Monthly Archives: August 2014

  • 2014 Crush Games - Sunday (Championships)

    Kill Cliff athletes Mat Fraser, Cole Sager, Stacie Tovar and Grace Dresher, who collectively dominated the qualifier workouts on Saturday, picked right up where they left off for Sunday’s third and final day of the 2014 Crush Games in Miami, FL.

    Dresher and Tovar started the day in first and second place respectively and maintained a comfortable lead in the Female Pro Division as they got back to work. In the first event, titled “Old McDonald,” Dresher and Tovar did exactly what they needed to and Tovar notched a second place finish while Dresher followed close behind her in third. After the first of three workouts on championship Sunday, Dresher maintained a narrow one point lead over Tovar as the pair began to pull away from the rest of the competitors. Event number two called “2012 Throwback” was a combination of both legless and regular rope climbs mixed with heavy front squats. Tovar showed everyone why she is the athlete to beat as she grinded through this workout finishing third in the heat and pushing her way past Dresher into the first place spot going into the third and final event of the weekend. Dresher struggled in some of the later rounds with the legless portion of the rope climbs and finished eighth place, dropping her to second overall.

    Tovar, proved again that strength is “booty” while sporting her trademark white shorts. She left no doubt during the final event of the day as she laid waste to both the competition and her reps winning the final Sunday workout titled, “Timothy Davis.” This up-and-back event, for both the men and women, started and finished with muscle-ups, followed by two rounds of “DT” (12,9,6 deadlifts, hang cleans and shoulder-to-overhead) and finishing up with 120 double unders. Tovar was the only Female Pro athlete to finish the workout in the 10 minute time cap and cruised to the overall Champion of the 2014 Crush Games. Dresher ended her weekend with a strong finish as well coming in second in both the last event and the overall standings.

    Mat Fraser entered the morning sitting comfortably in first place and never looked back. In a very “Rich Froning-esque” performance, Fraser kept his sights on the scores and results of the second place Sager and went into each workout with a simple plan: beat Cole by at least one spot. The strategy paid off right away as Fraser finished the opening event in second while Sager came in fourth. While neither competitor dominated the second event seeming to almost pace their efforts against one another on both the legless and regular rope climbs and 225 lb. front squats. The scores they posted kept both men comfortably within the top two spots and both easily made the final cut of 12 remaining athletes who would compete the third and final event on Sunday.

    Having locked up both first and second place going into the last workout (the eighth of the weekend), both men didn’t slow down as Sager pushed past the final set of muscle-ups and jogged to a first place finish followed closely behind by Fraser. The weekend ended with Mat Fraser taking the 2014 Crush Games Male Pro Division Championship with 27 total points and Cole Sager right behind in second with 32 points.

  • 2014 Crush Games (Saturday)

    The 2014 Crush Games in Miami, FL are one of the biggest offseason competitions for top competitive fitness athletes. Crush Games has a unique two part format which allows athletes to compete and post scores on either Friday or Saturday. Based on standings at the end of Saturday, the top 24 Male Pro qualifiers and the top 12 Female Pro qualifiers advance to battle it out during Sunday’s final two championship events.

    This past weekend four Kill Cliff athletes headed south to throw down with some of the other fittest professionals on the planet. Games’ rookie Cole Sager along with the 2nd fittest on the planet, Mat Fraser from Champlain Valley CrossFit tackled five events in the Male Pro division. On the women’s Pro side, Games’ veteran, Stacie Tovar, from CrossFit Omaha and Grace Dresher from Oklahoma showed up to try and crush the competition.

    These four did not disappoint as they immediately grabbed the top spots in the standings giving the crowd what they came to see. Tovar and Dresher made Saturday all about the midwest as they traded first and second place finishes back and forth throughout the first four events. In case there were any doubts, these two ladies dominated the final event “Chip Away” which was a combination of reps of double unders, one arm dumbbell snatches, box over jumps, alternating weighted pistol squats, pull-ups and muscle-ups. Tovar easily took first place while Dresher finished in second leaving the rest of their heat in the dust and securing their spots in Sunday’s two championship events.The duo finished the day with Dresher in first and Tovar close behind in second after the first five qualifying workouts.

