Member Spotlight: Darby Tozer


Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month’s spotlight is on Darby Tozer, a member since 2017.

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

Darby: I joined Grand Trunk two and a half years ago when I was six weeks postpartum with my son. I had six weeks to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress for my best friend’s wedding, and needed all of the help I could get!! I was also inspired by my friend and neighbor Allison DeHorn to try it out!

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

The thing I enjoy most about Grand Trunk CrossFit is that I don’t feel intimidated by the many things that I am not good at. I know that someone is always willing to help and give pointers. I also love that I can bring my kids and not have to worry about daycare!

What is your favorite movement?

My favorite movement would have to be pull-ups! It took me what felt like forever to be able to even get one, and I was able to string together seven the other day! Big accomplishment people! LOL!

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

I think the CrossFit goal I have achieved is two things.

First of all, CrossFit is the only workout I have ever stuck to in my entire life. In the past, I would join the local gym, walk on the treadmill for a few minutes, attempt to follow the instructions on the weightlifting machines, and then leave. This would usually last about one month and then the rest of the year would go wasted. Since joining GTCF, I have (almost) gone three days a week for the past two and a half years, which is huge for me.

Second, it has been awesome to see my gains, even though sometimes very small, that I have made since starting. Brooklyn used to have to put a 30 lb. weight on my feet for me to even get one sit-up, and all my meters or calories had to be scaled. I’m happy to report that I can now do sit-ups weight-free, but I do have to say that I wish I could still sometimes scale back the meters/calories!!!

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

I would love to get better at burpees. I’m not sure how that is even possible, but if there is one movement that makes me feel like death is near, it’s burpees!!

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

It’s not as scary as it seems!

Yes, you may not be the strongest or fastest in the room – but it honestly doesn’t matter. Seeing your own personal progress is totally worth getting over those fears. Everyone is there to help you – if I can do it, ANYONE can.

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

As previously mentioned, fitness has never really been a part of my life. Since joining CrossFit, I have run several races which is WAY outside of my comfort zone (guys – I used to get winded running around the building when that was a thing.)

My kids also started doing the CrossFit kids program which they absolutely love!

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A “fun fact” about me is that I grew up in Frankenmuth, just down the street from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Yes – I worked at Bavarian Inn and yes I wore the “costume.” No, I actually can’t stand the chicken. People always ask me what I did for fun there. Well, for example, I rode to prom on a tractor. 🙂

If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

100 single jump rope (can’t do double-unders!), 10 pull-ups, 10 deadlifts – three rounds. (I hate for time – too intimidating LOL!)

Fill in the blank: I CrossFit (because/so I can): So that I can demonstrate the importance of fitness to my kids, and also so I can lift heavy items at Ikea by myself! 🙂

If you’d like to schedule a free, no-sweat intro, sign up today!

Member Spotlight: Dan Rohrhoff


Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month’s spotlight is on Dan Rohrhoff, a member since October of 2015.

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

I joined Grand Trunk – New Hudson in October of 2015 because I needed someone/something to motivate me to work out. I used to belong to a gym and tried all the at-home programs but I never stuck with anything. I saw CrossFit on a friend’s Facebook feed and thought I’d give it a try.

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

I enjoy the variety. Every workout is a new challenge. The coaches and the people are great! Working from home can feel isolating, so it’s a nice break from staring at the computer screen.

What is your favorite movement?

My favorite movement is riding the Assault bike. Who doesn’t love a fast sprint on a bike?

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of climbing the rope. When I first started I couldn’t even pull myself up and I wanted nothing to do with the rope.

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

I am currently working on and improving my overhead squat. I used to dread seeing these movements show up in the WOD, but now I see it as an opportunity to get better.

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

I would tell anyone who is new to just stick with it. The movements are hard and awkward at first but just know that everyone has been there before and with time you will improve.

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

CrossFit has given me the confidence and strength to take on any challenge that presents itself.

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?

I work as a patent examiner so I have to listen to everyone’s great ideas.

If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

Ten rounds of sled pulls and ten rounds of 10 calories on the Assault bike.

Fill in the blank: I CrossFIt (because/so I can): To stay in shape, have fun, and get out of the house.

Grand Trunk CrossFit Couple Proves the Power of Proper Fitness


They say the couple that CrossFits together stays together.

