Blog Archive

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
300 Meter Row
20 Kettlebell Swings
20 Push-Ups
Rest 4 minutes

Jake and Aiden in a burpee race!

Modeling a Lifestyle

It’s our hope that within a few months of joining Cactus CrossFit, you get that this isn’t just a gym.  This isn’t just a crazy effective workout.  This isn’t even about meeting great people and forging friendships that you were fine without before, but wouldn’t go back on now.   This is a lifestyle.

A lifestyle of searching for efficiency.  A mindset of getting hard stuff done early so you can reap the benefits later.  Most importantly, a lifestyle of health and fitness.  Not so you can be a cover model.  (though you could be)  But so that you will have a longer, more fruitful life, one you can enjoy.

We don’t CrossFit to be awesome CrossFitters (though you could be).  We CrossFit because it is the fastest, easiest (in some ways) way to be healthy.

Ryan started with Cactus in January.  He knew me long before I even had heard of CrossFit, and, well, it takes lots of people 3 years to figure out we are doing something pretty cool at Cactus.

Ryan had had a personal trainer, and a gym membership, and he knew what to do, right?  I mean, eat less, move more.  Obviously!

But he decided he’d come in and try Cactus.  And I pushed him pretty hard to cowboy up and pull out his wallet.  Because if he did that, and he came consistently, I knew it would be the best for him.

So he did.  And he was the most improved in the workout for the Make Good Challenge.  And he comes regularly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  And now he is doing CF workouts at home with his family twice a week.

So this week, while running errands, his boys, Aiden and Jake, asked to see his gym (I guess he’s been talking about it!).  So they stopped in, and they wanted to show us their burpees that they have been doing at home!  I had to grab the camera (no video! Drat!).  You can see how excited they are.  Love a little competition!  And they do burpees just like their daddy.

Thanks, Ryan, for incorporating CrossFit into your lifestyle, and not just segmenting it into “something I do at that place I go to.”   Your family will be better for it!

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
Snatch Pulls x 1.1.1
(rest 10 seconds between each single)
Rest 20 seconds
Box Jumps x 10-15 reps
(perform as quickly as possible)
Rest 3 minutes;
and then,
Three sets for max reps of:
60 seconds of Pull-Ups
60 seconds of Burpees
60 seconds of Rest

If you are doing the Sectionals workout on Saturday:

Four sets for times of:
155/100 lb. Deadlift x 9 reps
Push-Ups x 12 reps
Box Jumps x 15 reps
Rest 2 minutes

Then, finish off your training session with some mobility work and practice on a skill of your choice – get ready to push hard on Saturday.

CF Open wod 11.2

The second wod has been announced:  15m amrap of 9 DL (155/100), 12 pushups, 15 box jumps (24/20).

The Open workout will be Saturday at 2pm at Core CrossFit downtown on 7th street South of the I-10.   I encourage everyone who is competing to come to Core with us and do it there.  It’s a whole different animal competing in a different gym, in front of strangers, and the adrenaline really gets pumping!

If you can’t make it, we will also do the wod Saturday morning at Cactus, so come in and get her done!  For everyone who is registered and submitting scores to HQ, our raffle this week is for a PF Chang’s gift card!  So look forward to that next week!

Ben practices his double unders

Workout of the Day
Five sets of:
Bench Press x 2-3 reps @ 20X1
Rest 30 seconds
Toes to Bar x 12-15 reps
(challenge yourself to do these strict – no swinging – and at a controlled tempo)
Rest 3 minutes;
and then,
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
5 Ring Dips
10 Push Press (115/75 lbs.)
20 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)

Ramit at writes the following, excerpted from The Culture Code:

“Years ago, Tufts University invited me to lecture during a symposium on obesity…

Lecturer after lecturer offered solutions for America’s obesity problem, all of which revolved around education. Americans would be thinner if only they knew about good nutrition and the benefits of exercise, they told us. Slimming down the entire country was possible through an aggressive public awareness campaign…

When it was my turn to speak, I couldn’t help beginning with an observation. “I think it is fascinating that the other speakers today have suggested that education is the answer to our country’s obesity problem,” I said. I slowly gestured around the room. “If education is the answer, then why hasn’t it helped more of you?”

There were audible gasps in the auditorium when I said this, quite a few snickers, and five times as many sneers. Unsurprisingly, Tufts never invited me to lecture again.’”

–Clotaire Rapaille
The Culture Code

Everyone has the answer right?  And yet, statistically, we are getting fatter and more unhealthy every year, as a culture.   Even if you believe that most people have the wrong info (not calories in<calories out, but insulin management for instance) at the end of the day, you still have to deal with behavioral change.

You can’t change your life (outcomes) without changing your life (processes).

