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Steve P. demonstrating his awesome hip flexibility.
The Mobility Challenge officially starts on Monday (November 1st), but tomorrow (Sunday) we will be meeting at 11 a.m. to take photos of your pre-mobolized self.
In case you didn't read the post last week, the mobility challenge involves stretching for 6-10 minutes a day for 30 days (following Kelly Starrett's MoblityWod). The person who makes the most progress throughout the month will win a trip to see Kelly Starrett!
In other news, our team did well at the Weekend Warrior finals coming in third place overall. Send your love to our team to comments.
Justin performing one of many push presses at a recent competition
I am going to interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion about the front squat to briefly talk about Team CFO and the Weekend Warrior Playoffs going on this Saturday, October 30th. For those that don't know, Mike, Lydia, Manwell, Candace, Brandon, and Justin spent a few Saturdays over the past two months competing against other gyms in Northern California. They have quietly propelled themselves to the top slot in Northern California. Tomorrow they will face off against the other top ranked teams for two, or possibly three workouts to decide who gets to claim victory in the series. Things kick off early on Saturday at San Carlos CrossFit. Details can be found on the Weekend Warrior page. I wish the best of luck to our competitors this weekend.
Since I am nothing if not repetitive, I would urge all of CFO's members to find some athletic endeavor in which to compete. If there is some doubt about what to choose, pick a CrossFit event. There will be more of them coming up in months ahead. If last year is any guide, Sectionals for the CrossFit Games will start in February or March. Now is the time to work on weaknesses and engage in some smart, dedicated training. Getting to compete is an enriching experience. Participate early and often.
Joey at the bottom of a pull-up
Some of you may have noticed the pull-up bar section closest to the roll-up door has been treated with a tackier surface (it's a simple spray-on solution that dries in about a day). We plan on rolling out that solution in the very near future to more of the pull-ups in order to help with pull-up bar slippage (but without resorting to tape).
That being said, there was recently an outstanding and free CrossFit Journal article published on preventing rips and tears when doing pull-ups. In short, it comes down to how you grip the bar (the less palm on the bar, the better). The author of the article makes a very important distinction between a training grip (used most of the time) and a competition grip (used far less frequently).
I strongly encourage you to read the full article here (chock full of pictures of how to hold the pull-up bar):
Trainer Dawn Miller, newest title: CSCS, taking it all seriously
Did you know that the trainers at CFO are truly dedicated to being the best trainers they can be? This is not just a job to us, it is a pursuit of a passion. We know that coaching you to your fitness goals is the number one priority at the gym and we are continually working to better our craft.
For instance, regular trainer meetings are held to collaborate on best practices and to make sure we are all serving the greatest good possible. In addition, the trainers at CFO pursue continuing education at every opportunity by attending workshops and certification seminars and even pursuing degrees that feed the ever increasing vault of knowledge at CFO.
This month we are entering the scary realm of peer evaluations, where we will expose ourselves to one another in an attempt to gain some real insight into our training and hopefully learn a little something new about ourselves. We do this with an open mind and heart because we know that any chance to get better at coaching you is a chance too valuable to miss. Below are some of the criteria with which we will be evaluating one another.
Feel free to comment on these or to add your own in comments.
Qualities of a good trainer (according to one of the best in the business):
- Emotional engagement and flexibility in approach to dealing with people
- Organization/Time Management
- Technical Knowledge
- Attention to all people in class
- Taking care of the gym
Qualities of a good trainer according to the CFHQ (Level 2 certification test):
- Visual Perspicuity
- Knowledge of Movements
- Management of a Group
Get some sleep!
TomC has written several times on the importance of sleep in order to spur progress and make strength gains on his Friday night strength posts. Yet a good night's sleep is important for any type of training you do. Simply put, if you don't sleep, you'll cease making progress. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but sooner or later, your progress will stall if you're not getting enough sleep.
And even if you don't care about your performance in the gym, lack of sleep has recently been implicated in loss of lean body mass (muscle), which you should definitely care about, especially as you age.
Here's an example of one such study: http://www.annals.org/content/153/7/435.abstract
Now, there are some definite issues with the study, namely that the diet protocol was a caloric restricted one, but it was the same for both groups, with the only difference being that one group slept 5.5 hours a night and the other group slept 8.5 hours a night. The result: the low-sleep group was unable to lose as much fat as the high-sleep group, and in addition, the low-sleep group lost more muscle mass than the high-sleep group.
