The Ten Training Commandments

Courtesy of Ben Bruno
1. Thou shalt not train through pain.
2. Think of strength training as your entrée and cardio as the side dish. Both have their place, but divvy your time and energy accordingly.
3. The hard exercises that you hate doing are generally the ones that work the best. Sorry.
4. You can always make an excuse not to train, but at some point you just have to make time for it. Or be weak and out of shape.
5. Thou shalt train thy legs.
6. Mobility work is boring; do it anyway.
7. Remember that outside the gym, no one cares what you did for your workout, or about your diet. Keep it to yourself.
8. Similarly, nobody cares how much you lift. Drop the ego, drop the weight, and do it right. Form matters.
9. Train the muscles you can’t see in the mirror (glutes, hamstrings, back, etc) more than the muscles you can see (pecs, biceps, etc). It’s good for you, and just because you can’t see them, everyone else still can.
10. Don’t overcomplicate things. Always be learning, but at some point you have to put down the books and pick up the weights.


Lyttonsville Place Bridge Closure!

On June 18th the Lyttonsville Place Bridge will be closed to allow for construction of a replacement bridge by the Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP). The construction of the new bridge is scheduled for six months, during which time the bridge will totally inaccessible until the project is fully completed.
Due to the heavy volume of traffic that passes through Brookville Rd. on a daily basis, it is reasonable to expect an increase in traffic congestion for all incoming and outgoing vehicles between the gym and points north (Georgia Avenue / Dale Drive. / Seminary Road / Linden Ln.). This obviously is poses a challenge for everyone who drives through the Brookville Rd. corridor, whether visiting a local business or simply using the road as a convenient cut through.
PLTP and Montgomery County Dept. of Transportation (MCDOT) have provided an official detour map to navigate the bridge closure, linked here: Official Purple Line Detour Maps
Additionally, there is a newly opened traffic easement between Stewart Avenue (a side street off of Brookville Rd.) and Kansas Avenue which will provide an alternate route through the surrounding residential area and provide easier access from East-West Highway / points south of CFSS.
As of now there are time restrictions on the cut-through in the evening and morning; whether or not those will be strictly enforced are yet to be determined. Using this will be the fastest way to get to the gym if you are coming from East-West Hwy., but with so many people needing to use this route it is hard to say how congested it will be.
In addition the official detour map linked above, we’ve attached our own maps with highlighted routes as to the best routes to get to the gym depending on where you are coming from to hopefully mitigate the effects of the bridge closure. To more easily view the attached maps, right click on the image and select “open image in new tab/window”.
bridge closure detour maps
The left image depicts how to get from the gym to/from East-West Highway via Sundale Rd. using the Stewart Ave. easement. The right image depicts how to get to/from the gym from East-West highway via Lyttonsville Rd using the Stewart Ave. easement.
bridge closure detour maps 2
The left image depicts how to get from the gym to/from East-West Highway via Jones Mill Road, Forsythe Ave., and Linden Lane. The right image depicts how to get to/from the gym from East-West highway via 16th St. and 2nd Avenue.

Move With Intent!

