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!

EXAMPLE
·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 and SCALED division.

WOD 1

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

WOD 2

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

WOD 3

KHAN
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, 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

WOD 1

30 thrusters, 65/45
30 hand release push ups
20 snatches, 95/65
20 toes to bar
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

WOD 2

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

WOD 3

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

-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 will be posted later. Goal is to keep things as simple and easy to judge as possible!

Registration

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 $5 per person ($10/team) 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.

UNTIL NOW!

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.

THE PLAN

 
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.

2K STRATEGY

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.

DID IT WORK?

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!!!

THE WORKOUTS

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.”

BUT WHY?!

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.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND, WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?!?!?!

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!

SO WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE MY CALORIE ROWING?

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.

A post shared by Keras Lesko (@keraslesko) on

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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CAN YOU DO IT?

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!

BABY STEPS

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.

course

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 PLAN

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.

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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.

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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!

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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
Stamina
Strength
Flexibility
Power
Speed
Coordination
Agility
Balance
Accuracy

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!

Read the latest car news and check out newest photos, articles, and more from the Car and Driver Blog.

Cooking With Keras: Hand-tossed Pizza

And so begins my long-delayed blog about food! When I decided to finally sit down and start collecting my recipes and pictures, I wasn’t satisfied with the photos I took. So for the past few weeks…er…months, I’ve gone back and redid a few recipes and took some new pictures.

I was told that with food blogs, you can’t simply post a few pictures and a recipe. Instead, you’re supposed to ramble on about trivial things and try to include anecdotes. I guess the more words you include, the better you engage the reader? It’s been a while since I did any writing, so I’ll try my best and hopefully craft better stories as I go!

“Cooking with Keras” started one night when I was bored and decided to share my cooking in a step-by-step fashion on Snapchat stories. Some people liked them and gave my recipes a try, so I kept going! In fact, I think my first cooking story was actually about pizza! So this post will be the first of four in a series about pizza! Today we’ll look at the classic hand-tossed pizza, and spend most of our time talking about the dough. The other installments won’t delve into the dough process as much since they’re all basically the same with just a few tweaks here and there.

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The Dough

 

When making your own homemade pizza, you can keep it simple or make it as complicated as you want. Most grocery stores have fresh and frozen pizza dough that you can use to produce great results. Most people think that making dough and baking bread is way too difficult. I disagree! Pizza dough has only 4 ingredients: water, flour, salt, and yeast!

If you want to geek out and learn more than ever thought you wanted to know about pizza dough, I’d suggest reading through Jeff Varasano’s blog blog. He goes very in depth about his quest to make the perfect dough. I’ve experimented with his recipe and adopted some of his methods and techniques, and the dough I make these days is modified from his recipe.

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First things first: if you’re going to be baking a lot, you really need to invest in a scale! They’re not that expensive, and they make baking a lot easier and help produce repeatable results. When measuring dry ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, yeast, etc, measuring by volume gives inconsistent results. Not all measuring cups are created equal! I measured the same amount of flour onto each of these plates and weighed them.

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Same amount of flour according to my measuring cup, yet their weights are 10% different! It might only be a few grams here and there, but you’ll get better results if you correctly measure your ingredients by mass instead of volume.

Hopefully I haven’t scared you away from making your own dough yet, I swear it’s not complicated! I’m just going to talk about one more concept before continuing: baker’s percentage. This is simply a method of comparing the amount of flour relative to the other ingredients when baking. When making breads, I usually see it calculated by how much the dough is hydrated. If you have 100 pounds of flour and 60 pounds of water in the dough, then it is 60% hydrated. When baking breads, wetter doughs need higher baking temperatures. I usually make my pizza dough 60% hydration and bake the pizza as hot as my oven can go, which is about 525 degrees. I used to have an oven that, although very very unsafe, could get well in excess of 700 degrees. I’m not sure exactly how hot because it broke my thermometer when I tried measuring it once. Obviously, that’s not normal. I think there was a malfunction that let me use the oven on the cleaning cycle temperature. Totally safe! Pizzas were ready in less than 3 minutes and were cooked perfectly! A second over 3 minutes and they were burnt and inedible. The pizza dough that I made then was much wetter, probably closer to 70%. If i kept it at 60%, it would have burned. The wet dough was very tricky to work with but it made the best damn pizza I ever had.

