A body in motion by Coach Lauren DPT

A Body In Motion Stays In Motion….

Over the years, there has been a multitude of research done to show the importance of physical activity in relation to overall health and well-being. Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to help improve physical and mental function as well as reverse some of the effects of chronic disease to keep people mobile and independent. Regular physical activity is not only safe, but necessary, for people of all ages. It can help decrease the risk of major cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, obesity, falls, cognitive impairments, osteoporosis and muscle weakness. Regular exercise can also improve our quality of life. It can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger, as well as lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, improve blood flow, keep weight under control and prevent bone loss.  Those people who are more physically active have been shown to live about 7 years longer than those who are not active and who are obese. With that being said, never underestimate the positive effects that just moving can have on your life.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week; broken down to 30 minute sessions 5 times a week. These sessions can include anything from walking to vigorous activity (CrossFit). Those 30 minutes can even include 3 - 10 minute walking breaks during your work day.

Being a physical therapist has truly opened my eyes to the importance of “movement”, and that maintaining fitness, not resting, is key to injury recovery. In the past, most orthopedic injuries have been rehabilitated with the RICE protocol - rest, ice, compression and elevation. It is important to understand that complete rest is not truly helpful for injury rehabilitation, and in fact, can hinder it. The approach that I believe should be used  for healing includes movement and staying active, without aggravating the injured area. This also includes correcting movement dysfunction, muscle imbalances, and other weaknesses, as well as optimizing recovery with proper sleep and nutrition.

Low impact aerobic exercise such as cycling and swimming are just a couple of ways to help the healing process while promoting blood flow and healing to the injured areas. If we stop exercising due to injury, muscles begin to get stiffer, weaker, and lose their overall functional ability. Studies have shown that if you completely stop exercising due to injury, your cardiovascular fitness can significantly decline in just 2 weeks. For every 1 week of inactivity, it can take up to 2 weeks to regains that lost cardiovascular endurance. Cardiovascular fitness is very easy to lose and deconditioning happens quickly.

Staying active through injury is important. If you have suffered from an injury, talk to your doctor about the exercises that you can safely perform. You can still benefit from aerobic exercise without aggravating your injury. If something hurts, stop right away. Also, find a physical therapist who is going to address the root cause of your symptoms. Most people stop exercising while they are injured because they think they need to save energy and protect the injured area. In reality, exercise and movement is one of the most important parts of the healing process.

Any questions, feel free to reach out! :)


  1. Van Allen, Jennifer; “Maintaining Fitness - Not Resting - May be the Key to Recovering from an Injury”; April, 2016.

  2. Soud, Patty; “The Importance of Exercise Following an Injury or Surgery”; January, 2014.

  3. McPhee, Jamie, et al; “Physical Activity in Older Age: Perspectives for Healthy Aging and Frailty”; March 2016.

Shoulder Prehab by Coach Lauren DPT

Blog #2- Shoulder Prehab

With the Open coming up in the next couple of weeks, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the importance of shoulder prehab. Having strong, stable shoulders is the key to optimizing performance overhead. In a recent CrossFit journal article, it was cited that over 80% of workouts from CrossFit.com involved at least one exercise involving transfer of force through the shoulder girdle. With this being said, prehab work is always recommended for anyone looking to improve and maintain shoulder function as well as prevention of injury.

The shoulder is an example of a ball and socket joint (pictured here).  There are 4 muscles, referred to as the rotator cuff, that work to provide dynamic stability to the shoulder joint. The majority of the stability in the shoulder joint comes from the rotator cuff muscles. In CrossFit, movements such as overhead lifting, gymnastics, kipping movements, and even activities such as rowing require proper function of the rotator cuff.


Imbalances in the shoulder musculature and the rotator cuff can put increased stressed on the shoulder and increase the risk of injury. One of the main examples of imbalances that we commonly see is an overused, fatigued, or strained rotator cuff. Shoulder prehab can help us maintain a stable strength base in the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles between our shoulder blades, as well as adequate mobility. Both mobility and stability are equally important when it comes to a healthy shoulder, however, I often see more athletes focusing on mobility instead of stability in the gym. Many times, if someone “tweaks” their shoulder, they immediately start focusing on foam rolling, taking a lacrosse ball to their pecs, or performing static stretching. While this is beneficial at times, more often than not, the root cause of their “tweak” or shoulder pain is inadequate stability. As we get closer to the Open, our goal is to maintain shoulder health. This can be done by performing mobility exercises, but also focusing on prehab including activation and strengthening exercises to ensure that the proper muscles are primed for the movements we are going to perform.

I would like to share with you some great prehab exercises that can be done on a daily basis to ensure that we are building that stable shoulder base. Most of these exercises have a focus on targeting the back of the shoulders for improved posture so that we can safely move our shoulders through a full range of motion. (This is not a complete listing of exercises, for a more expansive list, please click here.)

  1. Push Ups with a “Plus” -this is basically a “scap push up”, an exercise that we have done in our warm-ups during class, can also be done on a pull up bar to prime our body for movements on the pull up rig and activate our shoulders.