(As a side note, I have issues with caloric restriction as a means for fat loss; see Good Calories, Bad Calories for a far more elaborate explanation than anything I could offer up. I have a copy of the book if anyone would like to borrow it, in fact.)
So the answer is simple, get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and even more during winter months when it's darker longer.
Don't Forget About Naps
And if you have problems getting a full night's sleep, try napping during the day to catch up on some quality sleep. Below is an interesting article on napping (methods, benefits, etc.). It's chock full of interesting facts and has the added bonus of having a drawing of a really scary-looking man passed out on a couch (thanks to Nicole for passing it along).
San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson being interviewed by Jim Rome
OK, so Brian Wilson isn't actually a member of CFO, but he's damn funny. He's a closer for the Giants (the pitcher who comes in at the end of a game to seal the deal, so to speak). The clip above was shot a couple of months ago with sports talk show host Jim Rome. I thought I'd throw it up in honor of the Giants recent victory over the Phillies, and also in honor of TomC. Many of you may not be sports fans, but even if that's the case, I'm hoping you'll appreciate some of the humor in the interview.
Most sports interviews are an utter bore, with athletes taking themselves way too seriously and usually resorting to the tiredest cliches in the book. It's refreshing to see Wilson demonstrating a sense of humor (he seems like a different kind of guy, to put it mildly) and not taking himself too seriously.
What about you guys? What public figures do you think make for great interviews? Have any clips (keep them PG, please)?
And go Giants!
I am posting this picture to show you that we all start with the ability to squat perfectly. We lose this ability because we spend too much time sitting in chairs, get injured, simply don't take our joints through full range of motion, and numerous other reasons mainly due to the non-physical lifestyle that we lead.
This is why you should take on the mobility challenge. The goal of this challenge is to take 4-10 minutes a day learning about your body and start taking care of it. We all should be able to sit down in a squat ("ass to ankles" as K-Star puts it) for 5 minutes comfortably, be able to straighten our arms overhead without overarching the back, or lower into a dip without the shoulders rotating forward. Whatever your issue is, you will discover it during the challenge and then be able to work on it so that you can become stronger, ache free, and a better athlete.
As you may or may not know, Kelly Starrett posts a "mobility wod" every day. Each wod has a different focus and takes 4-10 minutes to complete. On his blog, there is a video demonstration of each wod.
For our challenge, I thought we would start at the beginning of the Mobility Wod-- August 22nd--and go for 30 days.
Each day in November, you will do the mobility wod for the day. We will have it listed on the white board, or you can simply go to his blog to check it out.
CFO will be sponsoring the prize for the challenge--a trip to Kelly Starrett! We will be performing several flexibility tests at the beginning of the month which we will then retest at the end of the month. The person who has made the most progress on the flexibility tests will win the prize. (I see your point, Brad; possibly the winner of the prize should be the person who has made the least progress.)
We will be having a kick-off meeting next Sunday, October 31, at 11am, right after the last group class, to test everyone. This is a great opportunity to go through some basic flexibility tests and find what you need to work on. You can also wear your costume! (If you cannot make the meeting, you can still enter the challenge. Contact me for testing details.)
Audra from Catalyst Athletics performing a high bar back squat
We previously discussed the importance of the barbell squat in most serious training programs as well as the necessity to perform the squat to the proper depth. We are going to expand on those ideas and examine a few of the major squat variants and their characteristics.
When you put a bar across your back for the purpose of doing a squat, the most common location to set the bar is right on top of the trapezius muscles. This position is known as high bar placement and the decision to keep the bar there will directly influence how the squat will be performed. A high bar back squat is often referred to as an Olympic squat and, in keeping with its name, is the preferred squatting style for many who practice Olympic weightlifting.
JP, CFOer and Self-Defense Maestro
We have three upcoming events to highlight.
Sayoc NorCal Self & Family Protection Seminar
Reminder: JP (Associate Instructor, Sayoc Kali), along with his instructor, Ricardo Kayanan (Master Rank instructor, Sayoc Kali), will be holding a self & family protection seminar this Saturday, October 23, from 11am to 1pm.
This seminar is tailored to those who have no previous martial arts experience! The goal is to provide each individual and/or couple with a better understanding of the reality... of protecting themselves, and a framework they can use to get on the SAME PAGE regarding safety.
