Monthly Archives: January 2010
Jan 31st, 2010

Foam Rolling

In spite of the pain they incur, the foam roller has become a popular recovery tool at CFO.  Pressure applied with the foam roller releases adhesions ("knots") that form in the muscles–this is called self-myofacial release. 

Foam rolling can improve function and performance, and restore proper alignment to your body.  Stretching your muscles after you roll them is even more beneficial.  After you roll the muscles out, they are more receptive to stretch and restore their proper length.  

For those of you who do not know how to foam roll, here are two great videos about foam rolling your lower body.  After you gone through these moves, spend just a few minutes stretching your quadriceps and IT band, and notice how much better you feel!

Post any questions or stretching requests to comments.

Foam Rolling: Part I from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.


Foam Rolling Part II from Jon Gilson on Vimeo.

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Jan 30th, 2010

Muhammad Ali Tribute


Thanks to Nicole for passing along this beautiful tribute to Muhammad Ali, which she came across on Ross Training.  He was an amazing fighter and champion, but the real story about Ali has to do with the millions of people around the world he inspired (and continues to inspire), in the ring and outside of the ring.

Whether it was his trash-talking (much of which is captured in the tribute video), his religious conversion to Nation of Islam, or his stand against the Vietnam War, Ali was never afraid to speak up and speak out.  Much has changed in the world of sports today, and with the huge endorsement deals and corporate sponsorships that are such an integral part of most professional sports today, it makes you wonder if someone like Ali could thrive in this era (not as an athlete, mind you, but as an activist).  That Ali won his first heavyweight title in the ’60s is somehow fitting, just as fitting as Sports Illustrated naming him Sportsman of the Century.

Wikipedia entry on Muhammad Ali:

And for the record, my favorite trash-talking moment in the video begins at 1:27 (it’s a close call–a lot of good material to choose from), when the interviewer leads with the statement about seeing Sonny Liston (the fighter he would go on to defeat to win the heavyweight title at age 22).  I won’t reveal the punchline, but needless to say, it’s some great improvisational comedy.

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Jan 29th, 2010

Odds and Ends


Leigh, Connie, and Vee in post-workout recovery mode

Tue/Thu Night Reminder

Just a quick reminder…beginning next Tuesday, Feb 2, the Tuesday and Thursday 6pm classes will return after their 1-month hiatus.  Hope to see all the regular 6pmers there in full force!

Prather Ranch Beef Order

I need to get a final count to Scott at Prather Ranch by next Wednesday, Feb 3.

Here is the list of people I have thus far, along with the number of boxes.  Please let me know if you’d like to get in on the order, or if what I have for you is not correct, by saying something in comments.

Tamara 2 boxes (1 box shared with Hung)
David S 1 box
Leigh 1 box
Vee 1 box
Tad 1 box
Leka 1 box
Freddy 1 box
Patrick T 1 box
JP & Audra 1 box
Sam L 2 boxes
Stas 1 box
Daniel & Candace 1 box
Lau 1 box
Felipe 1 box
Hannah & Dawn 1 box
Maria & Connor 1 box
Ross 1 box
Mini 1 box
Brendhan ?

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Jan 27th, 2010

Bon Voyage, Loren!


Loren smokin’ the competition during a Slosh Pipe OHS contest

Our longtime trainer and friend, Loren G., will be setting off on what is sure to be a grand adventure starting next month.  From what I hear, Loren will be traveling to India and Japan and will be gone 3-4 months.  His plan is to return in the summer to continue coaching classes at CFO.  We look forward to following his exploits as he promises to keep in touch during his travels.

If you would like to see Loren before he leaves and send him off CFO-style, he will be hanging at Godspeed this Saturday evening (Jan 30th) around 8pm.

Post well wishes to Loren in comments.     

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Jan 27th, 2010

Support the In-House Talent


An example of Annie’s creative work

There are a couple of local artists with CFO ties, Annie Vought and Melissa Agocs, who have upcoming shows, both with opening receptions happening on Thursday, February 4.  And both will be taking place in San Francisco.

And fortunately for all of you, they’ll be happening at different times, so you can check out the work of both of these artists.

It would be great if you could show your support for these two women by attending their opening receptions!

Annie’s medium is paper and paper-cut pieces (better experienced than described, especially when the person doing the describing is me!), and examples of her work can be found here:

Melissa’s medium is photography, and her work can be viewed here:

Info on Annie’s Reception

Opening Reception
Thursday, February 4
5:30PM to 8:00PM

Simple Pleasures, a film by
Annie Vought and Hannah Ireland
CIIS Minna Street Center


CIIS Minna Street Center,
Second Floor
695 Minna Street (at 8th Street)
San Francisco CA 94103

Info on Melissa’s Show Opening

Thursday, February 4
From 8PM Onwards


3109 24th Street
San Francisco
(a few blocks from the 24th St BART station)


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Jan 26th, 2010

Sports Saturday Photos

Thanks to all who came out this past Saturday for our first Sports Saturday session.  The sport we learned was football, courtesy of Connor "Big C" Banks.  He started us off with some sprint-based warm-up drills, then we moved on to some route-running drills while Connor and his high school quarterback threw us passes.  And finally, we played a game of two-hand touch, in which the good guys and gals won.