  2. Shoulder W’s and YTLs - ensure proper positioning of our shoulders while also strengthening the rotator cuff.

  3. Banded Face Pulls - activate and strengthen the muscles needed to perform overhead movements.

  4. Band Pull Aparts on a Foam Roller - provides work on stability and mobility as one exercise! Works on the postural stabilizers as well as providing a stretch to the chest and the upper back.

  5. Reach, Roll and Lift - this exercises helps to work on mobility and stability while limiting the ability to compensate with other areas.

Lastly, I would like to discuss the use of CrossOver Symmetry for prehab. CrossOver Symmetry is a program that has been designed to train specific movement patterns and not only isolate certain muscle groups. The goal of this program is to increase shoulder girdle strength while also developing coordination among certain muscle groups so that we can accomplish more complex movements (i.e. snatches, jerks, etc.). The program assists in improving posture, core strength as well as shoulder dysfunction. Many of us use the CrossOver Symmetry bands at the gym, however, it is important to make sure we are using them correctly and have watched the videos on the CrossOver Symmetry website to ensure that we are executing this program correctly. Performing these movements wrong could be detrimental to your shoulder health.

If anyone has any specific questions on shoulder prehab, feel free to reach out to me! :)


Are you getting the most out of your investment?

CrossFit is an investment. Its an investment of your time, energy and resources. These three are in limited supply and we must choose wisely how we use them. In order to get the most value from this investment I think its important to know the difference between a coach and a cheerleader. Below there are some main concepts you should look for when determining what will suit you best in reaching your goals.


Evaluation/Assessment: Wether you are trying to remain healthy and fit during a pregnancy, staying fit to better prepare you for your job, be a more active parent or grandparent or have aspirations to compete in the CrossFit Games, it should all start with a conversation about you. About your “WHY”, your goals, your lifestyle and your current level of wellness. There should be a baseline assessment of how your body moves through basic movement patterns. All of these insights into your life will help a coach determine a clear vision and set a path for success.


Direction: Based on the above points, a coach will give you a clear direction of travel that provides you with consistent progress. Based on that progress, the direction you follow will change at times to ensure you are constantly being challenged within your ability level. A good coach will tell you to take a step back or keep pushing forward.

Feedback/Continued assessment: During your journey a coach will provide you with feedback based on a constant assessment of your growth. There needs to be a lot of truth in those conversations. Sometimes its not always what you want to hear. A good coach will tell you if some thing is not good, but will also praise when things are done correctly. As long as the feedback is logical and emotion is kept out, the feedback and the assessment of your progress will be inline with your goals.

Support: Life happens, we get sick, we have hard days at work and at times, kids and other relationships can be a pain. This is life. A coach’s job is to be there to listen, help you through these tough times but also keep your mind focused on YOUR vision. 

Don’t get me wrong we all need cheerleaders along our journeys. That push of motivation when things get tough or when we are having an off day helps with our success. But there is a major difference between a coach and a cheerleader. Although both are necessary for success, a coach’s role needs to be much more prevalent than a cheerleader’s role.

It takes a long time, a lot of mistakes and continuous education to be a coach. It takes even longer to be a good or great coach. But ANYONE can be a cheerleader. Anyone can yell “you got this”, “keep going”, “go harder”. It takes a true to coach to watch from a non-biased point of view and really dissect areas that can be improved and provide you with the feedback in a way that is understood and can be applied so you get the most value out of your investment.

Finally, don’t be fooled by fancy certifications. A lot of people can regurgitate what they read, take a test and walk away with a certification. Some of the best coaches and instructors I have ever had didn’t have fancy certifications. In fact, they had the minimum requirements. But they read books, they had experience, they had trial and error and above all else, they had the trust of their clients. Certifications allow you the opportunity to be a coach or trainer, but it doesn’t make you one. 

Education and well executed instruction is one of the biggest differential factors between CrossFit and all the other fitness programs out there. Its what you are paying for. If all you are getting is “nice job” and high fives after a workout, although emotionally important, you aren’t learning anything and you will never reach your full potential.

Sickness to Fitness - by Lauren Birmingham DPT

Hello all! While most of you probably know me as Coach Lauren, I am also a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2014, around the same time that I found CrossFit. Over the past 4 years or so, I have attempted to relate my passion for CrossFit, health and fitness into my work as a physical therapist, as well as educate friends and family on the importance of being healthy and fit in order to prevent injury and disease. Without going into too much detail (I will do that in later posts) and imposing confusing medical jargon, I want to educate those in the community about how CrossFit can help maintain and improve overall health and wellness.

Let’s first discuss the “Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum”. Sickness, wellness and fitness are all measures of overall health. Some examples of items that can be measured on this continuum are blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body fat, bone density, muscle mass and flexibility. There has been research done to prove that the CrossFit prescription can move these markers from “sick” to “well” and ultimately "fit".