For more info on the seminar, and to register for it, go here: http://sayocnorcal.com/announcements/crossfit-oakland-sayoc-norcal-seminar/
CFO Makes it to Weekend Warrior Series Playoffs!
For those of you who've been following Team CFO's progress in the Weekend Warrior Series, you'll be pleased to know that our team qualified for the playoffs, which will take place on Saturday, October 30. The playoffs will take place at CrossFit San Carlos, and there will be three workouts done in a single-elimination format (meaning that if you lose, you're out; if you win, you continue on to the next workout).
The first workout starts around 7:30am (yep, an early wake-up call, for sure). The event will run until around 4:30pm.
It would be awesome if we could get some home-town fans over there to support the team!
Second Annual Fran-Off
It's that time again, Fran-Off time! For those of you who were a part of the first Fran-Off last year (either as participants or as fans), you'll remember what a blast it was. Just like last year, Nabil will be hosting the competition at CrossFit Sweat Shop, right down the road from us in Walnut Creek. Fran-Off will go down on Saturday, November 13, beginning at 10am.
Fran-Off is a 2-person team competition where teams will go head-to-head in Fran (21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups). The winning team gets to split the $2,000 cash prize.
For more information, go to the blog: http://franoff.blogspot.com/
Or visit the Fran-Off Facebook Page.
Mr & Mrs Hester lookin' goooooood
Halloween is a week from this Sunday and while we won't be hosting a party per se, we will be posting an extra spoooooky WOD and giving out prizes to the best male and best female costume.
Costumes will be judged by an esteemed panel based on creativity and must be worn during the workout to be considered.
Post your favorite Halloween treat to comments.
Lance getting after a 275# deadlift at Aromas
Lance will be 46 years young tomorrow (don't worry; no birthday workout is in the works). Let's wish our favorite CFO chef-athlete extraordinaire birthday wishes in comments.
Happy Birthday, Lance!
Jen and her newborn daughter, Fiona
Congratulations to fellow CFOers John and Jen! Jen gave birth to a baby girl, Fiona Noelle, on Thursday, Oct 14 at 2:59am. Fiona came into this world at 6.5 pounds and 20 inches. And according to John, mother and daughter are doing great (John was in briefly today to get his WOD on, so I assume he's doing fine, too).
Congratulatory wishes in comments!
Robb Wolf on his new book, The Paleo Solution
What you may not know is that Robb recently published a book, The Paleo Solution, that first went on sale about a month ago. And it's been doing great! It's been in the Amazon Top 100 since initial publication (it got as high as the top 30).
I'm still working my way through the book (Connie will no doubt give a full review in the near future), but have nothing but praise for it thus far. Robb does a wonderful job of making the geeky science stuff understandable and throwing in a ton of humor along the way (who knew the paleo diet was so rich in comic material?).
If you're at all curious about the benefits, applicability, and practicality of the paleo diet, I highly recommend giving The Paleo Solution a read.
And if you have read it, let us know what you think.
Team CFO finished the first part of Weekend Warrior Series today with the highest score in the league and will be moving onto the playoffs!
120 squat cleans 155#/105#
120 toes to bar
120 burpees over the bar
200m partner carry
20 muscle ups
(Only 2 people working at a time, no one could move to the next event until all 120 reps were complete)
Here is a recap of the events by Lydia:
We had a great time with the Folsom Lake crew. The four of us came up with a plan to break into 2; Candace and I were accountable to each other and Manwell and Justin were accountable to each other. Only 2 of us could work at a time, so we each faced off in the cleans and picked up the bar as soon as the other dropped it. The communication was Perfect and we got through all 120 cleans in 4 min- 60 each pair. After that it was just a grind to keep moving and not stop all the way through the remaining 120 toes to bar, 120 burpees over the bar and we were out the door at 10:05 for the partner carry. Manwell carried me and Justin carried Candace out the door, down a short hill and along the sidewalk for 100m down and back. We got back in the door at 12 min and did 20 muscle ups in 2 min, And that was a wrap! We never stopped moving, there was no down time, we communicated well and we finished everything in 14:18.
Good times were had by all. Folsom Lake finished around 26:00- they had an awesome girl who did 15 of the 20 muscle ups for their team, they're a newer gym so they didn't have a very seasoned team but they definitely showed a lot of heart and good spirit.
