New Programming Focus – August 2017


Congratulations on the completion of our latest 10-week cycle! This upcoming 6-week focus will lead us directly into the 416 Classic scheduled for the end of September.

The 2017 ‘416 Classic’  will have an added twist this year.  Along with the classic Olympic Lifts – Snatch and Clean & Jerk, we will also include a barbell complex or two to spice up the competition.

Our latest 6-week focus will include challenges of barbell complexes which combine multiple movements within the same set. This will teach you is to concentrate on the technical aspects between start, execution and  finish positions within movements. Technique is the usually the limiting factor in Olympic weightlifting, not strength.  Complexes add time under tension requiring you to execute complex movements under fatigue.


Goals over the next 6 weeks includes:

–       Build a work capacity that will directly apply to the Olympic Lifts

–       Gain full control over your technical Olympic Lifts

–       To develop a wider range of mastery with the barbell

–       Have a little mental break from performing heavy reps all the time. (Complexes generally force you to go a little lighter)

–       Have a lot of fun!


Here is the breakdown of what to look forward to over the next 6 weeks! Our major focus will be on Olympic Weightlifting and dialing in on barbell confidence and consistency. If you are a new weightlifter, you may be experiencing frustrations with the technical aspects of these movements – that is completely normal. Well-seasoned lifters will experience “off days” as well, but these are the trials and tribulations that come with training Olympic weightlifting! Get ready to ride and conquer the wave.

Again we will provide  7 days worth of programming, alternating between lifting and conditioning days.


Lifting days: Monday, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays.

Lifting Days include:

Squat Snatch + Back Squat Volume WOD

Snatch Complex + Back Squat Intensity

Squat Clean + Front Squat Volume WOD

Clean Complex + Front Squat Intensity

Split Jerk + Strict Press Volume WOD

Jerk Complex  + Pressing Intensity

* will be on a rotating basis week to week to ensure there is a balance in variation


Conditioning days: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays

These days will include:

– Pull-Ups, Toes-to-bar, Pistols, Ring Muscle Ups, Bar Muscle Ups, Handstand Push-Ups

– Integration of mobility, stability, and proper body positions to prime you for the movement during the WOD

– Encourage the importance of developing strict strength before adding any kipping movement


The team at 416 is really looking forward to coaching you throughout the next 6-week cycle. Brace yourself – the Classic is coming.

See you at the bar!

– Rachel

Tracking Personal Recovery to Improve Performance – Here’s How

How can I track and optimize my recovery?

We all know that recovery is important to our training success.  Understanding your own recovery will help you make informed decisions about your training. But what should you be looking for?  How do you know when you might need a little more rest?

Recovery needs to be constantly monitored using a series of indicators that will show trends in increasing or declining performance.

Below are 9 indicators that can be monitored daily.

Resting Heart Rate

In times of distress (Flight or fight) the heart rate will elevate, this may be a sign of sympathetic overtraining.  A decreased heart rate may indicate parasympathetic “rest and digest” stress, which brings the body back to homeostasis.

Resting heart rate can be measured by taking the pulse on your wrist or neck and counting the number of beats in 60 seconds.  The most accurate time will be before getting out bed (from a decent night’s sleep).  Following 3 weeks of data, a change +/- 5% can be considered a negative response associated with fatigue or stress.

Body Weight

Drastic changes in body weight can have negative effects on performance and cognitive functionality.  Weight can fluctuate because of loss or gain in body fat, muscle mass and/or insufficient hydration or nutrition.  Monitoring weight will provide feedback on daily energy and hydration needs.  A loss of body weight of greater than 2% is considered a negative response, and can negatively impact recovery and performance.


Sleep quantity and sleep quality are important markers to track in relation to performance.  Sleep affects growth hormone and testosterone production and release; the immune system; and muscle repair, all of which can affect performance. It has been suggested that eight hours of sleep each night should be the target, and a good marker to set when tracking sleep quantity.  While in a deep sleep, more oxygen, growth hormones and nutrients are delivered to muscles which will aid in better recovery.  Measuring sleep quality can be as simple as: Did you wake up during the night? were you tossing and turning?  Were you restless?  There are also many apps you can download to help track sleep quality.


