Turf Wars by the Number




     BROWNSTOWN – 447    HARRISON – 352   SCS – 203   

SHELBY – 196   ROYAL OAK – 133


     BROWNSTOWN – 50    HARRISON – 39   SCS – 23   

SHELBY – 22   ROYAL OAK – 15


BROWNSTOWN* – 640 (-19)    HARRISON – 703 (+121)   SCS – 712 (+96)   

SHELBY* – 650 (+69)   ROYAL OAK** – 614 (+22)

*Without Finals Scores **Pool Play Only






     BROWNSTOWN – 45    HARRISON – 30   SCS – 27   

SHELBY – 19   ROYAL OAK – 18



Where did THAT circuit come from?

When I’m on the turf explaining a new circuit, or even on social networks following the buzz about the day’s workout I’m often faced with the question:

Where did the idea for THAT circuit come from? 

That question is usually followed by some playful jab at my sanity, or lack-thereof. So be it!

But it is important for you, the Junkie, to understand how some of these patterns were created as they will often help you recall them next time you see them on the board.

Nearly ALL circuits originate from one of the of the following four categories of inspiration:

Logical – These patterns are the ones that molded Syphus. Think MTN, Reptilian, Centaurs and Gauntlets. While today these circuits seem pretty basic, in the beginning stages of Syphus, these progressions were pretty novel in that no other fitness concept really performed workouts (or even sets of reps for that matter) in that fashion.

Generally these circuits contain basic patterns, checklists and multiples that vary in length. That’s really it!

Adaptive – Eventually, coming up with any new Logical circuits became a very difficult, so we tried combining two different circuits the Centaur and a MTN: The Hybrid was born.

Using that logic opened up a trove of new possibilities. Quickly we were creating new, mutant-like circuits! Other examples would be Ceptilian, Mt. Neverest, Vertex and Zenith.

Where the Logical and Adaptive circuits get their names from the progression’s pattern and the picture they illustrate, the Thematic and Abstract circuits below START with a thought FIRST and then the numerical pattern is formed.

Thematic – Thematic circuits are not actually new patterns by nature but they take different feel that allows them to be categorized separately. Generally a Thematic circuit will be an entire workout comprised of either Logical and or Adaptive circuits to convey a certain event or activity.

Workout and circuits like Judgement Day, Golf, Barn Burner and Gone Fishin’ are all examples of Thematic formats. 

Abstract – Eventually the Adaptive circuits also became harder engineer and Thematic workouts don’t really jive with our scoring system: Usher in Abstract circuits.

These are my favorite to develop as they allow for the most creativity. In actuality, I view dreaming up circuits like these as almost Brainteaser Puzzles.

The inspiration may come from the most random place or thing, but is most cases, I will think of a situation or scenario, particularly where an action is being performed, and try to articulate that in numbers.

Make sense? If not, read that last part again because sometimes it doesn’t initially make sense to me either…that’s the fun in it!

Let me give you an example: The circuit we know as Cavity (and Filling) came as you might imagine.

I’ve played hockey throughout my life into adulthood and in doing so I’ve had my share of dental procedures. One day, while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair awaiting a double-root-canal my mind started to wonder and NO – it wasn’t the laughing gas!

“How could express the procedure of a tooth extraction or a filling in numbers?” I thought.

Using my mental database of Syphus circuits, I flipped through patterns like Reverse, Expanding and Shrinking MTNs thinking they would be closest.

Close. But not quite.

“Instead of a Shrinking MTN getting smaller by the outsides,” I thought, “Why not have them diminish from the interior? Bingo!” And just like that Cavity was created. And, out of necessity, Filling was formed as it is the inverse pattern; something almost every circuit has.

Other examples of Abstract circuits and their inspiration:

EL Cycle (a poem about the Circle of Life), Equalateral (The Fibonacci Sequence brought to mind by Lateralus a song by the band Tool), Playing the Field (Expression of Syphus runs in circuit-form), Dark-Side (Pink Floyd…not Star Wars), Jacob’s Ladder (DNA/Double Helix), The Hive (Honeycomb shaped architectural back splash), Ripple/Tidal/Undertow (A day at the beach watching water currents and waves), Hunter Gatherer (The simple thought of what Hunting and Gathering looked like to me…this one may be more Thematic)MACH-V (Machiavelli, with the base circuit idea suggest by a Mothership-er) and among others, Veneer (a facade/front facing layer).

In end, what’s most interesting? Virtually anything can be expressed in a Syphus Training circuit one way or another, you just have to be preoccupied with the thought long enough to see it through. In fact, many times I will simply come across a word I like and I will jot it down somewhere I can see it daily and continue to contemplate how to turn it into a routine until it does…sometimes months later.

Fair Warning: Look out for The Bluff.

Ever have a question about the inspiration of a specific circuit? Just hit us up on Facebook (either the Corporate page or my personal page) or email motherboard@syphustraining.com and I’ll be sure to answer!

***BIG ANNOUNCEMENT*** Welcome Turf Los Angeles!



Press Release: August 21, 2017

Syphus Training, LLC is proud to announce they have secured their first out of state license to Trevor Carroll-Coe to operate Syphus Training workouts in Los Angeles, California.

Carroll-Coe, originally from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, will be bringing the Syphus Training methodology to California with the intentions of officially offering classes some time in late 2017. On his first impression of Syphus, Carroll-Coe elaborates, “I knew after my very first workout that Syphus was something that I needed in my life, and the West Coast needed it too.”

The addition of Turf Los Angeles marks the fifth independently owned and operated Syphus Training for the brand with aspirations to secure more licensing deals in other major metropolitan areas across the country. Their sixth location in total includes their corporate flagship location in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Founder and CEO of Syphus Training Mike Hackett explains his excitement for the future, “This deal represents a lot for the brand and the Syphus community as a whole. It’s our first crack at displaying what Syphus has to offer on a national stage. I have no doubt that it is in the greatest of hands with Trevor. He will gain quite a following out there.” Hackett continues, “Once folks on the west coast get a chance to experience Syphus, their eyes are going to be opened to a whole new genre of exercise that’ll spread Junkie-Nation at an incredible pace.”

