Advanced classes are coming!

An announcement from the co-owners of CFNYC:

Since our beginning, the Black Box has operated a bit like a one-room schoolhouse, with all of our athletes learning together in the same classes, regardless of experience level. That worked well in our earlier, smaller days. But by now, with a large and growing membership, that approach has also made it increasingly difficult for us to provide truly excellent coaching to all of our athletes. We’ve necessarily focused on drilling the basics, instead of focusing in on the finer nuances of each movement and skill.

As a result, we know many of our advanced athletes have felt frustrated with their progress. They’re falling short of their full CrossFit potential, and we think that’s largely our fault. We haven’t previously been able to provide the coaching, specialized programming, and competitive environment needed for them to reach Games-level performance.

So, starting February 22nd, we’ll be trying to change that, through new Advanced WOD classes. In the beginning, we’ll be offering Advanced WODs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30pm, and on Saturday at noon. (These classes will be in addition to the regular WOD classes at those times, rather than replacing them.) Eventually, we hope to expand these Advanced WOD classes to the rest of the week, and to mornings as well, to provide full programming for our growing number of advanced athletes.

In the beginning, however, this is still very much a work in progress. We know we aren’t going to get this perfect right out of the gate, and we hope that you’ll work with us to figure things out. If you have thoughts, concerns, or ideas, Sophie Blahd (email: srblahdATgmailDOTcom) has been working to lead the Advanced WOD charge, and would be happy to hear from you (as would any of our coaches, who can also provide feedback as to whether the Advanced WODs might be appropriate for you.)

–Court, Hari, & Josh

Monday 110131

For time:
225 pound Deadlift, 21 reps
400 meter Run
225 pound Deadlift, 18 reps
400 meter Run
225 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
400 meter Run
225 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
400 meter Run

Post time to comments.

Peaked performance
Is low-back pain ever an ‘overuse’ injury?
Overhead squat mobility video with Steve Cotter
The elusive life-work balance
What’s in your pantry?

Yesterday was the last day of our Black Box 30-Day Paleo Challenge. For those who participated, how’d it go? Was it easier or harder than you had expected it would be? Did you manage to go 30 days straight sticking to your interpretation of paleo nutrition or did you find yourself having cheat meals? Did you cook more? Did you try new foods? Did you shop at new locales (farmers’ markets, etc.) ? Did you have fun? How did you look, feel, and perform over the course of those 30 days? Did things get worse before they got better? Let us know!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELLIOT (today) & JANNA (yesterday)!

Two pics from the Friday Night Faceoff, courtesy of Steven W.

Mike K. gets ready to deadlift:

Christine, totally focused:


  • Scaling options, courtesy of Brand X:

    Big Dawgs
    As rx’d

    Women – 155

    The Porch

    For time:
    225 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
    400 meter Run
    225 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    400 meter Run
    225 pound Deadlift, 9 reps
    400 meter Run
    225 pound Deadlift, 6 reps
    400 meter Run

    Women – 155

    For time:
    185 pound Deadlift, 21 reps
    400 meter Run
    185 pound Deadlift, 18 reps
    400 meter Run
    185 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
    400 meter Run
    185 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    400 meter Run

    Women 95-115

    For time:
    25-45 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
    200-400 meter Run
    25-45 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
    200-400 meter Run
    25-45 pound Deadlift, 9 reps
    200-400 meter Run
    25-45 pound Deadlift, 6 reps
    200-400 meter Run

  • OK, people, I really want to hear how the 30-day Paleo Challenge went for all who participated. Please take a moment and leave a comment to let us know how it went for you and whether the blog links/comments helped you make a go of it.

    Any sort of constructive feedback is welcome so that we can make our next Paleo Challenge even better.

    If you didn’t make it through all 30 days but found yourself eating better than you would have otherwise, we want to hear from you, too. Changing food habits is a process and usually takes several iterations to get where one wants to be. Don’t shy away from telling us the truth of how it went for you, even if it wasn’t “perfect” (not that there is such a thing as “perfect,” anyway).