Okay, maybe nobody says that. But it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

For Grand Trunk CrossFit members Alex and Ally Faust, they’ve been doing CrossFit workouts together for a few years, resorting to cherry picking WODs they found online before they officially joined a gym.

But it wasn’t a smooth transition from their backgrounds in football and volleyball to fitness with an approach grounded in weightlifting and mobility.

In fact, it was a rough journey from where they started to where they are now.

“I was one hundred percent against CrossFit,” said Ally Faust. “Alex begged me to come with him to Grand Trunk, to the point where we would get in fights. But the focus on mobility helped him get back on his feet after injuries he suffered during his football playing career, so he thought it could help me with my injuries.”

In August of 2016, Ally was involved in a car accident that totaled her vehicle, thanks to a distracted driver. She thought the extent of her injury was some nagging hip pain. But when the pain didn’t subside, she sought out a second opinion and found out she was suffering from a broken back that went undiagnosed for months.

After the new diagnosis, the doctor suggested physical therapy, but Ally didn’t want to travel down that path.

Then pain shots were suggested. She turned those down, too.

This injury had derailed her fitness journey, which led to her not putting a lot of stock in staying fit.

“I went for long walks and that was it,” she says. “I basically shut down, fitness-wise.”

It wasn’t until two years later when she came out of her fitness funk, thanks to some – ahem — gentle prodding by her husband.

“I learned better mobility through CrossFit, so I had an inkling it would help Ally,” said Alex. “I had torn quads and my hips were terrible because of my football playing days, but the focus on mobility helped me to overcome those injuries while I was playing, so it seemed like it was worth a shot for Ally.”

Alex came across a book during his undergrad days called Becoming A Supple Leopard, written by Dr. Kelly Starrett. The book focused on how to resolve pain and prevent injury, and it opened up in Alex’s mind a new way of thinking when it came to staying fit. Up until that point, Alex was used to the football player’s mindset that you weren’t making gains unless you out-benched and out-lifted your teammates.

But that didn’t bode well for his body when he was on the field. By being more mindful of his approach to staying fit – and trying to become a supple leopard – he was able to avoid more serious injuries that he saw befall his teammates.

“Becoming more mobile definitely helped in the sense that my body could handle the rigors of playing a sport like football,” said Alex. “But I was able to bounce back quicker because I learned how to move properly.”

CrossFit has also filled the competitive void that was lost when college ended and Alex and Ally were left without the athletic outlet they enjoyed during their undergrad days. Even though they don’t get to the top of the Wodify leaderboard every day, there are times when they push themselves to the fullest because they know of no other way.

“I get pissed off when I can’t Rx a workout,” said Ally. “I come from a pretty competitive background, so trying to win at all things is sort of in my blood.”

After finding WODs online, and convincing Ally to commit to CrossFit during a Buddy Week, the couple officially signed up in 2018, and they haven’t looked back since. In fact, it’s the rare day when you don’t see at least one of them show up to get in a good sweat.

“I don’t want to be too dramatic, but Grand Trunk has helped our relationship,” said Alex. “Regular fitness has helped Ally get back into shape and has put her in a better place mentally, which is obviously a huge boost. I think we’re both in the best shape of our lives.”

You’ll find the couple at most events hosted by Grand Trunk because they’ve found more than a few kindred spirits within its walls. The box has become more than just a place where they can work out. It’s a place where they can come and be themselves, and even bring their dog if the mood strikes them.

“After my back injury, I was in a bad place,” adds Ally. “But now I have something to look forward to that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Thanks to Brooklyn and Diana, it feels like our lives are a bit more normal.”

Of course, that’s not to say Alex and Ally have run out of things to argue about. Like any couple, they still have the occasional tiff.

“I like to remind Ally that I knew this was going to be good for her, she just needed to commit,” said Alex. “I’m very happy to report that I was right, although she might disagree with me.”

Member Spotlight: Alicia Montes


Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month we shine the spotlight on Alicia Montes, a member since October of 2015

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

Alicia: October of 2015 for multiple reasons.

First, I had recently had my second baby and lost all of the baby weight plus some through an unhealthy diet and realized I needed to get stronger.

Secondly, my husband had just deployed to Iraq, and I really just needed the mental break where I could focus my attention on something besides working and caring for our two-and-a-half year-old and eight-month-old.

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

The people at Grand Trunk are the best. I enjoy having like-minded people around me who push me to do things I would’ve never cared to do on my own.

What is your favorite movement?