When the sympathetic nervous system is triggered due to stress such as increased training volume or intensity, appetite will decrease.  This will negatively affect energy balance, hydration and performance.  Proper consumption of macronutrients and micronutrients will affect recovery, performance, immune-system, and hormonal balance.  This marker will also be directly related to body weight changes.

Muscle Soreness

The effectiveness of a training program can be tied to the principle of overload.  Challenging the body differently in each training session with adjustments in movement, volume and intensity to produce a positive training response.  These variables if applied properly will damage muscle fibers and result in soreness.  Persistent or severe soreness can indicate the need for further recovery.


Many of the above markers can be affected by mood.  Work, family, relationships, finances can be very stressful and we see mood swings, depression and anxiety very often in today’s population.  These stressful states will have a negative affect on training, and are worth monitoring throughout a given day.

Immune Status

Everything you’ve read about “sweating it out” may not be the best solution to recovering when feeling under the weather.  When a feeling of headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, coughing, or sore throats are present; high intensity training can exacerbate the symptoms, and is recommended to not partake in training until recovered.

Previous Training Day

Effective training programs should lead to progress.  If training is leading to a drop in results it may be indicative of decreased recovery status.  Everyone will have a bad day here and there, but a trend of poor performances in training is a clear sign of that further recovery may be needed.


Tracking these markers over days, weeks and months will provide you with a snapshot of how effective your recovery is.  Using a rating scale of 1-5 is an effective and easy approach.  After a few weeks of data, follow these guidelines.

1)80-100% positive trending responses is a green light to continue your training and recovery processes and potentially even in crease volume or intensity

2)60-80% positive trending responses, you should continue training, but with caution. Potentially lower training volume and intensity or plan another rest day

3)Less than 50% positive trending responses is an indication to stop your training program and prioritize your recovery method and strategies.

In our 416Life Nutrition and Lifestyle program, recovery plays a major role in our prescription.  The templates we provide to members include an interactive table and chart to map out your recovery markers week to week.  These markers assist your coach in determining nutritional or lifestyle adjustments to help reach your goal.



You can learn more about the 416Life program here, or book a FREE Goal Setting session with Coach Robyn to see if the program is a good fit for you.




How to Get Your First Muscle-up

What is holding you back from your first muscle-up?

Much like a pull-up early on in your training journey, the muscle-up is one of the most coveted movements in CrossFit.  Everyone remembers the time they got their first one and the feeling of excitement and accomplishment that ensued.

The muscle-up is the ultimate test of the upper body, moving from a vertical pull through a transition into a dip.  This requires strength, mobility, stability, body awareness and technique.

So where do you start?

To ensure you have the appropriate strength and stability, we recommend the ability to perform 5 x strict chest to bar pull-ups and 5 x strict ring dips as the bare minimum.  The more pull-ups and ring dips you are able to complete, the faster the muscle-up will come.

Once you’re are able to achieve this bare minimum, skill and body shape/awareness must be acquired.

Learning the transition in a muscle-up can prove to be a daunting task, but here are a few sure-fire ways to achieve it with dedicated practice.

False Grip – The false grip rotates your hands over the rings so that your wrist carries most of your body weight and shortens your lever arm decreasing the distance from the hanging position to the start of the transition. This false grip will also provide a natural shift into the dip portion of the movement.  To become comfortable in the false grip, first practice on the low rings, hanging back (like a ring row), then work your way to the high rings. Hang time is the important factor.  Challenge yourself by simply hanging in the false grip building up to :30 sec (make sure your arms are completely locked out) in an active position.




Pulling Mechanics – Once you have mastered the false grip, you must be able to maintain it while pulling your body up to the rings. Since you achieved the bare minimum of 5 strict chest to bar pull-ups, we know that you have the strength; the skill is your ability to keep your knuckles and rings as close together as possible through the pull while you aim to bring your sternum to the rings.  Allowing the rings to come apart and outside your body will significantly increase the difficulty of the transition. Practice this on the low rings, with control, and work your way up to the high rings. With your body hanging, it is crucial to maintain a hollow body position to limit force bleed and provide mechanical advantage.  As you pull, keep the legs pressing together and slightly in front of the rings with your abs braced.