As Turf Los Angeles begins to ramp up interest, you can search them on Facebook and other social networks for updates. Details on Turf Los Angeles including location, contact info, class times, rates and grand opening date will be released in the coming weeks. Prospective licensees, interested in opening up a Syphus Training Turf, or offering classes in an already established facility are asked to email inquiries to affiliates@syphustraining.com.

Carroll-Coe, who is also celebrating another milestone this weekend in being wed to his long time fiancee adds, “It’s a really exciting time in my life in all aspects!” In regards to Syphus, “I’m looking forward to bringing the hardest workout in the Motor City to the fitness capital of the world!”




The Syphus Impact

More questions and answers from our Brand Ambassador Susie R. This week’s question:

Are there any areas of your life that has Syphus Training helped improve off the Turf?

Susie R.: Syphus Training has had a huge impact on me in many ways. By far the most important is the realization, that when I’m on the turf, there is something bigger out there giving me strength. I have been able to get where I am today by letting go of fear and doubt in my abilities. My mental resistance loses its grip on the turf and this is such a free feeling! I’ve learned that I can conquer the impossible by trusting inner strength that can only come from above. It’s often this little reminder in Philipians 4:13 that gives me that extra push I need to power up mid workout.

Syphus is so humbling but I’m dedicated to keep trying to master the tasks. This takes dedication through solid form, focus, persistence, and faith in the process. Every time I’m on the turf I am a work in progress, climbing and stumbling along the way. It is with each new try up these mountains I become that much stronger.

Every Syphus workout gives me a sense of accomplishment and confidence. I can keep up with my kids and my body feels strong and healthy as I go about everyday life. I am full of energy and vitality. There is no doubt I am physically and mentally stronger because of Syphus Training.

Syphus has given me a purpose to continue to inspire and lead others to healthy lifestyle changes!

Sifting Through Statistics

Syphus Training offers a valuable tool that is able to track all the different parts of your workout. This creative scoring system, or ROQ, has many purposes including showing you your current state of fitness. Once a newbie gets that first score their eyes are opened to a whole new concept and motivational push like no other!

Junkies can take the workout to the next level by diving into all of the Syphus statistics. I think each and every one of us can get something out of following the scores and stats.

I like to keep a close eye on my 30 day boulder and my daily score.  I also pay attention to the daily scores of those in my weight class and around my same fitness level. I use these numbers as a gauge to push and challenge myself.

I check out the plus/minus stats to see the averages. This is one way to see what was going on within the workout that day. If I’m in the red I review the tasks and circuits again to gain clarity. This is where I tend to learn the most about myself and my strengths and weaknesses within the workout. It helps me to think and strategize for the next workout. I also like to factor in what kind of day I was having. Stress, nutrition, sleep, and class energy all play a role in my personal score. It makes me think and I like that about this workout. You can’t just come and go.

Its also fun to review the highs and lows of your career boulder to see how far you’ve come. There is so much more to discover within the statistics page if you keep digging!

We all want to improve, bump up our score, and increase our fitness level. I think that’s one of the many reasons we come back to a Syphus workout vs something else.

What I have learned through the years is that The Syphus ROQ is more than a just a number. These scores and stats help you find out a lot about yourself, the most important being integrity and patience.

Ultimately the score tends to lead to a deeper quest of mastering ourselves and the tasks within the workout. Some days we get glimpses of what we are truly capable of.  During competitions it’s amazing to see the different turfs work together for the greater good.

There’s nothing like that feeling when you finish the board or jumped 100+ points. Thanks to the Syphus scoring and statistics these times are documented for you to learn and grow from.

Making Syphus a Priority

For the next few segments we’ve asked specific questions to our Brand Ambassador Susie Rahaim to get her insight and perspective.

This week’s question: How do you make time for Syphus, or any mode of exercise, priority in your life?

Exercise is a priority in my life because I make it that way. It doesn’t magically happen and it doesn’t come easy. I am busy and wear many hats including being a mom to 4 kids ranging from ages 2-12. Some days take more planning than others but I know that I am 100% responsible for my own health. I have a mentality that if I don’t exercise I’m going to pay for it down the line. If you can’t make this connection between exercise and your overall health it’s really hard to stick with it.

You have to view exercise as you would getting quality sleep or drinking enough water. It’s a daily necessity that can’t be overlooked. You have to make it a part of you and who you are, NOT something you begrudgingly HAVE to do.

My kids inspire me tremendously and by making exercise a priority it teaches them to care about their own health and wellness.

Exercising in the morning is the ideal time for me. It never fails; as the day gets going, excuses pile up, work loads get heavier, and plans change. I make my workouts happen by planning my times for exercise on Sunday before the week starts. It also helps to tell your spouse, family, or friends your exercise schedule. This holds you more accountable and ups the chances you will get it done!

Have an “I can and I will” attitude when it comes to exercise. It also helps to have a “why”. Finding YOUR “why” is a powerful motivator.

Before I started Syphus Training 4 years ago I had tried every exercise class from Zumba to CrossFit. Syphus was different and I was hooked. In sixty minutes you work EVERY.SINGLE.MUSCLE. in your body plus cardio, body-weight, and weight training combined. For this busy mom who only has sixty minutes max a day to commit to daily exercise it’s ideal! Plus it’s fun and highly motivating chasing a higher score with solid form. You CANNOT get this complete package anywhere else!

I see Syphus Training as an investment in my health. I am determined to make it work because I know it’s ultimately savings in the bank of my long-term health and longevity! The health benefits are well worth the monetary cost. The workout lives up to every promise it makes. And then, some even call it “The Fountain of Youth!” If you haven’t experience it yet, it’s time for you to get to Syphus Training and invest in your health.

RELEASED! Survivor 2017 Routines



We’re excited to release our full workouts for this year’s Syphus Survivor competition. Print them off. Study. Visualize. Best of luck!

