Week of 10/28-11/2


Well it happened: I finally went to a corn maze! Yes it was excellent and yes, my year has officially become a success. If you haven’t already found a maze, there’s still time.

This week we’re talking Paleo! Woo! I know you’re pumped. Paleo is a word CrossFitters throw around more than med balls. “You Paleo?” is often the question, followed closely by, “Paleo? Not me! I like my sugar cookies, thank you very much” and even, “What the heck is Paleo?” So this post is meant to clarify the haze surrounding the Paleolithic Diet.

First off, Paleo comes from the theory that our bodies have not evolved to the point that we’re able to eat anything other than what a caveman would be able to. The list includes: meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, and seafood. Sweet potatoes are alright, regular potatoes are not. If the food has preservatives or any other ingredient that you can’t pronounce and looks like it should be in a chemistry textbook, no bones. Sweeteners such as honey, agave, or stevia are good. Olive oil is great, most other oils aren’t, especially peanut oil and canola oil. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews get a giant YES! (Especially almonds in my book) Peanuts are a no go (as are beans), because technically peanuts are legumes (part of the bean family), not nuts.

And as Roger Rabbit says, “Th-th-that’s all folks!” Anything not listed above, minus a few exceptions, isn’t Paleo. The general rule of thumb is this: if you’re not sure, it’s not Paleo. It’s a strict diet, yes, but boy does it work. It’s also ridiculously hard to maintain. In my experience, Paleo is fantastic for helping people lose weight, not so good for aiding those looking to add bulk. This is due to the fact it’s hard consistently to meet the caloric intake necessary for growth.

If you have any questions, drop me a line either by email, in person, or on Facebook. On a final note, if anybody is interested in doing a Turkey Trot at Magnuson Park on Thanksgiving morning, there’s a deal on Amazon Local that I posted to the Facebook page. It’d be fun to have a group of Jab athletes running together.

Looking forward to seeing everyone this week!


10 Reasons to Try CrossFit

Here, Matt Chan shares his top ten reasons why you should try CrossFit, courtesy of GoRecess.com

  1. Results – That’s what we’re all after right? Whether you’re after decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, improved triglycerides, or stronger bones, CrossFit produces measurable results that are visible in blood tests and in the mirror.  Who doesn’t want to look good naked?!?
  2. GPP – CrossFit is a General Physical Preparedness program that prepares you well for life’s demands.  No matter how simple the task, by practicing a wide array of functional movements, you’ll be increasing your longevity and independence.  Gone are the days of “back and bi’s, chest and tri’s.”  Welcome to a world where routine is the enemy and the certainty is change.
  3. Universal scalability – Whether you’re a professional athlete, out of shape, or a retiree, the CrossFit program is adapted to suit the needs of any individual.  We scale the loads, repetitions, or even the exercises and produce the same fitness. Should Grandma do CrossFit?  Absolutely!  Will it look very different from a CrossFit Games-level athlete? Without a doubt.
  4. Neurological sufficiency – By practicing functional movements that are inescapable in daily life, you’re learning to move safely and efficiently.  For example, though the deadlift might sound dangerous, any time you pick an object off the ground, you’re completing a deadlift.  By practicing the movement, you’re wiring your body to perform the movement well.
  5. Mindset – CrossFitters experience many adaptations to the program, but one of the biggest is the adaptation that occurs between the ears.  CrossFit requires hard work and hard work is uncomfortable.  One of the greatest elements of CrossFit is the mental toughness that it creates and carries into all aspects of life.
  6. Off-season training – There are a lot of sports that people participate in that are seasonal (triathlon, skiing, climbing, football…) and require a sport-specific skillset.  CrossFit is an amazing program for off-season training to improve fitness as a whole by developing cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. By bringing each of these specific capacities up, athletes perform better in-season.
  7. Community – Experience a community unlike any other.  CrossFit at an affiliate, such as CrossFit Verve, is more than just exercise.  You’ll celebrate personal records alongside other athletes (all participants are considered athletes no matter what level).  You’ll have the opportunity to experience community events, such as Paleo potlucks, competitions (as a spectator or as an athlete), team events, learning workshops, and subject matter expert lectures.  Or, you can just come in on an active rest day, and mobilize your tired muscles and chat with friends.
  8. Affordability – A point of contention for many people.  There are several options for getting involved with CrossFit, from personal training ($$$), to small group training at an affiliate ($$), to working out on your own utilizing CrossFit.com (free!). The most common route is starting at an affiliate, where you’ll be taught the skills necessary to complete a WOD (workout of the day), be coached through a WOD, and then be cooled down.  Try getting that for $150/month at a “Globo-gym.”
  9. A change of pace – Losing the excitement you used to have for exercise?  Well, keep it going!  Because the workout changes everyday, you’ll find yourself clicking refresh on your affiliate’s WOD blog (a guilty pleasure of all CrossFitters) each night until the new workout is released.  You’ll find yourself getting butterflies in your stomach on the way to the gym and you’ll be rushing with endorphins as you leave.
  10. Fun – CrossFit is making working out fun again.  This is the biggest point for most people.  By combining elements from the list above, CrossFit will leave you sweating, smiling, and wanting more.  Don’t believe me?  Call a buddy and attend a free “intro class” at your local affiliate.  Most allow one or two free drop-ins to get a feel for the culture at the gym.  If you don’t like one, try another!

