Holiday Schedule

For the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will be running a limited schedule of two morning classes and two afternoon classes. We will be closed on the actual holidays. Make sure to check the schedule for the most up to date list of class times.

Devin C

Devin Craig is a veteran member and our newest mommy at the gym! She brings an amazing energy to every class she attends. Whether she finishes first or last, she’s cheering on other athletes the whole way through. If you don’t know her, you’ve probably never seen her, because she knows no strangers. The only thing better than seeing Devin in a class is seeing Devin when she’s brought baby Quinn along with her!

Name/Nickname: Devin Craig
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Ages: 35 (but that’s just a number!)
Occupation: Professional Role Model

When did you first start Crossfitting? 2011

When did you first start training at Crossfit South? 2015

Favorite WOD/movements? Kettle bell swings

Least favorite WOD/movements? Overhead squats

What sports/health background do you have if any? I played collegiate golf and then rugby for 11 years besides crossfit

How did you first get exposed to Crossfit? My wife’s best friend got us into it

Do you remember your first time doing CrossFit, how did it go? I remember not wanting to like crossfit…but then I ended up loving it! Lol

What changes have you seen since starting at Crossfit South? I’ve learned to workout in horrendous heat and humidity

Any advice for new people starting or contemplating Crossfit? Anything is worth trying, especially something as amazing as crossfit. The community is really what makes it so amazing. We moved here for work and we knew that joining Crossfit South would help us make friends and feel more at home.

Hobbies/Interests outside of a WOD? I still play golf, occasionally play rugby, and coach the Women’s Rugby team at UGA. Plus my main squeeze baby Quinn!

Favorite cheat meal? Pizza and donuts

What do you want to accomplish by this time next month? In 3 months? Before the end of the year? So my goal everyday is to try and get back into shape after having a baby!

What type of music do you like to WOD to? The rap music that sounds cool and only Natalie knows the words to.

What was is like crossfitting while pregnant? Crossfitting while pregnant was so hot and hard to breath buy my strength was great and going to the gym was good for my spirit and soul!

How was it coming back after having Quinn? Post baby was so hard for me I thought I was going to be back sooner then I was but honestly it was all worth it!

What advice would you give other crossfitting moms-to-be? If you are a regular at crossfit, then you’ll know your body’s limits. Honestly you can do anything you did before pregnancy, you are the best judge of when to slow down, modify, or stop. So keep on crossfitting til that baby comes!

Zach M

Zach Moates is a powerhouse of a human being! He is a beloved member of the 5:30 AM crowd. He doesn’t talk nearly as much as the ladies in the mornings, but when he does, he can always make you laugh. He can haul weight with the best of them, and he’s a mean rower.


Name: Zach Moates
Hometown: Braselton, Ga
Age: 28
Occupation: Logistics (truck driver)

When did you first start CrossFitting? July 2016

When did you start training at CrossFit South? July 2016

Favorite WOD or movements? Grace and anything with rowing

Least favorite WOD or movements? Anything with pull ups or double unders

What sports/health background do you have if any? Competitive powerlifting

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? My brother

Do you remember your first time doing CrossFit, how did it go? Late 2015, not good

What changes have you seen since starting at CrossFit South? I’ve lost around 30 lbs and overall just feel better

Any advice for new people starting or contemplating CrossFit? Don’t sprint the first 400 meters of a workout

Favorite cheat meal? Champys

What do you want to accomplish by this time next month? In 3 months? Before the end of the year? String together double unders, to be able to do a muscle up and a 550+ back squat

What type of music do you like to WOD to? Edm

What’s it like training after working overnights? Any advice? Just like training at night for someone who gets off work around 4 or 5 pm I just happen to get off work around 4am. It’s a little harder maintaining a good diet and sleep pattern.

How does crossfit compare to powerlifting? Crossfit moves at a much faster pace. Powerlifting you do a set then sit down for a couple minutes then do it again.

Intergalactic Throwdown 2017

The Intergalactic Throwdown returns September 30th to CrossFit South! This will be a fundraiser competition open to all CFS members, as well as any athletes in the area. Our hopes with this competition is to start a friendly regular throwdown (perhaps quarterly) with our neighboring gyms. Emphasis is on friendly! We all know of each other, but we don’t really know each other, so let’s change that!

My idea is that the location rotates between the different gyms around Athens, and we each put on a low-stakes competition with the goal of raising money for a charity of our choosing. For the Intergalactic Throwdown, CrossFit South will be raising money for the Athens Humane Society.

To participate in the Intergalactic Throwdown, you’ll either need to donate directly to the animal shelter (you choose how much you want to donate), or purchase a t-shirt from us and we’ll make a donation on your behalf. More details about registration are below!

Since the goal of this and future competitions is to raise money for wonderful causes, we’re trying to make the cost of entry as low as possible. Some gyms charge up to $100 per participant and all you get is a lousy pair of socks or an ill-fitting tshirt! We want to make this a regular, affordable, and awesome experience. There will be tiny trinkets for the winners, but I’ve also secured a big trophy for the “most winning-est” gym. Whichever gym has the greatest turnout and highest finishes at each competition gets to keep the trophy until the next throwdown!