The whiteboard tells an incomplete story when it comes to workout performance. Think of the whiteboard simply as a scoreboard:
• What level did you do?
• What was your time / score?
• How many rounds did you miss?
• How much weight did you lift?
While these are useful bits of information, they are purely objective, quantitative measures of performance and output. What they fail to capture are all the subtle, subjective, and qualitative aspects of a training session that can’t be conveyed by a score. How you deadlift is more important than how much you deadlift. This can easily get overlooked when chasing a particular score on the leaderboard. Constantly pursuing higher intensity levels as movement efficiency and quality erode is foolish at best, and injurious at worst. Luckily, there are other ways we can measure workout quality and improvement that are both safe in the short term, and sustainable in the long.
Shift your focus to moving with intent each time you set foot in the gym. Moving with intent means moving deliberately, purposefully, and with appropriate aggression or control, depending on what is required at that time. Intent means conscious thought as to how you approached the barbell and set yourself into position to perform a heavy (or light) deadlift. Where do you place your feet? Your hands? What is your breathing / tensioning strategy? What is your desired bar path / body proximity once you start pulling? How mentally aroused and aggressive do you need to be at this particular weight? These are just but a few thoughts that may run through your head when you shift your focus to moving with intent. Don’t simply go through the motions as you perform your warm-up and working sets; be present and concentrate on your execution in all phases of the lift so that you can steadily improve your technique, rep by rep.
Generally speaking, everyone that lifts wants to lift heavier weights over time. However, not everyone understands the intertwined nature of precise, flawless technique and lifting progressively heavier weights. One cannot exist without the other. This same concept applies to conditioning workouts as well – your ability to maintain a high output during a WOD is largely going to be determined by your efficiency in each individual movement component of said workout. Additionally, you cannot hope to achieve the full benefits of any exercise (the real benefit of training), if you don’t perform the exercise with the right intent. A couple examples: picking up a slam ball slowly, then passively dropping it to the ground using all arms on a ball slam vs. ripping the ball overhead fluidly, then slamming it into the ground like you are trying to crack a hard coconut on the ground. Burpees performed by collapsing on the floor, then sprawling back to your feet haphazardly vs. a controlled descent to the floor, hopping back to ones feet where they started, all the while occupying no more space than one would use to perform a push up. A kettlebell swing with excessive layback and soft knees vs. a swing that finishes with powerful hip extension, knees locked, torso vertical, arms long and kettlebell projected to chest height. While both examples may constitute a rep, they are not created equal.
The leaderboard is a great motivator and useful tool for gauging performance. However, a “fast” score that subjectively looked like a slow moving car crash from start to finish is not enviable, desirable, nor more impressive than a slower score performed within the margins of quality technique, executed with a sense of purposefulness. Always strive to move through full ranges of motion, rest when you cannot, and don’t forget that more isn’t always better, only better is better. Raise your personal standards for movement quality and always remember, the standard doesn’t get tired even if you are.

Extra Credit

One of the primary constraints in programming CrossFit workouts is a scarcity of time. We’ve got one hour to cram in a thorough warm up, skill work, strength & power development, and finally hit some conditioning to round things out. Our programming lens is typically focused at the weekly level – are we striking a good balance of workout types, movement patterns, rep schemes, loading, etc. across a 7 day period? While we do our best to be as well rounded as possible, the inherent breadth and depth of CrossFit can make this challenging. One way we’ve tried to mitigate this scarcity problem is by programming weekly “Extra Credit” finishers. Extra credit
(EC) is just that – an additional, voluntary add-on to your current workout designed to address or focus on a common athlete weakness or omission in that weeks programming, or simply something we’d like to place a short-term emphasis on. These EC finishers should be done pre- or post-WOD, as a way to add productive volume to your current training workload without contribution to any significant fatigue or soreness. How often should you do the EC? Probably at least 2-3 in a given week, possibly more depending on what it is. Let’s say the EC is kettlebell swings, but we’ve already done a ton in that day’s WOD, maybe you skip it. However, let’s say the EC is banded glute bridges, or 5 minutes of the couch stretch, those you could and probably should try to do every day you are at the gym. Everyone is looking for improved performance and better returns from their workouts. Stop skipping the obvious solution or pretending you’ll do something more at home- take 5-10 minutes after class to work your weaknesses and round out your fitness.

2018 Spring *Partner* Throwdown

spring '17 throwdown group shot 2
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, Partner style! You’ve been grinding hard, getting stronger and fitter week in and week out, so it’s only right you and your partner put your collective fitness to the test against your fellow athletes.
The Throwdown will take place Saturday, May 12th from 9:00am-1:00pm. 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! Same-sex teams will be required to sign up for either the Rx or Scaled divisions so everyone will be able to participate. Sign up online here!
There will be a $20 buy-in per team that will go to a charitable organization chosen by all the participating teams. On the sign up sheet we are asking for 1 recommendation per person for a worthy charity who will receive a donation. Keep an eye out for a follow up email as we get closer to the event to narrow down the list and determine which charity ultimately receives the donation.
Weather permitting, we’ll be doing a cookout immediately following the Throwdown 1:30-3:30PM. We will be setting up on the roof and everyone is invited to attend, regardless of whether or not you are able to make it to the Throwdown. The sign-up sheet for the cookout will be posted on the whiteboard so please make sure to sign up as soon as possible so we can figure out what everyone is bringing.
Mark your calendars and assemble your squad for what is sure to be a great afternoon of fitness and fun competition. Once you’ve got your partner, don’t delay – get your team registered ASAP. Now is the time to showcase all the effort and progress you’ve made here at the gym and to set new goals moving forward! More details to follow in the coming weeks.