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If you have a stand mixer, it’s going to make the dough process much easier. But if you don’t, you’ll at least get a good workout by mixing everything by hand!

So even after I’ve talked about measuring out all the ingredients and baker’s percentages, you don’t have to follow the measurements exactly. I’ve made a lot of dough over the years, so I can tell my look and feel if the dough is ready. Until you feel comfortable venturing off the path, you can continue to follow the recipe listed below! I make a pizza dough that ends up measuring about 400-450g, and I usually make two or three at a time. So for two pizzas I use 300g of water, 500g of flour, 12g of salt, and about 4g of yeast (which is 60% hydration). Rough volumetric measurements can be found at the very bottom of this page. From there I’ll make adjustments depending on how the dough is coming together.

To start the dough, I add all the water, salt, and yeast to my stand mixer, and give it a quick stir. You don’t have to feed or proof the yeast. Completely unnecessary! I then add about 2/3 of the flour and mix it together and let it rest for 20 more minutes. The dough is now “autolyzing”; the water soaks into the dough and gluten structures begin to form. Or something. Science! Necessary step? I dunno, but it seems to work.

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After the autolyze period, it’s time to knead the dough. Yes, the dough is still very wet but this allows for better kneading. The dough hook can work through the entire dough with ease. If we added all the flour at the beginning, then we would just end up moving a ball of dough around the bowl and not kneading it! We want to create gluten structures when we knead, it’s what helps to make the bread chewy and delicious. I begin with a 5 minute knead and then slowly begin to add the rest of the flour over the course of the next 3 or so minutes. By now, all the flour is added, or at least most of it. You want the dough to still be kind of wet, and the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If you lower the bowl, the dough should slowly fall off the dough hook. We don’t really want a tight firm ball of dough. When we form the dough into balls, if you let it sit, it should spread out a little and look a little limp. Perfect!

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From here we can dump the dough out onto the counter, then measure and cut the dough into two equal sizes. I keep my dough in tupperware that I’ve wiped with oil until I’m ready to use it. I usually make the dough a day before, but the day of works, too. The longer the dough has time to sit, the better the crust it’ll develop! Keep the dough in the fridge, covered and oiled, until you’re ready to use it

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About an hour or two before you’re ready for some delicious homemade pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and place it on your counter and dust it lightly with flour. Now it’s time to make the sauce!

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The Sauce

When it comes to the sauce, I believe that less is more. I use crushed tomatoes, and season it to taste. Add a dash of salt, a bit of sugar, a pinch of oregano, a smidgen of paprika, and some grated italian cheese like parmesan or romano. That’s it! I don’t cook it either, that’s what baking the pizza does. If you like a spicier sauce, you can add some red pepper flakes and maybe some garlic. But maybe you can try keeping it simple so you can taste all the flavors?

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Go ahead and preheat the oven and put your pizza stone on the lowest rack in the oven. You don’t have a pizza stone?! You can still bake the pizza on a baking sheet, but a pizza stone concentrates direct heat to the bottom of the pizza. It gives the pizza that satisfying crunch by drawing out extra moisture from the dough. You can find one at Wal-Mart for maybe $20. Another option is a baking steel. They’re more durable, but also more expensive than a stone.

Putting It All Together

We’re on the home stretch! The dough should be close to room temperature, so we can start forming it into the classic pizza shape. Make sure you have enough flour on the dough, the counter, and your hands so we don’t tear the dough. Begin by flattening the center of the ball with the heel of your palm, while leaving an extra ridge of dough along the outside for a nice fluffy crust. Gently use your fingers to push the dough outwards from the center, with your other hand placed along the rim, pushing in to the center to create a slightly thicker crust. Rotate the dough each time to keep it symmetrical. Then get your hands underneath the dough, forming a fist so your fingers don’t poke through. Gently rotate the dough and let gravity stretch it further. Check out the video below, it’s easier to show than write.

