A Word from Ben on What’s a-Happening at CFNE

Hey CFNE –

Some fun updates…

We Are Getting More Space!
We have been working on expanding our space since October, and are finally getting very close. We have run into hang up after hang up with the landlord and the town permitting process, but looks like construction should start this week. Yeah!!!
We are getting an additional 1,000 sqft, which will allow us to recreate the small room in the new warehouse space and knock down the walls behind the front desk and the whiteboard. This should almost double our “usable square footage”. Super excited about this and it shouldn’t interrupt our classes at all.




New members will be lead through 3 one-on-one sessions with a coach ($75/each). After completing the three sessions they will get a 1-month Unlimited CFNE membership for FREE!!!




We are doing “Try a Class For Free Day” the FIRST and THIRD Thursday of every month. These wods are set up to be “first-timer friendly”. We want you to have the opportunity to share your passion for CFNE with your buddies, and these are the days to bring them in. Please wait for these days to bring your friends, kids, neighbors and co-workers. The rest of the month is reserved for you, our CFNE members.




Starting next week we will be adding a class at 10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This class is about cardio, conditioning, and getting sweaty. Think of a mash up between soul cycle, bootcamp, and cardio CrossFit. These wods will not be posted on the CFNE site, but every class will be unique and involve some sort of combination of rowing, running, jumping, burpees, wall balls, biking and outside fun like prowler pushing. This class is free for CFNE members and $20 for non-members (no need to do elements before getting into the SweatFest action).

You can sign up until Monday at 8pm.
You can do scaled or RX, and can do different divisions each week.
We are doing Friday Night Lights at 6:30pm at CFNE. No need to sign up before.
15.1 brought to you by CFNE – shirts, swag, goodies…
15.2 powered by Redline Gear – beer, gear, and DJ
15.3 powered by Fuel For Fire – Ladies Night at CFNE
15.4 powered by FitVine Wine – healthy wine made by, and for, CrossFit Athletes
15.5 powered by NoBull – give aways and more.

Born To crossFit by Coach MDV

Maya moves toward the loaded barbell with the utmost concentration. The lift is to be a squat clean, and the bar is setup with more weight than she has ever cleaned previously. She looks calm, almost peaceful; however there is an unmistakable air of intensity. She rolls her hands on the bar and engages her hook grip. For a few moments you think she might be fazed by the lift as she readjusts her hands, but you are wrong. With one last audible breath her performance begins, and she executes with precision setting yet another personal record. Maya is eleven years old. You are probably thinking she’s a natural, born to lift and a child prodigy. Her talent is undeniable, but was she simply born with the gift?

Maya is the daughter of Heather Bergeron. Heather is one the most well respected CrossFit athletes on the East Coast. Heather’s resume boasts an 8th place individual finish in the 2010 CrossFit Games as well as countless other accolades. Heather is also a trainer on CrossFit’s Seminar Staff and co-owner of CrossFit New England (CFNE) along with her husband and Maya’s stepfather, Ben Bergeron. Ben’s resume is equally as impressive as Heather’s. In addition to being a trainer on CrossFit’s Seminar Staff, Ben coached team CFNE to overall victory at the 2011 Game’s as well as crowning a male and female master’s champion in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Ben is widely recognized one of the greatest CrossFit coaches on earth. His knowledge and passion for CrossFit distinguishes Ben among his peers and places him in rarified air in the sport.

When viewing the video of Maya’s squat clean the vast majority of us sit in wonderment. Perhaps some of us frantically press replay to dissect her lift; while others simply throw their hands in the air. In the 20-second video, we witness a masterful performance. Although not 100% flawless, Maya’s effort is close, and many older athletes may indeed be frustrated by the young lady’s effort. The mind runs:

How can an 11 year-old girl move like that? How can an 11 year-old girl move better than some of the best CrossFitters? How can an 11 year-old girl move better than me? How can an 11 year-old girl make it looks so easy?