    For the men, Mat Fraser and Cole Sager, also arrive in South Beach ready to win and threw down their markers as the athletes to beat in the Pro division. Sager and Fraser were neck and neck going into the fifth and final workout. With the clock ticking towards the last seconds of the ten minute time cap, the pair pulled ahead in their final heat as Sager was able to catch Fraser with both men repping out 51 double unders in the “Chip Away” event. Entering the finals for Sunday’s Crush Games, Mat Fraser leads all Pro male competitors with 16 points and following closely behind is Cole Sager with 19 points.

  • 10 Telltale Signs You’re Addicted to CrossFit

    Initially, CrossFit can be both intimidating and humbling.  But quickly, many participants find themselves avidly involved in the “the cult.”

    Not only does their level of physical fitness dramatically change, but they also see a shift many other parts of life. Conversations lean toward muscle mass, your “regular” friends start to worry about you, you start going to bed at the same time as most infants, and you replace your nightly glass of wine with a sports recovery drink.

    So how do you know when you are addicted to CrossFit?

    Here’s how…

    1. You drink all beverages from a shaker.
      It doesn’t matter if it’s water, a protein shake, or a sports recovery drink; you’re always walking around with a shaker.  Or a gallon of water.  Either way, this accessory makes it evident that your workouts rule your world.
    2. You feel compelled to do pull-ups or handstands on miscellaneous objects.
      Sometimes this compulsion rears its ugly head in public places.  Whether it’s following alcoholic consumption, a display of CrossFit abroad, or a simple sample of skills, you just can’t control your urge to perform feats of strength anywhere, and everywhere.

    1. You get in arguments with your old globo gym gang.
      Banter between you and your bicep curling buddies may, at time, become heated.  They claim they can’t keep bulk with CrossFit, and you counter with their lack of any leg strength or endurance.  I think you win, but it’s not my call.
    2. Your workout clothes consist primarily of Reebok, Lululemon, and Rogue products.  Clothing that caters well to CrossFit addicts is somewhat limited.  The range of motion required of garments, the excessive sweat, and the rough stuff like rope climbing requires something a little beefy.  Hence, your budget is spent on spectacular shoes and speed shorts.
    3. You explain your day with acronyms like WOD, OHS, HSPU, and DU.
      It’s like information technology (IT) professionals…they have their own language of letters and associated meanings.  When you understand, translate, and speak and/or write in skill acronyms, you’re in … deep.
    4. Rest days give you anxiety.
      You know they are necessary, but you can’t help but ache for the next rough workout.  Maybe it’s that rush upon completion, or the feeling that you’ve missed something important.  More realistically, your head isn’t right and you’ve become a hardcore addict.
    5. Your Facebook posts revolve around your personal records and Paleo meal pictures.
      This annoys non-CrossFitters.  But you don’t care.  Cause it’s what you do.  It’s what you live and breathe and literally sweat and eat.  Forget pics of babies and baking, you go for meat and WOD mayhem.

    Eat Paleo and Do Crossfit

    1. A whiteboard dictates your mood.
      When you’re at the top, you’re on top of the world.  Being on the bottom however, gives you an immediate tinge of frustration paired with motivation.  It keeps you on the path of progress, but it can sometimes take hold of your very core.
    2. You have a pet named Fran, Annie, or Rich.
      Really, a pet named after any of the benchmark girls or the big CrossFit names is a tell-tale sign that you’re addicted to CrossFit.
      image of chocolate lab enjoying a Kill Cliff
    1. Your free time has been replaced by CrossFit-related activities.
      Handstands in your house, watching ESPN reruns of last year’s games (even though you’ve seen it 16 times), reading books like Becoming a Supple Leopard, listening to Barbell Shrugged podcasts, and watching YouTube videos on lifts and skills are all symptoms that the free time you once cherished, no longer exists.

    It’s easy to stumble into CrossFit chasing a 6-pack, and suddenly find yourself caught up in a world of community, health, and fitness.  I think it’s ok to be consumed.  Just remember that to maintain the passion you possess, it’s best to step away from time to time.  CrossFit will always eagerly await your next WOD, but a day off is quite alright.

    Abi Reiland

    Owner/Trainer, CrossFit 8035


  • Gym Dating: Post Break-Up Protocol

    Intra-gym dating is not uncommon.  What people often forget about is the potential fall-out, especially in a gym like a CrossFit, where classes consist of a fairly small community and you’re bound to bump into your ex.

    When you decide to disconnect from a significant other, the aftermath can be ugly for not just you, but everyone at your gym. Nobody wants to uproot their daily routine, but everyday discomfort isn’t a reasonable solution either.

