It’s not “adios” …



Open Workout 15.4 was an 8-minute couplet of power cleans and handstand push-ups. It was the first workout I ever did at Potomac CrossFit.  I had come in on the Saturday morning of the 4th week of the Open in 2015 to meet Brian and Maria, our former owner and the former head coach, respectively.  I was trying to convince each of them that I wasn’t utterly useless and might be able to stumble my way through coaching some classes for them. That was the morning I met The Dan Smith; we judged each other during the workout and he and I have been friends ever since.

Though it was the first morning I had stepped foot inside Potomac, truth be told, it was not my first exposure to the PCF community. I saw this video in 2012 and this one a year later, both highlighting the CrossFit for Hope event on the National Mall. I knew, even then, what Brian was doing at PCF was pretty special and I had thought, rather nebulously, “Man, it would be cool to be part of that community some day.”

In 2014 I met Aaron Kozuki at Regionals while we were both judging athletes. We were lucky to have a good amount of time to chat between heats and, again, I was convinced that what was going on at PCF was something I wanted to experience for myself.

A few months later, Brian Wilson posted on Facebook a job opening for a Head Coach job at Patriot CrossFit. I hadn’t planned on applying as I didn’t think I was nearly good enough of a coach to even bother. My wife, always the one to push me and ensure I’m challenging myself, encouraged me to go after it.  “What’s the worst that could happen? They say ‘no’?”

So I applied.  I had an interview with Erika and Brian, and a little later I came in to coach a class at Patriot on a Wednesday evening.

Brian didn’t hire me.

Brian asked if I would be willing to coach Saturdays at his other gym, Potomac CrossFit, for awhile until the head coach job opened up there.  He anticipated that his then-current head coach, Maria, would be moving to California once her husband was stationed there, and he’d like to have me waiting on deck. So that’s what I did for about a year.

In the Spring of 2016 he asked me take over as Director of Ops and Training at Potomac CrossFit.

At the age of 29 I had been offered my dream job. Every afternoon I drove up from Woodbridge to hang out with and coach some amazing people.  I had the privilege of working with Dan, Brian Foley, Clee, Ravi, Chris and Monica Donahoe (not married at the time of our original meeting), Heidi and Bobby, Meghan Molly and Elisa Gibson, Beth Farrell, Jeff Dramstad, Ben and Laura, Doors and Nina, and countless others. Later I had the honor of meeting and coaching Ben and Ting, Shan, Luis Salazar, Tim Everhart, Dallas Woodrum, Ellin O’Brien, Mary Ann Klimas, and John Pribnow.  In my time here I’ve had the pleasure of watching and learning from some amazing coaches: Tom Szymanski, Tyler Murphy, Mike and Brittney Savitch, Dillon, Aaron, and Big Cat… this list could and should go on for awhile.

In every sense of the phrase, I had made it.

Potomac CrossFit, this place that popped up on my radar in the Spring of 2012, had become my second home a few short years later. All of my friends are here. My second family is here. My heart and soul have been poured into this place, and it has paid me back ten-fold. I’ve PR’d here. I’ve watched many, many others set and break PRs here. I’ve hugged it out here, cried a little bit here, laughed my ass off here, and sweat a little bit from time to time.

There is nothing I could ever do to thank and repay you all for letting me be a part of your life over these past few years. I cannot express how much I have enjoyed the process and how much I will miss each of you.  

Potomac closing its doors for the final time has been one of the harder things I’ve had to grapple with in my adult life. However, the libertarian and capitalist in me knows the economics of it are hard to argue with, and it is the way things go sometimes.  The market giveth, and the market taketh.

This not just a gym closing, we all know that.  Out of these tough times I know some great things are sure to come.  Those positives, those triumphs, will come in many different forms and manifest themselves in different ways for each of us. But, just like in the midst of the round of 15 in Fran, we need to stay positive. Things may suck in the moment, but keep plugging away and you’ll be on the round of 9 before you know it.

I care deeply for each of you, and I hope you all stay in touch and come drop in for a class with me at District when you have the chance. You have all given me so much, and probably way more than you realize.  

For those of you headed to Patriot, I’m a little jealous. I’m jealous that Jack, and Gretchen, and Britt, and all of their coaches get to have you now. I’m also jealous of you in that you get to have such incredible trainers taking care of you.  You will be in far better care under their tutelage, and I have no doubt you will continue to grow and progress and make gains.

