Ballard Crossfit is built on two main principles: Fitness at any level and the comrodarie that accompanies said fitness.

Let’s face it, going into a new environment can be intimidating. When everyone around you seems to know each other and the movements, it can be hard to do anything aside from surviving the workout. – esp if you are the shy type!! Anyone who has known me for five seconds or five years is well aware that I do not care for working out (insert ironic pause here). What has kept me doing my fitness? The easy answer is you guys. I call it commiserating, you can call it whatever you like. I will let you in on a little secret though: being outgoing, talkative, and engaging takes EFFORT and PRACTICE. While nobody would call me shy now, I can tell you that this is a skill I have worked on for years.

That being said, as a coach it is my job not only to keep you moving and your fitness growing, but to help you make personal and social connections that will ultimately help you to grow as an athlete – the reason I still love Cross fit and am still doing my own fitness. The more you enjoy showing up to your fitness the more you will show up and enjoy your fitness…. am I right?

So, let’s talk tips for getting out of your comfort zone on the personal/ social level! I’ll start by telling you my number one thing that gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to connect – touch. That’s right, I make a point to physically ‘touch’ as many people as I can. My dear friend Coach Carlos many years ago made a comment to me that stuck. He’s a big time hugger and he once commented “that hug I give might be the only time someone touched that person all week”. Now while hugs aren’t always necessary I made a conscious effort to put a hand on someone’s shoulder or arm, something just to let them know I’m aware they are alive! Not being a touchy feely kinda gal, this is something that I’ve worked hard to practice when it doesn’t come naturally.

Okay, now it’s your turn! Here are a few no brainer things you can practice next time you are in the gym.

-Come 15 minutes early, and stay 15 minutes after. Obviously you have to be present for any of this to work.

-Engaging your coaches so they know more about you and can more easily help us connect you to other athletes. We are great at getting info from you guys but you have to meet us half way. Basically, if you give us the some material we can take it from there to make connections with other members who you might enjoy engaging with.

-Smile, make eye contact, and say hello – start with your coach. I CANNOT tell you how many people we see daily that do not make this a practice. Imagine a coach going out of our way to say hello, use your name, and smile – and in return we often get nearly a smidge of response. Same thing when you leave…..My son (he’s four) does not leave the gym before approaching the coach on duty to tell them ‘thank you coach and goodbye’. I want him to learn the important skill of connecting with the coach so they remember him next time he returns, and that they look forward to seeing him in the future.

-Tackled the coach greeting? Now its time to move on to a less familiar face or even a STRANGER!!! This one gets a little harder. This is a great time to deploy the ‘commiseration’ technique.

“Wow this workout looks _____________ (fun/hard/long/devils workshop)”…whatever. It is universally accepted as communication in the gym since everyone is there to do just that and creates a simple way to form temporary common ground.

Ready for some next level skills?

Engage someone during your 15-minute after class hang out. Since you guys aren’t always the greatest conversation starters I’ll give you some of my go to questions for getting the ball rolling.

  • How long have you been a member at Ballard?

  • Did you play sports or have athletic hobbies prior to this?

  • What do you like to do with your fitness outside the gym?

  • Do you have any trips planned soon?

  • What did you do for the last holiday or the one upcoming?

I hope this gives you some food for thought or at least a jumping off point for examining your own approachability. We say it in onramp, this fitness experience is totally dependent on what you bring to the table. If increasing the quality and quantity of your relationships at the gym is something you want to do I hope this helps!

-Coach Paige

One very frequent request we get from y’all is ideas for workouts you can do when you are away from the gym. In order to help you guys with your fitness when you aren’t in Ballard, we’ve put together a list of Travel WOD’s for your cherry picking WOD pleasure. The vast majority of these workouts don’t use any equipment, however please feel free to improvise if you have equipment available. For instance, if you are in a hotel and have some dumbbells at your disposal, go ahead and make the “air squats” into “front rack DB squats” to turn up the heat! Additionally, scale as you see fit (double under to 3x the number of single under, handstand push-ups to push-ups, etc). The nice thing about these workouts is that there isn’t a right or wrong to them! Choose one and do it as is, make some changes, merge two together, etc! Once you’ve picked out your WOD, make up a warm-up (keep it simple, just get moving), do any movement prep / stretching you need, and get after it! Enjoy, and hurry back to the gym!

