Workout of the Day 4/19/18

Thursday 4/19

B stance Squat — 5×5 per side
This will be a new movement for most of you. Focus on moving well and keeping your squat mechanics intact, not on going heavy.

6 rounds for time:
8 DB pushups
8 DB box step overs
8 DB strict press

Do all three movements with the same DBs if you can — the strict presses will get hard, fast — you may need to go lighter than you think!


Workout of the Day 4/18/18

Wednesday 4/18

12 Minutes to find 1RM clean & jerk

If you’re new to these movements, don’t worry about maxing out. Use this as time to accumulate quality practice reps. Power cleans are OK, but no starfish!

2x500m row
Rest as needed in between (at least 4 min). Go hard the first time, then try to match your time as best you can on the second try. These are sprints!

Member Q&A Part 1: The Gym Business

This past week I asked the Sabertooth members what questions they had about fitness, CrossFit, life, or anything else that they were curious to learn more about. There were two main themes that came out of the exercise: Training questions, and questions about what it’s like to be a gym owner.

Have a question for Coach Chris? Feel free to post in the comments or email it to us —

We’re going to start it off with some of the great questions about the gym business! Later this week I’ll answer the training & fitness questions as well.

Walid wants to know: “When it comes to Sabertooth, what is the biggest risk you (you, Matt, and Tim) have taken? And really any insight on the business side of the gym. Partnerships with other businesses, direction/vision of the gym, growth, etc.”

Great question! There’s always risk any time you start a new business from scratch. However, I think it was actually less risky the start the business, than it was for me to leave my day job several years later. When I was still working at Target HQ, if anything went wrong at the gym, or we weren’t profitable, I could simply use my Target paycheck to cover the cost and not feel too much of a hit.  Lianna was working full time, we didn’t have Baby J yet, so financially it wasn’t terribly risky. The risk was spread across three owners. The bigger leap of faith came when I had to decide when to leave my job in merchandising at Target HQ, which I’d had for about 6 years.

I had always planned on leaving my day job to work at the gym. It had been a goal from the very beginning. However, I was hoping to be in a position to be taking consistent paychecks home from the gym before jumping ship. It became clear that to take the gym from breaking even to truly being successful, part-time wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to go all-in, or we’d probably get burned out.

In November 2016 I quit my job at Target and pull my full attention into running the gym business. It was pretty scary going from a super secure, relatively low-stress paycheck, to working for free.

From when I left my job, to the time I got to take my first gym paycheck home was longer than I expected. It was scary seeing my savings account getting smaller and smaller each month, but it also kept me motivated to continually take action and keep finding new ways to make our business grow. It took a while to really get things figured out. We’re constantly updating, evolving, changing the way we do things to make sure we’re on the road to a sustainable business, and a sustainable lifestyle for us as owners as well.

This year we hired a business mentor through a company called Two Brain Business, started by a super cool dude named Chris Cooper. He is THE expert when it comes to running a successful CrossFit gym. The best part is, his whole mentality and ethos revolves around Help First — help people get what they want, help people be successful, help people improve their lives first, and good things will happen for you as an owner. Our values are very closely aligned with our mentor’s, which is awesome.

Many of the bigger changes we’ve made this year have come from our talks with our mentor. A few of the most significant changes have been around our intake process — switching exclusively to one-on-one intro sessions, for example. We’re getting to know people much better, learning what their fitness goals are, and what drives them to come to the gym in the first place before they even do their first air squat. We’re serving people better this way, and making sure they are starting on the right track. The results with this change have been fantastic in terms of membership growth, and we are much better equipped to help our new members since we know a lot more about why they’re here in the first place.

We’ve never been short on ideas, but choosing the right ones, and then actually executing on them, has always been tough. Now we have a mentor to hold us accountable and help us see through the clutter. Even your coaches need coaching!

The gym is on a great trajectory, both from a culture and positive vibe standpoint, but also from a growth and financial perspective. We are trying to be the friendliest gym in the Twin Cities, the happiest place in the Twin Cities, AND be a sustainable, successful business at the same time. It’s an exciting time to be at Sabertooth!

Vern wants to know: What is the most frustrating thing about running a CrossFit box? The most rewarding?

I love this job. There are so many rewarding parts it’s hard to know where to start. I genuinely, honestly think I have the best job in the world. I have been doing this for years but my energy and passion for the business still (annoyingly) keeps me up at night sometimes. That’s a good problem to have.

Obviously, seeing people find their inner athlete, find their confidence, and do things they never thought would be possible in the gym is hugely rewarding. Every day when I get to the gym, even if I’ve had a terrible day, or Baby J kept us up all night, as soon as my members start coming in and the class gets started — I get filled right up with positive energy. I get to work directly with people, learn about their goals, confront their fears and their past failures, and help them become a better version of themselves. In the process I feel like they help me become better too.

