Thursday 2.28.13


Dennis getting after the couch stretch.

Dennis getting into position for the couch stretch.

Power Clean (135,95)
Front Squat (135,95)
Chest to Bar

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Coaches Corner…with Coach MDV

Cookies of Fortune

I’ve always been wary of taking the advice of cookies or cookie peddlers. I would be hesitant to classify The Keebler Elves among the great thinkers of our time. And quite frankly, when it comes to fortune cookies I never thought it wise to live by the often misspelled words found inside refined sugar and white flour. However, I changed my position recently as I was the beneficiary of tremendous advice from such a confection.

Deliciously wise.

Deliciously wise.

As I discarded the stale cookie, I contemplated it’s sage words. I reflected on the many times that CrossFit and to a greater extent CFNE served as a coping mechanism for grief, big and small. The workouts, the people, the air, and the feel all combine to create an environment replete with positive energy. It’s a panacea for negativity. For a brief moment, I picture Ben in a top hat and tails, standing atop a wagon, holding a jar labeled CFNE. My advice to you, skeptical onlooker, take a heaping spoonful.

What occurs in our small corner of Massachusetts can only be described as a phenomenon. People of all ages and from all walks of life come together to share in this feast of physical and emotional health and wealth. Some come in need of an infusion of energy; while others come ready and willing to share their bounty. The roles are not constant, and  for the most part, the players are unaware of whether they are giving or taking. Regardless of the actual processes, the results are the same — we all leave better than we came.

For many, including myself, CFNE is an escape from the rigors and worries of the outside world. One-hour each day we are privileged with the unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in positive energy. It’s a chance to turn down the noise of our busy minds and reboot. Whether you need a quick hit to deal with that one terrible moment or a recurring dose to get you through trying times, you can find it here.

It’s a simple prescription. The next time you are having a no good, very bad day, find your cure for grief in motion. I guarantee you leave in a better state than you came.

There is of course a greater lesson here…always trust cookies and strange men selling mysterious potions.


  1. “Wait wait wait…you’re telling me Chipotle closed???”

    Matty great write up!

  2. Beautifully written. And so true….

  3. Kevin—this is awesome. I am still battling/trying to get over this viral head cold/cough and have not been to CFNE in over 3 days. I actually think I feel worse from the withdrawal of not being around such positive energy that truly heals us in so many ways. Your message inspired me—I am coming tomorrow and really looking forward to it. Thanks, again, for sharing this.

  4. Perfectly said, MDV and so very true:)!

  5. Ben Bergeron

    Very well said MDV.

    Looks like I need to get me a top hat, tails and a wagon.

  6. Way better than moving to Australia, Alexander!

  7. “Wha…235# snatch? Boooom!”

  8. agree. motion cures. nice MDV.

  9. Awesome article Matt! So true- I always feel so much better when I walk in the doors of CFNE!
    After 1 very quick hour of mobility with you, I can testify that mobility can be strenuous (i.e. wall squats…sumo squats i.e. falling on my behind) but well worth the effort! My achy joints thank you :)

  10. Awesome MDV. So many times I would go to cfne, especially when i first joined and be in a bad place and leave feeling completely amazing.

    Also Ben in a top hat and tails sounds very Downton Abbeyish.

  11. MA Jennifer

    Matty! Love your article. Thank you. Certainly rings true for me. The oasis that is CFNE, and the act of motion, literally got me through what I hope was the toughest year and a half of my life. Profoundly important place, and a life lesson we all can draw on daily. Motion, coupled with regular smiles from tremendously cool people, heals.

  12. denise sullivan

    mdv!!!! holy crap….you sucked me right into that one

    not only just so dead on, but amazingly written


  13. Thanks for this MDV. Sums up my entire experience at CFNE, and many others I’m sure.

  14. MDV… As they say in life “timing is everything” and as I sit and read this tonight it put’s everything in prospective.. When I walked into CFNE yesterday I was in the midst of a full blown panic attack. At that point I thought life was getting the best of me and didn’t know how I was going to get through the WOD… but I did. It was one of the hardest WOD’s I have done. Not because of the physical but the mental. I pushed though and walked out feeling much better. As I was leaving today Trina said I had a refreshed look about me. Thank you for posting this. It really hit home.

