You are hereJanuary 2010
Happy New Year to all! Thanks for a wonderful 2009; looking forward to an even better 2010!
(If you can make out actual people in this photo, you're ahead of the game)
Thanks to all who showed up today for our Community Day workout. What a great way to start off 2010! Fortunately, the workout was a little crisper than the photo we took afterward.
Let's play a humorous little game of good news/bad news....
- The good news is that I thought of a really good idea.
- The bad news is that I was drinking whiskey when I thought of it, and actually just stole it from someone else.
- The good news is that Stacy thought of it, one of our most legitimate athletes.
- The bad news is that she was drinking, too, I think, when she thought of it.
- The good news is that TomC is dead-set against it.
- The bad news is that it might take away from his constantly varied fitness routine.
- The good news is that it will round you out as an athlete.
- The bad news is that you might get sore in ways that CF doesn't prepare you.
- The good news is that it won't conflict with any scheduled group classes.
- The bad news is that there really is no bad news.
So here's the idea: one Saturday a month, after the morning classes are done with, we're going to play a sport. It's totally optional, of course, but you'll be missing out if you don't participate. Nothing too serious, just a little coaching on some of the basic skills of the game, and if there is enough time and enough bodies, a friendly little game afterward.
I first started thinking about this concept over Thanksgiving weekend when I got invited to play in an indoor soccer match. Our team was totally outgunned (our team lost 10-3...ouch!) but I managed to do well enough and there were a few bright spots. But most of all, it was just really fun to get out of the gym and apply some of the skills we work to develop through training.
We'll call it Sports Saturday, and the first Sports Saturday session will happen on Saturday, January 30th. We have a host of subject-matter experts to choose from: Stacy can show us how to ride a bike, Tamara can coach us through the basics of volleyball, Christine can get us out there on the water with actual rowing boats, I can teach you all how to play tennis, and I'm sure there are many others out there who can pitch in.
The time and sport of choice for this month will be featured in another post as we get closer to Jan 30th.
Post your sport of choice to comments for future Sports Saturdays.
Papa Brad demonstrating his patented uni-leg pull-up
This Saturday, Jan 9th, beginning at 12pm, Brethren CrossFit is hosting an Affiliate Throwdown workout. Although the details are being kept under wraps, it's potentially two workouts (the top four teams from the first workout advance to the final workout).
It would be awesome if we could get a bunch of teams down there (it is a rest day, after all). The teams need to be comprised of two males and two females. This would be a great way to start off the New Year and get the juices flowing for those of you who are looking for some Games-like competition.
Post to comments if you can participate this Saturday.
CrossFit is a general strength and conditioning program and the amazing programming at CrossFit Oakland is making us all stronger and more fit, which is a very good thing. And being a generalized program means that we do not specialize in any one discipline or skill, but that doesn’t mean we can’t as individuals pursue some of these specific skills outside of the regular CFO programming.
In the past, CFO has hosted special clinics or seminars in nutrition, pull-ups, squats, running, kettle bell strength training, Olympic lifting and others. I personally would love to get some more clinics on the schedule for 2010.
Have you attended a clinic or seminar at CFO or other affiliate that you would recommend? Any ideas for future offerings? Post to comments.
Here's an op-ed piece from a Florida columnist on the benefits of paleo eating. It's a nice, breezy read, but if you're looking for any rigor or science to be referenced, let me just say this: it's an op-ed piece. John Welbourn and Mark Rippetoe get mentions:
And here's a wonderful piece from the aforementioned Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength website. Thanks to TomC for the heads-up on the article. Everyone should read it, in my opinion, and use it as a guide in considering the type of strength work to engage in. The gist of the article is that beginners will require something different than intermediates. But that's a major oversimplification on my part--best to read the article and not take my word for it!
There’s been some talk recently about the Excuse Board that is prominently displayed on a white board on the training floor. Some of you are not big fans. Or maybe you are, but would like an Excuse Board to be located somewhere less “in-your-face”.
In the spirit of collaboration, let’s talk it through. What are your thoughts on the Excuse Board? Ditch it? Keep it? Move it? Erase it and start over fresh? Stop talking about it? Post to comments.
