CFSS Fall Coat Drive!

The leaves are changing and temperatures are dropping. It’s only a matter of time until you walk out your front door and see your breath. You regret those mornings when you forget your jacket.
Now imagine if you didn’t have a jacket to forget.
CrossFit Silver Spring has decided it’s time we do our part to help keep our community warm by collecting coats/jackets during a coat drive! Collection starts today and will run through Thanksgiving.
We both know there are some extra coats in your closet you haven’t worn in months or years. What good are they doing anybody in there? Save yourself the space; put them to good use and donate them to someone in need!
All coats will go to a local shelter/charitable organization. We’re still finalizing which organization we’ll be donate the coats to, so if you have any suggestions please let us know! In the meantime, just bring your unused coats in and CFSS will do the rest. Our goal is to fill the back office with coats and we’re counting on you guys to make that a reality.
Now let’s see how many we can collect. Clean out your closet, go a good deed, and leave your coats with us! Thanks in advance for your support.

Kettlebell Kitchen

CFSS is excited to announce a new partnership with performance food brand Kettlebell Kitchen!
Kettlebell Kitchen is an easy & convenient way to clean up your nutrition, recover faster, work harder, and have fresh meals delivered right to the gym. Fuel the hardest working machine you know- your body!
Kettlebell Kitchen has an extensive menu and offers both a la carte meal ordering as well as bulk ordering if you’re looking to simply stock up on a particular staple. Additionally, they offer customized Meal Plans that are tailored to help you achieve your body composition and/or performance goals, while still conforming to any restrictions or preferences you may have.
All meals are crafted by classically trained chefs. Check out this article in Forbes featuring some of KBK’s nutrition experts dishing advice on improving your eating habits now that fall is upon us.
This coming Monday, 10/22, KBK will be doing a meal tasting during the evening classes to give everyone a chance to try some of their most popular offerings (ATTN: FREE FOOD!).
When it comes to ordering, the promotional code “CFSS” will give you $25 off your first two orders (minimum of $50 order each time). This code is valid for first time customers only.
Meals are delivered to the gym twice weekly. The order cutoffs each week are as follows:
Midnight Wednesday for Monday delivery
Midnight Saturday for Thursday delivery
Ordering instructions and FAQs can be found here.


Gym Etiquette

How you behave in the weight room speaks volumes about your character as a person and experience level as a lifter. As is the case in many other settings, gym etiquette amounts to accepted customs and practices, dos and don’ts, and general guidelines one would be wise to follow in order to engender themselves to their fellow athletes and coaches. Here’s a list to get you acquainted with the ways of the weight room.
1) Always re-rack your weights and clean up after yourself. The same thing you were probably taught in kindergarten equally applies in the gym. If you take it out, put it back. If you cover something in chalk, sweat, or DNA, wipe it down and get it back to the state you found it. This also applies to mini whiteboards used to count your rounds.
2) Show up on time (if not early). Lateness disrupts the class, is rude to the coach, and negatively affects the quality of your workout. “Stuff” happens, just don’t make it a habit.
3) Respect the equipment. Most of it is extremely durable, but everything has an intended use, and will breakdown quickly if used incorrectly. Bumper plates are intended to be dropped, dumbbells are not. Boxes are designed to be jumped on, not dragged or kicked across the floor. Treat the gear as if you had to pay to replace it yourself if it broke.
4) Be mindful where you walk and stand. Just like in golf, it’s poor form to walk in someone’s line. In the gym, this means don’t walk directly in front of someone in the middle of a focused lift as this is an unwanted distraction that can impede their focus. Same goes for standing directly in front of your lifting partner; don’t do it. Instead, stand on the side or somewhere out of the way.
5) Load your barbell correctly. Don’t keep adding small bumpers or change plates when there is a larger plate available. Small plates are flimsy, make it harder to calculate the weight being used, and limit the supply for everyone else. Don’t be that guy/gal with 4 10’s on each side when you could simply throw on some 45’s instead.
6) Don’t attempt to spot someone who didn’t ask for assistance / doesn’t know you are trying to spot them. Conversely, don’t spot someone on a lift if you don’t know how to spot them correctly. If you are spotting someone, you better pay close attention and not be a spectator.
7) Don’t ever drop an empty barbell on the ground. Just don’t.
8) Don’t make everyone else wait for you in order to start the WOD. You didn’t just suddenly have the need to go to the bathroom. You’ve also known what shoes you should be wearing and what gear you need since the start of class. Plan accordingly. Asking “wait, what are we doing?” when the coach is about to start the timer also applies here.
9) Don’t even think about leaving until everyone else finishes the workout. Show some support and cheer your classmates on!
10) Don’t use equipment you didn’t get out yourself. Don’t ask “is someone using this rower?” It obviously didn’t pull itself down, so go get your own.
11) Chalk: in the bucket, on your hands, on the bar (from your hands). In reasonable quantities. Clean it up when you finish.
12) Always strive to keep your lifting:talking ratio properly balanced (less talky, more lifty). Respect that many people come to the gym for a reprieve from work, home, etc. and simply want a chance to blow off some steam in peace. Don’t’ be a distraction to everyone else!

