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Hey Hey It’s Our Birthday!

Hey Hey It’s Our Birthday!

Today is officially one year since we opened our doors! So much has changed in the past year, and we have you to thank! It’s been a crazy busy year, but easily the best one ever! So THANK YOU!

How This Madness Started

Icehouse started as a “hey we should open a gym!” I had been doing the long distance thing between Minneapolis and Fargo for about 2 years, and was looking to move north at some point.  Sara & I were competing together in St. Cloud one weekend when we threw out this crazy idea.  That week my current employer announced they were going to be going through a massive “restructuring,” so my job was potentially going to be eliminated.  At that point I called Sara and set up a meeting to see if that crazy gym talk was really a possibility.

We agreed that it would be awesome, and we should totally try to do it.  I’d take the business side, and she’d take the programming/head coach duties.  It was perfect…so long as she could move with me to Fargo….so we moved forward!  That was in October, by December I had a new job lined up, we had an affiliate and just needed to find a location.  Three realtors, many visits later we couldn’t find what we wanted in the downtown area (that we could afford at least!).  So on a whim Sara checked Craiglist, and we found this gem (tucked away and all Dojo’d up!)


So we moved North, where we knew about 5 people (if that), and we opened up the doors and hustled and hoped for the best!  The first few months were a lot of nights with just the 3 of us WODing, and planning on what we could do to get the word out. Was A LOT quieter in those days!  WODing is great and all, but as you all know WAY more fun with friends!


While we are still small in the grand scheme of things, our community is nothing short of amazing!  We have loved getting to know each of you, and watch you grow as athletes and overall badasses 🙂  You’ve set big goals, and crushed them!  The open has been such an awesome display of what you have all worked so hard for!  We’ve had so many of the feels the past year, and especially the past 4 weeks watching so many of you do what you didn’t think you could!  We are so proud of you all!

It’s been 1 year of awesome, 2 expansions, lots of fun events and so many awesome memories and friendships made.  We are so incredibly glad we made the leap and moved north to open Icehouse and meet all of you wonderfully amazing people, and our lives are so much richer with you all as a part of it!



Coach Shoe

Spring has Sprung…Now I’m Sleepy.

Spring has Sprung…Now I’m Sleepy.

Remember when we could see the sun when we woke up?  Thanks a lot day light savings time!   It’s cost us a little more than some light in the morning, some of us are also struggling with that small thing called Sleep.  Actually it’s not a small thing at all, it’s a major factor in our success in and outside of the gym.  Poor sleep impacts more than just our mood and need for caffeine, it has some pretty major effects on our body composition and how we recover.

daylight savings

Charles Poliquin (if you’re not familiar with him google him…now…I’ll wait) has made some major discoveries when it comes to sleep.  Lack of sleep, feeling tired and exhausted whether from a long day or hard training, causes your hormones to go crazy.  Any small shift in your hormones can make a significant impact not only on weight loss but also your ability to make strides in the gym.  Yep it can affect your Gainz! Nobody wants that!

Poor sleep over time can reduce the body’s testosterone and growth hormone which will reduce your body’s ability to grow muscle and recover from hard training sessions.  Nobody wants to mess with their Gainz right?  Lack of sleep also has an impact on the body’s cortisol and insulin levels.  These two are in charge of fat storage… increase them both and you’re storing fat like a champion.  That’s one thing maybe we don’t want to be a champion at.  So without sleep we have a better chance of storing fat and recovering slower from hard training sessions.  Not to mention that your training probably isn’t going to be at the level it could be if you were well rested.


So what can we do to get more sleep as to not disrupt the Gainz? Start by making a commitment to it.  Remember during the nutrition challenge when we gave you a gold star for sleep, well it’s time to start giving yourself a gold star for 7-8 hours per night.  Also no blue light (phones/TV/Computers) before bed. I assure you that nothing horrible is going to happen on FB while you sleep, and if it does you’ll be well rested in the morning to handle it.  If you’re one who struggles with sleep, try taking a hot bath before bed, it’s relaxing and it just feels good.  Do your best to get some good sleep every night, it’s as important for your life inside the gym as it is out.  We’re all a little happier with a good night of sleep.

Coach Sara

Lactate Threshold

Lactate Threshold

Have you ever wondered why during or after a workout you feel like your muscles are aching or burning? Why you cannot catch your breath to save your life? The answer is a phenomenon called Lactic Acid.


Energy Systems

The body has two main ways of producing energy: the Aerobic and Anaerobic systems. The aerobic system uses oxygen to produce energy and is used for longer time period events such as a 5k run or rowing. The anaerobic energy system uses phosphocreatine and glycogen to fuel the body for events that are short and intermediate such as a one rep squat or intervals.

In order to talk about the lactate threshold it is important to first understand these energy systems. As people exercise lactic acid in the blood increases due to the intensity that is being stressed on the body. The lactate is released by the muscle cell in order for the body to convert it into glucose in the liver for the body to continue to produce energy. Glucose that is produced from lactic acid is important for the body because the body will use that glucose to produce energy and that energy in turn will fuel your body to continue to exercise or work harder. When the intensity increases and the lactate is being released too quickly for the body to convert it we hit our lactate threshold.  This is the stage where your muscles are burning or aching, and your performance will decrease quickly or more cause you to stop the activity to recover.

Why is lactate threshold relevant to me? 

