorter the workout the longer the warm-up! The quicker or more explosive you are while doing something under load the higher the potential for disaster/injury. High acceleration = High Force (F=m*a) especially at high mass/weight. So if you are going for a slow jog you probably don't need to warm up the muscles because the jogging is such a low stress/shock on the system that it will essentially be your warm-up. However if you are going to hit 6x50m sprints then you are probably going to want to do some amount of warm-up - like a light jog, then a faster jog, then a slow run, then a fast run and finally a sprint at ~90%. The same goes for heavy lifting do a few reps at 45% (5reps), 65% (3reps), 85% (2reps) before attempting your first lift (100%). The warm-up should not be too hard and essentially just there to get your muscles full of blood and loose, allowing you to move all your joints/limbs through the full ranges of motion needed in the exercises you will be doing. Do the warm-up at a comfortable pace but don't take to long, save some time for the actual workout!

My favourite way to warm-up is as follows:
1.) 2 minutes skipping - singles (so easy to do, very little range of motion, very low effort but get the heart pumping)
2.) dynamic movement (arm and leg circles, toe touches etc. just get those limbs moving in a full range of motion)
3.) basic body movements (air squats, pushups, situps, pullups, back extensions - pretty basic stuff, nothing fancy but it warms up the muscles in a large range of motion)
4.) the sticking points. I only use static stretching on anything that is super tight - hips, and ankles are the big ones here. The preferred method to loosening up the hamstrings, glutes and quads and pretty much everything else is PNF. *Note* most static stretching should be done post-workout as it can have a detrimental effect on performance if done pre-workout (hips are usually only exception to the rule).
5.) If needed foam roller on the sore areas
6.) raise the heart rate a bit (all that stretching can lower the heart rate and you start to get cold, you should have a slight sweat on before you start the workout) I like to do skipping -Double Unders.
7.) Practise - go through any movements which you are unsure of or rusty that are in your workout. If it is a lift do reps with the bar and then 45%, 65%, 85%.
8.) Mentally focus on the task at hand - take a minute or two to rest and think about how you will complete the workout, close your eyes and image yourself doing each exercise to completion until you are finished
9.) Grab some water to rehydrate, and chalk up.
10.) Kick butt on the workout.

Competitive O-lift training.

The training protocol for O-lifting can be found at 4 Horsemen Weightlifting Club (posted hopefully at 7pm the day before) so for all those interested in competing you can follow along. Each day there is an AM lift and a PM workout, you are expected to complete all the AM lifts and at least 3 out of 5 PM workouts, additionally you must take at least 1 full rest day (the other may be an active rest day). The AM lift classes will be from at 6:45 or 7:30am and the PM classes are the usual 2pm, 6pm and 7pm times. For those interested the Blue Mountain Open is Aug. 22nd in Collingwood - registration ends August 8th!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Big thanks to everyone that came out to cheer us on at the Crossfit Ontario Challenge this past weekend in Toronto. The atmosphere that day was unbelievable! Everyone screamed their heads off and cheered on fellow competitors until the last timer hit stop! We all had a great time hanging out with friends, family and Crossfitters from all over. Thanks again!