    So here is the proper protocol for surviving the gym dating break-up.

    • Be cordial, and keep your crap outta the gym.I realize sometimes it’s hard to hold back feelings of anger, frustration, or regret, but there’s an appropriate time and place for those talks, and the gym isn’t it.

    Consider the comfort of those around you and put private conversations on hold.  You, your ex, and everybody else will be more productive without the distraction of problematic conversation.  You can’t really call dibs on a gym, so just roll with it.

    • Don’t avoid contact altogether.I assure you, it IS possible to stand in a room with somebody you happen to loathe.  And doing so may in fact make you a stronger and better person.  It takes tolerance and emotional reason to hold back any anger you have, but keep to your routine without concerning yourself with anybody else’s attendance.
    • Flirting with a future can be dangerous.Things may have ended on good terms, or without total closure.  In either situation, it’s easy to fall back into flirting or fornicating as friends.  But heed my warning; if you lengthen a relationship that has seen its end, complications will arise.Keep the cut clean by exchanging friendly banter, but stopping short of anything suggestive.  If interest no longer exists but excessive communication continues; somebody will get hurt.
    • Ease into other visible relationships.For folks who spend a lot of time at the gym, it makes sense to date individuals with like interests of fitness and health.  But if you recently stepped away from something, and dive right into another dating opportunity, people will talk and feelings will be hurt.  It’s best to go slow, and hold off on rubbing things in an ex’s face.
    • Let go of negative nonsense.Typically one ex will harbor some sort of resentment. That’s just human nature.  But that doesn’t mean it has to control a situation.  The best way for both parties to move on and progress in a positive manner, it to simply let go.It may take some work, but force your mind to make peace with things.  It didn’t work, and it doesn’t matter why.  Resolving things in an adult manner and moving on will make the best of the situation.

    A gym is meant to be a place void of negativity.  Motivation, inspiration, health, and wellness should be at the forefront of members’ minds, so do yourself and your peers a favor by keeping the past in the past.  Rather than dwelling on what went wrong, focus on the present and its potential, and how you can use the lessons you learned from your gym dating experience. Keep positive and your future will be a bright one.

    Abi Reiland

    Co-Owner / Trainer, CrossFit 8035


  • The Ghost of CrossFit Future: What’s Next in CrossFit

    Athletics, like anything, are forced to adapt based on technological advances, spectator demand, and continuous development in technique and training.

    Kettlebell weight backlight and shadow on the gym floor

    In 1965 Dick Fosbury changed the very landscape of high jump potential with his unconventional method. In 1975, the half-pipe gave skateboarders a new terrain to tackle. And in recent years, the success of the US Olympic women’s gymnastics team has inspired a spike in the sports participation.

    The sport of fitness is a newer athletic event, but its growth and development are rapid. So what does the future of fitness look like? To anticipate the future, we have to take a look at the past and present.

    The sport of fitness has typically been associated with Iron Man competitions and body-building. Fitness has often been measured by one’s ability to excel in a very specific athletic endeavor. Can you run a marathon? Perhaps, but your ability to lift weight might be lackluster. Are you able to lift a million pounds? Maybe, but any type of cardio might be out of the question. And do you look the part? Sure, but physique doesn’t mean performance is up to par.

    We would measure the fitness of children using a number of skillsets like mobility, endurance, and strength, but with age and an intense focus on standard athletics, most would flourish in only a defined segment of those skillsets and standards.

    But Dr. Greg Glassman changed that.

    Although his methodology began back in the 1970’s, the CrossFit Company was not established until 2000. It began as a garage sport, something you did in your backyard with a few friends. It began with people who missed the competitive push you might have experienced in high school or college, and since lost.

    CrossFit’s future cemented itself within just a few years, and began to build an empire. People were attracted to the idea of overall fitness and bringing sports back to the basic standards we were measured on as kids. Why not improve in all areas? Why not be good at everything rather than great at one thing? Anybody could participate, any modifications could be made, and it made people feel powerful.

    In recent years, CrossFit has developed a bit of a cult following. It’s currently the most popular fitness trend out there…but my belief is that it’s really no trend at all. It’s here to stay.

    With major athlete sponsorships, annual world championships followed by the masses, significant athletic branding associations, and the very nature of a sport that lacks predictability, CrossFit is here for the long haul. Masters, teams, individuals, teenagers, kids, leagues…it’s all encompassing and that’s why people gravitate toward it.

