Friday 111111

Back lever progressions and practice

10 rounds for time of the following:
10 pull-ups
20 push-ups
30 squats

The push-up: Why is this so hard?
RIP, Smokin’ Joe
Tiny potatoes roasted in parchment paper with garlic, rosemary, and thyme

Longevity through CrossFit
McRibonomics / Honey laundering / Why the cheapest maple syrup tastes best

Recently member Reis Baron celebrated his one-year anniversary at CFNYC. I asked him if he’d do a Q&A to share with us the tremendous changes he’s made in this past year. Enjoy.

Tell us what if anything you did to lose weight or get fit before you jumped into crossfit. Hadn’t you already lost some weight via paleo? I started Paleo around the same time I started Crossfitting last year, so that’s definitely just a part of this whole new experience I’ve had. Bikram Yoga was the one healthy practice I did before Crossfit, and even though my practice ended 5-6 years prior, I was able to keep a lot of the flexibility that I gained through yoga and it has helped my progress tremendously. While I don’t do many exercises well yet, I’m most confident in my squat. I don’t think I’d be looking to break 400# nearly as soon on my back squat if I didn’t have huge flexibility to count on. Before yoga I did some aggressive and unhealthy yo-yo dieting that either took off or eventually put back on around 80 pounds at a time. Rough stuff…

When you were new to CFNYC, did you ever consider quitting after a particularly tough workout? Or has it always been smooth sailing as far as your long term commitment. There’s no way I was ever quitting. My arrival at Crossfit was toward the end of the most intense experience of my life. My wife Melissa and I faced several years of hardcore stress as we helped our son Jacob through a rare blood and immune disease, LCH (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis). He was on chemotherapy for the first three years of his life, and we basically lived in and out of hospitals during that time. We’ve thankfully put the most difficult parts of that journey behind us, and Jacob is an amazing, healthy 4-year old with an unimaginable amount of energy. So after pouring our souls into Jacob’s recovery, we came out of a very sedentary period where we neglected our own health in spending every waking moment by Jacob’s bedside. In my case the results were pretty bad…I weighed around 335# the day I walked into Elements. And with turning 40 right around the corner, I came to the decision that there was no room for laziness, shitty diet and everything else that would ensure health problems, depression, Diabetes etc. It’s simply not just my life anymore. I need to do everything I can to be there for my wife and son 20+ years from now. A year ago I couldn’t honestly tell you if I’d be there for Jacob’s graduations, wedding, etc. It feels amazing to take such huge control over my health. Now I know I’m doing everything I can to be there for my family, and to be strong…physically and emotionally. So when it comes to quitting, it’s not an option. My only DNF came during a WOD that ran late, and I had to get to work on time that day no matter what. Despite the circumstances I still felt awful about not finishing. I’ve grown a bit ill when it comes to my Crossfit addiction. My wife is equally consumed by a newfound kickboxing practice. So she’s on her own amazing path to gaining strength and staying healthy.

What do you notice more, your weight loss or your new-found crossfitting abilities? That’s a pretty easy one, since I haven’t weighed myself in a couple of months. Last I stepped on a scale I gained 12 pounds, even though my waist was getting smaller. So I realized how pointless that number is going to be as I get my body to a more stable state of strength and body fat percentage. Even having gained that weight, I was around 50 pounds lighter at that point than when I started. But honestly the pant size is far more rewarding than the weight loss. Progress in WODs has been exciting. While I’m still toward the back of the pack on most days, it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be. Jeez I feel like last winter it was every other WOD when Tim Broder or Anthony Holland (or both!) did my last round with me after they had already finished. And it seems every single person in the morning crew has taken a serious interest in getting me through my WODs. I’m so thankful for that. The community has really been there for me time and again. It makes such a huge difference in my experience. And my appreciation for Sara’s coaching is beyond words. She’s been a true Sensei for me. Just last week she told me she’d punch me in the face if I reset my hands during my burpees. There’s a real warmth in her coaching style that I’ve come to depend on…

What are your current goals? Getting my Crossfit Total over 1000#. Since my last Total in May was 895#, I feel like I’m pretty close. In a vacuum my max singles for press and deadlift have come up 20% and 15% respectively, but back squat singles have eluded me in the past six months. If (and I know it’s a big if) I can do the Total and tie my PRs on press and deadlift (175# & 425#, respectively) I would need to come up 25# on my May 13th back squat to hit 1000#. Aside from that I really feel like I need to push myself on getting real-deal pull-ups and increasing the depth on my handstand pushups. I think the next six months are going to be pretty damn productive if I can keep the same level of consistency.