I enjoy anything barbell-related. Deadlifts are my favorite power lift with back squat a close second. But the technical nature of the snatch makes that my favorite Olympic lift.

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

After four years of CrossFit, I don’t think I can pick just one. Most recently I’ve gotten bar muscle ups that I’m pretty pumped about. I back squatted 240 pounds at my first competition. And I hit a 305# deadlight that I’d been chasing since I started at Grand Trunk. I also did CrossFit throughout an entire pregnancy.

I also switched to a macro-based diet and dropped 20 pounds this year.

I even RX’d Murph and ran a half-marathon trail run earlier this year. See, too many to pick from!

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

My recent goals have been diet-related in hopes of bettering my gymnastics. Although I’ve gotten my bar muscle-ups, I’m not proficient at them, so I practice a few times a week. My goal is to keep getting leaner without sacrificing my strength.

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

Set aside your fear and doubts.

Don’t worry about not knowing the movements and having to ask questions. There isn’t an athlete or coach here that would say no to helping you. It’s easy to feel insecure when you’re watching an experienced CrossFit athlete work through a weightlifting segment or WOD. Instead of thinking “I could never do that” or “this isn’t for me”, be a sponge. I had those thoughts my first few weeks until I started modeling those athletes, and I’ve never looked back.

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

I have the energy to keep up with my three kids. I also have the strength and confidence to approach any situation at work.

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?

I was a HORRIBLE student. One of my good friends wrote “I honestly never thought you’d make it this far” in my senior yearbook, if that tells you anything.

If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

I like to fight on my own terms.

AMRAP

15 minutes

7 snatches 135/105

14 dumbbell clean & jerks

28 double-unders

35 kettlebell swings 70/53

Fill in the blank: I CrossFit (because/so I can): People depend on me. My kids and husband are my world. CrossFit helps me not only be a great mom and wife, but it makes me an asset to my department and my community.

To learn more about Grand Trunk CrossFit, contact us today!

Grand Trunk Member Finds CrossFit Ideal Complement to her Fitness Journey


The first time Grand Trunk CrossFit member Toni Irick became aware of Grand Trunk, she saw it as a sign.

Literally, it was a sign on the side of the road that was placed in surrounding neighborhoods when Grand Trunk first opened. Toni then ran into some women at a neighborhood function who had been to Grand Trunk. After they talked about what CrossFit was, exactly, Toni committed on the spot to attend a workout.

She had tried everything else, she figured, so what could it hurt?

For Toni, it would become the first step on a path to health and fitness that she continues to travel down to this day.

***

Exercise was never hammered home growing up as something vital to leading a healthy life. After school most days, Toni would come home and watch television and the television-watching usually involved food.

“I didn’t do anything active during those formative years,” said Toni. “I wish I would have, but it was never something that was suggested and I ended up paying for it.”

At her heaviest, Irick weighed in at 300 pounds. A lifetime of disregarding her physical fitness, combined with bad eating habits, led her to a point in her life where she knew she had to make a drastic change. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Like a lot of folks looking to get back into shape, Toni tried everything: Jazzercise, Zumba, P90X…you name it. If it was advertised to help get you moving, Toni was all about it.

The problem that arose, however, was that it didn’t hold her interest long enough to make her want to keep at it. She would come out with guns blazing and then…nothing.

The one program that did work was Jenny Craig. By working with a specialized counselor through the program, Toni was able to drop 130 pounds over the course of the time she spent on Jenny Craig. But Jenny Craig isn’t set up to help you once you walk away, which Irick quickly came to realize once she stopped going.

“Even though I lost a lot of weight on Jenny Craig, I didn’t lose it the right way,” she said. “I was skin and bones because the weight came off and I did nothing to replace the lean muscle that also disappeared.”

Toni knew that in order to keep the weight off and be healthy, she needed to weave in physical fitness.

Compounding this issue was that her job as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. demanded she be able to do basic fitness functions, like run a mile and a half in under 16 minutes. If she wasn’t able to beat that time, she would be out of work, which put her in danger of repeating the entire fitness struggle cycle over again.

So, she committed to fitness, and Grand Trunk has been a small part of that commitment.

“Grand Trunk offered up a supportive community, which was never a benefit I considered when I was looking for a fitness home,” says Toni. “But now that I have it, I never want to give it up.”

Like a lot of athletes who have come before her, she still gets nervous entering the box on a given day, especially when the competitive athletes are there. But she pushes herself to do the workout because she is only accountable for herself.