Tonight's post is the first of several from our warm-up and cool-down extraordinaire, Dawn. Enjoy!
Tonight's post is the first of several from our warm-up and cool-down extraordinaire, Dawn. Enjoy!
People are always asking me about stretching. “My neck is always tight,” “How can I stretch my piriformis?” or “Why can't I do an overhead squat?” Mike has offered me a day to post on our blog to answer these types of questions. Please post your inquiries to the comments and I will answer them weekly.
You might start by asking why we should stretch at all. The reason is clear—to keep our muscles functioning properly. Whenever you use a muscle, the muscle fibers shorten. Stretching after use brings those muscle fibers back to their original length. If we do not stretch after working out, after a long period of time, those muscles become permanently shortened. (Have you seen a bodybuilder that cannot straighten his arm?)
Stretching (just a little) will keep your body healthy and actually increase and extend your athletic performance. Most injuries we see come from people performing exercises with improper body alignment. The misalignment comes from the way we live our lives—sitting at a desk for long periods of time, driving, perhaps an injury that caused you to favor one foot for a period of time, or not stretching after working out. Little problems cause our bodies to move differently from the way they were meant to—so that we do not notice the injury or tight muscle. It becomes habit. During a w.o.d., we repeatedly lift heavy loads in this improper posture, and eventually can start to feel pain in a particular place—a knee, shoulder, elbow...
One of the most common complaints I hear about at CFO is shoulder pain. I am starting off with three stretches you can do to help keep yourself from getting injured. They only take a few minutes and can be done at any time, but preferably when your body is warm—after a shower or workout.
Shoulder dislocates (but with a yoga strap or belt or piece of rope): start holding the strap in front of you with a wide grip and tension in the strap. Lift your arms overhead and behind you SLOWLY, keeping tension in the strap throughout the cycle. You should be able to stretch your arms overhead and behind you without too much stretch. Do this three times, then move your hands a little closer together and repeat three times. Keep moving your hands closer together. When you find you are hitting a place where you are unable to move through, stop there and hold the stretch.
Wall Clock: stand so that your right side is 6 inches away from a wall. Start with your arm stretched out, palm touching the wall. Your arm is going to move like the big hand on a clock. Slide your hand up the wall, with your palm on the wall so that you make a complete circle with the arm. If you get stuck at a certain place, stop, breathe and possibly move a few inches away from the wall. Repeat two more times. Do the same with the left arm.
Shoulder Flexor Stretch: Stand up straight with your left arm behind your back and your elbow bent at 90 degrees. The back of your hand should be on your back. Reach behind you with your right hand and pull your left arm across your back. Keep both shoulders aligned. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch arms.
Many of you were talking about wanting to go to a Robb Wolf nutrition seminar in last week's comments. In case you didn't see Dave's contribution to our commentary, Robb is going to be holding a nutrition seminar at CF One World on Saturday, March 6, from 9am to 5pm.
Robb writes about the content of the seminar here: http://robbwolf.com/?p=1142
Freddy writes about the seminar as well, including information on how to register: http://crossfitoneworld.typepad.com/crossfit_one_world/2010/01/robb-wolf-wants-youto-live-a-better-life.html
The cost of the seminar is $199. I know $199 might strike some as a steep price, but when you look at the cost of many other one-day seminars and consider the impact nutrition has on performance and health, it's really quite a steal.
Connie and I attended Robb's first seminar and it was nothing short of outstanding. And he's since expanded his material considerably. A few others from the gym have attended his seminar as well. Everyone I've talked to regarding the seminar has come away with valuable information.
I highly recommend Robb's seminar and encourage anyone who's considering it to attend.
In light of the spirited debate going on in comments over food, taxes, and government involvement, I thought I'd post this exchange between journalist and author Michael Pollan, and John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market.
The video segment is an hour long, but well worth the watch (I'm about halfway through it currently).
And thanks to Brandon for turning me on to this piece.
