I’m writing the on Wednesday night and my body is fried.  My glutes are destroyed and sore beyond belief, and everything from my nipples up is weak…and it all started with Fran.

Pretty much the worst kept secret at CrossFit 403 is that I’m attending a CrossFit Level 1 Certification Seminar this coming weekend at Reebok CrossFit Ramsay.  Taken from, here’s a description of the course and its intentions:

“The Level 1 Trainer Course is an introductory course on CrossFit’s methodology, concepts, and movements. . The course includes classroom instruction on: CrossFit’s conceptual framework, CrossFit’s foundational movements, programming to optimize training results, and nutrition strategies to support fitness.

The L1 course is structured to meet a two-fold goal:

  1. Provide attendees the understanding to better use CrossFit methods for themselves; and
  2. Provide attendees an initial and foundational education to begin training others using CrossFit.

On completing a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Course, attendees will have the resources and sufficient foundation from which to continue development as a CrossFit trainer and/or athlete. ”

Also as part of this seminar, it’s CrossFit tradition to have all attendees complete CrossFit’s first ever benchmark workout, Fran.

Fran is a killer couplet, only 2 movements required.  It’s a 21-15-9 set of thrusters and pull-ups–the best men in the world finish this in the 2:00-2:30 range…under 3 minutes!  Only 1 guy I know of (Jason Kaplan) has finished this workout in under 2 minute, 1:53 to be exact, and here’s the video!

Hearing that I had never actually done Fran in the 10 months I’ve been doing CrossFit, Coach Regan was a little surprised and when I stated last week that I needed to work on my thrusters a lot he said “I just wouldn’t feel good about myself as a coach if I sent you to your cert without a Fran time!”

Enter the newest addition to the CrossFit 403 schedule–Open Gym on Sundays from 930-11am.

With the open gym setup, coaches are on hand but basically it’s a time for members to come in and just work on whatever they want.  If you have a specific WOD in mind to try, do it.  Need an hour of mobility? Go for it.  Whatever you’d like.  It was this first ever open gym at CrossFit that saw my first attempt at Fran and you can see on the WOD Board below, Regan had high hopes for me–

At the top is an optional WOD for those who just wanted to do something and had nothing in mind…then there’s that little line in the middle “OR (if U R Josh)” do Fran, and be under 9 minutes.

I really didn’t think 9 minutes was attainable for me using 95lbs, even with scaled pull-ups (I was going to use one green band) but I knew that if I was going to try and feel good about it, I’d have to try it as close to RX as possible.  It took me a good hour of mobility, lighter lifts, mind games, and flack from Ryan and Regan before I finally got my ass to the bar and waited for a “3…2…1…GO” (which I did in my head).  I tried to start while no one was looking, just so I wouldn’t be thinking that everyone was watching me, even knowing that they’d all end up watching me and cheering me on anyways!

I was fairly pleased that I got through the first 11 thrusters unbroken, though I was already feeling the effects of Fran.  I did 7 more, then 3, and hopped onto the pull-up bar.  With the green band I was able to do the whole set of 21 pull-ups unbroken so I was getting into a decent rhythm.  I hoped to break the set of 15 thrusters into 2 sets of 8 and 7 but it ended up being something like 5-4-3-3 while I tried not to rest too much, only running for a quick sip of water after the 9th or 10th rep because I could feel a really dry cough coming on.  Back to the pull-up bar for a set of 10 and a set of 5 pull-ups.

Round three was what wrecked me.

I was only able to do sets of 3 in this round and I had to struggle to get them done.  I was breaking down and feeling pretty weak but with Regan in my face I finished strong and got back on the bar.  I glanced at the clock and it was at 8:52–I got into my band and pulled as hard and fast as I could to do the final 9 pull-ups in under 10 seconds but it just wasn’t quite there.

Final time, 9:05–the water break made the difference, dammit.

Still, I did it, and did it much faster than I thought I would.  I really didn’t think I’d be under 11 minutes let alone being so close to the challenge from Regan.  I know what it takes now to do it so while I’m not necessarily looking forward to that part of Saturday, I know that I can do the thrusters so that will help.

Now, to spend the next 2 days trying to reduce the pain in my ass and get some power back in all the jello muscles from my nipples up…

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