Workout of the Day
TESTING DAY – Please follow prescription and report scores. We use this data to track our athletes’ progress.

Five or Six sets of:
Shoulder Press @ 20X1 tempo
Rest 3 minutes between sets
(use this time effectively to work on hip mobility or glute activation exercises – your coaches can help give you some suggestions)

For the shoulder press, perform the following reps and percentages:
* Set 1 – 50% of possible 1-RM x 3 reps
* Set 2 – 75% of possible 1-RM x 2 reps
* Set 3 – 85% of possible 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 4 – 90-95% of possible 1-RM x 1 rep
* Set 5 – Test 1-RM
* Set 6 (optional) – Exceed Set 5 weight

“Lucky Sevens”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
7 Box Jumps (24″/18″)
7 Burpees
7 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
The Cortisol Connection by Sean Talbott, PH.D. at CrossFit Invictus
The Cortisol Connection as it Pertains to You and (especially) Me
Written by Michele Vieux

If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, know me well, or have ever lived with me, you know that I love and cherish my sleep and that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Because of these two things, I have succumbed to the retiree lifestyle of early bird specials, premature (by the standards of most my age) bedtimes, and scrutinizing labels and recipes for problem ingredients. I have taken a great deal of flack (albeit playful jabs from friends), but I have recently been vindicated by reading The Cortisol Connection by  Shawn Talbott, PH.D.

My quest is for superior health, athletic performance, mental state-of-being, and longevity. I have definitely had my share of problems but have also recognized them and done what I can to repair them. Most of my daily habits, eating habits, and exercise habits have been formed through trial and error. I realize that my lifestyle allows for more of this than most people’s. I also read a lot so I research my hypotheses and findings to make sure I’m on the right track, and guess what . . . it appears that I am.

After a major physical and emotional slump in my mid-twenties, I turned to regular CrossFit workouts and paying close attention to what I was putting into my body. I was tired of being tired, chugging Pepto, munching Tums, and popping Prilosec to avoid or lessen the symptoms of my IBS which included nausea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, sweating, and the need to find a bathroom at very inopportune times.

Regular exercise and proper nutrition have been a constant in life for more than five years years now, so it was a little frustrating, confusing, and concerning that I was still experiencing some negative symptoms and side effects like heart flutters, borderline high blood pressure, intense sugar and carb cravings, and holding weight around the middle–all symptoms of Syndrome X, which is no bueno.

Recently, I have been tweaking my diet and routine to address these issues with some success. I then stumbled across The Cortisol Connection in the office and found that I was on the right track. I continued to do what I had discovered to be working and added a few more simple pieces based on what the book suggested for my specific issues and needs and noticed results within days.

Cortisol is the master stress hormone and it affects health, athletic performance, mental state-of-being, and longevity. Cortisol is not necessarily a bad thing but needs to be kept in check (think cholesterol and insulin).

Some people have too little cortisol in their bodies – often a result of advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, or in the extreme, those with Addison’s Disease. But more commonly, folks have too much, and too much can lead to problems. Too much cortisol can be a result of lifestyle, personality, genetics, or a combination of these.

I am not generally “stressed out” and I believe genetics to be the major component in my raised cortisol levels but lifestyle has definitely played a role in the past. Lifestyle is the easiest component to change by changing daily habits, eating habits, and exercise habits. Genetics can’t be changed, but they can be aided and supplemented. Not everyone’s protocol is the same. I suggest reading the book, talking with your coach, and coming up with your own protocol, if needed.

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Mary Dehart
Mary Dehart

Very interesting blog post Michele. I am going to read that book because I can see a lot of that information would pertain to me. Will we be able to make up the testing tomorrow? I especially want to make up the “Lucky Sevens.” How hard can it be, it’s only seven minutes.



I lurk on this site as a Ghost in the wire because of all the great info, but I live near Palm Springs. My son has Crohn’s disease and I would like to get your advice if you have the time. Could you email me back with your contact info if you are willing.



Michele Vieux
Michele Vieux


Hit me up at [email protected]. I would be happy to help in any way I can!

