You are hereOctober 2011
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day (also a fellow crossfitter) about what makes a good workout. "When I am totally wasted afterwards" was her version of a great workout. I have heard this a lot from people, and experienced it even more when I was working at the very fancy club in Lafayette. My clients always wanted to work really hard and felt that if they weren't exhausted by the end of the session, they didn't really get a good workout.
It has been well documented that this sort of training often leads to an athlete who is not as fast or strong as they could be and is more than likely to have a variety of injuries. Strength training has been proven to be the best foundation for almost any athletes, supplemented by sports specific training and some high intensity drills. When you are first starting out, it is even more important to focus on the strength side of the training. In spite of this, people would rather do one of the girl workouts than focus on strength training.
The Whole9 blog has a great post about what they call the "Lure of the Sexy Met-Con". Here is a clip from it:
There are a few things wrong with this phenomenon. First, longer length met-cons (even those that go “heavy” for time) will not make you as strong as you could be. Sure, your cardio will improve, and you’ll most likely see some strength gains, but nowhere near the gains you’d see picking up heavy stuff with a tried-and-true 5×5, 3×5 and 3×3 protocol. (Of course, this point is only valid if you believe, as we do, that prioritizing strength is the most effective way to get better at everything.)
In addition, these types of workouts miss the bus by focusing on quantity at the expense of quality of movement....
You can read the rest of the article here.
So, what do you think is a great workout? What style of training makes you feel the best, or the strongest? Please post experiences to comments, even if you don't agree with me.
In case you all haven't heard, chef, author and local food activist Alice Waters of The Chez Panisse Foundation has organized and sponsored a 13-week series on food politics called Edible Education: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement. The series is being offered to Cal students for course credit but luckily for us, they've opened up 300 seats to the general public. The line-up includes all the big-name food activists, including Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle. This is an opportunity you don't want to miss out on!
Here's the line-up:
- 8/30: The Global Food Movement, Founder Carlo Petrini with Corby Kummer
- 9/6: Building a Successful Movement,Peter Sellars
- 9/13: The Politics of Food, Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- 9/20: Perspectives on Race, Place & Food, Alegria De La Cruz, Rebecca Flournoy, Yvonne Yen Liu
- 9/27: Nutrition, Health and Diet-Related Disease, Patricia Crawford & Robert Lustig
- 10/4: Corporations & the Food Movement, Jack Sinclair, Jib Ellison, Michael Pollan
- 10/11: School Lunch and Edible Schoolyards, Ann Cooper
- 10/18: Global Economies of Food: GMOs, and Feeding the World, Raj Patel
- 10/25: Agriculture and Social Justice, Eric Schlosser, Greg Asbed & Lucas Benitez
- 11/1: What is an Edible Education? Alice Waters
- 11/8: Food and the Environment, Frances Moore Lappe & Gidon Eshel
- 11/22: Van Jones
- 11/29: Place Based Models of Change, Brahm Ahmadi, Hank Herrera
The lectures are held every Tuesday from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at Wheeler Auditorium. If you're interested in attending you can download your free ticket here. Or you can watch the lectures live from the comfort of your own home here.
Tonight I want to share physician and UCSF professor Robert Lustig's talk, entitled "Ending the Debate." You all remember him from his Sugar the Bitter Truth talk that went viral on YouTube. Lustig is a powerful and eloquent presenter who's leading the way in food policy reform. In this talk he argues that the toxic and addictive nature of sugar is what is at the root of the obesity epidemic in this country and abroad. It starts at 43:30 and it's about 40 minutes in length followed by a brief Q & A. Enjoy!
Vee showing us how to get it done back in the day
Before I talk about the importance of getting strict pull-ups, and lots of them, I want to let you know that I'm looking to update our video selection of women getting dead-hang pull-ups, and create some incentive at the same time, if for no other reason than to improve on the really, really amateur YouTube videos I put together of CFOers during CFO's first few years of existence. They simply don't do women like Vee justice!
To that end, over the next three months, I will videotape (is that even the correct verb nowadays?) any and every CFO woman who has one or more strict pull-ups and put together a really cool video compilation (or maybe have Dawn do it, since she's so good at that stuff).
So here's the deal: Every man, woman, or child who walks through the doors of CFO to train with us should aspire to get a dead-hang, strict pull-up, and if you don't have one yet, you should be training for one. Period. End of story.
Kipping pull-ups will come, but if you don't have a strict pull-up, you can't claim that you have a pull-up. And besides, I've seen too many people get ahead of themselves over the years by chasing too many kipping pull-ups before they have the support structure in place to be able to handle the forces involved in kipping pull-ups (and that support structure comes from getting strict pull-ups). The result: jacked-up shoulders that make going overhead painful.