The Dip and Ring Support – A muscle-up transition performed with efficiency will result in a very low receiving position (think elbows above your shoulders at the bottom of a dip). Becoming comfortable in this position requires stability at the end range of your shoulder extension.  Start on the low rings and lower down as far as you can in a ring dip and try to hold (ensure you’re keeping the rings close to your body).  Build up until you can hold for :25-:30 sec.  Once you can achieve this, work at pressing out that low dip position to the top of a ring dip with your arms locked out


The Transition – The transition is the link between the hang, pull, and dip in the muscle-up.  Once you have accomplished the above skill and strength requirements, developing the transition will be the final piece.  Starting on the low rings with your toes on the ground, practice the transition by pulling in a false grip to your sternum, then drive your head between the rings as you outline your chest with your thumbs, and pull your elbows behind you.  You will then find yourself at the bottom of a ring dip.  Continue to practice this on the low rings until you reach 40-50 reps over the course of a week or two.  Then challenge yourself on the high rings.


The above progression is a baseline to achieving a strict muscle-up.  Becoming comfortable in the static positions, and practicing the skill work are both required to accelerate your success.

Along the way there may be some sticking points. I encourage you to book a 30 min skill session with a coach to help identify your technical issues and develop a an individualized plan to achieving your goal.

Book your session today!




GRIT Running – Bright Spots of Cycle #1

GRIT Running’s first cycle is entering its final week. It was a great first go-round, with many memorable moments. The best feedback thus far is hearing that athletes are embracing the opportunity to push their limits on all ends of the performance spectrum.

Two examples that jump out are Keren working through a knee injury and gradually beginning to log additional kilometers on her feet; and Artem unintentionally besting his 5km during class with a tremendous 17:08.

The focus of the first cycle focused on pacing splits efficiently and building work capacity by exposure to different running protocols. Exposure to throwing, plyometrics and loaded carries (sleds, sandbags) provided the opportunity to apply explosive strength.

Due to popular demand, weekend homework is now included. Our homework allows the athletes to get some longer distances on their feet and includes a contest element. Preeti, who is now enjoying her running, was the first winner. She won a Lululemon water bottle for her picture of the cityscape from the East end of the waterfront.

As the program moves forward, these elements will continue to form the foundation of the program, but we also look forward to providing athletes the opportunity to improve their running mechanics and technique. We’ll do this by applying warm-ups that focus on biomechanical efficiency. We will also address cadence and technique in our workouts through the incorporation of targeted progressions.

Additionally, we will be incorporating GRIT Debriefs into the program design. GRIT Debriefs are an opportunity for coach-athlete collaboration in an open-ended way. Whether its goal setting, injury concern, feedback on the program, or just about anything else, the debrief will provide the opportunity for athletes and coaches to address issues and problem solve together.

If you’re interested in booking a debrief, send Coach Andrew a note.

You can now sign-up for our summer cycle (June 19 – August 9) Click here:

The Principle of Progressive Overloading in Running and Building Your Engine

“Progressive Overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise training”. It is the universal principle that links together many strength and conditioning programs, including weightlifting, high-intensity training, physical therapy, etc. The opposite of Progressive Overload training is to do the same workout again and again.

To my knowledge, the term Progressive Overload remains generally left out of the vernacular in the running community, but the principle remains. Instead, terms like tempo, intervals and lactate threshold training are more common. All these concepts come down to the simple idea that if you want to improve your body’s adaptation, the volume and intensity should be gradually increased to support your goal.

How does this apply to running? Use the example of wanting to improve your 5km race time. If your current 5km is 22 minutes, there are two general approaches you could take:

  1. Go out and run 5km and build your bodies adaptation process. This is the equivalent of doing the same thing again and again. This approach is standard and the training intensity is likely to respond to how your feeling and the environmental conditions of the day.
  2. Progressive Overload Principle: This could take several forms.
    • Interval/Tempo runs: The simplest example is 1km splits at 3:59 to get your body use to running at a sub 20-minute pace.
    • Longer Runs: Use longer runs to build your body’s adaptation working at longer time domains. This strategy is difficult to employ for longer distances because it is often the goal just to accomplish the distance itself but could work for 5 and 10km.
    • Add Variety: Using loaded carries (sandbags, sleds), adding throws, plyometrics, and speed work all support adaptation. The added benefit of these exercises is that they target the positions and muscles that runners often neglect.