Daniel V experiencing some NER as he dances with "The Devil does CrossFit" on Friday
Back on July 24th, Nicole posted on the neuroendocrine adaptation that occurs with intense exercise (remember that cute pic of Brandon in the fetal position?). The article she cited did a great job of explaining what is going on with our hormones as we recover from our WODs and why the CrossFit model of programming is so effective at making us stronger, fitter and better-looking :)
Today I heard of a more unusual neuroendocrine response to intense exercise. After a nasty 20 minute Rest Day WOD, Kelly was explaining to me that she was having trouble hearing and that this was a common occurrence following her more intense workouts.
I am more like Brandon and end up curled up in a little ball with my eyes shut tight around mid-afternoon on the rare occasions that I actually hit the WOD hard.
What about you? What effects do you feel post-WOD? Anything out of the ordinary? Post to comments.
6pm is Back!
Due to popular demand, starting in February, the 6pm class will return on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hope to see a lot of people filling up the time slot and bringing great energy to the 6pm hour!
Starting this Saturday, we're going to put out a drop-box for donations for the relief effort in Haiti. We're also planning a fundraiser event for Super Bowl Sunday, but in the meantime, please make use of the drop box. It will be set up by the whiteboard we use for announcements. All donations will go directly to the cause.
Robyn showing us what organization is all about
Robyn put in a huge housekeeping effort today and completely reorganized the gym. And it looks great!
Here are a couple of the major changes we'd like to keep in place going forward:
- Dumbbells weighing less than 45# will be stored on the racks that are on the side of the gym's roll-up door. Dumbbells weighing 45# and more will be stored on the rack by the GHD.
- 45# and 55# bumper plates will be stacked on the floor beside bumper plate racks (just like a tall stack of pancakes!). All other bumper plates (35# and less) will be racked on the bumper plate racks as normal.
Help us keep the gym organized by adhering to these housekeeping rules. Thanks!
Is your knee sore after running? Does your hip ache when you are sleeping on your side? Does it hurt to foam roll the side of your leg? If so, you may have a tight IT band.
The iliotibial tract is a thick layer of fascia that stretches from your hip down the side of your leg to just below the knee. It helps stabilize the knee and can become inflamed in many athletes. Overuse, strength imbalance, forgetting to stretch after a work out, or biomechanical abnormalities can irritate the IT band.
Myofacial release and stretching are the best ways to treat It band pain. Here are three stretches you can do after you have foam rolled the front and sides of your quadriceps.
Lying supine, place a strap around your foot and pull your leg across your body. Do not try to pull the foot closer to your head; focus instead on pulling the leg across the body and nailing both hips to the ground. Hold for one minute and then switch legs.
Hung at the bottom of a squat
Hung at the top of a squat
Shocker: Calorie Counts Aren't Always Accurate!
According to this recent NY Times article, calorie counts listed on restaurant menus or frozen food labels aren't always accurate. While not all that surprising, what's interesting is that the FDA allows for a 20% slop margin for the calorie counts on labels of packaged food. That's a huge amount of slop (literally and figuratively)!
So what does this mean for you? Well, for one, consider yourself warned when eating out. But who honestly goes out to eat with calorie restriction in mind? Most of us go out to indulge and enjoy food served by someone else.
So with that in mind, here's the real takeaway: if you're relying on reading the labels of packaged food to assure your health, you're already behind the eight ball, so to speak. Instead, hedge your bets by making the majority of your food choices things that don't come packaged. Stuff like vegetables and fruit, meat (yes, the butcher has to package your meat after you place your order, if you want to protest), and nuts and seeds. If you stick to these types of food, you don't even need to worry about counting calories.
Hmmm...meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar...sounds familiar, doesn't it?
CPeak showing some nice positioning on the bench (stable base of support, retracted shoulder blades)
Sprint 8 Protocol
I thought I'd share the background on the Sprint 8 protocol that we used on the rower in today's workout. I used the very same protocol last year for about a month, and saw great results with it. The key components are that the intensity is high, and the rest-to-work ratio is 3:1. 30 seconds is a nice number because you stay anaerobic; you get to tap into the phosphagen pathway and the glycolytic pathway (read this brief description on the CF Football site for an overview of the three primary metabolic pathways).
