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Sarah vs “The Scale” (spoiler: Sarah wins)

Sarah Knox, CrossFit PAX “Athlete of the Week”, deserves some serious props for dedication.  Sarah’s testimony speaks volumes about what she has learned in the past six months since taking our Fundamentals Course.  Sarah has come to truly understand that calorie counting, lowfat/boring/tasteless foods, and monotonous workouts do not have to be our path to health!  Even better news is that health and fitness are not measured on a scale.  Exercise can be fun and can even social.  Eating REAL FOOD is the foundation of health.  Community is vital to success. Sarah says it so well- read and enjoy:

“Even though I have only been Crossfitting at The Bunker since May of this year, my story starts long before that. I have long struggled with my weight and how I felt about my appearance. For as long as I can remember, I have always been ‘the chubby friend’ and have hated the number I saw when I stepped on the scale. Over the pasts few years, I did manage to lose a decent amount of weight (about 40lbs), but I was constantly tired and hungry and still never happy with any of the results. When I was dieting, I was counting every single calorie I ate and every single calorie I burned while running (which I despised doing and was always trying to find excuses to get out of it). My entire life was consumed by counting – worrying about how my next meal was going to fit within my daily totals or how much I’d have to run that day in order to get my calorie deficit large enough. It was exhausting.

Then around January of this year, I starting looking into this ‘Caveman Diet’ I had heard about from a co-worker. I would love to say I started eating Paleo because of all the amazing health benefits it yields but that would be a lie. I was still solely focused on the scale. I started my Paleo experiment because it seemed like a miracle weight loss diet. “You mean I can eat whatever I want from this list and the pounds will just melt away? Sign me up!” So I jumped in by doing a Whole 30 the month of February. And my results were great. I felt really good- I wasn’t tired, my blood sugar spikes/dips seemed to level out, my skin cleared up, and I had lost about another 10 pounds. But then that weight loss plateau’d. Another 2 months of clean Paleo eating went by without a single change on the scale. And even though I felt great, the only thing I was focused on was that number. That’s when Crossfit began to enter my world.

Around the same time that I noticed many of the paleo blogs I read all mentioned this thing called ‘CrossFit’, this little tiny sign on the side of Three Notch Road popped up- CrossFit PAX. After a very short Google session, I was absolutely terrified. “They do what? And they’d want me to huh? There’s no way I can do this.” But it also seemed like a no-fail way to get into shape. So, with much hesitation, I emailed Jade and told her my story. I took a little convincing, but eventually signed up for the May Fundamentals class.

In the beginning, I definitely felt out of my league. I used the trainer bar for just about everything. I needed the biggest, baddest bands we had for pull-ups. And I was routinely last to finish every single WOD (I think my first Fran took me something like 13 minutes). Yet I kept coming back. And even weirder, I looked forward to it. I had never before challenged myself in the way Crossfit challenges me. And I had never met a community of people so open and welcoming to someone who had never stepped foot into a gym before. So when it was time to decide if I was going to enroll as permanent member after my fundamentals trial period ran out, it was one of the easiest decisions of my life.

5 months later, it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come. Yes- I still scale many things, but I’m getting better. I get really close to RX-ing weights on some WODs. I’ve consistently come down on what bands I need for pull-ups.  I’ve accomplished some pretty awesome things- a 215# deadlift, a 100# clean & jerk, and my proudest moment so far: a kipping HSPU (I had to use 2 abmats instead of only one, but that was still big deal for me). Considering before Crossfit, I had never picked up more than a 5# dumbbell, I’m pretty amazed at what I’ve been able to do. And I have to give props to Darren who is always there to give a huge smile and a five-high whenever I PR, no matter how many times he has to correct me about keeping my knees out earlier in the day.

Outside of the accomplishments, the biggest thing Crossfit has done for me is helped me realize that the scale isn’t the end-all-be-all. A couple weekends ago, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen since June and he asked me how much weight I lost. I told him truth- zero. Yet he was convinced that I had lost like 15lbs. It just goes to show that weight only tells a little bit of the story. And while I can’t say I’m completely over my battle with the scale, I can say that since I found a fitness routine I love, I’m amazed at how much my focus has shifted from ‘I need to lose 5 more pounds’ to ‘I’d love to be able to lift/squat/press 5 more pounds’. Thank you Crossfit Pax for changing my life forever- both physically and emotionally.

Now- if only I could get that un-banded pull-up…….”

Sarah, we are confident that un-banded pull-up is in your near future.  We are glad that you stopped counting and started living and now you are blowing everyone away with all you do!  You are spot on about the scale- keep working hard and spread the word!