CF Open Gear Recommendations

With the CrossFit Open right around the corner, here’s a few gear recommendations to help you hopefully perform better and make it through the next few weeks unscathed. You don’t need to get any of these items to participate, however each item has its benefits and may come in handy on certain workouts.
1) Wrist Wraps (18”)
There will be undoubtedly be overhead/front-rack barbell work, handstand push-ups, burpees, and other movements that will place a strain on your wrists. These are great for improved wrist stability and reducing the chance of soreness & sprains.
2) Gymnastics Grips
Rogue Fitness Grips & Victory Grips
The Open will have pull-up bar work. Think Pull Ups, Toes to Bar, Muscle Ups, and everything in between. They will probably show up in multiple workouts and potentially in very high volumes. Ripping your hands is a surefire way to ruin your workout and your week, so consider investing in a pair of these. The Victory Grips, while more expensive, are the best you can get.
3) Knee Sleeves
Rehband Knee Sleeves & Hoogkrip Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves provide warmth and compression when lifting, helping the overall health of the knee and preventing knee trauma. If you’ve ever injured your knees or if they’ve got some miles on them, invest in knee sleeves and thank us later.
There are two types you can look at. The Rehband knee sleeves provide more cushioning, compression, and warmth; the hookgrip ones are primarily for warmth and better for everyday use. If you need help deciding what you need please feel free to ask a coach for advice.
4) Weightlifting Belt
Remember the workout with 55 Deadlifts? Or when the one with a 1-rep max lift? That’s why you need a belt, enough said. And this simple, easily adjustable Valeo belt is quick on and off so you can always grab it or lose it mid-WOD without wasting precious time.
5) Jump Rope
Don’t complain about not having double-unders if you haven’t even taken the step of getting your own rope. Having your own rope helps immensely! With YOUR rope you can better get the timing and pacing needed for DUs while practicing away from the gym. You also wont have to worry about someone grabbing your “favorite” because you’ll have a jump rope specifically fitted to your preference.

2018 CrossFit Games Open

It’s that time of year again! The CrossFit Games season officially kicks off this week with the start of the CrossFit Open. The Open is an online competition hosted by Crossfit HQ spanning the next 5 weeks. 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 following Monday evening for them to count. The Open is a great way to test your fitness, measure your performance against yourself and others, and step outside your comfort zone surrounded by friends.
CrossFit Silver Spring will host the Open workouts for the 6th year in a row. Every Friday night at 6PM we will perform the workouts here at the gym, starting this Friday, February 23. Everyone can compete and we are encouraging 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 offers both scaled and masters divisions in order to make the Open inclusive to every athlete, not just those with higher competitive aspirations. All RX’ed scores will be ranked above Scaled scores but everyone is able 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 enter Crossfit Silver Spring as your affiliate. It’s going to be a great time and we don’t want you to miss out!

2018 Cupid’s Undie Run Recap

This past Saturday, Team CFSS braved the cold and the rain to run victoriously through the streets of D.C. in our underwear for Cupid’s Undie Run ’18! Now that the dust has settled, here’s a quick rundown of our performance.
As a team, we were able to raise an amazing $18,124 this year in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, bringing our 5-year fundraising total to a whopping $78,619! For the second year in a row, we took home the Top Gym award, as well as #3 fundraising team in the DMV and #16 nationwide. In D.C. alone, Cupid’s runners have raised over $186,000 for this years race. These numbers are a testament to the unbelievable support and generosity of you, our CFSS family, as well as everyone else who supported this great cause. Thank you again to all of our runners for your efforts to spread awareness and raise money for research, and to all of our donors for your contributions.
If you missed out on this year’s event, don’t worry, there’s always next year! Keep an eye out for links to photos and videos from the race later this week.

Cupid’s Undie Run ’18 + In-House Fundraiser!

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 5th 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. Last year we were able to raise over $18,000, and we’re hoping to match that total this year.
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. Even if you can’t 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 Monday’s (5 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, & 630PM 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 next week, see you then!

2017 CFSS Holiday Party / Potluck Extravaganza!

Mark your calendars! The annual CFSS Holiday Potluck / Party goes down Saturday, 16 December @ 7:00pm. Please bring a dish / adult beverage of preference to share with the group. If the last 6 years are any indication, there will be no shortage of amazing homemade baked goods, delicious paleo dishes, and an abundance of alcohol of all varieties. Dress to impress and please leave the kids at home! Sign up sheet will be on the whiteboard; more details to follow. If you have any pressing questions / concerns that simply cannot wait, talk to Katie Weddle at the gym as she is planning the party. Trust us, you’re not going to want to miss out!