Here's an overview of the Sprint 8 program, which appeared in Outside Magazine way back in 2006:
So do I think there's anything special about the workout being 30-on, 90-off? Yes and no. Yes, because 30 seconds is a solid amount of time for you to be able to work at near-peak intensity. The more you extend the duration of the interval, the more you'll need to reduce intensity (by necessity). And intensity is the key to the effectiveness of this protocol.
That being said, my answer is also no because I'm sure you could also see great results with 20-second sprints, 45-second sprints, and even 1-minute sprints (perhaps I can get some of you to test various protocols for me in future WODs), as long as you keep the 3:1 rest-to-work ratio. Above a minute of work, though, and I suspect the drop-off in intensity would be too great to offset the increase in work time.
But enough of this rambling from me...
Look for a post on our upcoming Sports Saturday event within the next couple of days.
Forum: The Forum was the public space in the middle of a Roman city. A gathering place of great social significance, it was often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions, meetings, et cetera. (courtesy of Wikipedia)
The Romans have nothing on CFO when it comes to “social significance”. Did you know that CFO also has a Forum? Look up at the top of the screen - see that word “Forum” in white lettering? Go ahead, click on that bad boy and your life will become deeply satisfying and profoundly worthwhile almost immediately.
Here is a place where we can delve a little deeper into the cult, I mean “our fitness community” and get into specifics regarding the topics on which we only briefly touch during cool-down time in class and in musings on the blog.
The forum offers an opportunity to keep the conversation going without having to go through the exceedingly tedious effort of scrolling down and clicking and scrolling and clicking (my fingers are in spasm just thinking about it).
So if you haven’t already, take a look at the forum. Better yet, create an account so that you can access both the public and private sections.
Things you should know before you dig in:
General Discussion - For discussion of general wisdom in all things. This forum is visible to all who are visit www.crossfitoakland.com and is intended for items of general interest . Nutrition questions, inquiries regarding form and programming, tips for running and skill development are all good topics for the general public. Please remember that this is a public forum.
Member Forum - Discussion forum for CFO members. This forum is not visible to unregistered users of the site. Enjoy. This forum requires a login and password and is intended for discussion of CFO-specific topics and targets CFO members, not the general public. Here is where we discuss how “special” Mike is, Serge’s haircut, the 437 leaks in the gym roof, etc. Have fun and get creative with this – for some of us this is our primary form of entertainment.
Thanks for always remembering to think before you post and keep our forum family-friendly.
If you don’t have an account, you can create one as easy as 1-2-3:
- Scroll down to the middle of the main page and look on the right side. Under User Login, click on “Create new account”
- Fill out the required fields in the form and click on “Create Account”.
- Check the email account you used in Step 2 and look for the approval from CFO and follow any remaining instructions.
Post to comments: Threads you currently enjoy, threads you’ve created and wish you hadn’t and/or threads you would like to create.
**************************************************************************************************** PLEASE NOTE : THERE IS A DROP-BOX IN THE GYM (under the Upcoming Events whiteboard) WHERE YOU CAN PLACE MONETARY DONATIONS INTENDED FOR RELIEF EFFORTS IN HAITI.
100% of DONATIONS ARE GOING TO PARTNERS IN HEALTH - STAND WITH HAITI (http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti).
Thank you to Journey for organizing this important effort.
Sierra showing some serious focus on the bench press
Sports Saturday Starting This Saturday January 23!
Coach "Big C" Banks will be taking us through some drills, showing us some basic formations, and teaching us some football-related skills. And afterward, we'll play a game of two-hand touch. And yes, this will be going down rain or shine.
Even if you have no interest in football, I assure you that you'll get a great workout out of this, have a lot of fun, and learn something new. Plus it will be a great way to apply some of the training you do in the gym.
Don't miss out!
Kelly in the middle of a power skip
Over at the Starting Strength website, Rip has published another rock-solid article on squat mechanics, this time centering on the role of the adductors (your groin muscles) in keeping your femurs out of the way when you squat.