The MobilityWod Challenge will begin November 1. The purpose of this challenge will be to incorporate mobility work into your life. Hopefully you will gain a better understanding of your body and find some tricks that will improve your performance (or at least the way your body feels).
Also, more on the stretching issue. I heard this report about stretching (or rather, about not stretching) on All Things Considered this week. The coach interviewed in this report does not even allow his athletes to stretch statically at all during the season. Nothing revolutionary in this, it is just more fodder for my personal debate on the usefulness of stretching. There is mention or Active Isolated Stretching Technique, which I will talk about next week.
Michelle and Connie beginning the post-workout recovery process
Two big reminders for tomorrow (Saturday, October 16):
Free Community Day Workout
We'll be holding a free Community Day workout tomorrow from 11am to 12pm. This is a great opportunity for you to get your feet wet, so to speak. Friends and family are most welcome. Just show up and get your workout on!
No Strength Saturday Class
TomC, strength training guru, is currently out of town. As a result, his Strength Saturday class will be canceled tomorrow. Strength Saturday will resume next Saturday, October 23 at 4pm.
Brian C and Lydia looking calm and collected before getting their workout on
We're excited to announce a change and two new additions to our group training schedule.
Daylight Savings Time Schedule Change
Beginning Monday, November 8, in accordance with Daylight Savings Time (DST), we'll be pushing our evening classes up a half-hour, which will change the evening classes to the following start times:
We'll be evaluating this schedule through the end of the year and will assess whether or not we'll continue with this schedule in 2011.
Open Gym hours will remain the same.
Tuesday/Thursday 7am Class
Beginning Tuesday, October 26, we'll be rolling out a Tuesday/Thursday 7am class, coached by yours truly. This will be an ordinary group class (i.e., not an On-Ramp class or an Elements class) and is appropriate for all skill levels.
To make sure that there's enough demand for this offering, we're going to ask that you register for the class. We'll open up registration for the class next week (check our schedule early next week). You won't have to continue to register for the class beyond the first couple weeks or so, but in the beginning we want to make sure there are enough people showing up to make it worthwhile.
This is the type of class that could be ideal for those looking to train 3 days/week, where you could to Tue/Thu at 7am and Sat at 8am, for example.
There's no additional cost associated with this class.
There are many cool workouts out there that simply don't fall within the confines of a one-hour class. With that in mind, we're going to be holding a Sunday afternoon class once every two months or so (could be more frequent) where we'll run people through particular workouts (a lot of them are benchmark workouts) from 3pm until whenever the last person gets done.
Here are some of the workouts we have in mind for Super Sundays:
- CrossFit Total
- Super Total
- Past CrossFit Games Workouts
- CF Football 10,000 Pounds
- Lynne (or Lynne Ain't Squat)
- Powerlifting Meet
- Olympic Lifting Meet
- 5k Run
- 10k Run
- Rowing w/ Kelly on the Water
And I'm sure you all can come up with many more than just those.
The first Super Sunday is going to happen at 3pm on Sunday, November 7. We'll be doing Linda (3 Bars of Death), and you'll be coached by yours truly.
Freddy is smiling because his gym is clean & safe
In our continuing efforts to provide a clean and safe environment for all of our valued clients, CFO has decided to address the following:
- We will no longer be placing tape on the pull-up bars. Besides leaving behind a nasty residue when removed, tape clings to pieces and parts of you that you might leave behind after a tough WOD. We realize that the bars may be slippery to some and will provide grips as well as chalk. In addition, we are playing around with a coating that will go on some of the bars to make them less slick.
- Every week (on Sundays) a cleaning company comes through and cleans and disinfects our bathrooms and floors. Our training staff has volunteered to freshen up the place (this includes everything from emptying trash to cleaning toilets) between cleanings and that is pretty amazing if you ask me. BIG thank you to our staff.
- Our climbing ropes are due for a wash and should be taken and down and cleaned sometime in the next week or so. That might mean a temporary halt to WODs including rope climbs, but hopefully we will all survive.
- CFO has an AED device on-site and all training staff are CPR/AED certified. In addition, we almost always have medical personnel attended our group classes, but that is really beside the point.
What about you? What can you do to make the gym a cleaner and safer place? I know you are all dying to know how you can contribute. Well, if you really want to clean toilets, the rubber gloves and sponges can be found in the bathrooms, but if not:
- Please just make sure you pack out what you pack in: Trash goes in the big trash can with a lid or the wastebaskets in the bathrooms. Please be especially conscious of used tape, band-aids and other hygienically unsound bits.