Good luck to each of you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hasta luego,


Battle for the Capital | Week 5 Update


All right folks, the finals are just around the corner and here’s how things stack up…

  1. Team Patriot Black – 26 pts
  2. Lil Paytwiots – 25 pts
  3. DCF Won – 24 pts
  4. DCF Varsity – 19.5 ptsm
  5. SBTY – 17.5 pts
  6. Potomac Resilience – 17 pts

Week 5 will consist of four stages, culminating with the final event:

  • Prelims
  • Repechage
  • Semi-Finals
  • Finals

In order to progress from one stage the next, teams will have to perform well against those in their heat. This will look, and feel a bit like March Madness. Here’s how the day will run.


The first event will consist of two teats.

  • Heat 1: Team Black vs. DCF Varsity vs. Potomac Resilience
  • Heat 2: Lil Paytwiots vs. DC Won vs. SBTY

The top team from each heat will get an automatic bid into the Semi-Finals. The four teams that do not win their respective heats will participate in the Repechage.


The four aforementioned teams will square off against one another in the second event of the afternoon.  The top two teams from the Repechage will advance to the semifinals, joining the two teams that won their heat in the Prelims.

Semi finals…

The top seeded team from the Prelim will face the lower seeded team from the Repechage and the lower seeded team from the Prelim will face the winner of the Repecahge.  The winner of each match will move on to the Finals.

Final event…

Only two teams will qualify for the last event of the Battle for the Capital. This is a winner-take-all scenario.  

Events will continue to be announced in the coming days. Teams, per usual, will need to have a minimum of two male and two female athletes present in order to fully participate.

The Prelims will kick off at 12:30 p.m., so plan to arrive early to begin warming up and be present for workout briefs.

The Battle for the Capital

What it is…

The Battle for the Capitol is a multi-week competition between teams from District CrossFit, Patriot CrossFit, and Potomac CrossFit. Each team will have 8 athletes, and each affiliate will field two teams (for a total of 6 teams). This is a one-division event, there will be no scaled or mixed divisions.

When it is …

Week 1; 8/18: District @ Potomac

Week 2; 8/25: Patriot @ District

Week 3; 9/1: Potomac @ Patriot

Week 4; 9/8: Rest Week

Week 5; 9/15: Championship @ Potomac (All team compete)

How teams will be built …

If you wish to compete, click here to register as an athlete.

Staff from each gym will choose teams of 8 based on the pool of registered athletes. This is on a first-come, first-serve basis; athletes available to compete in at least 2 of the 3 event weekends will be given deference over athletes only available for 1 event weekend. Athletes do not have to attend every single week, though it is preferred and beneficial for your team if you are able to. All events will require no more than 4 athletes (two men and/or two women), meaning if you have more than 4 athletes on hand, you may sub competitors out from one event to the next based on the workouts and the team members’ various strengths and weaknesses.

The competition …

In Weeks 1-3, teams will face off in 3-4 events testing a wide range of fitness.  These preliminary weeks will be used to seed and rank each team going into the Championship Weekend, Week 5.  On 15 September, all 6 teams will meet at Potomac CrossFit for an all-day event. The semifinals will be held in the morning, and the finals in the afternoon. As we get closer to the day of the event, scoring protocols will be released.

Interested in judging? Click here to sign up to judge!

3 Pros & Cons of New Programming

3 Pros & Cons of New Programming

by Andrew Killion

Programming is a funny thing.  It’s so easy to get lost in the weeds, add complexity and end up with too much accessory work, tempo and optionality.
While I’m all for keeping things up to date and modern; I’m also willing to admit sometimes the old school had it figured and if it wasn’t broke you shouldn’t try to fix it.
So what’s that mean for you?  Well for the month of July we’re going to do things a little more old school with our normal Group Class.  We’re going to go back to the old days of CrossFit where there’s one WOD variation instead of 3. We warm up, do strength, and then do a metcon.  Potomac and Patriot will still have different WODs, but they’ll be more similar than they might seem at a glance.
We’re gonna try this out for July and then see what you all think.  All we ask is that you give it a try and let us prove to you why it’s an upgrade.  Then we’ll open things up to feedback about whether to keep it, improve it, or scrap it. So after July if you hate it, we’ll figure it out.

1.) Simplicity is King

In the words of Albert Einsetin, “if you can’’t explain it to an 8 year old you don’t know it yourself.”  I think the same thing applies to workouts. Let’s be clear: that doesn’t mean boring, lack of creativity, fun or purpose.  It just means things don’t need to be overly complex to be fun and effective. Ask any coach worth their salt and they’ll tell you that a simpler program is a better program.  Our aim is to streamline the programming to make it work better for you.