“Diet Starts Monday”

How many times have you uttered the following phrase, “diet starts Monday!”, or “[insert new workout routine/lifestyle change] starts tomorrow!”? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably uttered some variation of those phrases countless times, typically after a day / weekend / month(s) of less than ideal lifestyle choices. One of the hardest things people struggle with is getting back on the wagon after they’ve strayed from the clean, healthy living path for an extended period of time. The thought of heading back into the gym after taking a few weeks or months off can be daunting. The same can be said for getting back onto a structured nutrition plan after indulging in cheap calories and junk food over an extended weekend getaway.
Our lifestyle habits, for better or worse, tend to be largely influenced by momentum. When you are in a positive feedback loop of working out regularly, eating healthy, and going to bed at a reasonable time, it seems to require very little effort to keep the good times rolling. This concept also applies to when we are in a negative feedback loop of eating crappy food, staying up late watching Netflix, and skipping the gym due to lack of energy and motivation. Breaking out of our well established pattern requires a massive shift in momentum akin to stopping a freight train barreling down the tracks. So, the question remains: how do we get back into the positive feedback loop after say a weekend bender of junk food, sleep deprivation, and ample amounts of “12 oz. curls”?
Getting back on track is as simple as returning to your normal routine as quickly as possible. Presuming you were on a quality routine prior to your most recent departure from the norm, simply pick back up with the things that made you feel great in the first place. When Monday morning rolls around, force yourself to get up at your usual time, eat your normal meals, go to the gym at your normal time / frequency, and try to get in bed at your usual time at night. Regardless of whether or not you are still feeling the ill effects of the weekend, restore normalcy as soon as possible. By all means, feel free to back off the intensity in the gym, drink more water, and attempt to get a little extra sleep if possible. However, in order to get back on the wagon, you don’t need to do a “cleanse” or a “detox”, a crazy diet, 2 a day workouts, or any other ill-conceived ideas to somehow mitigate your choices the past few days. Don’t beat yourself up about eating pizza or having that extra glass off wine; shake it off and focus on doing your best in the present, as this is the only thing you can actually control. As an aside, depending on how you deviated from the norm the most (lack of sleep, too much sugar, etc.), you can make a targeted effort to get back to baseline quicker by prioritizing that area. So, if you were on team no sleep all weekend, get to bed 30 minutes early for the rest of the week and see how you feel. Personally, I like to kick off the week with a day or two of low carb eating if I was a bit too indulgent the previous weekend, focusing on high protein, high fat, some leafy veggies, minimal starch (if any) and no sugar. This, coupled with getting back into the gym, seems to bring me back to baseline the fastest.
What’s the strategy if we are hoping to get back onto a healthy routine but haven’t had one in months or longer? We want to follow a similar approach to the tips outlined above, with a few differences. For this individual, I would start with re-integrating exercise first as the initial catalyst for other lifestyle changes. Start walking daily, and try to make it to the gym or a group exercise class 2x per week. Start here, and keep this up for a month or more before tweaking volume or intensity at all. Once exercise becomes routine, start making dietary tweaks, eliminating the low hanging fruit – sugar, processed foods, grains, alcohol, etc. and see how your body responds. Around this time, I’d also be looking at sleep, and making every effort to optimize quality and keep 7 hours as the daily minimum. In time, exercise frequency can increase, dietary parameters can tighten, and sleep needs can be tinkered with as well. Don’t try to do this all at once, as this can be too much for most people to sustain. Take a very reasonable approach, and focus on consistency and slowly building positive habit change. As is the case with everyone, progress isn’t linear – there will always be setbacks, vacations, injuries, illnesses, etc. When these things invariably happen, don’t stress. Why? Because your diet starts Monday!