Monday, July 6, 2009

2009 Variety Village Open

Jeremy - 3rd attempt - 122kg C&J

Saturday, July 4th was the debut of the 4 Horsemen Weightlifting Club at the 2009 Variety Village Open. Jeremy and I trained long and hard for the competition in hopes of placing. We both experimented with cutting weight and weighed in at 83.4kg and 75.5kg respectively. I lifted in the morning and after making 85kg back stage decided to open with it for my 1st attempt in the snatch. I got very nervous and missed my 1st attempt (I caught it, but wasn't focused on anything so I had no balance and lost it forward) but hit the 2nd attempt easily after refocusing. With the 85kg snatch I was already ahead by 10kg so I decided to attempt 92kg for my final attempt hoping the adrenaline would help. I had them brush the bar to get a little more rest but it proved to be too big of a jump in such a short period of time and I missed my 3rd attempt. In the future I will definitely need to train with smaller rest periods because I found it very difficult to follow myself for 3 heavy lifts. For the Clean and Jerk I opened at 110kg and hit it easily as expected. My second attempt was 116kg and I recieved 1 white and 2 red lights (so a failed attempt). Apparently there was a bit too much rebend or press out in my right elbow on the jerk. I decided to attempt 118kg for my final lift and was so focused on the jerk that I missed the clean. I ended up with a 195kg total. This was about 15kg off what I had hoped for, but a good first competition as this proved to be enough for 1st place in the 77kg class. A few hours later Jeremy weighted in and began the rehydration process. For the snatch he opened at 80 kg which went up super easy. He followed himself with 84kg, but missed. In order to get him some more rest he jumped to 86kg for his 3rd attempt (there were a few big boys lifting 85kg). Jeremy threw the 86kg up and pulled it so hard there was just a bit too much swing in the bar path that he lost it backward. For the Clean and Jerk he opened with 110kg, which he dominated. His second attempt was 116kg. He was well rested for this one since I had them change the weight to 114kg then I increased it to 116kg as there was another lifter doing 115kg. J hit 116kg easily with a very nice looking textbook jerk. His final lift was 122kg which looked very heavy but he managed to hit it giving him a total of 202kg which was good enough for 2nd in the 85kg class. All in all a great experience and first showing for the club, with hopefully more medals to come.

Me - 1st attempt - 110kg C&J

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stabilizing the Mid-line

J-rock holding a sick Flag off the life guard tower at Port Stanley

A strong core means having the ability to stabilize the mid-line (see pic above). You need to be able to recruit muscles in the front (eg. abs, + many others), back (eg. erectors + many others) and even side (eg. obliques + many others) of your body to keep you rigid and solid under load (or tension). Having a strong core is less about how many crunches you can do and more about how much weight you can lift. If you work on all the core muscle groups, and not just the abs, you will see that you can front squat, OHS, deadlift, and press more and you will be able to do more pushups and pullups. This is all because power is generate from the core to the extremities and the stronger the core the more efficient the power transfer. Additionally, the stronger your core is the farther the (center of mass of the) load can be from your mid-line which means you have a greater margin of error to work with when lifting. So the next time you have some free time, bust out an elbow lever or a flag; they are fun to try and a great core exercise.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

excuse me while i kiss the sky...

Big thanks to Jay's dad for hooking us up with some incredible boxes (20", 24", 36"). Tuesday I decided to give my max another go after "Helen". This video was my last attempt at 55 3/4 ". Excuse the "arnold" pose at the end.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Challenge

Competition is heating up inside the garage as we inch closer and closer to July 18th. What is going on then? The Crossfit Ontario Challenge! Currently we have five members of 4 horsemen that will be competing. For more information on the event and sign up go here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cheaters Guide to Success - Lesson 2: "Watching the Game"

Now, as I am a proud Canadian I thoroughly enjoy watching hockey with my buddies. With the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs nearing many of us will venture out to our local watering hole to catch the rest of this exciting series. It is important to remember that in our stupid western civilization dieting (or more appropriately eating healthy) among men especially is somewhat shunned and as to not look like a "pussy" one must conform to the norm. The best way for us "manly cheaters" to achieve this is to stick with the classic "wings and beer. Here is the cheaters guide to wings and beer at the pub: Sticking to a 4-5 block zone portion (probably 2-3x fat), you can eat 1pound (10-15 wings) with 2 pints of beer (not cider, which you shouldn't be drinking anyways - man up Nancy!). For the wings try to stay away from the sugar filled saucy ones - BBQ, Honey garlic and go with teriyaki, salt & Pepper or Hot. Mild and Medium sauces are for wussies and they are mainly ketchup based which means full of sugar. This is a solid cheat meal if you stick to the proportions as this is key - PROPORTIONS! Now this doesn't mean you should eat like this everyday but if you are going to cheat, do it wisely.