Important notes:

  • All workouts must be performed in correct sequence
  • Week 1 workouts must be completed by Saturday July 22nd
  • Week 2 workouts must be completed by Thursday July 27th
  • If you’re not competing in the Survivor competition, you’ll do the workout on the date noted.




Survivor 2017




 Week 1:   Monday July 17th through Saturday July 22rd [3 possible workouts]

Week 2:   Monday July 24th through Thursday July 27th [3 mandatory workouts]

Finals:  Saturday July 29th at Turf Shelby; Times TBD

Your seasonal Boulder will determine your division (seen below). In Week 1 each participant must compete in 2 competition workouts but can do 3.  The top 2 scores from these workouts will determine the competition average.  At the end of Week 1 each Turf will determine the 3 top averages (both male and female) in each division. These 3 participants in each division (or 30 total individuals from each turf) will advance to week 2.

In Week 2 each participant must compete in 3 competition workouts.  The top 2 scores from these workouts will determine the competition average.  The 3rd workout will be used in the event of a tie.  Each Turf will send 1 male and 1 female representative from each division to compete in the Survivor Finals.

Tiebreakers – In the event of a tie, the additional workout will be factored into the average and the highest average will advance.

Weight Classes – This competition is not based on weight class, but rather gender and divisions.  Divisions may have competitors using different weight classes competing against one another.  Competitors must compete at the weight they consistently use and must have 14 or more workouts with this weight from May 1 – June 15.  ALL workouts from June 15th on MUST be at the weight class the competitor is going to use during Survivor 2017.   There is no dropping down in class to improve one’s score for the sake of an unfair competitive edge. Likewise, there is no jumping up in weight class to be the ONLY representative of your gender in that weight class.

Divisions – All based on 2017 Seasonal Boulder






Ultimate Survivor – The division winner with the highest difference from their seasonal will be crowned Ultimate Survivor.

Awards – TBD.  To be discussed by Turf Owners.

Power of the Group

Believe it or not GROUP DYNAMICS have a lot of power over our exercise behavior.  The group’s energy and vibe can influence you physically and mentally.

This specific energy of the group is imperative to Turf Wars and other Syphus competitions. But Why?  What is it about the group’s unspoken power that is truly the driving force of our motivation and competition?

The answer is simple. Competition is deeply rooted in our evolutionary heritage. Syphus Training brings this out of all of us. We compete against each other, we compete against ourselves, and we compete as groups against other groups.

The group’s energy combined with our inert competitive nature influences each person to exercise more. Not only will you exercise more but everyone increases everyone else’s activity level. This is a major bonus when it comes to Turf Wars.

A competitive atmosphere makes people focus on different things than just a workout for fun. It brings each other together in a deeper sense and is a more primal way of engaging intensity, stamina, and strength.

The group’s energy stirs a fire within. It gives everyone a mutual incentive to keep going. For a competition, this energy can make or break your game! It’s hard to explain but you can feel it.

Competition, good group dynamics and energy are the recipe for success whether it’s your everyday workout or Turf Wars! When you participate in any class or competition you are contributing to this unspoken energy at your turf. The cool thing is we are all  play a part!

 – Susie

Syphus Training’s Errors in Trial and Error.

Syphus Training itself derived from trial and error. Through the years we’ve experimented with many different ideas, equipment and technology to find out what would enhance your experience. We now realize that simple is better. And while we certainly wouldn’t call these failures as they’ve lead us to perfect our sport, it’s fun to look back at some of the tests we’ve tried:

Treadmill Runs: In the earliest days, when we were in a traditional gym, we utilized treadmills as an everyday aspect of our workout. Ever notice how MOST day’s workouts are comprised of three circuits? That’s likely because before each circuit we would start off with a “treadmill sprint” usually anywhere from a quarter mile to a mile depending on the day…treadmill work quickly became obsolete after a few months into the idea.

 1400 – 1200 – 1000: Anyone remember the days of Wiping the Slate Clean? It was essentially when we scrapped an old scoring system that had a flaw in it. Sorry, forget all that you knew about scores before. Instead we’d throw out all of your previous scores and start from scratch!

I don’t think this would go over too well today.

Initially our score system when up to 1400, then lowered to 1200, before finally being refined to (near) 1000. Even today, we adjust the scoring system monthly to be based on 1000 and anything “off-the-charts” is only for people finishing a board…but don’t worry, the changes are so minor that you’ll hardly notice.

Tic-Tac and Bag Drag: One fun piece of equipment we would use during workouts we punching bag. Nope, they weren’t hung from the ceiling, instead they were used on the ground and flipped head over heel (like a tire flip) until you reached an end-zone, this was known as Tic-Tac. Even more interesting was Bag Drag which was simply dragging the bag backwards…this ultimately morphed into Diablo.

100 Pound Plates: This never got off the ground, literally. In a few workouts, we would utilize a 100 pound plate for our pushing tasks. However, since there were only four in the gym and they were a pain to lug around, we just doubled up on plates which we still do from time to time.

Alter Syphus Options: Did you know that we used to offer a full schedule of different classes – all with different takes on Syphus? It wasn’t until the opening of Turf Brownstown that we discontinued the alternative options and kept with the tried and true Syphus. Here’s a brief description of each:

CardioCore – Syphus without the plate or crawling and a focus on abdominal exercises deemed not appropriate for Syphus scoring purposes. Outdoor Classes – Similar to your standard boot-camp class but with as Syphus twist. Yes, some classes we took the plates with us and actually threw them. Quick Fix – A half hour Syphus. Endure A half hour of nonstop agility and step work. Cronos Circuit 10 stations of traditional strength mixed with Syphus Tasks; 4 rounds.  Greek Gods/Mission Fitness tests that never changed with the idea of completing them quicker over time. Synergy/Quest – A group workout done with the object of collectively finishing certain goals as a group. Gamut – A blend between group personal training and Syphus to help integrate people into Syphus training movements.

