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The Big Move!


The day is soon arriving! We will be taking our talents to a new location! As many of you know this will be a new chapter in CrossFit Philia's life and we are very excited to provide you with more. We ask you to be patient over the next week or so as we transition from our current location to the new one. Everything will be smoothed out!

The last classes in our current box will be held on Thursday May 7th at 5 am and 6 am. Everyone get up early and come workout for the last time at your old home!

The first class at the new Box will be held on Monday May 11th at 6 am! (yes we will be closed for the weekend)

With new space comes new toys and new opportunities! We will be placing indoor turf and weightlifting platforms in our new location. We will also be offering new programs! We will be starting a Philia Endurance program, weightlifting/strength specific programs, adult gymnastics, and finally a competitive program to be launched in the fall! More details on these will be provided in the coming soon! 

We will be asking for assistance in the next week to help with the move and will appreciate all the help we can get. Make sure you have all of your things out of the cubbies and off the hooks!

We appreciate all of you and we wouldn't be here without you!

Philia Staff


How to Read the White Board

I believe that there is a skill in reading the white board and as with most skills it takes time to develop. It’s a skill because every time you read the WOD you need to be able to apply it to yourself and your abilities. You have to learn to analyze how you feel that day and adjust accordingly.

I want to provide a step by step guide to analyzing the white board that you can use every time you look at it. This will help you in deciding if you can go RX or how you should scale for the day.

1.) Read the workout in its entirety

2.) Take note of the Buy In and how it might affect you for the WOD

3.) Look at times from previous classes and find the average (that’s what you should aim for)

4.) Look at the movements to see if you have reached the skill level required and for that amount of repetitions. If not then ask the coach for a scaled version of the movement

5.) Look at the RX’ed weight and decide if it’s right for you. To do this look at the total amount of reps within the workout. You should also note the other movements and how they relate to each other and the fatigue of your body. (This is the hardest one. When in doubt ask a coach)

I also want you to recognize that you don’t live your life in a vacuum. Everything effects everything. For example; Say you only got 4 hours of sleep the night before. You feel tired and slow. Don’t expect to be able to go RX that day. There is no sense in beating yourself down even further. Another example; you’ve been to the gym 4 days in a row and have Rx’ed every day. The weight feels heavy on the 5th day and you don’t know what’s up, you should be able to do it. You might have been able to RX that WOD on the 1st day but you just haven’t recovered! Back off a bit and go lighter. IT’S OKAY!

We don't expect you to go RX everyday, the body needs time to recover and sometimes its best to slow it down and go through the motions.




Greasing the Groove

Greasing the Groove is a training principle that Pavel Tsatsouline addressed in his book Power to the People.

I use this training principal Greasing the Groove (GTG) quite a bit with my personal training clients. I only see each one at most twice a week, which means that there are five more days that they need to be doing something related to their fitness. Things like weight training on their own, cardio, or recovery. GTG helps keep them on track both from a movement stand point and a mental standpoint.

You may be wondering what GTG is?

GTG is essentially doing a movement (bodyweight, or with external load) with PERFECTION several times a day for low reps. You will always do these when you are fully recovered and never to failure. In other words your technique should never break down. This gives us perfect practice! This allows your body to build up the neurological pathway to lift heavier weight. Allowing neurons to fire faster and muscle to work more effectively together. Muscle tissue has little break down in this sense.

Example: I want to increase my max strict pull ups. I wake up for the day and do 4 perfect pull ups. Then I go about my morning. A few hours later I’m walking by the park and do a few more perfect pull ups. This pattern happens throughout the day several more times.

This can be very beneficial for those of you who are seeking to get your very first strict pull up. Using the example above, if you cant perform a strict pull up then you should perform jumping pull ups with a controlled negative. Instead of doing 4 however, you should do 2. Make sure each rep as controlled as possible!

I recommend that you give GTG a shot. Choose one movement to do for 3-4 weeks with the strategy outlined above. Report to me once you’ve gone through a cycle of this and tell me how it went! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

“Stronger people are harder to kill.”-Mark Ripetoe






Mentality will make or break you.

Let’s apply mentality in a gym setting. Let’s use the scenario of finding a new 1RM in the clean and jerk. We will have person A and person B. All things being equal (weight, height, gender, strength, etc.) except the mentality that they both have. Person A walks into the gym that day full of confidence knowing that they will hit that new PR. They never let a trace of doubt enter their mind, in a sense they feel like they have already succeeded. Person B walks into the gym feeling intimidated and already thinking about how heavy the PR attempt will feel as they pull it off the floor. Person A works up and hits their current max. After a brief rest they approach the bar that is loaded with a possible new PR. Never once thinking about how heavy it is and knowing they are capable. Person B works up to that same max clean and jerk just like person A. The difference here is that Person B his full of self-doubt. Every rep feels heavy to them because they decided it felt heavy, not because it actually was. Person B hits their current max as well but with less confidence as Person A. After a brief rest person B approaches the bar loaded with a new PR. Already thinking about how much of a struggle it will be and how heavy the weight is. Both lifters attempt this PR. I'll let you decide who missed this rep and who didn’t.

