Category : Workouts


Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 6

Your third workout has arrived. You can now take these three workouts and perform them as a program each week.

When doing these programs, it’s okay to find variations to suit your equipment. I work with what I have in my gym and don’t have access to all that you may have in a commercial gym. Conversely, you may train at home and have different equipment.

One of the best parts about exercise is that there are no hard and fast rules. If you use the same basic movement patterns while modifying them to suit your needs, you will get the same workout.

For instance, if you have a cable machine, you can do cable rows instead of band rows. If you don’t have kettlebells, you can do a low box squat with a barbell (if you are comfortable) or a dumbbell with a goblet hold.

If ever you can’t figure out a sub, just leave a note in the comments below and I will help you find one.

Ready to go?






Your 5 Exercises

Feet-elevated glute bridge 3 sets, 10-12 reps

Half-kneeling shoulder press 3 sets, 5-8 reps each side

Kettlebell low box squat 3 sets, 5-8 reps

Standing 1-arm cable/band row 3 sets, 8-12 reps each 

Seated knee lift 2 sets, 12-15 reps 

For a bit more instruction on the box squat, Bret Contreras did a great tutorial on the difference between a high box squat and a low box squat. The low box squat mimics the Olympic squat more closely, as where you are sitting straight down instead of back.


It’s a great way to get used to squatting deeper and a good variation of the squat in general. You can check out the video here:


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Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 6 (month 2)

Your next workout has squats, lunges, and abduction, oh my!

I realized in the editing process that I cut off the top of my body in some videos originally meant for today’s challenge. So I pieced together this workout, but it’s great fun. I will take some more videos tomorrow to put together your last workout since I am now short on footage.

Hope you enjoy it!


Your 5 Exercises

Side squat 3 sets, 8-12 reps each side

One-arm chest supported row 3 sets, 8-10 reps

Walking lunge 2 sets, 14-20 total steps

Pike push-up 3 sets, 4-8 reps

Band seated abduction 2 sets, 12-15 reps

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kellie davis hip thrust

Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 4 (month two)

Finally, round two of Take 5 workouts. I’ve put a lot of thought into the most efficient way to deliver these workouts (on both the user and producer end). So hopefully this go around I will master the process.

I went out in my garage today and filmed all of the beginner’s workouts for the 2nd month of the series. Today I am going to bring you workout one, and then the other two will follow tomorrow and Monday.

Over the weekend I will film the exercises for the experienced lifter’s series and bring those to you next week as well. By next month I will have the system streamlined so you don’t experience such large gaps in your workout months.

I tried to make them short, but still explanatory. I found that when I went over each exercise during the video process, it involved a heavy amount of editing and I wasn’t able to work as efficiently. So, I am going back to voice over with the video demonstration.

Phew! Love all these learning curves.

Let’s get going, shall we?




Your 5 Exercises

Kettlebell deadlift (can sub dumbbell RDL) 3 sets, 10-15 reps

1-arm floor press (kettlebell or dumbbell) 3 sets, 8-10 reps each side

Glute march 3 sets, 10 marches each leg

Isometric chin-up 2 sets, hold as long as possible

Seated abduction with band 2 sets, 15-18 reps



To learn more about how to properly perform a kettlebell deadlift, check out Marianne Kane’s tutorial:


Have a blast and leave your feedback on these workouts in the comments below.

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Photo courtesy of Amy Razoski Photography

Lift Like a Girl: An interview with Nia Shanks

Photo courtesy of Amy Razoski Photography

We each have certain influences in our fitness journey that give us that defining moment. You read an article, or even a specific phrase or sentence that changes your thought process for the better. After that moment, you do things differently. You think differently. You alter your mind in a positive way and everything starts to change.

For me, that person was Nia Shanks. A couple years ago I read one of Nia’s articles on and shifted my focus from outward to inward. I realized that I was striving for external achievements and my desired look sat at the top of my priorities. Without even knowing it, Nia for the first time gave me the idea that I could be a strong female. Not just in the gym, but in life.

She’s going to read this affirmation right along with you. But it’s true. So many women that grace the pages of magazines help us create this image of ourselves that is purely aesthetic.When your only guide lies within the cover of these pages, you can’t help but make that your goal.