2.) Faster Progress
People are creatures of habit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining you guys it’s that interrupting habits can be dangerous territory.  However, one of the core tennants of CrossFit is that habit and routine are the enemy. People get stuck in ruts/routines and I’m concerned our current format encourages this.  But I’m 100% confident that this shift in programming (while admittedly disrupting your habit/routine in the beginning) will create MUCH greater fitness gains for you.

3.) More Workout Bang for your Buck
A lot of people like to bandy about the idea of “train smarter and not more often.”  To which my normal reply is “how about both?” I subscribe to the “golden hour” theory of training.  At PCF we have one hour to get in as much smart work as we can possibly muster. So we’re going to make it as dense as we can.  So expect to see more intense and shorter lifting portions as well as more (but not too many) longer metcons (think somewhere between the normal WOD and SweatCon at least twice a week).  I’ve been developing programs for gyms, 100lb weightloss clients and CrossFit Games athletes for over 10 years now, and this is by far the most effective system I’ve developed in that time.
1) No more levels.
I know this is absolutely going to be the biggest cause of contention.  I’m more than up for taking the heat for this but let me explain my rationale.

As I mentioned above in the “faster progress” section I think levels cause people to stagnate.  We are creatures of our habits and when you’re used to doing L2 you’ll stay in L2 even if you could’ve potentially done more.  

I firmly believe we have the best coaches in the DMV and I’m going to challenge them to come up with a perfect workout for you.  You aren’t expected to make it up yourself or go up to them, they are coming to you. We’re going to provide the template (the WOD) and they’re going to make that workout fit where your level is, not expect you to fit into some arbitrary level that was designed for a different set of circumstances. 

I’m fully aware this is going to disrupt your routine, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if you give it an earnest try you’re going to love it.
2) Intimidation Factor.
Some of these WODs are going to look intimidating as hell.  You’re 100% going to look at some and think “I can’t do that.”  You’re also 100% wrong. You’re going to see WODs with RX’d deadlifts at 355 lbs for men and 245 lbs for women.  Do not talk yourself out of it. Again, the goal here is to lean on the coaches and let them show off a little bit in how much they can tailor the workout for you.  No one expects you to do every WOD RX’d (full disclosure: some of you need to be doing RX’d+). But, if you show up, we’ll make this an awesome workout for you every single time.

2) Change.
Change. It’s different.  And I know there’s comfort in routine.  But to quote to common sayings in CrossFit: “get comfortable being uncomfortable” and “routine is the enemy.”  

We’re taking it back old school CrossFit.  For those of you from the N. Highland days this will look and feel very familiar.  I did the levels thing, the remote program following thing, the tempo thing (yuck); and none of it has out performed just some good ol’ fashioned CrossFit.  

To cite another favorite CrossFit saying of mine: “The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, the science is in the explanation, and the fun is in the community.”  I think by bringing everything together into one big community (instead of 3 levels x 2 gyms) you’re going to see just how powerful that magic can be.
All my best,
Andrew Killion

Social Events for the Month of June: Flex on The Mall & The Nats



Just a reminder that Flex on the Mall is coming up on June 9th on the National Mall.  Athletes must be at check-in by 8 AM but the event heats kick off around 11 am. We have a TON of athletes competing that would love to see all PCF members come out and support. We’ll be teaming up with District CF and it’ll be a great opportunity to intermingle. We’ll be setting up a few tents for both our athletes and spectators!

Here’s a brief list of things we’re bringing to Flex that you should come check out:

-A Margarita Machine (that will totally not have alcohol in it 😏😏😏😏)

-4 Different Physical Therapists to work on athletes or regular people!

-Free Philz Coffee

-Free FitAid and Kill Cliff

-Free Meals from Territory


-Can Jam


…and more!





The After Party will be held at Lyon Hall at 8 PM located at 3100 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201. We’ve booked the front Lounge area just for members of PCF. So after you’ve showered the Mall off, bring your friends and family and enjoy some delicious food and libations. 


NATS GAME vs PHILLIES – 6/23 4:05 PM

WHO: Join District CrossFit members for an intra-gym social event!

WHAT: Going to see the Nats vs Phillies!

WHEN: June 23rd at 1:00 PM

WHERE: We’ll start with a tailgate at 1 PM at District CrossFit and then venture over to the stadium for the game.