There were some notable moments, most of them involving either Bad Brad or Manwell.  A lot of these moments were captured on film by Richard, so thanks to him for taking pictures.  Alas, Manwell’s stellar defensive play against Lydia was not captured.

The sport we’re going to learn about in February is rugby.  Date, time, and location will be determined.  Stay tuned!

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Jan 25th, 2010

More Beef Please!


It’s about that time again for another order of Prather Ranch Beef

Here’s why to get in on the next cow share: 99% of cattle in the US are raised in massive feedlots on corn, soy or grains laden with pesticides.  What’s more, the cattle are often injected with steroids to make their meat more tender.  The crowded and inhuman living conditions of conventional cattle, in addition to their poor diet, makes for some pretty unhealthy and unhappy cows.  This is no way to treat your dinner. 

Prather Ranch beef is certified organic and humanely raised.  For the majority of their lives, the cattle graze on herbicide and pesticide-free pasture.   They are then finished on a diet of chopped forage, with some organic barley and organic rice.

Here are some fast facts about organic beef:  The definition for natural beef from the USDA is: Natural beef: Beef that has no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed. The standards are much higher for organic beef and the criteria is as follows as set forth by the USDA:

Organic beef: Beef must come from a verifiable production system that collects information on the history of every animal in the program, including breed history, veterinary care and feed. The cattle must also be:

  • Born and raised on certified organic pasture
  • Never receive antibiotics
  • Never receive growth-promoting hormones
  • Are fed only certified organic grains and grasses
  • Must have unrestricted outdoor access
  • Must receive humane treatment
  • Never fed any type of animal source protein

There are many health benefits from eating Organically raised meat that is raised on its natural diet.  Cows that eat grass are healthier, providing us with more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than its conventional counterpart.

Check out this article on how grass-fed beef can not only make you healthier but also combat climate change. 

Here’s what you get:  40lbs of beef (all cuts) for approximately $240.

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Jan 24th, 2010

If you are going to stretch one thing, let it be your calves!


Stas performing Stretch #1

Did you know that tight calves can cause knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, and foot pain? 
    Your calves are made up of two muscles–the soleus and the gastrocnemius.  Together, these two muscles are constantly working.  They enable you to stand, move forward, bend your knee, run and jump.  Tight calves severely effect the alignment of your foot, knee and hip which changes your running and walking gait (eventually leading to injury).  Tight calves can also block achievement of full depth on a squat. 
    If you stretch your calves a few times a day, you can stop the muscles from shortening.  If you already have tight calves, you should stretch them frequently and also do some myofacial release on them once a day.  To perform myofacial release, use "the Stick" or tennis ball or massage them with your hands by starting just above your Achilles tendon and moving upwards to the knee.  Use a lot of pressure!
    These calf stretches are easy to do and can be done anywhere.

Stretch #1 (see Stas above)
Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a stair or box.  Let your heels hang down as far as possible.  Hold 30-60 seconds.


Stretch #2
Stand a few feet away from a wall.  Step your right foot towards the wall so that the ball of your foot is on the wall and your heel is on the ground.  Your left knee iwll have to bend a little.  Reach your hands towards the wall for balance.  Bend your left knee a little more, and level your hips.  Hold 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.

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Jan 23rd, 2010

Get Your Femurs Out of the Way


Kelly in the middle of a power skip

Over at the Starting Strength website, Rip has published another rock-solid article on squat mechanics, this time centering on the role of the adductors (your groin muscles) in keeping your femurs out of the way when you squat.

The article is timely, since this issue came up a lot during our squat workout today.  Too many of you are allowing your knees to come in (involuntarily, in most cases).  This not only cuts down on the depth you’re able to get, it saps power from your squat by greatly reducing the ever-important hip drive that’s so critical to strong squats.

Here’s the article summary from Rip’s site:

“…active hip is best understood as the use of an actively locked lumbar extension and actively shoved-out knees, which results in a below-parallel squat that incorporates a stretch reflex using all the muscles of the posterior chain in the most optimal way possible. The active hip gets the thighs out of the way of the pelvis so good depth can be more easily obtained. At the same time it makes the squat stronger because of the now-active use of the external rotators holding the femurs out so that both external rotators and adductors can contribute to hip extension. This produces a more effective use of more muscles over a wider range of motion.”

And here’s the full article:

Read it, and dammit, get those knees out!

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Jan 22nd, 2010

Sports Saturday: Football Practice This Sat Jan 23 @ 12pm!


Sierra showing some serious focus on the bench press

Sports Saturday Starting This Saturday January 23!

We’re holding our first Sports Saturday clinic this Saturday, January 23 at 12pm.  It will be taking place at St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley.

Coach "Big C" Banks will be taking us through some drills, showing us some basic formations, and teaching us some football-related skills.  And afterward, we’ll play a game of two-hand touch.  And yes, this will be going down rain or shine.

Even if you have no interest in football, I assure you that you’ll get a great workout out of this, have a lot of fun, and learn something new.  Plus it will be a great way to apply some of the training you do in the gym.

Don’t miss out!

Map of Saint Mary’s High

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