Get ready for the Performance Series – Competition Cycle!



Are you looking to work on your team, partner or individual competition skills? Do you get a pump from pushing or being pushed by others during a workout? Whichever it is, worry not because we’ve got you. The Performance Series is getting ready to kick off its next 12-week cycle.

The Competition Cycle of the Performance Series will take place between August 14th and November 13th. Its focus will be on preparing athletes in a competition environment. This will include skill prep, strength and supplemental lifting and conditioning, individual, team and/or partner workouts.

Unlike the Open and Skills cycle, the Competition cycle does not have a developmental component. There are prerequisites for registering. To qualify for the Competition Cycle, each athlete must be able to do the following:

  • Deadlift 1.5x their bodyweight

  • Squat 1.25x their bodyweight

  • Clean (power or full) 75% their bodyweight

  • Be able to complete at least 5 unbroken reps of at least one of the following skills OR 3 unbroken reps of two or more of the following:

    • Pull-up

    • T2B

    • HSPU

As part of the series, you will be tested on three Benchmark workouts that will be re-tested at the end of the series to measure of improvement.  These benchmarks are:

  • Grace

  • Cindy XXX

  • Karabel

The Cycle registrations starts August 5th and will go until August 13th or all slots are filled.  Participants in the Competition Cycle will meet on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 AM for 90 minute sessions. To ensure we can provide the detailed feedback necessary to help each athlete grow, space in the Cycle will be limited to 16 athletes for this 12 week period and available to all CFSA members. If you are ready to kick off your skill development journey, sign up here. Don’t wait!

Olympic Weightlifting 3-Week Course

Take your weightlifting to the next level.

CFSA Squad,

Now’s your chance to attend CrossFit South Arlington’s newest and most unique offering yet: the Oly Series with Coach Mehdi. Starting on Saturday August 4th, this 3-week exclusive course is a combination of applied drill work, lecture content and customized weightlifting homework, guaranteed to get you to the next level of olympic weightlifting.

Here’s what to expect from this series:
– Once-a-week 90 minute class with Coach Mehdi (Saturdays 7:30am-9am)
– A focus on the Snatch for all 3 weeks (Clean & Jerk series coming soon)
– Extensive applied technique work to help you build speed and dial-in optimal positions in the lifts
– Short lecture content on the fundamental and key concepts of the Snatch
– Specific and individualized homework to be done during Open Gym twice a week (plus selected readings)
– An exclusive course capped at 6 athletes to ensure ample attention and value provided to each individual athlete
– An online forum/group for Q&A and active discussions on all things weightlifting-related

Need an even higher level of coaching? This series will also offer the option to get video review and feedback on each one of your homework sessions. Make sure to get Coach Mehdi’s eyes on all your lifts!

This series is not for the novice athlete. In order to participate, you must:
1. Have a minimum of 6 months experience with the Snatch
2. Be able to perform the following a full depth overhead squat at 60% of bodyweight
3. Have attempted a 1-rep max Snatch in the past (and remember the weight successfully lifted)

The series is priced at $125. Video review/feedback is an addition $75. Sign up for both before July 12th and pay $180 for the combo (10% discount).

Interested? Submit an application by emailing us at and tell us about your weightlifting experience. Don’t wait, reach out now as only a few spots are open!

A bit about Coach Mehdi El-Amine:
– Mehdi has been coaching CrossFit since 2011 and the sport of Olympic Weightlifting since 2013. Former USAW Level 1 coach and Level 2 certified, Mehdi founded the Last Pull Weightlifting Club at CrossFit Reston in 2014 and coached many successful lifters over a 3 year period. Mehdi has studied with many prominent US coaches including Bob Takano, Greg Everett, Mark Canella and Chris Wilkes. He describes his approach to teaching the olympic lifts as a pragmatic blend of scientific coaching and American-style instruction.

CFSA Endurance Program


Are you ready to run some long distances? Do you want to run your next 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon faster without dedicating all of your time to running? Or are you tired of hating running and just want to be better at it?

The CFSA Endurance Program with Coach Nate will help you eliminate unnecessary junk miles and develop your running technique. Our program will also help you build power, strength, and endurance so that you can train more efficiently and shatter old personal records.