So keep yourself in the game, learn a great party trick, and kick ass with strict pull-ups.
Do this 2 or 3 times a week (start off with 2 times a week and work up to 3 times a week):
3 to 5 Sets:
3 to 5 reps of pull-ups
Rest as needed between sets.
If you're using a band, use a band (or combination of bands) that will absolutely, positively not yield you more than 5 pull-ups, and 3 would be ideal. If you're able to do 6 or more pull-ups in a row (when you're fresh and fatigue isn't a factor) with your current band set-up, you're not working hard enough, and need to change to a band set-up that will provide less assistance. Keeping the rep range on pull-ups between 3 and 5 reps per set is going to be the quickest route to get you strong enough to get an unassisted, strict pull-up.
After your 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps, you can throw in 5 negatives (where you lower yourself as slowly as possible from the top of the pull-up to the bottom of the pull-up, fully locked out), time and energy levels permitting.
Finally, for any Part B metcons that come up with high-rep pull-ups, consider doing sets of 3 to 5 strict pull-ups instead. This will keep you in the correct rep range for getting an unassisted pull-up.
Now get to work on getting some pull-ups!
We're now less than a week away from our throwdown with CrossFit Sweat Shop!
This is going to be a huge team competition with 27 workouts going down on Saturday, with the first one kicking off at 9am. We've had a big response and will have lots of representation. It's gonna be a blast!
Here are the details.
When: Saturday, October 8 at 9am
Where: CrossFit Sweat Shop (Google Map)
What: 27 Team Workouts
And here are the CFOers competing:
Go, Team CFO! And let's get some people to Sweat Shop so that we can cheer Team CFO on!
Your CFO Training Staff preparing to over-serve you at the annual Holiday Party
PLEASE NOTE: The gym will be closed THIS Saturday, Oct 8th so that we can all attend the Crosstown Throwdown at CF Sweatshop in Walnut Creek. A track WOD will be posted that you can do on your own. Or how about taking a day off and coming down to see some really fun competition in the W.C.? Competitor carpools will leave CFO at 7:30am on Saturday. Cheer section can show up anytime! Competition starts at 9am and goes until all 27 WOD's are complete.
REMINDER: Get your best Halloween Costume ideas brewing. Best male & female costumes win a FREE MONTH at CFO. Festivities begin at 4pm on Sunday, October 30th at the gym.
SAVE THE DATE: The fabulous Annual CFO Holiday Party will be held Thursday, December 8th, starting at 6pm. This is a great opportunity to get together outside the gym in our most festive holiday attire. Mark your calendars now!
Update: While the gym is closed today (Saturday) for CrossFit classes, Strength Saturday will take place as usual starting at 4 PM.
Nothing produces a proper squat more quickly than appropriate cues delivered at high sound pressure levels. Thanks to Kelly Powers for the photo.
A few more changes are underway for the Strength Saturday class. The first is the admission that the class always takes longer than two hours. We have changed the schedule to reflect that and the posted times now go from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM on Saturdays. This allows us to squat, press, and pull each time instead of limiting the proceedings to two lifts. That's two and a half hours of fun with barbells.
Also, in light of the extended time frame, the price has gone from a $20 drop-in fee to $25. The discount for signing up for multiple classes has also been dropped. It's just $25 per class now for everyone.
During the summer, the class was limited to eight participants to allow for plenty of individualized instruction and this continues. If you would like to stop by for a class, please send me an email at email@example.com. We are generally booked one to two weeks in advance, but occasionally someone cancels, so it doesn't hurt to check if that is the case. I will be looking to automate some of the sign ups through MindBody in the near future. Until then, continue to send emails my way and I will schedule you in.
Good luck to everyone in the competition at the Sweat Shop tomorrow.
Team CFO after the throwdown today
Before I get to giving props to Team CFO, I'd first like to thank MJ and Nabil for creating and hosting such a great throwdown. Everyone had a blast!
And to Team CFO: Congratulations!
When it was all said and done, the final score was CFO 16, CF Sweat Shop 9.
Everyone left everything out there on the gym floor today, and everyone contributed (a big shout-out to our pinch hitters Hannah, Leka, Pete D, Aaron C, and Newg, who showed up not necessarily expecting to do any workouts but ended up getting called into the game). Way to bring it!
And a huge thank-you to all the supporters who came out there today. CFO was rolling large and the crowd support made a huge difference. We really, really appreciated it!
Can't wait to defend the Tiki at the next throwdown!
