CFSV March Newsletter

JT Scott | 03/23/2014 |

Hey Villens!  We’ve got a lot of exciting things happening in and around CFSV and the larger community and we want to let you know all about them. Urban Agriculture projects are well underway, the CrossFit Open is more than halfway done, there are new opportunities to get involved in the neighborhood, and we’ve got some new ideas to run by you.  Keep reading to learn all about these things and more!

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    • Farewell to KP

    • Urban Ag Work Party March 22

    • CrossFit Open March 22 and March 29

    • Community Cooks April 2


    • What happened to “Rx”? (Part 1)


    • Urban Ag Work Party March 9

    • CrossFit Open Workouts


    • Nutrition Roundtable?

    • Your Input: Community Involvement



Farewell KP

Next week will be KP’s last full-time coaching week with CrossFit Somerville. She’s getting ready to transition into the adventure of starting up a new box on the south side of the Charles.

I’m grateful to have been a part of her journey and to have had her work with y’all here at CFSV. She’s been an integral part of our community and brought her wonderful energy and sense of caring for each of you, and I’m glad she’s been here to Mama Bear everyone at one point or another.

She started her CrossFit journey at Fenway in January 2010, dying on a rower with JT screaming at her – a few of you have heard that story, and I’m sure it will get told again. Personally, I feel that her path is an example of what I set out to do here: provide a venue and all the resources a person needs to discover new passions, new strengths, and the confidence and agency to go create positive change in the world. I’m excited by the prospect that she’ll be able to offer that chance to a few hundred new people, starting sometime around mid-2014.

We’ll be celebrating the end of the 2014 CrossFit Open and the end of her CFSV tenure with a party at her house on March 29th, starting around 7:30 pm. If you need more details (address, what to bring, etc) check the Facebook invite or ask one of us in the gym! (I’ll refrain from posting her home address here. 🙂

Urban Agriculture Progress

Thanks to our incredible crew on March 22nd, we’re basically ready to go! Nearly 9 tons of gravel and soil were shoveled and wheelbarrowed into place on Saturday after Open 14.4 – by many of the same folks who just gave it their all in the workout! As a result, the garden beds are ready to go, and the chicken coop is nearly finished.

We have seed starter trays peacefully sitting in our windows at home but we have a little ways until we can start planting seeds and starter plants (probably early-to mid april).  We can’t help but share what we are planning on planting! We will be growing on every surface possible… in the raised beds, containers, and up fences and trellises! Please let us know if you have ideas or want to grow specific veggies/flowers!

A Snapshot of what we will be planting…

Kale, swiss chard, sugar snap peas, pole beans, carrots, parsnips, beets, lettuce, arugula, spinach, cucumber, squashes of all varieties, potatoes, basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme oregano, chives, rosemary, sage, peppers, tomatoes, onions, leeks, broccoli, strawberries, nasturtiums, sun flowers, echinacea and more!

CrossFit Open Final Workout 14.5 March 29

Three Open workouts are in the books, so we have just two more to go until the world-wide test of fitness is complete.  Workouts 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, and 14.4 have tested a variety of skills and strengths that we learn in CrossFit, and have helped some of those competing to performing their first double-unders, first Toes-to-Bar, or to a PR in their deadlift!

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The final workout will be hosted at CrossFit Somerville on Saturday March 29, at 11 am.  We can only speculate what new challenges will come with the final workout, but I can guarantee that our athletes will continue to surprise themselves with what they are able to do.  Come to cheer on your fellow members as they challenge themselves in the world-wide Open!

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Community Cooks April 2

Community Cooks is an organization that helps to coordinate groups of volunteers to cook hot, healthy meals for local community homes and shelters.  Our Community Cooks group will begin their volunteer service on April 2, by cooking a meal for the Windsor House in Somerville.  From Steve Coughlin of Community Cooks:

“We have a great need for food at Windsor House Somerville.  It is a adult day program for seniors with physical and other disabilities.  The goal of the program is to provide services that allow the seniors to stay in their own homes.  The clients at Windsor House would be so thrilled to have a nutritious homecooked lunch once a month.

In visiting this facility, I have seen people whose days are so brightened by knowing someone from “the outside” cares enough to provide a healthy lunch.  The lunch serves 25 people, which would be a real doable size for the CrossFit team.”