Syphus Fit-Band: In the day and age where fitness wearables were just bursting on the scene, we wanted to keep up with the times. However, when we released a branded version of a fitness tracker akin to the original version of the Fitbit, people got excited thinking that we had finally created a wearable that tracks your scores by wearing it during your Syphus Training workout. Sorry – we haven’t been able to merge with that technology yet, but we’re working on it.

 Heart Rate Based Training: Likely the biggest flop we’ve had! In the beginning of 2011 we started using a heart rate system manufactured by Polar that would display each individual’s heart rate on a screen and provide zones, in which the user’s heart rate “should” be in for maximal benefit. If you’re familiar with Orangtheory, they now use newer versions of this system for their workouts. In fact, Syphus Training was highlighted in the July 2011 Polar Newsletter as first independent program to use this program that was previously only used with professional and collegiate sports teams.

The problem?  We were a guinea pig.

The version we used was essentially in beta testing with no ability for updates. Primarily based on the now outdated formula of 220 – Age to determine target heart rate, it provided no tangible feedback, specifically calories burned, unless you had a compatible watch. Likewise, there seemed to be serious errors in reporting accurate heart rates as some of our fittest individuals were registering heart rates as high as 222 and still working out without breaking much of a sweat.

And, above all, instead of listening to one’s body and letting that steer the way, people were relying largely on the technology to tell them how to proceed through the workout. That is, if they saw their heart rate in the RED (non-fat burning zone) participants would essentially stop working out until their heart rates dropped instead of pushing their aerobic threshold. Simply put, it was more of a distraction that hindered the progress their workout. As a side note: If you’re gauging your workout solely on heart rate, you may be buying into a shtick.

 – Hackett


Numerical Illusion

The numbers; they suck you in.

 At first the numbers mean nothing. Your PRO tells you, “Wow, a 413 on Initiation is a great first score!”

Okay, what the heck does 413 mean and why should I care?

Later that night you check your stats only to see your name listed underneath a pile of others who’ve all played in this day’s “game” known as Syphus, and while you know it was your first crack at it, seeing your name near the bottom doesn’t sit well. You demand a better score. You select the ‘Sign Up’ tab to schedule your second class. Hooked.

Numbers keep you distracted.

After several weeks in, you start noticing that your scores are starting to soar along with your consistency to your program. You begin to recall the tasks that are your strengths and those that need work. You start piecing together what others are referring to when they talk about their 30-day, their peak and the day’s slope. The numbers begin to make sense.

But, while you’re deciphering this once foreign number system and striving to boost your scores, there is something unconscious at work. In the past, when you worked out at a Big-Box gym, you moved from machine to machine, counting the calories burned on the elliptical, documenting the amount of weight you benched and using the scale as your ultimate gauge of your progress.

But now, you’re distracted by this number that you’re trying to attain. No longer are you concerned with how your clothes might fit or how aesthetic your look. Instead you’re consumed with improving this number; but in doing so all the reasons that you originally began working out like fat loss, muscle tone, better athletic performance, lower blood pressure and more vitality are all coming to you without you intentionally chasing them.

Your concentration on building your scores has blurred the fact that you now attend a workout on a near daily basis, without dread, and the workout you’ve chosen is notoriously one of most challenging on the map. That’s when you realize that truly how effective these numbers are; they are that dangling carrot keeping you coming back. The physical results are just the by-product. You now work out for the sake of the workout.

The veteran’s plateau; where Form First creates a new number to chase.

Months, or maybe years, into your Syphus journey you’ve hit your peaks, you (may) have finished boards, you’ve participated in competitions. It now feels like you’re just maintaining. You’ve hit a plateau with your scores. You occasionally have “off” days when you score 150 below your average leaving you feeling discontent. There’s no possible way to sustain let alone top the scores you’ve logged. Now what?

Remember; they are just numbers. Why are you beating yourself up over it? As mentioned above, the numbers were a way to keep you committed to yourself and to your workout. Stop. Reflect. And realize that you are leaps and bounds above where you started. The days you consider to be a “poor performance” was an ass-kicking of a workout that majority of the population couldn’t even contend a fraction of what you were able to; and yet you still somehow feel down because of it? Nonsense!

This is a pivotal point for all Syphus-ers. This is when you may start to value form more than your score. You’ve always known that Syphus preaches Form First, and you have tried your best to adhere, but deep down, you were chasing that number first. It happens all too often that the the Form First credo isn’t truly realized until you’ve hit this plateau. Now is the time to create a new baseline with flawless form as your guide. If your scores take a dip; who cares? They are just numbers to GIVE YOU feedback into how you’re doing; only you set that standard – and if your form doesn’t vary – you know the standard that you hold.

Meaningful meaninglessness.

Here is where I must interject personally to explain from the first-person viewpoint as it is only from the perspective of a long-time PRO or a truly die-hard can verify:

The numbers mean everything.

Yes, in the preceding paragraphs I harp on the notion that they are “only” numbers, but without them there is a void.

Try this: After a lengthy career in Syphus, attempt to work out in a traditional gym, it will seem stale. Or better yet, try this, as I do from time-to-time, do a Syphus routine that is not the day’s scheduled workout and not for a score. How does the experience feel?

I only suggest this because it was only the other day when I was doing a separate workout with a client, all cardio based and not for a score, that I realized that other than enjoying the moment, my motivation was shot. I didn’t have the score to chase. I didn’t have my standard. My form was great. But still, I couldn’t put my form to the litmus test of the numbers. Syphus, without the numbers, is not Syphus.

– Hackett

5 Ways to HACK Your Next Workout

At Syphus Training every circuit is designed to be challenging. These 5 Syphus “hacks” that can help make your hard work even more EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE each time you hit the turf!

HACK #1 Do You Have a Rabbit To Chase?

Once you start the class get a feeling as to who is around at your same pace. You will notice a kind of give-and-take rhythm where one person leads you and then the next, you might be leading them. If this person starts to pull ahead they become a rabbit to chase. In this position, you are also known as a leech, drifting off their pace. Pick a rabbit whose form you admire and has a fitness level comparable to yours.

