15.3: Progress & Humility

CrossFit Games Open Story, 15.3: Warfel vs. McCloud

Almost every single day I get dealt a handful of progress and humility. CrossFit is amazing at delivering both. It provides an easy way to measure your progress, and just when you think you’re getting fitter, your coach serves up a big slice of humble pie. Next thing you know, you’re over in the corner creating sweat angels, trying to figure out who just injected Fireball into your lungs (when in doubt, blame Castro).

That’s CrossFit. Every day you get fitter, stronger, faster, better. And everyday you’re presented with a new challenge that reminds you how much more you’re capable of.

Last week I told you how I was Chasing McCloud. He got me by a few reps in each of the first two weeks, but I proclaimed that I was coming for him this week. I’ll save the suspense for another time. I got him. But the workout definitely played to my strengths. Which leads me right into my first topic…


The muscle-up (MU) is one of the most revered and elusive movements in CrossFit programming. Some athletes spend months, even years, fighting their way to the top of those rings. I’ve seen legs flailing and elbows fighting to turn over. I’ve seen people make it half way, only to not fully lock out the dip and complete the rep. It’s not an easy thing to do; not by a long shot.

Last year during The Open, workout 14.4 was an AMRAP that ended with 20 MUs. I remember getting to the rings without about a minute left. 30-seconds of that had to be rest… if I was going to make it up. And I did. 1 muscle-up. Granted, it wasn’t my first ever muscle-up, but I think I got my first one only a few weeks prior.

Fast-Forward to 2015

15.3 starts with muscle-ups. There’s no, “Oh, I’ll wait until the end and just try to get one.” Nope. You gotta earn your right to continue the workout, and the buy-in is 7 muscle-ups.

I’m going to make a long story short (don’t you wish we could do that with workouts sometimes?!).

The muscle-ups were the easiest part of this triplet.

Bottom line is: I’ve come a long way in a year. I’ve made some incredible progress with every movement. It’s exciting. It’s part of what keeps me coming back week-after-week. Cuz nobody keeps doin’ something that ain’t workin’, right?

You wanna know the other thing that keeps me coming back?


I’m just gonna come right out and say it. For those of you who don’t know,

Double-unders are my jam.

There ain’t no two ways about it. I started CrossFit on December 30, 2013, and for a fun New Year’s goal, I did 2014 double-unders in 3 days… you know, to ring in the new year. And because I was fresh out of pots, pans & party poppers. The crazy thing is, my calves weren’t even mad about it.

I know what you’re thinking. I thought this was supposed to be about humility, Dave. Right, right. Back on track…

The Announcement

When Castro announced a triplet that consisted of 100 DUs, I was literally jumping, for joy. To have that many reps of a movement that I love, I was lickin’ my chops.

And just like that, 4 minutes into the workout, my chops were begging for water. My legs, confused. My lungs, flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe double-unders were this hard.

The Struggle

Double-unders. The one thing, above all else, that I’m known for in the gym. The thing that, when the workout was announced, Kim was quick to ask the highly rhetorical question, “Did they just announce a Dave Warfel workout?!”

And yet I struggled with them. Mightily.

I don’t care if you’re vegan, strict paleo or on the cupcake diet. The one thing all CrossFitters eat—even the elite ones—is that humble pie.