Monthly Archives: August 2009
Aug 31st, 2009

The Four Cs


Richard Handling the Slosh Pipe

Concentration, Confidence, Control and Commitment (the 4 Cs) are generally considered the main mental qualities that are important for successful performance in most sports including the sport of fitness – CrossFit!

* Concentration – ability to maintain focus
* Confidence – belief in one’s abilities
* Control – ability to maintain emotional control regardless of distraction
* Commitment – ability to continue working towards your goals

Which of the four Cs to you excel at? Which need some work? What mental tricks/devices do you use when approaching a new WOD, a max-effort lift, or 5 rounds of hell?  

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Aug 30th, 2009

Another Year, Another Alcatraz Swim


Nicole and Franklin after Franklin’s swim this morning


Last year we did a post on Franklin after he completed his 1.5-mile swim in from Alcatraz.  Well, another year has gone by, but the story is the same.

Franklin finished this year’s swim in just over an hour this morning.  The race, dubbed the "Swim with the Centurions," draws hundreds of swimmers each year in this swim from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park in San Francisco, CA.

Full event details (including race results):

Let’s give it up for Franklin in comments.  Another year, another swim down!

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Aug 29th, 2009

Gracias, Amigos

The Grand Opening in Pictures (click for full size versions)

Thank you to everyone that came out for an evening of food, unusual displays of physical prowess, and dancing. You are what makes CrossFit Oakland the wonderful place that it is.

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Aug 28th, 2009

Overhead Squats


The Overhead Squat (OHS) sits at the royal roundtable of the most efficient and rewarding weightlifting exercises. It works the entire body, increases strength, power, flexibility, coordination, and develops postural lean mass, which should be a priority for any intelligent bipedal.

The OHS appears simple, but as we all know after today’s WOD, that is hardly the case! Post your experience with the 15 Overhead Squat WOD today.  What was the most difficult part?  Di you have any ah-ha moments?  Share them in comments.

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Aug 27th, 2009



Brian nicely demonstrating the concept of active shoulders


A bunch of reminders:

Grand Opening Party

Don’t forget…we’re celebrating the move to CFO 4.0 this Friday.  All the fun begins at 5pm.  Adults and children of all ages are welcome.  Don’t miss it!

T-Shirt Money

We’re still waiting on money from a number of you who placed orders for the CF Games CFO shirt.  Please get your money to us as soon as possible so that we can get everyone their shirts.

FUEL Seminar

We’ll be holding a FUEL Seminar this Saturday 8/29 from 11am to 1pm.  The cost is $100; let us know by sending us an email or by calling us at 510-595-9348.

Kettlebell Seminar

We’re holding a mega-kettlebell seminar on Saturday, Sept 12 from 10am to 2pm.  The seminar is going to be comprehensive, covering everything you need to know about kettlebells (including stuff you didn’t even know you need to know).  The cost is $100.

Looking forward to seeing everyone Friday night as we celebrate the new box!

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Aug 26th, 2009

Thanks, Lee!




Lee’s Handiwork


This post is long overdue.  Lee played a huge role in the upgrade of our space in our new box.  Most of his work is not immediately visible, though.  It’s what you don’t see that is the beauty of Lee’s work.  All around the gym floor (the photo above is of the one of the pieces Lee installed at the top of the ramp), Lee made some custom-fitted caps that hold our gym floor in place, nice and tight.  Gone are the huge gaps in the floor that people used to trip over.

If you trained at our previous spot on 39th St (yes, memories of a time gone by…the massage parlor, the sweet smell of marijuana wafting through the gym, the broken glass on the street), you’ll remember that the rubber mats would separate and leave gaps in the floor wider than the position of Brandon’s feet when he catches his power clean (now that’s wide!). 

Let’s give a big thanks to Lee in comments!

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Aug 25th, 2009

Usain Bolt 9.58 WORLD RECORD!


We are thinking of resurrecting an informal sprinting group to meet once a week at Piedmont High Track and are wondering who wants to join the fun!  We work, 50s, 100s, 200s, and 400s and everything in between.  Let us know via comments if your interested in meeting once a week at 6p.m. (most likely Wednesday or Thursday nights).  