You can try tossing it in the air, but I am not responsible for any messes you make! I sometimes toss and spin the dough a few times, it helps stretch it out, and it looks cool. But you can do all of the necessary work on the counter.

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So how are we going to get the pizza from the counter onto the stone without spilling everything all over the kitchen? By using a pizza peel, or in my case, by using a cookie sheet! They accomplish the same thing, and you can use a cookie sheet for lots of things. A pizza peel only serves one purpose: putting a pizza in the oven.

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Lightly dust the tray/peel with coarse corn meal. The corn meal will act as millions of tiny ball bearings so we can slide the pizza off the tray directly onto the stone without anything getting stuck. It’s not full proof, so make sure you have everything ready to go. Once we get the dough onto the tray/peel, you should have it in the oven in less than a minute. So you’re going to need your sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings you want on this pie. I like using fresh mozzarella, but the prepackaged shredded kind will work ok if that’s all you have. For toppings, I like alternating between a classic margherita pizza (tomatoes, cheese, basil), a pineapple and pepperoni pizza (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), as well as prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes with basil. Experiment with different toppings and flavors, it’s fun!

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Back to the assembly. Add the corn meal to the peel, place your dough gently on top. Using a fork, poke a handful of tiny holes into the inner ring of the dough. This will prevent the center from rising and spilling toppings off the pizza. Add a spoonful or two of sauce to the dough and spread it to the ridge of the crust using the back of the spoon. We want less sauce in the center, because it will travel inwards when it bakes. On top of the sauce, add some fresh mozzarella and then finish it with your toppings of choice.

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Open up the oven door, and put the end of the peel at the back of the pizza stone. Give it a small shake until it starts to slide off the peel onto the stone. Once you’ve made contact, slowly drag the peel towards you and the pizza should have made it onto the stone in one piece. But if you ran into a small hiccup, it’s ok! Ugly pizzas still taste great!

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With my oven, pizzas can take anywhere from 7-12 minutes to finish at 525 degrees. Each dough seems to turn out differently, and it also depends on if you gave the stone ample time to warm up. Check on it after 6 or 7 minutes. We want the cheese to be melted, but not overly bubbly and burnt. We also want a nice char to develop on the crust.

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If the stone wasn’t hot enough resulting in the top of the pie to finish cooking before the bottom has developed a nice crust, I’ll take the stone out of the oven and let the pizza continue to cook on top of it for a few more minutes. Once you’re satisfied, move it to a wire cooling rack and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving!

Bon appetit! I’ll try to make these posts every week or so, and I’m open to requests. Follow me on instagram to see my newest creations, as well as Snapchat for when I post stories from my kitchen!

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For two pies:
500g bread flour (~3 cups)
300g water (~1 1/4 cups)
12g salt (~2 tsp)
4g yeast (~1.5 tsp, little less than an entire packet of yeast)
1 can crushed tomatoes, small, ~14oz

Seasonings to taste:
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp dried oregano
-1.5 tsp smoked paprika
-shredded parmesan or romano cheese

In a stand mixer, add all the water, salt, and yeast. Stir.

Add 2/3 of the flour and mix ingredients together. Should form a dough with a consistency of a thick batter. Let rest 20 minutes covered.

With the dough hook attachment, knead the wet dough for 5 minutes, then begin to slowly add the remainder of the flour over the next 3 minutes.

(If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a wooden spoon to do the wet knead. Once you begin to add the rest of the flour you might have to move to the counter top and knead it by hand)

Turn dough out on to counter and divide into two balls. Oil two pieces of tupperware and roll the dough around until coated. Cover and refrigerate (up to a week) until needed.

Two hours before eating, take dough out of fridge and let rest on counter. Cover with a light layer of flour to prevent it from drying out.

