Intensity: Are You Going Hard Enough?

Download this week’s program. :)

Steve Jones was a world-record marathoner in the late 80s and early 90s. In the running world, he’s famous for saying:

If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn’t run hard enough.

Now, he’s talking about racing here–not training. And many of us finish our workouts–which are the equivalent of training–laying on the floor, gazing at the ceiling and admiring the steam rising out of our faces, feeling satisfied with the sensation of “being done.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 9.33.14 AMBut did you go hard? As hard as you could? Did you leave some reps on the board that you definitely could have taken? Did you step back to the bar, to the rig, to the box BEFORE you were ready? Or did you pace around a little, check your hands, get some chalk, take a swig of water, make a joke or comment about the programming, and THEN get back to it?

Are you on the floor at the end of the WOD because the mats are cool and you are hot… or are you on the floor because your legs will simply not hold you anymore?

So yes, this may be a little bit overdramatic. And yes, your coach will often tell you to get up and walk around. And yes, you probably cannot go “all out” every single wod. But how often do you just go hard and not think? Just go?

Why is intensity important? Without intensity, there is no real work done. Without intensity, you are not moving into the margins of your ability or your experience, and therefore you’re not growing muscles; you’re not burning fat; you’re not getting better.

This is not to endorse puking, or passing out, or injury. But it is the thing that many of us who, after years of CrossFitting, have found a particular comfort in wodding at a particular level of intensity that we have, sadly, adapted to. CrossFit should provide an ongoing challenge: can I go faster, a little heavier? Can I push the limit just a bit farther?

I bet you absolutely can.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Hash

To make 4-ish servings, you’ll need:

2 apples

2 big sweet potatoes

8 slices of Garret Valley Uncured (Sugar Free!) Bacon

1 or 2 handsful of clean trail mix (raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc. whatever crunch + sweet you have on hand)

olive oil

an egg or three, depending on how hungry you are, how many protein macros you need, and/or how many people you’re feeding


Cube the sweet potatoes and apples. (I scrubbed them and left the skin on; you could peel them if you wanted. But man up. Eat the skins.)

Toss the sweet potatoes in some olive oil and roast for 8 mins @ 400.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, fry the chopped bacon in a large frying pan.

Drain the bacon grease off and put the bacon back in the frying pan.

When the potatoes are done roasting, combine them in the frying pan with the chopped apples and cooked bacon, and cook for a bit to soften the apples. Spread the hash out to the edges of the pan and cook an egg (or three) to your liking in the middle of the pan.

Serve the hash with your eggs on top, and sprinkle with the trail mix.

It’s OPEN Season at CrossFit York

2015HopperCourtneycleanDownload this week’s programming!

Reebok CrossFit Games Open

This week we enter Open season. In the lives of CrossFitters all over the globe, the Open represents the ultimate competition: one in which you can measure your fitness not only against those in your own box, but against those from around your county, your state, your region, and from around the world.

The CrossFit Open is the world-wide qualifier for the CrossFit Games, but it’s also so much more than that. If you search #intheopen on social media, you’ll see that it’s not only Games hopefuls who register. For $20 you might not get a T-shirt, but you WILL test your limits and you’ll come out at the end of 5 weeks with a new understanding of the word “intensity.” If you have not registered because you still have questions, ask any of our coaches; every one of us has been a competitor and we can give you our first-hand experiences. For more information, you can also visit the CrossFit Games website, or check out this quick video explanation.

What about Open Gym?

With the Lifestyle Challenge (which includes skill and strength goals), Rusty’s Squat and Press Cycle, and the Open coming up, we’ve fielded a few questions about open gym sessions. We’re excited to offer 7 new sessions a week to increase the versatility of your CFY membership: Strength and Skill Sessions. These sessions coincide with our current weightlifting sessions. During these sessions, athletes may practice slow lifts, such as back squat, front squat, overhead squat, bench press, deadlift, and press. In addition, athletes may use the time to practice bodyweight skill movements, such as rig and ring work (dips, pull ups, kipping, toes-to-bar, muscle ups) and floor-based gymnastics (such as HSPU and handstand walks). Strength and Skill Sessions will be available for you to reserve in Zen Planner: MWF 8am-930am; 5-630pm; and Sundays 830am-1000am.