As a physical therapist, most patients I work with have some sort of pain or discomfort, or are rehabilitating from an injury.  Some examples include patients who have had total knee replacements, have low back pain, or geriatric patients with poor balance. Is their pain a result of a traumatic injury or surgery? Is it due to the demonstration of poor movement patterns in everyday life? Do they have low back pain from sitting 8 hours a day at their job? Their pain may even be due to a sedentary lifestyle that has caused decreased flexibility, muscle stiffness, increased body weight and joint inflammation. These are just a few of the many examples of someone who can benefit from CrossFit. CrossFit is not only what is seen during the CrossFit games. CrossFit can be anything! It is based on functional movement, (picking up something off the floor, lifting an item overhead, even getting up from a chair). These are all daily tasks that are taught and executed during CrossFit classes.  I could take any single one of my patients and give them a home exercise program

consisting of functional movements, similar to what is performed in a CrossFit class.  The difference lies in the degree of intensity. Let’s take for example, a 70 year old female with high blood pressure and diabetes who is overweight and just had a total knee replacement. She has decreased range of motion, strength, flexibility, endurance and excess body fat. We can modify the CrossFit prescription to fit her needs for rehabilitation. We would focus on daily tasks such as lifting her granddaughter off the floor, putting dishes away into high cabinets, and improving her endurance so she can walk in the grocery store without fatigue. We can scale and tailor workouts to her level while still focusing on her functional goals.

The last topic I want to briefly discuss is injury in CrossFit. On a daily basis, I am asked by clients “You do CrossFit and you are a physical therapist? Isn’t that dangerous?” In short, any sport or physical activity can potentially be dangerous. If you are not properly executing the movements, there is definitely the risk for injury. If you are part of a box with reputable coaches, you will be taught appropriate modifications for movements and ways to scale the workouts to fit your individual ability level. In the off chance that you are injured at the gym, seeking out a physical therapist who can understand the type of exercise you do and help with rehabilitation is a great option.

My focus of this blog going forward is to educate everyone on the effectiveness of the CrossFit program, as well as explain how CrossFit can be beneficial to anyone, at any skill level, fitness level, or age. I will also be writing on different topics to use my expertise as a PT and relating it to CrossFit.

Next Week's Blog: Shoulder Prehab!

Mastering the basics: Lessons learned from Hollywood to the SEALS

Behind the Mindset and practice of true professionals

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Oahu an island of the Hawaiian Islands with my friend Eric. The purpose of the trip was to meet and talk to some professional outside the spectrum of people I normally interact with on an everyday basis. I had the pleasure of meeting two very different types of people. At face value they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. However, after conversing found them to be very similar in a variety of ways. Having the chance to meet and hang out with two Naval Special Warfare Operators, (SEALS- One who is retired and the other who is in the process of retiring). The person I had the pleasure of meeting is the lead actor of the popular TV show series Hawaii 5.0. 

I talked to the SEALS about mindset and their approach to failure. I talked to them about my profession. I spoke relayed to them that many people I work with spend a lot of time on dealing with adversity and what they consider failure in their worlds. I also talked about practice, discipline and mastering basic skills before moving onto the next step in the process. The worlds are completely different but the the approach can be applied the same way. One of the SEALS we ended up staying with.  Watching his every day action from how his day was planned and intentional. His interaction with other professionals, to regular conversation around a bonfire and dinner, everything about him was intentional. Every word he spoke, how he carried himself, all had intentional purpose about him. He is a man of god and faith and an extremely humble, direct and caring person. He was a SEAL. They say that if you make it as a Navy SEAL, you do more for your families legacy then graduating top of your class from the best Ivy League School in the world. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. After talking to him and the other SEAL for a while, you quickly realize that there are no short cuts, there are no hacks, there is no skipping steps to get to the top. You start at the bottom and practice, practice, practice. There is no other option. You master the basics. They mastered the basics knowing for them their life, the life of a team mate or the life of innocent people are at risk. Yes in training they failed. In missions they failed (in their eyes). But they take those mistakes and failures and absolutely destroyed them in training to make them a strength. There is no room for failure for these types. They make failure into a strength because their teammates depended on them. They put no value/effort in attempting to control the things they couldn’t. They trained, practiced and executed the things they could control and that lead them to survival and success. 

One of the SEALs is a consultant on the show Hawaii 5.0, so we were able to get a behind the scenes viewing of how the crew/cast operates for 3 days.   While there I met and had the pleasure of talking in depth to the lead actor on the show. Again, an extremely humble individual. He was a master of his craft. He is a Hollywood actor yet took the time between filming to show a true interest in why I was there and what i did for a career.  Watching how the show is filmed from the director to the actors is perfection in every sense of the word. Not perfection that they were perfect every time the film was rolling but perfection in the sense that they wouldn’t accept anything less then perfect. For a 2 min scene to be completed, we were there for hours. There were multiple takes because the angle was off, someones hand wasn’t in the proper place, their head was titled in the wrong direction, the lighting wasn’t perfect or the sound/tone of a specific word or phrase didn’t sound correct. So they would do it over and over again. There were no short cuts, there were no hacks to the system, it was a simple theory of mastering the basics to get a professional and perfect result.  It was a matter of being prepared and not focusing on things that you couldn't control. Each person was responsible for their specific part so they mastered what they needed to do when they needed to do it. 

This trip was an amazing opportunity to watch and talk to professionals. You quickly learn that professionals, wether an athlete, an actor, or a SEAL,  all have one thing in common. When they fail, they take it as a learning experience and turn into a strength. They master the basics time and time again so when the their time is called, they can execute. There is no room for ego.  They realize that others before them have paved the way and they take that opportunity to learn and grow from those that can add value to their craft so they can be better.   