In recent years women like Nia — and now along with Girls Gone Strong — have provided a voice for all women in fitness. Not just those who possess the proper beauty to sit on shelves in the grocer isles. They bring with them the element that has been missing all along. The key that turns the lock, which has for so long kept many women out of the gym.

The emotional side of wellness.

So much of your success along this ride, whether you want to gain amazing strength, fit into a comfortable clothing size, or improve health and longevity, weighs heavy on your emotions. Most men can easily tune this part out. They set goals, they reach them. But women constantly face that reflection of guilt, self-doubt, and negative self-image. It bears a heavy burden that only another woman can understand.

That is why I think Nia’s new product Life Like a Girl is a crucial step in the right direction for women’s fitness. I don’t promote many products on this site. In fact, I think Nia’s Beautiful Badass was my last promotion.

I believe in her that much. And my largest reason is that she believes in you.

Rather than reviewing the product for you, I decided to ask Nia a few questions about Lift Like a Girl. I hope that in answering them, you all see why she has been such an outstanding influence in my life. I know that she has been for many of you as well.


Kellie:  Thanks for taking the time to interview about your new program. You’ve been in the fitness industry for a long time. Recently we’ve seen a lot of growth for women in fitness (both the professionals and the trainees) and I think it’s really exciting. What do you feel has been lacking in the past and how do you want to help change this?


Oh, wow. That’s a very loaded question!

One thing in particular that stands out is this notion that every woman has to “do this” to get the results she’s after. There’s been this increasing mentality that “if you don’t do it this way, then it’s wrong.” That’s frustrating because no two women are the same, and therefore no two women will enjoy, or benefit from, the same workout routine or nutrition regimen.

Things in life aren’t one-size-fits all, especially when it comes to working out and eating. Yes, there most certain are basic principles that are practically universal, but the specifics are up to the individuals’ personality and lifestyle.

For example, with working out: one woman may prefer to focus on getting crazy strong with basic barbell exercises. Another may prefer training primarily with bodyweight. While they’re both training hard and improving their performance (which is what’s most important) they’re doing so in a way that works for them.


Kellie: I agree with you whole-heartedly, Nia.  I think that is the largest struggle for women. Understanding that we are not supposed to fit into this one-size-fits-none mold. Last year you launched Beautiful Badass. What makes Lift Like a Girl different?


There are several differences. First, Beautiful Badass is an ebook with information you can digest in one sitting. The Lift Like a Girl Guide is a five-part video series with over 2.5 hours of content. Second, Beautiful Badass has 19 training programs that are pretty much done-for-you. I do provide a list of exercise substitutions so people can swap out exercises if necessary based on equipment availability, due to any mobility issues they may have, and preferences.

The Lift Like a Girl Guide, as Tony Gentilcore called it, is my opus. It includes much of what I’ve learned through my past 10 years of being involved in the fitness world. It’s split into three main sections – Lift, Eat, and Think Like a Girl.

In Lift Like a Girl I discuss topics such as the best exercises (bodyweight and free-weight), why you shouldn’t train for fatigue, repetition ranges, training volume, deloading, the three types of cardio, information and training templates for beginner to advanced trainees, and I include several training templates along with some other useful stuff. Basically, the Lift Like a Girl Guide gives YOU the tools and information to create your own workouts based on your experience level, available time to workout and equipment, any physical limitations, personal goals and preferences.

And in Eat Like a Girl (the simple, no nonsense guide for stress-free eating) I cover the basic, flexible guidelines that you tailor to fit your lifestyle and preferences. I also discuss meal frequency, cheat meals, overeating at night, and other helpful stuff.

And, finally, the last portion is Think Like a Girl. This is, what I call, “mental strength training”, and it’s an area that I believe is neglected when it comes to making lasting changes to your health and physique. The video includes discussion about weighing on the scale, striving for perfection, avoiding self-punishment, and other Think Like a Girl components.