- Reuse (clearly label) or recycle your water bottles. Half-full water bottles left around the gym are just so wrong in so many ways.
- Use of footwear in the shower is highly recommended and remember to take your towels home with you to launder. If you make a mess in the bathroom (it happens), remember the sponges and other supplies should be right there for your use.
- If you do happen to shed bodily fluids on the equipment that you did not intend to share, we beg you to wipe it down. There are disinfecting wipes in the changing room. At least let the trainer on duty know so that we can take care of it.
Post helpful thoughts and/or suggestions regarding gym health and safety to comments. Complaints should be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Al floating his way to the top of the box
I thought I'd take a moment to remind all of you of three upcoming events that may be of interest.
Community Day: Saturday, October 16 at 11am
These workouts are great fun and are free to the public. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of current fitness level, and regardless of whether or not you're a current member of the gym. The class will be roughly an hour, and will consist of a warm-up, instruction of some basic movements, a workout using those movements (and possibly others as well), and a cool-down. If you've never done a CF workout before and have been curious about giving it a try, this will be a great introduction to our style of training.
Weekend Warrior Series Workout 4: Saturday, October 16 at 11am
Team CFO will be competing in its final Weekend Warrior Series workout this Saturday at CF Folsom Lake. If you get the urge to drive up and root on the team, they'll be meeting to carpool from CFO around 8:30am or so. This is the final regular season workout for Team CFO, and if they perform well, they'll likely earn a playoff berth. More info on that to come...
Sayoc NorCal Self-Defense Seminar: Saturday, October 23 11am-1pm
Just a quick reminder, in-house self-defense expert, JP Perrings, will be providing a self-defense seminar open to the general public on Saturday, October 23, from 11am to 1pm. We're really excited to be able to provide this service and are fortunate enough to have JP, as well as his instructor, Ricardo Kayanan, on hand to be able to teach you everything you need to know about the subject.
For a full write-up of the seminar, as well as a course outline, go here: http://crossfitoakland.com/archives/2010/10/self-defense-seminar-jp-october-23
And to register for the seminar, go to JP's website here: http://sayocnorcal.com/
I highly encourage attending this seminar. This is the type of thing that most people wish they did after the fact.
Concept2 Commercial from CrossFitHQ
I came across the video above on the CrossFit Sweat Shop blog and thought I'd re-post it here. I think the video does a great job of capturing those internal conversations we have with ourselves during tough workouts. In most cases, the ability to push through a tough workout is mental, and the ability to silence the negative voices that might be running through your head during those tough workouts is often times more important than the workout result itself.
Sometimes you gotta dig deep to get through the workout.
Bad Brad is back!
Last week I asked if you, the members of CFO, thought stretching was actually beneficial. A lot of people actually spoke with me about their personal experiences, but not many people wrote on the blog. It seems that some people benefit from stretching and some people don't. (Which is great, because I was worried that it just wasn't doing any good for anyone.)
I think it helps to know what needs to be stretched on your own body. It is different for everyone. It takes some time to figure out what muscles actually need to be stretched and which ones need to be strengthened. You can find this out by asking a professional (one of the trainers or a physical therapist) or taking yourself through a flexibility assessment. Once you have found the areas where your range of motion is limited, target them in your stretching routine. I am happy to help you determine what would be best for your body--just ask me after class. (Please, always remember to stretch after you have warmed up!)
Overhead squat will be here for the next two weeks. Having trouble with keeping that bar overhead while you squat? Try this edition of the MobilityWod:
Has anyone been following the MobilityWod? I think our next challenge should be to stick to it for 30 days. Anyone interested?
Candace landing a heavy split jerk during last week's contest. More pictures from the event are available on Zenfolio.
Before we delve into more discussions regarding the squat, I wanted to touch on the idea of competition. The act of competing is a powerful stimulus and one that has been recently underutilized by many at CrossFit Oakland. I realize that we train against the clock in almost every workout, but an organized competition against others, either singly, or as part of a team is something that everyone should experience, and preferably experience on a regular basis.
