The CrossFit Open – It’s All Fun & Games


Friday Night Lights (FNL) is right around the corner. I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking so what, I’m not a “competitor” I can barely walk after squat day, or I’m never going to the CrossFit Games so what’s the point. Truth is I was one of those people. I didn’t take part in the open for my first year of CrossFit, I didn’t see the point, I mean it’s just for the elite right? I was wrong, very wrong.

There’s something magical about the open from an athlete prospective and from a coaching prospective. It’s the one time of year that nearly everyone doing CrossFit comes together, and yes I mean everyone. There’s people doing open workouts in their garages, in little boxes and giant boxes all around the world. I mean how cool is that, to be doing the same workout at roughly the same time as someone in China or New Zealand?

Here’s the reality, the majority of us aren’t going to the CrossFit Games to compete. Think of doing FNL the same way as running a 5K, doing a marathon or triathlon. You’re not always doing those to win, you’re doing them for the experience. That’s what the FNL is all about.

I’ve set and watched so many people set PRs in the open because the box atmosphere is electric. There’s one night a week where everyone comes together to sweat, or swear in my case, and do some really fun workouts. You get a chance to experience the true meaning of the CrossFit community, which is all of you! So yes you will hear us talking about the open and FNL a little too much, it’s because we love seeing you guys crush your own expectations. It’s the most fun 5 weeks of the year in my opinion and I don’t want you to be the person who regrets not doing it.

Make sure to sign up!  We are closing registration at 6:30PM Friday February 17th (to allow time to order shirts and update teams!) First Open workout will be Friday February 24th.

Register Here:

Keep Being Awesome

Coach Sara

Why I’m Doing the Open Again – Nancy (Shots) Stenger

Just do The Open. Seriously. Just go and sign up.

Ask questions later, but seriously just do The Open. I’m a competitive person by nature, so it really didn’t take much convincing for me to do The Open last year. It was an opportunity to work out and compare myself to others: two of my favorite things. I got more out of The Open than I ever imagined I would. The Games are an incredible thing. I know some of you are on the fence about doing Friday Night Lights or FNL, so that’s why I’m here. There are the obvious reasons to do The Open, like the joy of competing and hanging out with your friends, but I’m going to explain why I am doing The Open again. Just to forewarn you, I did pageants and was a sorority girl so it’s about to get all sorts of cheesy up in here!

New Friends! Yay!

Let’s be honest, making friends as an adult is difficult, and it’s weird, and it’s awkward (I basically just
described myself). The Open gives you the opportunity to meet new people within your own gym. Most people have their regular class times and they get close to those people. While that’s fantastic, some of my closest friends I hadn’t talked to prior to The Open last year. Our gym is filled with some pretty badass jacked unicorns just ready for you to become besties with!

You WILL Surprise Yourself

The Open is designed to find the well-rounded athlete, so I can almost guarantee you that there will be a week that you excel in something. Week 1 last year was a workout with chest to bar pull ups. I didn’t get a single one, but I did get about 20 regular pullups. I had never gotten a regular pullup before, but I never gave myself the opportunity to try them. The Open gives you that opportunity. Not going to lie, there will
be weeks that frustrate you. Week 3 last year I spent 7 minutes flailing around on the bar. It just wasn’t my week. But Week 5 was burpees and thrusters. I finished the workout about 10 minutes sooner than I anticipated. When I could finally breathe again it felt fantastic! Whether you PR or you simply do better than you anticipate, you will surprise yourself during The Open.     

Experience the CrossFit Community

While Icehouse is pretty much the bomb-diggidy, CrossFit is so much larger than our gym in Fargo, ND. Last year there were 324,307 registered participants from 175 countries. The Open is an event that unifies people. People of different ages, cultures, colors, races, religions, genders, ect, come together and do the same workout every week, and with different divisions within The Open, CrossFit is adaptive to include all skill levels. It’s such a humbling experience to be part of such an inclusive community.  