In the world I currently work in, time and time again we see people that want to skip the basics and the boring and try to get to level 10 before going thru levels 1-9. Why do we do that? Its done because we are a world of immediately gratification. But what it takes it patience, practice, and repetition after repetition of the simple, boring things. It takes putting aside ego and learning from those before you. This is applied to everyday life as a parent, a teacher, a first responder, a mechanic, a coach or a significant other. 

The simple things, once mastered become the very foundation that lead to perfection. 

O.P.E.N Food Challenge

O.P.E.N. Nutritional Challenge.

On Jan 22, 2018 Bionic CrossFit will be taking part in it’s second in-house nutritional challenge in the past 6 months. We will be kicking off the Bionic O.P.E.N. Nutritional Challenge. Most people in the CrossFit world relate the word OPEN to the upcoming CrossFit Opens, however we are using the word “OPEN” as Optimizing Performance with Effective Nutrition.  This 5 food challenge is all about helping realize that performance in all aspects of life can see vast improvements by simply changing what we eat.

Our goal isn’t to loose 20 pounds or to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle mass. Our goal is to eat real food with the majority of the diet being plant based.  We are using standards that are common with the CrossFit prescription of nutrition. With that being said, following our recommendations, a bi-product eating such clean, portion controlled meals will be loosing excess weight, promoting lean muscle growth, you will look better and you will feel fantastic. Our goal is to fuel our bodies with proper nutrition so you can perform at your top level. We aren’t just talking about performing within the confines of the gym, but in more important areas of your life like your sport outside of the gym, your hobbies, your work place and home life. 

The challenge:

1. We are strongly encouraging and are recommending each participant to eat only 3-4 meals per day and that is based on each person’s weight/body type. 

2. Our meals are majority plant based with eating only real meats rich in protein, healthy fats and carbs and taking in starches and fruits in moderation and zero sugar. 

3. Each person will get a packet of items you can and can’t eat based on our guidelines

4. Each person will get two 3 compartment trays that will have the exact serving sizes for portion control.

5. We will be tracking our progress thru a digital platform that all participants will have access to

6. Each participant will get two weekly15-20 min consultations with their coach to help guide you along the way

7. We will be providing 3 clinics/seminars during this challenge. Topics will cover, rowing technique, a gymnastics clinic and a recovery nutrition seminar.

This challenge will come to completion on 02/23, the first Friday of the CrossFit Open. 

On 01/19/2018 we will be hosting a meeting to dive into details about this challenge and to answer any questions. 

There are a lot of people who are always looking to improve. They spend extra time in the gym working on skills and drills. They spend time on social media watching others workout and often ask for advice on what they can improve on. What people don’t do, or don’t want to do is focus on nutrition. Nutrition is the answer to the majority of questions out there. You can not out work a poor diet. There is a level of discipline to be envied for those who are committed to eating with intention. It takes the most amount of discipline and commitment to stay true to a proper nutrition plan. But heres the thing…it doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to count your grams of protein, carbs and fats. What you need to do is eat portion controlled meals, do not snack in between meals and eat LOTS of veggies. With our guidelines and recommendations its going be so simple that the only way you will fail is by YOU making a bad choice. See you on the 19th for the start of your 6 packs!

Consistency in 2018


Consistency in 2018

When we talk about being consistent in 2018, what do we mean and what does consistency actually mean us. Some other words that also mean consistency….stability, equilibrium, regularity, uniformity.  By nature, we as humans crave structure, we crave stability and we like to feel balanced. We don’t like to go against the current. We enjoy routine. It makes us feel safe.  This is typically why people avoid scenarios that creates a process of having to make tough choices. When someone doesn’t have to make hard choices, typically life is a lot easier.  When we can build a new habit by being consistent with it, that uncomfortable, “out of our comfort zone” feeling is no longer a question in our head. That habit becomes a regular part of our day that creates stability in our life and assists us in feeling balanced. 

Any type of change we make this year comes from changing human behavior.  Its about prioritizing things that matter. Its about making a list of things you can control and things you can’t. The things you can control, go to the top of the list and the things you can’t, get put aside. Its so important to realize how much energy we spend throughout the day trying to control things we have no control over and often times, the things we can control, get put second. Perfect example of this is you want to to of the gym, but its cold out so you opt to stay home in the warm house rather then brave the elements. You can’t control the weather yet you let it dictate the one decision you could control….showing up.

If fitness (exercise and nutrition) is a priority in 2018, make it non-negotiable. The key to long term success is consistency and habit. If you struggle to make lifestyle changes, you will always make the things you can control the negotiable part of your day. What i mean by that is you will always find a reason or excuses to not make those changes and it usually stems from situations and circumstances you can’t control.

Make 2018 your year of change. Make YOU a priority.  One day, one step at a time, focus on the positive and put your energy into things that matter. Doing this one step at time, leads to subtle changes in human behavior which will ultimately in a healthier you, physical and mentally.