Every athlete in the Endurance Program will get to:

  • Develop the skill of running
  • Spend ample time on drills to reinforce proper running technique
  • Benefit from running gait analysis and real-time coach feedback
  • Improve their cardiovascular engine/aerobic capacity
  • Get access to a special Endurance programming track in SugarWOD

The CFSA Endurance Program offers three weekly running workouts designed specifically to help you both become a better runner and increase your overall endurance capacity. The three workouts include a short interval session, a long interval threshold session, and a time trial or tempo run session. Before each workout, athletes will spend time on foot placement and running mechanics drills inspired from the Pose method and designed to make you lighter on your feet.

Participants in the Endurance Program will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 AM for 75 minute sessions. The third running workout is programmed for Saturdays/Sundays and athletes complete it on their own. Spaces for the program are limited to 16 athletes and are available to all CFSA members as well as non-members (bring a friend!). This 12-week program starts June 26th and runs through September 29th. If you are ready to make running your rest, sign up here!

And to go along with the full program, CFSA and Coach Nate will be hosting a 2-hour running clinic on Saturday June 16th at 8am. This clinic will cover warming up, gait analysis, technique elements, drills and skill application. Needless to say, it is going to be packed with useful goodies to make you a better runner. Spaces for the clinic are limited to 12 participants. Don’t miss out, sign-up for it here!

Coach Nate

Nate ran track and cross country in high school and continued participating in endurance sports since. He has completed 4 marathons, 2 half marathons, 1 sprint triathlon, 1 super sprint triathlon, numerous road races ranging from 5K to 10K, and several obstacle course races. Nate discovered the CrossFit Endurance methodology in 2009 and had a 24 minute PR in his marathon. He has been CrossFit Endurance certified and teaching the skill of running since 2011. Come work with Nate at the running clinic or sign-up for his endurance program and let him help you achieve your endurance goals!

Got questions? Email us at for some quick answers!

Memorial Day Murph – Strategy and Scaling


In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. After his passing, it was referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

(For more on this story: read the book or watch the movie Lone Survivor based on the events of Michael Murphy’s last mission)



This year CFSA is doing Murph on Saturday, May 26th. We’ll be holding our regular classes at 9:30am and 10:30am. Afterwards, we’ll have a cookout and potluck at 11:30am.


This is a long workout. Typically it should take no less than 30 minutes and could take up to an hour for advanced athletes who are doing the Rx version (or with a vest).

This year, we are going with the following versions of Murph:

Alpha (Rx Only) ** Bravo Charlie Delta (Team)
Run 1 mile Run 0.75 mile Run 0.5 mile Run 1 mile (both)
100 Pull-Ups 75 Pull-Ups 50 Pull-Ups 50 Pull-Ups (each)
200 Push-Ups 150 Push-Ups 100 Push-Ups 100 Push-Ups (each)
300 Squats 200 Squats 150 Squats 150 Squats (each)
Run 1 mile Run 0.75 mile Run 0.5 mile Run 1 mile (both)

Do this if you have been training 4-5 days/week consistently for a year or more. Consider adding a vest only if you have done a full Murph without the vest before. Rx’d only.


Recommended if you have been training 3-5 days/week for over 6 months. Open to more experienced athletes. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.


Recommended if you have been training for less than 6 months. Open to all. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.


Recommended if you have been training for less than 6 months. Open to all. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.


If you cannot run, you may substitute with rowing:

  • Alpha: 2000m row
  • Bravo: 1500m row
  • Charlie: 1000m row
  • Delta: 2000m row (both partners row this distance in parallel)

Any of the above versions, except for ALPHA, can be scaled further with the following substitutions:

  • Pull-Up → Banded Pull-Up or Ring Row
  • Push-Up → Knee Push-Up
  • Air Squat → KB Deadlift (in case of a knee injury)



The old school Rx version of Murph called for a mile run, followed by all 100 pull-ups, then all 200 pull-ups, then all 300 air squats, and finally a second mile run. That is a VERY difficult version that is only recommended for highly advanced athletes (3+ years of CrossFit) with high proficiency in gymnastics movements.

