Thanksgiving Schedule

With Thankgsiving fast approaching, here’s the schedule for classes next week so you can plan your workouts accordingly. We’ll be performing a special benchmark lifting workout on Saturday (11/25), The CrossFit Total (CFT), for those of you who will be in town for the holiday. The CFT is comprised of 3 attempts to hit a daily max Back Squat, Press, and Deadlift and hopefully set some new records in the process! In the meantime, be sure to go for new turkey, mashed potato, & pumpkin pie consumption PR’s, as well as ample naps to prepare yourself for success!

Thanksgiving Schedule:


No 630PM WOD

Thursday & Friday



8AM Kettlebells | 930-1130AM “CrossFit Total” (1RM Squat, Press, Deadlift), No Barbell Club!

Mark your calendars:

The annual CFSS Potluck Holiday Party Extravaganza goes down Saturday December 16th here at the gym. More details to follow!

Sunday Yoga Update!

As you all are aware, we offer Yoga classes every Sunday at 930AM with our Yogi extraordinaire, Chad Byron. Previously, these classes were offered as a standalone punch card. In an effort to increase regular attendance and streamline our membership policies, we’ve decided to roll Yoga into the fold of regular offerings to go along with 6AM Kettlebells, CrossFit WODs, and Barbell Club.
What this means is that Yoga is included with your regular monthly membership or punch card and will count towards your total classes in the same way that any other class does, no need for a separate additional Yoga Membership. If you’re interested in adding something new to your weekly routine, or to incorporate some dedicated recovery work on Sundays, grab your mat and your kombucha and come try it out!

Movement Patterns > Tools

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A common pitfall we routinely observe athletes falling into is the belief that there is something inherently magical about the barbell as a tool for getting stronger, as compared to the kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, etc. The logic goes roughly as such- I’ll spend a few weeks getting the basics down with these simpler tools so that I can prove I’m ready to graduate to the mythical barbell like all the rest of cool kids in the gym who have been training longer than me. Sound familiar? It should, because if you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the weight room, you’ve probably thought these exact thoughts. Maybe you are still currently trapped in this way of thinking.
There is nothing magical about a barbell. Nor is there anything magical about a kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, medicine ball, or any other piece of equipment in our gym. They are all tools with varying benefits, drawbacks, and degrees of utility. What’s crucial to understand as an athlete is that tools are always subordinate to movement patterns and training principles. Our express goal is to train all of the major human movement patters as frequently as possible, ideally with as much movement variety and diversity of stimulus as possible. If we accept the premise that squatting is important, we will then recognize that air squats, barbell front squats, kettlebell goblet squats, single leg squats, etc., are all equally valid and necessary means to help us accomplish our goal of squatting frequently.
Unless you are a strength athlete who competes in barbell based sports (weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman), there is no need to obsess over the barbell when it comes to performing strength work. The barbell will certainly allow for the greatest amount of weight to be lifted. However, we do not need massive weights, and the associated compression on our spine and stress on our joints and connective tissues in order to get very strong. Look at gymnasts for example – they hardly lift, if at all, and possess some of the strongest upper bodies and midlines imaginable. Additionally, absolute strength doesn’t correlate 1:1 with athleticism. If the strongest athlete in a given contest were always the best athlete, the NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. would be dominated by recreational powerlifters and weightlifters. The reality is that you need to be strong enough for your given sport or athletic pursuit in order to perform at a high level without getting hurt. Strong enough doesn’t equal as strong as possible.
Understand that every tool has a purpose, a role to play in our quest to help you build yourself into a more robust, resilient, well-rounded athlete. We choose the tools we use based on what will best help the athlete improve given their build, experience level, goals, limitations, strengths, etc. If you’re > 6’3”, chances are you’re probably going to deadlift with a trap bar or off blocks and not from the floor. If you’ve got a significant shoulder mobility asymmetry or strength imbalance, get ready for a steady diet of single arm presses until we resolve the issue. The tools are a means to help us move better and accomplish our goals; think of the tools as interchangeable and unimportant. A well-rounded athlete has mastery of all the tools in the weight room, not just the barbell. Look no further than this years CrossFit Games Regional events, which featured 0 barbell workouts, instead relying heavily on unilateral dumbbell based workouts. The most complete routinely spend time building and maintaining skill and capacity on the various implements we utilize. Lastly, a resilient athlete isn’t one heavy back squat away from a knee injury, or a max-effort deadlift away from 3 months of physical therapy, one 400 meter run away from plantar fasciitis.
When a coach tells you to perform a lift with one tool instead of another, it’s neither a punishment nor a regression, simply a better alternative for you at this time. The right to lift with a barbell is earned, not given. Once it is earned, however, always remind yourself that it is simply one of many tools in the arsenal to aid us in the path to getting better, fitter, and stronger.