Weekly Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Pancookies

Take two eggs, one banana, a scoop of your favorite protein powder (I like Earth Fed Muscle’s Primitive Protein Chocolate Whey), and a tablespoon or two of your favorite nut butter (I’ve been using Wampler’s Natural Peanut Butter from Manheim, PA — available at the Easter Market here in York).

Put everything in your food processor or blender. Whirl for 10 push-ups.

Heat some fat of your choice in a pan. Coconut oil, butter, or bacon fat.

Pour the batter in small, cookie-sized puddles. (Small puddles flip better.)


Do 20 slow, really good push ups.

Flip cookies. Do 20 more push ups.


We Are Health Practitioners

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 2.23.37 PMDownload the program for Feb 13, 2017.

On Saturday, CrossFit York hosted its first free Community WOD, where we opened our gym to anyone interested in coming to work out with us. As people poured into the front and back doors, Bailey and I could barely keep track of who had arrived.

As we organized names, Rusty began warming up the group for FORTY-PLUS participants. I stood on some boxes to take pictures, and I was confused. The Saturday WOD is normally a full class, typically at least 15 people. And I had expected to see a handful of members today, some of them with friends and co-workers in tow. I did not, however, expect the number of members to outnumber, by triple, the number of visitors we had.

170211Community WODAnd then I realized it: our members were there to support the community. Not only our wider community–which is what the open community Saturday workout is made for–but to support our CrossFit York community. Our members are not just CrossFitters, they’re health practitioners in the World Health Organization’s way of understanding health. It’s not just physical well-being and the absence of disease, but the COMPLETE well-being of a person: physical, mental and social. Social!! A healthy person will thrive in a healthy social environment! CrossFit York members are all in when it comes to health. They cultivate and sustain the positive ecology of our gym.

WEEKLY CLEAN RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Snack Bites


pumpkin spice bites15-18 pitted dates
1/2 C water
1 egg
1/2 C pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
1/4 C pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 C almond flour

Put the dates into a sauce pan with the water and heat on high until boiling; then reduce to a simmer until the water is nearly cooked off and the skins of the dates are peeling (5 mins or so). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients. (Don’t forget about the dates.) Whir until there are no visible chunks of nut or date; pause to scrape sides periodically. This will take 2-3 minutes of processing.

Put dough into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Once the dough is chilled through, roll into small balls and place on cookie sheet with a small moosh. (They will not spread on their own.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, and then let them rest for a bit before your remove them from the parchment.

These are soft and moist when finished! Don’t be alarmed if they seem “undercooked.”

FREE Community Workouts on Saturdays at CrossFit York

tire flipping extravaganzaAt CrossFit York we’re rededicating ourselves to sharing our love for fitness with the community. Our normal Saturday workouts from 10-11am will now be FREE and OPEN to the community. No membership required, no prior CrossFit experience required, ALL fitness levels are welcome and will be happily accommodated. If you are new-to-working out or a seasoned competitive athlete, we have something for you.

No guest pass, no reservations, no preparation required. Just show up at 10.

147 W Philadelphia St (Rear)
York PA 17401

Call for details: 717.668.3017

One Simple Secret to Success in the Gym

Taylor, handstand on the wall.

Some argue that programming is the key to success in the gym. The logic, and at face value it makes sense, is that if I simply do what Stacy Tovar is doing, then I’ll also be that much closer to her level of success.

The reality of it, however, is that so long as the basic, universal concepts are represented in the program, the program itself isn’t magic.

Consider any of the recognizable strength and conditioning programs out there; most of them look similar. They include things like overloading, specificity, recovery, periodization, etc. Whether you’re training for a marathon or for a powerlifting meet, all programs are based on similar templates and models.

So what’s the real secret to success? The magic is in the coaching. A good coach is what makes any program work. He observes and modifies the volume, load, and movements to match how you’re performing on that day. He understands your limitations and has a clear vision of your potential. He’ll push you to PR on a day you’re moving well; he’ll advise an adjustment on a day you’re struggling. He won’t let you settle for simply doing the rounds and reps written on your notebook or on the whiteboard.