What’s up with RFS? (I’m glad you asked.)


With the New Year upon us, and a lot of change taking place at RFS I felt like writing a blog discussing the past, present and future of RFS. I’ve heard so many different versions and stories as I’m sure you all have, too!

Having been open for almost 6 years, we have had several coaches and staff as well as members. As a result, there is a lot that has transpired over those years.  Many of you already know much of the history of RFS and our future intentions, but many may not.



In 2012, myself, Jordan, Mike and Chris all joined together to build and create Real Fitness Sarasota. It was a dream come true for all of us and we are all grateful for the good times we all had together in creating this facility. The gym was built on the strong family foundation that we have.

During the first four years at RFS not much changed.  We learned so much from each other and from our members. But just because RFS was a dream for all of us, it doesn’t mean it was the only dream that each of us had or that life wouldn’t pull us in other directions.

Our veteran members may remember Coach Mike’s very first aspirations, even before the gym, was to serve our country. In 2015 , he took steps to make that happen. By January 2016 he was on that journey and has had to keep his focus 100% on that. He is the only person that knows just how difficult it was, but I certainly witnessed how conflicting it was for him.

We speak to Mike regularly and he greatly misses the gym. He asks about it all the time and always wants to hear about how everyone is doing and what’s new. He had such a positive impact on so many people!! It was an extremely difficult time for Chris and I when Mike left, because not only did we miss Mike, but we had members telling us how much they missed him too and how RFS just wasn’t the same without him. We knew that, but you can imagine that was hard for us to hear as well.

As a result, I made the decision to remove much of Mike’s presence from the gym, a decision I regret now. At the time I felt it was what needed to be done in order for everyone to move forward. The fact is, Mike will always be a part of the RFS team. We miss him, but we are so very proud of him, and we’re excited about what his future holds! The rest of the team continued to work hard to create the RFS experience we wanted our members to have after Mike’s departure.



Then, in 2017 as most of you know, Jordan and I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and have since had Isla June. There were complications and some pretty scary moments, but thankfully Isla and I are just fine.  But the experience taught me that time with family can’t be taken for granted and it should be cherished.  Especially that time with your children.

I am blessed with the ability to be with my kids everyday and I want that time with them.  With that said, RFS is my 3rd baby! I love it so much, and I am extremely proud of it. I want to be there as much as I possibly can be, because there is no place like it. I spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to balance everything, not wanting to let anyone down. But there is a lot of work behind the scenes to keep RFS at the professional level I expect. Right now, I cannot provide the amount of time and attention as I’d like.  This is especially difficult because Jordan’s work is primarily in Naples and our residence is also in Naples!

I simply can’t provide the attention or make the drive as much as I used to. But I will always be a part of it; I speak to Matt and Meredith every day and I know that in time I will be there more often—again working out alongside all of you!!😊



Chris got married in May of 2017 and we welcomed Katie into the Poppa family. As you all know, they have been looking at what would be best for their future. In the early part of 2018 Chris decided it’s time for him to make a change. Though it may seem sudden, Chris has been considering this move for some time, and his decision has nothing to do with anyone or anything else except his own family.

RFS is very special to Chris, and always will be. He will remain in touch and visit, and I’ll keep him posted on how you’re all doing, too!! He’s a man of few words when it comes to feelings, pleasantries or goodbyes, but I can tell you, this was a tough decision for him.  He simply wants the best for his family’s future, and no one can blame him for that!

Just as with Mike’s departure, there will be an adjustment period. We will miss his sarcastic, dry wit, but we will laugh about the one liners he’s so famous for.😊  We’ll miss him and Katie, but more than that, we’ll celebrate with them as they continue their life together, happy and excited about where this opportunity takes them.



So that brings us to today and addressing the present and future of RFS. I’m so thrilled RFS has such a strong, capable team in Matt, Meredith and Lisa at Real Fitness. As I’ve stated on social media, I will never be able to clearly explain how grateful I am for them. Matt, Meredith and Lisa have been working with RFS since 2013.

Matt and Meredith have worked full time at RFS right from the beginning and have been just as imperative to the growth of RFS as any Poppa has been. You may not be aware, but most CrossFit gyms are riddled with turnover and competition. That is not the case with RFS much in part because of the faith and loyalty Matt and Meredith have in RFS.

It is an understatement to say they’ve worked their asses off, and they deserve the opportunity to take RFS to the next level of our collective vision. They now have taken over the reigns completely and are fully responsible for management of the gym. Though it may seem like a lot all at once, they are implementing changes that are LONG overdue.  ome are changes that we have all talked about many times in team meetings, but I was not able to make due to the time, effort and attention they would require. Meredith and Matt have fantastic ideas for 2018 and beyond and they have my full support on those.  But what they really need in order to be successful is YOUR support.