Memorial Day Weekend ’17 Schedule!

With Memorial Day Weekend around the corner, here’s the rundown on the class schedule here at the gym so you can plan your workouts accordingly:

Friday 5/26 – Regular Schedule
Saturday 5/27 – No classes (rest up for Monday & be patriotic!)
Monday 5/29 – 8 AM & 9 AM Memorial Day Murph!
Tuesday 5/30 – Regular Schedule

If you haven’t done “Murph”, here’s a brief etymology of the workout and American Hero whose namesake it is derived from. Lt. Michael Murphy was killed by the Taliban on a combat operation in the mountains of Afghanistan. His story, and the story of his Navy SEAL team’s actions are chronicled in the book “Lone Survivor”, by teammate Marcus Luttrell. The CrossFit community does Murph every memorial day as a symbolic gesture honoring the sacrifice of all of our service men and women made on our behalf. This workout really is a rite of passage, and we’ll worth the ensuing soreness and fatigue the results from undertaking it.
“Murph” is fittingly an ass-kicker of a workout:
For time:
1-mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1-mile Run
To make this achievable, most of you will be doing this workout in teams of 2, with a bit less volume as well as scaled back movements as needed. Whether you are doing “Murph” solo or with a partner, you’re going to want to be plenty rested, which is partly why there won’t be classes on Saturday. If you are going out of town for the weekend or simply cannot make it in on Monday to do Murph, don’t fret- we’ll be doing an encore presentation the following Saturday as well for anyone who was unable to attend the first go round!

New Class Schedule!

Starting next week (5/22), we will be officially adding 430PM WOD classes on Tuesday & Thursday evenings effectively expanding our evening schedule to 430PM WODs Monday – Friday. Additionally, the morning schedule will be modified moving forward as well. The new morning schedule is as follows: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6AM – CrossFit WOD; Tuesday & Thursday at and Saturday at 8AM – Kettlebells. Previously our Kettlebell class ran Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. From a class structure and programming standpoint, there will be no changes, simply a change in the days the classes will be offered.
For those of you who typically go to CrossFit and have never been to a 6AM Kettlebell class, we highly encourage you to try one out and also keep in mind these classes are great substitutes for a normal CrossFit WOD as a change of pace workout option. Kettlebell classes follow a similar structure as CrossFit classes, except that the primary tool utilized is the Kettlebell. We focus heavily on mobility, full body strength work, loaded carries, and simple, effective conditioning finishers- sound familiar? The advantages of this class are many, but a few to focus on are:
– Specialization on a particular tool, leading to deeper understanding and ability with regards to technique
– The low impact nature, restorative nature of kettlebell and bodyweight focused workouts
– The reduction in heavily spinal loading (barbell squats) or compression (deadlifts, heavy overhead work) that factors prominently in CrossFit
– A decreased focus on peak intensity and extended duration conditioning with an eye towards maximum sustainability
Our aim was to provide more background information about one of our other complementary Programs, Kettlebells, and also emphasize that these classes can be mixed and matched interchangeably. Don’t feel any obligation to change your schedule if it now includes any of these classes you aren’t accustomed to; we can easily scale and modify as the need arises. Hope to see you in one of our new class offerings soon!