    The CrossFit community incorporates anybody and everybody. Every athlete has a strengths and weaknesses, and with the new changes and challenges thrown at Open and Games and League participants every year, CrossFit is one of the most revolutionary sports of this century.

    CrossFit’s future will get bigger, better, and it will become an even more popular athletic sport. Spectator base will grow, and CrossFit will be here for a very, very long time. The future of CrossFit is limitless.

  • Interview with All-Around Lumberjill Champion: Erin LaVoie

    Throwing axes?  Easy.  Chainsaw relays?  Done.  World records?  She’s got 2 of those. Guinness Book of World Records for most Christmas trees cut down in 2 minutes?  Did that in 2008.  First place All-Around Lady Jill in the 55th Annual Lumberjack World Championships?  Just did it last month.  We’re talking about Kill Cliff ‘s multitalented athlete, Erin LaVoie. Here are some insights into this champion’s amazing attitude, and the story of how she got to where she is today.

    dabry 7


    Congratulations!  Now that you’re back from Hayward, WI, how does it feel to be All-Around Lumberjill Champion?

    Incredible.  I’ve been watching and re-watching the videos of all the events.  It’s amazing, but it’s so stressful, it’s a 3-day event and each day you have to qualify for the next day.  Plus, the main [televised] events don’t happen until 5pm, so you spend the whole day having to manage yourself, manage your time, warm ups and nutrition.  I eat like a bird and hydrate a little bit all day long.  I don’t want to be full when I get up to compete.

    How long have you been competing in this?

    11 years.  I was studying forestry in Spokane and just, sorta, fell into it.  Back then I was on a team, but now, as a pro, I’m primarily competing as an individual.

    There are a lot of different events with fantastically descriptive names: Logrolling, Hot Saw, and Boom Run, what is your favorite to compete in?

    The Underhand Chop is by far my favorite.  It feels amazing to just smash through the log.

    My least favorite would probably be the Double Buck –it’s a “Jack and Jill” partner event.  I think I prefer relying on myself.  Plus, it’s hard to find good partners you can count on.

    Do you have any advice for people interested in competing in lumberjack events?

    Yeah, just show up at a competition and introduce yourself!  Everyone is happy to help. We all know each other really well, travel together to the events all over the world.  Ask us anything.

    It seems like lumberjack competitions have made a point of supporting and showcasing women in competition, has this always been the case?

    Not really.  Earlier on, women were lucky to have 1 event.  For a long time I was the only girl with a bunch of old guys.  Probably one of the worst things was when I was competing in Australia and one of the guys came up to me and said, “What are you doing here?  I hope you brought a pie – because that’s all you’re good for”.  I was pretty shocked by that.  In the end, I actually beat his son and nephews by a large margin.  After that, he came back up to me and said, “I guess you can stay”.

    Not everyone is like that, but we really have to earn our place.   There are some girls who think it’s a joke, but most of us take it seriously and work hard for it.  We put on exhibitions and competitions to support the female competitors.  We’ve done fundraisers for women’s shelters.  We try to raise awareness to grow it as a sport."

    darby 8

    I understand you are also a golfer, tell me about that.

    Not really.  I golf with my dad.  Every year we do the Christmas Wish tournament.  I’ve gotten the award for longest drive 2 years running.  That was pretty cool.

    How have Lumber Jack competitions shaped you as an athlete?

    The biggest lesson is: seconds count.  You just have to go as hard as you can.  Let me give you an example, in this World Championship second place in the Under Hand Chop was 30.44 seconds and I won first with a time of 30.43.  Every second matters.

    How would you describe your love of the sport?

    I love the people and I love the power.  It feels so good to be so strong, to put that strength to work.  I also love the traveling, I’ve been everywhere from Australia to New Zealand and Canada.

    How long have you been doing CrossFit?

    4 years.  A friend got me into it when we were living in Virginia.  You always remember your first WOD; mine was as many 25lb kettle bell swings as you could do, then do a 200 m jog for 12 minutes.  I blacked out 14 swings in! I was used to doing 2 workouts a day for years prior to that, so I thought I was in good shape but no!  When I moved back to Spokane, I couldn’t find a good gym. So as the story often goes, I set one up in the garage.  Eventually friends started coming, the garage got too small and we moved to a bigger space. And now CrossFit Predation has been open for just over 3 years.