Outside the physical gym, the skill set you need to run a business like this is super diverse. I am constantly being forced to learn new skills, new systems, new coaching methods…it’s been a CRAZY learning curve. For example, here are a few of the activities and skills I’ll use on a typical work day:

  • Coaching CrossFit
  • Bookkeeping
  • Video editing
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Graphic design
  • Event planning
  • Empathizing with a member about their horrible day at work
  • Meeting with new clients, other business owners

This makes it very satisfying, because there’s so much room for developing as a business owner and a person. I feel like a human Swiss-Army knife most days, and it’s been very rewarding to grow my skill set.

If I had to pick a most frustrating part…one of the things I’ve struggled most with is that the deeper I get into running the business, the more removed from the community I feel. I’ve slowly replaced myself in many of the member-facing roles, to have more time to work on behind-the-scenes roles that contribute to growth and improvement of services. This makes a lot of business sense but can be challenging personally. I currently only coach 3 classes per week, when I used to do more like 8-10. I LOVE coaching and I think I’m good at it. However, for the long term benefit of the gym, it makes more sense to hire other quality coaches, and keep my focus on the business side since it’s so complex.  Luckily for me, I also love running the business — but I miss spending more time with my members, working out with the classes, and just having the free time to hang around and shoot the breeze.

But it’s all worth it. The hard work and sacrifices on that front are getting me closer and closer to my “perfect day”,  I can be home with my family more often in the evenings, and ultimately we are helping more people than ever.

Lianna wants to know: Who is going to win the Women’s Individual CrossFit Games title this year?

You might as well pick a name out of a hat — there are SO many amazing women at the top right now, it’s hard to choose. I am personally a huge Kara Saunders (formerly Kara Webb) fan. She got 2nd last year by just 4 points, and absolutely crushed it in the Open. You can’t count out Tia Toomey, Katrin, Annie, or Sam Briggs either. My dream podium is Kara on top, Annie in 2nd, and Briggs in 3rd, but I don’t see Tia slipping off the podium unless she gets injured. It’s going to be a fun ride again in Madison this year!

— Coach Chris

Workout of the Day 4/17/18

Tuesday 4/17

3 ROUNDS – DB COMPLEX: Perform full complex w/o putting down db. Rest between rounds
5 Hang Snatch (L)
5 Goblet Squat
5 Hang Snatch (R)
5 Goblet Squat
5 Hang Clean to OH (L)
5 Goblet Squat
5 Hang Clean to OH (R)
5 Goblet Squat

3 rounds for time, with a partner:
30 log thrusters (both partners together)
30 burpees over the log (one partner at a time, 30 reps total as a team)
50 ft. walking lunges with log (both partners together).  Scaled: bodyweight lunges

The log isn’t very heavy, but it takes some teamwork and communication!
Please don’t drop the logs 🙂
15 minute cap.


As the kids say these days…YOLO. You only live once. It’s a stupid meme catchphrase that some people used as a hashtag when jumping over bonfires, chugging whole bottles of vodka, or other risky activities. As overused and silly as it is, this phrase really resonates with me. But I don’t think of it the same way as the Tide-pod-eating youth of today.

My thought is this: We only get one life. We only get one body. Shouldn’t we do everything in our power to make the most out of this amazing gift?

The only way to know what we are truly capable of is to get up and try. Try until we fail. Then try again. You can’t know what your true boundaries are unless you make an effort to find them.

So many people are resigned to being unhappy with their body, their abilities, their health, their job. While there are some unfortunate circumstances outside of our control that can hinder our ability to change these things, most of us have a choice. It’s not an easy choice, mind you — but the choice is there. We can continue to limp along thinking of our body as a rusted out 1989 Buick, filling it with garbage and neglecting the maintenance until it breaks down completely. Or we can start upgrading ourselves, one part at a time, through lots of hard work and diligence, with lots of support from friends, until we’re a Ferrari. We can choose to seek adversity to better ourselves, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This is a core reason why I do CrossFit, and a core reason why I left my easy corporate job to run this gym. I don’t need to try to be as good as Mat Fraser at CrossFit. I don’t need to be as good as Chris Cooper at running a fitness business.  I want to be the best that I can be — the best possible version of myself. There are times when I doubt myself. After a frustrating workout, or a disappointing competition result, I’d wonder if I’ve already had my best days as an athlete. In the months where I didn’t take home a paycheck from the gym after leaving my corporate job, I wondered if I was ever going to get out of the hole. I’m still believing, still working, still going, and good things keep happening.

I still have doubts, but I always come back to remember that nothing good ever comes easy. I can find more reasons to keep going, than to quit. That has taken me time and practice to realize. I might not be where I want to be yet. I might not be at the top of my game. But I’m on the path to get there, surrounded by a gym community who has my back, so I am choosing to enjoy the journey and not just wait for the destination. I’m trying to live like I mean it, because you only live once.

— Coach Chris

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