One hour before eating, preheat oven as high as it will go, hopefully at least 500F, with pizza stone on bottom rack.

Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl, and prepare your toppings of choice such as fresh mozzarella, basil, pepperoni, sausage, etc.

Gently form the now-room-temperature dough into flat discs.

Lightly dust a peel or flat tray with coarse corn meal.

Gently place pizza dough onto peel, and poke a few holes in the dough with a fork.

Spread tomato sauce onto dough and cover with your toppings.

Transfer pizza to the pizza stone using the peel, and cook for 9-12 minutes, checking first after 7 minutes.

Once done, let cool on wire rack before serving. Hot pizza is hot!

Community WOD? 

With the CrossFit Open starting this week, we are making some changes to the schedule to accommodate our gym’s and our members’ participation in the Open. 

We are doing each week’s Open WOD together as a gym each Saturday morning for the next 5 weeks. Even if you’re not signed up for the Open (which there’s still time to at games.crossfit.com!), any and all CFS members can still come participate on Saturdays. We’ll have scaled and rx crossfit options, as well as a Sweatshop version of the workout for our Sweatshop members. 

Unfortunately, at this time, we will not be offering the free community wod until further notice. I’ll have to see how the first week or two goes before I can consider bringing it back. The priority on Saturdays right now is to get all CFS members that have registered for the Open to perform the workout and get a valid score to submit to the Games site. Each week is a surprise workout, so I do not know if I can accommodate everyone without interfering with our members experience. 

I hope you understand, and at most it will only be the next 5 weeks that do not have a free community wod. Thank you. 

CrossFit Open 2017: Slammin’ Saturdays

It’s almost that time of year again: The CrossFit Games season starts next month with the CrossFit Open beginning on February 23rd. For five weeks, for five workouts, any and every athlete has the chance to participate in this competition to see how they perform against their fellow crossfitters worldwide. Just as we’ve done in previous years, we’re thrilled to put together another great event for all our members.

Just uttering the words “CrossFit Open” tends to evoke a myriad of responses at the gym. We encourage all our members to register even when they balk at the idea (Registration begins January 12th at games.crossfit.com). The Open is designed to be accessible to all athletes while rigorous enough to challenge the world’s fittest. Each workout has a scaled and Rx option to help accommodate everyone. Fourteen-year-old high school freshmen compete in the Open, as well as their 77-year-old grandparents and everyone in between. Sign up for $20, do the workouts, enter your scores, and you will be ranked in relation to your peers in your age division, competition region, state and country. You can find out more about the Open HERE.

So why should you sign up for the Open? With the inclusion of the Scaled division and all the different age divisions, there will now be more opportunities for athletes of all levels to participate in the Open. Even the ‘casual’ CrossFitter—the athlete who simply participates in CrossFit for their health and fitness—can be tempted to join in with the fun; the question is, why should they? The Open is a time when “CrossFit—the training methodology” and “CrossFit—the sport” merge together. Yes it’s a competition, yes it’s designed to be fun, but it’s also a great way reach your health and fitness goals. There are several reasons why anyone and everyone (including you) needs to do the Open.

1. Provides you with a benchmark of your current level of fitness

The Open contains some of the most challenging workouts you will ever be exposed to. It’s not only a measure of where you stand in your CrossFit abilities, but also an excellent test of your general physical preparedness—i.e. your current level of fitness. The toughness of each Open WOD is a great way to measure how far you’ve progressed from year to year, seeing as how it’s designed to test multiple elements of an individual’s fitness. Your strength, stamina, speed, mobility and skill will all be put to the test. You may even be able to achieve new movements and weights that you had previously thought unattainable. Once you complete the five workouts of the Open, you’ll be able to look back at your performances and know that you have set new benchmarks for yourself in all areas of your fitness.