Another RX way to approach this workout is to break up the bodyweight movements into “rounds”. The most common approach is the following:

Run 1 mile

Then perform 20 rounds of:

  • 5 Pull-Ups
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 15 Air Squats

Run 1 mile


Note that this approach can also be used for Bravo, Charlie or Delta.


Run 0.75 mile. Then perform 15 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats. Run 0.75 mile.


Run 0.5 mile. Then perform 10 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats. Run 0.5 mile.


Run 1 mile with your partner. Alternate 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats (each partner doing 10 rounds). Run 1 mile.


Choose your version and scaling option(s) wisely. If this takes you 20 mins or less, it was probably too easy. At the same time, you don’t want to be taking breaks that are over a minute long between sets of pull-ups or push-ups, that’s too hard and likely not safe. Remember you can always change your scaling option mid-way through the workout if that sets you up for a better chance of success.

See you on Saturday.

CFSA Bright Spots – Eoin Byrne

When we turn the bright spot on members, we want the focus to be on them — and sometimes, it’s because of the light they bring to our community!


Eoin Byrne dove right in to this whole CrossFit thing, crushed his first Open, and has been a team player and friendly face in the gym since Day One. So we asked him a few questions…


What brought you to CrossFit/CFSA in the first place?  I have been training on and off for about 5 years but could never settle into any steady routine beyond 2 / 3 months. CrossFit was recommended to me because I lack the motivation to do the necessary work alone in the gym. I am a very social person so the team dynamic appealed to me.


What was your first impression? How has that changed? My first impression was honestly really positive.  The trainers were all so accommodating and encouraging.  I enjoyed my first session and realized that CrossFit folks were down to earth and could also enjoy the odd laugh during the class. My first impression has not changed so much except personally I have become more goal oriented.  I now care less about how I look cosmetically, rather how fit I am and how much range of motion I can achieve.


What was your first “bright spot” or moment of success?  During the open, in 18.3, I was able to do a full set of chin over bar pull ups…  I was shocked, I think my judge was also.


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?  My favorite CSFA memory should be my pull up achievement in 18.3 but its is actually just the memory of getting to know the other athletes in the gym over the past weeks.  Being new to living in the DMV and indeed new to the US, it has been great to have a social outlet that is not my job and not a bar. I have found CFSA to be a really open and welcoming environment.

With regard to health and fitness what are you working on or working toward now?  I am actively working on my mobility.  After about 2 months I grew frustrated with certain aspects of my mobility.  Specifically I could not reach the required squat depth. I spoke to coach Meredyth who suggested that I do some focused (personal training) with (Coach) Caroline.  During these sessions we focus on my mobility with the goal of properly reaching a good squat depth. She also designed a simple plan for me to follow before each workout.  Caroline has been invaluable. While I am not there yet, I have made significant progress. Other than that, I hope to join the (level) 200 class by the end of the summer.

Join the 800g Challenge




This challenge was designed by OptimizeMe Nutrition. Eat 800 grams (g) or fruits and/or vegetables, by weight, per day.

No foods are eliminated, but only fruits and veggies count toward the 800g. Eat the fruits and veggies or your choice. Hit the macros you want.

Raw, cooked, canned, frozen; doesn’t matter!  If you can weigh it as a standalone and unprocessed fruit or vegetable, you can count it. Yep, that’s it! Pick up a one-sheet at the gym for all the rules and scoring details. Or get a copy here.

So why 800g? It’s associated with increased health and is a simplified way to hit those recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Read more here.


May 14 – June 10

Shake off the post-Open hangover and kick off summer with healthy eating habits!


Go here to sign-up through Zen Planner. Last day to sign-up is Saturday May 12th, so hurry up!


OptimizeMe Nutrition will host two informational webinars for rules on the challenge and an open Q&A. You only need to attend one.

Registration is required to attend! If you miss a webinar, still use the registration link for on-demand access.




We will be using SugarWOD to log scores, leaderboard, and fist bump throughout the challenge. More info on scoring and logging can be found here.


In addition to weekly prizes, the overall winner will receive $100 in credits towards their group class membership, or $150 towards signing up for the new CFSA Nutrition program!

Click here to sign up now!