Tonight I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a cooking class with fellow CFO-er and my good friend, Melissa! It was the first of hopefully many classes designed to teach folks how they can use unprocessed, natural ingredients to replace the refined sugar, flour and unhealthy fats that are found in most desserts. The class was called "Sinless Desserts".
Here are the 4 desserts we made:
- Chocolate-Mint Shake
- Pumpkin Bars
- Coconut Macaroons
- Chia Pudding
Stay tuned to the blog for these recipes and footage from the class. I'll also be posting details about future events.
Information and graphic courtesy of the NY Times
In no particular order, here are three interesting articles for you to read.
Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?
In this NY Times piece, Mark Bittman lays out a case for calling foul on the common claim that eating junk food is cheaper than buying food and eating in. He also describes several reasons why kicking the junk-food habit is so hard (from marketing to engineering to political to cultural).
Butter is Better
This is a nice little summary of a study from the 60s until the late 80s that tracked heart attack incidence in those who ate butter vs. those who ate margarine in varying degrees. The good news for the butter fans: it appears, at least according to this study (and again keeping correlation in mind, as opposed to causation), that butter eaters suffer fewer heart attacks.
Exercise Does the Brain Good
Here's another article on the benefits of exercise on the brain. Yes, the study was done on mice, and yes, the study looked at the impact of aerobic exercise on said mice, so take it for what it's worth.
Dawn setting up for a deadlift at her last powerlifting meet
Attention, all CFO women: There's a women-only powerlifting meet going down on Sunday, November 6 at Supertraining Gym in Sacramento.
I encourage all of you to give this a go. A powerlifting meet is simply 3 attempts at a 1-rep max back squat, bench press, and deadlift, in that order.
A number of women (and men) did a powerlifting meet this past January and had a blast and set a ton of PRs along the way. Ask Tami, Lydia, Dawn, Mune, Kelly, or anyone else who's competed in powerlifting meets this past year, and I guarantee they'll have nothing but great things to say about the experience.
Get off the fence and get into this powerlifting meet!
To register and pay for the powerlifting meet, go here (you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page for the women-only meet information):
9am class preparing for a super-fun WOD
Tell your friends and co-workers! Bring your family! It is that time again and it's been WAY too long. Back by popular demand: CFO will be hosting a FREE Community Day on Saturday, October 29th @ 11am
"Community Days are free to the public - No experience necessary. This one-hour class is designed to be fun and scalable to all ages and fitness levels. It includes a warm-up, instruction of basic movements, a great workout utilizing these movements and a cool-down."
Everyone is welcome, so spread the cult-love!
Two participants in Aaron C's running clinic have relinquished their spots, which means we now have two spots available.
The clinic is happening on Saturday, October 22 at 11am. It will run about an hour and will be focused on teaching you proper running technique via drills and progressions. The cost of the clinic is free of charge.
The first two people to email us are in. Don't miss out on this great opportunity!
Kelly preparing to build character
The deadlift can be a brutally difficult movement. It gets pulled off the ground from a dead stop, hence its name. Unlike a squat, or a bench press, where the weight is first lowered prior to being driven back up, the dealift requires the lifter pull from the floor without the benefit of an eccentric contraction.
What is an eccentric contraction? I am glad you asked. An ecccentric contraction is where a muscle lengthens under a load. It is, for most purposes, the negative portion of a lift. Aside from being one of the primary causes of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), eccentric contractions also help to initiate stronger concentric contractions, where the muscle shortens under a load and presumably does the work in which we are most interested. The eccentric contraction initiates the stretch reflex, sometimes called the myotactic reflex. As the muscle lengthens under a load, the nervous system is stimulated to encourage a more powerful contraction. We do this unconsciously when we jump. Try jumping without dipping down immediately prior to the movment. Even if you start with bent knees, you still will want to quickly bend both the knees and hips further before jumping. Doing this lengthens both the quadriceps and hamstrings to allow for a higher jump. That’s the stretch reflex at work.
Let’s return to how this applies to the deadlift. In a properly done deadlift, there is no eccentric contraction. The weight gets pulled off the floor and then is lowered back down and comes to a complete stop before the next pull occurs. Each repetition of a deadlift starts with an uncooperative bar. It doesn’t want to move and lifter must summon the requisite amount of will to make it happen.
In timed CrossFit workouts, the idea that the bar must stop on the ground is generally not followed. Not only does the bar not stop, it is often actively bounced off the ground. Perfoming the lift in this way now provides for an eccentric contraction. Additonally, the elastic collision between the rubber bumper plates and the floor imparts energy back into the bar making each repetition easier. This sounds good so far. The lift is easier, times get faster, and power output increases, right? Yes, but something is lost in the process, too.