Some people may be wondering why hitting the lactate threshold may be important to them. As high intensity workouts such as a Crossfit WOD (Workout Of the Day) are done, your body is producing high amounts of lactic acid. This isn’t a bad thing, it is simply how the body responses to the stimulus. This is actually very good for your body! Why you ask? Because as you continually train, and lactate is regularly being released into your system, your body will learn to convert the lactic acid back into glucose faster and faster for your body to use for your training session.


This is huge because as the conversion gets faster and faster, your performance level and lactate threshold go up. During 16.1 (20 min AMRAP Walking lunges, burpees, chest to bars) you were probably feeling a burning sensation in your legs later in the workout, but it was important to continue to work in order to better your scores. This in turn helped your body push the lactate threshold that it was accustomed too. Just by pushing the limit to a tolerable end your lactate threshold will increase and you will see differences in performance and recovery.

Coach Ben

The Open – The Good, the Bad, & The Ugly

The Open – The Good, the Bad, & The Ugly

We are now one week into the CrossFit Open, and as we’ve seen in years past it’s an amazing experience, even more so now that we get to share it with all of our awesome kick ass members! It’s so great to watch folks play with their limits and push past them. While the main focus may be on the workouts themselves, it is not just a test of your physical limitations, it is also a challenge mentally and for our character. The Open is a great reminder of what is important, and what our focus should be on: bettering ourselves and supporting others in our community. So today’s post is about a few reminders of how to be the best possible community members, and not to get too caught up in the excitement the Open brings.


PRs on PRs
16.1 brought us chest to bar pull-ups which is a new movement for many of us, or an area that needs some work for others (myself included). Even though the workout looked intimidating and daunting, everyone came out and left everything on the floor. A few even got their first chest to bar pull-ups which is INCREDIBLE! For those who were so close you probably hit a PR on the amount of pull-ups you did, also AMAZING! During my first open I got my 1st chest to bar pull up after a few minutes of flailing around. I didn’t even get through the first round, but I did get 8 chest to bars, when I had never been able to do one before. This week’s workout was a humbling one for me, but when I look back on my first go round with the movement, I realized how far I have come and yet how far I still have yet to go. It really is a never ending progression!

Since this is THE physical test for everyone in the world, the workouts will vary week to week, which means odds are some will fall right into your strengths or your “wheelhouse.” I like heavy workouts, some may like body weight workouts. Eitherway when one shows up that plays well to your strengths, that is great! However keep in mind that just because it was one you enjoyed and maybe even crushed, this could be someone else’s weaknesses so remember to be respectful of that. If it’s a prescribed number of reps, and you finish before everyone else, then take a minute to recover and then go cheer for the others still fighting through it. That energy is so helpful when you are trying to finish a workout that is not your strong suit, and you are the last one still working. Be there for your fellow athlete! This applies everyday, not just during the open. We all are in this together, if you are the first one done your next priority is to support the others still working, that’s what makes CrossFit so great.  That means save the cleaning up, accessory work, or whatever else until everyone is done… (unless you really need a bathroom break, then by all means please do that 🙂 )


What does Dave Castro have against me?!

The inverse of a workout in your wheelhouse would be when one shows up that you are pretty sure Dave Castro somehow knew you in a former life, and programmed this workout to make your life hell (in years past I thought this of the 7 minutes of burpees workout). When a workout comes up that you are dreading, or you thought you’d crush but it snuck up on you, THAT’S OK. Get through the workout, recover, then pick yourself up and cheer on your fellow Icehousers. In years past I’ve seen quite a few emotions pop up and some reactions to workouts that weren’t the greatest or the most sportman-like. If that happens, acknowledge what comes up then let it go. Maybe you thought you were going to get to 8 rounds but got 7.5. THAT’S OK! Maybe you couldn’t quite get that chest to the bar. THAT’S OK! Use that frustration as fuel for your next PR, and put together a plan of attack so you are better prepared next time!


What’s your 16.1?!
This is the toughest part in my opinion because it is such a fine line. Since last Thursday I’ve gotten quite a few texts asking how I did on 16.1, and I know I’ve seen folks ask how someone else did on a particular workout, which is ok… if approached correctly. There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, but understanding when that goes from being friendly to competitive is important. I’ve been guilty of being a “Leaderboard Larry” in my past, especially when I was newer and the PR’s came much more often. It is easy to get caught up in trying to be the best in the box, but that is NOT what this CrossFit thing is about. As soon as you are more worried about beating a fellow athlete than just doing YOUR best, you have likely crossed that line, or at the very least flirted with it. The leader board is there so that we can all record our scores, so we can track our own progress first and foremost. We are in competition with the people we were yesterday much more than we are with the person in the lane next to us.

For the record, everyone who asked about my score was super supportive when I told them. We exchanged scores, applauded each others efforts and moved on, it’s great to have such supportive friends. The fact that any of us did 20 minutes of craziness like that is awesome. You should all be crazy proud of yourselves!


It can be hard enough to want to come workout when you know it’s a doozy of a WOD, especially when we throw a judge to watch every single rep, and extra people yelling and cheering into the mix. As always remember to check the ego at the door. These 5 weeks can be extremely fun, humbling, frustrating, empowering, and all of the above. We are all in this together, so don’t forget to support one another through this crazy journey.

-Coach Shoe