How has crossfit changed the rest of your life? It’s changed everything for the better. I shoveled my driveway today unbroken after 18” of snow fell and I’m feeling no pain, when in past years my back would be in rough shape after that task. My newfound strength translates to every single thing I do. My focus, energy level, progress at work… It’s pretty amazing. I’m also consumed by all things Crossfit. I spend 20 hours a week on the train, so when I’m not catching up on sleep I’m checking out videos on the Crossfit Journal, surfing Crossfit-related links off Twitter…and oh yeah some of you might have noticed I check out the CFNYC blog comments from time to time ;-).

What would you tell someone who is where you were at the start of your journey who is scared to try crossfit and change their diet? I could be the standard guy on the commercial saying “if I can do it you can do it”. But I’d be lying. The reality is that Crossfit takes an exceptional amount of mental strength and commitment. My experience here involves as much work and physical pain as most anything I’ve experienced. I walked into Crossfit NYC physically weak and morbidly obese, but my life circumstances put me in a position where I would not accept obstacles. So I would say that you need to be just open enough to show us that you’re ready for the intensity, and we’ll help you get yourself through it. I think we all get collectively stronger with each other’s help. Just be willing to grab the bar for dear life and not let go. Be ready to pull the strength back into your body and push the weakness out, and when the smoke clears you’ll find a friend who’s been down that road and can share in the glory with you.

* * * * *
Here’s what’s on tap for Saturday’s WOD classes:

Clean 21 reps
Run 800 meters
Clean 15 reps
Run 800 meters
Clean 9 reps
Run 800 meters

Same load for all three clean sets.

Post load (pounds), time (seconds), and score (pounds/second) to comments.


  • What a great interview!!!  Reis, your dedication and enthusiasm for our box and Crossfit shines through everything you post on this blog.  You are an excellent example of how hard work, determination, and consistently working towards virtuosity can profoundly change a person.  Congrats on your one year anniversary at CFNYC; I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the coming year!

  • Michael C

    Awesomely inspiring.  Reis, I haven’t met you formally, but I’ve definitely seen you battle some WODs.  I’m a big fan.  Big gains this next year!

  • Anonymous

    WOD: 19:47

    Reis – your dedication is inspiring. pretty fcking awesome.

  • Congrats Reis! And I feel the same way – the community here at CFNYC is awesome and I think that’s what helps us push through. I’ve only been crossfitting for about 2 months but I’ve seen myself progress and really love how the coaches and the other members of the 6am group push me. I couldn’t be happier with my experience.

    Today I did the WOD as a 20 minute AMRAP and did 8 rounds, used jumping pullups and pushups on my knees.

  • Reis, thank you for sharing your amazing experiences with the rest of us, looking forward to seeing even more tremendous progress from you in the near future! 

  • Rory

    WOD:  7 1/3 rounds (green band on pullup) in 20 mins

    2 favorite you tube clips:


  • Thanks for sharing this and for your enthusiasm every day. Seeing you is hugely motivating for a n00b like me!

  • Darylsela
  • 6 rounds, scaled, 7-15-21, 21:22

    Crispin Glover being amazing on Letterman.


  • Jacinto

    Reis Iam so happy for you that you stayed the cause.Keep up the hard work and make it your life style.

  • Jenny A

    Reis, you really need to work a little harder on the whole character thing.  Seriously, you are my hero, both as a parent and as an athlete. 

  • Anonymous

    Hey Reis, don’t think I’ve WOD’d with you in my short time at CFNYC, but keep up the good work. I wish even 5% of the country had the desire and drive that you’ve demonstrated here— we’d all be better off for it.

    Resting today. Going to try this as “Murph” tomorrow, as a birthday present to myself.

  • Kameron

    Reis, truly amazing stuff. It’s been said over and over, but your work ethic and attitude are an inspiration. Congrats on the one-year!

  • Paul Booth

    Amazing interview Reis! Congrats on all of your accomplishments and those yet to come…

  • Mike K

    Congrats on your transformation Reis!  That is an awesome story and I am sure you will continue adding to it in your 2nd year here!

  • Sam G.

    Reis, love the story, this year should be great.

    Let’s get that squat where you want it, your determination makes me love being a trainer and a athlete, thank you for everything.

  • wendy

    Hooray Reis!

    24:23  7/15/21

    And the hilarious talking dog:

    • Will Lanier


  • Jamie F.

    Reis, great work as always.  Truly an inspiration to us all.  Everyday you bring it, no excuses.

    Murph RX’d w/20 LBS Vest.

  • Daniel K

    Today’s WOD: 20:04 rx’d
    And as per Will, a video. My buddies–the people I Crossfit to keep up with–doing some technical ski mountaineering in the Wasaatch backcountry.


  • Anonymous

    As always I’m absolutely humbled by everyone here. Many thanks to you all for the love and support.  

    I felt the least I could do to kick off year 2 was to bring real-deal pushups to the WOD today, so I finally can say that I RX’d 81 of those, and once I shed the band I can actually RX Cindy. What a thrill!