HOW: 15$ –   RSVP here! 

WODIFY is coming 6/18!


In the next few weeks, besides upgrading equiptment, you’ll see some significant changes taking place.

We’re installing the Wodify Core Kiosk – two large monitors and a keyboard – on the wall of both boxes at PCF. It’s a big investment that’s going to make your fitness experience that much better.

Watch this video for more:

Wodify was designed to help you:

 Log into class

 See the workout for the day

 Check your performance history

 Enter your scores

 View the Leaderboard

 Visualize your progress over time

 Hit more PRs


One of the advantages you’ll notice when Wodify goes live is the ability for you to track your performance results both at the gym and on the Wodify mobile app.
There are many benefits to performance tracking, like having a clear picture of your progress.

Wodify makes this easy with visual charts. Every time we program a strength movement or benchmark metcon, you’ll be able to see your performance history after you sign in. You’ll know exactly what you need to do to improve your results.

Logging your results and making them public on the Leaderboard also keeps you motivated and fosters a little friendly competition, which never hurt anybody.


Finally, keeping a record of past performance serves as great motivation to keep coming back and pushing yourself further.
We’re really excited about Wodify and hope that once it goes live, you’ll enjoy the features inside the gym and on the mobile app.
Keep an eye out for an activation email about Wodify delivered to your inbox the week of June 11th! 


Please email with any questions!

Upgrade Weekend – June 16th + 17th

Hey Team PCF,

The weekend of June 16-17th we’ll be making some major upgrades to Potomac and Patriot. These upgrades include installing new assault bikes, a rig at Patriot, new Games boxes, dumbbell weights and reorganizing the space to improve usage and much more.

As a result, we’re going to need your help!

We’re looking for any available volunteers to help us with the installation and movement of all the new equipment.

We will need:

  • Hammer Drills
  • Socket Wrench plus large gauge sockets
  • Drills
  • Drill bit sets
  • bodies to move weight

We’ll plan to be at Potomac for the morning and Patriot in the afternoon.

If you can help at any point during the day, please fill this out. We’ll provide beer and pizza! 

While we do the install, we’ll be offering our regular 8/9/10 am classes at Patriot but Potomac will be closed for the day on Saturday. TBD about Sunday’s classes, stayed tuned to the blog and Slack for a determination on that! 

Murph Strategy + Tips

Murph Strategy + Tips

By Colin Farrell

The workout…

For Time:
Run 1 Mile
100 Pull-up
200 Push-up
300 Air Squat
Run 1 Mile
*If you have a weighted vest or body armor, wear it.
This workout needs no further introduction, besides the following:

“In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.”

Things to keep in mind…

One of the biggest discussions around this workout is how (or if) to partition the repetitions of pull-up, push, and air squat. If this is your first time doing Murph, it is probably best to perform 20 rounds of 5 pull-up, 10 push-up, and 15 squat. If you are going to partition the reps at all, that is probably the best way to do it. Larger chunks of reps with fewer rounds have fewer transition periods so (on paper) appear to be offer the potential for faster times; however, that efficiency will be lost unless the athlete can do unbroken sets of 10-20 repetitions of push-ups and sets of 10+ pull-ups for the entire duration of the workout. If you are not confident in your ability to complete big sets of pull-ups and push-ups, stick to performing 20 rounds of 5/10/15. 

When attacking the pull-ups, choose a scaling option that you can perform at least in sets of 5 for the duration of the workout. A great option for this workout is banded pull-up or ring row. I would strongly advise against performing jumping pull-ups unless it is something you have been doing a lot of lately and you are pretty adept at the movement. Athletes have a tendency to do very little pulling when completing jumping pull-ups, but instead control the descent and almost turn every rep into a mini pull-up negative. Pull-up negatives are an awesome tool and a great movement to build pulling power; however over the course of 100 repetitions, that is asking a tremendous amount of work to be performed almost exclusively by the bicep. The simultaneous elongation and contraction of the bicep during the descent of the jumping pull-up can cause muscle tissue to tear. 

Even for the gifted gymnast, this workout comes down to the push-up. Break them up early and often. Something I’ve heard dozens of times over the years: 

“The push-ups were the worst part; I should have paced those out more.” 

Something I have never heard a single person utter in almost a decade of CrossFitting: 

“I paced those push-ups too much; I should have done bigger sets.” 