In GRIT, we apply the Progressive Overload Principle in all of our workouts, such as adding loaded carries and throws to our aerobic based workouts. The pacing workouts provide the opportunity to get our bodies used to moving at higher intensities. It may be that the first lap you to run feels easy and that’s because it should be. It will be sub-maximal effort while you’re feeling fresh, but as your body begins to fatigue, the goal is to maintain the effort. This teaches your body to adapt and sustain an overall faster pace over longer runs.

For the CrossFitter or general fitness enthusiasts, the great benefit is that improving your running will translate into your ability to sustain your output in your other workouts. In other words, when you build your running engine, it builds your overall ability to in other workouts. This is why many top CrossFitters have incorporated strategic running workouts into their programs, but the idea is not new. For example, Muhammad Ali always used running in his training. He developed this habit from a very young age and used it through his entire career.  If you need to go 12 rounds, your body needs to be able to keep processing oxygen even if you’re tired.

Regardless of your goal, using the Progressive Overload Principle can structure your approach by ensuring volume and intensity are balanced to support progress. The benefit for runners is that this can lead to personal bests. The advantage for CrossFitters and others looking to incorporate running into their regime is that there are carryover benefits to your other training.


Check out the Grit Running Page for info on our training program.





New Programming Cycle – June 2017

Congratulations on completing our latest cycle! We had a great time coaching you to strength PR’s while addressing common structural imbalances. It goes to show that implementing mixture of bilateral/unilateral loaded movements, holds and carries are extremely beneficial in strength gains!

Next up: our focus will be to develop strength, explosiveness and athleticism via Power and Olympic lifts. Also included will be dedicated exposure to gymnastic movements. Conditioning will compliment the volume and intensity completed in strength or skill work.

There are 3 blocks within this cycle that follow a 21-day template. Within each 21-day template you will be exposed to a squat/pressing variation, Deadlift, Olympic lifting, dedicated focus on gymnastic days, Primal & unilateral focused days as well as OHS development.

Day 1: Intensity WOD + Back Squat & Press

Day 2: Deadlift & Pull ups + WOD

Day 3: Gymnastics Volume + WOD

Day 4: Heavy Primal/Unilateral /Strongman/OHS

Day 5: Olympic Lifting + WOD

Day 6: Partner WOD

Day 7: Gymnastic Intensity + WOD

Day 8: Back Squat & Press + WOD

Day 9: Olympic Lifting + WOD

Day 10: Gymnastic Intensity + WOD

Day 11: Intensity WOD + Back Squat & Floor Press

Day 12: Olympic Lifting + WOD

Day 13 : Partner WOD

Day 14: Gymnastics Volume + WOD

Day 15: Heavy Primal/Unilateral & Strongman

Day 16: Olympic Lifting & WOD

Day 17: Gymnastics Volume + WOD

Day 18: Back Squat & Floor Press + WOD

Day 19: Overhead Squat & WOD

Day 20: Partner WOD

Day 21: Gymnastics Intensity + WOD



We are going to prioritize the back squat. It will be your best friend in getting you hella strong! Squatting days will be coupled with a pressing variation balancing the stress of increased weight and varied volume with adequate recovery in order to see progress for an extended period of time and avoid stalling. Variables will change within each block. Deadlifts will be paired with strict pull-ups and seen once per block due to ensure adequate recovery.

Heavy Primal/Unilateral Movements

We have become accustomed to primarily moving in one plane of motion while we train. The addition of heavy primal and unilateral work will force us to challenge various ranges of motion, all while developing strength and stability in different planes of movement translating to better movement in every day life.

Olympic Weightlifting

Olympic lifts are the most effective way to train explosiveness and athleticism using a barbell. Both fitness and performance will incrementally develop power by following a linear progression. Tech work will vary and be completed before to prime the movement for working sets.


There will be a dedicated focus on two gymnastic movements within each block. Gymnastics focus days will be on Wednesdays and Sundays, alternating between volume and intensity within each block to ensure adequate exposure.


GPP. Constantly varied. Be prepared for anything…. including seeing WOD’s before your strength work!


Some things to keep in mind over the next 10 weeks:

  • We are here to train proper movement! Strive to maintain proper posture and position with all movements you do, this is imperative to optimizing your training!
  • A high score on the whiteboard means nothing if you are moving poorly.
  • Take rest days. Listen to your body, if it’s saying no, say no to the gym and enjoy a day off. This will better you in the long run and improve your training!
  • Be open to new training methodologies and have AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE!


– Coach Koo