I often use this analogy with my members. When you go on plane and they go over the safety protocol if something goes wrong. They alway instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first then help the person next to you. Even YOU before your kids. Think of life that way, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t help anyone else. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to be pain free? Do you want to be around to play with your kids or grandkids? D you want to get off daily prescriptions of medication by simply changing the way you eat and adding in exercise? If you answer yes to just one of those questions ….its time to start focusing on you. Make your change and just SHOW UP!

Scaling workouts and why we do it.

I think its important to understand what scaling a workout means and why a good affiliate will encourage scaling more times then not for specific movements/exercises. Taken directly from a CrossFit Journal article ,  “Effective scaling at an affiliate demands an understanding of CrossFit programming theory, awareness of your athletes’ capabilities and limitations, and quick application of many possible scaling methods”. 

A well thought out workout program will always have a desire stimulus. Stimulus meaning, is the workout designed to a short sprint or a longer , grind it out type workout. Is the load/weight for the workout designed to be heavy or light. Now heavy and light, is all based on each individuals abilities and comfort levels. A properly scaled workout will continue to develop increased work capacity despite someones ability level. The goal of scaling an individual is to 1. maintain safety, 2. show efficiency 3. in the long term, having them perform the workouts as prescribed/RX. 

A good coach will also scale individuals despite their ability level to reach the desired response of any given workout. If there is a workout that is, by design, intended to take 5-7 mins, however if we fail to modify the workout and it takes someone 15-20 mins, we have done them an injustice.

A proper scaling program will scale load/weight ,repetitions and/or the duration of the workout. We do this to make room for growth. 

At Bionic, we encourage scaling for those people who may not always appear to need it. What I mean is if we have an athlete who moves safely and efficiently, however feels as they are stuck in a rut, or we see some room for improvement, we may modify the movements or variations of the movements to stimulate growth both physically and mentally. For example, we may use dumbbells, kettlebells or an odd object for overhead movements or pulling from the ground to create stability overhead or strengthen their posterior chain. We have found that this more effectively addresses imbalances in the body that we can’t address while moving a barbell. On numerous occasions, we have taken someone off of a barbell for a month and modified all movements down to dumbbells, kettlebells or an odd object and when they return to the barbell, they set a new personal record on a lift.

Lastly, scaling is a tool used for someone despite injury. If you tweak your shoulder doing yard work, or hurt your ankle running, at Bionic we still encourage you to show up everyday. We will modify the workout entirely, so you can safely continue to increase your fitness while sick and stay committed to being healthy. You will heal faster the more you keep moving.

Scaling is not failing. Scaling is not done because we want to pick on you. Scaling is done for safety of the athlete, longevity, growth and more efficient movement patterns. So the next time a coach recommends modifying a movement, it is only in your best interest and the only thing stopping you from accepting his/her recommendation is ego. If you check the ego, your progress is endless. 


12/16 9am-12pm

St Agnes House In-house charity comp.

12/22 5pm

Bionic Annual Christmas Party

12/24 8:30am

“12 Days of Christmas WOD”

How to pick the right CrossFit box

Finding the right CrossFit gym aka box for someone who has never done it before can be easy and challenging at the same time. Easy in the sense, that you may not really know what to look for as far as the  “good” and “bad” and the “do’s” and “don’ts”.  Chances are you will walk into a facility that you found on the internet or heard about from a friend, make a judgment based on first impression and appearance and give it a try.  In this blog, you will be provided with some tips (in no particular  order) on what you should be looking for when choosing the right box to get started. 