“Matt Chan is Co-Owner and Head Trainer of CrossFit Verve in Denver, Colorado, Seminar Staff Head Trainer for CrossFit Inc., and a firefighter and EMT.  Matt began CrossFitting in May 2007 and opened CrossFit Verve in 2008 (voted one of the best CrossFit boxes in Denver in 2013) as a means of creating an outlet for people in the Denver area to explore their fitness potential and improve their longevity through general physical preparedness.  Matt seeks an elite level of fitness that has helped him become a four-time top 10 finisher at the CrossFit Games, including placing second in 2012. Matt loves to help others by sharing his passion for fitness and the experience he’s gathered in his own pursuit.”

Week of 10/21-10/26


Congratulations on a job well done this week! Thursday was a doozy—two tough WOD’s in one class! Give yourselves a pat on the back. I hope you took the weekend to relax, recover, and prepare for the upcoming week.

We launched a Groupon on Saturday promoting the CrossFit program in hopes of getting some new members and adding to our already stellar community. If you have friends who are on the fence about trying out CrossFit (and I know you do), this is the perfect opportunity! They can purchase a month or two months depending on the deal they want. Spread the word, people, spread it far. Here’s the Jab CrossFit Groupon link

We also started a Jab CrossFit Facebook page, an instagram, and a twitter. We’ll be posting pictures, information, videos, and WOD’s from time to time. So friend us, like us, or whatever you do on these sites nowadays and we’ll do the same.

This week’s post is about what makes CrossFit so great (and no, it’s not the stellar coaching J): the community. The more you I’ve been around CrossFit, the more I realize that community is what it’s all about. Sure, we could do these workouts by ourselves. I could write the WOD’s down for the week and email them to everyone and say, have fun! But come on, who would actually workout? The reason we come day in and out is because of the people, your fellow athletes performing the workout with you, sweating and grunting and cursing right by your side. And the more you spend time with these people, the more they become your friends, not just “those people” at the gym.

When you think about it, the athletes at CrossFit know a lot about you, a lot that maybe you wish they didn’t know. They know your weaknesses, for one.  They’ve seen you suffer, seen you sweat. They’ve seen you struggle with cleans or handstand pushups or squats. They’ve also seen you fail. Plenty of times. Funny, isn’t it? You may not know where someone was born, where they live now, their childhood stories (no doubt walking through the snow to school, uphill both ways). But you know them on an intimate level, and they know you, too.

If you have any questions about the Groupon, social media, or just CrossFit in general, feel free to ask! See you this week.


Week of 10/14-10/19


Hope everyone had a good week! I went hiking up in Bellingham at Oyster Dome and it’s highly recommended for everyone. Great view, about six or so miles round trip, and yes, a good workout to boot.

On Friday we did a workout called “Fight Gone Awry” a benchmark workout in the honor of the classic Fight Gone Bad. We’ve done other benchmark workouts as well: Karen, Fran, and Annie. These benchmark workouts suck, they absolutely do. Fight Gone Awry is a fifteen minute slugfest that leaves everyone out for the count, from the newest athlete to the most experienced. And that’s ok. These benchmark workouts are designed to test a multitude of physical adaptations, including, but not limited to, strength, stamina, cardiovascular endurance, speed, power, and accuracy. They also display glaring weaknesses.