Note: If the game goes into OT you can have 5 more wings and another pint, just workout a little extra the next day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Foolin' around with the big fat pink lady - A visit to Crossfit Saskatoon

TGU with the big fat pink lady (2.5 pood) & Crossfit Saskatoon

Today I managed to fit in a WOD at Crossfit Saskatoon. It was a 5x5 Thruster rest 3-5min and then work up to a max Turkish Get-up. It was a great experience, I love visiting all the different Crossfit affiliates they are always so welcoming. Crossfit Saskatoon is no exception to the rule, I was welcomed with open arms and got a great workout in. If you are in the area do drop by and check them out, the head trainer is Chad Benko a very knowledgeable and great guy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Everyday we are inspired. Inspired by the people who train with us, from all over the country. Inspired by the exercises we train with. Inspired by the people who learn from us. Every day people are inspired by us. Inspired by our staff in the gym. Inspired by the art of training and service we provide. We select our programming carefully to inspire you. Come be inspired!

What inspires you to train and train hard? Tell us your inspirations.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Monika doing some Overhead squats with a PVC pipe

The scalability of exercises is key when following a program not specifically tailored for one individual. It is exactly as it sounds - the scaling of an exercise to the abilities of that individual. It is a necessary part of any program involving complex movements over a full range of motion

"The question regularly arises as to the applicability of a regimen like CrossFit’s to older and deconditioned or detrained populations. The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. One is looking for functional dominance the other for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest through identical physiological mechanisms. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs. We get requests from athletes from every sport looking for a strength and conditioning program for their sport. Firemen, soccer players, triathletes, boxers, and surfers all want programs that conform to the specificity of their needs. While admitting that there are surely needs specific to any sport, the bulk of sport specific training has been ridiculously ineffective. The need for specificity is nearly completely met by regular practice and training within the sport not in the strength and conditioning environment. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bikers and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen."
Greg Glass - From the "What is Fitness" article, CFJ.

The general idea is to start with a light load and work on technique, once the technique is sound then and only then start increasing the (intensity) speed and load. Everyone has to master the basic movement patterns before they can increase the difficulty. We modify our workouts to fit the abilities of each individual trainee. Getting the most out of each client is the key to their success and by allowing them to achieve the highest output they are capable of by scaling the weights and exercises is only logical. Anyone can do "Crossfit" or any other strength and conditioning program provided you don't make them do more than they are capable of doing. If they can't run make them jog, if they can jog make them walk etc. If 200lbs is too much let them do 80#, if 80# is still to much scale them down to a PVC pipe or a weight they can handle. I put my mother through a workout with just a broom stick. Getting her to just practice doing deadlifts, press and overhead squats for 5-10 reps was a good start for someone who has not moved that way for years. It wasn't a huge task for her to complete but she felt it the next day and it was a great place to start. Now she has been doing it for a while and has better range of motion and flexibility throughout these movements, soon I will have her try it while holding soup cans. Once the basic movements are sound we can increase the load and eventually the intensity.

Below is a small list of subs. From hardest to easiest
Handstand Pushups - Handstand holds - declined pushups - pushups - inclined pushups - knee pushups.
Strict pullups - kipping pullups - jumping pullups - ring rows
GHD situps - V-ups - situps
Knees to elbows - knees to chest - knees to parallel

By decreasing the range of motion or by creating more favorable levers with our body we can simplify the exercise while still getting the desired muscular stimulus. Just start at a point where you are able to safely complete the movement and go up slowly from there. It's called scalability and it will eventually get you to where you want to be - the ability to do things unscaled.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Monzi Pulling on the C2

Recently we were lucky enough to pick up a Concept 2 Rower for an unbelievable price. Whats the first thing you do when you get a rower? Pull a 500!!! I managed a huge PR with a 1:28.8. That was just under a 7 second improvement. Whatever we're working. The C2 is a great new weapon in the gym and will be a key tool to gear up for July 18th.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's a Fran off!!!