  1. Cleanliness: Is the facility clean and organized. Are things put away in a somewhat organized manner? Are the floors relatively clean or are they covered in dog hair? Check the bathrooms. Are the bathrooms clean and usable. You can teach anyone how to program a workout or coach a class, but you can’t teach someone to truly care and have a passion for what they do. You want to see if they care, check the bathrooms! 
  2. Greetings: When you walk in, does someone come and introduce themselves to you? Is the coach or management at the faculty identifiable, either by apparel or by the attention and control they have over the class. If you walk in during the middle of class and the coach leaves the class unattended to come chat with you for more then 2 mins, then leave and don’t go back…unfortunately at that time, his/her job is to instruct class and not answer questions about the facility.  If the coach or management briefly introduces themselves, and explains that he/she can answer any and all questions you have after class and explains they need to get back to coaching the class….thats a good sign, stick around…you should hear what they have to say! The management has instilled proper core values. 
  3. Questions and answers: Can the person you are talking to answer any and all questions you have. Questions ranging from “What is CrossFit ?” to “what is the class schedule and what programs do you offer?” Does the person answering your questions appear genuinely passionate about why you’re there. Do they appear passionate explaining why they do what they do. More importantly, are you asked why you are interested, or what caused you to go in to their facility?  Were you asked what your health goals are for the future? These questions already set they tone that they are genuinely interested in you.
  4. Location: a well run facility will spend a good amount of time outside, weather permitting. Look around the facility. What kind of road is the facility located on? Is it a quiet side street or a two lane, busy cut thru. This matters, because you want to be safe when outside. Also, look around the parking lot and perimeter of the facility. Is there a large enough area for cars to park along with room to be outside for workouts.
  5. Foundations/On ramp/intro Program: I’ll keep this part simple. If the box/affiliate you are looking at doesn’t require someone new to CrossFit to complete a On Ramp/ Foundations/ or some type of in-depth introductory program then run the other way. They don't offer it for 1 of 3 reasons. 1. They aren't educated enough to do it 2. They just want you to sign up and get your money 3. They are lazy.  Either one is unacceptable. An intro program is crucial to the success of the new member. A well run introductory program will consist of a physical assessment and continue with a progressive program built around your own ability level. It should be designed around the 9 fundamental movements of CrossFit and expand into common movements done on a regular basis. This should take place over multiple one hour classes with no more then a 1:3 coach to athlete ratio. If you are told, “we can watch you during class and catch you up to speed”, that facility only wants your money and could careless about your long term success.  Facilities like that are an embarrassment and should be shut down!
  6. Price:  A facility that is confident in what they offer will not negotiate pricing. They will not de-value what they offer. Its human nature to want a “deal”, but you get what you pay for. If someone is willing to cut their price in half to get you in the door, how much do they actually value what they’re offering. If they are willing to cut pricing, they probably won’t be in business much longer anyways so another reason to find somewhere else to go. 
  7. Reputation: Ask some of the members during your visit why they are there. Ask how long they have been part of the community. Ask them why they continue to stay there. Ask about community events and social outings. This will give you a true understanding of the culture, community and reputation of the box. Ask your friends that do CrossFit, what they have heard about the box/facility you are visiting. Word of mouth and reputation carries a lot of weight in the CrossFit world.
  8. Community: The foundation of CrossFit is based on community and creating a family inside the box. Its about bringing like minded individuals together that share common goals in living an active health lifestyle. Are the members smiling and hanging out before and after classes? Do the members appear to happy and eager to learn?  Are the coaches entertaining the class with education and instruction while having fun at the same time?  Are their college kids sitting in the corner on their computer trying to get some work done because they would rather be at the box where their friends are then sitting in a bar or in their dorm. Does there truly appear to be solid bonds and close friendships? If you can answer yes to those questions, then it sounds like a pretty cool place to be a part of. 
  9. Follow up: Regardless of how the initial meeting went, did the facility follow up with via email or phone call.  If they took the time to reach out to you regarding your first visit, this means they are thinking of you and checking in on your journey into a more active, healthy lifestyle. 

CrossFit is as much a workout and fitness methodology as it is a lifestyle movement to help fix human behavior to cure the worlds most vexing problem, chronic disease.  Its not about the CrossFit Games or being social media famous. Pick a box that sets its core values and mission on community, family and changing human behavior so 10-20 years from now, you are still running around and having fun!



Bionic Charity In-house Comp: 12/16 @ 9am *for any and all levels. Ask management for details

Bionic Christmas Party: 12/22 @ 5pm *catered by Blackmarket Kitchen (paleo approved food)

Christmas Schedule: 12/24: 8:30-10:30 12 Days of Christmas WOD

                                   12/25: No classes

New Hoodies should be in, within the next two weeks. 

9 tips for preparing for a local competition

Competing: Top 9 Things You Should Know

Competing at a local competition can be loads of fun and a new experience. We workout, prepare, and occasionally get to showcase what we can do with all eyes on us. However, these competitions can be overwhelming and new, especially at first. With a lot of our members competing in some local fun competitions, I though I share some insight on a couple tips that I think new competitors can benefit from:


  1. Bring your own food: Unless the competition is extremely well run, there won’t be the highest quality food sources around. Black Market Kitchen has been at the Blackout the past couple of years, which has been great, but I haven’t been to another competition with any comparable food sources. Your best bet is to pack the cooler: A couple full meals with lots of whole food, some sugary snacks for quick recovery, and lots of fluids (water, coconut water, maybe the time for a slightly sugary drink). 
  2. Bring a chair or a pillow: We forget sometimes that we are competing at another box… and boxes tend to be big open rooms with no where to sit. Bring a chair, a pillow, something comfortable because there is a lot of waiting around in between sets. 
  3. Keep your composure: We all love to get amped up before a workout, but keep in mind most comps are anywhere between 3-8 workouts and some even go two days or more. If you are losing composure, whether you are freaking out or just getting over excited, these will both contribute to early fatigue. My first comp was two days long and by the second day I had learned that I had gotten way too excited for day 1 and left little in the tank for day 2. 
  4. Taper before the big day: You need to back off a couple days before the competition so you can perform your best and more importantly, avoid injury. This means a day or two before the comp we should be coming into the gym and just moving lightly (think PVC pipes for barbell movements you will see and bike or rower to get your heart going). This includes a big hearty meal the night before, try to eat bland foods (avoid taco night, chipotle, anything that you’ll pay for the next day). 
  5. How to eat: As simple as I can put it: Have a big meal the day before, keep it bland. Light breakfast high in carbs. After each workout you should be having some type of sugar or carb. Keep fat and protein moderate, basically eat little enough so that your stomach isn’t upset. This is the day you opt for the donut over the salad! There are some great sources online for some good energy bite type food. 
  6. Warm Up: Comps are roughly 6 hours on the fast end. You need to properly warm up and activate your shoulders, hips, and anything sticky before every workout. Foam rollers, PVC pipes, and crossover symmetry (bands or light plates) should be your best friends for the day (supplied by the hosting box). Remember you will be sharing this warm up area with all other competitors so if you can bring your own PVC pipe, bands or foam rollers then try to.
  7. Recovery: Regardless of how good you think you feel, it’d be best to keep movement low intensity for a day or two after. A recovery row or bike at a low intensity for 15-40 minutes the day after would flush some of the bad stuff out of your system. Sleep like you’re on vacation.
  8. Mindset: Stay composed, remember you represent your team, teammate, your box, and yourself. Have fun and give it your best shot, your hard work week in and week out will do the rest! 
  9. Impression: LEAVE EGO at the door. Regardless of how you placed or if you didn’t always agree with the judging standards. Always say thank you to the judge/volunteer for their time and if possible, thank the management for hosting. There is a ton of time and resources put into running a good comp, without them, none of it is possible. Shake hands, high five, cheer on other competitors and have fun! Remember that the foundation of CrossFit is community first.


