The Conclusion of CrossFit York 2017 Lifestyle Challenge

Here’s this week’s program!

In mid-January, 30 brave souls signed on to make significant changes to their lives. Since there are so many competing strategies for nutrition, we kept it simple: eat as much unprocessed, whole foods prepared in our own kitchens as possible. Challengers also focused on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and making weekly, sustained progress toward their fitness and skill goals in the gym.

We’re done! We’ve had an exceptional number of successes, and we’ll be showcasing them over the next weeks (so check back!!)

Aaron Anderson reports: “I dropped about 12 pounds, lost about 2″ off my waist, hit a both a 205 lb C& J PR and a 155 lb strict this week. I’m still working on muscle ups and handstand push-ups but making progress. Overall, I cut the volume of sugar and bread in [his] diet radically and has learned to enjoy healthier snacks.”

Fig Biscuits

In your food processor, combine:
1/2 C coconut flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C coconut oil
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
Whirl until egg is beaten and crumbly dough is formed
Then add:
10-15 dates
20 dried figs (our local Giants sometimes carry them in the bulk aisle)
Whirl until the figs and dates are sufficiently chopped (you may leave them as chunky as you like, or you may whirl them long enough to pulverize them into oblivion)

Scoop out tablespoonsful and roll/flatten into cookie shapes (they will not spread in the oven)
Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper
Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

What, you’re just here for the programming?

Rusty, Madeline, Matt and Megan Jones.We talk a lot about functional fitness and the way CrossFit trains us to basically be better at our lives–we train to be our best selves. This past weekend, Megan, Matt, Rusty and I tested that theory; we ran a 15K with CrossFit as our only training.

Rusty managed a respectable sub-9 minute mile pace. Megan and Matt reported besting their time from last year’s race substantially. And I PRed my 15K time by 30 seconds.

A 30-second PR is not a huge deal, certainly. But it’s important to consider that record within the following context: My old PR for a 15K was set at the 2005 Boilermaker in Utica, NY. I was 29. Not even 30 — a mere babe. Also, I was a runner back then. As in, I actually ran. A lot. In 2005, I ran at least three marathons. My body was better conditioned for distance, and I was “training” for mileage 4-5 times a week.

And I still ran faster this time. 12 years older, without running a step to prepare.

CrossFit is pretty awesome, you guys.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Creamy Scrambled EggsI love eggs, but I get sick of eating them the same way all the time. So this morning, I was prepping this recipe for dinner and I had some of the ricotta/parmesan cheese + Italian herb + egg mixture leftover. I figured I might as well dump a couple more eggs in there, whisk it up and see if it made some decent scrambled eggs. It truly did. My measurements are approximate here.



about 1/4 C of ricotta cheese
1-ish oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
1-ish oz of parmesan cheese
1-ish tsp of Italian seasoning
shake of garlic powder (to your liking)
salt and pepper (to your liking)
2 eggs

Whisk it up. It will seem very cheesy and I promise you that’s ok!
Scramble in a pan with some fat of your choice (I used a little bitty bit of bacon grease, but butter or some spray oil would do just fine). Ronin and I ate blueberries to get our macros covered. Ronin’s particular about getting some carbs in.


This week’s programming.

Burnout. This is a word I’ve heard a few times this week. Those of us working through the 12-week lifestyle challenge, we’re in the doldrums of week 11, many of us barely hanging on. We’re going through the motions of food prep, of working out, of getting on the floor to mobilize each evening, of recording our sleep hours. We feel burned out: the fires that drive our motivation seem to have fizzled away.

Or have they? Think about it. If we’re still at it — if we’re still showing up for the WODs, if we’re still successfully digging into our crispers for vegetables and protein to prep dinners (I did this tonight! nearly wilted zucchini and leftover chicken!!), if we’re still making the effort to work at a skill that still seems *just* outside our reach — clearly our motivation is still there. The  spark has not completely burned out. Our fires have just burned down to a slow smolder.

Instead, if you’re feeling some burnout, think of your “burnout” as that moment of motionless, high-speed-spinning-of-tires, that the motorcycle racer engages in to create heat so the rubber is hot, sticky and ready for the racetrack. You may not feel like you’re making progress during that burnout. The motorcycle rider is not making any visible forward progress during that burnout. But the burnout is a necessary step for success later.

burnout-1174864_1280Embrace your burnout. And then brace yourself for the speed of your forward momentum that will most assuredly follow.

Recipe this week courtesy of Coach Melony!
Colcannon with Slow Cooker Beef:

(This is basically mashed potatoes with greens and cabbage hidden inside plus MEAT. Who doesn’t love presents in their mashed potatoes? Who doesn’t love meat and taters?)