  15. I really do not like to check this when I’m on the road as I hate to know what I’m missing…Well captured Matt. Reminds me of one of Churchill’s philosphy’s that a change in activity is better than a rest…good stuff….looking forward to being at the Friday 0530 for some LOCO-motion.

    Enjoy all.

  16. More of my goats crammed into one workout. This one wasn’t pretty but I finished. 21:29. No GHD so I did abmat. I would probably still be doing it if I had a GHD.

  17. MDV – I have found this to be true throughout my life. And I always, always feel better walking out of CFNE, no matter what thought might have kept me up the night before. Always. It’s the movement, it’s the positivity of those around me, in equal measure.

  18. YOLO – 31:11 (21 – 15 – 0, 115# 2 ABMAT)

    wow. tough one. i am paying for time off in a very hard way.

    had Ben on one shoulder, ‘no cutting corners’, and self preservation on the other, ‘do you want an injury and out another four weeks?’

    Ben then said ‘okay, we will call this a scale’.

    my reset button is not clearing historical perspective. just need to live with it, and enjoy.

  19. Y.o.l.o: 27:17 not Rxd

    Subbed 10lb weighted unanchored Abmats. Had to run across gym to a pull-up bar…. That was a fun WOD!!!! Proud moment: third round all unbroken! ….. Of course that means the second round was broken quite a bit… Silly head games got the better of me

  20. Heather O

    MDV, thank you for sharing your beautifully written words with us. Thank you also for helping CFNE be the incredible place that it is where the members can indeed go to help cope with anything and everything that life throws at us. I know in the grand scheme of life this is not a big thing, but anyone who has planned a wedding knows the stressors it can induce! CFNE has been my place of solitude since beginning over 6 months ago during this time in my life and just helps to make everything better in life and truly puts it into perspective and helps relieve those stressors. So thank you MDV, fellow coaches and fellow crossfitters for all that you do for this amazing community and one another. :)
    Today was a run day and a great morning to be outside! 4 miles in 36:54. (Not a pr but still felt good). Also some much needed mobility and 50 sit-ups and my daily 50 push-ups! :)

    Happy Day before Friday everyone!! :)

  21. Heather V.

    Y.O.L.O: 29:22 total mess today
    Mental case on the HSPU’s, started Rx, but quickly grabbed an abmat. Today was not my day. But, that is ok, tomorrow is another day! Ended up doing a mix of rx HPUS’s and strict w/ 1 abmat during each round.

    MDV: great post. Totally true about coming to CFNE and always feeling better when you leave.

    I got a fortune cookie once that said:
    “Success is moving from failure to failure w/o loss of enthusiasm”… I posted it in my office to remind myself that it is OK to keep trying. It doesn’t matter how much you fail.

  22. MDV truly awesome post, thank you! Definitely helped me today.

    Y.O.L.O.: 30:05 (115# PC and FS) Almost cherry picked this one because of my poor front squats, which ended up being the best of the 5 movements today. Got last set of 9 FS straight, huge mental victory for me that I will take. Thanks Max for hovering over me on that set.

  23. You Only Live Twice*: 24:08 (box jumps for FS)

    *with Connery as Bond and Screenplay by Roald Dahl… classic.

  24. An object in motion stays in motion…

    …an object at rest gets soft and squishy.

  25. Y.O.L.O. 23:28 95#, 2Abmats, and mostly chin 2 bar pull ups.

    I consistently leave CFNE feeling better than when I went in. I love CFNE!

  26. WOD (Refuse to type YOL#): 25:28 Rx (well actually only Rx on GHDSU’s…125# on PC/FS, Regular Pull ups and something resembling about 50% HSPU’s).