The main event of the evening was a battle of two heavy weights - Murph vs. Wheels in an all out Fran off!

After round 1 it was neck and neck, but the second round seemed to be the deciding factor. There is nothing like a bit of competition to bring out the top performances.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Motivation is the key to success. Motivation is the drive that gets us from point A to point B. In “the garage” there are always many sources of motivation. The motivation of competition is extremely high. It is said that “men will die for points” and when your sport is fitness, trying harder only makes you fitter. Nobody likes to lose, but there are no losers in that everyone has improved there life with a high intensity workout using functional movements. Additionally, many of our athletes are motivated to beat their previous score/time/load at a certain workout, a personal competition. Others wish to finish in a certain time behind the top finisher, or finish without scaling down the exercises. These examples are all goal oriented motivators, however there are also social motivators when you come workout in “the garage”. The shouts from the crowd watching, cheering you on. The constant assurance from your coach that “you can do it! Only two more to go! Great, now finish that last rep!” will drive you to get it done. The motivation not to disappoint those around you, who are counting on you to finish is a powerful tool. The fear of failing the group will push many people to new heights. Additionally, many external motivators drive our athletes. The desire for mobility or increased range of motion. The need to lower bad cholesterol, lower body fat, lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate and increase their metabolism, energy, and enjoyment of life. What are some other motivators that you have experience in your time with us?

I would personally like to thank all those who have recently motivated and cheered me on during my PR's in my last few workouts: Snatch (92 kg), "Elizabeth" (6:15), "Cindy" (22+ rnds), and "Grace" (2:53).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monzi The Machine!

Hard work and good eating goes along way. Monika has been training consistently 3 on/1 off in the garage for sometime now and it is showing. Today she hit a new PR on deadlift with 200lbs! That is a 40 pound improvement since the last Crossfit Total in March! Since then she has only deadlifted once during a met-con. She is continually getting better in every aspect and there is only room for improvement in the future! Keep it up Monzi!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Post Workout Feeding!

Eating post workout is possibly the funnest and most important times to eat. During this time we can get away with certain foods that otherwise may not be the best choices. As we discussed in our article with the 4 hot babes in bikinis, to burn fat your diet must manage insulin. Bottom line.

Usually we try to stay away from carbohydrate sources that rate high on the glycemic index scale, but during the post workout window we actually want to consume these foods. During exercise and shortly after our cells have the ability to absorb glucose from the bloodstream without the need of insulin. This is a state called "non-insulin mediated glucose uptake." This is key for quick recovery and also protects you from messing up your insulin sensitivity. This state rapidly slows down after exercise and is completely shut off after about an hour.

By no means is this a free for all to consume crap like cookies, pasta, ice cream etc. The best carbohydrate sources are starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes being my favourite). A quality protein source is also essential for muscle repair. Go with a lean cut of meat, fish is possibly the best source in this instance. Try to avoid foods that contain fat and fiber as they slow absorption. As I said before you want to digest the food as fast as possible pwo as this "state" is completely shut off after an hour.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A visit to Crossfit Scotland