The answers to these questions are predictable – she is a natural or she was born that way. In the presence of excellence, we are quick to assign innate giftedness to the performer. Without diminishing Maya’s performance in the least, did we just run into the tip of the iceberg? Let’s chat…

Matthew Syed discusses athletes, musicians and professionals at the pinnacle of their respective fields in his book Bounce. The question posed by Syed deals with the idea of talented individuals being born excellent or predisposed to greatness. Syed argues that rather than innate talent, the vast majority of masters and prodigies achieve greatness through thousands of hours of purposeful practice and in most cases a set of unique circumstances. Purpose is an essential element of Syed’s argument for practice. He insists that the pure accumulation of time is not enough to spawn mastery. The practice must be focused and purposeful. After all, if practice alone equates to greatness we would all be world famous formula one drivers. However, when we drive we are anything but focused and purposeful.

When we witness a professional at the top of their game Syed offers that we are actually just seeing the ‘tip of the iceberg’. As we assign labels like ‘genius’ or ‘natural’ we discount the thousands of hours of practice (10,000 Syed cites, to be exact) and the circumstances responsible for the individual’s success. Syed’s work is rife with examples supporting his argument. My intention is not to convince the reader of Syed’s theory. Rather, my hope is to generate thoughtful discussion on the topic and compel the reader to think about talent, success, and excellence.

Maya’s practice in CrossFit can certainly be described as purposeful. At the age of five Maya began her CrossFit journey. She immediately began training with her mom and Ben becoming the beneficiary of quality feedback and a high standard of development. While most five year olds prefer learning through cartoons, Maya began learning through the sport of CrossFit. She studied human movement, learned to see flaws and efficiencies, and even began to coach alongside Ben and Heather. As she grew, so did her CrossFit acumen. Maya watched, listened and studied the actions of Ben and Heather as they trained for and competed in the CrossFit Games. The level of exposure to elite training pushed the young girl past her comfort zone and cultivated her drive for excellence. Maya soon became an impressive athlete in her own right, and her own commitment to physical training is no short of spectacular. She is highly conditioned and spends dozens of hours each week at CFNE. She learns and plays new sports, and through her own volition, spends much of her free time watching CrossFit greats compete daily at CFNE, Reebok ONE, or via CrossFit.com. Maya may very well be the hardest working pre- teen in the Northeast.

By no stretch of the imagination, the girl grew up in a unique environment. Maya is a part of one of CrossFit’s founding families and was raised by arguably CrossFit’s greatest coach-athlete couple. These circumstances are undeniably special. Maya is intimately exposed to the training methods of CrossFit’s fittest individuals; all the while, accumulating thousands of hours of practice. In addition to her immediate family, other CrossFit greats reside in close proximity and surround Maya on a daily basis. The Northeast, Massachusetts in particular, is quickly becoming a hub for elite CrossFit training. EC Synkowski, James Hobart, Mel Ockerby and others are CrossFit sounding boards and coaches for Maya. Beyond the bountiful Northeast, visiting athletes, coaches, and even CrossFit’s Director of Training, Dave Castro, have come to know and work with Maya. On any given night, the Bergeron’s dinner table is the proverbial who’s who of CrossFit. While the discussions at dinner may not start with the topic of CrossFit, they usually get there eventually.

The preceding paragraphs discuss a set of circumstances and hours of purposeful practice that might not immediately come to mind when we see Maya perform. It may be the tip of the iceberg we see in the 20-second video, but the unseen circumstances and hours of practice could be the iceberg itself. Maya is completely immersed in CrossFit and has been for years. She owns more experience than some of CrossFit’s most seasoned athletes and coaches, and yet she’s not even in high school.

Although it may be difficult (perhaps impossible) to pinpoint the exact number of hours in Maya’s CrossFit education, let’s do some simple math anyway. We will average (1) hour of training for (5) days a week for the past six years (some days she trained much more, other days less; a rough but conservative number) – 1560 hours. We will triple that number, (3) hours a day (5) days a week, to include every video watched, dinner conversation had, discussion participated in, seminar attended, competition attended, sound byte listened, class watched, class coached, class taken, programming overheard, and movement practiced for the past six years (again, a rough figure but realistic for her circumstances) – 4680. Combining the numbers we see that Maya potentially accumulated 6240 hours of purposeful practice in CrossFit. Let that number sink in for a second. Now get ready. If you are casually doing CrossFit for (1) hour, (3) times a week, it will take you the next 40 years to accumulate the number of hours Maya currently owns in CrossFit experience. In the same time you could have a full career, raise a family and retire.