The problem with bouncing the plates off the ground is that the lifter has now found a way to avoid getting stronger in the critical part of the movement where the bar breaks from the floor. To deadlift safely, the spine must be held in rigid extension while force is applied to the bar. Bouncing the plates off the ground all but prohibits the necessary setting of the back and encourages rounding instead. It shaves time off a workout, but robs the spinal errectors of necessary work that will make them stronger. An inability to pull even moderately heavy weights while maintaining spinal extension is often the result.
So, what to do? If your goal is to compete in CrossFit workouts, then you are going to need to learn to perform deadlift repetitions quickly and that means not pulling from a dead stop. However, if all you do is touch and go, or, even worse, boucing deadlifts, then you owe it to yourself to start training the deadlift as it is meant to be trained – from a dead stop. The bar should not be moving and the back should be locked in extension prior to every pull. The workout will take longer. It will be harder. It will build a stronger back with a decreased risk of injury. It will also build character.
Amber Miller, husband, and newborn daughter
Have you all heard about the woman who ran the Chicago marathon last Sunday while she was 39 weeks pregnant? If not, you can watch this video or read this article--but if you read the first sentence of this post, you already have the essence of the story.
Exercise during pregnancy is recommended. Usually a doctor will tell you to do what ever you have been doing, just at a more moderate pace--not letting your heart rate go above 140 bpm. (I am not a doctor, but I wonder where this magic 140 bpm comes from, especially when every has a different resting heart rate and maximal heart rate.) It is not recommended to start a vigorous workout routine if you are already pregnant. In this case, the woman had been running marathons long before she got pregnant, and her doctor had given her the OK to participate.
It is pretty amazing that she was able to finish all 26.2 miles, but there are some folks who don't think she should have.
What do you think? Please post your opinions to comments, especially those of you who have exercised through pregnancy--I'd like to hear what you think.
Just when you thought your repertoire of delicious paleo meals couldn't get any bigger, Julie & Charles Mayfield release their new cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-free Kitchen.
On the cover is one of my favorites: a scrumptious piece of fried chicken. In this recipe, the Mayfields use almond meal and simple seasonings to give this southern staple a serious makeover. Now you can enjoy all the goodness of comfort food without endangering your health! My only criticism of the cookbook it that it doesn't list an estimated cook time, making it hard for those of us with tight schedules.
Here's the recipe:
1 cup coconut oil
2 large eggs
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. chipotle powder (optional)
2 pounds chicken- thighs, drums, breasts
1. Heat oil in large frying pan to 350F and preheat oven to 400F
2. Whisk eggs in medium sized bowl
3. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
4. Dip chicken in whisked eggs.
5. Coat/cover chicken in dry mixture and place in hot oil. Allow both sides to brown (about 2 minutes each side).
6. Place drying rack on sheet pan and assemble check on the rack so there is space between all pieces.
7. Put chicken in oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove and serve.
Movement standards for Workout 1 of the OC Throwdown Qualifier Series
Whether you realize it or not, over the next three weeks you'll all be participating in the OC Throwdown Qualifier Series. This is a 3-week competition, and it will be much like the CF Games Open from last year, only shorter. There will be one workout released each week, and competitors will have a week to do the workout.
Workout 1 standards are covered in the video above, and the workout is as follows:
Max Rounds Plus Reps in 10 Minutes:
75 Double Unders
50 Box Jumps @ 24"/20"
25 Shoulder to Overhead @ 105#/70#
We'll be programming the OC Qualifier workout into our weekly CFO programming, so no need for you to do anything special; just show up to classes as usual.
Some of you are actually registered to compete, which is awesome. I can't wait to see how you fare. But all of you, registered or not, will get a chance to compare your scores against the other 800+ competitors who've registered for this online qualifier.
Because we'll be running the qualifier workouts as part of our normal group class schedule, it's important to realize that a few of our workouts each week are going to be designed as back-off or taper workouts designed to give you the best chance of succeeding in the OC Qualifier workouts. For example, this week, we'll be running OC Qualifier Workout 1 on Wednesday, October 19. As such, Tuesday's WOD is a back-off workout of sorts, with a fairly easy 3-rounder for our Part B.
If you really want to go after OC Qualifier Workout 1, then use Tuesday's workout as a serious back-off and just kind of go through the motions. If you don't really care, and are going to treat Wednesday's workout as just another workout, then put the pedal to the metal on Tuesday's workout. Either way, you'll get a great workout on Wednesday.