It’s a wrap! Looking back at the 2018 Intramural Open


The 2018 CFSA Intramural Open is over. And what an Open it was.


We had banners and pictures, chants and cheers, t-shirts and costumes. We had a sword. We had balloons. And we had glitter .. so much glitter.


We also had 4 teams: Free Folk, Little Finger Big Muscle, Valyrian Steel and A Lannister Always Counts His Reps. These four teams battled it out until the very last week. Some teams brought the numbers, other teams relied on their top performers and some came with the presence and attitude. In the end, team Little Finger Big Muscle edged out Valyrian Steel for the top spot by a 2.5 point margin thanks to a very cool display of what can only be described as “touching community memes”.


We had a grueling 20-min AMRAP (18.1), a leg-destroyer (18.2 & 18.2A), a high-skill-everything whopper (18.3), a gymnast meets powerlifter combo (18.4) and a 7-min soul crusher (18.5). If you had a weakness in this Open, it got exposed. We had rig work, mat work, barbell work, erg work and a tiny little dose of dumbbell work. Not much at all. A very reasonable amount of dumbbell work.


And, of course, we had this and this and this and this. Dipo vs Spandy was the story of the Open. It was a battle of the titans. The King of the Rig vs The Master of the Territory. The championship belt vs .. the singlet. And the championship belt won. Coach Dipo handily won the head-to-head matchups 4-2. Coach Spandy gave it his best, he fought mightily, he held the standard … ahem … but it wasn’t enough to match Dipo’s preparation and focus. Maybe 2019 is going to be different, the anticipation is already killing us.


All in all, we had a ton of fun in the Open this year. The unmatched CFSA community brought the energy, the noise and the grit. So many of you set personal bests, conquered a movement for the first time and overcame adversity. It was glorious to watch.


We’re already looking forward to 2019. Hopefully, the Open next year will be even bigger and better. In the meantime, make sure to keep working hard, especially on those chinks in your fitness armor, and keep making progress. Gainz await!

SugarWOD and the value of workout tracking

Are you using SugarWOD yet? You’re not? Why not? You should be. Have you read about it here? Intrigued? How about you download it now? Yes, right now, we’ll wait … Downloaded yet? Awesome. We knew you’d do the right thing. You are going to crush workout tracking, we can feel it. Now read up on some cool SugarWOD features below.


You’re on SugarWOD, congratulations! You are now ready to get more out of your training using this awesome workout tracking app.


Here’s the thing: workout tracking apps don’t do magic. It’s what you put into them that matters. In the case of SugarWOD, there are a few features that can truly make a difference in your training results if used properly and consistently.


The first is logging your workouts. This sounds obvious: of course we’re downloading a workout tracking app to track our workouts. But why is logging useful? It’s because experiencing a visual record of your workouts makes you more likely to appreciate the past work you’ve done and, subsequently, to continue your streak. This is a subtle but powerful effect — we humans hate breaking streaks. When you stop working out, you’ll see it right there, that blank space in the calendar on your app staring back at you. It is tough to ignore.


The second valuable feature in SugarWOD is the “Prepare” screen. To the left of that big blue button that says “Log” on your main screen is a smaller white button that says “Prepare”. You’ve probably been ignoring it because you’re stuck on that other small white button that says “Results” to the right side of the screen, you leaderboarder you. The “Prepare” button is much more valuable as it leads to a selection of instructional videos on the movements programmed in the day’s workout. By reviewing the points of performance, checking the movement standards and visualizing the work, your mind will be in a better position to execute come class time.


The final feature we want to bring to your attention in this post is the most important one: the Notes. That little space for free text that shows up at the bottom of your screen while you’re entering your workout score. Yes, you have been pretending it’s not there. You have been telling yourself you don’t have time to enter workout notes. But you are wrong. You must realize that the value of a workout tracking app comes mostly from what you write in that space:


What was your plan entering the workout? How did you feel that day? Sleep/eat ok? What rep scheme did you choose for those push-ups? Did you go with small sets on the wall balls? Big sets on the Push Presses? And how did your plan go? You died 3 minutes in? Your shoulders got smoked too early? Or did you take too much rest and leave something in the tank by the end of workout?