Happy Competing Bionic, see you guys at Misfit! (Team Pinkie and the Gainz - AJ and Jesse are going for gold!) - Coach Jesse

“Team Up, Slim Down” Nutritional Challenge

First and foremost, this time of year (fall into winter) is a miserable time for most people. It gets darker out earlier, its cold, people feel like they have less time in the day and there is usually a direct relation to the mood and energy from the community within the box. So I knew we needed to do something to get members motivated. Not just motivated in classes, but motivated outside of the gym, at home, in their relationships and other hobbies outside of the box.

Coach Jesse was recently added onto the coaching staff after his completion of our Coaches Training Program. Within a couple weeks of his completion, we sat down and had a conversation about nutrition. Jesse is a fanatic when it comes to nutrition from his knowledge thru education as a Biology and his passion for alternative/holistic approach to chronic disease .  He is known to experiment with various diets and nutritional theories to experience the good and bad on a first hand basis.  Within 10 mins of talking we decided a challenge needed to happen. Within that same conversation, which lasted about an hour, we laid out the basic ground work:

1.  Unless people wanted it, no macros, no scales, no measurements..Keep it simple.

*We decided this because counting macros isn’t fun and we wanted to keep this simple and fun. No scales or measurements because we didn’t want participants getting to caught up in what they weighted but rather how they felt, how their cloths fit and energy levels.

2.  We went by a simple guideline for food..A theory I heard on Ben Bergeron’s Podcast and a model I personally use. Eat real food and nothing processed,. No added/processed sugar and only good sources of healthy fats, proteins and starches. 3-4 meals per day based on body type. Eat just enough, not too much, no second servings and no snacking between meals. We also emphasized portion control and what an actual serving size looks like.


*22-2 person teams (mixed and same sex gender) participated. 

*Weekly check-ins with assigned coach

*Weekly challenges (recipe sharing, additional workouts, food journals, specific ingredients being used in meals, etc)

*Daily questionnaires that had to be completed.

*Base line / bench mark workout at the start and at the end.

*Participants had full access to their assigned coach via email, text or in person.

*If you cheated on the diet, your partner suffered the point deducation based on our scoring system. 

*A leaderboard that was updated weekly. 


After week 2 is when I noticed it. The looks on peoples faces changed.  How they carried themselves, their heads and shoulders were held high. People were smiling more and their general personalities were lit up. Their energy levels all showed a dramatic change for the positive. It was like a light switch, a night and day difference. Around this same time is when I started receiving texts and emails on a daily basis how this challenge was changing their lives. Participants shared personal stories about how much healthier they felt both mentally and physically. Across the board most felt certain tweaks and aches have suddenly gone away.  By the majority, if not all, members who took part in this challenge had an overwhelming positive change in their lifestyle and overall health by simply changing their diet. It was incredible to experience. The community bonded. There was friendly competition along with friendly “trash talking”. The same banter you would hear when a big group of friends got together around a bon fire and reminisced about old times. It was awesome and inspiring.  Then we had the re-test of the benchmark workout. I have to be honest, part of me was nervous because human beings, especially those that do CrossFit are results driven. They want to see consistent, forward progress regardless of how small it is. This re-test would hopefully prove that every thing Jesse and I preached for 5 weeks would show to be true. That healthy eating will improve cardio-vascular health, lower body inflammation, increase energy levels, improve sleep and help you have clarity throughout the day. That the body craves healthy fuel and when its fed properly, the body can do amazing things.

These were the recorded results of the bench mark test for people who had submitted their both times. 