    Have not felt great last couple of days…business travel, late night (which for me was 11PM) and some stiffness in my neck. Woke up late this morning and was thinking of excuses the whole way in and all the way up to 3-2-1 Go. Definitely a struggle and while I’m not necessarily grieving (though not seeing the Pats in the Super Bowl still hurts) I did need that fortune cookie this morning (and Max yelling at me the whole way).

    BUT-MDV-come on….YOL# (still can’t type it)
    Top 10 Better Names for this WOD:

    10. Goat Herd
    9. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)
    8. WTFTOSIAWAYTTAU (What the fuck, the Opens start in a week and you throw this at us)
    7. Kitchen Sink
    6. SIWDWIPT (Sorry I was drunk when I programmed this)
    5. SWAG (just another annoying word)
    4. YOPO (You Only Puke Once)
    3. OMG or the more appropriate OMF’n G)
    2. LOL (Lots of Lactic Acid)

    And the number one better name for this WOD
    1. BMISFTA (Big Mike is still funnier than Andy)

  27. Yolo: 20:07 75#
    Scaled ring rows for pull ups.. Did not want to but a few more days to rest lat is the right move
    Grabbed 1 ab mat for hspu and I should NOT have. I flew through them

    ESCAPE: 630 am class!!
    Bonus was to WOD behind Derek…. Always humbling…

    Hard WOD but I liked it! Glad to have it behind me!

  28. 23:22@185

  29. sarah wilson

    “The roles are not constant, and for the most part, the players are unaware of whether they are giving or taking.” This was my favorite part of your piece, Matt. It captures the nuanced relationships and subtle impact we have on one another. This is why I don’t do burpees in my bedroom every day.

    • sarah wilson

      meant to say, mdv, great post, brother.

    • *That’s* why you don’t do burpees in your bedroom? I don’t do burpees in my bedroom because:

      1) I don’t have the space.
      2) Why would you?

  30. Y.o.l.o: 22:12 (155#)

  31. YOLO modified, 15,9,6
    Knee push ups
    Hang clean, 55#
    Sit ups
    Front sq 55#
    15# dumb bell rows

    Lifting here is hard, the weights are small in circumference and not rubber….no dropping allowed. Still having a hard time w the altitude. Was told it could be weeks before I can workout properly.

  32. Y.O.L.O. – 26:07 135#, 1 Abmat. This was a grind. Felt good about being able to keep fighting through it, last two round of HSPU were probably the hardest movement for me, once I get fatigued I lose that movement quickly.

  33. Love your message, Matt! Many times CFNE has kept me going … and still does even if, for right now, it is through posts.

    Am I bad if I admit I’m kinda glad today was a rest day?

  34. YOLO: 23:03 (75#, 2 am mats and KPU).

    Awesome post MDV. No matter how stressed I feel, walking into CFNE makes it all melt away and my outlook when I leave is at least 100% better than when I walked in. It is hard for non-members to understand – this place really is an escape for us in all the ways that we may need it to be.

  35. Nice article MDV!
    Sad for me that I am about to lose the place where i can keep the motion going when I need it. I will soon be traveling during Monday-Friday to PA for work. I may be able to wod during weekends only, but that is not enough :-(
    I am hoping for a last minute miracle so I don’t have to leave, or at least that this is for a short period. I will miss you all.

    ps: if anyone knows a good box in the West Chester, PA area that you can recommend please let me know.

  36. Y.O.L.O – 23:24 Rx’d
    … happy to move – Crossfit Total from yesterday left abit of a mark …

  37. Great essay, MDV!

    YOLO: 23:16 rx
    Awesome tip to look at clock when you rest, Ben. It really helped.

    120 L sit: 5:11

  38. Hey Ya’ll,

    Speaking of YOLO, I’m headed off for my big trip in 2 weeks (March 19th)! There’s going to be a decent amount downtime on planes, in transit, and in my tent after long days. I’m on the hunt for book, podcast, movie, and show suggestions. If you have any you think I might like, please send them my way through a post, message, or email!