You will find in some classes right off the bat there is that one person who is always just a bit ahead. The whole class you are nipping at the heels and chasing that person.  In the end, sometimes you beat your rabbit and sometimes you don’t.

A rabbit in your class may be just what you need to bust through a plateau and not give up where you may have otherwise slowed down.  Finding a rabbit is a game changer if you like the chase! Plus a GREAT training tool for March Mayhem and other competitions.

Editor’s Note: See HACK #5 as it’s important to not let the need to keep up with your Rabbit diminish your form – remember, the person you select as a Rabbit may be able to do tasks more efficiently and require less recovery time. Don’t push on without first listening to your body!

HACK #2 Humidity = An Extra Special Mountain!

A humid day can wreak havoc on any of the turfs causing the plate to move much slower than it otherwise would.  Don’t get discouraged! Everyone feels the pain and if you keep that in mind you can see it as just another mountain to push through.  In the long run you are only getting stronger. A slower plate can slow you down only if you let it! Keep smiling and climbing despite the conditions of the turf!

HACK #3 Plate Weight Speed & Ivanko vs.Troy

It’s been said that heavier plates move farther! Naturally this depends on ability level and technique, but if you have a circuit with a lot of HIKES the person with the heavier weight may have a slight advantage (if you let them). The game plan of the junkie with the lighter plate should be to pick up the pace and get to their plate efficiently each time between hikes and not slow. Do this and you can easily keep up with the heavier weights.

Veteran junkies know to choose an Ivanko plate over a Troy any day! The Troy plate edges are not quite as rounded as the Ivanko and the lip is not quite as deep. But if you do get stuck with a Troy plate just deal with it!

Psst….Shhh…FYI….. I’ve heard from a source that in the future only Ivanko plates will be considered regulated plates for Syphus Training, specifically for competitions.

HACK #4 Class Size And Energy

If you are in a class with four people and two check out before 60 min your motivation can take a beating. It takes more of a mental push when you don’t have help of the class energy. Believe it or not the class energy provides an unspoken strength and vitality dynamic to your workout. This energy provides physical and mental sustainment something we all benefit from as a class. Try to go to full classes with good energy and hard-working junkies. Over time you’ll find what works for you!

HACK #5 Blinders

A great piece of advice quite possibly one of the best I picked up along the way was to “Put your BLINDERS on and Tap in”. Remember, it’s not your job to correct poor form. That’s what the Pro’s are for; let them do their job so you can stay focused on your tasks ahead. It can get frustrating if someone is skipping tasks and skimming form, but only if you let it. Put your blinders on to keep these types of distractions from keeping you from doing your best. Once you make this a habit, and get in your zone, it can make a huge difference!

Syphus Training is dubbed the #hardestworkout for a reason! But putting these hacks to use can help you get a step ahead when it comes to game time!

– Susie R.



The Calm Within the Storm

It’ll often goes unnoticed until there is a pause in the music – the turf is utterly silent.

Yes, in a room full of Junkies all racing against the clock and pushing themselves to their physical and mental capacities…not a sound.

Ask any of your PROs and they will attest: There is something eerie (yet mesmerizing) to witnessing an experienced group of Junkies all going together at one time. It is as if everyone is working together for a greater organism; like that resembling a swarm of worker bees, a school of fish or geese in a flying V. It appears as if something larger is at work, making these individual cogs work together, and in sync.

That larger thing at work, is desire. When it comes together simultaneously on the turf, it is infectious. It propels the entire group to greater heights.

While it’s true; Birds-of-a-syphus-feather often flock together gravitating to same class times. You will also see these moments occur naturally in a competition like turf wars. That moment where the day’s workout progression is crystal clear. These are the days where the PRO doesn’t have to have to demo a task mid-workout; they just watch in amazement at the product unfolding. It is in these hours, where everyone is focused on the workout rather than side-talk, that greatness happens. It is THIS very thing that you will not find ANYWHERE else in the fitness industry. It only occurs at Syphus given the at-your-own-pace nature of the beast.

Next time you’re on the turf, see if you can sense this. Become aware of the group and your place in it. Do you sense that you’re a part of a flow? Are the Junkies next to you in an almost zombie-like state fixated on their own task? If so, you might be in the calm of a perfect storm; and in Syphus, that’s a great place to be.

If you’re a PRO test it out…drop the music for ten seconds and find out what you hear. Silence really can be golden.

 – Hackett

Top 5 Benefits of Syphus Training

Syphus is NOTHING that you have ever experienced at any other gym or workout class I can GUARANTEE that!

Syphus is the one true sport of exercise. The workout is a unique blend of body weight exercises known as “tasks” to find out how your fitness level ranks among others.  You can track your progress with comprehensive statistics and use those numbers for competition.

Syphus Training combines a unique element of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), friendly competition and a workout scoring system that you CAN’T get anywhere else.

Though it’s hard to sum all the amazing benefits and gains I have experienced doing this workout here are a few to get you pumped:

5 Top Benefits of a Syphus Workout

You Will Get Shredded!

The combination of tasks is a FULL body workout each and every time you hit the turf without even realizing it. The unique mix of exercises including squats, lunges, running, walking, crawling, jumping, and pushing/pulling a weighted plate is where the magic lies. It’s not hard to spot the “Syphus” arms around town. This workout in combination with a clean primal diet and BOOM you have the PERFECT RECIPE to get in killer shape!

You Will Gain All Over Muscle Tone!

At Syphus training there is no “leg” day or “arm” day.  The workouts everyday are designed with the perfect mix and balance for your body as a whole.  The “tasks” requires focus and engagement of many muscles to ensure proper form hence the emphasis on Form First! Many muscles are getting worked which will result in a more evenly distributed physique.

You Will Gain Strength!