You need to be writing the answers to these questions in your notes, in detail. Think of them as a letter to your future self. In a few days or weeks or months, you are either going to do a workout with the same movement(s), or you will repeat the same workout again. Knowing how you performed last time is going to allow you to take a better approach this time and maximize your performance: “Dear diary, my plan was to go 7/7/7 on the thrusters and 3’s on the pull-ups. I ended up getting winded in round 2 and switched to 3’s and 2’s on the thrusters with about 15s breaks in between. I had strength for the pull-ups but I was sucking wind, so my rest breaks started taking 20+ seconds every time I came off the pull-up bar. Next time, break thrusters in 4’s from the start or reduce weight to 65lbs. Keep pull-ups at 3’s. Love, yourself.”


Now that’s a useful note! Six months from now, when you’re re-doing this workout, this information is going to be more valuable to you than any tips from your coach, or any guesses your tired brain hatched, or Doug’s score from 6 am that you need to beat no matter what … Actually scratch that last part, beating Doug is important, you should definitely aim for that, even if you die 3 minutes in.

Get SugarWOD on Android and iOS now!


Work on your body weight skills with the new Performance Series Cycle!

The Performance Series is back!

The 2018 CrossFit Open is coming to a close.  Perhaps the Open’s mad mixture of movements may have exposed certain certain gymnastic weaknesses in your fitness. Or maybe there’s a new movement that you want to learn to perform this year. Or maybe you just love being upside down on a tumbling mat. Whichever it is, worry not because we’ve got you.  The Performance Series is getting ready to kick off its next 10-week cycle.

The Skill Cycle will take place between April 14th and July 7th. Our focus will be to improve our athletes’ body weight movements through an appropriate mix of targeted skill drills, volume training and accessory work. These body weight movements include but aren’t limited to pull-ups, handstand pushups, toes-to-bar, bar muscle ups, ring muscle ups, pistols and rope climbs. Regardless of your current level, L100 or L200, the Skill Cycle is intended to meet you where you are.

Every athlete in our Skill Series will get to:

  • Benchmark their abilities

  • Spend ample time on drills that serve their individual goals and needs

  • Build the strength required for stability and control while moving in space

  • Get workout analysis and real-time coach feedback

  • Be able to log your work and measure your progress in a special Performance Series programming track in SugarWOD.

Participants in the Skill Cycle will meet on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 AM for 75 minute sessions. To ensure we can provide the detailed feedback necessary to help each athlete grow, space in the cycle will be limited to 12 athletes for this 10 week period and available to all CFSA members. If you are ready to take kick off your skill development journey, sign up here. Don’t wait!

Track your performance with SugarWod!

It’s a workout tracking app. It’s a social network platform. It’s SugarWOD!

At CFSA, we believe that to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.

When a workout is written up on the board, how do you decide on how to approach it? How do you figure out a good weight to load on the bar for those 5 sets of 3 back squats? And how do you make sure you’re addressing your weaknesses and constantly improving on where you were yesterday, last month and last year?

Logging your workouts is a proven approach to truly getting the most out of your training. It allows you to develop a sense of what is easy for you, what is ambitious and what is that sweet spot that challenges you while giving you a good chance to be successful.

SugarWOD is an app that provides an easy and intuitive way to log your workouts. It makes it simple to look up previous scores and to properly measure your progress.

On top of that, SugarWOD offers the option to see your friends’ scores and celebrate their success with a Fist Bump or comment. Your coaches will also be better able to see your progress. They will be in a position to understand your needs and challenges better, so that they can provide more effective guidance in class.

From a programming standpoint, knowing how our members are doing enables us to adjust our daily training for maximum value. Last but not least, we believe that you’ll soon discover that logging your workouts is one of the best ways to stay consistent.

Don’t just take our word for it, try it out:
1. Download SugarWOD on iOS or Android
2. Create an account and select CrossFit South Arlington as your gym
3. Start logging!

Starting today, the CFSA L100 and L200 programming will be published into the app so your main screen will show you the day’s workout. We will still be publishing the weekly programming on the blog in parallel to SugarWOD.

Get started today! Got questions? Email us at and we’ll be more than happy to help you.