The Workouts

Last time we did the Intergalactic Throwdown , it was an individual competition with 3 scored events testing skill work, absolute strength, muscular endurance and conditioning. This time there will be 3 workouts, but this iteration will be a partner competition! Just like the 2008 CrossFit Games (as seen in Every Second Counts), the winner is the person team with the lowest total time over the course of all the events. Each workout will be capped at 15 minutes, and if a team does not finish a workout, they will receive a 1-second penalty for each incomplete rep. So winning a workout by just a couple seconds will not give you much breathing room!

·Team 1 finishes the day with 10:00 in each of the three events for a total time of 30:00
·Team 2 finishes the first wod with 9:30, the second wod with 10:45, and the final wod with 9:55. Their final time is 30:10
·Team 1 wins!

Teams will be all male or all female. There will be an RX, INTERMEDIATE, and SCALED division.


30 thrusters, 135/95
30 handstand push ups
20 snatches, 165/115
20 toes to bar
10 clean & jerks, 205/145
10 bar muscle ups

-one person works at a time
-split work as needed
-each partner must do at least 1 rep of every movement to complete the workout


8 rounds
20/15 calorie row
10 burpees over the erg

-partners will alternate rounds, resting while the other completes an entire round. 4 rounds total per person


400m run
30 box overs, 24″
30 wall balls, 20/14
400m run
21 kb swings, 70/53
12 c2b pull ups
50 double unders
50 sit ups
400m run
15 overhead squats, 135/95

-partners must complete each run together
-split remaining work as needed; you do NOT have to do at least 1 rep of every movement like WOD 1


30 thrusters, 95/65
30 handstand push ups, 1 abmat
20 snatches, 135/95
20 knees to elbows
10 clean & jerks, 165/115
10 chest to bar pull ups

-one person works at a time
-split work as needed
-each partner must do at least 1 rep of every movement to complete the workout


8 rounds
15/12 calorie row
10 burpees over the erg

-partners will alternate rounds, resting while the other completes an entire round. 4 rounds total per person


400m run
30 box overs, 20″
30 wall balls, 20/14
400m run
21 kb swings, 50/35
12 pull ups
50 double unders
50 sit ups
400m run
15 overhead squats, 95/65

-partners must complete each run together
-split remaining work as needed; you do NOT have to do at least 1 rep of every movement like WOD 1


30 thrusters, 65/45
30 hand release push ups
20 snatches, 95/65
20 abmat sit ups
10 clean & jerks, 135/95
10 pull ups*

*burpee jumping pull ups will be allowed for those that cannot do a regular pull up

-one person works at a time
-split work as needed
-each partner must do at least 1 rep of every movement to complete the workout


8 rounds
12/9 calorie row
10 burpees over the erg

-partners will alternate rounds, resting while the other completes an entire round. 4 rounds total per person


400m run
30 box overs, 20″
30 wall balls, 14/8
400m run
21 kb swings, 35/26
12 pull ups*
50 single unders
50 sit ups
400m run
15 overhead squats, 65/45

*burpee jumping pull ups will be allowed for those that cannot do a regular pull up

-partners must complete each run together
-split remaining work as needed; you do NOT have to do at least 1 rep of every movement like WOD 1

Standards videos are below. No crazy rules. Full range of motion, move from point A to point B, etc. Keeping it simple!


Registration will close September 23rd. Last day to order t-shirts will be September 20th. There will be NO extra shirts.

Please fill out the google docs form below. Only have ONE member for each team fill it out. Make sure you fill it out correctly so you will receive updates such as heat assignments.

After you have your team registered you need to either make a donation to the Athens Humane Society (and bring proof of donation to the competition), bring a cash donation to the competition, or purchase an Intergalactic Throwdown shirt from us and we’ll make the donation for you. If you do not purchase a shirt or have proof of a donation, you will need to make a cash donation when you arrive if you wish to participate in the throwdown.

Minimum donation is $10 per person (we are donating $10 per tshirt sold), but you can always give more!

T-shirts will be $25 each, and you can follow THIS LINK to purchase your style and size. You’ll need to create a free account with us, and you can also go ahead and sign our waiver to expedite check-in the day of the competition. See our tshirt proofs below. Click the image for a high-res view.

T-shirt color is listed as “Midnight Heather” and it appears to be a royal purple. T-shirts are 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon. If you came to our last Intergalactic Throwdown, these are the same style. Again, head to our website HERE to purchase a shirt.

Out of Town until August 7th

I will be out of town until next Monday, 8/7. Additionally, some of our part-time coaches will be gone this week. Make sure to check the schedule, as class times may change. The phone number will be unattended, so please read the website as all questions and details on our gym and its policies are covered. After you read the website, and you still have questions, please direct any inquiries via email and I will check it once a day even though I’m on vacation.

3 Weeks To A Faster 2K Row

I like to row. Okay, that’s a lie. Let’s try that again.

I’m kinda good at rowing so I like it when it shows up in WODs because I know I’ll do well!

When I took up CrossFit many years ago, I found that I was decent at rowing. I’m tall, I’m heavy, so therefore I’m good at rowing! It’s been about 5 years since we opened CrossFit South, and I was still in college my first year running the gym. One day on campus, I saw they were having a little demonstration for the UGA club crew team. Someone with the team asked if I wanted to try out their little test, and the winner gets a free gift card to Jimmy John’s! Sure, why not, I said. They asked if I need help, if I knew what I was doing. It was a short sprint, only 250m. I got the fastest time, and they invited me to tryouts in a few weeks. At the tryout, we had to row a 2000m time trial, and it ended up being the first time I got a sub-7:00 2K with a final time of 6:57!