Syed earmarks 10,000 hours as his benchmark for mastery. A number he borrowed from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a work that deconstructs success in a similar fashion. Gladwell argues the success of persons like Bill Gates, The Beatles and others has more to do with “where those individuals are from” than “what those individuals are like.” Similar to Syed, Gladwell argues “they (the successful) are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that all them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Maya may very well be one such beneficiary in the field of CrossFit. She may not be at Syed and Gladwell’s 10,000- hour mark yet, but if her numbers stay constant, she will exceed that figure by 2015. If we accept the argument in favor of purposeful practice and circumstance, imagine how you may feel about your squat clean compared to hers in three years – scary stuff.

I chose to write on this subject for three reasons: first and foremost, my admiration for Maya as an athlete (girl is an absolute rock star, go shake her hand); second, for my interest in the idea of talent and excellence; and, finally, for my distaste of the words “I wish.” Too many times in CrossFit and life, we wish. Whether it’s wishing for more pull-ups, better fitness, a happier marriage or greater success it’s really all the same. My contention is that wishes won’t get you anywhere. The road to excellence, whether professional or personal, takes hard work and practice – hours of it. As the saying goes, ‘aspiration without perspiration is meaningless.’ So get out there, work hard and make it happen.

My hope with this essay is to help you stop wishing and start purposefully practicing the skills necessary to achieve your personal goals. Before I conclude, it is necessary to briefly address the different measures of success CrossFit. Maya is a unique case and might seem somewhat overwhelming for some new to CrossFit. Make no mistake, she is developing at a level far above the norm. If she chooses to continue along this path, she is on her way to a career in the sport of CrossFit. I fervently believe that CrossFit can and should be impactful, healthful, and meaningful for each individual irrespective of age, sex, or level of fitness at the outset. I do not value achievements by Game’s champions over the achievements of athletes on day one. Each and every day that you come to CrossFit and give your best effort, you are getting fitter. No matter the size of the steps in the journey toward fitness, each step is a tremendous achievement.

Flexing Your Gratitude Muscle by Coach Ben

As you guys know I love coaching.  I want every member to get stronger, fitter and faster, but I also want everyone of our members lives to improve outside the box as well.  I talk a lot with the classes I coach about the power of positive thinking and tactics to use inside and outside the gym to improve your performance and improve your life.

Today I talked with my classes about “flexing your gratitude muscle.”  This is a concept I got from Tim Sanders in his book “Today We Are Rich.”  Everyone knows the feeling of gratitude – it feels good, like things are lining up for you.  You have more opportunities, better luck and more abundance in you life.  We want that feeling as much as possible, but the important realization is that gratitude isn’t a feeling…it’s a muscle.  And just like all your other muscles it needs to be worked or it atrophies.

Here are two tactics I have been using to flex my gratitude muscles that I suggest you do.

1.  Every morning, while you are in the shower alone with your own thoughts, think about two people that helped you in some way the previous day.  This will start your day on the right track – with the feeling of gratitude.  You will feel more energized, and like the world is presenting more opportunities for you.  This morning I thanked Heather’s parents who came into town and watched the kids so I could go on a romantic dinner with my beautiful wife.  I also thought about and thanked Ali for bringing up a few new ways that we could improve the gym.  What a nice way to start the day…

2.  Turn “have to’s” into “get to’s”.  Instead of saying, “I have to drive the kids to camp today,” or “I have to go to work today,” or “I have to go to the gym today,” say, “I GET TO….”  How many childless parents would give anything to have the opportunity to drive a child to camp.  How many unemployed people are dying for the opportunity to earn a paycheck.  How many other people have the opportunity to “Get To” work out at one of the best gyms in the world with some of the best coaches and best people in the world.