    How has CrossFit shaped you as an athlete?

    I really can’t train the Lumber Jack events in the winter.  It’s just too frozen.  So I focus on CrossFit.  When I first got back to Lumber Jack competitions after CrossFit, I just smoked them, I felt SO strong.  While everyone else was bending over to catch a breath, I was thinking, 'What’s next?'"

    What is a typical day of training like for you?

    It’s a lot of CrossFit.  I do a WOD, then I’ll chop 2 blocks then back to another WOD.  Right now it’s too hot to train outside, so I do mostly CrossFit.

    What’s your diet like?

    Ergh, not good.  I mean it’s 90% good, but I like jelly bellies and ice cream a lot.  I try, but I can’t cook.  It’s mostly just meat and steamed vegetables.

    How does Kill Cliff help with your performance?

    I just crave it!  It’s amazing. It refreshes me.  I can feel it the next day it really helps my recovery.

    How do you fill your days when you’re not training and competing?

    I love the water; we live near the river.  I paddle board.  I also have a black lab; we go hiking a lot.

    What happens to all the wood, once the competitions are over?

    Back in college we would donate it to a restaurant for their stove.  Sometimes we do a huge bonfire.  To be honest, at the big competitions, I’m not really sure.

    What’s next?

    We are expanding the gym.  In a year we are opening a bar.  A pub, to be exact.

    Competition-wise, I just want to keep winning more titles.  Maybe I’ll break a new world record?  I haven’t done that in a while.

    Do you have any final words to share?

    No.  Actually, yes.  If you don’t work out, you need to.  We need to stay on top of the food chain.  Life is good when you’re fit.

    Love this article?  Know another Lumberjill?  Tell me about it!  Email

  • The 5 Best Beverages for Athletes

    I am not a scientist. But I am an athlete, and I do enjoy a cool beverage after a workout. The following recommendations of the 5 best beverages for athletes are based upon my unconventional research methods, my keen sense of taste, and my purely biased opinion.

    Without further adieu, for your reference, hydration, recovery, and reading enjoyment; here are my recommendations for the 5 best beverages for athletes.
    1. Water

    It doesn’t get any better than pure and crisp, crystal clear H2O. Sometimes making up over half of the human body, water is not only a key component of athletic success, but also a basic need for every individual. Our very existence depends a great deal on water, and it can lend a hand in keeping you alive in potentially dire situations.


    So get your drink on with the magical and miraculous beverage that is water.

    2. Coconut Water

    I must admit; I wasn’t always a fan. Coconut water has a slightly pulpy texture, but the advantages far outweigh my minor complaint. This beverage, derived from a baby coconut, is low calorie, fat and cholesterol free, has loads of potassium, and provides naturally occurring carbs (in the form of sugars) and electrolytes.


    With fewer calories and sugar than your standard sports drink, and more potassium, there are plenty of reasons to consume some coconutty goodness.
    3. Espresso

    Not only are the beautiful beans used to make espresso packed full of antioxidants, those bad boys also aid in repairing cells and offer quicker recovery from injury, illness, or extreme forms of workouts. Now most of us enjoy the rush of a caffeinated beverage, but highly acidic levels of coffee can sometimes cause stomach problems.

    So opt for the combo of caffeine and disease-killing cool stuff in a quick sip of energizing espresso.
    4. Almond Milk

    Unsweetened almond milk is a perfect alternative for those looking for a nutrient dense, low-sugar option.


    Here’s the deal… Sure, I dig a little cow milk; but it makes my tummy turn and my bathroom breaks lengthy. So a little almond milk (although low in protein itself) pairs perfectly with my preferred protein for gulp-able and hormone-free post-workout refreshment.
    5. Kill Cliff
    Kill Cliff Double Awesomeness Recovery Drink
    I’m all about a no bullsh*t and badass product. And Kill Cliff fits the bill. As a recovery aid, the flavor-filled fluid is derived from vitamins, enzymes, plant extract, and electrolytes to keep you trucking along. No sugar, no crazy colored additives, and no fake flavors. This bubbly brew is like unicorn magic in your mouth. So drink some.

    My extensive research has revealed the above to be the best beverages for athletes seeking energy, recovery, and better suited beverages for the ultimate in performance and technique. So take my word for it (or don’t), that these 5 lovely liquids offer the greatest good with the tastiest gains. Go on and get it.

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