The article is timely, since this issue came up a lot during our squat workout today. Too many of you are allowing your knees to come in (involuntarily, in most cases). This not only cuts down on the depth you're able to get, it saps power from your squat by greatly reducing the ever-important hip drive that's so critical to strong squats.
Here's the article summary from Rip's site:
“...active hip is best understood as the use of an actively locked lumbar extension and actively shoved-out knees, which results in a below-parallel squat that incorporates a stretch reflex using all the muscles of the posterior chain in the most optimal way possible. The active hip gets the thighs out of the way of the pelvis so good depth can be more easily obtained. At the same time it makes the squat stronger because of the now-active use of the external rotators holding the femurs out so that both external rotators and adductors can contribute to hip extension. This produces a more effective use of more muscles over a wider range of motion.”
And here's the full article: http://startingstrength.com/articles/active_hip_2_rippetoe.pdf
Read it, and dammit, get those knees out!
Stas performing Stretch #1
Did you know that tight calves can cause knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, and foot pain?
Your calves are made up of two muscles--the soleus and the gastrocnemius. Together, these two muscles are constantly working. They enable you to stand, move forward, bend your knee, run and jump. Tight calves severely effect the alignment of your foot, knee and hip which changes your running and walking gait (eventually leading to injury). Tight calves can also block achievement of full depth on a squat.
If you stretch your calves a few times a day, you can stop the muscles from shortening. If you already have tight calves, you should stretch them frequently and also do some myofacial release on them once a day. To perform myofacial release, use "the Stick" or tennis ball or massage them with your hands by starting just above your Achilles tendon and moving upwards to the knee. Use a lot of pressure!
These calf stretches are easy to do and can be done anywhere.
Stretch #1 (see Stas above)
Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a stair or box. Let your heels hang down as far as possible. Hold 30-60 seconds.
Stand a few feet away from a wall. Step your right foot towards the wall so that the ball of your foot is on the wall and your heel is on the ground. Your left knee iwll have to bend a little. Reach your hands towards the wall for balance. Bend your left knee a little more, and level your hips. Hold 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
It's about that time again for another order of Prather Ranch Beef.
Here's why to get in on the next cow share: 99% of cattle in the US are raised in massive feedlots on corn, soy or grains laden with pesticides. What's more, the cattle are often injected with steroids to make their meat more tender. The crowded and inhuman living conditions of conventional cattle, in addition to their poor diet, makes for some pretty unhealthy and unhappy cows. This is no way to treat your dinner.
Prather Ranch beef is certified organic and humanely raised. For the majority of their lives, the cattle graze on herbicide and pesticide-free pasture. They are then finished on a diet of chopped forage, with some organic barley and organic rice.
Here are some fast facts about organic beef: The definition for natural beef from the USDA is: Natural beef: Beef that has no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed. The standards are much higher for organic beef and the criteria is as follows as set forth by the USDA:
Organic beef: Beef must come from a verifiable production system that collects information on the history of every animal in the program, including breed history, veterinary care and feed. The cattle must also be:
- Born and raised on certified organic pasture
- Never receive antibiotics
- Never receive growth-promoting hormones
- Are fed only certified organic grains and grasses
- Must have unrestricted outdoor access
- Must receive humane treatment
- Never fed any type of animal source protein
There are many health benefits from eating Organically raised meat that is raised on its natural diet. Cows that eat grass are healthier, providing us with more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than its conventional counterpart.
Check out this article on how grass-fed beef can not only make you healthier but also combat climate change.
Here's what you get: 40lbs of beef (all cuts) for approximately $240.
Thanks to all who came out this past Saturday for our first Sports Saturday session. The sport we learned was football, courtesy of Connor "Big C" Banks. He started us off with some sprint-based warm-up drills, then we moved on to some route-running drills while Connor and his high school quarterback threw us passes. And finally, we played a game of two-hand touch, in which the good guys and gals won.
There were some notable moments, most of them involving either Bad Brad or Manwell. A lot of these moments were captured on film by Richard, so thanks to him for taking pictures. Alas, Manwell's stellar defensive play against Lydia was not captured.
The sport we're going to learn about in February is rugby. Date, time, and location will be determined. Stay tuned!