To sum it up, the LLAG Guide will show you how to Lift Like a Girl and look absolutely awesome with simple, no nonsense strength training and nutrition information. The Guide gives YOU the power and control to create workout programs and eating patterns that work for YOU. You’ll get all the tools you need to design customized training programs based on your experience level, personal goals, equipment, and preferences.


Kellie: I love the concept of this program. It’s good to learn that addressing our emotions will help us along our journey. Who do you think will benefit from Lift Like a Girl?


Anyone who wants to take control over their workouts and nutrition habits, from beginner to advanced trainees, can benefit. This is truly a guide for people who want maximum results through workouts and eating habits that fit into their lifestyle and preferences. Furthermore, The Guide is incredibly beneficial for people who’ve been overcomplicating working out and eating right; those who constantly stress out over food and revolve their life around the gym.

For people who just want to achieve their physique and performance goals in the least amount of dedicated training time and while keeping everything as stress-free as possible, this is for them.


Kellie: I love that you developed this with every woman in mind. What are some of the bonus featured offered with this program?


I offer an Upgrade option with five strength-training programs. Some of them are a 14 Week Program to Look Absolutely awesome, a Dumbbell and Bodyweight Program (great for people who train at home, or “beat-up” lifters who don’t tolerate barbell exercises too well), and a 19 Week Get Strong! Program.


Kellie: That sounds perfect. It’s nice to have the option of getting pre-designed programs as well. What’s in store for you in the near future? 


I’ve got all sorts of exciting things planned. I’ll continue to provide awesome content on my website and Girls Gone Strong has some incredible things in the works, too. My goal is to reach and help as many women as possible so they can discover simple, no nonsense ways to achieve their goals, and I’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve it. Beyond that, I’ll keep traveling, eating great food, ski-boarding whenever possible, and enjoying life.


I can’t wait to see what Nia comes up with in the next coming months. If you are interested in learning more about Lift Like a Girl, or would like to make a purchase, you can find it here. 


(all links in this post are affiliate links).

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Take 5 Strength Series: Experienced Workout #3

I felt so ambitious when I started these. I had shiny new equipment. I had an awesome new camera that takes great videos and photos…

Then I realized that it took me two hours to edit out all of my bloopers and it was dang humid outside. I’ve been filming these midday in my garage with the doors shut and fans off to eliminate excess noise. That’s why you will notice that about one exercise in I look like I went for a swim.

But, I am here today to finally bring you the final installment of your first month’s workouts for the experienced series. Please accept my profuse apology for the wait.

Like the beginner series, you now have 3 full body workouts that you can break up into a week long program (Here’s workout 1 and workout 2) . This should last you a good 4-6 weeks. I want you to really push yourself to train harder and lift more as you progress through each week.

Your Five Exercises

Single leg hip thrust 3 x 6-12 reps each side

One-arm T-bar row 3 x 6-8 reps each side

Deficit Bulgarian split squat 2 x 10-12 reps each side

Close-width push-up 3 x 5-12 reps 

TRX jack knife 2 x 10

Superset with

TRX Prone hip abduction 2 x 10 


Hope the explanations in the video make it easier. Have fun!

Oh, and I have bangs now (as you can see). Not too certain how I feel about them yet other than I feel 12-years old. I guess it’s not as regrettable of an act as a rather large and inappropriate tattoo… which I also have.






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This is all I want to lift today: Cheeseburgers!

Take 5 Beginner Strength Series: Workout 3

This is all I want to lift today: Cheeseburgers!

Last week I gave you workout 2 for the beginner strength series, and today completes the first month of your workout plan. What you can do is take all 3 workouts from this series and create an entire month of training.

Here is what your week would ideally look like:

Day 1: Workout 1

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Workout 2

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Workout 3

Day 6 and 7 Rest

When I say rest, I don’t mean lie around on the couch and watch television. Typically you want to do some sort of active rest on 3 of those days and take one complete day off. Active rest can mean going for a walk, bike ride, or run. You can do chores, go shopping (like that?), yoga, pilates, or any other activity that has you moving.

Do this for 4 weeks, and then check out my channel for new workouts.

A reader on my last workout requested that I explain each exercise in the workout. What a lovely idea! So, now you can listen to me ramble on about each exercise. I try to explain them to you in terms that are easy to understand. Believe me, I’ve read all the textbooks and I don’t want to sound like one. Confusing!