  • Obviously you had me in mind when developing the “Advanced WOD” concept, so I’ll say thank you, FINALLY!

    This week I’m modifying my programming:

    AMRAP Utah Snowboarding: 72 Hours

    Enjoy your week people. Would LOVE to have done today’s WOD…looks like a crusher…


  • Just found out that Monday, Jan 31 (tonight or tomorrow night, depending on when you’re reading this) ABC’s Nightline will be airing the Art DeVany/Robb Wolf Paleo Diet/Nutrition segment they taped a few weeks ago when Art was in town for his book signing.

    Josh and I were lucky enough to get invited along to the videotaped lunch interview with the reporter the next day (for Brazilian churrascaria, no less) and we have a SLIGHT POSSIBILITY of surviving the cutting room floor. If so, you will see one or both of our mugs in the piece.

    So tune in Monday night (tonight) to Nightline and tape it for me if you can, as I will be asleep!

    • Just found out from Robb Wolf that our story’s been bumped due to the Egypt situation. Turns out this is good news that they bumped us, as the story won’t be shortened to fit the show but instead will be aired full-length, once things settle down news-wise.

  • Matt U.


    Some website feedback… all kind of related
    1) I’d recommend that you place a “join now” link on the top navigation bar so that people can join, or maybe a “workout with us” / “workout now” link for those that have yet to join and those that already have joined. That would make it easier for people to pay/join
    2) I can’t find mind-body scheduler. Very difficult to locate
    3) On the “Programs & Rates” page, there should be more “call to action” links (e.g., join now, click to see the elements schedule, to see our special workshops, etc.)

    Hope this is helpful.

    • Matt, we appreciate the feedback and will do our best to incorporate these changes ASAP!

  • Matt U.

    I think that the concept of advanced WODs is great for those that are advanced. However, I myself am still building some basic skills. Any chance that we could do some workshops on the following topics? I am still struggling with these, and it seems that many of the beginning-ish members are as well. Probably would need to occur over more than one session as these are motions that seem to take some time to learn.

    1. Double Unders
    2. Kipping Pull-Ups

    • Matt, great idea but I have to say that when it comes to DUs and kipping pull-ups in particular, I know I made progress on both movements by consistently practicing them on a daily basis and getting feedback from as many people as possible (coaches or athletes, doesn’t matter–what matters is they can do the move well and can give you suggestions on what you need to change).

      With DUs, once I had the gist of them, I no longer even needed outside feedback but instead just had to practice daily and pay attention to what I was doing to get better.

      Just be sure to practice these moves when you’re not burnt out from having just done a WOD!

      And with both moves, work on doing just 1 very good rep, then several very good reps 1 at a time, BEFORE trying to string them together.

      Just my thoughts, would love to hear from other coaches/athletes…

  • Lisa

    I had a Paleo Fail quite early in the challenge – just cannot self-discipline enough to stay away from snacking on chocolate and potato chips.
    I did pay more attention the quality of food I ate (apart from snacks) and made sure to prepare most of my meals. It is much cheaper than eating out, even allowing for the extra cost of grass fed meat, organic vegetables, etc.
    My goal to get to bed earlier and get up earlier only started to succeed the last week or so and I will continue to work on that.
    I did 3 WODs per week most weeks which is often the most I can fit in but I want that to be minimum every week this year.
    The challenge continues 🙂

  • Justin Katz

    This WOD was a heart burner.

  • felix

    very interesting site about tribes w/out any contact w modern civilization (till now i guess).
    thought some people here might find it interesting.

  • jenn

    Great 8am class today. Kevin had us start with a 1RM DL before the WOD; I really appreciate when he calls for this because I almost always hit a PR somehow and it makes the WOD so much easier to handle.

    1RM DL: 183-188-190-191-192PR – those little donut weights are the sh$t.