That was the only time we tested our 2K that semester because crew teams do 5K races in the Fall, and 2K races in the Spring. The gym and school took precedent, so I was only able to make it to half the races, and only got out on the water once or twice a week.

I kept rowing, but I didn’t really try to improve my numbers. Once I got a sub-7:00 2K I was satisfied. Once I got a sub-1:30 500m I was fine. I could always repeat those results, but I didn’t care about going faster.


For the past year CrossFit South has been home to the UGA Crew team. They’re here four days a week putting in a crap ton of work. Everyone is in so much better shape than when I was on the team five years ago. It would’ve been nice to have some of this competition to push me back then. Watching the team retest their 2K time trials before summer break made me want to see if I could set a new personal best in a short amount of time.

Without training for it, I decided to do a 2K time trial to set a baseline. I pulled a 6:53, a one-second PR from the year before! Good, but not great. I wanted to get under a 6:40 in less than a month and under a 6:30 before the end of the year.


I’ve seen estimates that a 2000m time trial is 75% aerobic and 25% anaerobic. I’d say it’s 100% suck! A 2K time trial is in that horrible middle ground between a sprint and an endurance piece for a normal crossfitter. It’s a really long sprint. If you don’t want to give up 700m in, you’re obviously not going hard enough!

I wanted to see how much faster I could get, but a one person study doesn’t say much. So I asked some members if they were crazy enough to try it with me! I got about a dozen to join me for some fun rowing workouts outside of class!

I put together a short 3-week program with the specific goal of increasing our 2K times. For most people, spending any amount of time on an erg for 3 weeks is going to make them a better rower, but I needed something structured with purpose.

If this was a crew team, the program would be different. But we’re crossfitters, and most of our members are super busy with school, work, and a lot more. People do crossfit because it’s structured, short, and sweet. They don’t want to put in 50K meters on the erg each week. So I tried to keep each workout under 30 minutes…most of the workouts were shorter, some were longer.

Since we get plenty of strength work in our regular classes, we only needed to work on our endurance. To do that, we focused on intervals! Each week had 5 different rowing workouts, each focusing on different goals to train all the energy pathways.

1) Short intervals – under 1000m for each interval, and about 4-5K total for the workout. The goal pace was always sub-2K. What that means was you had to row the intervals at a pace faster than your 2K. If you have an 8 minute 2K, that is a 2:00/500m split. So a 2K split -5 is a 1:55/500m split.

2) Long intervals: the shortest intervals were 1500m, the longest were 3000m. Each long interval day was a total of 6000m. Our pacing goals were always supra-2K split times.

3) Long steady state for distance – 5K row, not for time, at a pace that allowed for conversation. A lot of times I see rowers go too hard on their steady state pieces. I see these workouts as a time to train our aerobic pathways. We shouldn’t slow down or get exhausted by the end. Since we didn’t focus on going fast, we would focus on stroke rate and technique. Having access to slides for the erg made this a lot easier.

4) Super short powerful pieces with long recovery – these workouts were 6:1 rest to work. We would focus on super short 10-second bursts before resting for a minute. I designed these for our people to practice their sprint starts.

5) Long steady state for time – 20 minutes. A second aerobic workout. Just like the other steady state wod, we weren’t concerned with going fast. Just sitting on the erg for 20 minutes to work on our aerobic capacity.

The first 3 workouts were “required” and the last 2 workouts were “optional but encouraged”. But as long as they got in 2 or 3 workouts each week I believed we would see results.


There are many different ways to attack a 2K Time Trial, but I’ll talk about what works for me. I’ll also make a video in the future about time trial and wod strategies where I’ll go more in depth on details.

PRE-RACE: carb up a few hours before! Clear your head. It’s a 2K race, it’s going to suck. But you know what? You’re going to survive, and you’re going to do great.

WARMING UP: I start off by doing a normal warm up. Short jog, little stretching and foam rolling, focusing on areas that feel tight. Then on to the erg! I then go through “The Sevens” warm up drill. I like this warm up a lot better because it puts focus on the hips and lower body vs the upper body pick drill.

I finish my warm up with a quick 10-stroke burst at my 2K pace goal to raise my heart rate before the wod. The last thing you want to have happen is for your HR to spike for the first time 15 seconds into an 8 minute sprint!

SETTING UP THE ERG: make sure the foot plate is set to a comfortable position. Make changes to the flywheel to adjust your drag factor. I’ll make another article shortly about drag factor, but most male crossfitters will be comfortable with about 135-140 and females at 120-125. I also like to set my monitor all the way up, as it forces me to sit more upright while I row.

THE START: for the beginning of the race, you’re on edge, you’re nervous. So let’s use some of that energy and put it into the start of the 2K. One of the energy pathways (creatine phosphate) powers the first 15 seconds of activity. It’s going to be used up regardless, so use it to its maximum potential to start the race with a bang. We don’t want to go all out, but we want to get the erg moving as fast as possible as quickly as possible. The way that the erg measures time to 2K is by your average pace. Instead of taking full strokes, use shorter strokes with your back and arms to get the flywheel moving before moving on to full strokes. It should take about 3 or 4 pulls before you settle into full stroke. For the next 10 pulls we’re maintaining that fast pace. It depends on the person. I wanted to finish with a 1:40 split, so for my sprint start I was hovering around 1:30. After my first 20 pulls I immediately slow down and settle into race pace.