Physical AND mental strength are the fruits of your labor at Syphus.  Those who are committed to the workout can attest to this.   Syphus workouts are perfect for adding strength without adding bulk.  The unique combo of tasks in every workout will create a phenomenal amount of strength and muscle development in the entire body because it requires numerous muscles groups.  Mentally you gain strength and grit due to the mental focus needed to perform these tasks FORM FIRST and push through each circuit.

You Will Become a Well Rounded Athlete!

Syphus provides support for other sports and fitness goals. The National Academy of Sports Medicine shares that resistance training, in this case using your own body weight, can improve running economy without added bulk, an important component for endurance athletes such as Ironman athletes and ultra trail runners. Youth sports teams to professional athletes have found the benefits of adding Sypus to their training programs.

You Are Your Biggest Competition!

 Syphus never gets easier. The “better” you get at Syphus, the more you have to do and in less time. Keeping up with yourself – or with your form – is always an ongoing battle.  One thing is for sure, you will know you have accomplished something GREAT each and every workout.

There is something  more within a Syphus workout but you have to experience it for yourself.  It is deep, powerful and truly unique and that keeps people coming back week after week.


– Susie R.

The Flaw in the Myth of Sisyphus

By now you’re aware that Syphus Training was named after the Greek mythology figure Sisyphus who was doomed to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it fall back down once he reached the summit; this was his eternal fate.

But, as it relates to Syphus, and your personal journey, I implore you to look at this myth from a different viewpoint.

I’ll be the first to admit it, one of my greatest character defects is to sabotage moments of success. I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe I like to be the underdog. It’s possible I enjoy the challenge of beating the odds. But unfortunately, as I reflect, somehow at the root of it all it seems to me that I question whether or I am worthy of success and fulfillment.

Now I am not certain if this is a universal feeling shared by others. But I do know that I am worth it; and so are you. And with a little change in perspective to the myth of Sisyphus, you too can visualize this idea clearly.

What if the mountain that Sisyphus is trekking had no apex? He would keep climbing.

Follow me: The result of the myth, with or without a summit is still the same. As the myth goes the boulder would fall back down again once he reached the top. So, he kept climbing. Our “new” view of the myth without a summit; again, eternally climbing.

The point I’m trying to make is that we must not ever rest on our laurels. We must not think that we are at the pinnacle of our potential whether that’s in fitness or in life. We cannot afford ourselves to think that we have reached the top; because then we lose to desire to keep climbing.

And, if you’re like me, you will inevitably contemplate letting that boulder plummet just because you crave that constant push. Instead, envision that you’re scaling a mountain with no end and you’ll keep climbing without losing ground.

With no mountaintop to attain, your potential remains limitless.

 – Hackett


Tap In – Tame It – Let It Out

(Audio version of this Blog post)

Ever notice the Sypher at your Turf? It may be tucked away on a side-board or located above the day’s workout. Sometimes the Sypher will be written in long-form, explaining our “code of conduct” in detail, in some Turfs the Sypher is boiled down to one phrase: Tap In – Tame It – Let It Out.

Remember these three principles and the heart of the Sypher remains intact. Let us dissect:

Tap In – Competition is in your DNA. It is what allowed our ancestors to rise to the top of the evolutionary food chain. Do or die. Fight-or-flight. Call it what you will, but I believe that you have the ability to Tap In to these primal instincts at will – through intense exercise.

Science says that your sympathetic nervous system triggers because of an external source of stress. You’ve felt this before. A near car accident. A roller coaster free-fall.  Possibly a traumatic injury. Any such instances kicked your system into hyper-drive survival mode. Syphus is no different, it creates the same effect, albeit in a controlled and safe environment. Elevated heart rates, peer competition, strenuous (self-inflicted) situations all contribute to the ability for you to unleash this animalistic reaction to such stimuli.

When you feel it creep up; notice it and Tap In.

Tame It – Tapping into your primal self is great, but you’ve evolved into a sentient being. You’re aware that while you’re on the Turf that you’re not in any actual danger. And this is precisely when you need to use your higher self to harness your fight-orflight response and Tame It.

This is in fact Form First. It means not allowing your emotions hijack your natural response to cut corners in attempts to get ahead of your turf-mates. This takes a great deal of practice. In your peripheral, you may notice someone shaving reps on a grueling task, or rushing a movement for the sake of a higher score rather than the benefit of the exercise. Now, that’s okay. Pause for a moment to think: Maybe this person has yet to reach the ability to grasp how to “Tame It”. From this perspective, you’re a more evolved Syphus-er and as you carry on your way, continuing to Tame It, your turf-mates will eventually follow suit. And through your example, you’re leading the pack to help them actualize their higher selves.

 Let It Out – Once your inner animal has met your emotional leash, you are now able to Let It Out. You’ve harnessed the power of your primal self and you’ve mastered the ability to control this beast. Now it’s game time. Let it run free – for an hour. Allow the entire experience of the moment envelope you. This is Syphus. Use the music.  Notice each bead of sweat. Be aware of your breath. Cry, scream, curse. This moment is real; and you have this opportunity to Let It Out, use it and be thankful for it.

– Hackett

5 Tips to a Better Pace and Keep Climbing


If you are determined to get a better score but feel stuck these little tips may be just what you need to break through a plateau!

1. BREATHE! Breathing properly is something many of us forget to do every time we hit the turf. This is so important that it can literally break you down slowly throughout the circuits if you don’t pay attention to it.  Proper breathing will actually help you recover faster, hence quicker turn-around between tasks.  It’s easy- just be sure on slower tasks such as a “swaggin” you take in 2-4 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth (you should feel it deep in your abdominal muscles).  Believe it or not proper breathing will help you optimize performance, endurance, and get rid of that dreaded post-Syphus hangover!

2. HYDRATION! By this I don’t mean stopping and guzzling water throughout the workout. Instead  be sure the day BEFORE you head to the turf you are drinking plenty of WATER. So many of us are actually dehydrated and don’t even realize it.  Coming into a workout already fully hydrated will give you a step up with endurance.  During the workout stop when you need to for water QUICKLY and get back at it.