FAQ - Workout of the Day (WOD)

What does WOD mean in CrossFit?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day. Most CrossFit gyms post one workout each day for their members and online followers to complete. Invictus currently offers THREE free programmed WODs each day (shown above)... and even more personalized and online supplemental programs through Invictus Athlete.

Which program is right for me? Can I move between them?

One thing that sets Invictus apart from other CrossFit gyms and online training programs is that we recognize everyone has different fitness goals, abilities and needs. Be sure to pick which programming is right for you so you can get a great workout that meets your needs.

What does 30X0 mean? (How to read the WOD)

Another thing you might notice that’s different about our programming is that we use ‘tempo training’ - almost always in the Fitness programming and in various cycles for the Performance and Competition programs. Those extra numbers (ex: @30X0) might seem confusing at first glance but you’ll totally get how it works and why we like to use it after reading this. Trust us, you’ll soon witness the many benefits firsthand. Learn more about tempo training.

I need help with some standard movements and warm-up ideas!

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or have lots of experience with the WOD, our coaches will help you get the most out of every workout. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with a particular movement or if your goals are pushing you toward the higher skilled and more elusive movements, our professional coaches support everyone with advice and feedback.

They have worked with all athlete levels and know what it takes to get people moving to the best of their abilities. Whether it’s burpees, double-unders, muscle-ups, or tips for the Assault Bike - we’ve got a coach who can help you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your warm-ups covered, too. Our coaches are constantly learning from other modalities and love to use what they learn in innovative warm-ups focused on both preparing for the workout at hand and maintaining the body for a pain free life. Check out this full body routine to keep your joints functioning and free of inflammation. We also post warm-up suggestions in the Workout of the Day for each of the programs that are tailored to that day’s movements.

Workout on your own and don’t have much time for your warm-up? Here’s a couple of quick and simple ones for your shoulders, squat day, deadlifts, and everyone’s problem area, the thoracic spine.

What if I can’t lift the weight or do the movement as prescribed?

Scaling is part of the beauty of CrossFit because it enables workouts and programming to be tailored to anyone’s ability. When it comes to weight, you can and should ALWAYS scale the weight down if it is unsafe for you to lift it, or if it changes the intended stimulus of the workout.

Here are some rules of thumb for scaling weight in metcons (lifting for time). For gymnastics movements, there are some simple scaling solutions as well. If you are unsure, reach out to your Invictus coach! We are here to make sure you get the safest and best workout possible - proper scaling allows for that.

How many days per week should I train? / How many rest days should I take?

At Invictus, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday and we realize not everyone’s schedule - or training needs - are the same and therefore, you must use your best judgement and listen to your body when it comes to deciding how often to take a rest day.

If you have been doing CrossFit for a while now, you recognize that our program excels due to the high intensity component. With that being said, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t sustain that high intensity every single day; otherwise your body ends up breaking down.

You can learn more about how often someone should take a rest day in this article.

What does EMOM stand for?

EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP means “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible” in a certain time period. For example, the workout might say...

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

30 Double-Unders
20 Pull-Ups
10 Thrusters

So you would keep going through the cycle of those three exercises until the 10 minutes is up. Your score is the number of complete rounds plus any extra reps you did. So if you did four complete rounds plus 15 Double-Unders in the fifth round, your score would be 4+15.

What does OTM mean?

OTM stands for “On the Minute” and is the same thing as an EMOM. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for “Not for Time” and means that you shouldn’t rush or try to go fast, but instead, focus on technique, skill, form or whatever you are working on for that movement.

How heavy should my first set be?

You might also be wondering where to start your first set if, for example, the workout of the day calls for 5 sets of Deadlift x 5 reps. Is the first set a warm-up or is that the first working set? Here’s our recommendation for how to properly build to your starting weight and what we consider warm-up sets and working sets.

How can I figure out my 1RM?

We frequently use percentage references in prescribing the number of reps to perform, so it’s essential that you have a good idea on most of your maxes.

Let’s say it’s been awhile since you have attempted a 1RM; maybe you had an injury a few months ago, or maybe you just somehow keep missing the 1-RM test days, or maybe you just forgot to write it down in your log book. If you have a multiple-rep max, you’re in luck. There’s actually a simple equation you can use to calculate an estimated 1RM based on the max number of reps you can do at a given weight.