Whether it’s to experience the thrill of competition again or to hang out with your friends on a Friday night, find your reason to do Friday Night Lights. Doesn’t matter what that reason is, just find one and do it. You will thank yourself that you did. I will see you at Friday Night Lights!

Get registered today!  Here is the link: FNL REGISTRATION

Friday Night Lights!

We are mixing things up for The CrossFit Open this year starting with the name: Friday Night Lights (FNL).  Below is everything you need to know about this epic event…

Who: Anyone and everyone from CrossFit Icehouse and your peeps to cheer you on

What: Friday Night Lights is what we are calling The CrossFit Open

When: Every Friday Night from Feb 24th – March 24th. Doors Open at 4:30PM, Heat 1 Kicks off at 5PM sharp.

Where: Week 1 will be held at the current Icehouse. Weeks 2-5 we’ll be breaking in the new space.

How Much: Registration is $50 for the five weeks

What’s Included in Registration:

  • All 5 weeks of workouts
  • Sweet personalized t-shirt
  • Certified Judges for each of your workouts
  • Awesome action shots for quality profile pictures
  • Food and beverages EVERY Friday Night
  • Community support and an epic workout environment
  • Entry into the most Epic Icehouse Party to date following week 5’s event

The Plan: We would love for all of you to take advantage of FNL and come showcase all of you hard work. Once you register you will be placed on a team for fun intramural style competition. Each team will have a Spirit Captain to help them through the 5 weeks. We will have an overall gym leader board for the workouts and also and overall team leader board for the most dedicated team.

During FNL you and your team will have a chance to earn points outside of the workouts in our weekly challenges (mobility, nutrition, etc). Each week will also have a theme where you can earn points by showcasing your team spirit (we know ya’ll love a good theme!). So earning the best team award is not all about how you do during the workouts.


How do I sign up? Registration is already live on ZenPlanner: REGISTER HERE

What if I have to miss a Friday? You can make it up during Open Gym, however you will be responsible for lining up your own judge. For your scores to count in FNL you will have to make it up by Sunday at 5:30PM. If you are traveling you can submit your score if do the workout at another box.

How do I become a Judge/volunteer? Please reach out to one of the coaches and let them BEFORE you register for FNL. If you want to become a judge we will need you to take the online judges course, we will post the link to the Facebook Group as soon as the updated course is live.

Does the price include registration? No it does not. If you want to compare you scores throughout the world you will need to register through

What if I want to do the Open not FNL? You will have to register and find your own judge for each of the five weeks. You will not be permitted to do the workouts on Friday nights with everyone else as those spots are reserved for those registered for FNL.

We can’t wait for FNL to kick off.  It truly is our favorite time of year.


Icehouse Coaches

The Open is Coming!

You’ve heard us talk about it, maybe even explain it a time or two but you might not have any idea why it is relevant to you. It’s the CrossFit Open and it starts on February 23rd. I have done the Open for 6 of my 7 years doing CrossFit and to be honest, I regret that I didn’t take the leap my first year. The Open is a time when the Icehouse community really has a chance to come together and have a great time. This year we are doing everything we can to make this an epic experience. Below I’ve compiled what I think are the top 5 reasons you should do the Open…

1. You, yes you, are good enough

The Open has two levels to compete in just like the white board has Rx and scaled. Just because you can’t squat your body weight or do 20 unbroken pull-ups does not mean you shouldn’t do the Open. There’s a really good chance you are actually stronger than your mind leads you to believe. The Open is a time where so many people get unexpected PR’s. It’s a chance for you to test all the hard work you’ve been putting in.  With the addition of Friday Night Lights this year everyone will be able to participate in every workout, no matter your skill level.

2. It has been too long since you have competed

I know not everyone is a die-hard competitor but I believe everyone has a hint of competitor in them somewhere. Have you ever raced a sibling to the car for the front seat? Maybe it was acing all of your spelling tests to enter the spelling bee or maybe you’ve pre-made your snowballs for the epic snowball fight. Either way, we use to compete as kids all the time and it’s time to bring that back. Good ol’ physical competition is fun and healthy. You might not win your heat or even want to try but I bet you’ll surprise yourself with the rush of adrenaline you get when that clock ticks down and you hear 3, 2, 1 Go!