Recognize the abundance, good fortune and opportunities you have.  Don’t let even the smallest of things pass by without recognizing their beauty, importance and worth.  Find the silver lining in all situations.  Exercise your gratitude muscle and live a happy more productive life.

There is no SHOULD by CFNE

Never use the word “should.” “Should” implies failure. If you say, “I should go to the gym today.” You are implying that you won’t. Instead, say “I WILL go to the gym today.”

How did you do in 12.2? “I got 75 reps, but I SHOULD have gotten 80.”

This statement implies failure. You got 75 because that is the most that you could have possibly gotten given your situation at that time. Next time you might be able to do more, but that is because you are in a different situation. You have the advantage of already doing the WOD once and have more knowledge, skill, pacing, confidence, etc…

If you say, “I should have…” you are saying, “I was wrong” or worse, “I didn’t try.” We always give everything we have to every training session. We are Champions. There is no should. The only thing that counts is what you do, not what you should do.


Real Food Challenge

And we're off... time for some clean livin'.

Eat Meat and Vegetables, Some Nuts and Fruit, Little Starch, and…

 This is not a weight loss challenge – it is a challenge to better our health and wellness, through eating only the best foods out there.

Will we see a loss of body fat during this challenge? Absolutely!
However that is simply a result of becoming healthier, by eating the way food was meant to be consumed… in it’s natural, unaltered state.

Real food grows in the wild – the way nature intended. “Food-stuffs” are man-made creations that may resemble food, but are truly not. We’re dropping that from our diets.

If you can’t hunt or gather it in the wild, it’s not something you should be eating.
(You won’t find a box of Chex Mix growing from a tree)



Scoring will be based off of the grading below.
Measurements for Bodyfat (done by a coach) are highly recommended!!!
It is not a requirement of the challenge, but it is such valuable information to track your progress.
To be eligible for prizes, we must get your measurements!

4 Points
Perfect day of eating. No cheats.

3 Points
One minor slip. Milk in the coffee, condiments (salad dressing, mayo, bbq sauce, ketchup, etc), a tortilla chip, a Cheerio.

2 Points
Significant slip, but not an entire meal:  One glass of wine or beer, finished your kid’s Mac ’N Cheese, piece of bread at dinner.

1 Points
Major slip. Pizza or pasta for dinner, 2 beers at a game, ice cream.

0 Points
More than one solid cheat throughout the day. 2+ meals lost.



There is a chance for up to (3) Bonus Points per Day

• A WOD at CFNE, or an approved CFNE Travel WOD (see list below)
• 3 Meals a Day (Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition are exceptions)
• 50% of Each Meal is Vegetables. Fibrous Vegetables, not starches (such as sweet potatoes)

$20 Buy-In for all – Winner gets the Pot!
Along with that…
A YEAR supply of Fuel For Fire + Bottle of Cabernet & Chardonnay from FitVine Wine!
Runner Up
One case of Fuel for Fire + Bottle of Cabernet & Chardonnay from FitVine Wine!
Weekly Top Score
Fuel for Fire T-Shirt!

bottle of Cabernet & Chardonnay

For this challenge, follow the Golden Rule above – Eat Meat and Veg…etc.
It’s truly as simple as that.
That will categorize 99% of foods to be Whole Foods or not.
For that 1%, the “Grey Area”, here’s our challenge-specific rules:


Say NO to:

• Sweeteners… honey, agave nectar, stevia, coconut sugar
• Alcohol
• Dairy… cream in the coffee, cheeses, yogurt
• Corn and corn products
• Unnaturally processed condiments, dressings, sauces, marinades, or spices (read the labels)
• Dried Fruit
• White Potato, Rice, Quinoa
• Legumes (Peanuts, Beans, Soy, Chick Peas)
• Gum
• Canola, vegetable, soybean, grapeseed oils
• All protein bars as meals. Quest Bars, Kaleo Cookies, Lara Bars.
• Juicing fruit (blending is OK – fiber + vitamins are lost when juicing)
• All sport supplements that are not directly before, during, or after training
• Whey protein, UCAN, Fuel for Fire, Ultima, Kill Cliff… *See below for more details.