2017 Spring Throwdown!

2016 Spring Throwdown
The CrossFit Open is officially behind us, summer is right around the corner, and that means it’s high time for an in-house Throwdown, CFSS style! You’ve been grinding hard, getting stronger and fitter week in and week out, so it’s only right to put your fitness to the test amongst your fellow athletes.
The Throwdown will take place Saturday, May 6th from 9:30am-1:30pm. There will be ~4 events with a little bit of everything mixed in, from max effort strength tests to pure bodyweight conditioning to skills based challenges. Stay tuned for clues as to what will be included but it is all movements we have been practicing and emphasizing in class! We will have both L1 and L2 versions of each workout so everyone will be able to participate. These workouts are a great test for anyone looking to get out of their comfort zone and compete, regardless of ability level!
There will be a cookout immediately following the Throwdown from 1:30-3:30. If you have been to one of our cookouts before, you know what to expect. We will be setting up on the roof and everyone is invited to attend, regardless of whether or now you are able to make it out to the Throwdown. The sign-up sheet will be posted on the whiteboard; please make sure to sign up as soon as possible so we can organize heats and figure out what everyone is bringing.
Mark your calendars and try to make it for the competition and cookout. Each throwdown has been bigger and better than the last; let’s get the sign up sheet filled up soon! Now is the time to showcase all the effort and progress you’ve made here at CFSS and to set new goals moving forward. Be on the lookout for more details in the coming weeks.

Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

One of most important attributes a coach should possess is the desire to continually learn and expand their base of knowledge and understanding. Secondarily, the coach must also be willing to seek out information and viewpoints that may challenge their current beliefs and biases. Simply seeking to reinforce one’s pre-existing training dogmas helps neither the coach nor the athletes they serve.
As a coach, I’ve been exposed to many ideas and people who have fundamentally altered my views on training, nutrition, corrective exercise, etc., and helped me to see the nuance required to effectively work with various populations of athletes. As such, our programs have continually evolved and improved over the years while still sticking to our core principles of crating well rounded, resilient individuals in a safe, sustainable environment.
This concept of open-mindedness and truth seeking also applies to you as an athlete. Are you willing to accept that what you believe or have done in the past may be in fact incorrect or ineffective for you at this stage of your life? The training, diet, and lifestyle strategies you employed at age 20 may not work so well at age 40. Additionally, just because you’ve always done X (insert behavior here), doesn’t mean it’s healthy, beneficial, or optimal. An easy example is diet- just because you drank milk when you were 10 years old doesn’t mean it still agrees with your current gut microbiome and digestive system. Similarly, if you’ve been unable to lose body-fat on your own, are you willing to try a potentially radical departure from your current way of eating a la Whole30 for a month? The only way to know if a particular dietary intervention is effective for you is actually trying it!
The mark of an intelligent person is their ability to form new opinions and beliefs when presented with new information, no matter how damaging to the ego it may be. Do not be the ideologue that blindly follows and doesn’t cast a critical eye at their behaviors and underlying beliefs. Have strong opinions, but also be willing to cast them away when necessary in order to grow as an individual.

2017 CrossFit Games Open

Its that time of year again! The Road to the Crossfit Games begins with the Crossfit Open. The Open is an online competition hosted by Crossfit HQ. The Open is also a great way to test your fitness, measure your performance against yourself and others, and step outside of your comfort zones within the comfort of your home gym, surrounded by friends. Each week for 5 weeks a new workout is released online that can be performed anywhere so long as a judge is present to count reps and validate the athletes score. Workouts are released Thursday evening and all scores must be submitted by the Monday evening for them to count.
For the 5th year in a row, CrossFit Silver Spring will be hosting the Open workouts. Every Friday night at 6PM (except week 2) we will be performing the workouts here at the gym. Everyone can compete and we are expecting everyone to participate as long as their schedule allows. We had a great crowd last year and we are hoping to have even more people competing and showing support to our fellow gym members. The atmosphere is electric and everyone really needs to experience it for themselves.
Crossfit HQ also offers a scaled division in order to make the open inclusive to more athletes, not just those with higher competitive aspirations. All RX’ed scores will be ranked above scaled scores but it provides a way to compete against the CrossFit community as a whole. What this means for you, the competitive and recreational CrossFitter alike is: THERE IS NO REASON FOR YOU NOT TO SIGN UP!!
Here’s the link: CrossFit Games Open registration
Make sure you register for Team Crossfit Silver Spring. It’s going to be a great time and we don’t want you to miss out!