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Happy September Ballard CrossFit!  Coach Brian here to address the other 23 hours of your day.  It has always been our goal at Ballard CrossFit to make your visit to the gym the best hour of your day.  Now, we understand that this is a lofty goal that won’t always be attainable. You all have some amazing things going on in your life!  You have wonderful families and friends, interesting hobbies and recreational aspirations, meaningful jobs and other things that make the other hours of your day pretty hard to beat.  

Despite everything good that we have going in our lives, I don’t think anyone is immune to occasional, or even frequent, anxiety brought on by the common stressors of everyday life.  I have a lot of things for which to be thankful, but still I often find myself working through the mental anguish of stress and anxiety. I’ve got a family to protect, a mortgage and bills, 2 jobs, I can’t always get good sleep, and I watch the news.  All of these things can take a toll on the mind and body.

I felt it appropriate to address this topic in September as the daylight hours diminish and the weather threatens to change for the wetter.   These are 2 additional inevitable items that tend to adversely affect my psyche.

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Having been a devoted member of the BCF community since 2010, I learned long ago that a visit to the gym can be a therapeutic force to help me squash a case of the blues.  An enthusiastic warm greeting from another member of the community, the support of a large class, the upbeat music, moving heavy things quickly. All of these things can help me to turn a day around for the better.

But, what about the days when your visit to the gym just isn’t enough to relieve the stress?  How about the days you can’t make it in to see us? Those are the days that require additional tools to get your head right.  Recently, my wife Carly and I have tried to make joy a primary focus in our lives. It has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor.  It was this book that got us thinking about our “Joy Plan”.  When Carly and I consistently talk about our joys in life, there is a noticeable positive effect on our mood and outlook.  When we lose our focus on joy, the effect toward the negative is also evident. The truth is, our moods are contagious for better or worse until death do us part.  Just like practicing a new movement in the gym, a focus (and subsequent re-focusing) on joy requires consistent practice in order to be mastered.

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While I’m certainly no expert in the field of psychology, I’d like to share some of my favorite tactics for bringing awareness to the joys in my life along and help me put the kibosh on stress and anxiety.

1.  Write it down! – Grab a small notebook and take 5 minutes (maximum) per day to jot down anything that brings you joy or makes you thankful!  This gets my morning off to an upbeat start and helps me find silver linings by spinning challenges into gratitude (see the note to the right about my 3 year old).

2.  Let ‘em know – If someone has done something significant for you or had a profound effect on you, write them a note of gratitude.  A handwritten show of appreciation is a win-win. This could be to a boss or mentor, a family member, a friend, a stranger, whomever.

3.  Get your rest – A good night’s sleep is restorative for the mind and body.  Put down the phone early, supplement with ZMA's, darken down your room, and put head on pillow.  If falling asleep is hard for you, the ZMA might help. You can also try closing your eyes and going through the alphabet A-Z with things you are thankful for (AMRs, Burpees, Chest-2-Bar, etc. :) ).

4.  Exercise – Duh!  Get your booty into the gym.  We’ll take over from there!

5.  Minimalize – Cleaning out the closets and donating non-essential “stuff” can do wonders for clearing the mind.  A documentary by these goofy guys prompted Carly and I to take action.

6.  Supplement – I mentioned ZMA above as a sleep enhancer.  I’ve also found success calming the mind and inducing sleep with the help of Natural Calm before bed.  Also, since the weather is going to take a turn for the worse, you’re going to have fewer opportunities to get your vitamin D the natural way.  Supplementing with vitamin D is cheap and has many positive health effects including regulating mood.  Reminder:  Vitamin D is fat soluble, so make sure you take it with a meal or with Fish Oil. 