    16:28 (125#)

    I decided to quit the strict Paleo challenge halfway through bc I ran into a few ‘women’ issues that I just didn’t want to deal with (I know some guys are uncomfortable hearing about chick-stuff, so I won’t go into detail here, but any of you crossfit ladies want to have a more private discussion about it you can email me!) My life has been pretty hectic and stressful the last few months so meal-planning was harder – I actually ended up fasting quite a bit bc I didn’t have ‘paleo-friendly’ options around, and that might have contributed to my health issues. However, I’ve kept a pretty clean diet overall for the last year and will continue to do so. It’s more about making healthier choices and trying to balance that with all the other crap that’s going on in your life. Also, just a gentle reminder that we live in New York City – the mecca of amazing restaurants. Who the hell am I to refuse delicious meals from places like Momofuku just because they aren’t Paleo-friendly? I have found a special love for kale, brussel sprouts and sun butter, among other Paleo foods, so I think I’m finding a good balance for myself. I hope everyone else is finding their happy place too!

  • Jason W

    14:51 Rx’d.

    355# 1rm DL (PR . . . by a lot)

    First WOD back after two weeks of vacation where I mostly worked on HSPU, Pistols and Double Unders. Apparently, my strength is way up, but my capacity was way down for this wod today. 400m sprints are usually the least of my worries. Not today.

    As for the paleo challenge, I was on strict paleo for about two weeks while my girlfriend was on the tim ferris slow-carb diet. She ultimately gave it up and I mostly blame myself for not mixing up our meals enough. There’s only so much plain steak and chicken you can have before it starts to get old. So the new plan is to convert the lady-friend to 85-15 paleo by cooking a better variety of meals.

    Also, I agree with Jenn, strong is the force of the David Chang empire.

  • Eric

    Great idea Matt U.!

  • Mike Mishik

    I’ve been doing the paleoish lifestyle since Jan 3rd. I can probably count my cheats “food wise” with one finger, Jenn’s intoxicating confections, I had 1 for a coworkers birthday but that was it.

    I’m not one to totally give up the booze but I can promise I didn’t drink any beer and I limited my liquor to pretty much Tequila and Vodka.

    I gave up Caffeine 3rd week in and have been off it now for a week.

    Conclusions I came to: Before I was eating a lot during my traditional 3 meals, definitely too much (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Now I’m actually more focused on waiting until my body is telling me I’m hungry and eating more proportional amounts of the right foods. I’ve began to implement a snack of nuts and berries throughout the day which keeps off the cravings and adds some energy as well.

    Stomach aches: This was the biggest surprise throught the past month. I wasn’t getting aches before hand but now I’m noticing that when I eat something questionable to the way of paleo or sometimes even just sipping on an alcoholic drink (I’ll physically notice something isn’t right within my body).

    Caffeine: probably will get a lot of grief for this but here it goes. I went cold turkey and it was the best decision I’ve made. I was using it as a process item to do in the morning and what I didn’t realize was it was affecting the way I go throughout my day. I read up a lot on the benefits and disadvantages of caffeine in your diet and I’ve made some conclusions about it myself:

    I used to drink 2-4 cups a day and something I didn’t notice was that waking up in the middle of the night was directly correlated to this. After giving it up, I’m, sleeping from head hits pillow to alarm clock, sometimes I don’t even need the alarm clock and I’m up at it feeling great. I’m drinking water in the morning (something I used to put off until I was done my 2-3 cups of coffee). Now I can’t go the day without drinking water before noon or I feel like shit. I’m more energized in the afternoon and I relate this to the deeper sleep I’m getting in at night becuase of the lack of caffiene in my system. I used to think of caffeine as a dependency for me to get through to the end of my day but in reality it was doing the opposite. Coffee was stimulating me for a short period of time leaving me even more tired than I was before I drank it. The answer then is more coffee. To be honest the sleep works. Somehow I avoided the major headaches, I had a few the first day but I’ve been headache free since.

    Results: I leaned up a bit. My numbers are a bit off becuase the end of December was all out snowboarding, boozing, and eating crap so I weighed in Jan 3 at 193lbs. As of Friday I weighed in at 175lbs. Recovery seems to be a lot quicker, I’ve actually been able to bring up my volume of training within the last month and decrease my recovery time which I’m really excited about. I had a few injuries going into this month and they seem to be healing themselves a lot quicker than I thought, I have no idea if it’s related to the diet or just in general recovery but it’s worth pointing out.