2. Highlights your weaknesses
A major goal of the Open is to expose an individual’s weaknesses. The organizers of the Games are trying to trim down the athletes to find the fittest men and women each year, but even if you don’t intend to ever ‘compete’ in CrossFit it’s still incredibly useful to know where your weaknesses lie. Part of the process of developing your fitness and becoming a better athlete is through identifying which areas are limiting your progress the most. Participating in the Open is a great way to achieve that, because you’ll be hit with a different test of fitness from week to week. Whether it’s gymnastic skills, strength, endurance or Olympic Weightlifting, your weaknesses will become immediately apparent to you as you’ll shine in some of the workouts and likely bomb other ones. You can then come away from the Open with that knowledge and develop a plan with your coach to turn those weaknesses into strengths, and become a fitter athlete as a result.

3. Increases motivation
Everyone’s desire to workout and get fitter can dwindle. It’s hard to maintain the energy and enthusiasm for eating clean, working out regularly and spending the necessary time to become a healthier person. Every year, people succumb to the CrossFit burnout. The Open provides a change of pace to your regular schedule and can reignite your motivation to become fitter, healthier, faster, stronger, etc. You’ll know that for five weeks there will be one special workout that thousands of other athletes around the world will be attempting to complete. Use the Open to reignite your motivation to reach your goals—not just for the five weeks the Open lasts, but for long after that.

4. Promotes camaraderie
Every CrossFit workout is tough, but an Open workout is one that you get to share with thousands of other athletes around the world—not to mention the people in your box! This is a unique element of the Open, amplified by the fact that you can also post your scores from each workout online so that you can compare yourself against the other Open competitors at your box and around the globe. That is certainly something you don’t get to do every day, and as such, it places extra ‘weight’ on each one of the five Open workouts. Now you’re not just comparing yourself to other people in your gym, you get to evaluate your fitness against athletes from all over the world. And because each Open WOD is special in that sense, you can strategize with other athletes in the box to try and develop a game plan to produce your best score. You can pull tips from people who have already performed 15.1, and in turn pass on your advice after you perform the workout yourself (unless of course you want to keep those tips and tricks to yourself). This competitive spirit and the knowledge that you’re competing against thousands of other people doing the same workout helps to promote an air of friendly competition and camaraderie at the box.

5. It’s fun!
At CFS everyone will get together each weekend and push thru the same difficult workouts and share an amazing experience. For five weeks, you’ll be able to test your fitness in unique workouts, achieve some of your goals, boost your desire to become fitter, make new friends and experience the competitive side of the sport. So sign up!

 

THE CROSSFIT OPEN AT CROSSFIT SOUTH

So are you ready to register for the Open and join your fellow CFS athletes for five weeks of fun? This year we’ll be changing things up a little. The past few years we’ve done Friday Night Lights where we replaced our evening classes with the Open workout. For the most part it ran well and we had a great time, but this year we’re moving it to Saturdays.

So mark your calendars for Slammin’ Saturdays! Yeah, I’m not fond of the name either but I still have time to come up with something else! The first event will fall on February 25th. We’ll run heats for a few hours each Saturday morning and finish up before noon. Afterwards we’ll have brunch at the gym: pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit, mimosas! We’ll plan the details as we get closer, but I’ll do most of the cooking on the grill and griddles I have. We can do potluck, or have a small donation from everyone to cover some costs. Plus, who doesn’t love brunch?! Terrorists.

This year I’m also going to entice you with some free swag. For everyone that registers for the Open before February 18th, I’ll give you a free tanktop! And this is available to all CFS members: crossfitters and sweatshoppers!

open2017

Black tanks with blue print. On the back will be our CFS logo. Once you’ve registered for the Open (registration begins on January 12th!), you’ll need to give me your shirt size. I’ll have samples at the gym. Make sure you register and give me your info before February 18th, no exceptions! For those that like to accessorize, I’ll also have additional colors for sale.

I’ll make another post in the future that will include more details about the themed weeks, teams, and point system for our intramural throwdown! And yes, there will be many make up options for those that can’t make it on Saturday mornings because they’re a little too hungover to get out of bed. But until then, see you at the gym!