Most of you won't be submitting official results on the OC Throwdown website (you need to have registered in order to submit scores), but even so, it will be fun to see how you stack up against your CF peers. And for those of you who registered to compete, this will be a great early season tune-up for you as we get closer (still roughly 4 months away) to the CF Games Open Sectional.
A beautiful slow-motion video of the world's fastest man
In light of this Saturday's running clinic, I thought I'd post this slow-motion video of Usain Bolt during one of his 100m races. This is an example of the human body expressing its fullest potential. It's also a great opportunity to take away some key technical concepts related to sprinting, and more generally running.
A few of the things to watch for in the video:
- Very minimal heel contact with the ground
- Very short duration of contact with ground
- Foot makes contact with ground roughly under the hips with a bent knee
- Stride is characterized by a strong leg/knee drive
- Head is not bobbing up and down; torso stays at same height through run
Now to the obvious point: This is a 100m sprint. If you're running a 400m sprint or a mile or a 5k, there are going to be some differences in stride length, leg drive, etc., but the principles above will carry through for the most part. So next time you're out for a sprint or run, think bent knee and forefoot at contact. And get rid of the heel strike and overstriding.
(And one final point: If you're not fully investing yourself in learning, studying, and perfecting all of the movements we throw at you--whether it be running, barbell-related, or bodyweight--you're shortchanging your fitness, and potentially your health, and you're missing out on one of the key benefits of our training program. Off of soapbox...)
And of course, you'll learn how to run properly at Aaron's running clinic this Saturday (and yes, we're going to schedule another clinic for all of you on the wait list).
Paleo Peach Crisp: Proof that Paleo-Heaven exists
It's that time again! Time for another Paleo Challenge. You all have spoken and are needing a little motivation to get back (or stay on) that clean-eating bandwagon. Here's how it will work this time around:
* Challenge will run for 6 weeks (!) Monday, October 24th - Sunday December 4th. Yes this date range includes Halloween and Thanksgiving. You are all amazing -- you can do it!! Remember, the CFO Holiday Party is Dec 8th, so you will be ready to rumble and looking HOT-HOT-HOT come party time!
* There is a $20 buy-in. Winner takes the pot. Money should be turned in at CFO by Monday Oct 24th. This is your official entry into the Challenge. You should also sign up on the White Board in the gym so we all know who you are.
* Get a partner! This is not required, but highly encouraged. Pick a partner (or ask us to hook you up), exchange cell phone #'s or email addresses and keep each other in line! Send one another words of encouragement, recipes, questions or just plain vent. It is better than going it alone. They might even share the cash if they win :)
* Results will be proven by performance. Mike will create a fabulous new workout to test your performance pre-Challenge and post-Challenge. He will judge the winner based on some really complicated math equation... If you would like to take before/after pics, you are encouraged to do so, but these will not be used to determine the 'winner' of the cash. You cannot win if you do not do the WOD!
* Challenge WOD will be run on Sunday, Oct 23rd. You can come in during the morning and do it, but better yet, we will get getting together to run it together in the afternoon (Time TBD). Same WOD will be fun at the conclusion of the Paleo Challenge.
* NO CHEATING! You cheat, you out. Be honest -- confession is good for the soul.
- Eat real food. Meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, oils. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re fresh and natural.
- Do not eat dairy. This includes butter, cheese, yogurt and milk (including cream in your coffee).
- Do not eat grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn, oatmeal, and also any gluten-free pseudo-grains (quinoa, etc).
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter.
- Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial. Honey, Agave syrup, Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
- Do not eat processed foods. If a machine made it, you should not eat it.
- Avoid alcohol or limit to 2-4 drinks/week (not all in one sitting). AVOIDING ALCOHOL ALTOGETHER will produce the best results and if this is a trigger for you, definitely abstain - it is only 6 weeks. If you must indulge, remember - No sugary mixers or gluten (beer, whiskey). If you must drink, stick with red wine or a Nor-Cal Margarita.
Check out our Facebook Page. Along the left side is a Discussion section. A Paleo Challenge topic is already started. Post recipes, tips, challenges or just vent! You are also welcome to post any questions to this blog post as well.
Sooooo, who's in??
There have been a lot of new faces at the gym over the last couple of months, especially after the move back into the building. As such, we're bringing back the Athlete Spotlight (no word on when Tamara will be getting her second Athlete Spotlight as of yet).
First up is Julie, whose first month with us was our last month outdoors, August 2011. She comes to us after moving up from San Diego, where she was introduced to CrossFit at CrossFit SoCal, which like CFO, was one of the first 50 CF affiliate gyms. Although she's made a few appearances in morning classes here and there, most of you will recognize her from the evening classes.