Hopefully the explanations will help you during your training and not cause you to rest (and I don’t mean active rest).



Beginner’s Workout 3



Your 5 Exercise

Bodyweight hip thrust 3 x 10-15 reps

Single-leg RDL to rack 3 x 5-10 

Band chest press 3 x 10-12

Negative chin-up 3 x 1 (lower slowly)

Band Pallof Isohold Walkout 2 x 5 reps (out and back) 


Tomorrow I will post workout 3 for experienced lifters. I was in mid-filming when my battery died.

*Note to director: charge battery

Let me know what you think in the comments below.





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kellie davis fitness

Take 5 Strength Series: Workout Two for Experienced Lifters

kellie davis fitness

Enjoying a rare glimpse of alone time.

I love my children beyond measure. There isn’t a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for them. However, as mothers we have certain expectations for how life is structured. Summer break from school being on of them.

With the move, it seems 3 weeks were added to the break my kids have from school. It didn’t bother me so much until an old neighbor sent photos of my son’s friends back in class. Then the hours trickled by like a leaky faucet.

I catch myself doing things like filling my water glass from the soap dispenser and starting the coffee pot with no water. Okay, my husband caught that one. We witnessed a bit of smoke.

Needless to say, it’s been a long summer. I think I may write a Mother’s Survival Guide to Unexpected Time Off from School. It involves a lot of coffee and shoving the kids out the door (and accidentally locking it).

Despite all of this, I finally put together the 4th workout of my series and the 2nd workout for experienced lifters. Despite the constant interruptions whilst filming and the nosies who want to watch from the window or play on the equipment while I train.

Love them!

Just like my Beginner’s Workouts, I will create a 3rd full body workout for this series and you can turn them into a full month’s training program. That will give you 4 weeks of quick workouts and the series will continue with more workouts after that.

Your 5 Exercises

Front Loaded Barbell Reverse Lunge 3 x 3-5 each side

Barbell Good Morning 3 x 5-6 

Parallel Grip Pull-up 3 x 5-10 

Half-Kneeling Landmine Press 3 x 6-8 each side

Sumo Band Walks 2 x 20 steps total 


Front loaded reverse lunge: This is a great variation of the reverse lunge that really challenges your core. You want to create a shelf with your shoulders and rest the bar across that shelf. You technically aren’t holding the bar with your hands. If you don’t have enough wrist or elbow flexibility for this, you can cross your arms instead.

Barbell Good Morning: This is said to be one of the best accessory movements for squats and deadlifts. You can really feel your hamstrings firing as you lower the weight down. You don’t have to bend in half, just bend enough to feel your hamstrings get a nice stretch.

Parallel grip pull-up: This is my favorite pull-up variation because it’s easy on your wrists. Make sure you start from a dead hang (arms fully extended) and pull all the way up to your clavicle. This is tough for me because I have a 7 ft. bar, and 8 ft. ceiling, and a big head. Not the best combo.

Half-kneeling landmine press: I first Eric Cressey do this and fell in love. It’s one of my favorite shoulder exercises. At first the 45lb. barbell will feel heavy. If this is the case, just get in a couple reps on each side. After a while your shoulders will strengthen enough so that you can push the bar for more reps and even add weight.

Sumo band walks: Admittedly, you will feel silly doing these in a commercial gym. But honestly everyone is looking at you because your exercises are so innovative. I swear! These are great for working the glute medius and abductors. Many programs use these as warm-ups for athletes. I like to use them as finishers to really tax the booty at the end.

Please note in the video it states Parallel Grip Pull-Up 3 x 5-10 each side. That’s a typo… like filling my water glass with soap. I can’t correct it now, so ignore it.

One thing I wanted to bring up is rest time. Typically the heavier you lift the more you need to rest. For this workout since you aren’t pulling heavy singles or triples, you will probably want to rest 30-90 seconds between each set.

Use your best judgment and gauge how your lifts are going. If you feel gassed out for a set and can’t make it through all of the reps, then rest a bit longer.

