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

2016 Nutrition Challenge Wrap-up + Winners!!


Hey Challenge Participants!!

First of all, a huge congratulations for participating and completing the 2016 Nutrition Challenge!  It was more intense, longer lasting, and stricter than previous years and you all embraced the challenges of the last 8 weeks!  Now that we’ve had some time to analyze all the results, we can say with confidence that this was our most effective challenge to date - more fat was lost, more lean mass was gained, more PR’s were obtained in the gym, and more (hopefully) permanent lifestyle changes were formed than ever before!  


In your final pop quiz, we asked you guys to reflect on the challenge and tell us what your best experience was during the Challenge.  The responses were overwhelmingly positive - we wanted to share some of what your community experienced throughout the last 8 weeks!  The changes below are incredible! Please note how many of you guys correlated what you ate to how you felt/performed/recovered in the gym!  Science works!  

  • Best experience was with the other people doing the challenge. Either in person or on the Facebook page, the support was amazing and I like to think we all helped each other through it.

  • Best experience was having people in class mention that I looked like I had more meat on the bones along with hitting a number of new PR's during barbell club.

  • Losing the “Dad weight” that I had started thinking was just me now.  I’m 39 and in the best shape of my life.

  • How I felt! The two main areas were, one, having more energy, especially in mid-afternoon not feeling tired. Two, performing better in workouts, in part due to good fuel in my system and more so do to a loss of weight. Being 8 to 10lbs lighter to perform T2B, Pull Ups, Squats, etc. helped me hit a number of PR’s.

  • The weigh-in was really eye-opening. Seeing the breakdown of lean muscle v. fat really helped me not dread the number on the scale, or put as much importance on it.

  • Best part: how I felt! In the WODs and in everyday life.  Light, happy, energized, focused.  I also didn't mind seeing the weight drop before my eyes and feeling my pants not fit anymore.

  • Last week, I put on a shirt that used to be tight and it was flowy and almost too big.  THAT rules.

  • Best experience was just feeling better. I felt as though I was able to get through the workouts without taking long breaks, definitely felt like my cardiovascular endurance kicked up a notch during the challenge.

  • My favorite experience was the motivation/structure the challenge provided me. It forced me to stay focused on a goal and kept my eye on a 'prize' (Results!) It makes me proud to say I haven't weighed this little since high school!

  • Best experience has been seeing the #gainz during CrossFit. I feel strong and I'm able to lift more weight and do body weight movements faster. It's motivation to keep eating right.

  • The way that I felt throughout the challenge was definitely the best thing about this challenge.  I PR'd six lifts during the challenge, and I was able to up my workouts to six days/week instead of four.  My body just recovered SO much faster when I started rewarding it with post-workout protein and carbs.  It really was unbelievable!!

  • Breaking habits with food and alcohol.  Re-claiming my life.  Sounds cliché but it is true.  I lost weight. Fit into clothes I haven't worn in years!


Alright, now for the results!!!!   As stated at the beginning of the challenge, the results were calculated to give us % of fat lost OR % of lean mass gained per person during the challenge.



We had 83 people sign up for the challenge.  59 of those people completed it by dunking the second time.  Of those 59 who completed the challenge, 29 people are eligible for prizes as they turned in all scorecards as well as completed all 4 pop quizzes.  Together as a group, we made some SIGNIFICANT changes to our body compositions!!  

  • We lost #371 of fat!  

  • We gained #47 of lean muscle!

  • 96.7% of participants lost some amount of fat

  • 68.3% of participants gained lean mass

  • 66.7% of participants lost fat AND gained lean mass at the same time!



Male Winner

Chris Shier is our clear winner for this category!  He went from 11.4% body fat in September to 7.0% body fat in November!  Chris lost 9lbs of body fat, from an already lean frame!

Female Winner

Kristina Detwiler is our winner, for the second year in a row!  She went from 21% body fat to 15% in the 8 weeks!  Kristina lost 9.9lbs of fat!  Congrats, lady!  

Male Runner-Up

Congrats to Isaac Spinell!  He went from 20.4% body fat to 15.6% in the 8 weeks!  He lost 10.5lbs of body fat! Isaac joined Ballard CrossFit just 2 months before the challenge started, and has made huge strides in a short amount of time!

Female Runner-Up

Brianna Johnson is our runner up for most fat lost!  She went from 22.5% body fat to 16%, and lost 10.7lbs of body fat!!  Impressive work for this lady, starting the challenge just 4 weeks out from having a baby!



Male Winner

Garrett Butler is our winner for the most lean mass gained!  He put on an additional 3.8lbs of muscle during the 8 weeks!  Keep up the good work, Garrett!

Female Winner

Emma Butler is our clear winner for this category.  She gained 7lbs of lean mass! Additionally, she lost 4lbs of fat!  Nice work, Emma!  (These two are doing something right in their home meal prep - husband and wife winners for mass gained! Love it!)

Male Runner-Up

Winning his second prize of the Nutrition Challenge, Chris Shier is our runner up!  He put on 3.4lbs of lean mass (in addition to all the fat loss!)  

Female Runner-Up

Brianna Johnson, again!  The runner up in both categories!  Impressively, she added 4.7lbs of lean mass!  




Larissa MacCartney is the winner for biggest visual change in before and after pics!  Larissa lost 13.4lbs of fat and gained 2.4lbs of lean mass, and the changes to her body composition are dramatic!  

Runner Up

Anne Kelso is our runner up for this category!  She lost more fat than anyone in the gym (21.6lbs of fat!) and we can for sure see it in the pictures!  Amazing work, Anne!  Keep it up!