You Can’t Out-Burpee a Shit Diet


By Colin Farrell

Nutrition is a really, really tough subject, and the reasons for that are rather innumerable. For many people, what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat are often a result of necessity. From that vantage point, it is often hard to hear that I need to be doing “X”, “Y”, or “Z” differently in terms of my nutrition because it sounds as though that someone (often, a relative stranger) is telling me I need to shift around major aspects of my life.  It is because of this that nutrition often becomes a really personal matter, and thus a pretty charged subject.

With all of that being said, I once heard a quote from Coach Greg Glassman, vulgar and succinct as it may be, that very much put the issue in perspective for me (and I am paraphrasing a bit here):

      If you had a Ferrari, would you piss in the gas tank?

I would ask the follow up question: if you had Ferrari, would you put anything less than highest grade fuel into the tank?

High octane fuel is expensive. Sometimes, you have to go out of your way to get just the right stuff. The vehicle is going to maybe require some more attention than a Honda Accord. All of this amounts to more time, money, and effort being put into the car.

But it’s a Ferrari. It deserves it.

We are all in possession of this incredible machine, one that should probably last 110 years if we treat it well.  This machine is capable of far more than the nicest vehicle you can imagine. I did not start taking nutrition seriously, at all, until I had children. I quickly realized (as it became harder to get to the gym or get much rest) that if I eat well I sleep better, I feel better, what  workouts I can squeeze in are more productive, and I look better. I know, I know, CrossFit is not supposed to be about aesthetics, but a large portion of why I work my ass off in the gym and try to eat well is so I can look good for my beautiful wife. Feel free to judge me.

Make the Ferrari a priority. It will pay you back 10-fold.

Been hammering away at the gym but your squat hasn’t gone up in 16 months? Fix your nutrition. Still can’t do a pull-up after 2 years of doing CrossFit? Fix your nutrition. Fran time has been stagnant for nearly a half-decade? Fix your nutrition.

Nutrition is as close to a cure-all as we are like to get. Will it fix everything or make all aspects of your fitness increase? Probably not, but it is 100% the place to start.

We are kicking off a month-long Nutrition Challenge at Potomac at 10:30am this coming Sunday (10/8) with Laura Pilchuk, of Noble Nutrition. For General Macronutrient Guidance, it costs $75. That’s less than $3/day for a nutritionist to help guide you for nearly a month on how to sort out what to eat, and how much of it to eat.  For less than $5/day, she’ll supply you with Custom Macronutrient Guidance to really help you reach your goals.  

We all know that working out is far more fun, productive, and easier when we have a bunch of our friends suffering alongside us. Eating well is hard enough as it is, don’t do it alone if you don’t have to. Please join us for the month leading up to the Holiday season, dial in your nutrition, and set yourself up for incredible success.

Please click here to sign up for the 2017 Fall Nutrition Challenge at Potomac.

Control What You Can, Buffer What You Cannot

Control What You Can, Buffer What You Cannot

By Colin Farrell

There are three major areas that often need to be addressed when looking at how to maximize one’s health:

  • Fitness Regime
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle

Fitness regime and nutrition are immensely important, and–arguably–the two biggest pieces of the puzzle. However, one’s fitness regime occupies, maybe, 3-5 hours of each week for the average CrossFitter. The importance of eating real food and avoiding sugar cannot possibly be understated, but there are vast amounts of time spent outside of the gym, and not eating, that need to be considered as well.

How much of your day are you sitting? What is your quality of sleep like? Are you setting and tracking goals for yourself? Are you having a cup of coffee at 2pm to make it through the last hours of your work day? Are you doing any sort of stretching or mobility work at the end of the day?

Do an evaluation of your day, break it down into progressively smaller portions. Once broken down, ask yourself, “Is this the most optimal way I can be doing this?” Notice, the question is not, “Is this the most optimal way to do it?” Some things are simply not realistic, so we have to control what is possible to control, and do the best we can to buffer against the things that our beyond our control. As an example, if you have young children, getting sound sleep for 8+ hours is often a near impossibility. However, you can control the temperature in the room and do some light foam rolling to increase the quality of the sleep you can actually get.

What is your morning routine like? Your commute? Your day at the office? Do you come early or stay late at the gym; what do you do with that time? What are your goals for this month, this year… personally, professionally, and health-wise? Do you do meal prep or grocery shopping on the weekends? Break each piece down, and figure out the best way for you to be able to do it, and make it a habit. Make it a routine.

Building routine into your week/day can buy you a good amount of time back, and with just little bit of extra time each day, a lot can be accomplished. For example, doing meal prep or laying out your outfits for work for the week on Sunday can buy you back anywhere between 15 minutes to upwards of an hour each day. Let’s average that to 30 minutes of saved time each day. That’s thirty extra minutes to do some ROMWOD, come to the gym a little early to work on getting that first pull-up, or spend a little extra time with the kids, your roommate, or a good book.

If you spent an extra 30 minutes a day working on pull-up progressions, listening to a Great Course on Audible, hanging out with your family, or knocking out some movement and mobility work, your health and fitness are surely to increase.

Get a standing desk at work. Dial in your sleep hygiene. Set up a system of “eat this, not that” for yourself if you must eat out while on the road or at work. Set goals for yourself, and actually track your progress. Keep track of how much sleep you are getting, and the increase it if you can.