As soon as you decide that the weight is heavy, it’s already over. DON’T LET THAT WEIGHT BE HEAVY!

This can be applied to everything from inside the gym (met cons, max outs, running, etc.) to life outside the gym. Take a moment to apply this type of mentality to your daily life and how it might change things.

The mindset you carry around with you will effect everything you do. Walking around with self-doubt and negative thoughts will only bring failure. On the other hand, filling yourself with confidence will change your life a ten-fold in everything you do.



Know you are capable,




Make Your Bed

This week I wanted to share Admiral William H. McRavens's commencement speech he gave at the University of Texas in 2014. I feel there are many things to take away from this and apply to your life. 

You can find the link below.

Accomplish that first task of the day and make your bed.



Observable, Measurable, Repeatable

One of CrossFit’s mantras is that CrossFit is observable, measurable and repeatable.

What do we need for this to happen? Cold hard data.

One thing everyone should be doing no matter your skill level is keeping a training log. This is a place where you write down all of your lifting PR’s/times/rounds etc. You could even take it a step further and write down how you were feeling that day or maybe a technique issue you were having. This will provide more insight when you refer back to it in the future.

These numbers are valuable information for future workouts and making sure you are on the right track to achieve your goals.

As someone who has goals of my own, I have found this very valuable. It allows me to set more appropriate short term goals for myself, as well as long term. I can see the progress I’ve made over the span of several months and it provides a nice boost in motivation. On the other hand if I look back and I’m not seeing much progress I know something needs to be changed.

As a coach it is extremely helpful to have a client know their “numbers”. It allows me to make more informed recommendations for movements and weights based on the information you have, thus giving you a greater workout. In contrast if the WOD calls for 75% of your deadlift max and you can’t remember what your current max is….then we have to play a guessing game and go by feel. This may work sometimes but its not optimal. For example, you may have chosen a weight that was way to heavy turning what should have been a 10 min max for time WOD into a 20 min grinder. Having numbers will help you get the best results possible!

Now is a great time to start a training log with the Open going on! Some of you did 15.2 the other day and may not have known what you did last year. Wouldn’t it have been nice to finish that workout and look back a year ago and see how much you’ve improved?

A few ways to log your stats;

·         Phone app

·         Computer

·         Good old fashioned pen and paper (We just received WOD books if anyone wants to order one)

Happy stat tracking!
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Movement Practice

I want to get everyone thinking about positions. More specifically how positions within movements relate to positions in other movements.

For example, let’s look at a hip hinge. A hip hinge is when you have maximal hip bend with minimal knee bend while maintaining a neutral spine. Really feel those hamstring light up! Your hip hinge is when performing a deadlift, kb swing, jumping, etc. The movement pattern stays the same.  It’s a universal movement pattern! It’s like Lord of the Rings, one ring to rule them all. ONE POSITION TO RULE THEM ALL!

We can also look at an exercises like the hollow rock. The hollow rock allows us to practice a globally flexed position while adding the challenge of movement. The hollow rock can transfer to the bottom position of a pull up/muscle up or double under for example. It also teaches us how to load our lower back correctly for squats and deadlifts!

The list goes on and on but I feel like you get the idea.

When it comes down to it we should be looking at movement more holistically and how it all connects. Recognize that we should be moving the same way whether we are warming up for the WOD or carrying our groceries into the house. Come to the gym to practice and train, not just to get a good workout in. The gym is a laboratory where we learn, so when we go about our life we can enjoy it fully and not have to worry about throwing out our backs picking up a pencil.


Sensei MaGoats
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Don't Make the Pain Face

Ahh the pain face/pain cave. We all have our very own pain face that is unique to us. While some are prettier than others, they all send the same message. I’M IN A WORLD OF HURT!

The pain face is something we should try to avoid for a few of reasons.

· You’re communicating to your brain that what you are doing is really hard (though it may be). We need to train our brains that whatever the external stimulus is we can handle it. The brain then will realize that this may not be as bad as I thought.

· You don’t want your competition to know you are struggling. When predators smell the fear, that’s when they pounce.

· You should be focused on breathing and it’s even harder to do that when your face is all contorted. (I’ll talk more on breathing in another post)

If you look at elite athletes and how they perform at their max intensities you may notice something. You’ll notice that they make it look effortless. They rarely make a pain face! This obviously takes practice at being extremely efficient at their chosen sport but they are mentally strong as well. Staying externally calm will boost your performance!

Case in Point
Illya Illyin WR C&J


My challenge to you is to keep your face relaxed throughout your workout. Start with the warm up and practice there. There are some people even making the pain face with submaximal loads. Don’t do it! Then practice keeping that pain face away even when you are nearing the end of a brutal AMRAP. Your face and your brain should be the calm in the eye of the storm.