    All in all, I’m loving paleo and adding more meals to the plan everyday and will probably stay as strict as possible for as long as I’m eating. I just don’t see the benefit of eating the crap anymore. A handful of the theories I used were off of blog posts, some by Allison and some by our own members.

  • Jai

    My plan for the new year was not paleo, per se, but quitting eating out so much. At the end of November, a biopsy showed that even though my intestines were healed to the extent visible by eye, they were still reacting to gluten at a smaller scale. I’m pretty sure I know where gluten tends to hide, so these results led me to believe that the contamination was most likely due to eating out rather than my own meal prep.

    I’m not a fan of making my own meals, but that seems like the smartest option for me. So, I went from eating out every weekday for lunch, and about three dinners a week, to eating out a grand total of three times this month. That’s a pretty big change; now I just need to maintain that…indefinitely. le sigh.

  • Paul B.

    WOD: 13:45 (175#)

  • Josh R

    I didn’t go paleo, exactly, but I did resolve to cut all sugar and refined carbs, and cap overall carbs at <50/day (and ideally, most of those carbs would be before/after a workout). My goal was ketogenic fat burning, because that's the only way I've ever lowered my body fat.

    This is actually what I've been doing all along, but I wasn't strict. I was just "watching my carbs". I don't think that cuts it anymore. My insulin resistance is more severe. So for this month, I dropped the oatmeal, the fruit, etc. I kept the dairy. My diet was meat, veggies, cheese, eggs, and nuts.

    My new crockpot was crucial. Before, when I would come home starving and exhausted, I would be forced to order food – which is usually about 80% carbs, and never enough meat or veggies to fill me up unless I order two entrees. Now I can just put some meat and veggies in there and it's waiting for me, it's cost-effective, easy, no frickin' bread to deal with, and I love it.

    Oh, and I started taking fish oil again.

    Overall, it was a successful month for me. I dropped about 5 pounds on the scale, went from 5 to 10 kipping pullups, got a few comments from colleagues, and most importantly, saw the difference in the mirror.

    But most telling was the ketostix, which tell me if I'm in ketosis. I learned that I need to be even MORE strict. Specifically, with cheating. I would be good all week, have a few beers one night, and wham, lose 5 days of progress. Even with all the workouts, with being strict 95% of the time, the slightest screwup and the stupid ketostix don't change color for two days.

    I also learned that milk has way more carbs than I thought, and I drank quite a bit with my coffee.

    The good news is that straight liquor – vodka, etc – didn't seem to cause much of a problem.

    So: no cheating, less milk, more vodka, I should be good.

  • sam.gaberal

    My life since 2007 has been a totally other spectrum when it comes to today,
    I have been experimenting with diets since 2007, first going with the standard “American” diet of high carb, low fat, which worked in small amounts, but it had to do more with my fitness, which i was dialing in, but running large amounts, will lower body fat from mostly anyone if there on a calorie deficit.
    After the high carb diet, my interest in health became bigger and bigger, moving slightly to a more moderate diet with better quality food, reading almost every book on nutrition, and attending many seminars at my undergrad school. fast forwarding to 2008 after having little results from a religious exercise program and getting 0 results i switched to Atkins, due to it buzz in media at the time. My results were good, but my cholesterol levels, and trgi levels went through the roof, but i learned that wheat and gluten was affecting everyday performance. In 2009 I came across a source of the paleo diet, but didnt want to give up the FDA recommendation of wheat, still believing that it was a benefit to me. After starting back up in martial arts, i had to fix problem areas, so I looked into paleo, which i did semi strict of about 75 /25 up to about 6 months ago, when i got deeper into CrossFit and back into dancing, in which i needed to recover fast and hard.