Commonly asked, and are OK:

• Deli Meats (as long as there isn’t sugar added)
• Bacon
• Sweet Potato (but not restaurant sweet potato fries… it can get ugly)
• Balsamic Vinegar (“Vinaigrettes” commonly have added sugars). Look into “Tessamae’s” dressings!
• Coconut, olive, avocado, and nut oils
• Coconut milk, almond milk
• Grass-Fed butter, Ghee, Nutritional Yeast, Baking Soda/Powder, Salt
• Green Beans and Peas… but not chick peas!
• Coffee (black) and Tea (unsweetened), Seltzer Water
• Chicken and Beef broth/stock
• Mustards and Hot Sauces made with natural ingredients (check labels for sugars, unhealthy oils). Franks Red Hot is a go.


“ Can you explain the Post-Workout deal? ”

      We encourage proper pre and post-workout nutrition! We are going to classify pre and post to be within 45 minutes of your workout. If taken outside that window, they will be points off your daily total. Whey protein (to include Fuel for Fire), UCAN, Ultima, BCAA’s, Creatine, Kill Cliff.

“ What about going out to dinner? ”

      It is not our goal to become anti-social cave-dwellers! Still go out and enjoy – just be selective with your orders. Every restaurant out there will have options for some sort of meat/seafood as the main course. Start with that, and ask for extra veggies for the sides. Good to go, and is in the clear for the challenge!

“ Can you explain the Bonus Points? ”

There is a chance for up to three bonus points per day, on top of the original four.

– A WOD at CFNE. We love seeing our athletes come to the gym and encourage routine class attendance. We also have a list of approved travel workouts, listed below.

– 3 Meals a Day. No snacking. It’s very easy to overdo snacking… and we don’t realize how much we are consuming. Focusing on three balanced meals a day will balance your blood sugar and control cravings.

– Each Meal contains 50% Fibrous Vegetables. Think greens here – starches such as sweet potatoes don’t count. Ever try a vegetable smoothie? Great option with breakfast!



Fuel for Fire’s Challenge Facebook Page. Check it out!

Meal Plans and Shopping Guide

Having Trouble making Dishes? Try this Food Matrix:

Recipe Websites:


Approved Travel Workouts!

50 or 100 Burpees for time

3 Rounds For Time: Run 800m, 20 Squats, 20 Push ups, 20 Squats

4 Rounds For Time: Run 400 meters, 50 air squats

7 Rounds For Time: 10 Pushups 20 Sit ups 30 Squats

For Time: 300 Air Squats

5 Rounds For Time: Run 200m Run 10 Burpees

3 Rounds For Time: Run 400m 30 Pushups

4 Rounds For Time: 10 Handstand Pushups Run 200m

AMRAP 12:  10 Burpees, 15 Sit ups

Walk 100m on your hands, every time you come down complete 20 situps

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of burpees and a 100 meter sprint between each set

21-15-9 for time of:  Burpees, Air Squats and Pushups

Spend a total of 5 minutes in a handstand

For Time: Run 1, 2 or 3 miles for time

“Tosh” 3 rounds of 200, 400, 600m run – rest equal running time

5 Rounds For Time: Handstand 30 seconds 30 Squats

In 10 minutes complete 1 mile run and as many burpees as possible

5x400m Run, 1 minute rest

10x100m sprints, Every minute on the minute.

24 – 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of Chest slap push ups and Jumping squats

Tabata Squats, Push ups, Burpees and/or Sit ups

10 Rounds of:  Handstand hold for :20, bottom of the squat hold :40 minute

For Time: 100 Pushups

3 Rounds: 50 Situps Run 400m

10 Rounds For Time: 10 Walking Lunges 10 Pushups

Lunge 400m for time

4 Rounds For Time: Run 400m 50 Air Squats

10 Rounds For Time: 10 Pushups 10 Squats

Tabata Squats: 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest, 8 rounds.

For Time: Run 800m 100 Air Squats Run 800m

10 Rounds: Handstand 30 seconds, to Squat hold 30 seconds