If you’re coming to the gym 3-5 times a week, eating real food and avoiding sugar, you have some of the difficult parts of staying healthy nailed down. While you continue to work on that, start dialing in these other little bits and pieces of your life outside the gym and outside of the kitchen. You’d be surprised at what that can do for you physical and mental well-being.


A Letter from Coach Andrea

As many of you already know, I have decided to take a job that will take me away from being your coach. I know you will miss my random question of the day and my sassy energy before the sun has even risen (insert my usual sarcasm).

And let us not forget the repetitive introductions ….where everyone rolls their eyes at me. I have said that I memorize names because I want to be able to scream it across the gym to get your attention if your form is off. But in all reality, I think it is important to remember people’s first names, as well as little facts about their personal life – not just their personal records (don’t worry, I remember your PR’s too). I enjoy greeting each and every one of you by name with a smile, song, smirk, dance or laugh on a daily basis. Your name is one of the most personal thing you are given in life.

Let us also not forget that I stand watch over the white board after your workout to collect “scores” or smiley faces. I don’t do this for the sake of the leaderboard or the post on Facebook every night, I do it because I want to hold you accountable for choosing a healthy lifestyle. I feel that if I can motivate you to take your health seriously, maybe one day you can inspire someone else as well. I have always felt that people just need one person to believe in them and their dreams are endless.

Walking into a gym, let alone a CrossFit gym, can be intimidating to some people. With the coaches/community we have at Potomac, I feel that fear can be lessened.

I am so grateful that you have allowed me to be a part of your life – sharing your job woes, family vacations or dating disasters. I know it may be small to some, but I take the job of starting our day very seriously. On the way to work every day, I ask God to allow me to be the light in someone’s day that day. You never know who will be the lucky winner of that energy (or hostility according to John P or Simon if I have not consumed coffee ).

We all have “stuff” to deal with in this lifetime and for one brief hour, I hope I have helped you laugh and not take life too seriously.

I may not be the best at expressing “gushy” emotions, but each and every one of you have had an impact on my life that I will take with me. And I will miss all of you!


How’s Your Non-Exercise Fitness (Also, “Game of Thrones” Spoiler)

Let’s make one thing clear: walking is not exercise. It is locomotion.

However… walking is better than not walking. Standing is better than sitting.

What the remainder of this post is not going to be is a plea for you to take the stairs rather than the elevator. To be frank, I already assume you do that. If you don’t, here’s my plea: take the stairs.

Think about what we do in the gym each day: we warm-up, we talk about the mechanics of a lift or set of gymnastics skills, we talk workout strategy, then we go H.A.M. for a little while, then cool down and maybe do a little mobility work. Each and every thing we do has a purpose and an end. How utilitarian of us! Take that same outline and apply it to your day.

How are you warming up for your morning? Are you taking the time to generate some heat in your hips, shoulders, and ankles; are you strategizing the workout as you do a warm-up 400m run; are you priming your major engines for healthy movement? Are you taking a hot shower and clearing your head, having a decent breakfast, and drinking some stout bulletproof coffee? Or, are you waking up at the last minute, leaving partially prepared and with an un-toasted bagel between your teeth as you jam yourself onto the Metro?

Are you paying attention to the finer points of movement mechanics throughout your day? Before you lift, are you bracing the spine and setting your shoulders? As you sit in your office chair are you flexing at the hip, keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout the foot, and ensuring your knees track over your toes? As you stand at the urinal, are your toes turned out like a duck? I hope not. You have knees and a hip. Use them as they were intended.

You should be taking the stairs, you should be taking your dog for long walks, you should be using a sit/stand workstation, when you walk from your office to the car you should be booking it (as quickly as is socially acceptable). But those are the easy things, really dive in deep.

At the end of the day, how are you cooling down? Are you couch stretching as you re-watch last season of Game of Thrones? (Spoiler alert: R+L=J, if you didn’t see that coming as of Book 2/Season 2 … shame on you.) Are you doing some light foam rolling for 10-15 minutes before bed to fire up that parasympathetic nervous system? Good, you’ll sleep better.

You are only at the gym for an hour a day. We can’t do 23 hours of damage to our body, only to get back to neutral with 1 hour of working out and doing some mobility work. View your day-to-day tasks, your non-fitness activities, as opportunities to reinforce good movement habits and to prime yourself for success in the gym, and for tomorrow. Those 23 hours are a great time to sneak in some extra credit, some accessory work, to help you round out your health. Have fun.

I Don’t Want to Hear it Anymore

Let’s keep this short and sweet. Preferably forever, but absolutely during The Open, no one from PCF is allowed to say the following:

“Yeah, but I scaled.”

Understand? No more. If I or anyone tells you “I’m impressed!” or “Excellent work!” or “That was incredible!” you are not allowed to mention anything about how you scaled or that you scaled. CrossFit is really, really hard… for everyone. Just because you did the workout at 35# and that guy did it at 50# doesn’t mean you worked any less hard or he worked any harder.

Regardless of the weight, the complexity of the movement, the height of the box… I’m quite certain you left your blood, and guts, and sweat, and chalky handprints behind you.

So, knock it off. I don’t care if you scaled to thrusters with a PVC. You worked your ass off, and that should be celebrated.