3. MIND SET! Syphus is a sport. The night before a big game you would definitely prepare, right? So you must do the same when you head to the turf if you want to improve your FORM and SCORE. Be sure you are well-rested, plan, visualize, and get clarity on tasks before you start.

4. FLOW! Try to let some tasks flow right into the other to save time. This was a huge game changer for me.  Start off with something “simple” like lunges and see if you can make it there and back without stopping.  Try it out next with things like tarasq or plate pushes.  Slowly you will build up cardio endurance and get the hang of going from end zone to end zone without stopping on certain tasks. This will save you time and energy!

5. DON’T COMPLAIN! (I’m guilty!) I get it and know that serious frustration can set in at anytime during your workout but you need to train your mind to push through. You’ll see it happen often; people stop mid-workout to complain about how hard a certain task is. This may be true, but it is also a waste of valuable time and gets you no-where except further away from your goals. It’s also a huge blow to the whole energy of the group. Save the chatting and/or complaining for before or after your workout. Part of the fun is the post-workout recap the camaraderie built after you survived the hour!

That’s all for now junkies. See you on the turf!

Susie R.

The Conception and Evolution of Syphus

It’s the question I get most often, “How did you come up with Syphus?”

Truth is, I have a tough time giving a simple answer for something so complex. Syphus evolved over a number of years before it even resembled what it is today. Yes, the broad idea of Syphus, packaged the way it is now, came to me as a flash of inspiration one night in 2010 – however it was a multitude of factors that helped that inspiration take root.

It wasn’t until recently that it occurred to me that the initial imprint of Syphus may have come subconsciously from my college baseball days. Every morning we would have 6:30am workouts prior to heading to class. Some days were strictly weight lifting, others were more focused on agility…but the days I dreaded most were the seemingly simple calisthenic line drills. Five single file lines and 20 minutes of non-stop shuffles, lunges, frog hops, push ups and other like exercises. Upon completion I would be utterly wiped and sore for days to come. For someone like myself who spent hours a day in the weight room, I never quite understood why these simple tasks were so difficult for me.

I now know why. And it’s quite possible I blocked these workouts from my memory simply because of my disdain. Had I enjoyed them I likely would have sooner made the connection between those workouts and the conception of Syphus.

Fast-forward a few years and I am now in a traditional gym setting personal training. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. The gym in which I worked had a patch of turf (roughly the size of your Syphus field) and all Ivanko plates at my disposal. It may sound simplistic, but I am convinced that had I not had the right turf or the right plate, Syphus would not exist today. Dumb luck.

I had a large clientele with a broad range of goals needing to be met but my bread-and-butter was young athletes – specifically hockey players in the collegiate and professional ranks. On our agility days I began integrating light body weight strength exercises like plate pushes or bear crawls for conditioning purposes; soon this became the favorite workout of the week. As traction gained with this group of athletes, other “regular” members in the gym started to take notice.

Usher in the Godfathers.

I was approached by three guys in Bart, Tim and Andy who wanted to do a similar workout that I had been doing with my athletes. They wanted the challenge and I gladly participated with them. Back then, the workout was more like traditional circuit training with stations and structured break periods, until one day I came up with an idea where we would do a progression of exercises all at our own pace and try to finish it in an hour’s time. This progression is what is now known as a FULL MTN which is a MTN and a REV MTN put together. The entire workout only consisted of ten tasks (extremely repetitive by today’s standards) and held 100 tasks in total. We attempted to finish to no avail. We died and we loved it.

From that point on we refined the workout week-to-week with new progressions and far-out ideas for exercises. Since we had never seen anyone else do these exercises, specifically unique crawls or ones utilizing the plate, we had to name them to keep them all straight. This is why many of the early tasks are named after what the movement looks like; think Bulldog, Gremlin and Gimpy Dog.

The name Syphus was also born out of the workout itself. One day Bart, who is to this day infamous for his verbal contributions to a workout, said, “this mountain feels like it’s lasting forever.” Immediately I thought of Sisyphus from Greek mythology. And, since I also didn’t have a name to describe exactly what it was we were doing, I fashioned the name Syphus Training. As much as folks tried to talk me out of that name for various reasons, I felt compelled to stay true to the Sisyphus theme and it ultimately became an idea to build the brand around.

But the “flash” of inspiration alluded to earlier was the scoring system. I was consumed with the idea that Syphus could be used as a non-biased assessment of one’s fitness level. After all, we have IQs to determine intelligence. We have credit scores to determine financial track records. Why didn’t we have this for our physical capabilities? Sure, we have the ability to monitor heart rates, calculate calories burned, find V-O2 and one rep maxes, but there was nothing, not even a stress test, that could assign a number to give a complete picture of one’s fitness level.

This was the objective of the scoring system. This is when it all clicked.

To me, when we were able to start having a real conversation using the metaphor of numbers to describe one’s fitness level – we had arrived. To say that John Doe is a 952 conveyed a tangible picture of his physical capabilities. It was these conversations that elated and excited me. Initally it was almost hard to believe: A single number could explain and bundle together strength, endurance, power, cardio, flexibility, coordination and recovery time.

How the scoring system was created and refined over time? Another post for another day.

But here we are now, in 2017, with a massive database recording fitness levels of thousands of people. What the future holds for all this data, like Syphus, will continue to evolve.

– Hackett



The 5 Best Foods for The Syphus Junkie

Today’s post I am keying in on 5 specific foods that are going to benefit you during Syphus. They all have the potential to unlock energy stores and improve muscular endurance (when you need it the most – in that last 20 min), workout performance (consistent speed without tiring), and recovery (so you can get back to the turf powered up for the next day!)


 Whey protein is the perfect “fitness food” as it contains high quality protein but it also holds extremely high amounts of leucine. Leucine is part of branched-chain amino acid that signals the body to increase protein synthesis which builds and repairs muscle fibers. Consuming whey protein before and after your Syphus workout can help fight muscle fatigue and improve recovery.