Several people mentioned that they wanted to be part of the recent Weekend Warrior Series, yet did not sign up. This is unfortunate. There is nothing that provides the motivation to train hard and meet goals like a competition. Having a date where you need to step up to the bar and put forth a maximal effort is uniquely powerful. Even those that do not think of themselves as competitive by nature feel butterflies in their stomachs before the starting buzzer sounds. When things start to hurt, the knowledge that others are counting on you to bring the suffering to a speedier end is highly motivating.
Many are reluctant to compete because they feel inadequate to the task, or that their fitness levels do not warrant display in public. This is a weak argument. While it is cliché to suggest that doing your best is all that matters, it is also true. The benefits that accrue from competition come primarily from besting yourself, not besting your opponent.
If you have not availed yourself of an athletic competition, it is time to set a goal. Whether you want to try your hand at CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Running, or whatever other sport you can think of, choosing to compete will result in increased focus during training and provide unusual satisfaction and enjoyment.
CrossFit Oakland has a history of bringing large groups of people to competitions. Ask any of the participants if they enjoyed the experience and the answer will be, almost without exception, "yes." It is time to further that tradition. There will be competitions in the coming months. Make plans to be a part of them and reap the benefits.
CFOers getting after Fight Gone Bad
Hear ye, hear ye! We'll be holding our next Community Day Workout on Saturday, October 16 at 11am. These workouts are great fun and are free to the public. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of current fitness level. The class will be roughly an hour, and will consist of a warm-up, instruction of some basic movements, a workout using those movements (and possibly others as well), and a cool-down.
If you've never done a CF workout before and have been curious about giving it a try, this will be a great introduction to CF training. Just give it a go!
Bring friends, bring family, and spread the word!
Brandon cracking himself up...
I am happy to announce that our athlete spotlight this week is none other than Brandon B! Brandon is a familiar face around the evening and weekend classes at CFO and at pretty much every competition in which CFO participates. He is the official Team Captain of CrossFit Oakland's competitive crew and has attended every CrossFit Games held since the beginning of time.
As an athlete, Brandon can always be counted on to give his best. You know he is always pushing for that extra rep before he ever needs to be asked. Dig deep? Dark place? Brandon invented the dark place. He has a practical, no-nonsense approach to CrossFit, nutrition and competition. He is extremely hard on himself and has taught us all a few new profanities while missing on his 500th double under or 300lb Clean & Jerk. But he has also taught us what it is like to win (even vicariously) at the 'sport' we all love.
We all know Brandon can always be counted on to be smart, funny and shirtless, but he is also kind, supportive, encouraging and a great father, husband, brother and friend. I honestly don't know what CFO would be like without him, so it is good to hear he likes us too.
Legal Disclaimer: The Athlete Spotlight answers are the opinions of Brandon Banks and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of either CrossFit Oakland, its owner(s), or employees.
Post your most profound thoughts on Brandon to comments.
In high school, I intercepted Tom Brady. Yes, that Tom Brady (http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/2008/02/the-nfl-combine.html). I pretty much own that guy.
I played football in college.
In 2002, my law school softball team took 2nd place in the Santa Clara University Intramural Softball League.
- I hate muscle-ups and handstand push-ups. I find no practical value in those movements. If you’re good at those movements, you likely work on a bridge that won’t be finished for another sixteen years, your girlfriend doesn’t allow you to consume milk or gluten, or you have an unhealthy infatuation with performance of the day.
One of my favorite parts about cfo is being able to witness all the successful couples working out together. It’s so moving to see couples like Tamara and Audra, Lau and Journey, and Moses and Maria all working out together, achieving their fitness goals as one happy unit. Thank you for the inspiration.
CFO is uniquely bay area. There are so many people from different walks of life that train at the gym. Where else can you do the perfect stretch next a knife wielding libertarian from Illinois, who has a penchant for dating Asian chicks on match.com, or an unemployed army veteran, who relies on his girlfriend’s salary while waiting for your dad to give him a job as a firefighter?
I really, really love working out at CFO. I love all the people. Everyone is amazing. I love watching people compete during wild metabolic workouts. I love watching people hit PRs on various strength moves. And I love hanging out and talking with such a distinct and accomplished group of people before and after hellish workouts. I have met life long friends as a result of being a member at CrossFit Oakland. Thank you, CFO.
Jessa Gamble giving a talk titled "Our Natural Sleep Cycle," courtesy of TED.com
All of you hit the workouts hard, and some of you even have your diet in order, but how many of you get enough sleep? The video above, along with the two articles below, suggest that we're pretty much wired to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night in order to function optimally.