    Scaled to 7-15-21 AMRAP 20 Mins
    5 Rounds + 6PU
    2.5″ band – all pullup sets unbroken – time to force the black band into WODs.  

    Fun stuff…enjoy your weekend everyone!

    • The_Lisa

      Nice, Reis! I loved reading your Q&A and so glad that your and your family are doing so well health-wise.

    • Stephanie

      i’m on evenings all this week, PLUS today is my rest day, BUT i still have to comment that if this would have been a team wod we would have **killed** it (and i would have done the official counting).

      loved the interview, congrats on the real-deal push-ups in today’s wod, and i just want to add and you definitely bring a certain energy to the gym with you every morning that is just good for everyone.

  • Jason W

    17:17 rx’d

    pullups: unbroken
    pushups: (12-8) for first 9 sets. last set was by any means necessary
    squats: unbroken, but slow

    Favorite quote from today’s interview:
    “I shoveled my driveway today unbroken after 18” of snow fell”

    It’s been a pleasure to watch you work, Reis. Looking forward to another year!

  • Cathy Scheele-Tom

    Amazing Reis! When I’m feeling unmotivated, all I’ll need to do is go back and read your interview.  Thanks for sharing and keep up the amazing work and wonderful attitude!

  • Erika Ramos

    reis! you better WERQQQQ!! i’m sure you’ll surpass all your goals for year 2! you’re amazeballs!

  • keller

    great stuff reis… truly motivating story.  so happy that you, your wife and your son are all on the path to a healthy future.  20+ years from now you will still be doing pullups and taking names!

    favorite quote: “Sara told me she would punch me in the face, there’s a real warmth in her coaching style”

  • The_Lisa

    today’s WOD – 20 min. AMRAP 5/15/30: 6 rounds, 5 pullups.
    Probably the funniest cat video you will ever see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUNmLuNdiL8

    And an extra for Will – Teh Lolcat Bibel http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

  • Peter F

    I rxed the numbers, but due to ongoing torn hand situation, I ended up subbing the last six sets with ring rows and got 22:31.  Meh. 

    Thanks for sharing Reis!  I can’t agree with you more- the will to succeed and overcome obstacles is such a must for any level of improvement here. 

    Super creepy Filipino lip sync competition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri5-uR8-3AE

  • awesome interview Reis!

    Today’s WOD – AMRAP (7-15-21): 8 rds + 7 pullups. Pullups unassisted.  Fave youtube videos:



  • Williamson

    15:50 rx’d

    Pushups crashed to 5-5-5-5 but was able to make up in the squats.

    Great stuff reis, good work Jaime, way to PR on murph with a vest.

    Still selling the Red 195 Inov-8s size 9, $100.  NYORMI@gmail.com if interested.

  • Will Lanier

    great work today everyone. worked on snatch balances instead of the WOD…damn snatches.

    if some of you are wondering why there are YouTube videos everywhere – Sara and I asked the morning crews what their favorite YouTube videos and to post them to the blog for some Friday fun…hopefully you all enjoy.

    Here are a few of mine:

    Bonjour Girl:  http://youtu.be/pcuI6K9daIw

    Michele Bachman:  http://youtu.be/LFB6LQ1-WKU

    Bitch Pudding:  http://youtu.be/UfidfHCI5f8


    • Jamie F.

      Did you end up doing Murph earlier?

    • Will you got me hooked on those bad lip reading videos. They’re all pretty funny.

  • Sara

    3 rounds:  25 LA swings, 25 RA swings, 5 muscle ups:  13:14 (16kg kb).  Jason, I scaled and it was too easy.  I’ll redo with no scaling because I feel guilty 🙂

  • wendy

    One  thing Reis isn’t mentioning is how encouraging he is to other Crossfitters. I started my workouts at the black box a few months ago, and he has been really supportive, instructive, friendly and cool the whole time. 

  • Zoe

    33:27 Rx’d… much harder than I anticipated.
    Congrats Reis, on one year!

  • i second the honey badger, also antoine dodson is pretty funny (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzNhaLUT520)

    I did yesterday’s workout this evening. 
    3 RFT
    Deadlifts w/ 225#
    Run 400M
    21 Pullups
    11:27 with a VERY “slow door”

  • Kelly
  • Kelly
  • Annie

    31:06 Rx’d 

  • Steve Lynch

    Squat 295 x 5 x 3
    Bench 217.5 x 5 x 3 (finally got all my reps, been stuck there for a little bit)
    Pullup practice C2B

  • Anonymous

    23:21 Rx’d    
     Favorite Youtube video..   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI1WxgFNDo0

    Really fun WOD tonight nice work everyone !

  • Joe W

    19:12 scaled to 7 pu’s, 15 push ups and 21 squats

  • Rameez

    WOD 8 rounds 22:31

  • Courtney S

    22:07 scaled to 12 push ups

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