Also, don’t forget our Grand (re)-Opening Party this Friday from 5p.m. on.  We will have food, drinks, and a DJ.!  Everyone is welcome to join the fun.

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Aug 24th, 2009

Reminder: FUEL Seminar Saturday August 29


The correct mixture of rocket fuel is critical for success


For those of you who are still on the fence about attending the F.U.E.L seminar next Saturday, you may want to read the following written by John Berardi, author and co-author of 5 books on sports nutrition. 

When Exercise Doesn’t Work


This week I’ve got no fancy introduction. I’ve got no “journalistic hook.” You see, I recently had an “ah ha” moment that I’ve simply got to share with you. And here it is…

Exercise doesn’t work.

Now that might sound shocking coming from a guy with big biceps and 8% body fat; from a guy that recommends lots of exercise, at least 5 hours per week. So if this all seems incongruent, I guess I should qualify the statement above. I guess I should have probably said:

Exercise, ALONE, doesn’t work.

My Wake-Up Call
My coming to this realization wasn’t an easy process. I’ve been working with clients for over 15 years now and although I always knew that diet was an important part of the training equation, I also always harbored some subconscious notion that if I worked my clients hard enough, their lack of dietary effort would be overcome by my super-effective training programs.

Sure, I wanted them to eat well. But if they didn’t (more like, wouldn’t), somewhere deep inside it seemed ok. I figured in the battle of training vs. diet, training would win. Now, I never said this aloud. However, somewhere I’m sure I felt it. So it wasn’t until I was slapped in the face with some cold, hard, objective data that I realized how wrong I’d been.

Read the entire article here.

Please R.S.V.P for the F.U.E.L seminar no later than this Wednesday 8/26/09.  The cost for the seminar is $100 and will include a meal.

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Aug 23rd, 2009

Welcome Back, Matt C!


Matt laid out after one of his recent workouts


Matt C (also known as Isabel’s dad) recently returned to CFO after spending a little time in Montana.

Matt became a fixture at the 5pm class over the past year, and it’s been great to see him back in the gym training hard.  He’s also taken advantage of our afternoon open gym hours as of late (3pm-5pm Monday through Friday).  He even got roped into one of Davey’s crazy workouts last week.

Welcome back to CFO, Matt!

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Aug 22nd, 2009

Philosophical Thoughts on Body Fat

This article is taken from a four-part series of rants from one of my favorite web sites called A self proclaimed dork-to-diva, Mistress Krista always posts thoughtful and informative about women and exercise.

Take some time to give this one a read and post your thoughts to comments.


1. Fat is a relationship, not a thing. Well, body fat is indeed a thing: as I mentioned in part 1, fat is a substance with a definable structure and properties. But it’s more than that. For women (and many men), the idea of “fat” creates a relationship between how we perceive ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. So, an 80-lb. anorexic sees herself as “fat”, an average-sized 150 lb. woman sees herself as “fat”, and a 300 lb. woman sees herself as “fat”. When bodybuilders are on stage, and they aren’t lean enough, someone will invariably say, “S/he’s fat”, which doesn’t mean, “That person resembles a premenstrual walrus”, but rather, “That person has failed to meet the aesthetic and body composition requirements of this activity”. In other words, context is everything. What we call “fat” is socially defined, and may have little basis in what is “really” fat. I think this point is important to recognize because it indicates how arbitrary our judgements can be about what is fat, and how we value fat in ourselves and others. Fat, then, becomes a dynamic between us and our culture, rather than a possession that we have or do not have.

2. Separate body fat from value. It’s pretty clear that fat = bad in our culture. What I’m suggesting is that we re-think the inherent value we give to fat, and understand it instead as something which is important to have in the right quantities. Some people are tall, some people are short, some have brown eyes, some have blue eyes, some people have more body fat, and some people have less body fat. That’s the way it is. Ideally body fat should have no more positive or negative associations than other indicators of health and fitness. Having more body fat should not be correlated with stupidity, laziness, slovenliness, etc. Rather, body fat should be viewed as merely another physical feature which varies individually. If you choose to reduce your body fat, don’t view it as a moral issue. Think of it like a haircut or clipping your toenails: you’re simply decreasing the amount of a physiological component, not embarking on a religious crusade. Knowing your body fat should be like knowing your shoe size. It’s just a number. If you want to change that number, go ahead and do it. But you’re not a better person if you’re X% rather than Y%.