At the beginning of March I had the opportunity to visit my cousin Eryn and rest of the McFee clan in my motherland of Scotland. After hitting the big cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and a whiskey tour/tasting, I was in need for a major ass whooping. Fortunately, only 15 min from the McFee's house in the neighbouring town of Irvine (Ayrshire) is Crossfit Scotland. I called them up the day before, to ask if I could join the noon class for the WOD. I got there about 30 min early excited to hit the workout hard. I had been in Italy for the entire month of February limited to bodyweight only workouts (I was also on a gelato heavy diet and about 10lbs heavier than normal - definitely needed some intense CFit). As soon as I walked in the door I was treated like family, this is truely the best part about the whole Crossfit community, every box/gym I have had the priviledge to workout at has been very welcoming, and friendly but CFit Scotland takes the cake. My cousin Eryn accompanied me and although she wasn't there to workout the head trainer Neil Foley (a CFIT level 2 trainer) made sure she had a good seat to view my butt kicking and a warm cup of coffee. Neil gave me the tour of his box, explained to me their approach to CFit, the ups and downs of doing CFit in Scotland ie. it rains all the time and then he discussed the WOD with me. I told him I wanted a real ass kick so he let me go "super" heavy for the Overhead Squats (OHS). The WOD was 400m row 21 pullups, 15 OHS (135# for me 95# for the others), 9 boxjumps, 800m row, 21 OHS, 15 boxjumps, 9pullups, 400m row, 21 boxjumps, 15 pullups, 9 OHS. I was expecting the OHS to be hard and they were but what got me was the pullups. Now I do kipping pullups pretty well but I have never done them on swinging pullup bars (trapez style), they were so difficult to connect on they almost crushed me on their own. As you can see from the pic I finished (a little of 20min later) absolutely destroyed leaving a nice big sweat angel behind. My trip to Crossfit Scotland was an amazing experience and Neil being such a nice guy wouldn't even let me pay for my workout, now I couldn't leave without contributing so I bought a shirt off them, which is hanging in the garage as a reminder of my great time there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Real Foods Take On Fake Foods

Helen-Mess You Up!
Just wanted to share a great post from Scott Kustes at The Life Spotlight on Real Foods vs. Fake Foods . It is actually pretty crazy that some people think that food made in a lab is better for you then natural foods?? How does that even make sense?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Insulin Resistant Hotties!!

Is this seriously the outcome of eating too much and sitting on your ass all day? I mean if all you had to do was eat a little less and walk around a bit more don't you think it would be alot easier to lose weight?? You hear it all the time in the media, " choose the low-fat option" or " 30 min of moderate exercise could burn up to -insert bullshit number here- calories, that's 1 pound of fat loss a week!" Blame it on the fat and laziness all you want but it's just not the case. If fat was making us fat and was the major player in disease how do you explain the traditional Inuit diet consisting of 70% fat with no obesity, diabetes, heart disease or any other diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome?

If energy in/energy out was all that mattered then why would someone like Robb Wolf suggest that without a proper diet you will not see changes in body composition from exercise. You will get fitter, but you will not see any change in body composition. He's not just throwing this out there either, he sees it in clients all the time.

Obesity is caused by excessive fat accumulation, agreed? What must be present to promote fat accumulation? Insulin! Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that lowers blood sugar and promotes fat accumulation in the adipose tissue. Without insulin you will not store fat long term! Carbohydrates are the main culprit in the secretion of insulin. Interesting how the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic can be traced back to the increase in sugar consumption?

The problem with eating a diet high in carbohydrates (especially refined) is the impact it has on insulin levels, and the impact insulin has on the mobilization/accumulation of fatty acids in and out of the adipose tissue as fuel. When insulin levels are elevated-either chronically or after a meal-we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it as fuel.

The real trouble comes when trying to lose weight with insulin levels that are chronically elevated, a condition called hyperinsulinemia. Chronic hyperinsulinemia (elevated insulin in between meals, not just from a meal rich in carbs) causes the body to believe it has been fed. We believe we have just been fed glucose with the presence of insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin constantly primes the cells to burn glucose, and only glucose will satisfy that demand. Because of this "primed" state our cells are in for glucose as fuel, it is glucose we crave. In this state even if we eat protein or fat the hyperinsulinemia will work to store those nutrients as fat, and won't let them out. So have fun burning fat when you don't have access to it.