3. It gives you perspective on what being the best really means

There aren’t many other sports in the world that everyone on the planet has the opportunity to do the exact same workout as the best of the best in that sport. That’s what so unique about the Open, you get the chance to do the same workout, on the same weekend, as the best athletes in the sport. Each
Thursday night the workout is announced and you can watch some of the top athletes compete against each other doing the workout you’re about to do. How awesome is that? You can compare your score to Matt Fraser and Katrin Davidsdottir, the winners of last year’s CrossFit Games. It will give you a solid respect for just how strong these athletes are.

4. You’ll learn your strengths and weaknesses

The Open tests the basic skills of all CrossFit athletes with and occasional surprise mixed in. Which makes the Open the most exciting and humbling of experiences. The great news is even if you have an off week or all of your weaknesses are programmed at once (see Thrusters and Rowing) the next week odds are you’ll crush it. So don’t stress out too much about one workout, it’s meant to be hard, challenges make you stronger!

5. Friday Night Lights is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced

This year we are kicking off the Open Friday Night Lights style. We are bringing the Icehouse Community together in a whole new way. Not only will you have the fun of the actual Open workout, you will have so many other opportunities to get involved throughout the five weeks (see theme week participation). We have something fun and exciting planned for each of the 5 Friday’s to make this the most epic Open season we’ve had. We want you to bring friends, family or even a random stranger to come and cheer for you, and your peeps, while you crush each workout. The level of community support during these 5 weeks is unmatched during any regular class experience.

I hope this gives you some perspective on what the CrossFit Open is all about. We look forward to spending our Friday Nights with you and watching you crush your expectations.  Oh and did I mention we’re capping of this years Open Season with a huge members only party?  You know Coach Shoe throws a good party and you wont want to miss this one!

We’ll be posting a follow up later this week with more specifics on Friday Night Lights at Icehouse so you know what to do next!

Be Awesome
Coach Mo

We are Moving! Update #1

As you as you all now know, we are moving!  And soon!  While we love our little corner of downtown we grew up in, it’s time to upgrade to a space that we can fit into…especially on Monday nights and Saturdays!

Where are you moving too?  

Our new address will be 1620 1st Ave N, which is just a few blocks west of university on 1st Ave N. What else does this mean? NO MORE GETTING STUCK BEHIND TRAINS!

When are you moving?

Our lease in our current space is done at the end of February, so we will be fully transitioned by March 1st.  We are still working on the exact dates we’ll start up at the new space and will keep you posted.  Our last day at the gym we’ll be having a moving WOD for those of you who would be so kind to help us shuffle our equipment to the new space!

What does the new space look like?


The new space is currently Ice Blue as you can see in the attached photo.  While we like the Ice Blue Icehouse color, our new landlord likes more of a classic look, so it will be being restored back to it’s original brick/brick color.  So it won’t blend in with the sky quite so much when they are done with it 🙂

Inside the new space will have the following: :

  • 1,800 sq ft Bootcamp/Yoga/Fargomania Floor
  • 2,400 st ft CrossFit Floor
  • 1,000 sq ft Athlete Lounge/Locker Room
  • Front Desk/Retail station so we don’t have to scale cubbies to grab tshirts anymore!
  • Men’s and women’s restrooms with multiple stalls
  • 3 changing rooms
  • 2 showers
  • 2 meeting rooms upstairs for InBody Scans & Goals Meetings

We will continue to post regular updates as soon as we get them!  Demo is just about done and the fit up is just beginning.  Got questions?  Let us know!  We are trying to build the best possible Icehouse for all of you fine Icehousers 🙂 As always thanks for being awesome!

Coach Shoe

Fargo Forward – Extended Bootcamp Offering

As you all know, we have our 4th Round of Bootcamp coming up in January!  This go round we are opening a few spots to a new program called Fargo Forward.

What is Fargo Forward?

