December 30, 2017

Food Allergies

Did your grandparents have food allergies? Mine sure didn’t. A stark comparison to the growing epidemic of food allergies, worsening with every generation.  According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. Although it can be argued that food allergy and/or food sensitivity testing wasn’t really around back in the day and that there was much less of a focus on these concerns as a whole, there is clearly an increase of documented food allergy cases happening today. So what could be some of the reasons that your grandparents didn’t have food allergies? It’s really quite simple… 1) They ate real seasonal food. Food came from farms and small markets in the early 1900′s, and because food preservatives were not widely used yet, the food was fresh. Because of the lack of processed food, their diets were nutrient dense allowing them to get the nutrition they needed from their food. For babies, breast milk was valued, and it was always in season. 2) They didn’t diet and play restrictive games with their body and metabolism. They ate food when food was available. Our grandparents did not fall victim to fad diets, food […]
December 3, 2017

Should I keep a Training Journal ?

SHOULD I KEEP A TRAINING JOURNAL? Yes. One of the most important parts of CrossFit as a training methodology is that it’s quantifiable. That aspect keeps everyone involved (the athletes and the coaches) honest and helps us to see what’s working and what’s not over the course of time. Plainly, your journal measures your progress (or lack thereof). Your training journal should have both some quantitative and qualitative data in it. You can use your favorite electronic device, a plain old notebook and a pen, or one of the fancy schmancy ones that we sell at the front desk. Your journal will provide you with important information that will be both informative and affirmative. What you were able to lift last week (quantitative) and how it went (qualitative) are pretty telling about what you should be able to lift this week. Also, it’s a nice affirmation that things are going in the right direction when you look back 6 weeks, months, or years into your journals and see the progress you’ve made. Keep a journal!
November 26, 2017

Gut Health

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, spoke these words over 2,000 years ago.  And as the topic of gut health continues to gain notoriety, Hippocrates’ words show that they are not only standing the test of time, but they are now seeing the backing of much scientific evidence.  But what is gut health and why is it so important? Obviously not all disease begins in the gut (genetic conditions, for instance), but for the 35% of American adults who struggle with obesity, and for the millions of adults struggling with symptoms such as brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, skin rashes, allergies, food sensitivities, to mood imbalances, frequent illness and other metabolic conditions, these could be signs that the body’s “second brain” – the gastrointestinal (GI) system – needs attention.  The body’s GI system is not just about digestive issues.   Proper gut health can have major effects on your entire body – mood, memory, and immune response.  How is this possible?  Without getting overly scientific, the health of the GI system is determined by the balance of bacteria found in your body’s digestive tract.  When the system is balanced (good bacteria vs. bad bacteria), the […]
November 4, 2017

November Member of the Month: Leigh Newell

I started CrossFit DownRiver last April, when I was going to a gym 3-4 times a week, doing 45 minutes to an hour on the treadmill, and not getting the results I was looking for. My nephew Jacob was home from the Navy for a month and found CFDR.  He was over one night after I got home from a workout and was talking about how great he felt since starting at CFDR and said I should try it.  I thought, “yeah right”!   Everything I knew about CrossFit was that it is for the extreme athlete, not a middle-aged, over weight woman with two bad knees.  I agreed to try it, but felt so nervous and intimidated…that is until I was introduced to Coach Joe, who completely put me at ease. The time he took with me to explain and show me what he wanted me to do and even scaled it down for me, made me feel so accomplished.  I was very sore the next day (from using muscles I forgot I had), but wanted to continue at CFDR.  I started my membership that following Monday and started my on-ramp with coach Kirk.  The patience he had working with […]
October 9, 2017

October Member of the Month: Eva Tomlinson

About 8 years ago I started hearing about CrossFit. It sounded like a program I would like, but I didn’t seriously consider it until years later, mostly because I thought I was too old. Gradually, after learning more about the sport and the concept, I felt like I just had to try it! I dropped in to CFDR one day and was shown around by Bernadine and Kirk. I was ready, the people were nice, the program was sounding even more interesting and the gym felt comfortable. I love showing up for a WOD or whatever is going on that day and getting the work out done. I love the way I feel after it’s over. I am grateful that someone else is responsible for deciding what to do and all I have to do is be there.  Finding my one rep max for the dead lift was a big step for me, empowering me and awakening a sense of self I had lost. It was a great day for me. So I guess that makes the dead lift my new favorite move! I am satisfied with my progress so far and am plan to continue to do what I […]
September 7, 2017

September Member of the Month: Emma Green

Before joining CrossFit Downriver about a year and a half ago, I was settling.  I had gotten too comfortable in my ‘normal’ – a mediocre relationship, rarely stepping foot in a gym and eating and drinking whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. From the first days of the on-ramp at CFDR, I knew this was a place that I could challenge myself and start a new, healthier ‘normal’ both physically and emotionally. I love that literally everyone at CFDR wants you to succeed and will push you to better yourself every day that you step into the gym. After a year and half, I am definitely hooked and CrossFit is the first workout that I see myself sticking with for years to come. I’m the strongest that I have ever been and wake up excited to check the WOD and see what we’ll be working on that day. My goals for the year are to do a bar muscle up, join the 300 club dead-lifting and start competing in some fun, not-too-serious competitions!
August 5, 2017