And now a little bit more about Julie, from Julie herself.
How long have you been a member at CFO?
Since August 2011.
What is your day job?
I work at Habitat for Humanity East Bay as the Homeowner Relations Coordinator. I work with potential Habitat homeowners through the beginning stages of the application and homeownership program.
What is your athletic background?
I played tennis throughout high school, and started strength training in college.
[Editorial Note: Tennis players are legit.]
What is your favorite strength move?
The back squat!
What is your favorite met-con?
One of my own creations: 4 rounds for time: run 250 meters, 25 squats, 25 GHD sit-ups
Most desired goal (CF)?
I want to get an unassisted pull-up and lots of consecutive double-unders.
Welcome to CFO, Julie!
Connie at a camp in January of this year. Thanks to Kelly Powers for the photo.
I will be holding a Starting Strength Camp dedicated to that most fundamental of movements, the low bar back squat. The camp will take place on Sunday, November 20th from 1 PM until about 5 PM. We will begin with a discussion of the anatomy and technique behind the squat before moving on to the always-popular practical session where everyone gets to spend some quality time under the bar. All participants gets coached through their warm up sets and then we go around the room for three work sets from each trainee. After the squatting is done, we return for an additional discussion regarding programming for strength, injury prevention, and why things really would be better if you put on muscular bodyweight. We wrap up the camp with a question and answer session and don't go home until people run out of questions to ask. Attendance is capped at eight to allow for individualized instruction. The cost for the camp is $125 and sign ups are handled through the Aasgaard Company Store.
The Starting Strength Camps are abbreviated excerpts of the longer and more comprehensive Starting Strength Seminars which are put on by Mark Rippetoe. The camps are run by one of Rippetoe's staff (in this case, me) and focus on a single lift, or two. They are designed to provide a focused and unhurried atmosphere in which to learn about and perform the movements correctly. All experience levels are welcome, but it doesn't hurt to have picked up a barbell before attending.
For those that want a deeper understanding of the strength lifts, the Starting Strength Seminars provide an intensive two-and-a-half day immersion in the theory and practice of barbell training. They are intended for lifters with some experience and have an emphasis not only on understanding and performing the lifts properly, but also learning to coach them. They are unique and rewarding events that are well worth seeking out. I would say the same even if I were not involved with them. Lastly, since I like pictures, I have some photos from the most recent Starting Strength Seminar out in Brooklyn, NY. Enjoy.
Running drills at Aaron C's running clinic
Paleo Challenge Workout Details
We'll be running the Paleo Challenge workout Sunday October 23 at 3pm. We'll run 8-person heats, with the first heat happening at 320pm.
Here's the workout:
3 Rounds for Time:
21 KB Swings @ 53#/35#
Scoring will take into account overall placing in the both workouts (before and after the Paleo Challenge), as well as any improvement on the workout before and after.
If you can't make it at 3pm, get in touch with us and we'll come up with a time for you to get it done.
This post is long overdue. I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself, "people need to know about this stuff!" It's just too good to keep to myself.
Not all the foods on my Top 3 List are exactly Paleo in the strictest sense, but as I've mentioned before some people can deviate from meat, fruit/veggies, nuts & seeds and still thrive. As in any diet, there is some gray area.
For example, some folks can tolerate dairy products, think about all those guys at CFO walking around with a gallon of milk dangling from their hand. Similarly, some do just fine with a little grain such as rice or corn and some do not. It's up to you to figure out whether or not these Neolithic foods have a place at your dinner table.
This brings me to my next point. If you're unsure about how well your body tolerates the gray foods then experiment. Take them out of your diet for a few weeks and then reintroduce them one at a time and see how you feel. This concept is also known as the The Elimination-Provocation Diet and is one way to test for food allergies and/or food sensitivities. When we regularly consume problematic foods, the most common ones being dairy, wheat, and soy, it's hard to pinpoint exactly which one(s) you may be reacting to. Likewise the symptoms can vary tremendously--from headaches to weight gain to insomnia. This is one of the reasons that Robb Wolf (and many others) recommend a strict 30-day Paleo challenge. It gives you a clean start: an opportunity to cut out all the problem foods and see how you perform, look, and most importantly, feel!
Now back to the list.
Rarely do I shop in the middle aisles of the grocery store; we've all heard the saying, always shop the perimeter! But for the following foods, I will make an exception.
The following list is comprised of what I consider to be the healthier versions of some of those yummy "forbidden" comfort foods. Cereal and pizza are some of the most commonly eaten foods in the Standard American Diet aka the SAD diet. How dare we ask people to give these up, right? Well, now you don't have to. Here are some healthy alternatives.