My main reason for writing this blog and explaining all of this backstory is for them.  Most gyms, and businesses in general don’t provide the experience we do or create the relationships that we do with our clients. But we’re in a different kind of “business” at RFS. RFS is not the same place without all the Poppas being there day in and day out, but all the Poppas are still involved in some capacity and we all still love RFS and all of you.

Our hope is that you embrace these changes and support Meredith and Matt as they create a positive and special environment for YOU!  These are the coaches who took their Christmas bonus you all so generously donated and put a portion of it BACK into the gym—and bought the members the new assault bikes! That is an incredibly selfless gesture that illustrates just how caring and committed they are.

So whether you love RFS the way it used to be or as it is now, please help us build it up to become even better!! We can’t live in the past. We have to evolve. No one struggled with this lesson more than I did in regards to RFS. But instead of missing the old, let’s look forward and get excited about what’s new!! I felt like the energy at RFS was better than ever last week when I visited and I love that!!

CrossFit is all about preparing for the unknown, but I do know with your continued cooperation and support, the future for RFS is very exciting and very bright.

Thank you all for your patience, love and loyalty to RFS. You guys really are what makes this a one of a kind community.




The 2017 CrossFit Open at RFS

The CrossFit Open kicks off this week!

This will be our 5th CrossFit Open at RFS, and we look forward to the energy and camaraderie that comes during this season. This year we will do a few things differently, but THIS won’t be different:  we have absolutely zero idea what Dave will throw at us! So, we ask for your patience and flexibility in getting through these 5 weeks smoothly. Please read through this entire blog to get an idea of how we’re going to make sure everyone who signs up gets a JUDGE and a time to complete the workout.  Remember: it is crucial for you to stick with the plan of when we run the Open Workout as a WOD. The Open Workout becomes scheduled into the WEEK of WODs so members don’t miss strength days over the next several weeks.


We will be doing all 5 workouts on Mondays. Regardless if you sign up or not, everyone in the gym will complete the Open workout on Monday. (So, sign up and make your score count.) We will provide judges with TWO CAVEATS:

  • One: We will provide judges ONLY for the athletes who have registered for the CrossFit Open at games.crossfit.com
  • Two: Judges will be available ONLY on Monday!

We will not facilitate or accommodate athletes who want to complete the Open workout on Friday. We will have no judges available on Friday, and all classes will run as scheduled on Friday and Saturday. That means, these days will likely be difficult days to set up and execute these workouts. Coaches will be present, but their focus will be on running hourly WODs, not on judging or answering questions about the Open workout. Regular classes ALWAYS come first with equipment and the clocks.

Team Format

In the spirit of the games, we’ll have a little internal competition going among the RFS Athletes. Athletes who sign up and submit scores for 17.1 will be selected for one of two RFS teams: Team MERE BEARS or Team CHRIS P. BACON. Depending on the number of athletes on our roster, we will determine the scoring structure for the following 4 weeks. Yes, we will be handpicking our team. No, we will not tell you if you were selected last. This process is TOP SECRET!

Scaled Workouts

There is no such thing as a Scaled Athlete, only scaled workouts. What this means is that you are all in the same category: including Masters. The goal of all athletes is to complete as many RX workouts as possible, knowing that, when scores are calculated for the Open, 1 RX rep is more valuable than a 1,000 scaled reps. IF the first movement is a muscle up, and you can’t do a muscle up, you do the scaled workout because you are unable to score 1 rep. However, if you can do ONE rep of the RX movement, you should complete that rep and enter that score. These workouts are extremely diverse. Because an athlete struggles with one of the moves one week, does not mean that he or she will struggle the following weeks. Push yourself to submit your very best scores and to contribute to your RFS team. The singular goal of the OPEN is to encourage YOU to accomplish feats that you were previously not capable of doing! Expect to amaze yourself and crush some PRs.


  • We’re hosting OPEN release parties on Thursday nights at 8p. As soon as the workout is announced, we’ll set up and run a heat of athletes.
  • SIGN UP at games.crossfit.com 
  • You must submit your scores on the same website! As an affiliate we can only authenticate your score; we cannot enter it for you.
  • If Monday does not work for you because you recently started an interpretive dance class on Mondays instead of Crossfit, YOU are responsible for finding a judge, NOT US! (Maybe someone from your dance class will help you out.) 

SITTING: The Silent Killer

Sit … Sit … & Sit Some More!

Do you find yourself sitting most of the day? Think about it: every morning you wake up, brush your teeth, change and then you’re out the door. You sit in your car on the way to the gym. You workout for around 60 minutes, but then hop back in your car to sit on the drive to work. If you have a desk job, like the majority of America, you sit for the next 8+ hours. Sound like you? Then, when you get home you probably kick back and relax in your favorite lounge chair in front of the TV.