Fargo Forward includes a 6 week Bootcamp admission, but includes a lot more. It is meant to be a complete over haul for those who need the additional accountability & self care.  You will still get all of the awesomeness of Bootcamp, as well as regular Chiro adjustments, time with an In-Home Dietitian, as well as weekly massages.

Fargo Forward features include:

  • Entry into our 6 Week Bootcamp, followed by 2 Months of Membership at CrossFit Icehouse including 3 Workout sessions per week with one of our gyms that give you the personal trainer experience in a class setting
  • An In-Home Dietitian that performs a kitchen audit, shows you how to shop at the grocery store, helps you meal prep, and much more!
  • 2 Chiropractic adjustments per week based off NASA certified technology telling us how your body is functioning at Optimal Chiropractic
  • 1 massage per week individualized for your preference
  • Professional accountability & care that you can be proud of!

Reserve your Spot Today for $299!!  Our Bootcamps do sell out early, so reserve your spot today!

Balance of $1891 will be charged during our Kick-Off on Saturday January 7th! You save 30% on this all inclusive approach to building sustainably healthy habits! Here is the price breakdown:

Reserve your spot HERE! Questions?  Email

Want to reserve a spot for just our 6 week Bootcamp?  Register for that HERE

5 Tips to Staying Healthy through the Holidays

As I’m sure you all have noticed, winter has officially rolled into Fargo.  It’s been snowing for a week straight, that nasty cold bug is now on it’s 2nd round through, and holiday parties have taken over your social calendar. With all of the craziness of the season, it is even more challenging to stay on track that usual.  So here are a few tips we use to keep ourselves consistent despite the crazy weather and calendar.

Plan Your Week and Stick to the Plan

It gets really easy to say I have happy hour so I am going to skip the gym today.  Skipping today can lead into skipping tomorrow, which can then lead into “I’ll start again on Monday.” More often than not we know what days those holiday parties or happy hours will fall on, so it is possible to plan around them.  If you know Thursday & Friday are busy, build those in as rest days and make the Team WOD on Saturday, or take advantage of all the snow and go cross country skiing!  Eitherway keep moving as much as possible, even when the weather is trying to tell you to sit by the fire inside.

Eat In/Meal Prep as much as possible

This is a very similar point to the one above, but probably even more important.  Not only do you have to combat the busy schedule, you are also tempted daily with Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, drinks, and all the deliciousness that is holiday treats.  We won’t tell you to just walk away every time since we are human and also enjoy a good peanut butter blossom too, but being prepared can help minimize these run-ins so they don’t last the entire span of December.  Still pick a time each week and do some meal prep so you have healthy meals & snacks on hand as much as possible.  If you are eating healthy and keeping yourself nourished, it can be easier to skip the cookies (still challenging, but much easier if you aren’t starving), or at least keep the cookie incidents to a minimum.  Heating up one of those pre-planned meals prior to a happy hour can also help you avoid the appetizers as well.

Add in some regular self care

It is important to give yourself some downtime as needed, especially when your social calendar is overflowing. I understand adding in a yoga class, or a book club might not be realistic in an already crammed schedule but finding some ways to get centered can be helpful.  If time is a challenge, a 5 minute meditation either first thing in the morning to help you wake up or right before bed can make a big difference.  You can search for guided meditation on Youtube if it helps to keep your mind from wandering.

If you have 10-15 minutes you can add in ROMWOD, not only is it a great way to wind down, it is also great for mobility and to keep you healthy and balanced from all of those workouts!


If you are over extended, it is ok to say No

One year I went home and had 6 Thanksgiving dinners to hit in one day.  Six.  In One Day.  I was a little younger then, and I live far away so thought I had to go to all of them.  Well I ended up basically doing drive bys for most of them, not being present, eating wayyyyyyy to much (clearly) and just ended the day exhausted and frazzled.  While I know this might be an exaggeration, if you have already committed to the amount of social outings you and/or your schedule can physically or emotionally handle, it is within your right to politely decline.  Think of it this way, if you try to cram in that 6th dinner, are you actually going to have a good time, or are you going to show up exhausted, stuffed and a drag?  Do what you need to do to stay sane 🙂

Get some sleep!