“I only care about my performance compared to yesterday or the day before,” says Toni. “That’s what keeps me going and motivated to improve. It begins and ends with me.”

Toni has also found the benefits of Bright Line Eating to help manage her weight while she focuses on movement. Out of everything she has tried when it comes to nutrition, this approach seems to agree with her, and she has the data to back it up. Since she joined Grand Trunk four years ago at around 220 pounds, she is down to 142 and is keeping the weight off.

As with all fitness approaches, you can’t expect to drop weight just by doing CrossFit or dieting. A strategic approach is needed that includes both, and it’s something Grand Trunk owner Brooklyn Netherton preaches to the athletes.

“Watching what you put into your body is just as important as how you move your body on a daily basis,” says Netherton. “If all you had to do to get fit was cut carbs, we would all be fit. There’s more to it than that, and we are going to help you figure out the most successful approach.”

Four years on, Toni is thankful she found such a welcoming environment where her and her husband, Jason, can stay in shape and be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Toni didn’t expect this when she came to that first class, but she can’t see herself without it.

“If I were to go to another CrossFit gym, I’m not sure I would feel as sure about myself as I do at Grand Trunk,” said Irick. “Brooklyn and Diana – and everyone else – are just so welcoming. Grand Trunk is home.”

Member Spotlight: Matt Stemple


Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month’s spotlight is on Matt Stemple, a member since December of 2015.

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

Matt: I joined Grand Trunk in December of 2015. I was tired of the standard gym routine and was looking for something new to try.

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

It’s definitely the people, coaches and atmosphere. Brooklyn and Diana have done a great job of giving the box a family feel. I enjoy CrossFit because of the variety of workouts and the challenges that come with them.

What is your favorite movement?

Any assortment of wall balls, deadlifts, box jumps or rope climbs (and, of course, running.)

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

Mastering double-unders! They were such a struggle for me to string together for years. It took a lot of practice and actually my wife gave me the most tips to master them.

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

Muscle ups is my next goal to accomplish.

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

Leave your fears at the door and stay with it for 30 days. CrossFit can be intimidating for someone who is new to the concept. You also tend to be sore A LOT! I remember my first week at the box and crawling (literally) out of bed in the morning after a workout because of how sore I was. If you give it a chance and stay consistent, you’ll be hooked!

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

I’ve a lot of new people and friends at the gym that I wouldn’t have known. My overall health has increased, as well. I feel fitter now than I have since I left high school.

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?

One year in college, my roommates and I ate so much Hungry Howie’s pizza and White Castle that we were able to stack two rows of pizza boxes to the ceiling and fill one closet full of slider boxes. The smells from the closet were quite interesting that summer.

If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

I would call it “Long and Strong.”

800M run

50 deadlifts

50 wall balls

800M run

50 box jumps

50 bar over burpees

800M run

Fill in the blank: I CrossFIt (because/so I can): It’s a great way to stay in shape, set & accomplish goals, and have fun with other members in and out of the box.

Don’t Get Spoiled by Fresh Vegetables


Most people tend to rationalize their way through their nutritional decisions without much hard science (let’s face it usually no science) to back it up.

When it comes to fruit and vegetable intake this is no exception. Many folks skip out on canned or frozen veggies counting them out as “nutritionally void”. 

It turns out that may not be the case. Foods that are frozen or canned may not be as pretty as the heirloom veggies you pick up at the farmers market, but don’t get it twisted. 

Research has shown these foods can actually contain higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals compared to their fresh cousins. Frozen veggies can be flash frozen and preserved the same day they are harvested. Fresh veggies, on the other hand, lose some of their nutritional value as soon as they are picked and experience a steady decline in vitamin and mineral content day after day.

This isn’t a big deal if you buy local produce. But if you rely on fruits and veggies from across the country, then you might be missing out. 

Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E are less prone to oxidation when they are frozen or canned. This processing prevents the main oxidation factors of heat, light, and oxygen exposure.

Other areas to consider when it comes to fresh, frozen, or canned is that of cost and food waste.

If you find yourself constantly buying fresh veggies and finding them spoiled in the back of your fridge, then you are not eating the vegetables and you are wasting your money on them. Frozen and canned veggies will maintain their quality and are clearly set up for a longer shelf life than fresh produce. 