Let’s say we’ve just finished doing Fran, a whopper of a workout that consists of 21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pullups. I personally believe a solid Fran time for the average CrossFitter is around 4 minutes. Let’s say that your first Fran time is seven minutes (pretty good by the way, for the first time). What slowed you down? Was it the thrusters? Maybe the pullups? For me it was my heart, because it felt like there was a little guy inside my chest trying to break free with a jackhammer. Those things that slowed you down are the things you need to work on, in order to make yourself the best well-round athlete you can be.

Now, three months later, we do Fran again. We’ve worked on those weaknesses, spent time developing new skills, and are ready as ready can be. And boom! PR! Your Fran time dropped by a minute and a half! Excellente. Faster times equate to an increase in fitness. Those pullups that were hard before weren’t so hard now, and all the thrusters were done unbroken, a first! That’s what it’s all about, why we’re all here. Yes it’s great to workout and feel good about yourself. There’s also nothing wrong with getting stronger and faster along the way.

I hope this helps! As always, let me know if you have any questions. See you all this week.


Letting Beauty Speak Up Itself

“If you ask 100 people to define beauty, you’ll get 100 different answers. Most will falter and offer descriptions instead. CrossFit athletes are now rejecting previous definitions of beauty and putting forth their own, a definition researched and confirmed in every workout and every rep.” Check out this amazing Video from CrossFit by Jon Gilbert and Marty Cej. Enjoy!

Week of 10/07-10/12


I hope everyone is doing well! The weekend proved to be surprisingly sunny and I hope you were able to get outdoors and enjoy yourselves.

As a coach, I’m asked about one particular topic more than anything else. It’s not how you look in those skinny jeans (you look great, by the way), and it’s not how much you need to bench before you’re considered “strong”. No, what I’m asked about almost daily is nutrition. I thought I’d take some time this week to discuss fats, carbs, calories, sugars, and how it all ties together. Who’s hungry?

I’m not a nutritionist. What I understand about nutrition stems from listening to folks smarter than myself, reading textbooks, observing the latest fad diets on the market and how they affect those adhering to said diet, and experimenting with my own body. I still have a long way to go. Frankly, I think everybody does. To me, nutrition has certain black and white areas that we all inherently grasp. Don’t eat a lot of processed food. Too much sugar is highly detrimental to your health. McDonalds, no matter what they advertise, isn’t going to lead you to the promised land. And no, alcohol doesn’t count as “carb-loading” before a big race. These are pretty obvious. Now, what about everything else? Bread, for example, is rife with controversy. As are other carbs like pasta and rice. What to do?

The best advice I can give is to see what works well with your body. Experiment! Diet books will all tell you different things. The CrossFit community talks incessantly about the Paleo diet. If you’re not familiar with this, please do some quick research. I would run out of space if I had to describe everything here. Succinctly, the Paleo diet says that your body is better adapted to use fat for energy in place of carbs. Conversely, many runners eat pasta and other complex carbohydrates in order to have enough energy for long runs. Who’s right? Personally I can’t answer that. But why not try it out? Experimenting with various foods may take a couple months, perhaps a year. But over the long haul you’ll have a diet that works for your unique metabolism.

If you do choose to experiment (and I sincerely hope you do), give your body a couple weeks to get used to the new foods. For example, if you’re a pasta fiend and want to try the Paleo diet, you’ll need a month for your body to adapt. And yes, initially changing diets can alter your mood. But give it time. If after a month you feel worse than you did before, no bueno! Switch it up. If you feel better, see what changed. But make sure you stay to the diet. If you want a subtle change—less alcohol perhaps, more water—then keep everything else the same. To go back to school for a quick second, you need those dependent and independent variables. You need something to test against.

Sounds like I didn’t really give any solid nutritional advice, huh? Well, a one-size-fits-all approach would be great if we all were one size. But we’re not. What works for you may not work for me, and visa-versa. Try it out! Stay away from fast food and excess alcohol. And, above all, continue CrossFitting 🙂

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! See you this week.