I know, easier said than done, but it is doable.  If you are an IPhone user, the most recent update allows you to set an alarm to tell you to go to sleep based on how much sleep you need and when you need to be up.  This has been a lifesaver for me to be rested up for those morning classes!  Alarm or no alarm, put the phones down!  Try reading a book (remember those) for a few minutes before bed each night so you aren’t staring at a screen right before trying to fall asleep.  Read a chapter, put the book down, then get some sleep.

I could easily turn this into a 25 things to do to survive the holidays, but just sticking to these 5 will go a long long way!  Good luck navigating those social calendars!

Coach Shoe

Eat The Fat!

So where does all of my energy come from eating a Paleo diet?  It’s time to talk about Fat, not like Doritos fat but healthy natural fats.  As your body begins to realize you’re not going to be feeding it any simple sugars that it craves it has to find energy to keep you moving somewhere.  The goal of this whole challenge, from the internal side, is to get you to be a fat burning machine.  If you have been feeling a little sluggish, aka crabby, lately it’s because your body is deep in the heart of this transition.

Types of Fats

So let’s talk about types of fat of which there are 3 major types: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  We won’t dive too far into the nerdery for this one I’ll keep it simple.

  • Saturated Fat is Paleo approved – no, it doesn’t give you heart disease, or cancer or diabetes or anything else.
  • Monounsaturated fat is also Paleo approved.
  • Polyunsaturated fat is a little bit more complicated: Omega 6 and Omega 3. This can dive deep but for the short version get more Omega 3 (see fish oil) and less Omega 6 (see vegetable oil).

Food Sources of Paleo Fats

On Paleo, fat should be the main staple of your diet.  Weird that eating fat won’t make you fat but I promise it won’t.  This is where your energy (calories) is going to come from to get you through the day. baconFat from whole foods should not be avoided, eat the whole egg, keep the skin on your chicken, cook with bacon fat or real butter.   You want to avoid the fake stuff: canola oil, margarine, vegetable oil, etc…

How Much Fat Do I Need?

It’s a hard sell to get people to eat fat on a paleo diet after years of hearing that “fat is bad for you”.  I promise fats from natural sources are really good for you, and yummy.  Fat’s need to be the main source of energy (calories) in your diet.  We want to avoid counting calories for now so make sure you are not removing the fat from whole foods.  Use the whole egg when cooking and don’t remove the skin from your poultry.  Make sure each meal contains either a fatty animal protein (ground beef, bacon or skin on chicken), 2 tablespoons of cooking fat, or an avocado, coconut milk or other healthy source of fat.

Don’t think you need to get crazy with it and start doing shots of coconut oil, make smart food choices and don’t be afraid of the fat!  You’re energy level will start to skyrocket and you’ll be burning through you stored fat, making you a lean mean jacked unicorn.

Be Awesome

Coach Sara



We are one week into an Awesome nutrition challenge. This has been the best challenge we have done to date. Your collaboration with recipe sharing and tips and tricks has been so much fun! So today I’m going to discuss a not so exciting topic of “Paleo-fying”. I know it’s awesome to be able to make our ordinary foods with paleo ingredients but let’s dive into why I think it’s not always the best idea.

The reason we do a nutrition challenge with a paleo focus is to get back to eating real, healthy foods. It’s also to change the way we look at food. A majority of people don’t have the most healthy relationship with food and this allows us to showcase how getting back to the basics and really using food as a source of energy can make you feel amazing. When we paleo-fy our favorite unhealthy foods we’re not really changing any behaviors, thus not changing the way we see food. We see this happen the most with breads and desserts (I’ll nerd out on this more in a moment).