RACE PACE: you need to have a goal in mind. My goal of a 6:40 finish gives a 1:40/500m split. So after my sprint start, I wanted to settle into a 1:40 pace or there about. Since I sprint the beginning, I was able to lower the average pace. At the end of my first 500m I was at an average 1:35/500m pace. So I could go slower than a 1:40/500m pace and still finish under 6:40. If I saw a 1:41 or 1:42, that’s ok! Just dial it back down eventually.

I made a crappy graph in excel and MS paint to illustrate what I’m talking about. The dotted line in the picture is our average goal pace, in this case a 1:45 split. We don’t have to hold a 1:45 the whole time to finish with a 1:45! Start strong, build up some extra headroom when you’re rowing faster than your race pace. That way you can slow down in the middle, sprint the very end, and still have a 1:45 average!

(note: chart not drawn to scale)

IT’S ALL MENTAL: from about 300m until 1300m you probably want to stop. The lactic acid is starting to build. You’re sweating. It sucks. But it’s ok. It’s not going to get any worse. Tell your brain to shut up and stop playing mind games. You got this shit! However, don’t be arrogant. If you’re feeling good, you still need to stick with your plan. This middle piece we’re going one or two splits above our goal. Don’t try to go faster than your race pace! Sit tall, focus on your stroke, focus on your breathing.

YOU’RE ALMOST THERE: with about 700m to go, it’s time to get serious. Don’t let your pace go slower. Dial it back in. Don’t deviate from race pace.

FINAL 500 METERS: Don’t sprint just yet. We still want to keep it at race pace. Focusing on long arms and long legs.

SPRINT FOR THE FINISH: For the final 300m we want to start going faster. Our stroke rate might increase by one or two. Try to get under your race pace by one split. With 200m to go, try to get under your race pace by two splits. At 150m, everything you’ve got!

YOU’RE DONE: don’t collapse on the floor just yet! Try to keep your composure. Stay on the erg and slide back and forth for a minute. Try to flush out some lactic acid.


YES! Everyone that participated in my experiment improved their 2K time. As predicted, those that did more of the plan improved their times the most. For the three mandatory workouts, we probably had close to a 70% compliance rate. Everyone did at least one rowing workout a week. Maybe 20% of participating athletes did one or more of the optional workouts each week. I think I did the power workout once and the steady state workout once.

At the end of 3 weeks, I improved my 2K time by 11 seconds. I went from a 6:53 to a time of 6:42. Not too shabby in such a short time! I missed my goal of a 1:40/500m pace by half a second! I wasn’t there mentally, and dropped the ball on the final 500m. Part of me blames it on the fact that I got distracted by someone screaming next to me as he was struggling through his time trial. When I looked back at my screen I had dipped down to a 1:58/500m pace, shit! Maybe I started off too hard. Maybe I didn’t eat enough that morning. Maybe I waited too late to speed up and sprint the finish. Who knows! Regardless, I think I could’ve gone faster, but I really didn’t want to redo it! I was so close though…two seconds from my goal…

So how did everyone else fare?

Keras: 6:53 to 6:42
Mike: 7:57 to 7:34
Zach: 6:59 to 6:56
Jonesy: 7:55 to 7:33
Scott: 7:33 to 7:29
Tom: 7:57 to 7:48
Deijon: 9:22 to 8:20
Jeff: 7:49 to 7:35
Justin: 7:30 to 7:23
Bianca:: 7:59 to 7:50
Maggie: 8:00 to 7:57
Jessie: 8:07 to 8:01
Krista: 8:29 to 8:14
Devin: 8:43 to 8:37
Natalie: 8:21 to 8:13

And that’s just for those that did the 3-week test/retest! Nearly everyone else PR’d from the last time we did a 2K late last year, too!!!


Each week involves a shorter workout at a sub-2K pace, a longer workout at a supra-2K pace, and a steady state aerobic workout. In addition to those three wods, there are two optional but encouraged workouts: one involves power output, and the other is a second steady state workout. Depending on your weaknesses, you should probably do one of these. Awesome at sprints but struggle with the longer workouts? Do the additional steady state row.