If you need help figuring out how much you should lift based on the rep range, here is a quick cheat sheet. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s a good starting place.


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kellie davis fitness

Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 2

 kellie davis fitness

It’s time for the second installment of my Take 5 Strength Series for Beginners. Today you will get another full body workout that incorporates 5 different exercises for a short, intense training session.

I’m toying around with the formatting for these videos, so bear with me. They may all look different each time a post one for about a month or so, but I will eventually figure out exactly what you need to make an efficient workout.

One thing I wanted to go over with you (in case you are new to resistance training) is sets and reps. You will notice that when I give you your 5 exercises, I post the exercise names with some numbers following it.

These numbers are your sets and reps. The first number (usually a 3 or 2) is how many times you will perform a given number of repetitions for this exercise. The second number is your reps (repetitions). This is how many times in a set you will perform the exercise.

So, if you have 3 x 8-10, this means you will do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

Another thing I want to discuss is rest time between sets. After you finish your first 8 to 10 repetitions, you should rest 30-90 seconds before starting your next one. You will find that as a beginner, you are quite lifting heavy weights and will need less time between sets.

As you advance and start lifting heavier loads, your rest time may increase because your repetitions are using more energy. In other words, it takes a lot more energy to pull a 200-pound deadlift than it does to pull a 50-pound deadlift. So, you may find that as you go up in weight, you go up in rest time.

This isn’t always the case, but it’s pretty typical.


The Big Plan

Next week I will give you another full body workout with the intention of making this a full month’s plan. Often when designing programs, you can take 3 full body workouts and split them up throughout the course of your workout week.

Next week’s workout will be number three, which means you have the right tools to train for a full 4 to 6 weeks. How cool is that?

Each week I want you to train harder, go up in intensity, and really push yourself. Then you can try another 3 to 4 workouts the next month.

I will do the same for advanced lifters, so don’t feel left out, ladies!

Ready to get started?


Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 2

Your 5 Exercises


Barbell Parallel Squat 3x 8-10

Bent Over Barbell Row (wide underhand grip) 3×6-8

Bodyweight Side Step Down 3×8-10 (each side)

Barbell Push Press 3×6-8

Straight-Leg Fire Hydrant 2×10-15 each side


The explanatory part of the video sounds a little echoey. I recorded it in my office, which is a big open room with no carpet. Oh, and I said “goblet hold” when explaining the side step down– it sounds like omelet. You don’t need to hold an omelet, though that sounds delicious.

Parallel squat: the squat is one of the big 3 for primary exercises performed in strength training. However, not everyone is a proficient squatter. Some don’t have proper mechanics, strength, or joint function to squat safely and correctly. The parallel squat is a great introduction to squatting with a barbell, but it’s not exactly a beginner exercise. If you are new to squatting, I suggest performing the exercise with just your bodyweight until you understand how to safely low and raise out of the squat position. You can then progress to dumbbells and eventually a barbell.

Proper squatting technique takes a long time to learn. Progress slowly to avoid injury and build strength over time. Form takes the front seat over how much weight you can move.

Key point:

  • Keep your chest up and head in neutral position.
  • Push your knees out throughout the movement (don’t let them cave inward).
  • Sit straight down into a parallel position with your hip joints ending slightly below your knee joints.
  • Push back up, raising your shoulders and hips at the same time (don’t come up with your butt first).
  • If it hurts, don’t do it.


 Bent over barbell row: This is a wonderful exercise to build strength in your back. Again, if you aren’t ready to use barbells, you can always start with dumbbells or a band. The trick to this exercise is scapular retraction (pulling your shoulder blades together as you come up). You want to full engage your upper and mid back muscles, using them to pull the weight in toward your ribcage. A common error is using too much arm strength or momentum to move the weight. If you have a hard time moving the weight without using momentum, then reduce the amount of weight you use.

In this video I use a wide underhand grip. This is great for a couple reasons. For one, it’s easier (good for women who lack upper body strength), and it also works your biceps at the same time. It’s a win/win!

Bodyweight side step down: This is similar to a step-up, but you don’t lower your top leg back down at the bottom of the movement. This exercise is excellent for those who are just starting to build leg strength and those who suffered knee or hip injury. If you need more of a challenge, try adding dumbbells to the mix.