We eat because we are obese, we aren't obese because we eat. Whether insulin levels are chronically elevated or elevated from a meal high in carbohydrates (pasta, bread, cookies, cereal), promoting accumulation of fat is blocking an available metabolic fuel by storing it instead of using it. In between meals cells should predominantly run off fatty acids but high levels of insulin won't allow this. Blocking of this metabolic fuel from the cells causes us to expend less energy (sedentary behaviour) and increases our appetite to compensate. This is also a critical factor in women who have fertility issues. It's not the obesity causing it, its the lack of metabolic fuels to not only support cells in her body but in reproduction. The first thing they put her on? Glucophage, an insulin regulator.

The solution to all of this would seem to be a diet that regulates insulin in itself (low-carb). Problem is the public health recommendations are the total opposite. Most nutritionists recommend a diet that includes 120 to 130 grams of carbohydrates at minimum, because this is the amount of glucose the brain and central nervous system use to operate. The truth is the brain does not require this. Without carbohydrates in the diet the brain and central nervous system will run on ketone bodies; converted from dietary fat and from fatty acids released from the fat tissue; on glycerol, from the breakdown of triglycerides into free fatty acids; and on glucose, converted from protein in the diet. If carbohydrates were essential for life our existence would have been over along time ago.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Meat Locker

Getting a "quality" protein source at every meal is essential for optimal performance. This can be especially troubling if your following paleo guidelines. Without the cheese, milk and protein powder to fall back on your left with...well real food, meat, eggs & more meat!

It is actually not that hard to do if you put your mind to it. A dozen eggs at No Frills goes for $1.97, hard boil those and your set for some snacks. Also you need to keep your eyes out for deals on meat like I do. Whenever you walk into your grocery store grab the flyer and take a look through it, there is always some cut of meat going for cheap. No frills just had chicken breast on for $2.99 a pound! That's crazy! Also remember the more you buy the cheaper you will get it.

I always buy whole chickens from loblaw (usually no more then $11.00, 1.7kg) , cut it up, put it into a Tupperware container and feed off it when I need that quick meal.

Bottom line, don't get stuck with the same cuts of meat everytime you walk into the grocery store, expand your choices for your own sake and your wallets.

Keys to success

  • look out for deals
  • shop at more then one grocery store
  • buy meat in bulk
  • then cook that meat in bulk
  • don't be a pussy
  • stop eating the same boring meat over and over
  • beans are not protein

*Note: this post was seriously rushed because Sean needed something new to read immediately

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who Is This Guy?

After putting put up unbelievable numbers on the Crossfit Total there may have been some questions about the "met-con" of a 197lbs man. Today those questioned were answered. Wearing a 20lbs weighted vest this beast we like to call "Death" posted a time of 42:15 on the hero workout honouring Lt. Michael Murphy. His form was impeccable, his intensity was unbelievable and his determination was inspiring. Think you can beat him? I personally doubt it....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bread Anyone?

In our article "The Foundation" we outlined the foods that we try to avoid at all costs, one group being grains. Why would we do that? Aren't grains an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals? NO, they are not! They aren't even on the same playing field when compared to fruits & vegetables. But the lack of nutrients is the least of our worries when we think about grains. The real problem with grains is their ability to promote chronic high levels of insulin and insulin resistance (hyperinsulinemia); and their toxic/irritant effects on the body.

What was that about insulin?
Grains for the most part are entirely carbohydrate, usually consumed in large quantities. Starch, the primary carbohydrate in grains,consists of a large number of glucose molecules joined together by glycosidic bonds. These bonds are easy broken upon digestion causing a significant insulin response in the body. Why is this bad? Because chronic spikes in insulin lead to the down-regulation of insulin receptors (found on every cell in the body). As these receptors become more resistance to insulin, the pancreas will need to secrete even more insulin to get the job done (hyperinsulinemia). Hyperinsulinemia has been linked to every disease associated with the Metabolic Syndrome, increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc. It should be noted that the more refined the carbohydrate source the easier they are to digest=greater insulin response. Whole grains are also the problem because of the large quantities in which we consume them, also causing high levels of insulin.