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7.  Eat clean – It should come as no surprise that eating well has a positive effect on mental and physical well being, both acutely and chronically.  Sharing a good meal with the people you love can be a great mood booster. In the long run, eating well reduces inflammation and cleans up a lot of what ails us.  Starting Sept 15 at 1pm, you have a great opportunity to join our Fall Nutrition Challenge and clean up your eating habits with the support of your BCF coaches and community!  Or you can give our new 1x1 Nutrition Coaching program a try.

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As I mentioned above, these are things that help me to avoid or eliminate stress and anxiety in my life.  It is, by no means, an exhaustive list. If you’re like me and sometimes need a little boost to get your mind right, I encourage you to try a few things from the list above and see if they help.  In the meantime, your Ballard CrossFit Coaches will be diligently striving to make that one hour with us the best hour of your day!

- Coach BK

- Coach BK






Where's your gainz, yo?

The alarm rings and your first move is checking the WOD.  It’s #PRweek and you see a 1RM Snatch attempt!  You have worked hard on snatches and overhead squats during the cycle and hopefully your hard work pays off!  You didn’t sleep that well after eating a bag of Dick’s Burgers right before bed.  You grab a cup of coffee and a muffin on your way to work.  After an hour at your desk you are starving, but you see someone brought in donuts so you are saved.  As you chow the donut you are thinking of the snatch drills and patience in the first pull.  PR today FOR SURE!

Work gets busy and before you know it, lunchtime has come and gone.  You didn’t bring anything, but you have some jerky at your desk and grab some nuts from the break room along with more coffee to wake up and finish the day.  Finally work is over and you grab another cup of coffee for the drive.  You think speed through the middle all the way to the gym.  You don’t feel as fresh as you would like, but it’s probably just jitters before a big lift.  The work window starts and you get a couple warm-up snatches in that feel OK.  Time to ramp it up!  You hit another snatch a 5# below your previous 1RM.  Your legs are a little weak, but you stand it up.  Time to go for it!  You load up a PR attempt and think punch under the bar.  Miss…. miss…. bad miss and time is up. 

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You are really upset.  You practiced, you came every week for snatch work and you visualized the moves.  WHAT HAPPENED??  You go through the motions during the WOD with a lack of desire and no energy.  You go home and have a nice salad with some chicken.  Maybe next cycle you will PR.

We all work hard in the gym and try to get better every time we are there.  Training can be fun and rewarding, but on it’s own it will not make you healthy or fit.  One hour at the gym will not undo 23 hours of bad habits.  You need adequate nutrition!  Often overlooked or underestimated, proper nutrition is the true foundation of health and fitness.  CrossFit places nutrition at the base of the health and fitness pyramid and Coach Glassman says “practicing CrossFit without any regard to nutrition if similar to having one oar in the water”.

Our sample athlete set up for failure all day long.  Motivation was high, but lack of adequate nutrition left their body weak and not ready for the task at hand.  And while the late meal was a better attempt, it isn’t enough to make up for the lack of nutrition during the day or allow full recovery after training.  Getting enough protein through the day allows your body to build, heal, and defend itself.  Healthy fats keep the signals going, keep hormones working and keep our cells happy.  Carbohydrates fuel our performance and keep our muscles ready for action.  Without nutrition your body is a racecar being fueled with watered down gas.  Good luck winning the race like that!  Let’s see what happens when our athlete is properly fueled.

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The alarm goes off.  You slept great after a healthy dinner and some Casein protein before bed.  Keeping these healthy nutrition habits going since the last Nutrition Challenge is really paying off and you feel great this morning.  You are going to PR your snatch for sure!  The fridge is full of food you meal prepped earlier in the week.  You have some fresh vegetable juice and pack your lunch, afternoon snack and pre-workout fruit.  You warm up your breakfast and head to work thinking patience in the first pull.  At work you have one cup of coffee and get things done.  Someone brought donuts, but you are full from breakfast so no worries.  Work gets busy, but you know you have to eat.  Luckily you have a nice lunch salad with veggies, chicken, quinoa and some avocado that you eat while working.  During an afternoon break you eat your Greek yogurt and some carrot and pepper sticks.  Before you know it, work is done!