Barbell push press: One of my favorite exercises, the push press has the advantage over a shoulder press in that you use leg drive. It creates that explosive movement that really forces the weight up overhead. These are also a great lead-in to learning the jerk (if ever you took an interest in Olympic lifts). Notice that at the top of the movement my arms end behind my head, not next to my face. Again, if this is too challenging, then you can start with dumbbells, or pre-weighted barbells (they are shorter in length and can weigh less than an Olympic 7′ 45lb. bar).

Straight leg fire hydrant: These look simple, but with the leg straight they are really quite challenging. You may also find that one hip rises higher or is stronger than the other. Behold the power of unilateral (one sided) exercises. Our bodies are weaker on one side by natural. Usually you find that your writing hand side is stronger in your upper body and weaker in your lower body. If one side is tougher than the other, start with the weaker side and duplicate the amount of reps on the stronger side. If the straight leg is too challenging, then you can do a bent leg fire hydrant as well.


Have fun and feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.



PS- I saw this article on glute activation posted on FaceBook and thought it was worth a gander.


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Take 5 Strength Series: Workout 1 for Experienced Lifters

I’m excited to bring you the next workout as part of my Take 5 Strength Series. Each week I plan to present a workout for beginners and one for more experienced lifters.

Each workout will consist of 5 different exercises that really challenge you, but allow you to get in and out of the gym fast.

This is the first of my series for more advanced lifters. If you are new to strength training, I encourage you to try this with bodyweight, dumbbells, or kettlebells, rather than barbells.

I also encourage you to leave feedback below and ideas for new workouts. For the time being, I am just going to stick with the Take 5 theme. I want moms, busy career women, and those who feel they don’t have time to workout to have a place to go for ideas on how to train smart, intensely, and get on with their days.

During my introduction, the sun went behind a cloud. So, I apologize for the dark background. I didn’t realize it and had already uploaded the video. Learning curves! I should probably write down what I’m going to say, too, rather than just winging it. Oh, well.


Take 5: Workout One for Experienced Lifters



Barbell Front Box Squat 3 x 5-8

One-arm Kettlebell Jerk (or push press) 3 x 5-8

Barbell Deficit Deadlift 3 x 8-10

Barbell Floor Press 2 x 12-15

Barbell Hip Thrust 2 x 12-15



I am just learning kettlebells, so I might not be the best representative as far as learning form. Steve Cotter has some great information on learning this and other kettlebell movements, so check him out. Also, Marianne Kane offers great tutorials for kettlebell exercises, so head over to see what she has.


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You can get cool gear like this!

Introducing Take 5 Strength Series Workout Videos

Today I am excited to bring to you the first video of my Take 5 Strength Series. Each week I will put together workouts that consist of 5 exercises. This will allow you to get an intense workout in a short amount of time—perfect for busy moms and career women.

I will do two separate series. The first will be a Beginner’s series and I will also do a series for more advanced lifters. Each video will indicate which series it belongs to, but you can adapt either series to fit your fitness level.

The first workout launches today over at Youtube, so don’t forget to subscribe for updates. I need to work on the whole speaking part… and editing the speaking part. But, hey, not bad for the first try.


Take 5 Strength Series: Beginner Workout 1

Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Goblet Squat 3 x 10-12

Incline Push-up 3 x 8-12

Foot-Elevated Single Leg Glute Bridge 3 x 8-10

Modified Inverted Row 2 x 6-10

Medicine Ball Overhead Slams 2 x 12-15



Happy Training!

Leave your feedback in the comments below as I’d love to hear what you think about these workouts. Also don’t hesitate to comment on exercises you’d like to see in either series.


ViewSPORT Exclusive Discount

In other news, I made a great connection with ViewSPORT, an online clothing company for the athlete within you. I love their clothing concept and they are offering an exclusive 15% off discount for my community today!

When you make a purchase, just use the coupon code ‘crossfit’ on your final order. I was told it may not work for all shirts, but a majority of the items will be discounted.

You can get cool gear like this!

Hurry up and get your gear!







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