Anti-nutrients are plant compounds that actually decrease the nutritional value of a plant food. One anti-nutrient in particular, Phytic Acid or "phytates" actually bind to metal ions (calcium, magnesium, zinc)from the plant source and rob your body of them as well!

Gluten, part of the lectin family, is a protein found in wheat and other grains. Gluten plays a significant role in the issues with grains by damaging and destroying the gastrointestinal tract. Microvilli are structures found in the small intestine which are covered with enzymes that aid in the digestive process and transport nutrients from food into the various tissues in the body. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder when all of the microvilli are completely destroyed, making it impossible to absorb fats, minerals and many vitamins into the body.

Of course everyone isn't going to be diagnosed with Celiac but all grain consumption has been shown to cause irritation (digestion, stomach aches, IBS). Lectins are found in many foods including legumes and eggs. But you would have to consume a large number of raw eggs for them to take any effect, as the lectins found in eggs are destroyed during cooking.

There seems to be this false idea that grains should play a major role in our diets, but that is just not the case. You can find more nutrients in fruits & vegetables without the side effects that grains give you. In paleolithic times we couldn't have possibly consumed these foods, you cannot just pick up wheat and eat it and for legumes to be edible they have to be cooked.

Don't believe me? I don't give a shit! Everyone I know who cuts these foods out of their diet feels, looks and performs better! It's up to you to try it out!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A perfect 10(10)

Yesterday, we threw up some huge weights in the garage. A ton of PRs were set, including a body weight Press (165#) by myself. But, the man of the hour was J-Rock or as we call him DEATH posting an enormous CFT (1RM - Back Squat, Standing Press, Deadlift total) of 1010, going over 400+ in both the Squat and Deadlift which is more than twice his body weight. For all those that came out and crushed it, thanks for the entertaining night. For all those that didn't come out, suck it up and get under the bar!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Progress is a Slow Process

It has taken us alot longer then we anticipated, but we are happy with the way it is coming along. We should be getting a nice big white board up tomorrow and hopefully we can get the rest of the place matted sometime soon. The pull up bars took a dreaded amount of time, we probably stared at the ceiling for 7 hours before we put one up, only to take it down once we realized there would be enough room to kip (even butterfly) with them mounted off the wall.
This week we are looking to get more organized and actually have a training schedule so people know when they can come in. We will keep you posted.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rings are up!

After finally getting the rings up I decided to put them to good use in a WOD. Today called for a Metcon of 10min of less so I did half "Nate".

AMRAP in 10 min of:

2 Muscle Up's
8 KB Swings (2 pood)

Managing 7 rounds + 2 MU's. Certainly not epic but my progress like everyone else in the gym is certainly coming along.

Props to Dani for the great picture taking!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get Up!

I've set alot of goals for myself for 2009, one being a 55 inch box jump. Tonight I made a bit of progress by hitting a 53.5 inch jump. If we could have found anything to make it higher I would have attempted more.

Women and strength training

(Monika hitting a pulling and Dani locking out a ring dip)