You eat your fruit and a little coffee on the way to the gym focusing on speed through the middle.  Your body feels good as you warm up.  You have a little sweat going and a bounce in your step.  Let’s DO THIS!  You feel strong and snappy as you work up to 90% of your 1RM.  It goes down easy.   You go for 5# over your previous 1RM and nail it with 3 minutes left on the clock.  You focus in more and add 10# to the bar.  After a good rest you address the bar, set-up for the lift and say punch under the bar to yourself.  Its heavy but you get under it… a little shimmy but all good… stand it up… BOOM!!!  As the work window ends, you walk over and ring the bell after a well earned 15# PR!!  The WOD is a blast after that and you race your buddy right to the end.  Great gym sesh and now home to celebrate!  Homemade spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies and lean protein over some pasta and a colorful salad.  You can’t wait to work out again tomorrow!!

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Nutrition can be the difference between success and failure, heath and sickness, PR’s and plateaus.  It is important and deserves your attention.  Ask questions, commit to a nutrition challenge or get coaching to help you meet your goals.  It’s not easy, but with some focus and effort you will develop proper habits that turn it into a lifestyle.  Before long you will have a strong foundation for your fitness by optimizing your nutrition.

-Coach Aaron H

Why Do We Wear CrossFit Shoes???

Not just for looks, CrossFit-specific shoes actually help you to perform well in the Sport of Fitness. Below some points as to why this is the case and a quick lo-down on your options:

  • A sport-specific shoe matters!! Often, we see newer CrossFit athletes wearing running shoes to class. While awesome for running, these aren’t always helpful for WODs.

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  • When running, you need a more shock absorbent shoe.  Because of this, these shoes often have a softer material which makes up the sole.  When you are trying to lift weight and pressing feet into the floor, a lot of energy can be lost through this unstable base due to the physics principle of ground reaction force.
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This principle comes from Newton's 3rd law which essentially states that if a force acts upon a body, an equal and opposite force must act upon another body.


If you press weight overhead and the vector of your force is going down into the ground, the ground will essentially press back.  If you are wobbling around on squishy shoes and too far forward on your toes, the reactionary force of the ground will push you forward and your barbell will likely move forward causing a missed lift or causing you to have to chase after it.  If you are able to control this weight, you will likely be scrunching your toes and arches forcefully trying to control the movement which can lead to arch problems like plantar fasciitis. Basically, if you weightlift in jogging shoes, you will feel like you are lifting weights on the beach with a big portion of your energy wasted right into the soft sand.

  • Most CrossFit WODs will require some combo of jumping/running and lifting so the CrossFit-specific training shoes offer a combination of a solid firm base and flexibility where needed. The also have features which are designed to make things like rope climbs and handstand pushups a bit easier.

  • Additionally, durability is important to note. Subject a regular running shoe to a few weeks of CrossFit and you will witness those shoes break down real fast. CrossFit shoes are built to take the beating of the types of workouts and movements you are performing: jumping, running, burpees, rope climbs, weight lifting, KB swings, handstands, etc. A durable, stable shoe will help decrease the chance of injury.  


The more fatigued you get during a grueling workout, the greater your chance of misstep or loss of form. CrossFit is chock-full of complex moves that require a lot of balance and these sport-specific shoes can be very helpful in mitigating injury-risk. They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to the knee and ankle joints during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.


Next time you find yourself asking the questions “Why CrossFit shoes?” or “Are CrossFit shoes worth the price?” remember that shoes are designed for specific purposes all the time and CrossFit is no different. You ski in a ski boot, hike in a hiking boot, dance in a ballet slipper, and run in a running shoe. Now, you can justify looking the part because its important that you WOD in a CrossFit shoe!

-Coach Sarah