27 nov 13

Warm up:

2 rounds of

1 hill sprint

10 strict pull ups

10 parallete shoot throughs

10 handstand push ups

20 overhead squats with PVC/bar


25 min time cap:

100 double unders

50 hand release push ups

40 box jumps

30 hang cleans

20 burpees

10 handstand push ups


for the remainder of the time: wall balls

score = wall balls


Cool Down/Mobility

25 Nov 13

Warm Up:

2 rounds

5 burpees 

5 ring dips

5 push ups

5 strict pull ups

15 seated press with kettlebells


Strict Press 8 sets of 1 

Attempt a new 1RM


7 mins of burpees, 6″ target

Cool Down/Mobility:

2 sets of 10 tricep extension with bands

2 sets of 10 hip extension

Trevor “No Excuses” Sonnenberg

This week our celebrated athlete is Trevor Sonnenberg!  Trevor joined us last December, and this now very fit gentleman had at that point fallen victim to the ever too common mentality “I was a college athlete and now…well…not sure what to do”.  It happens all too often- we get used to showing up to practice and being able to eat quite a bit because of the long training sessions.  And then real life kicks in- a job, bills, and no coach or team to help us out.  What made Trevor different is that he made a decision to change that trend and came knocking on our door.  Trevor has come to class nearly 200 times in the past year, and his results are a testament to his dedication in the gym but also outside the gym in his diet and lifestyle choices.  When we decided to highlight the hard work of our athletes, Trevor was one of the first to come to mind for many of the coaches.  Trevor, you rock.  We are so glad you joined us and proud of your commitment to your health!  In his own words:

“Hey, I’m Trevor and I CrossFit. I first learned about Crossfit in 2007 when I was researching something about P90X (I am sure I am not the only one with these DVDs), and I drank the Kool-Aid that night watching someone complete FRAN in some ridiculously short amount of time. I would have started the next day, but I was still an undergrad so time and income was an issue. Plus, I was a member of the university’s cycling team which more or less forbade me from doing any upper body building exercises.  However, after school I hung my bike up and did not do much of anything except get fat. Of course I had a million and one excuses why I could not exercise be it time or even being able to decide what kind of exercise I wanted to do. I started to run sporadically in November 2012.   It was pretty pathetic in my opinion.  I went from a multi-sport high school athlete, to a collegiate cyclist, to someone who couldn’t complete a half mile run.

I promised that I would never allow myself to get that out of shape again; I stopped making excuses for myself and joined CrossFit Pax in Dec. 2012.  It was a battle when I first started, but it was well worth the effort.”

A few of the accomplishments I am most proud of include losing 20 lbs and 4″ off my waistline, the last timed mile I did was under 9 minutes (as I mentioned, i couldn’t complete half that distance last fall), squat my body weight, deadlift 100lbs over my bodyweight, and do strict pull ups.  My favorite achievement, though, is being able to climb the rope. I was not able to climb to the top the first time I tried, not even the 20th time I tried. The first problem was I was not strong enough to pull myself up; the second is that I am terrified of heights.  Now I can shimmy right up the rope, even though I am still not a fan of heights.”

My next goals are to be able to do handstands/handstand pushups and 31” box jumps.”

Trevor is not only making measurable and achievable goals and busting through them one by one, he is also conquering his fears and changing his habits.  Some research shows it takes 90 days or longer to change to positive habits, which explains why so many high school and college athletes just never recover from the lazy-bug.  So, Trevor, from our staff to you-

Way to go, man.  Way to get off that couch and stop making excuses.  You are one of the very few that do it, and we are so glad to be a part of your journey.  Keep making those goals and crushing them.  Keep setting the standard.  Keep putting your pride aside to focus on perfecting your form and skills and never stop conquering fears!  We can’t wait to see what the next year brings for you!

Phil and Maureen “Not getting older” Farrell

This week we celebrated Veteran’s Day and there are many veterans in our midst at CrossFit PAX- and we want to thank you to all of you and your spouses and families for your service.  We are thankful to be living in a community where so many understand the value of service to others, whether it be service in our nations military or otherwise.  This quality is too often overlooked in athletics when the drive to win trumps the spirit of teamwork.  The CrossFit community is one where we should all feel welcome and where winning is not the ultimate goal but health, community, and service prevail.

Our athletes of the week, Phil and Maureen, understand these things well and have truly been a positive force in the CrossFit PAX community.  Phil retired from active duty in 2003 after 23 years of service in the US Navy.  Maureen is director of the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society at Patuxent River since 2000, and serves our military members every day.  Maureen started with us in the fall of 2012 and Phil soon after, and they quickly became a very important part of our CrossFit PAX family.  Phil and Maureen are consistent in coming to class, taking care of the athletes around them, and are always offering to lend a hand around the Bunker which we are so thankful for.  Just the other day Phil took it upon himself to donate and hang a mirror in the bathroom- Thanks Phil!