We will be cooking on the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm, starting April 2nd in JTs kitchen.  If you have already expressed your interested then you should have received an email already.  If you are interested in joining this group or hearing more, email

Event Recaps

Open Workouts

The CrossFit Open is almost done, and we’ve seen some incredible achievements in the past 4 weeks. As we approach this final week, I want to remind you of not just all that you’ve achieved and seen your fellow athletes achieve in the past 4 weeks, but also of the amazing community that has come together around you.

Lydia’s first double unders came this year. Last year the Open saw Christine get her first toes-to-bar; this year she did 39 of them in Open 14.4. The crowd and the energy and the inspiration drove Ryan (among others) to PR his deadlift in 14.3. Committing to try our hardest in these five workouts can provide us with an opportunity to channel all the hard work and preparation we’ve been doing into concrete proof that we are capable of much more than we previously suspected.

In addition, the community we’re building at CrossFit Somerville really is remarkable. I’ve been around CrossFit for many years (JT is a CrossFit hipster – he liked it before it was cool) and without doubt this is the most progressive and diverse CrossFit community I’ve ever seen. Looking around at the people giving it their all these last four weeks I’ve been completely impressed by who you are, how hard you’re trying, and how much you’re there to support each other.

Engaging in CrossFit in the way that we have can be a lifelong, transformative journey. We are learning from each other and holding each other up, and it’s our privilege and pleasure as coaches to support you in that journey and to have you there supporting us as well. The past four weeks have been spectacular examples of that – and if you haven’t been out to see it yet, I encourage you to come this Saturday at 11am to cheer for your compatriots (and make your own plans to give it a try next year)!

Urban Agriculture Work Parties March 9 and March 22

We have many exciting updates to share as this awesome project takes shape! We broke ground with our first work party last Sunday, March 9. Thanks to all the volunteers that brought skills, tools, food, and enthusiasm for making this work party a great success!  We made a lot of progress on the chicken coop by preparing the site, cutting and preparing the materials and building the frame. After our second weekend, the coop is on its foundation and almost complete!

The backyard preparation began by digging and clearing out miscellaneous items, brush, and garbage. In preparation for raised garden beds, the back, southfacing pathway was cleared of all debris and the soil was leveled and packed. Also, a semi circular bed was constructed out of cinder blocks along the retaining the wall. While the crew outside was hard at work, people in the gym were dismantling reclaimed pallets from Taza Chocolate Factory and old dormitory beds from Harvard’s Recycling Center to build the garden beds.

After the second weekend, all these recycled materials had been used to build four beautiful raised garden beds 10’ in length and 18” tall. These are constructed and placed outside along the pathway, and as of the second work party they’ve been filled with gravel, lined with plastic, and topped off with nutritious composted earth from City Soil.

A Note from JT: Whatever Happened to Rx? (Part 1: Physical/Practical)

Some of you have noticed that over the last few months we’ve used the “Rx” designation for weights more sparingly.

Your coaches literally spend all day watching you train, listening to your concerns, and talking  with each other about your progress (or lack thereof) and the challenges you’re facing. One of the things we noticed several months ago was a set of bad habits being developed around the concept of “as Rx” with regard to your daily WOD. Fixation with that number was beginning to actively hamper some of our intermediate athletes from making good training decisions (and therefore good progress).

So to head this off at the pass, we began reducing the number of WODs that had set weights as the definition of “Rx”.

Every time the “Rx” is listed – on our site, on main page, or anywhere else listing workouts for training purposes – the intention is usually that only the most advanced athletes will be able to do the entire workout “as Rx” and everyone else needs to scale appropriately. I don’t know more than a hundred people in the entire USA that can do every CrossFit benchmark WOD “as Rx” in a reasonable time domain. (Those are the folks you see on ESPN2 each year – and even there, some people don’t finish every WOD under the time cap.)

Knowing when you’ve got the capability to “Rx” a WOD and when you need to be scaling down for effective training is something we’re here to help you with, but all too often it’s easy for someone making the transition from beginner to intermediate/advanced to get trapped in over-reaching for those two little letters.