Photo Credit: David Paul Schmit Photography

Let’s say before this paleo challenge you were a hard core carbivour devouring bread and pastas at every turn. Now you’re on the challenge your brain is like “hey where’s the bread, I didn’t agree to this.” Your brain is doing whatever it can to stick to its old way of life so it comes up with the idea to make any type of paleo bread, scone, biscuit, bagel or pasta. Next thing you know you find yourself in the kitchen with Pinterest by your side covered in almond and coconut flour creating all the paleo baked goods. The problem with this is you haven’t really broken the habit or the relationship with the unhealthy foods. You have just subbed them out with something that has “approved” ingredients. However these ingredients in the quantities that are being consumed are not good for us either. When it comes to treats and breads there really is no lesser of two evils.

It’s time to Nerd out for a moment. Almond flour contains a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids. These are the not so good fatty acids, their good friend Omega 3 fatty acids are amazing and much needed (see fish oil). Although true we need some Omega 6 fats the balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 should be relatively equal. When we flood our system with Omega 6 fats it disrupts the anti-inflammatory properties of the Omega 3’s. We tend to overindulge on these paleo treats because we think we desperately “need” them. This can lead to chronic inflammation in the body which then can lead to reduced recovery, soreness, feeling tired and at the worst end several diseases, even cancers.*

We’re not saying you can’t ever paleo-fy your favorite foods, it just should not be a staple in your everyday routine. We really want you to get the psychological as well as physical benefits of the food you eat. Keep it simple, eat real food, give you body and brain a chance to make the changes to healthy foods and the benefits will be worth it.

Keep Being Awesome
Coach Sara


Recovery Is Not Just For the Pros

This last lifting cycle has been intense hasn’t it? You’ve been crushing PR’s and making sweat angles that make even a jacked unicorn jealous. Now it’s time to talk about giving your body some much needed love for all the awesomeness it did. It’s time to talk about recovery and what that means. The biggest factor in recovery is post workout nutrition. That’s what we are going to spend our time on today.  You’ve probably seen Coach Shoe and I sipping on some concoction in a shaker bottle right after workouts but what’s all the hype?

After a workout your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are depleted and your muscles are broken down from crushing that last set of back squats. We need to replenish these as fast as we can for…those gainz! Your post workout nutrition plan should be as important as getting your first pull-up or handstand. So let’s break it down into 3 stages…

Stage 1: Immediately After the WOD (within 30 Minutes)protein

• Protein will help rebuild all the muscle tissue you just destroyed hitting your snatch PR. Whole foods are ideal but it can be hard to eat chicken right after a workout. A post workout protein shake is equally as good and can absorb into your system faster than whole food. Whey protein is the easiest to digest and usually is the easiest on the belly. Protein shakes aren’t just for Bro’s, ladies you need them too.
• Carbohydrates are also a must. You used up your last bit of carbs during the AMRAP and must replace them to decrease muscle soreness and keep crushing your day. Use quick digesting carbs like fruit, fruit juice or potatoes. Bananas are a great choice as they pack a lot of great nutrients.
• Fat is best left out at this time as it slows protein uptake and delays those gainz.
• Hydration is huge at this time. We probably don’t drink enough water so get to sipping, coconut water is a great recovery drink as well.

Stage 2: 2-6 hours post WOD crushing

• This is usually the time to get some whole foods in. You want a 2:1 carbohydrate protein ratio. Use simple clean foods for a nice post workout meal.

Stage 3: Beyond 6 hours

• Now is the time we want to maintain blood sugar and eat a balanced meal with protein, carbs and fat. Choose good for you fats like nut butters, avocados, coconut oil.  If possible choose higher quality proteins, such as grass fed beef.  And of course you want healthy carbs vs empty heavily processed ones, such as sweet potatoes.

These are some very general recommendations to get you ready to crush a workout the next day. The most important of these being the 30 minutes directly after your workout. Protein and carbs are key to keeping your body healthy and ready to attack the next days WOD. With optimal recovery you can workout harder, which will lead to quicker results i.e. becoming a jacked unicorn.

Thanks for visiting the nerdry if you ever have any questions come ask Coach Shoe or myself!

Be Awesome
Coach Sara