Cupid’s Undie Run 2017 In-House Fundraiser!

team cfss!
As I’m sure you’ve most of you have heard and seen at the gym or on the blog, a large group of CFSS athletes will be stripping down to nothing but our underwear and running around the streets of DC Saturday February 11th for Cupid’s Undie Run in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). Last year alone, Cupid’s raised over 3.5 million for this worthy cause. CTF helps kids battling a terrible neuro-degenerative disorder called neurofibromatosis (NF). Since there are no current treatments, we’re doing our part (including braving the elements in nothing but our undies) to help them find a cure. As a group, we’ve all been working hard for the past few months to raise money for these kids who desperately need our support. This our 4th year taking part in Cupid’s, and each year we’ve significantly increased our fundraising totals due to the generous support of the rest of the gym, as well as friends, co-workers, and family. We surprised even ourselves by raising $22,000 last year. The way we see it here at CFSS, either you’re getting better, or you’re getting worse – therefore, this year were going to raise $25,000.
While helping kids battling chronic disease is its own reward, this charity is of particular importance to CFSS because it was actually founded by one of our very own members, Brendan Hanrahan. We want to support the efforts of his foundation through their signature event, Cupid’s Undie Run, by reaching out to our social networks and fundraising as much as we can. While 18 of us are currently signed up to do the run, you can all do your part to support the team and this great cause by going onto our Team Page (click here!) and donating directly to one of our team members. A $25 donation is a great starting point; remember – all donations are tax-deductible, and you get all the benefits of giving back without having to freeze your butt off running around in the snow half-naked. Making a donation will ensure access to all the hilarious and surely embarrassing photos sure to be amassed from the event! Don’t delay, donate now and spread the word!
Additionally, all Friday’s (3 Feb) classes will be dedicated to the Undie Run and supporting our team’s fundraising efforts. We are humbly encouraging a nominal cash donation to help support the team, although it is by no means required! We will be providing post-wod beer after the 12PM, 430PM & 530PM classes for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, we will be raffling off 1 t-shirt in each class; everyone that donates will be entered into the raffle. Additionally, if you donate tomorrow or at any point these next two weeks, you’ll be entered into a raffle for more Cupid’s related prizes. Let’s pack the house tomorrow, see you then!

Sunday Yoga @ CFSS

Let’s face it, CrossFit is a physically demanding training routine. The benefits are significant and undeniable, but high-intensity lifting and conditioning take a toll on your body. In order to keep that high performance engine running smoothly, we need to perform some basic self-maintenance. Self-maintenance also includes working on the areas where you are tight or limited, so that you can move freely through complete ranges of motion on the various movements you perform both inside and outside the gym.
With that in mind, we are excited to announce that starting this Sunday at 930AM, we will be introducing Vinyasa (flow) style Yoga classes to our regular weekly schedule. Classes will be 75-minutes in duration, and are intended and for all experience levels, including beginners. The idea behind this program is to provide a class specifically geared towards recovery, improving flexibility and mobility, and generally aid in improving movement abilities.
Sessions will be taught by our new in-house Yogi and aspiring CrossFitter, Chad Byron. Chad is an RYT-200 yoga instructor who studied multidisciplinary yoga (vinyasa, meditation, breathing exercises, etc.). Chad has been teaching yoga since 2014 at the University of Maryland, as well as studios in Maryland and DC. He loves giving students a gentle tug to leave the workplace in the workplace and just be on the mat so that the more subtle work can get done. Athletes can expect classes catered to their skill and comfort levels. Chad’s classes are full of juicy smiles, cheesy jokes, and plenty of opportunities to play with yoga postures in a mindful way.
Yoga will be offered as a standalone program available to both members and non-members alike. Here are the pricing details-
Member Rates:
Single Session – $15 / 5-session pack – $65 / 10-session pack – $100
Non-Member Rates:
Single Session – $20 / 5-sessions = $85 / 10-sessions – $150
Yoga punch cards will be billed separately from your existing CrossFit memberships; punch cards are valid for 3 months. No RSVP is required for Sunday classes, but we will not allow any late additions to class after 940AM. We encourage you to bring your own Yoga mat, and hope to see you all this Sunday for our first class. Namaste!