I often roll a banana in chia seeds and eat that before a Syphus workout. A few great reasons why other Syphus Junkies should be eating them:

– They are a rich source of ALA (plant-based) and omega-3 fatty acids as well as high in antioxidants.

 – Raw chia=Raw energy. Often referred to as “runner’s food”,  elite athletes have paid particular interest to chia seeds due to their endurance and hydrating qualities.  The seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in water which physically slows down the process by which our bodies convert carbs into simple sugars.  The dividend: Longer endurance due to long-term energy stores from Chia Seeds. So this will allow you to maintain hydration levels and allow you to tap into these valuable energy stores later in your Syphus Training routine.  

– Chia seeds contain twice the potassium content of bananas. Like bananas, Chia seed are very helpful in preventing muscle cramps.


Coconut oil can give you the extra energy boost you need for the turf. This is a simple, healthy and natural way to power up your workouts!

Eat it straight off the spoon, stir it in your coffee or tea, or dump a tablespoon into your protein shake.  Either way, coconut oil is a HEALTHY FAT, bursting with medium chain fatty acids that generate energy and speeds up your metabolism.

Coconut oil is important for athletes because vigorous exercise (aka Syphus) can promote oxidation which may lead to suppressed immunity over time. To combat this, Coconut oil functions as an immune enhancer plus it’s antimicrobial and antiviral, so it supports your body’s ability to fight off infections.


Try eating 1/2 an avocado before a workout to reap the benefits!

Just one avocado contains around 15 grams of fiber and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Avocados also contain critical electrolytes like potassium and magnesium which contribute to proper cell and muscle functions – vital for any athlete. Potassium is a mineral that the human body requires to maintain proper muscular function and alleviate muscle cramps.


Forget the peanuts and instead grab some brazil nuts!

Brazil nuts are an unusually powerful superfood due to the high levels of selenium they contain. Selenium has numerous benefits especailly for athletes. One benefit is that selenium can increase muscle strength.  It also helps maintain a properly functioning thyroid and since your thyroid controls your body’s metabolism, inadequate levels of selenium may be a factor in sudden weight gain or weight loss. Therefore, selenium keeps your metabolism in good working order. Just 1-2 brazil nuts a day is all you need to promote your natural recovery processes as well as to help you build strong bones and muscles.

Don’t forget, with all of the above, consuming lots of clean, pure water before and after your workout will guide you to optimal recovery.

That’s all for now Junkies!

Susie R

Susie R.

The Objective Vs. Subjective Workout

In light of last week’s False Positive theme, there were a few things that you may or may not have recognized. Namely, the workouts in which people generally scored higher were entirely Subjective workouts and conversely the workouts where people scored lower, these workouts were Objective.

What’s the difference?

Subjective workouts in Syphus Training (and only in Syphus I presume) are workouts that consist of primarily, if not entirely, of tasks that can be performed in a variety of ways based on the individual performing the exercise. This means that interpretation of form can be varied easily from person to person. Range of motion can be limited. Reps can be skipped. Plates can be tilted. All of these will pile up to a higher score if you’re one to cut corners even small ones.

Objective workouts are the opposite. They host tasks that cannot be “cheated”. Think of a plate push or a Big Buck, there’s hardly any way to cut a corner. You HAVE to to get the plate to the end zone and the only way to do so is by performing the task as it was designed.

It is important for you, the avid Syphus Junkie, to know that most of our workouts are a very calculated blend of BOTH subjective and objective tasks. This is the reason why we keep averages (Boulders) and monitor the difficulty (Slope) of a workout. To make workouts completely lopsided with either subjective or objective workouts just skews scores one way or the other based on your ability and (more likely) form.

And here is the take home message: The better you perform Subjective tasks, the slower you will go. The better you perform Objective tasks the faster you should go. That is, if you’re one to short change your range of motion on Rampant or Squat Thrust (subjective tasks), your Revival (objective task) will be greatly hindered because you will have performed the subjective tasks poorly.

To reiterate; if your form is impeccable on subjective tasks, it is going to slow you down considerably and decrease your score, but this should be a desired trade-off for what it DOES do is allow you to then perform the objective tasks more effectively, and with power.

Truth is, the objective workout helps to sift through the masses to find those who subscribe to the motto Form First. More importantly, objectively based workouts are the ones we rely on heavily for our competition workouts like March Mayhem, Survivor and Turf Wars.

So, while you may be able to inflate your individual score during subjective tasks, remember that it could come back to haunt you during crunch time.

Remember the Sypher: Don’t Cheat Yourself.

– Hackett


The Gift of Humility

Certainly I’ve had humbling moments in the past, but it wasn’t until recently where the feeling of true vulnerability had been completely exposed. But with humility and vulnerability comes a great gift; the opportunity for growth.

So too with Syphus.

On the turf, I’ve often said: If you have a weakness, Syphus will find it.

Now don’t let that scare you, let it motivate you. After all, the reason why you started Syphus was to improve something. If you simply wanted to continue the status quo, maintaining the same standard, you wouldn’t have stepped on our turf.

By now, you – the regular Syphuser – fully knows which tasks expose your weaknesses, but don’t run from them, or worse yet skip a workout because the posted Task list doesn’t host your favorites. No, in fact these are the days you should make it a priority to get to the turf and willingly take the tasks that bring you to your knees (except on Inch Worm!) head on.

A goal for all of us should be to actively seek what we need to work on most whether it’s strength, cardio, flexibility or coordination and dwell in the “misery” of the tasks that hit your soft spot. It is only in the struggle through times of tumult can one gain true strength and fortitude.

This is what makes Syphus the complete workout: Everyone will find some sort of challenge in each and every workout. At some point WE WILL feel defeated, wishing the time on the clock to tick away these moments of humility. This is when I urge you to – pause – tap in and recognize that THIS is why you’re here.

Engage in the moment of vulnerability. Put your pride on the shelf and the score you’re chasing out of your mind and instead attack your weakness with Form First. Allow yourself to be humbled and embrace the chance to grow both physically and mentally.

–  Hackett