Don’t be afraid to change up your nutritional strategies. If your goal is to save money and eat more healthy food then it’s worth a shot!

Which Diet Is Right for You?


If taking care of your body is your thing, then you’ve probably researched some of the more popular diets to determine which one might be right for you.

But here’s the problem: there are a lot of diets out there that tout more benefits than the other diets, so you have to know up front what you want to get out of the diet before you start working to lose weight.

In order to help you make an informed decision, here are four popular diets and what they mean for your body.

Keto Diet

A ketogenic diet – or a keto diet, if you’re hip – is a low-carb, high-fat diet meant to help you lose weight and get healthier.

The main goal is accomplished be replacing your carb intake with fat intake, which puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When you reach this state, your body becomes a fat-burning machine that burns fat for energy. This allows you to get rid of the excess fat that’s building up in your body, which brings us back to the whole “losing weight” part of the deal.

There are four types of keto diet: standard, cyclical, targeted, and high-protein. Depending upon which style you want to follow, you might allow yourself to add more carbs to your diet. But unless you are a bodybuilder or an athlete, it’s suggested you stick to the standard or high-protein versions.

Another benefit of the keto diet is its capability to fight type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by high blood sugar and impaired insulin function. One study found that the keto diet improved insulin sensitivity by 75 percent, while another found 33 percent of people with type 2 diabetes were able to stop using diabetes medications after following the keto diet.

In addition, a keto diet can slow tumor growth in certain types of cancers and improve risk factors for those at risk of heart disease.

No matter how you look at it, a keto diet is worth your time if you want to get healthier.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet – once known as the caveman diet – is one that is meant to replicate how prehistoric humans once ate. Most modern versions of this diet reject the idea of processed food, which some believe leads to more health problems.

When one embraces a paleo diet, they only eat food the early hunter-gatherers would’ve eaten, namely fish, fruits, vegetables, and some lean meats.

The driving idea behind this diet is that humans were not meant to consume modern food. As farming and improved manufacturing changed what people ate, the human body was quickly introduced to dairy, grains and legumes, but not at the benefit of the body.

Instead, it contributed directly to the rise in obesity, diabetes and heart disease as the body struggled to adapt.

Just like the keto diet, the main goal of adapting a paleo lifestyle is to lose weight and become healthier, in general. If you stick to it, you can see benefits such as lower blood pressure and a healthier appetite.

The downside is your body doesn’t get the fiber and other nutrients that would be of help to it, so there is some concern that a long-term paleo diet could have downsides.

Like any other diet on the market, it’s best to do further research to see if it’s right for you, or try it for a limited amount of time to see if you get results.

Vegan

The vegan diet might be one of the most popular diets in the rotation today.

As the name suggests, it revolves around a diet made exclusively of plant-based foods, meaning nothing that is a bi-product of an animal – meat, eggs, dairy – is consumed. While there are a number of reasons why somebody might try a vegan diet, a main driver is – you guessed it – to lose weight.

In fact, when compared to other diets, a vegan diet is deemed more effective for weight loss. (Here’s one such report, if you care to read it.)

What’s a bit surprising is that those on a vegan diet tend to eat less calories than those on other diets, which is probably a result of feeling fuller because of how much fiber is consumed.

And, like the rest of the diets mentioned, studies show that a vegan diet helps to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity, along with improving kidney function and reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Macro

The macro diet is one that is starting to gain in popularity.

Instead of a typical diet where you count calories, a macro diet stresses that you count the macronutrients you put into your body.

Macronutrients are carbs, fat and protein.

In a macro diet, instead of counting the calories in a bag of chips toward your daily goal, you would count how many macronutrients it contains. This restricts your calories and gives your body more fuel since you are putting better nutrients into your body.

If you are using this diet, it’s going to help you with portion control, understanding where the calories you consume come from, and make better choices when it comes to eating. Namely, avoiding processed foods.

And – surprise! – it’s going to help you lose weight if you stick to it.

***

Before you try a diet, you need to figure out why you are working on said diet. Combined with a balanced fitness plan and plenty of water, you can get results pretty quickly without falling into the trap of a fad diet that will leave you burned out after a few months.

If you have any questions about any of the diets, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have experienced coaches on staff who can walk you through the process.

Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Deadlifts


People tend to have polarized feelings about deadlifts. Either they love them or they hate them. If you love deadlifts, this is usually for one of three reasons. 