New score/ Old score

Chris T: 18:09 / 19:40

Ricky L:  18:50 / 22:27

Jacqui: 17:55 / 19:44

Kim S: 17:22 / 18:27

Bill F: 17:17 / 21:52

Mike H: 21:42 / 26:08

Jon C: 16:07 / 20:08

Dan E: 18:05 / 22:40

Carlos: 16:30 / 23:16

Steve: 23:01 / 26:16

Sabrina: 20:50 / 22:52

Marci: 19:30 / 20:38

Natalie: 16:55 / 19:44

Celeste: 19:15 / 26:20

Abby:  ?/ 18:35

Jon T:  ?/ 18:43

Chris K: 15:00  / 17:55

Kam: 16:33 / 18:15

Lindsay: 17:02 / 21:02

Mike D: 23:19 / 27:51

Castro: 19:07 / 22:51

Jen R: 16:00 / 22:00

Diana: 13:11 / 20:51

Rob K: 14:36 / 20:44

Gina: 14:46 / 18:05

AJ:  11:54 / 12:15

Lauren:  18:01 / 18:39

Tina R: 18:46 / 19:37

Kyle: 15:30 / 16:42

Jeremy:  14:41 / 21:10

Shannon:  12:09 / 16:49

Lisa W:  16:48 / 18:03

Maurita: 16:00 / 21:46

Taylor: 19:30 / 24:14

*if there are any I forgot, I apologize. These scores were taken from Wodify

The scores speak for themselves. Every single person who took part in the challenge, improved their time by minutes. Jesse and I were shocked. We were expecting/hoping for improvements but this was beyond what Jesse and I expected.  Jesse and i actually had a good laugh because we were so blown away and i think simultaneously said "holy shit, is this legit ?" It was..."Team Up, Slim Down" crushed it.

Speaking for myself, I so proud of everyone who took part in this challenge. Im proud you stepped outside your comfort zone and tried something new. I’m honored that you placed your trust in Jesse and I to help guide you on that journey.  There was a ton Jesse and I learned from this experience and we will make the next one that much better.

What seemed to be near impossible in the beginning, became rather simple towards the end. 

Until the next challenge, keep up the hard work!


Next blog: "How to eat for competition". 

Last day to pre-order your new Hoodie is Friday 11/17

Saturday 11/18: Mohegan Sun night out! Dinner at Hash House at 7:30pm. Party Bus leaves Bionic at 6pm sharp!

Upcoming Clinics hosted at Bionic: Dates TBA

Muscle up clinic 

Rowing clinic

Whats your why?

First of all, I want to share how excited I am to be starting our blog/news post. This is something I have been wanting to do for a while and I'm excited to be launching it.

For those who don't know me, my name is Chris and my wife Tina and I are the owners of Bionic CrossFit. I have been involved in the fitness industry for approximately 18 years. I grew up from an early childhood into my early 20's playing competitive hockey. I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Sociology and Applied Social Relations. Prior to being a business owner, I had a 12 year career in Law Enforcement. The fitness side of my life has alway been a true passion and something I did on the side as a part time job. CrossFit created an opportunity for me to pursue this passion, help support my family and surround myself with like minded individuals. A lot of the knowledge that I share on fitness and mental mindset comes from my college education, personal experience, mentors,  trial and error and lots and lots of reading on sports psychology, personal/mental growth, various principles of strength training, cardiovascular health, nutrition and really understanding the methodology and science behind CrossFit. I do one simple thing when I read these principles, ideas and methods. I apply it. I apply it to myself or introduce it to my membership with the intention of targeting a specific goal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  I have learned that I don't always get it right and understand the process of self reflection and having the ability to adapt. This is the key to growth for myself and the members at Bionic. 

As much time as I spend talking to my members about fitness, nutrition and the science behind what we are doing when we exercise, I often find myself spending as much time if not more addressing mental mindset and having a healthy outlook when faced with adversity. The most common question I ask new and current members is "What's your why?".  This is not a term or question I can take credit for. This has been a concept on an approach to success for years for people in leadership roles and athletes alike. This term became main stream when Simon Sinek gave a Teds Talk on "What's your why". I highly recommend listening to/watching it on You tube. Essentially, most people, whether a business owner, a coach, a parent or an athlete, know what you do,  for the most part, know how you do it, but very few know the "why" behind what you do. Your "why" separates you from the rest of the herd. Now I can get all nerdy and talk about your "why".  It essentially comes from 1 of the 5 stages of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, self actualization), but I wont bore you with this. Once you can figure out your "why", you can start shaping your goals/plan around it to have self fulfillment. When you can figure out your "why", you can handle adversity with a more positive mindset and stop wasting energy on things that don't matter or that you can't control. 

When it comes to CrossFit, what is your "why" for coming in everyday? Is to have the the safety of knowing you are getting healthier to decrease the risk of chronic disease? Is to be part of a group that has the same goals and same beliefs? Maybe it's to increase your self esteem by looking better in a bathing suit (it's cool if thats it, we all want to look better), or maybe it is knowing that as grandparent you can keep up with your energetic grandkids. Or maybe, and this seems to be where a lot of people fall into, it's to push yourself to see what you are fully capable of both physically and mentally. We all fall into a category somewhere, so it is important to approach each day with a goal that satisfies this. If what you are doing doesn't help you reach your "why", don't waste your time, energy or resources on it. 

We all have limited time in life and most of us have limited amounts of energy and resources so be smart with what you have. 

Thanks for reading!


Don't forget to sign up for hooded sweat shirt if interested. Deadline is Friday 11/17

Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule:

Wednesday 11/22: No 6:30pm class, Thursday 11/23: 9am only, Friday 11/24: 9am and 12:30pm only

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