In the comments to Ramit’s article, Ed says:

“The term “peer pressure” usually carries negative connotations of teens trying drugs and families going into debt to keep up with the Joneses. But Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tina Rosenberg argues there are also powerful and often overlooked benefits of peer pressure. ”

If educating for behavior change doesn’t work, what does? It seems like building a group that will keep you accountable and were like you but are now doing what you what(sic) to do or have done what you want to do is the best way. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have the cultural infrastructure for that, we are really good at getting masters to talk to novices in lectures, but not get middle of the road people to coach novices.

Wait a minute, that sounds like CrossFit!  We have groups of like-minded people holding one another accountable (not just from the coaches) and supporting efforts to change our lives while modeling our successes and failures.  That’s us everyday!

It’s why CrossFit works so well. All you have to do (to start) is commit and show up.   The group dynamic will take care of the rest.

Workout of the Day
Four sets of:
Back Squat x 3-5 reps @ 30X1
Rest 30 seconds
Strict Supinated-Grip Pull-Ups x Max Reps @ 21X0
(important to follow tempo here, abide by the 1 second pause at the bottom – ensure full extension)
Rest 3 minutes;
and then,
For time:
40 Wall Ball Shots
30 Walking Lunges (with KBs – as heavy as you can handle)
20 Burpees
30 Walking Lunges (with KBs)
40 Wall Ball Shots

Don’t forget our new schedule starts Today!!! Express at 5:30, Fortitude at 6pm.  See you there!

Got Space?

Workout of the Day
3 rounds for time
30 squat cleans (95/65)
30 pullups
800m run

So what makes a gym great?

We got lots of great feedback on what makes a gym great when we posted on Facebook, and lots of it focused on people and culture, which was instructive.

But the question I want to explore relates to the physical plant.  The material things that, you walk into a room at 2am, “Is this a great gym?”

My argument is that the prerequisite to a great gym is the ability to get a great workout.  No.  The ability to get multiple great workouts.

Now, because my physical life has changed completely since finding CrossFit in 2006, I consider great workouts to be CrossFit:  Constantly varied, functional movements, at full intensity.

To the extent that a gym allows me to do that, it is great.

So, what do I need to allow that?

1.  Space. You just eliminated 95% of gyms right there, in which the majority of free space is in aisles between cumbersome machines that allow you to do one thing.   In the event that there is space, it is usually allocated to one type of activity (basketball, racquetball, swimming).  This eliminates constant variety.  I can get a great workout today.  But what am I going to do tomorrow?  Or my 73rd workout?   So you need space, which equals flexibility.

2.  Barbells and bumper plates. When you’ve got bumpers, you’ve got permission to move heavy loads quickly, because you can bail out safely if you don’t succeed in your lift.  This is important.  It allows for Intensity, which is sorely lacking in the “fitness community” as a whole, and the thing that actually, you know, gets results.  So if you aren’t seeing life changing results, stop complaining and start busting your ass. Don’t know if you are working hard enough?  Ask a friend “How hard does it look like I am working?”  They’ll give you the straight dope.

3.  Pullup bars. For more than just pullups.  All of the sudden a wide range of gymnastics movements come into play, and now the upper body just got an injection in challenging progressions which can keep you improving your strength, flexibility, body awareness, and beach-awesomeness for years. anyone?

Now, we can add in a lot of other stuff which would make a gym kickass, mostly by increasing the variety of movements available to us: Prowlers, kettlebells, medicine balls, battling ropes, rowers, dumbbells, plyoboxes, climbing ropes, rings, cargo nets, slamballs, sledge hammers, giant truck tires, Westside Barbell gear, bathrooms, showers, gorgeous people, immaculate cleanliness, in my back yard, open 24 hours a day, and they PAY ME to workout!

But if the gym doesn’t have the top three, they can’t be great.  Not in my eyes.  Each of those items above, while awesome, has decreasing utility across a broad spectrum of movements.  They become increasingly specialized.  So, while I appreciate spice as much as anyone else, if all you’ve got is cinnamon, you can’t make that much unless you also have eggs, milk, almond flour, whatever it is people use to cook with.

Sadly, most gyms can’t even get this right.  And only after you have the three easy things, can you add in what a lot of people discussed on FB: Motivation, great people, inspiring culture, etc.  Because if you have great people and don’t have 1-3, you’ve got a great club, not a great gym.   There’s a difference, and it is measured in sweat angels.

Enjoy the weekend.  Open wod 11.1 redos and makeups are happening at 6pm at our great gym!   Please join us Saturday at 9am for Carolina’s last workout before she goes into surgery. It’s sure to be terrible because Jason is programming it just for Carolina before she goes on the shelf for 6 months.  Come give your best to her!  Or it might be this.