The Best Medicine


This may not come to a surprise for some of you but health and performance are always on my mind. This means that my health (mental and physical) takes a priority in my life over a lot of things, as it should! There are three things that I look at day to day, that I know will keep me healthy. These three things are SLEEP, NUTRITION, and EXERCISE. I prioritize them in that order as well. When I have these three things in line, thats when I feel my best!

Today I want to talk about sleep. How much sleep you get a night plays the biggest factor in your overall health. Getting enough will boost your performance in all areas of life. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, sleep will help get you there faster. The average person gets around 6 hours of sleep a night. This is definitely not enough! You may think that’s all you need but you are short changing yourself.

 One of the best analogies I’ve heard comes from Dr. Kirk Parsley:
 Imagine yourself in a bar and you’ve had one drink. You think to yourself,” I better not have anymore, I need to drive soon.” Then peer pressure happens and you end up having a few more. You then start thinking a cab will be in order. After that fourth drink you suddenly say, “I feel fine! I can drive home.” What happened here was you lost your self-awareness. Sleep deprivation happens in the same manner!

So what are the side effects of not getting enough sleep? Meaning a loss of around 2 hours of sleep.
1. A reduction in testosterone. Studies show that one night of poor sleep can reduce testosterone levels by 30%. Talk about a hit on performance!
2. Insulin and leptin sensitivity decreases, leading to increased hunger throughout the day. Let’s face it, you won’t be craving veggies, you will be craving sugars which will obviously lead to weight gain. For those of you wanting to lose a few pounds, the best place to start is sleep.
3. Possibly the scariest detriment to sleep deprivation is a decrease in brain myelination. This can lead to a decrease in cognitive function which will lead to possible poor decision making. I think it’s safe to say that our brain is fairly important. Sleep is when our bodies repair, when we imprint new things that we've learned, and when our bodies de-stress. 

How much sleep should we be getting? For an adult the average amount of sleep they should be getting is 7.5 hours a night. This may vary depending on daily stress, whether they are physical or mental. The more stress you have, the more sleep you need.

So let’s look at some things you can do to get the ZZZ.

·         Shut off all electronics at least an hour before bed. This means anything that emits a blue light (A melatonin suppresser). You can get cool blue blocking glasses to help with this.

·         Avoid stimulants like caffeine

·         Sleep in a cool environment

·         Wear a sleep mask and ear plugs

·         Associate your bed with sleep. Meaning don’t read or watch TV there.


I hope this helps some of you out there.


Sleep well,


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Don't let your situation define you

Hero's can be defined in many ways. Sometimes the first thing that comes to mind are comic book hero's like Superman, Iron Man, and yes even Aquaman. Then your mind may shift to real life hero's such as firefighters and law enforcement. Teachers, coaches and athletes are considered heroes as well.

I consider a hero to be someone that has had a great influence over your life that has been overwhelmingly positive. Someone who has shifted your life direction to something better than it otherwise would be.

One of my personal hero's is my stepfather, Vern Willey.

With a little back story I would like to share why he is a hero and how he has influenced me because of it.

Cycling is Vern's passion - he rode whenever he got the chance.
In 1997, Vern took part in an organized bike ride called TOMRV (Tour of the Mississippi River Valley) in the Quad City area. Unfortunately, life dealt him a bad hand that day. While going down a hill he had a flat tire and was thrown over his handle bars. He was taken to the Hospital and was told he had T-7 spinal cord injury. This meant it was highly unlikely that he would walk again. Vern is someone that loves to be outside and is a "do it yourselfer." Words cannot describe the emotional toll that it took on the family. Being the father of four kids, he was the pillar of strength in their lives.

However, Vern is not someone to just give up (I can attest to this from spending countless hours with Vern, him being a guide, trying fix things ranging from cars to floors.) He put his nose to the grindstone and fought through rehab, learning to be self reliant. None of it was easy but he kept going. In 1998, a year after his injury Vern rode on TOMRV again. He used a handcycle so he could keep doing what he loved. He didn't let his injury define who he was. He didn't let such a major set back ruin his life. He made the most of his situation. Was it easy? No, but he did it anyway. Vern even took on the challange of skiing again. Using a special mono ski he went to Colorado several times a year to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Living life to the fullest!

Since then Vern has done RAGBRAI every year to some capacity, whether it be the full week or just a few days. Getting in almost 3000 miles a year on his hand cycle.

Never throughout my life did I hear him complain about being disadvantaged or having self pity. He never used his limitation of being in a wheelchair as an excuse. He could have easily given up but he knew that the only way things would get better is if he worked for it.

Vern's life and how he dealt with adversity has taught me many things. He showed me that that if you put in the work, things can get done - no matter how daunting it may seem. He also showed me that if you don't do what you are passionate about then your not doing life right. My passion is movement and he has supported me every step of the way!

Your the only person that can define who you are. No one else

Video Story on Vern!

I hope that some of you can find some inspiration from this!