And according to the study which the articles discuss, if fat loss is a goal of yours, then getting 8 hours of sleep per night becomes even more critical. The study in question, which was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, compared weight loss results between two groups over a two-week period: those that slept 5.5 hours a night and those that slept 8.5 hours a night. The conclusion: the group that slept 8.5 hours a night lost more fat than the group that slept 5.5 hours a night (although both groups lost roughly the same amount of weight, the 8.5-hour-per-night group lost more fat, which suggests that the 5.5-hour-per-night group lost a good deal of muscle).
I will point out that the study's sample size was small (only 10 men and women) and the time period investigated was brief (only 2 weeks), so further investigation is definitely warranted before putting this issue to rest (no pun intended).
But don't take my word for it, read the articles yourself and draw your own conclusions. Or better yet, get some sleep and read the articles in the morning.
I wonder if TAD needs more protein?
(Thanks to Stacy M for passing along this article)
The LA Times recently published an article on protein intake (or the lack thereof) and the necessity of protein powder (or the lack thereof) for weightlifting: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/27/health/la-he-fitness-protein-powder-20100927
The author of the article, James Fell, does a nice job of polling multiple sources to answer the questions central to the article:
- Is supplementation with protein powder necessary?
- How much protein do we need on a daily basis?
There are two studies referenced that suggest that weightlifters don't require any additional protein supplementation, and that .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is fine (but 1.0 to 1.2 grams per kg of bodyweight for endurance athletes).
On the other hand, one nutritional consultant who works with professional athletes suggests the number should be closer to somewhere between 1.4 and 1.7 grams per kg of bodyweight. He claimed that there is nothing special about protein powder, but that it can be used as a convenience.
The other sports nutritionist interviewed didn't make a specific protein recommendation in terms of quantity, but suggests that all protein come from whole food sources.
For our part, we generally recommend that protein come from whole food sources whenever possible, but protein powder can work in post-workout situations or in a pinch. Protein powder shouldn't be the linchpin of your diet, for sure. As to quantity, that will vary depending on your goals.
So where do you stand? What do you do for your protein intake?
Nancy atop her paleo throne.
Our beloved 30-day Paleo Challenge came to a close on Friday and tonight we celebrated everyone's hard work with a "paleo meets neolithic" potluck! We had a little bit of everything, from turkey meatballs to Safeway donuts. And now for the news you've all been waiting for: our winners! I'm happy to announce that Nancy Singer and Daniel V. each got to take home a $100 grand prize! Nice work you two! I also want to give a huge shout out to our judges Tom C. and Lydia who had a tough time selecting just 2 winners from the batch of amazing before and after shots they received. Thanks to everyone who participated and to those of you who cheered us on from the sidelines!
Post your congratulations to our paleo heroes to comments.
David Sally and his special socks.
I came across an article about stretching in the Real Simple magazine when I was visiting my doctor this week (I probably would never read this magazine otherwise). This article makes some pretty big claims about the benefits of stretching and how it is possible to increase flexibility. Normally, I would not have thought anything about it, except that recently I listened to this edition of To The Best Of Our Knowledge. In segment 2 of this radio program, Gretchen Reynolds, a writer for the New York Times, is interviewed. She cites some pretty interesting studies about stretching that greatly diminish the value of flexibility training. (If you have time, this episode is pretty neat. It covers barefoot running, exercise myths, all sorts of fun stuff.)
As a trainer, I have spent a lot of time studying material that states that flexibility training brings the muscles back to their original length, reduces the risk of injury, can make you stronger, and will increase your recovery. Possibly, these were assumptions that no one had actually tested until now.
I am left wondering, is stretching worth the time? Has anyone noticed a difference from adding stretching into their program or taking it out? Post experiences to comments.
(For the record, it is pretty clear from all sources that static stretching before you exercise is a bad idea. I am referring to static stretching after you work out, for the purposes of maintaining and increasing flexibility.)
The members of our Weekend Warrior Series team
We're hosting our second and last home competition in the Weekend Warrior Series (WWS) tomorrow at 11:30am. We'll be hosting the team from CrossFit Genesis in a workout involving max clean-and-jerks, max pull-ups, and a 4 x 800m relay race.
For full details on the workout, check out the WWS blog entry on the workout:
Come on out and root on the team! (And we need some volunteers for judging.)