August Member of the Month: Evan Ashley

I had been curious about CrossFit since I first saw the games on ESPN.  The intensity and amount of work was intriguing and intimidating at the same time.  A good friend of mine had mentioned he has been going to CrossFit Downriver for some time now, and couldn’t stop raving about the gains he had made, as well as the great coaches.  I walked in completely unprepared one Thursday night while Helen was coaching one of her “Helendurance” classes.  After talking with Helen and Kirk, and realizing the kind of passion these two had for helping people with their fitness goals, I decided to join the BOX.  I came in the next day to start my On-ramp.  Ever since my first WOD, I have been hooked.  Every coach has been amazing.  The gains and progress I have made in such little time is a testament to the professionalism and hard work put in by both myself and the great staff at CrossFit Downriver.  I have gone from only being able to do ring row pull-ups to kipping to almost strict in the matter of only a few months (just one example).  The one on one work from the coaches goes […]
August 1, 2017


I know, we humans are built to be resilient and adaptive.  When we are faced with a trying situation, we eventually learn how to get over ourselves and move forward.  But it’s the icky stuff in the middle that can make us crazy and question everything we’ve tried hard to achieve. For me, knee-jerk reaction when faced with a highly-stressful or challenging situation is to get very quiet, to isolate myself, to leave the rest of the world behind and internalize everything.  I kick the dirt.  I feel sorry for myself.  I bitch.  A.  LOT.  I stew in my own little crock pot of emotions.  The trouble with that? It does not make me feel better. Recently, I started kicking dirt.  After having three previous heart surgeries in the span of 5 years, a lousy couple weeks led to a swift decline, resulting in my being the new owner of a pacemaker.  At 38 (for you young-ins, no that is NOT old). While delighted to finally put the heart issues behind me, what I was not prepared for was the lengthy set of no-no’s going forward that left me feeling utterly overwhelmed.  The surgeon sat before me and as she spoke, the woman sucked the very soul from my body.  No more Olympic […]
July 1, 2017

July Member of the Month: Nate Hairgrove

It was mid February, 2013 when I walked into CFDR and there was coach Nate teaching a class of misfits.  I distinctly remember seeing Juan, Mary, Roman (of course shirtless, walking on his hands just because he could)   and “Rico Suavé” (a/k/a Ben) grinding out the WOD. I thought “these people are nuts and so am I so this should be fun”!   Coach told me to come back for the on-ramp the next morning at 6am….that’s all it took. I was hooked….like order the lifter shoes, buy all the Hylete shorts, if it said Rogue on it buy it – “hooked”! It was through those first few months of meticulous training on basic movements when I realized CFDR was beyond professional. I was also now part of a family. We cheered Q on during his Open run, we raised money and gifts for families in need, we drank and partied and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had to take a small break due to work travel and life but since I’ve been back the last year it’s been great seeing more members joining the family. I don’t really have a favorite crossfit movement (other than […]
June 24, 2017


There’s no doubt that CrossFit brings people together.  Many long-term relationships have been started in the box.  For us, many of our members are more like family than those related to us by blood.  Often times, we don’t express to you how important you are to us, or don’t tell you when you’ve impressed us with your actions. Here’s to you, our members, whose actions speak louder than words and it doesn’t go unnoticed. THANK YOU FOR TAKING CHARGE.  You know who you are, when Coach is busy talking to someone who dropped in to check us out, or had to address a member with a question. You’re the one who keeps the flow of the warm-up or skill-set going for the few minutes coach is distracted. THANK YOU FOR WELCOMING A DROP-IN OR NEW MEMBER. You’re the first one to introduce yourself to an unfamiliar face who walks in.  You show them around, you help them set up for the WOD, you make them feel they’re at home at CFDR. THANK YOU FOR CLEANING UP. You never forget to mop up your chalk or wipe down your ab-mat with a Clorox wipe, and you don’t just stop at your own area, […]
June 5, 2017

June Member of the Month: Kris Boik

In March 2013, as Kris’ daughter, Melissa, was about to return to Minnesota from a spring break visit home, Kris mentioned that she would like to get healthy and would like to get into shape. She asked Melissa to watch her do a squat. Horrified by what she saw, Melissa said, “I know a guy!”  She told her Mom to call CrossFit DownRiver in the morning, which she did, and went to see Kirk for her first workout.  After having the common first day reaction of crying, and asking “what the hell am I doing here,” Kris returned the next day. She promised herself and Melissa she would stick it out at least until Melissa returned home for the summer.  4+ years later, she’s still going strong.  Although Kris claims she hates having people watch her when she’s the last to finish a workout, she was absolutely amazed by the 50 or so people cheering her in from Murph this year, and grateful to the guys who ran in with her.  Kris likes CrossFit workouts that have rowing, dead lifts, and back squats in them.  Her favorite part about being a part of the CrossFit DownRiver family is the […]
May 6, 2017

Women & Weight Training

“Lifting weights will make you bulky.”  “Don’t lift weights or you will look like a guy.”  No doubt you’ve heard these phrases when it comes to deciding your path along the fitness journey.  But is this really the case?  Will lifting weights really mean you will Hulk right out of your shirt and be available for the next NFL draft?  Let’s look at some key facts: While it is true that cardio burns fat, lengthy cardio sessions also burn muscle. Why?  In a nutshell, the body uses three things as sources of fuel:  carbohydrates, fat and protein.  Fat cannot be burned without carbohydrates, so when the body’s carbohydrates stores are depleted through long cardio sessions, it will turn to proteins (muscle) for fuel. Muscle mass also determines your resting metabolic rate – the amount of calories you burn even during rest. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during everyday activities, even sitting! Adding a strength routine to your workouts not only burns more calories, it lowers blood pressure, helps prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, and burns more fat than straight cardio. Women will not “bulk up” simply by lifting heavy weights.Women produce small amounts of […]