“Hughes” Hero WOD Fundraiser

Hero WOD Hughes
Brian Hughes was a Captain of the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots Firefighters and tragically died on July 29, 2018, while battling the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National park in California. Brian was 33 years old on his last day of duty and is survived by his parents, sister and fiancé Paige, who is 4 months pregnant with their first child.
Brian belonged to Gnardog CrossFit located in Reedley, CA , which is owned by a fellow Hotshot colleague, Adrian Encinia. The Arrowhead Hotshots crew are a tight knit group, and many of the teammates belong to Gnardog Crossfit. In order to honor Brian, Gnardog created the Hero WOD, “Hughes”:
33 Minutes:
1.5 Mile Med-ball Run
then, AMRAP
7 Kettlebell Swings
29 Double Unders
18 Burpee Box Jump
In the CrossFit community, Hero Workouts are named after fallen first responders and service members to honor their sacrifice. The reps, rounds, and duration of the various elements of the workout are often symbolic of the circumstances when the individual passed away. In the case of “Hughes”, Brian was 33 years old, had served 15 years as a firefighter, and passed away on the date 7/29/18. Gnardog and other CrossFit affiliates in California’s Central Valley are performing this workout in solidarity and more importantly collecting donations to send to Brian’s pregnant fiancé as a show of support and love.
CFSS will be performing this workout tomorrow, September 21st as our workout of the day. Let’s pack the gym out all day tomorrow and get after it remembrance of “Hughes”. We are asking everyone who participates for a suggested, voluntary donation of $10 / person or $20 / team to support Brian’s fiancé, Paige. Hope to see you all tomorrow!

You Don’t Need A Harder Workout


“You don’t need harder workouts. You need to go harder in your workouts.” – Tommy Hackenbruck

As coaches, a common refrain we hear from clients goes something like this, “I feel like I’m not getting pushed enough in class / I’m not improving as fast as I’d like to / I feel like I need a harder workout.” These are of course valid concerns, as seeing progress is one of the most appealing aspects of doing CrossFit. With so many different movements and workout types, it’s not to continually see improvement by simple virtue of showing up. However, there inevitably comes a time when all those newbie gains grind to a halt, and PR’s are harder to come by. When this happens, how do we continue to improve?
All things being equal, intensity is the independent variable that determines your rate of progress in the gym. With that in mind, in order to continue to progress towards your fitness goals, you should aim to gradually ratchet up how hard you are pushing yourself in a given workout or workouts in general. Another, seemingly contradictory, fitness truism is the concept that long-term consistency will always trump short intensity. While this is accurate, it’s worth noting that this concept only works when applied to appropriate training methods done with quality technique and effort. If you are consistently doing pointless exercises with mediocre effort, your results will reflect that. Ultimately, we are looking for a combination of these two principles to see long-term improvement. Yes, you need to regularly push yourself hard, especially on days you are feeling good. You also need to take a wider view and recognize that minimum exercise volumes and loads must be met in order to maintain and build your fitness.
Broadly speaking, folks fall short in one of the following two areas: either they aren’t training hard enough when they come to the gym, or they aren’t training frequently enough to take their fitness up a notch. With that in mind, your lack of intensity has nothing to do with whether or not you are doing the L1 or L2 workout that day. In general, L1 features less technical movements than L2, and is geared more towards challenging your work capacity than your ability to execute higher order movements when fatigued. An L1 “AMRAP”, for example, places no upper limits on your ability to get out of your comfort zone and exhaust yourself. The movements may be “simple”, but the workout certainly isn’t “easy”. In fact, it’s extremely common to see people who have marginal ability on an L2 movement, say pull-ups, perform the L2 workout and perform poorly as a result. They wanted to do the “harder” workout, despite the fact that L1 would have been a much more appropriate and challenging workout given their abilities. The distinction between L1 & L2 becomes much easier to comprehend if you view them on a continuum from less to more technical instead of easier and harder. Instead of attempting to simply survive the L2 workout, strive to dominate the L1 on a consistent basis. Remember, the difficultly of a workout is almost entirely a factor of the effort you put into it.
How do we consistently push ourselves harder? First, keep a training log. If we deadlift every week, and you don’t know what you did last time we deadlifted, how can we possibly improve upon our past performances? Top performers know their numbers and keep training logs. Strive to increase the weights you are lifting in WODs, reduce the amount of rest you allow yourself between movements in a circuit, and raise your level of expectations regarding your performance of a particular workout. If you think a workout is too easy, the more likely culprit is your weight selection, pacing, and effort. Before you come complaining to us coaches, make sure you’ve taken care of those variables first.

Are You Coachable?