An example of Annie's creative work
There are a couple of local artists with CFO ties, Annie Vought and Melissa Agocs, who have upcoming shows, both with opening receptions happening on Thursday, February 4. And both will be taking place in San Francisco.
And fortunately for all of you, they'll be happening at different times, so you can check out the work of both of these artists.
It would be great if you could show your support for these two women by attending their opening receptions!
Annie's medium is paper and paper-cut pieces (better experienced than described, especially when the person doing the describing is me!), and examples of her work can be found here: http://annievought.com/
Melissa's medium is photography, and her work can be viewed here: http://www.melissaimages.com/
Info on Annie's Reception
Info on Melissa's Show Opening
Thursday, February 4
From 8PM Onwards
3109 24th Street
(a few blocks from the 24th St BART station)
Loren smokin' the competition during a Slosh Pipe OHS contest
Our longtime trainer and friend, Loren G., will be setting off on what is sure to be a grand adventure starting next month. From what I hear, Loren will be traveling to India and Japan and will be gone 3-4 months. His plan is to return in the summer to continue coaching classes at CFO. We look forward to following his exploits as he promises to keep in touch during his travels.
If you would like to see Loren before he leaves and send him off CFO-style, he will be hanging at Godspeed this Saturday evening (Jan 30th) around 8pm.
Post well wishes to Loren in comments.
Leigh, Connie, and Vee in post-workout recovery mode
Tue/Thu Night Reminder
Just a quick reminder...beginning next Tuesday, Feb 2, the Tuesday and Thursday 6pm classes will return after their 1-month hiatus. Hope to see all the regular 6pmers there in full force!
Prather Ranch Beef Order
I need to get a final count to Scott at Prather Ranch by next Wednesday, Feb 3.
Here is the list of people I have thus far, along with the number of boxes. Please let me know if you'd like to get in on the order, or if what I have for you is not correct, by saying something in comments.
Tamara 2 boxes (1 box shared with Hung)
David S 1 box
Leigh 1 box
Vee 1 box
Tad 1 box
Leka 1 box
Freddy 1 box
Patrick T 1 box
JP & Audra 1 box
Sam L 2 boxes
Stas 1 box
Daniel & Candace 1 box
Lau 1 box
Felipe 1 box
Hannah & Dawn 1 box
Maria & Connor 1 box
Ross 1 box
Mini 1 box
Thanks to Nicole for passing along this beautiful tribute to Muhammad Ali, which she came across on Ross Training. He was an amazing fighter and champion, but the real story about Ali has to do with the millions of people around the world he inspired (and continues to inspire), in the ring and outside of the ring.
Whether it was his trash-talking (much of which is captured in the tribute video), his religious conversion to Nation of Islam, or his stand against the Vietnam War, Ali was never afraid to speak up and speak out. Much has changed in the world of sports today, and with the huge endorsement deals and corporate sponsorships that are such an integral part of most professional sports today, it makes you wonder if someone like Ali could thrive in this era (not as an athlete, mind you, but as an activist). That Ali won his first heavyweight title in the '60s is somehow fitting, just as fitting as Sports Illustrated naming him Sportsman of the Century.
Wikipedia entry on Muhammad Ali: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali
And for the record, my favorite trash-talking moment in the video begins at 1:27 (it's a close call--a lot of good material to choose from), when the interviewer leads with the statement about seeing Sonny Liston (the fighter he would go on to defeat to win the heavyweight title at age 22). I won't reveal the punchline, but needless to say, it's some great improvisational comedy.
In spite of the pain they incur, the foam roller has become a popular recovery tool at CFO. Pressure applied with the foam roller releases adhesions ("knots") that form in the muscles--this is called self-myofacial release.
Foam rolling can improve function and performance, and restore proper alignment to your body. Stretching your muscles after you roll them is even more beneficial. After you roll the muscles out, they are more receptive to stretch and restore their proper length.
For those of you who do not know how to foam roll, here are two great videos about foam rolling your lower body. After you gone through these moves, spend just a few minutes stretching your quadriceps and IT band, and notice how much better you feel!
Post any questions or stretching requests to comments.