We didn’t get rid of the “Rx” completely – there have been plenty of WODs each week that still have set weights. Nor is this a new innovation – even’s HQ workouts from the very first days of posting them online included workouts with no absolute weight specified, or weight specified based on a percentage of the athlete’s bodyweight.

So how’s that working out for us?

We’ve seen good progress in bringing people back to a healthy approach to training since making this change. I track the injuries that occur in the box, and I can tell you that the number of preventable injuries have reduced dramatically once we began emphasizing a change in focus from “getting the Rx next to your name” to “training effectively”. For me, this is an unqualified victory.

The purposes of training are to get better each day, to get closer to our specific performance goals, to be more functional in the rest of our lives, and to be able to continue training effectively tomorrow.

At this point in the history of CrossFit, there are literally hundreds of benchmark workouts available to give you a comparison point of how strong or fast you can reasonably be when compared to hundreds of thousands of your fellow athletes. We don’t need to be setting the bar with every day’s WOD; we need to be advancing your fitness forward with every WOD.

Every “girl”, Hero, Open, Regionals, and Games WOD is a strictly prescribed, no-scaling goal for you to either conquer or set as a goal to conquer. And as training goals, these WODs are excellent!

But as training tools, some of these workouts leave something to be desired. Attacking them “as Rx” and sacrificing speed or form is at best depriving you of the intended training stimulus that you need to get stronger/faster/skilled enough to do the WOD competitively – and at worst it’s setting you up for an injury.

Now that we’ve made some progress and are feeling good about where you’re at, we’ve been bringing back the “Rx”.

We will keep using “Rx” in our programming, because it can be really useful! On one level it’s a great tool for letting you know what is actually possible if you work hard and diligently. We will also keep listing an “Rx” in some workouts because it’s a point of calibration, based on the capabilities of our most advanced athletes – and it can help us communicate to everyone the desired stimulus we’re programming for. (“Are these deadlifts supposed to be heavier or faster? Hmm. It’s ony 5 reps each round, and Rx says 275, so I’m thinking they should be on the heavy side.”) As you get more experienced in CrossFit, you’ll learn how to read intent into the programming – and when you aren’t sure, you can ask us!

We’ll also continue to program the occasional “benchmark” WOD – classic, universal CrossFit workouts that can either be useful for training when scaled appropriately and also as an opportunity to see how far you’ve progressed in your training. Completing your first “Rx”d Fran or Murph is an unforgettable experience, and we want to help you get there.

In the meantime, this is your personal invitation to talk to me about your personal prescription! If you’ve got a competition coming up or just a goal to finally be able to “Rx” your favorite Girl or Hero WOD, send me an email at I’ll be glad to listen to what you want to do – and establish a personal RX for you to follow to get you to “Rx”.

CFSV Community Updates

Nutrition Roundtable

Do you have an interest in topics regarding nutrition?  Do you have more questions than answers about how you should eat to fuel your workouts?  Do you have particular nutrition goals but aren’t sure where to start?

Nutrition is an important part of building a strong, healthy body – and one of the most sensitive topics we handle. There are many different approaches, and the success of each approach depends on the person, the goals, and the implementation details of any dietary changes.

We aren’t claiming to have all of the answers, but we’d like to create a forum for discussing some of these topics.  To that end, we are thinking about starting a semi-regular nutrition roundtable.  Let us know your thoughts about what you would like to learn or topics you would like to discuss from a group like this by emailing

Your Input: Community Involvement

As you can probably tell, we do a lot! As the summer starts up, there will be even more opportunities for us to get involved in friendly competitions and other community events.

Crossfit Somerville is a place where community members come together to do some pretty awesome things. Do you have ideas for ways that Crossfit Somerville can improve? Are there specific programs or seminars that you would like us to offer? Do you have ideas for volunteering opportunities, projects, group trips, or social events?

If you are passionate about making something happen, we will work with you to find the resources to make it a reality.  Contact to start making the most of your CFSV experience!

Future Newsletters

Now that you’ve read what we had to tell you about, tell us what YOU would like to read about!  In addition to announcements about events happening at CFSV and schedule updates, what would interest you in a monthly update from your Coaches?  Tell us what you think and why!  Email with ideas and suggestions.