The foods that made my Top 3 List had to meet the these simple criteria: 1) no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavorings 2) it has to come from REAL FOOD 3) has to taste good
In no particular order:
- Lydia's Organics Grainless Apple Cereal
Sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl
ALL organic Ingredients:
Sold in the frozen food section at Whole Foods
Ingredients: whole brown rice
Sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl and Trader Joe's
They come in lots of flavors.
Ingredients for Apple Pie: walnuts, unsweetened apples, almonds, dates, raisins & cinnamon
Enjoy as a snack or in a pinch.
What are your favorite Paleo-ish go-to foods? Share in comments.
More Gems from K-Star
One of the toughest things about racking a front squat or receiving the clean is the positioning of your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in the front rack position.
Anyone who's new to the front squat/clean rack position struggles with the positioning at least for a little bit when starting out (sometimes just a rep or two, sometimes for many months until there's a breakthrough).
With that in mind, check out K-Star's great triplet of exercises you can do to gain the mobility you need to have a strong front rack position. We've been field-testing these three exercises over the last week or so and have seen some great improvements in the positioning of the elbows and wrists in everyone we've tested.
Give it a go!
Marc practicing his best Scary Face
In addition to our regular group classes we will have the following to enhance your CFO experience this weekend:
FREE Community Day on Saturday, Oct 29th @ 11am.
Community Days are free to the public - No experience necessary. This one-hour class is designed to be fun and scalable to all ages and fitness levels. It includes a warm-up, instruction of basic movements, a great workout utilizing these movements and a cool-down.
We have a fun, fully scaleable (down or up) Team WOD, which may leak out onto the Yard at some point. So come on out, bring your friends and family, co-workers and random people off the street. This one is open to everyone!
CFO Halloween Costume Party on Sunday, Oct 30th @ 4pm.
Join us for some spooky good fun on the day before Halloween! We'll be doing it potluck style (paleo and neo-lithic dishes welcome), so bring something yummy to share. CFO will provide libations for all. Best male and female costume winners get a free month of training.
Ross dialing in his running technique
For those of you taking part in the Paleo Challenge, good work thus far. The first couple of weeks are the toughest, and everyone seems to be handling the break-in period just fine.
One thing that makes it a lot easier is having a partner in the challenge. Partners can be great for keeping you accountable, and in many cases, they can be a source of recipes and advice.
If you don't yet have a partner for the challenge, get one. Just email us and we can connect you with a partner.
Serge Reding performing a fantastically strong clean and press
There are two contested events in modern Olympic weightlifting, the snatch, and the clean and jerk. However, this was not always the case. From 1928 until 1972, a third event was part of the contest, the clean and press. The clean and press was eliminated from competition after the Olympic Games in Munich due to a variety of reasons including difficulty in judging, Cold War politics, and a desire to shorten the duration of the weightlifting contest. John D. Fair wrote an excellent article that delves deeply into the history of the press in Olympic weightlifting for those that are interested.
The press used in the Olympics changed over the years to become a dynamic movement that involved violently whipping the hips, laying far back, and often unlocking the knees. In fact, as the weights climbed and judging became more lax, the press almost incorporated enough knee kick to suggest a push press. Bent knees aside, the Olympic press deviated enough from the more traditional two hands press, or shoulder press, to require its own special technique.
The amazing Serge Reding can be seen in the video at the top of the page pressing 503 pounds in Lima, Peru in 1971. Yes you read that number correctly. This lift represents one of the best examples of an Olympic press out there and is a classic moment in sports history. Reding was a Belgian superheavyweight who tragically died at the young age of 34. In the video above, he set the world record for the clean and press. You'll note that he cleans and stands up with those 503 pounds with almost no trouble. Reding then aggressively whips his hips twice while he powers the bar upward. He took over a quarter of a ton sitting on the ground and then pressed it overhead. His world record lasted only a few minutes. Russia's Vasiliy Alekseyev came along and cleaned and pressed 507 pounds after Reding's lift to take both the first place spot and the world record.
When the press was removed from Olympic competition, the movement fell out of favor. This fall from popularity was compounded by the rise of the bench press as the preferred upper body strength lift. The shoulder press has seen a resurgence in recent years, although the Olympic press variant is still not widely practiced. It occupies a niche between the shoulder press and the push press and when watching some of these very strong athletes from the past press heavy weights overhead, it is hard not to feel like an important part of the sport of weightlifting was lost along the way.
Community Day October, 2011
Today we had our first community day workout at our new location. There were quite a few people who hadn't done CrossFit before and were interested in trying it out. It is surprising to me who ends up becoming a die hard member and who doesn't--I certainly wouldn't be able to pick out who will be here next year and who won't.