You already pull heavy weight. You are considered “strong” or “really good at that” so you enjoy doing it more. Yay dopamine!

Maybe you are favorably built for deadlifts with relatively shorter legs, a relatively longer torso, and long arms. (Ape index off the charts!) You seem to set a PR every time you walk into the gym.

It’s also possible you grew up on a farm and have been lugging hay bales and drinking raw milk your whole life. Lifting heavy sh*% is a walk in the park for you.

But if you don’t fall into one of those categories, there is still hope. Let’s explore the top three tips to maximize your deadlifts!

Ditch the Mixed Grip

One of the best ways to start improving your deadlift is to ditch the mixed grip.

Many people worry that grip will be a limiting factor at their maximal percentage lifts, but you can easily overcome this by implementing a hook grip.

This takes some getting used to since you’ve probably never lifted a bar of this weight with a hook grip, and the pressure can seem unreal. Try taping your thumbs the first few sessions to take some of the edge off. The benefits of a double overhand grip is better position on the bar, less torque on the hips and spine, and decreased strain on the bicep.

Build up this strength in your training sessions and if you really need to resort to a mixed grip for a competition or one rep max attempt, then you will be better for waiting.

Dial in Your Setup Position

One of the biggest issues you may be facing with deadlifts is the setup. That first pull off the ground never feels quite right. To overcome this,  practice rolling the bar into position. This may feel more comfortable and your body will naturally find the right position without you fidgeting around.

If you are new to lifting, or know that your mobility is lacking, then you may find it beneficial to practice pulling off of blocks. The higher start position will make it easier for you to engage your posterior chain.

Another good option here is to work from the top down with lighter loads. Take the loaded bar from a rack or higher blocks and start standing tall with hips fully extended. Keep your back and core tight and start pushing your hips toward the wall behind you as the bar descends down your thighs. Keep the bar in contact with your legs and the weight in the middle of your foot and heels. Practice lowering down in a slow control fashion taking 4-5 seconds to lower for each rep.

If you have a hard time finding the right position then you should take some one on one time to work with a coach who can provide the right cues to get you properly set up.

Train Deadlift Variations

Another way to build confidence in your deadlift is to explore different deadlift variations.

Sumo deadlifts, single arm, single leg, trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, atlas stones, d-balls and tire flips will all help you. Getting stronger is going to help, even if it is non-specific. There’s no shortage of heavy stuff to pick up off the ground! These variations will train your grip, stabilizers, and strengthen many smaller muscles of the glutes and hamstrings that may not get fully recruited in your normal deadlift style. 

There you go! The top three tips to maximize your deadlifts. Now go find a coach and pull some big numbers!

Member Spotlight: Casey Augsburger


Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.

It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.

This month’s spotlight is on Casey Augsburger, a member since January of 2017.

When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?

Casey: I joined January of 2017 after taking a year off from CrossFit. I missed it and wanted to find a gym with a great reputation and a fun, supportive atmosphere. I decided to try Grand Trunk since my brother and I remembered training with Brooklyn in the Livonia days. Best decision ever!

What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?

I really enjoy the programming and the members. And the location. And the atmosphere. And the events. Pretty much everything!

What is your favorite movement?

The clean and jerk is my favorite lift. Second favorite is the Assault bike.

What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?

I placed 5th at the World Police and Fire Games 8/17 in Los Angeles. It took so much work and time to prepare for that competition but it was so rewarding. I would not have been able to compete without the dedication and help from the Grand Trunk coaches leading up to it.

What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?

My biggest weaknesses fall in the gymnastics category so I have been focusing on making those movements better.

What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

I wish I could tell all new CrossFitters to trust the process. It’s easy to look around and be intimidated by the veterans, but you will get there, too. It’ll take time but celebrate each new accomplishment — no matter how small — and you will feel and see the results.

How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?

Strength and conditioning is a huge part of my job as a police officer and I thank CrossFit for allowing me to carry out my duty with confidence. And making sure my uniform fits (lol).

What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?

I used to figure skate competitively and tried gymnastics once when I was really young. The instructor suggested to my mom that I try a contact sport.

If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?

“Thunder Thighs”

Half-mile run

50 wall balls

Half-mile bike

50 squats

Half-mile row

50 box jumps

Fill in the blank: I CrossFIt (because/so I can): I CrossFit because there’s nothing better than finishing a really tough workout with your friends by your side and seeing what your body is capable of doing day in and day out.