In the morning/midday, prep your protein:
Easy Slow Cooker Beef
1 round roast or 2 pounds of stew beef
2-3 cups beef bone broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP minced onion

Throw all ingredients in crock pot, about 8 hours on low or 4 on high.
Then, when it gets closer to dinner time, prep your Colcannon:

2lbs potatoes (I used red, but you can use yukon or both!)
1TBSP salt
6 TBSP butter
1 small green cabbage (about 1 cup shredded)
1-2 cups kale, shredded
4-6 scallions finely chopped
1/2 c whole milk
additional salt and pepper to taste
1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c beef bone broth for added flavor

1) Boil the potatoes: Place the potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a medium pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a simmer over high heat; this will take about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2) Cook the kale and cabbage: While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 TBSP of butter in a pan or electric skillet. Add the cabbage, kale, garlic, and scallions and cook until tender and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

3) Mash them taters: Once the potatoes are tender enough to mash, drain them and return them to the cooking pot. Add the milk and remaining butter and mash with a potato masher.

4) Deglaze: Add the 1/4 cup bone broth to the cabbage pan and scrape the pan as the broth cooks and reduces, 2-3 minutes.

5) Mix it up: Add the kale and cabbage mix to the cooking pot and fold until all ingredients are blended. Place in serving bowl and serve with your beef.
Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 5.18.51 PM

Stepping Out of Your Known Zone

Programming for 170313.

Always do what you are afraid to do. (1841) —Ralph Waldo Emerson

You must do the thing you think you cannot do. (1960) —Eleanor Roosevelt

Do one thing every day that scares you. (1997) —Mary Schmich

Most of what guides us to make decisions is something akin to fear of the unknown. We adhere to our routines because they are safe; known. We stick with the same meal at the same restaurant because it’s always good enough, or it’s close by, or it’s convenient. We go to the same hairdresser or barber; we shop at the same clothing store; we vacation at the same beach and stay in the same condo. Every. Single. Year.

While the known and safe are sometimes clearly the smartest bet (really, don’t change your hairdresser if he’s good), sometimes by sticking to our known routine we are simply taking the path of least resistance.

Did you know that CrossFit York wouldn’t be here if Rusty hadn’t taken a flying leap out of his comfort zone? Ten years ago, Rusty was working as an industrial consultant. His clients included BP, McCormick, Nissin Foods. When the economy tanked in 2008, his consulting business took a serious hit. He’d been working as a personal trainer on the side, and he and some of the trainers he worked with tried a few CrossFit workouts. He recognized that this new method was going to be revolutionary not only for himself as an athlete but for his training clients. He saw potential, possibility. But it also meant taking a huge chance. He closed his consulting business to open our gym.

There were additional challenges: he was opening a gym in a market that already had Gold’s, LA Fitness, and Planet Fitness, whose memberships were a quarter of what he was going to have to charge just to keep his doors open. He was opening a gym in a geographic area where snack foods and beer were culturally more valued than fitness. And in 2008, there weren’t any CrossFit Games on ESPN, no Christmas Abbott or Rich Froning on the social media fitspo circuit (there was no INSTAGRAM AT ALL), no Practical Paleo or Whole 30 making waves on the early morning talkshows.

It was basically just him in a dirty warehouse doing the whole “if you build it they will come” thing.

It definitely was NOT the path of least resistance. And it definitely involved some financial and personal risk.

For the first 3 years, Rusty was the ONLY coach. He woke up early every day to run the early sessions; he stayed late every evening to run the night sessions. He came in every weekend and ran every weekend session and event. No days off, no vacation for those first 3 years.

You’ll hear, every once in a while, someone refer to Rusty as our “fearless leader.” And he is: he participates in every challenge and event the gym holds; he works out with the classes as an athlete–doing the programming he’s written (or the programming that one of his coaches has written). He has taken the path of least resistance and he’s made into something for everyone.

Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and changing your whole lifestyle. But it can mean making small changes that have big effects for your life or for others’: joining that writer’s group at the library. Volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Signing up for that triathlon. Taking some swing dance lessons. Booking that trip to South Africa (or at least saving for it and making plans). Going to YorKitchen when they do Farm to Table. Visiting a new market, even.

Or come to a weightlifting class. Sign up for a CrossFit competition. Or a USAW meet. We’ve got one coming up here on April 15 (so, mark your calendar)!

For some of us, becoming a CrossFit York member was a big leap out of our “known zone.” So, what’s your next unknown? Face it, fearlessly.

Rusty’s Homemade Spicy Beef Jerky

beef jerky

~2 lbs of flank steak, sliced thinly
marinate overnight in:
3/4 C of Bragg’s Aminos (coconut or soy)
1C of water
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce

Put into your food dehydrator for 8 hours.

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.”