It made me think about what makes us stick to the program. I know for me, I started CrossFit to get stronger for climbing (rock). It worked, and it helped me stay in shape when I wasn't able to climb outside. I probably would not stick to CrossFit if it was the only thing I did--for me it is a means to an end.
What is great about CrossFit is that you can do whatever you want with it--you can get into the strength aspect of training or the Olympic lifts. You can use it as a general fitness program, or to compliment your sport-specific program. It can help you excel at your job, your home improvement projects, or even just playing with your kids.
My husband sent me a text the other day: "CrossFit has fallen. The Alice Radio DJs were talking about working out at CrossFit. Once elite fitness now a fad for the masses." In a way, I think it is great that more people are getting exposed to this sort of training. Most of them will not stick to the CrossFit programming, but it might change the way they work out. Which takes me to my point: Why do you keep coming to CrossFit Oakland? Please post thoughts to comments.
P.S. Husband does not listen to Alice Radio normally, he was at the fire house.
P.P.S. Title taken from an article about CrossFit in the November issue of Men's Health. Click here to read, though it isn't an especially great article.
The NorCal Margarita and Roy (of Siegfried & Roy)
Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate Halloween CFO-style at our annual party! What an amazing group of people!
This year, the costumes were especially creative and just downright hilarious! And without further ado, tonight's winners for best costume, winning themselves a FREE month of CFO training, were none other than our very own 6am Ann-inmal & the oh-so-lovely Dwayne! Congratulations you two, your costumes rocked!
And can I just say how impressed I was by everyone's cooking skills? The food was out-of-this world (and 90% Paleo!). We had bacon wrapped shrimp, pumpkin custard, and homemade criss-cut potato chips!
The whole thing was a blast and I'm already looking forward to our next party! Until next month!
Joey after the 2011 Summer Edition of Femme Fit
(Courtesy of TomC)
Our spotlight athlete this week is Joey. Just about everyone who has trained with Joey immediately catches on to the idea that this girl just doesn't quit!
I remember when she first came to us back on 39th Street (two buildings ago), roughly three years ago, and thought she was a great addition to the gym at the time, and totally ready for CF-style training. But Joey had different thoughts on the matter (see her note below). With her characteristic determination and never-say-die attitude, she took it upon herself to recommit herself to training and get even fitter. When she came back to us the second time, I could tell it was gonna stick, and all of us are better off for it.
Wanna get good at CF? Follow Joey's lead. Work hard. Commit to the fundamentals. Don't jump ahead and try to take shortcuts. This is exactly what Joey has done. She's a great role model for any CFOer, but especially the women out there in seek of X (a pull-up, a push-up, a better squat, or whatever X is for you).
Currently, Joey is getting rock-solid on the Olympic lifts, putting strength and technique development ahead of all other fitness metrics or goals. This is a smart move, and I have no doubt that when Games season rolls around in 2012, she'll have once again taken a huge leap forward in her fitness.
Height, weight, age:
5' 2.76", 55 kilos, 37
How long have you been a member at CFO?
I first darkened the CFO doorsteps on September '08, back when I was marathon training and the gym was on 39th St. (I remember watching Tami, Candace and Journey do a timed ladder WOD (1 power clean the first minute, 2 power cleans the second minute, etc) and being blown away by these strong-a** women. Being the shy perfectionist I am, I vowed that I would come back to CFO when I was "stronger". So, after running my marathon, I did scaled WODs until I felt ready to go back. By that time (April of 2009), CFO was on Doyle St. and Mike was running the On-Ramp sessions. I've been a member ever since!)
What is your day job?
Audio-Video engineer for Pixar (aka: knob-twiddler and computer geek)
What is your athletic background?
Other than gymnastics as a little girl, I didn't play any sports growing up. I started running as a panacea after I quit smoking and that somehow led me to CrossFit.
What is your favorite strength move?
I like the push-press and the jerk....not sure if that's a strength or power move...Mike? (if not, weighted dead-hang pullups)
What is your favorite met-con?
My favorite met-con is Murph, but someday I hope to embrace Fran.
Proudest achievement (CF)?
My proudest CF achievement is competing with Candace, Manwell and Tom at Summer Slam this year. It was like getting a high-five and peeing my pants at the same time!
Most desired goal (CF)?
My most desired goal(s) are to back squat over 200 lbs, snatch my body weight, clean and jerk 135 lb., do multiple strict HSPUs, (ditto with Muscle-Ups), and be able to have fun with cool folks the whole time!
Big round of applause for Joey in comments!