MONDAY, speed
  • 8x500m
  • Pace: 2K split -3
  • Rest: twice the time it took to row
TUESDAY, power (optional)
  • Set unit to watts: Pull hard for 10 seconds and take 90% of your average
  • Row 10 seconds, Rest 60 seconds
  • Continue for 20 sets
  • If unable to hit your 90% goal, rest for 120 seconds before continuing
WEDNESDAY, endurance
  • 4x1500m
  • Pace: 2K split +6
  • Rest: 5 minutes
THURSDAY, steady (optional)
  • 20 minutes @ <25spm
  • Pace: 2K +20
  • Focusing on breathing, focusing on technique, focusing on a steady pace
  • Use slides or a dynamic erg if possible, makes it easier to rate low and focus on the recovery
FRIDAY, distance
  • 5000m @ >25 spm
  • Pace: 2K +15
  • Just like Thursdays, we will do a steady state WOD to train the aerobic pathway. You should be able to hold a conversation, don’t go hard.
MONDAY, speed
  • 250m x 2 @ MAX
  • 500m x 2 @ 2K -3
  • 750m x 2 @ 2K – 2
  • 1000m x 2 @ 2K – 1
  • Rest = work x 2
TUESDAY, power (optional)
  • Set unit to watts: Pull hard for 10 seconds and take 90% of your average
  • Row 10 seconds, Rest 60 seconds
  • Continue for 20 sets
  • If unable to hit your 90% goal, rest for 120 seconds before continuing
WEDNESDAY, endurance
  • 3x2000m
  • Pace: 2K split +8
  • Rest = work
THURSDAY, steady (optional)
  • 20 minutes @ <25spm
  • Pace: 2K +20
  • Focusing on breathing, focusing on technique, focusing on a steady pace
  • Use slides or a dynamic erg if possible, makes it easier to rate low and focus on the recovery
FRIDAY, distance
  • 5000m @ >25 spm
  • Pace: 2K +15
  • Just like Thursdays, we will do a steady state WOD to train the aerobic pathway. You should be able to hold a conversation, don’t go hard.
MONDAY, speed
  • 4x1000m
  • Pace: 2K goal
  • Rest: 5 minutes
TUESDAY, power (optional)
  • Set unit to watts: Pull hard for 10 seconds and take 90% of your average
  • Row 10 seconds, Rest 60 seconds
  • Continue for 20 sets
  • If unable to hit your 90% goal, rest for 120 seconds before continuing
WEDNESDAY, endurance
  • 2x3000m
  • Pace: 2K split +8
  • Rest = work
THURSDAY, steady (optional)
  • 20 minutes @ <25spm
  • Pace: 2K +20
  • Focusing on breathing, focusing on technique, focusing on a steady pace
  • Use slides or a dynamic erg if possible, makes it easier to rate low and focus on the recovery
FRIDAY, distance
  • 5000m @ >25 spm
  • Pace: 2K +15
  • Just like Thursdays, we will do a steady state WOD to train the aerobic pathway. You should be able to hold a conversation, don’t go hard.

Rowing: Meters vs Calories

I thought I’d make a quick post about the difference when it comes to meters vs calories on the erg. Spoiler alert: there is none!

We’ve all heard it and probably parroted these thinking they were true:

  • You’ve got to set the damper up to a 10 when you’re rowing for calories!
  • You need 1 calorie per pull!
  • You need to pull harder and rate lower because calories don’t coast in like it does with meters!

Okay, I haven’t heard the last one too much, but some people think everything changes when doing calories because when you stop pulling you don’t get any more calories. Sure, when you stop rowing, the monitor slowly continues to add meters. But the same thing is happening when you stop rowing for calories, you just might not see it. If calories were shown out to 1/10th or other fractions, then you could see that you’re slowly chipping away at each calorie. Imagine the opposite: if you were rowing for meters but the erg monitor only updated every 50m. You’re still moving along, the monitor just doesn’t give you precise updates.

Remember 15.5? Rowing for calories and thrusters? For CrossFit Open WOD 15.5, there was a rule that said “Each time you return to the rower you or your judge must reset the monitor to zero before rowing.”


Because the monitor is still chipping away on the next calorie when you stop! Have you ever noticed that if you keep the monitor going during sets, that your first calorie back on the rower comes a LOT quicker? It’s true!

So how are calories calculated on the erg? Well the monitor is calculating calories per hour, which is related to power output, which the erg measures in watts.

If you want to read about the physics of erging, then click HERE to find out more than you ever wanted to know!

So How Are Calories Counted?

As I just mentioned, the erg calculates calories based on power output (watts). So how do we figure this out? First, to figure out watts, we use the following formula provided from Concept 2:

watts = 2.80/pace³

Where pace is time in seconds over distance in meters.

For example: a 2:05/500m split = 125 seconds/500 meters or a 0.25 pace. Watts are then calculated as (2.80/0.25 ^ 3) or (2.80/0.015625), which equals 179.2. Since power calculations involve the cube of our pace, the relationship is not linear in a 1:1 ratio, but rather exponential. As your pace gets faster and faster, it’ll require an even greater power output as seen in the following chart:

So going from a pace of 2:00/500m to a pace of 1:55/500m requires an extra 27.6 watts. But going from a pace of 1:30/500m to a faster 1:25/500m is an extra 89.8 watts! Both examples involved going 5 seconds faster, but require vastly different power increases!

Calories and Watts have a pseudo-linear relationship.

The ‘Calorie’ output on a Concept 2 ergometer is an approximate guide to calories burned rather than mechanical work performed. Mechanical work is defined as the average Power x time:

W = P * t

If Power P is measured in Watts and time t in seconds, then the Work W is obtained in Joules. So, rowing a steady 200W for 30 minutes (1800 seconds), you would generate an amount of mechanical work:

W = 200 x 1800 = 360 000 J = 360 kJ

In physics, a ‘calorie’ is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gramme of water by 1 degree centigrade, giving 1 calorie = 4.2 Joules. Dieticians, on the other hand, use the term ‘calories’ differently – their ‘calories’ are 1000 times bigger (‘kilo-calories’, kC), so dividing 360 kJ by 4.2 gives the mechanical work done in terms of ‘dietary calories’: 85.6 kC

However, for the above workout you would actually get a displayed value approaching 500 kC, i.e. a factor 5 – 6 times larger. This is because the computer attempts to calculate the number of calories you burn up (effectively chemical energy contained in fats and carbohydrates) in order to generate the mechanical work. It uses the formula

E = ( 4 W + 0.35 t ) / 4.2 [kC]

where E is the displayed number of calories [kC], W is the mechanical work in kJ, calculated according to the first equation (W=P*t), t is the time in seconds. This assumes that the body actually requires 4 units of chemical energy to generate 1 unit of mechanical energy (i.e. 25% efficiency) plus a background consumption of 0.35 kJ/sec (=300 kC/hour).