Sound Like You? Don’t Worry You Are Not Alone!

If this sounds like you, you are not alone, says to Chris Kresser, a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner. In an article in the Huffington Post, Kresser states that adults in the U.S. are sedentary for 60% of their waking hours. This is not entirely your fault. Our culture and social structure has adapted to extended periods of sitting. Being in a hunched position at a desk not only makes our muscles tight, but it also has a negative effect on the metabolism and other bodily functions. According to Kresser, prolonged bouts of sitting decreases activity of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme responsible for burning fat. In addition to weight gain, sitting decreases bone mineral density and increases blood pressure, says Kresser.

“So … what do I do if I have a desk job?”

stand-up-desk-1First, make it a rule to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. This will promote blood flow and keep your metabolism active. Maybe instead of sending that employee four cubicles down an email about the missing cover sheet on his reports, just walk and tell to them face to face. Second, if possible, install a standing desk so you have the option to get out of the seated position throughout the day. Standing even for short periods throughout the day has a huge positive impact.

Here are a list of really cool, easy-to-install stand up desks. (They also sell them at IKEA!)

While at your desk, make a conscious effort to do light stretching to reduce stiffness. Note your head and shoulder position. As we sit at our computers, our head and shoulders tend to slump forward and down. Make a conscious effort to keep everything pulled back and in proper alignment. A great solution to this problem is to have a friend place a piece of tape across your shoulder blades. Then throughout the day as you start to slouch and round your shoulders forward, you will feel the stretch of the tape. The tape will be a constant reminder to keep your shoulders back and head neutral.

Key points to good posture at your desk:


Stop sitting. Start stretching.

These stretches can be done every hour as you take a brief break from sitting. It will improve productivity and creativity and improve your mood!

glute stretch

sitting desk stretch

Unless you have the resources and the job flexibility, cutting sitting out of your day completely will be a monumental task, if not impossible. Combat the negative effects of sitting for hours with small breaks. Get up, move, and stretch to keep your body moving. You owe it to yourself to do all that you can to keep yourself HAPPY, HEALTHY and STRONG!

~Coach Justin

Learn more about the dangers of sitting in Kelly Starrett’s book, “Deskbound: Standing up in a sitting world.

References: Kresser, Chris. “How Sitting Too Much Is Making Us Sick and Fat — And What to Do About It.” Huffington Post. N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 Feb. 2014

5 Reasons You Can’t Do Double Unders

double unders

Still struggling with double unders? It’s not you; it’s the rope. Well, actually, it’s kind of you, too. If you’re frustrated by double unders, it’s time to take control of your outcome and master the skill. You’ll likely get there in less time than you think if you set yourself up for success. Here are five common reasons people have trouble learning double unders.

1. You’re using ropes from the gym. The jump ropes supplied by the gym are a solid option—if you’ve ALREADY MASTERED double unders. But, if you’re still struggling with dubs and you’re grabbing a community rope, this means you aren’t practicing on your own. I’ve been a coach for 5 years, and in my experience, members don’t become proficient at double unders without a little personal investment. Unlike technical movements that are learned through progression, such as HSPU or pull-ups, double unders are a skill learned through practice. So, we don’t schedule “double under practice” into the programming. That means it’s up to you. Here’s a favorite video to help you.

Watch it over and over. Slow it down. Listen and practice. We’re guessing you’ll be able to get a double under within 20 minutes—and from there, you’ll quickly be able to string two together. Then, you’re on your way!

2.  The length of the rope needs to be adjusted. A second problem to using a rope from the gym (before you’ve mastered dubs) is it’s likely not the correct length. Too short and you’re going to get tripped up; too long and your timing is going to be off, so you’ll still trip, plus you’ll be putting in a lot more work, since you’ll have to hold your arms wider (incorrectly) to compensate.

3. You’re treating it like a box jump. Double unders don’t require a lot of lift. There’s no need to kick your butt with your heels and no reason to tuck your knees. This wastes an extraordinary amount of energy! Think in terms of a relaxed, straight line. The jump is a smooth, light movement.

4. You aren’t relaxed. Relax your body; relax your arms; it’s all in the wrists.  When you tighten your body, the rope become sporadic instead of moving in a smooth arch. Plus, tight, tense arms tend to fan out away from the body, shortening the rope.

5. You aren’t listening to the cadence of the rope. The sound of the rope spinning in the air and flicking the ground gives an artificial urgency to the movement. It sounds fast and furious (especially in a class with athletes jumping), but once you have the movement mastered, you realize the rhythm is not done at a red-line pace. The wrists move fast, but the jump is smooth and calculated, as it is when you jump singles. Your jump is slightly higher, but not necessarily faster. Don’t believe it? Go watch the video again. And give yourself two 15-minute blocks of time.

Oh wait … you’re going to need a rope: roguefitness.com