    Topics I’m interested in include:
    – Leadership/Business Development
    – Advertising, Marketing, and Sales (I’m doing that at Facebook this summer)
    – Entrepreneurship
    – Psychology/Human Interactions–especially differences between the way men and women think
    – Health/Crossfit/Nutrition/Sleep (obviously)
    – Math/Tech
    – Bios of really cool/badass people (Think Ernest Shackleton)
    – ‘Hacking Life’—Think Tim Ferriss and Dan Pink. Time management, happiness, productivity, etc.

    I generally prefer non-fiction over fiction. And probably no climbing disaster books—I like keeping positive thoughts on the mountain!

    You can post here, my facebook, or via email Thank you guys!

    • Patti Jeanne

      Yes Chef, A Memoir Marcuss Samuelson is very interesting and its only available as an eBook. Makes you realize how challenging it is to be a great chef.

    • Book- Lone Survivor, some really cool/badass people in it.

      I have a copy, if you want it let me know…Enjoy your trip!

  39. This is so well written. I was reading the last line a little fast and I thought it said “…strange smelling men…” :)

  40. Well written MDV and very true!!

    YOLO: 23:37 as Heather V. said above a total mess today! started at 75# ended at 65#, blue band pull ups couldn’t do more then three regular, in second round did 21 HSPU instead of 15 and forgot to do FS so did 15 FS at the end

    Tomorrow’s another day!!

    • AM- Sounds like some days I have had..but you got through them one way or another! Good job.

    • Patti Jeanne

      OMG doing extra reps!!! Ouch. I was watching you at the end though and you didn’t look like a total mess your front squats looked great.

  41. 25:59 @ 95#, the rest Rx

  42. 5×5 jerks: worked up to 175#
    YOLO: 27:59 Rx

  43. Well put MDV!

    YOLO 25:17 – 135# and 1 Abmat

  44. Michelene

    YOLO: 24:43 with lots of scaling (60#,2 AbMatHSPU,AbMatSU & RBPU)
    Loved the article MDV. Having moved a family of 5 twice in the past 3 months this really hit home for me. Lots of unpacking left to do but happy to have a permanent place to hang my hat.

  45. MDV – that was spot on!! Very special place.

    YOLO- 26:30. A sloppy mess for the most part. Too many scaled parts to list. On top of that craziness – left and forgot keys. Walked back in and then could not remember where my car was. Wow….

  46. Very inspiring young grasshopper…

    On another note, we need to make our own Harlem Shake with Ben standing in a top hat and tails (with shorts and sneakers on) to start it off…Who’s in..??? Haaaa……

    Y.O.L.O. – 22:11 plate and 2 abmat HSPU, 65# PC/FS, GHD was rough today(think I pulled a stomach muscle) reg pullups.

    It’s nice to be back!

    • Andrew Ho.

      I have a long-standing rule to never turn down the chance to be in a music video…

  47. YOLO:
    21:48 70#, kip pull ups, scaled to 15/12/9 kip hspu.

  48. YOLO 26:48 Rx

  49. At Crossfit Belleville in Ontario today:

    Opens Wod 12.4 (150WB, 90DU & 30MU’s) considered waking out
    when i saw it on the board – got 241 reps

    Also worked on Handstand Walks progressions – made some good progress today.

    Crossfit Belleville is a great gym that just opened in January:

    OK, have to ask this question to the community as i’m getting concerned. For about the past 3-6 months if i do a hard workout (like the one i did today) I am getting a horrible rash on my face – forehead and around the eyes mostly. I walked in this morning with a completely clear face and right after – people are looking at me like i have a strange disease. Has this happened to anyone else?

  50. Y.O.L.O: 20:19 (subbed 40# DB Bench Press for HSPU, 70# KBS (above eye level) for PC and 135# BS for FS)


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