For the above workout (200W steady state for 30 minutes=1800 seconds), you would get:

E = ( 4.0 x 360 + 0.35 x 1800 ) / 4.2 = 493 [kC]

The Concept 2 monitor calculates calories burned based on an individual that weighs 175lb/79.5kg. So if you want to find out how many calories you burned specifically to YOU, then you can use Concept 2’s calorie calculator.


Not a whole lot. Basically, the faster you go, the more calories you burn.

But did you see anything in the equation about the damper setting on the erg? Or your stroke rate? Nope!

What changes on the erg when you press the units button on the monitor? Nothing! The laws of physics are the same, nothing has moved around on the erg. What once said meters now says calories. Everything is still the same…So why change how you row?

Calories on the erg is simply another unit of measurement on the monitor. Watts, meters, calories, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to turn the flywheel to a higher setting. You don’t need to rate faster or slower.You don’t need to row upside down. You don’t have to pull harder when doing calories vs meters.

Regardless of rowing for calories or meters, you need to row the same way and remain efficient.

Think of it this way: If you’re running 1600m or running 1 mile, are you going to do anything different? No. It’s the exact same thing, just measured differently. Same thing when you’re snatching with pounds vs kilogram plates. Nothing has changed except for the unit of measurement.

The problem we have when it comes to calories is that we aren’t familiar with what the monitor is showing us. We know how fast we can row 500m. We know how far we can get in a minute. But most of us have no idea how many calories we can get in a minute or how long it will take us to do 50 calories!


For starters I took the guess work out figuring out how calories/hour compared to split times with the chart below!

So let’s say a WOD involves 50 calorie row at the beginning and end of the workout. Looking at my chart, that’s going to end up being longer than 500m unless you can row a sub-1:30 pace for 500m and still have energy left in the tank. For 50 calories it’s going to take around 600-900m in the end, so you definitely DO NOT want to row as fast as your 500m PR pace. Maybe for this workout you’ll aim for your 2K pace. If your 2K time is 8:00, that’s a 2:00/500m pace which equates to ~1000 cal/hr on the monitor. You’ll finish 50 calories in roughly 3 minutes and you’ll have traveled about 750m. Nothing too crazy so you should have plenty of energy left to complete the workout and the final row at the end!

Again, don’t change the way you row just because you changed what the monitor says.. Going into any workout on the erg requires that you understand how to use it. There is no good way to game the machine that can outperform good movement patterns and efficiency. Taking the time to learn the skill will improve not just your calorie rowing but any of your rowing workouts.

Cooking With Keras: Deep Dish Pizza

What’s your favorite type of pizza? So many different styles! New York, Sicilian, Chicago, St Louis, sushi, calzones, and so much more! I love them all, but apparently some people really HATE Chicago-style deep dish pizza:

It’s a tale as old as time, New York vs Chicago pizza, distinct in their own ways. Thin foldable grease traps from New York, or the thick gooey monster slice from Chicago. Which is better?

The crust: while the dough for the Chicago pizza results in a thicker crust, perfect for holding all the delicious cheese, sauce, and toppings, one thing must be made clear: it is not dense and heavy; it’s flaky and buttery. Crisp on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside!

The sauce: the thin, oily sauce of New York-style pizza can cause quite a mess when you try to eat it. Make sure you have napkins ready, because it’ll be dripping everywhere! Compared to the rich, chunky, robust sauce used in a deep dish pizza, it’s quite bland. Chicago-style sauce is one of a kind!

The cheese: while both styles of pizza use gooey mozzarella sprinkled with parmesan cheese, the Chicago-style deep dish doesn’t skimp on the melted goodness. Underneath the sauce of the deep dish pizza is full of chunks of mozzarella and provolone cheese.

The toppings: while they are often hidden between the thick crust, gooey cheese and river of sauce, the toppings play an important role in helping a deep dish pizza reach the top of the pizza games. More than just a few pieces of pepperoni scattered across the crust or a handful of crumbled sausage dashed among the rest of the toppings, a Chicago-style pizza really has to pack in a lot of toppings if they’re going to get the recognition they deserve.

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Let’s Make a Pizza!

The dough for a deep dish pizza is going to be a little bit different than a hand-tossed pizza. Click HERE to find my hand-tossed pizza recipe where I go in to great detail on measuring, kneading, and proofing the dough. Although I strongly recommend using a scale to measure the weights of ingredients, making bread doesn’t have to be perfectly exact.

The baking percentages for the deep dish pizza will result in a slightly drier dough, but it’s still made quite the same. Add water, salt, and yeast to a stand mixer. Put in 3/4 of the flour and mix, let it rest for 20 minutes to hydrolyze. Slowly add the remaining dough until a tight ball forms. Let knead for another 5 minutes. Now we’ll let it rest and rise. Turn the dough out on to the counter, and roll it flat into a rectangle.


Spread half a stick of softened butter onto the dough, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, cut it in half, reform it into two balls. These layers of butter is what gives the deep dish pizza the perfect biscuit-like texture. Let rest on the counter or in the fridge until ready to assemble.


Next, the Fillings!