Now it seems to me there is a stupid myth out there that women shouldn't do strength training and if they do, it should be to tone and sculpt and involve a two pound pilates ball, or a 1/2 pound stick and a step-up board. This is total and utter BS! First off, women are not some special group of people, they are more than 1/2 the population and the same training that benefits men will benefit women. They might be XX and we are XY but we still share all the same important anatomy (legs, arms, torso, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.) and our bodies function and respond to hormonal stimulus in almost identical ways. Although the intensity and volume of stimulus needed for adaption to occur differs between the two genders, both benefit in the same manner from the same stimulus ie. Strength training is good for women. I think this perpetuated fear of strength training comes from a notion that if women lift weights they will develop monstrous muscles. Now unless they start using steroids this probably will not happen (see hotties in pic above). You can press 115#, squat 225# and deadlift 315# and still have a slender girlish figure. It's all about muscle density - by strength training properly you can building strength without "bulking up". Body-builders use lower weights and higher rep schemes (12+ reps) to greatly increase the volume of a muscle cell (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) where as power/strength athletes use heavier weights and lower rep schemes (3-8reps) to increase the contractile potential (strength) of the muscle cells they already have (myofibrillar hypertrophy). Additionally, having stronger muscles means you burn more calories/day and this more often than not will result in a decrease in body fat. With less fat and slightly more muscle you will essentially be denser/firmer (not bigger) or more "toned" and we all like a nice firm butt. More importantly though women need to be strong, as being strong prevents injury. Women are active and active people can get hurt but if you can support a heavy load in a perfect position, you are less likely to injure yourself with a moderate load in an awkward position. Strength training in particular should be done by all women as this will dramatically increase bone density and decrease chances of osteoporosis later in life. The main point is that women like men should use strength training in addition to cardiovascular exercise and proper nutrition as a means to improve daily life. Now suck it up buttercup and get under the bar!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chasing the White Dragon - Our addiction to sugar

Sugar is like crack! Plain and simple, when you're addicted to it you need it to function. As a recovering sugar junkie I know all about the sugar highs and lows. From the need to have a can of coke as soon as I got home to the mid-afternoon crash I experienced after I slammed down my carbo-loaded lunch. Like any good drug, after a hit of sugar (the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into your blood and) the brain releases "feel good" chemicals (increased serotonin levels = euphoria) into your blood stream, making that brownie taste even better. The problem is that eventually we build up a tolerance to this like every other drug as our body was designed to adapt to change to minimize deviations from homeostasis. What this means is that the can of coke you had isn't as sweet anymore and you need two cans to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your body beings to increase it's tolerance to insulin in the blood stream and it takes more and more sugar to hit the "high" and release those feel good chemicals, this high also starts to decrease in length. Before you know it you are just plowing through a bag of skittles and a Fruitopia just so you can make it to lunch. Your cells have actually become increasingly resistant to insulin and your blood sugar levels begin to elevate. This constant state of elevated blood sugar and insulin levels result in hyperinsulinism and is correlated to almost every disease you can think of (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc) and obesity. Now all those calories are floating around in your blood stream and the massive amount of insulin that goes along with it is telling your body to "store, store, store" it all as fat! The good news is that this sugar addiction can be cured. With a slow tapering of refined carbohydrate foods (sugars/grains) towards more natural sugar sources (vegetables/fruits/berries) you can start to get the situation under control. This is followed by monitoring not only the quality but more importantly the quantity of sugar you are ingesting everyday. I recommend "the Zone" diet for this sort of portion control but the easiest way is to just start eating natural foods mainly vegetables. The result is that by monitoring the type and amount of sugar (carbohydrates) you put into our body you can start to control the amount of insulin your pancreas releases. You will slowly decrease your cells insulin tolerance and get back to normal levels of function. You will begin to find out what it's like to not have 11pm sugar cravings and to be alert and not feel hungry throughout the day. You will have essentially kicked the sugar habit!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chin, Chest, Thighs

                                                (Brad showing us the ROM we like to see)

As discussed earlier, range of motion (ROM) is key. Anything less then full ROM doesn't count in our minds. Only with proper ROM do you elicit maximal power out-put, and in Crossfit, Power is King! Many people do not complete exercises through the full ROM for many reasons. It hurts, it takes more effort, it takes more time and they can't lift as much weight. Some people have flexibility problems and some lack the kinesthetic awareness, not knowing that they are high on their squat or their hip isn't reaching full extension.

"Power is the independent variable most commonly associated with the rate of return on favourable adaptation." -Greg Glassman

If you're not giving us full ROM, you're doing less work, you're producing less power, and we are NOT going to count your reps.