Workout of the Day
Four sets of:
Front Squat x 5 reps @ 21X1
Rest 90 seconds
External Shoulder Rotation x 10-12 reps each arm @ 2020
Rest 90 seconds;
and then,
Rounds of 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10 reps of:
Anchored Sit-Ups

*****Schedule Change Next Week!******

Starting Monday, we are changing our schedule for Mondays and Wednesdays going forward.  We are shifting our Express class from 6:30pm to 5:30pm, so that now our half hour Express class is at 5:30pm MWF.  Our hour long fortitude class will now go from 6 to 7pm.   Our hope is that this allows our athletes who work until 5:30 the opportunity to get into our hour long CrossFit classes.

Please give us your feedback.  Do you love it?  Does this screw you?   We will adjust (or not) based on your feedback.


Happy Birthday Jason!

Workout of the Day
Four rounds for time of:
Row 400 Meters
Run 400 Meters

(This workout will be performed as a relay race in teams of three or four. The moment one member comes off the rower, the next teammate may begin rowing. The workout is completed when each member of the team has rowed and run 1600 meters. If you don’t have teammates to share the burden, give yourself 2-3 minutes of rest between rounds, and score the times for each round.)

Happy Birthday Jason!

We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Jason’s birthday and his huge contribution to our program here at Cactus CrossFit!   The day Jason joined CCF was a day our gym got better.  From his warmups to his programming for our new Fortitude class, to the deep and broad expertise that he brings to each client, Jason has been a huge blessing to everyone in the Cactus family.  Jason has also been an inspiration to what daily healthy habits can do over time.  Even though we joke about the “old man”, I know I want to be in the kind of shape Jason is in at his age…or even now!

Jason, thanks for all you do for our community, our athletes, and our program at Cactus CrossFit!

Kevin, Joy, and the entire Cactus Community

Workout of the Day
Three sets of:
Bench Press x 3-4 reps @ 20X1
Rest 2 minutes
Weighted Pull-Up x 2-3 reps @ 20X1
Rest 2 minutes;
and then,
Five sets for max reps of:
Bodyweight Bench Press
(ladies, shoot for 3/4 bodyweight)
Rest 4 minutes between sets.

What makes a gym great?

I was exchanging emails with one of our athletes and they mentioned that the hotel they would be staying at while traveling would ‘obviously have a great gym.’   Here is that gym. We will continue this discussion tomorrow, but for now, I ask “What is a great gym?”   Love to hear your comments.

Henry works his double unders while under pressure

Workout of the Day:
Five sets of:
Front Squat x 3 reps
Rest 90 seconds
Ring Dips x Max Reps
Rest 2 minutes;
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
8 x Front Squat (use 80% of 3-RM)
400 Meter Run
(This workout is called “The Litvinov Workout” after Sergey Litvinov, a 196 lb. Olympic thrower who did this workout with 405 lbs. and kept his 400 meter runs around 75 seconds. Dan John wrote about it here, and in his book “Never Let Go”)

Compare to 120710

CF Open 11.1 Recap

We had a great event at CrossFit SouthWest Saturday, where Shane, Henry, Kevin, Mike from CF Flagstaff and Loree from NoCo CrossFit all competed along with members of 7 other gyms.

We also had a great time Saturday morning with so many taking on the Open workouts in the spirit that makes CrossFit such a great community.

As a reminder, the first week has been extended through next Sunday, so if you didn’t get a chance to compete, and would like to, you can still register and schedule a time outside of class.

I have so much admiration for everyone who took on the workouts Saturday.  It can be scary to put yourself out there for everyone to see your score, and yet, it can be one of the best ways to get inspired for your workouts going forward.

As a fun bonus, we will hold the raffle for the $50 La Grande Orange Gift Card today at 5:30pm.  Freddy, Rob B, Jon, Bethany, Henry, Erin, Blake, and Jenna are all eligible.  If you competed Saturday and your name is not on the list, you just need to register at and your name will go on the list.

After wod 2, we are going to have a raffle for a P.F. Chang’s gift card, so there are plenty of opportunities to win.

We hope everyone is enjoying the fun and anticipation of these workouts, it adds a whole new dimension to what we do in the gym everyday.

Workout of the Day

Two sets for max reps of:
Against a 6 minute running clock,
Row 1000 Meters
Back Squat x Max Reps
(you choose the weight, but you should be thinking bodyweight – and CF Games participants should only complete one set, not two)
Rest as needed between sets.

CF Games tomorrow!

We are looking forward to the CF Open challenge tomorrow, we will be opening up at 8:30am and we will have some folks in from out of town who are here on vacation who will be training with us, so there will be some new faces, and I know it’ll be a great time.

We do need volunteers for judges Saturday morning, so if you are interested, please let a coach know and we will let you know what the range of motion requirements are, and how you can be most effective in maintaining a consistent standard.

For anyone who wants to compete with coaches and with the larger CrossFit community at CrossFit Southwest, we will be leaving Cactus CrossFit at 12:30pm to head down to Tempe, so if you’d like to Carpool or caravan, please meet there.  The directions are here. Feel free to bring food and beverages for a party afterward, we’ll see you there!

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