The sauce is a chunky thick sauce full of crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, parmesan cheese, pepper flakes, basil, and a dash of sugar. Yes, sugar. But just a bit to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.


Add some butter or oil to a pan, and saute half a diced onion. Once the onions begin to brown, add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

My go-to choice of toppings when I make a deep dish pizza is the pork trifecta! Bacon, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni! I like to cut them up into similar sized pieces. First, cook the bacon. Remove from the pan, and then cook the Canadian bacon. Drain the grease and mix all three together.


We’re almost ready! Preheat the oven to 425, remove the dough from the fridge (if you put it in there to begin with), and slice or shred your provolone and mozzarella cheese.

Putting It All Together

Flatten your dough into a disc that is slightly larger than your cast iron skillet. Place it inside your greased skillet, making sure to press the dough up along the edges since this is going to be a very thick pizza! We start the stacking by first adding a layer of cheeses. When this cooks, this is separate the sauce from the dough so it doesn’t get soggy!


Next, we’ll add our toppings. In this case, my pork trifecta! Feel free to use whatever you like. Could be ground sausage, pepperonis, vegetables, plain cheese, whatever! Top off the pizza with your sauce, and bake it in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.


Check on dough after about twenty minutes to make sure it’s not burning. If the crust is getting a little too charred, cover it with tin foil until it finishes cooking. Once you remove it from the oven, add some parmesan cheese on top and let it cool before removing it from the pan.


500g all-purpose flour (~3.5 cups, ~18 ounces)
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
300g slightly warm water (~1.25 cups, ~10 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened)
olive oil for coating
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes1
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced or shredded
1/2 pound provolone, sliced or shredded
Grated parmesan cheese, to tasting

What I like to use:
1 pound bacon, diced and cooked
1/2 pound canadian bacon, diced and cooked
1 handful pepperoni, diced

Easy Directions:

For the dough: Mix the water, salt, sugar, yeast in a bowl. Add to a stand mixer with about 3/4 of the flour. Mix on low for a few minutes, and then let rest for 20 minutes. With a dough hook, slowly knead in the remaining dough until absorbed. Knead for another 5-10 minutes. Shape in to a ball, and add to a greased bowl. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and let rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. Remove from bowl and roll flat onto a lightly floured counter. Spread the softened butter onto the dough and roll up length-wise. Cut in half, and reform the two dough sections into balls. Return to a lightly greased bowl and let rise again for 1 hour or place the bowls in the fridge until ready to make the pizza.

For the sauce: add butter to a sauce pan and saute onions. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the toppings: Dice the bacon and saute in a pan. Remove and saute the Canadian bacon in the leftover bacon grease. Combine with diced pepperoni to make the pork trifecta! I like to add the meat to the sauce for assembly.

Preheat oven to 425F

Assembly: Once the dough has risen a second time, roll it out into a disc on a lightly floured surface. Make the dough bigger than the 9-inch pans, so about 12-inches in diameter. Grease the pans with olive oil and add the dough discs to each pan. Make sure the dough follows the pan up to the lip. Add half the cheese to each pizza, followed by half the sauce. Bake the pizzas for about 30 minutes. Check halfway thru and cover with tinfoil if the crust is starting to burn. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice, serve, and enjoy!

How To Prepare For An Adventure Race?

By joining CrossFit South of course! Whether you’re doing your first 5K adventure race like the Warrior Dash, or getting ready for a longer race like a Spartan Beast or Tough Mudder, we can help you get there!


In January, I signed up for the Tough Mudder with barely any running experience. I hate running. I like to lift heavy things and then slam them on the ground! My cardio isn’t too bad, I still do the occasional WOD at the gym and throw in some rowing to supplement my weightlifting. But I usually avoid any running over 400m. I had a wake-up call when a workout involved a 2000m run before doing some wall balls, muscle ups, more wall balls, power cleans, and more running. I came back from the run and my heel cords were on fire! My feet hurt so bad, and my calves were so tight, that I fell onto my back on my first attempt at a wall ball throw! Going from the “couch to a 2K” was disastrous, how would I be able to run a half marathon obstacle course in four months?! The last time I did the Tough Mudder I did not prepare at all and it went horribly. I had no problem with the obstacles, but I died on the run. My feet went numb and my legs cramped. I had to walk most of the course, which meant my team had to walk with me. I didn’t want a repeat of events this time so I made a plan!



If you can run a mile, you can run a Tough Mudder. Even though it’s a 12-mile event, there is never really any time during the race that you have more than a mile of running between obstacles. And there’s no rule that says you have to run! Plus, these races aren’t really races. Unless you have a watch on you (or if you sign up for a timed heat), you won’t know how long it took you. It’s about the adventure, it’s about having fun, and most of all it’s about teamwork. Even if you run it by yourself, everybody out there is on your team and will gladly help you overcome the obstacles. A lot of times you’ll be helping a stranger over a wall or through the mud. The camaraderie is amazing!


After that disastrous 2K run, I knew I could no longer skip the running workouts. I write up the programming at CrossFit South, and yet I would cherry pick and skip most of the running workouts. Well no more! Instead of diving headfirst, I took a slower approach. What’s a mile? Sixteen-hundred meters. Well I had trouble with a running a little over a mile, so let’s go smaller. What’s a mile? 4 rounds of 400m. Yeah, that sounds better. I can run 400m without dying. I started to program running into workouts at least once a week, and it was usually 400m repeats with some barbell work or gymnastics in between. I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest in these workouts since I’m a big dude: 6’2″ and about 245# at the beginning of the year. So instead I took this time to focus on technique. Eventually I would get faster.