In terms of scaling, completing them with your hands propped up on a box (12”, 16”, or 20” for most) is a great option for this particular workout.Your mindset…

When completing the workout, the sheer volume of repetitions can be staggering, especially in the second half of the push-ups. It’s exceedingly easy to get in your own head and have the inner monologue turn negative really quickly.

The key to this workout is focus on doing a set of 5, 10, 15, or 20 reps (depending on the movement) and focus on doing that set really, really well. Focus on mechanics, use all the repetitions as a lot of chances to perfect your air squat, push-up, or pull-up. Make that set your working on as perfect as possible, and think of nothing else, least of which should be all of the reps you still have to go. All of your attention needs to be on the immediate task at hand; you’ll be done before you know it. 

Good luck everyone!

While you are traveling…



With summer just around the corner, PCF athletes are sure to begin (or continue) their vacation or work travels.  The beautiful thing about CrossFit in 2018 is that there are affiliates everywhere and going away for a week doesn’t mean that your current, elite levels of fitness need drop off until you return home and through the doors of Potomac or Patriot CrossFit. You can almost always drop in at a local affiliate and get in a great workout.

With that in mind, it’s important to note good etiquette for being a drop-in on your world-wide travels. Here are some pointers on how to be the best drop-in athlete possible:

  • Try to sign up for a class ahead of time via their website; if possible, sign a waiver and upload credit card info online ahead of time as well
    • If it is not readily apparent how to do so, contact the gym and let them know you’d like to come for a drop-in, provide a date and a time, and ask if there are are any steps to follow to set that up ahead of time
    • If they are cash only, offer to pay before class begins.
    • ALWAYS assume there is a drop-in fee, and don’t ask if you can pay by buying a t-shirt unless they explicitly offer that deal
  • Look at the programming ahead of time, and figure out how you will scale the workout if need be
    • If the situation calls for it, inform the coach before class that you’ll need to scale back the weights/reps/distances/etc.
    • Your goal should be to be as low maintenance as possible
  • Show up early.
  • NEVER ask to do your own programming.
  • Respect the gym’s equipment: unless it is obvious that dropping is OK, don’t assume it’s OK to drop barbells. Wipe off sweat and other bodily fluids when finished. Bring my own sanitary wipes when you drop in as not all gyms provide them, and it’s a nice thing to do.
    • If you have one, try to bring your own jump rope.
  • Respect the hell out of their coaches. They may give you feedback that you don’t like, or give you information contrary to things you’ve heard at PCF or at other gyms; despite this, thank them for their input and feedback and take it into consideration. Everyone has something to learn from everyone else.
  • Be positive.
  • If you finish the workout before others, do not start cleaning up your equipment or pack your bags to leave. Cheer on others and encourage them as they finish.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, bring a t-shirt with you from PCF. I often try to buy a t-shirt at Potomac or Patriot before I know I am going to head out of town so I can leave it with the coach or the owner of the gym.

If you enjoyed your time at the gym, leave a positive review on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Also, post to Facebook/Instagram, and be sure to “Check-in” with a photo. These go a long way in terms of helping their business.

We know you will represent the strong and positive PCF community well where ever you go, and we hope this Memorial Day Weekend is the start to a great summer. Safe travels!

SWEATCON: The Ultimate Guide

PCF’s SWEATCON is a brand new offering launching Summer 18 at PCF. Programmed as a completely different format than our regular CrossFit class, SWEATCON offers a high-intensity workout designed to make you sweat.
Programmed with CrossFit-style movements, we’ve taken out the Olympic-lifting so that any fitness level can join us in this hour-long class. There are no prescribed weights, so you can dial up or down the load as heavy or light as you need. We realize there are athletes who participate in sports or activities where lifting heavy weights do not translate to their needs or others who may have prior injuries that just don’t allow them to do so. We also realize there are many athletes no longer seeing results with their current bootcamp, spin or fitness class and want to try something new.
We’ve created SWEATCON keeping those ideas in mind. What you’ll get in class is a high-energy experience with extremely effective programming giving you a fat-burning, muscle-toning, peak-intensity workout that will push you past the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Potomac: Saturday at 930 AM, Tuesday at 6:45 PM, Thursday 6:45 AM
Patriot: Wednesday at 930 AM, Thursday at 6:30 PM, Friday at 3:30 PM, Sunday 9:30 AM + 5:00 PM
  • Included with your PCF membership OR
  • $1̶4̶9̶$̶ 75$ Monthly use coupon code SWEAT50
  • OR $3̶4̶9̶ $175 for the Summer (5/27-9/2) use coupon code SWEAT50 at checkout