    Paleo is and will be my choice for life, my body reacts to gluten and dairy in a way that i hate, either giving me extreme gastric problems or causing acne, which i also hate. this 30 days allowed me to dial in harder then before, but it became very hard when i went on a road trip, in which food was hard to come by, and jerky was my only friend.

    If anyone hasn’t read book about the diet they really should, it puts a lot of perspective on the diet, and explains in good detail how it works, and what and what not to worry about. I personally recommend Dr. Cordains book, and Robb Wolf’s book on Paleo dieting, I also recommend Lights out, which is another CrossFit, Paleo book, which is just a good read. If you anyone wants to read it, i can lend them my kindle, i don’t mind.

    This 30 days have not been a god send, i did cheat once and while, cheats referring to chocolate and soy milk mostly. I did drink a little, but no beer, mostly vodka or whiskey because I just enjoy a good drink once and awhile. I find it extremely hard to explain my self sometimes in social moments, so I just give in, its like when I’m asked about CrossFit and the constantly varied high intensity functional movements just does not cut it.

    I think my next goal, will be to eliminate coffee, as i drink one or two cups a day, and i think it is affecting my sleep as well.When it come to performance, i believer every benchmark exercise has went up, and a large amount.

    I am sorry for the long essay like post, just had a lot to say. Today was a rest day been hitting two workout a day sometimes, and my recovery has been good with just a little extra lean meat.

  • mike n.

    I didn’t go paleo but i’ve totally eliminated coffee, like I don’t drink it at all now and in the past month my mornings are the same as the previous month, but I was never a morning person. Also, i’ve cut down on soda, almost down to zero and i’m pretty sure orangina is paleo. it’s all natural according to the bottle. At this rate I’ll be totally Paleo sometime in the next decade, but you have to start somewhere.

    15:59 rx’d

  • MC

    Overall, the month went pretty well, though I think I was only about 85-90% paleo. I had some issues when trying to eat out, something that came up more than usual in January as I had several out of town friends visit. Even still, I definitely noticed an increase in my recovery from workouts and a general reduction in hunger between meals. Some weeks were better than others, particularly if I planned my snacks better (apple/almond butter or a nuts/berries/jerky combo). I noticed it was the little things that derailed certain days, but I cannot say it ever got out of hand. If nothing else, it was a great experiment in learning how to live without grains, something that I think is worth continuing. I plan on being stricter in February (baby steps), which will lead me towards cutting out dairy and with fewer cheat moments.

  • Alex B.

    Did the porch workout. 11:20. Then made up the reps, 3 sets of 9, on my time. All in all my form has improved this last skill cycle. Big big thanks to all the trainers.

    Tightened up my paleo kung-fu early in the month of Jan, but relaxed it mid-month. I’ve done 30 days strict 2X before, and each time I learned a ton. Biggest divergence is definitely dairy, almost always cultured. Oh yeah and massive amounts of dark chocolate. And coffee. My goal is to wean off of caffeine, again. But not right away.

    Baby steps. Self-knowledge. Dr. Bronner’s soap.

  • drake


    225#, but scaled reps to 18-15-12-9.

  • Jason L.

    11:08 Rx, wordpress says my comment is too short so I’ll add, advanced classes sound like a good idea

  • Jeff

    Did last Sunday’s workout (110123)
    Three rounds for time of:
    275 pound Deadlift, 10 reps
    50 Double-unders

    DLs: 10 overhand, 10 mixed, 6/4 >:( mixed
    this was bad for my already sore throat

    Tried this last week but DNFed because I felt something go wrong just below my left scapula during my DUs. Finished out round 1 in 3:00.

    CGBP w/ Ari
    warm up triples: 45# (x 5), 95#, 135#, 185#, 205#
    work sets: 225# x 2 + 1 rep with butt coming off bench, 205# x 6, 185# x 8, 160# x 10, 135# x 15

    tough time hand balancing today

  • Eric

    12:49 with 185#. Scaling was very appropriate.

    Running outside was actually fun tonight, Great class, actually felt really good.

    Thanks for the tips, Mike K., Avery and Carlos.