If I only ran 400m repeats, I’d definitely get better at running short distances, but I knew I needed to run more. I programmed longer runs in our workouts, and I would try to complete them, but I still had to scale a few workouts. I kept at this for a few weeks and then I decided to test my progress.


I took a trip to the intramural fields on the UGA campus and ran the trails one day. I had no idea where I was going, I just kept taking right turns until I saw my car parked across the lake. When I got back I found out the course I took was a mile and a half! Didn’t set any records (over a 10-minute mile), but I jogged the whole time without stopping! My heel cords were a little inflamed at the end, but no where near the agony I experienced a few months prior.


The workouts that I had been doing definitely helped. I didn’t do much running (less than 2 miles a week), yet I made progress. So how much more could I improve?

At CrossFit South, we offer more than just a daily WOD. You can click on the little blue “WODs” button on our main page to get a taste of what we have to offer. But our members get access to a lot more programming options. For those that want to focus on strength, we offer a “Barbell Club” track that includes daily programming for the snatch and clean & jerk. Some people want to get better at bodyweight movements so we program for them with our “Gymnasty” track. Since I rowed for a little bit in college, and the fact that the UGA Crew team practices at CFS, I programmed rowing workouts in “Ready, Set, Row!”. Over time, the latter evolved to include running workouts to help our members improve their aerobic capacity. All our members have access to these programs on their smartphone via our SugarWOD app. They can come in any time that we’re open to work on those skills.


So to meet my goals, I did Barbell Club two or three times a week and a CrossFit WOD twice a week. When I had time to go to the track, I would do one of the Ready, Set, Row track workouts. This way I got some much needed running work outside of what I program in our group classes. Since changing up my training at the beginning of the year I’ve lost weight, my conditioning has greatly improved, and I’m getting faster at running (lowered that trail loop time down to an 8-minute mile pace!). I’m still not a good runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I definitely don’t hate it as much.

The Tough Mudder has come and gone. It wasn’t as bad as years prior since I decided to train for it. The running was still the hardest part for me, but my feet didn’t go numb and I didn’t cramp up! I ran most of it, but I hit a wall past the halfway point. I kinda forgot to eat breakfast and ran out of energy. Live and learn!!

At the finish line you have to run through muddy water and over small hay bales…all while trying to avoid electrified wires blocking your path! I was so tired at this point each zap knocked me down to the ground! I got hit about four times before I reached the end.


Couldn’t have done it without my training partner, Krista! She kept me moving the whole time, and did her best to motivate me when I wouldn’t shut up about being hungry or complaining about all the running! To her a “short run” is at least 5 miles. To me a short run is to the car when it’s raining….

Here’s a picture of her at the finish line running through the electric wires…that’s a face of panic!


So if you’re interested in getting healthier, whether that’s stronger, faster, or to just look better naked, come check us out! You’ve got nothing to lose with our FREE TRIAL, and we can show you everything else we have to offer. We have group classes, specialized programming, personal training, and nutritional coaching!

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And finally, here’s a short compilation of some of the Tough Mudder we ran. The camera I was wearing was rated for 5 hours, but it died after an hour and a half!!

New Programming Cycle

What is CrossFit? The CrossFit prescription is performing “functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity.” The CrossFit program is designed to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible.

CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are as follows:

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance

Right now at CFS we are more of a strength-biased conditioning program, aka NOT CrossFit as it was originally designed. When you try to cram a strength component with a WOD day in and day out, you suffer and our coaching suffers. By trying to fill the hour with as much as we can, we’re reducing our intensity and thereby reducing results. How can we possibly be properly warming up, coaching, correcting, and allowing everyone to hit peak intensity in a session when we’re trying to do 10 different things? How can you give your all on Fran after you just did a 5RM back squat? You can’t! Your performance on one, or both, of those things will suffer when done back to back.

So starting this week we’re going to program less in the CrossFit classes and focus more on pursuing virtuosity. Most days will no longer have two parts. Every now and then we might lift before a WOD, but definitely not as often.

Some days will be short, some will be long, some day will be heavy, some days might be light. But whatever the day is, we will only do one thing in class, and we will do it right! We’ll properly warm up, mobilize, and work on technique before doing a WOD.

There might be some resistance to this change, but this will work out better for everyone. Trust me!

For those that think this change of programming “isn’t enough”, there are options. Classes will not always last an entire hour so you’ll have time at the end to do other things. Everyone can come in early and stay after their class to work on their weaknesses. Extra work is on the board every day that most everyone neglects. Plus we have supplemental programming like barbell club, gymnastics, rowing/running, and sweatshop. Go under your settings on the sugarwod app and subscribe to one of those tracks.

If you still want to work on strength every day, subscribe to “Barbell Club” and pick one or all of the many lifts programmed every day. If you want to work on your aerobic capacity, there are rowing (and running) wods under “Ready Set Row”. And then there’s plenty of workouts under “Gymnasty” for those that want to get better at bodyweight movements. We’ll soon add more specialty classes to the schedule for more coach-directed technique work. It’s up to you if and how you specialize, and your coaches will help you get there. I would just suggest that you NOT do all the programming tracks every day or else you’re going to break yourself down and regress.

See y’all at the gym!

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