Their wisdom and focus on service is appreciated and we wanted to take this week to honor them and their contribution to our family here at CrossFit PAX.  They both listed Murph as one of their favorite workouts and experiences at the Bunker because it was great to see everyone pushing themselves to their limits for those who no longer can.  Maureen writes,

“What keeps us coming back? Well, the variation and challenge in every workout keeps it fresh and interesting. Who would have thought that at 55 we would be working on gymnastic skills, Olympic weight lifting and climbing the rope. The experienced and talented coaches instruct, compel and cajole us to work hard at every session. They promote us to do our personal best with every skill, challenge and WOD. Age is no boundary; even though we are well above the average age of the athletes at the box we never feel we are competing with them, but rather we celebrate everyone’s personal successes. It’s is truly a fitness community here and we haven’t met an athlete at the box we didn’t like.”

Maureen is most proud of being able to climb the rope, and Phil is most proud that “his pants still fit.”  They are constantly making us proud, and often making us laugh (see exhibit B, taken at the Barbells for Boobs event)

“1 year later we can certainly say we are a lot stronger, faster and more agile than ever,” Maureen says, “We are also lighter and our clothes fit better. We are not getting older, we are getting stronger.”

Maureen adds that she had her right hip replaced 4 years ago, and  “Prior to starting Crossfit, I struggled with weakness and flexibility issues in that leg. Over the last 12 months I have increased the strength and mobility on my right side;  I don’t lean to the left anymore.”

To new athletes, Phil says “Don’t give up.  Scale.  And improvements will come.”  Maureen adds, “You don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself.  Have fun and get to know the other athletes in your classes, they are fascinating people.”

Thank you Maureen and Phil for being awesome- we are so proud of your progress and love your energy and enthusiasm.  You are a great example of how keeping your focus on contributing to the community and having a good sense of humor can make your experience all the better for you and everyone around you.  Plus, we love it that you are getting stronger, faster, and more fit but NOT older… that’s just downright amazing!

11 Nov 2013

10 burpees

10 Kb swings (35 or less #)

10 KB deadlift”

10 goblet squats”

Samson Stretch/10 pass throughs with PVC


Banded Sumo Deadlift 12 sets of 2 (50% 1RM and bands)



Goblet Squats

Lunges with Barbell in Front Rack (L/R side = 1 rep)

Pull Ups

L1: 25/16lb KB barbell/pvc

L2: 53/35 KB 65/45 barbell

L3: 53/35 KB 85/65 barbell

5 min rest

L1: 1 min max KB Swings (choose weight)

L2: 50 KB swings for Time (53/35)

L3: 100 KB swings for Time (53/35)

Cool Down/Mobility:

Coaches Choice Upper Back/Neck

30 Nov 13

Warm Up:

Junkyard Dog

Skill Transfer Drills-Clean

Samson Stretch


Squat Clean 10 sets of 2



Front Squat* (L1:  60% 1RM  L2:  75% bodyweight   L3: 1.25x bodyweight)

Burpee Box Jump

*may not use rack

Cool Down/Accessory Work:

2-4 sets of 10 back extension

2 sets of 10 glute bridge

Stretch with Coach

29 Nov 13

Warm Up:

3 rounds of

5 burpee pull ups

5 strict pull ups

15 air squats

15 sit ups

Samson Stretch


3 sets of 10 ring dips

3 sets of 30 sec ring support (30 sec rest)


12 min AMRAP

5 Muscle Ups

10 Push Ups

15 Air Squats

2 min rest

1K row

(larger classes will need to stagger this by about 5 mins in groups of 6)

Cool Down/Mobility:

Shoulder and Hip Mobility

Stretch with Coach

26 Nov 13

Warm Up:

3 mins double unders

3 rounds of

15 Kettlebell high pulls

15 air squats

15 sit ups

Samson Stretch


Rack Pulls 10 sets of 2


25 min cutoff

25 Sumo Deadlift High Pull (L1: 45/25#  L2: 75/55#   L3: 95/75#)

25 Box Jump (L1: Choose Box Height   L2/L3: 24/20”)

20 Sumo Deadlift High Pull

20 Box Jump

15 Sumo Deadlift High Pull

15 Box Jump

10 Sumo Deadlift High Pull

10 Box Jump

5 Sumo Deadlift High Pull

5 Box Jump

Cool Down/Mobility:

Hamstring Stretch with bands

Stretch with Coach