3. To build on #2, people have naturally varying levels of body fat. Human biodiversity is normal and desirable. Assuming that naturally skinny people are inherently healthier and fitter is a mistake. While there is a healthy range of body fat levels, above or below which is associated with negative health consequences, it is a range, not a single number. Some women may look and feel cruddy at 15%, while others may be happy and healthy. Same with 30%. Body fat is not the only variable of fitness or health, and there are many women with much higher body fat levels than me who can outlift me, outrun me, and generally kick my ass. Each person ideally has a level of body fat which is appropriate to their genetics, gender, age, training goals, and general state of health. Fitness and fatness are not incompatible.

4. Don’t participate in fat-negative behaviour. I know of parents who put healthy, growing children on diets or force them to do exercise (I don’t mean fun exercise, I mean deliberate anti-fat, post-meal aerobic type exercise) so that their tiny tots will not suffer the horror of excess adipose tissue. Forcing your child to preventively diet and exercise is probably the surest way to make sure they have messed up eating habits and body image for life. Don’t tie acceptance of a person to their body fat levels. I’ve met some lean people who were unbelievably dysfunctional about their health and their bodies in general. And spare me all the excuses about how it’s okay to crap on people with more body fat because we’re biologically inclined to prefer slenderness. That’s just a little too close to saying it’s okay to exterminate people who aren’t genetically ideal. It’s not okay to bash people because of a physiological feature, and it’s not okay to participate in paranoia about body fat with someone who is vulnerable.

5. You can both critique the health problems associated with excess body fat, and be positive about each person’s right to control their own body. Separate these two issues. I don’t like many of the options for hormonally based contraception, but I would never tell another woman that she shouldn’t choose it for herself. I prefer to keep my body fat a bit lower than the average, and that is my choice. My female training partners have ranged in body fat from 18% to 29%, and all have been active, healthy women who were quite satisfied where they were.

6. It is irrefutable that higher levels of body fat, above a particular range, and particularly visceral fat (aka deep tummy fat) are clearly correlated with health problems: joint pain, Type II diabetes and insulin resistance, breathing difficulties, etc. However there are many other things which are correlated with health problems: drinking to excess, smoking, inactivity, stress, getting dealt a crappy hand in the genetic poker game, and so on. Body fat is one variable of many. Excess body fat can indeed signify inactivity, poor nutrition, eating problems, and underlying medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Excess body weight can put mechanical stress on tissues, and is directly responsible for some medical conditions. Body fat secretes hormones and cell signals, and participates actively in the body’s hormonal environment. But body fat in and of itself does not necessarily cause all the health problems; rather, poor nutrition and lifestyle habits, and lack of adequate activity are also major culprits.

7. You are not a prisoner of your body fat. Fat has no inherent value other than what we attach to it. You are a prisoner of your mind and spirit. If you feel imprisoned by your body fat, look deeper to examine the issues which you have that are associated with it. And don’t give your body fat the status of a sentient being. You have control, to some degree, over your body composition. While the end range of what you can achieve is limited by your genetics, nearly everyone without some bizarre metabolic disorder can achieve and maintain a level of body fat which is healthy and ideal for them. I don’t mean this to get all individualist here, because we should certainly continue to be critical of the bullshit social ideal of thinness which we’re all supposed to emulate, but you have the power to enable your body to make positive changes.

8. Everything has its place. Body fat is there for a reason. You need it. It does good things for you. It enables your reproductive system to be functional, it helps regulate hormones, and it serves as an indicator of “body happiness” (to your body, excessive leanness = starvation = stress = bad). It makes you lovely and curvy, makes it comfortable to sit, makes it nice for someone to snuggle you (nobody wants to hug a xylophone). It’s an important part of your body, so give it its due.

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