CrossFit, like all worthwhile pursuits, takes time and sustained effort to improve at. The athletic pedigree, injury history, genetics, and training background you bring to the table will certainly play a large role in the trajectory of your learning curve as well. No matter where you fall on the continuum of these parameters, the master key to long-term success is “coachability”. Why is coachability so important? Because of the impact it has on so many other attributes impacting your athletic development.
Coachability is the willingness to listen, be corrected, learn, and to act on that correction. The 2 variables that most determine your coachability as an athlete are effort and attitude. In any situation, you are always in control of these two things, and should strive to optimize them. Effort isn’t about the leaderboard or your score; it’s about working hard, embracing discomfort, and genuinely giving your best effort. Coaches notice and will always reward hard work and sweat equity in the weight room. Attitude is about staying positive, being open-minded when it comes to feedback, and willing to adjust your technique and approach in the pursuit of improved execution and performance. Being a coachable athlete ultimately is a choice you make that is determined by your mindset. In order to make the most of your time in the gym, you need to trust in the advice and judgment of your coaches, stay present and engaged, and work hard.
Inherent in the coach-athlete relationship is a division of labor: the coaches job is to coach, the athletes job is be an athlete and train. As coaches, we are concerned with the long-term development of the individual, from novice to seasoned CrossFit athlete. Getting good at CrossFit and all the various disciplines involved takes months and years, not days and weeks. There are no shortcuts to learning the nuances of kettlebell exercises, basic gymnastics, barbell lifts, etc., only countless repetitions. It is easy to fall prey to the idea that we are unique and able to skip the fundamentals, jump from the boring “basics” to the more novel complex lifts that they see more experienced athletes perform. The flaw in logic here is that they didn’t see the countless number of workouts the advanced athlete performed in order to earn the privilege to tackle the more advanced movements.
With all this in mind, it is essential that you play an active role in your pursuit of improved fitness, health, and development. As the Danish proverb goes, “he who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning.” Ask questions, be inquisitive, experiment, and rely on the advice and guidance of individuals that are more experienced and accomplished than yourself in the areas you seek to improve upon. If you do that, and are willing to put in the work, success will take care of itself!

Labor Day Weekend 2018 Schedule

Hey everyone, here’s our Labor Day Weekend class schedule so you can adjust your workout plans accordingly:

Friday 31 August – Normal Schedule
Saturday 1 September – 8AM WOD / 9AM WOD / 10AM Barbell Club
Sunday 2 September – Closed
Monday 3 September – 8AM Track Workout

Labor Day’s workout will be at Blair High School. Bring your running shoes and get your sweat on before commencing with aggressive rest and relaxation!

2018 Black & Red Open Recap!

By: Marcos Hernandez

In case you hadn’t heard, our in-house Weightlifting Team, El Jefe Barbell, competed this past weekend at the Black & Red Open in Tyson’s Corner, VA. This meant that your beloved CrossFit coaches had to throw on their Barbell hats and spandex for the day and coach/lift the team to victory!
The day began with Christian Villalas on the platform bright and early at 8:00am. For those who aren’t aware, an 8:00am start time means a 6:00am weigh-in… the lighter guys have it tough! Christian had a tough day and couldn’t put the pieces together on the platform to hit his lifts, but valuable lessons were learned. Always a good sport, he stuck around to help our lifters in the the next session.
The 10:00am session was a busy one for EJBB. Katie Weddle and Nivana Campos were on the “Red” platform and, at the same time on the “Black” platform, Marshall Knight, Justin Jeng, Marcos Hernandez, and Lukas Hernandez were all lifting. That’s six (6!) athletes at once. Thank goodness Josh and Chris were able to keep control of the situation because, out of this time slot, the team came away with three medals. Katie and Marcos each got gold and Lukas received the silver medal for their weight classes. Katie and Marcos also came away with third place finishes in the entire meet!
Honorable mention to both Justin and Marshall who went 6/6, not missing a single lift. This achievement is remarkable! With a crowd of people all watching, they hit big personal records on both the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Total, and had their best competitions to date. Make sure to congratulate them the next time you see them!
After wearing himself out coaching six lifters it was Josh Dempsey’s turn to show what he could put together. Going against the top two lifters in the entire meet (adjusted for bodyweight) he came away with the bronze medal, the team’s fourth medal of the day.
Last but not least it was Caitlin Seaton’s turn to go lift something heavy. She had been dealing with a tweaked shoulder but was able to fight through it and adjust her technique enough to come away with a personal record in both lifts! It just goes to show there is a lot left in her tank and it’s only a matter of time until she brings home hardware for herself.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the team! Your support means a lot and some of those lifts were only made because of how loud you cheered. Everyone knows the noise makes the bar lighter on gameday!

4th of July Week Schedule + Sunday Classes Update

USA! USA! USA! With Independence day rapidly approaching, here’s a heads up on the CFSS 4th of July week schedule so you can plan your training accordingly. Normal daily schedule unless otherwise specified below.

Monday 2 July – 7:30pm Barbell Club
Tuesday 3 July – No classes after 530PM WOD
Wednesday 4 July – 9AM WOD only
Thursday 5 July – No 6am WOD

If you are in town for the 4th, make sure you come in early and get your workout on before the backyard barbecuing commences. Hope to see you all then!
Additionally, starting July 1st we’ll be consolidating our Sunday class schedule. From July through Labor Day weekend, there will only be a 930AM CrossFit WOD offered on Sunday mornings!