Monthly Archives: February 2010
Feb 28th, 2010

Partner Stretches

Did you know that stretching with a partner can be more effective than stretching alone?  Here are a few stretches you can do with a partner.  Because your partner does not feel what you feel, it is important that you communicate clearly and move slowly while trying out these stretches.


Chest Stretch:

Partner one sits cross-legged on the floor with hands behind the head.  Partner two stands behind so that partner one can lean back slightly.  Partner two holds onto the elbows of partner one and presses elbows back lightly while slightly pulling up.  Hold 30 seconds.



Low back, Lat, and Hamstring Stretch:

Stand facing your partner.  Link hands and take small steps away from each other as you bend at the waist until your upper body becomes parallel (or close to) with the ground.  Lean away from your partner, but don’t try to pull them over. Hold 30 seconds.



Hamstring and Chest Stretch:

Sit with your backs firmly pressed together.  Extend your legs out in front of you and interlock your elbows.  Partner one leans forward.  Partner two presses gently into partner one to increase the hamstring stretch. Hold 30 seconds.



Hamstring Stretch:

Partner one sits with one leg stretched out in front and the other leg bent.  Partner two mirrors partner one.  Holding onto the wrists, partner one leans forwards and partner two pulls gently to increase the stretch.  Make sure to move slowly on this one. Hold 30 seconds.



Groin stretch:

Same as above, but with the legs in butterfly position.  Hold 30 seconds.


Next week, more on partner stretching!


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Feb 26th, 2010

Epigenetics: What You Do Matters


The two videos above are from a Nova special on epigenetics.  I first came across these videos on the wonderful Mark’s Daily Apple blog.  Epigenetics, which is Greek in origin, translates to "above genetics." 

Here’s the Wikipedia piece on epigenetics:

So what does the Nova piece, and the Wikipedia entry, have to do with you?  Everything.  Epigenetic theory basically says that our genetic code is more or less fixed (short of some sort of mutation), but the way in which that genetic code is expressed can vary depending on what we eat, what kind of (and how much) physical activity we engage in, and several other environmental factors not related to eating or working out.  In short, what we do matters.

Additional reading on gene expression: 

Exercise and Gene Expression:  Physiological Regulation of the Human Genome Through Physical Activity

Shower Reclamation Project

Next Wednesday, March 3, we’ll be ridding the bathroom with the shower of all towels, socks, and any other articles of clothing, due to popular demand (as well as the fact that it’s getting pretty gnarly in there).  Please claim any of your stuff before then.

CrossFit Oakland Facebook Page

After several renditions, we’ve finally created an official Facebook page.  This will be updated with daily commentary.  This is the CrossFit Oakland Facebook page you’ll want to check.

Become a fan of CrossFit Oakland here:

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Feb 25th, 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Lydia E.


Lydia’s hair looking AWESOME at last year’s Nor-Cal Quals

This week we turn our spotlight on Lydia Encinas, a regular in our evening and weekend classes.  Lydia inspires a lot of us with her incredible drive and love of competition.  She is very fun to watch during a power clean WOD as she makes these amazing twirls and circles, reminiscent of an Olympic figure skater.

Lydia is, not surprisingly, very successful in her career outside of CF as well.  She recently won the Top Performer of 2009 in her job class as the #1 salesperson in the state of CA.  She received a trophy, prizes and an all-inclusive first class trip to NYC for two (remember our deal for this post, Lydia)

Post congrats and general thoughts on Lydia to comments.

Name: Lydia Encinas
Height: 5’11”
?Weight: 155?
Age: 33
Q:  How long have you been CrossFitting?
?A:  Since 2007, thanks to my Boo.

Q:  How long have you been a member at CFO?

?A:   Same.

Q:  What is your day job?  
A:  Being Awesome.

Q:  What is your athletic background?

?A:  First string on the Awesome Team since birth.
Q:  What is your favorite strength move?
A:  Back Squat.

Q:  What is your favorite met-con?
A:  Fight Gone Bad.
Q:  What is your proudest achievement (so far)?

?A:  Going from DNF on the Row/Burpee/OH WOD at the 2009 Regional Qualifiers last May to doing it in 5:45 10 months later thanks to a strength program.
Q:  What is your most desired goal?
A:  To dominate Tami.

Q: Do you have a rant or a rave you’d like to share?

?A: Golf umbrellas are lame and too big for the average person, especially if you’re walking in the city and you’re under 6’5" tall, they’re just plain rude and I will push it out of the way!

Important Stats:
155 lbs. of Stank Hotness

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Feb 24th, 2010

Aging, Weight Gain, and Strength Training


Stephen magically levitating above the webbing

Thanks to Maria for passing along the following article from NPR.

It’s about the positive effects of weight training on the body as we age.  Not only does weight training help our muscles retain their size and strength as we age, it also apparently plays a role in anti-inflammation (although the mechanism isn’t clearly explained in the article).

Yet another reason you shouldn’t be skipping the strength workouts at CFO!

Here’s the article:

Prather Ranch Beef Delivery at 6pm

Reminder:  The Prather Ranch beef delivery is happening tonight (Wed 2/24/10) at 6pm.  Below is a list of people who have purchased boxes.  The cost per box is $231.60.  The amount is payable with cash, credit card, or check (payable to CrossFit Oakland).

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 & TomC 1 box
Lau 1 box
Felipe 1 box
Hannah & Dawn 1 box
Maria & Connor 1 box
Ross 1 box
Mini 1 box
Lydia & MJ 1 box
Scott & Sherrill 1 box
Marc & Rosy 1 box

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Feb 23rd, 2010

Leigh Joins the DIY Club


Leigh’s handiwork

Leigh recently finished a do-it-yourself project I thought worthy of spotlight:  building a lifting platform!

She used the plans from the following site:

All told, it took no more than a couple of hours of work (she said it took WAY longer to clear out space in her garage).  Leigh, along with her son Alex, is gonna use the platform for supplemental strength training, in addition to the training she does here at CFO.  Alex is actually training for juniors in Olympic weightlifting, with a meet he’s going to compete in happening in June (more on this next week, when we profile Alex), so the platform will come in very handy for him.

Nice work, Leigh!

March 2 On-Ramp

If you’re reading this right now and you’re thinking about joining CFO, join our March 2 on-ramp class.  We still have two spots left–act now and get registered!

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Feb 22nd, 2010

Want to Learn More About Your Eating Habits? Get it on Paper!


In January I offered CrossFit Oakland members free diet evaluations.  Each participant was asked to keep a 3-day food journal where they recorded not just what they ate and drank but also the duration of the meal, who it was with and what their mood was like pre- and post-meal.  My evaluation and many of my recommendations were based on the information taken from the food journal.  While jotting down notes about your meals might seem like a daunting task, most folks said the exercise was very useful and provided a lot of new insight into their eating habits. Whether you are after a diet make-over or you simply want to stay on track with a current food plan, a food journal is a good place start.  Try it out for a few days; you might learn a thing or two. 

A Few Tips Before You Get Started:

1. Be honest.  If you usually start the day with a bagel and cream cheese don’t suddenly start whipping up egg-white omelets just because you’re writing it down.  Continue to eat as you normally would for the duration of the food journal exercise.

2. Don’t overlook the little stuff.  Remember to note food items such as half & half, sweeteners, ketchup and other condiments.   

3. Estimate amounts.  For foods such rice, pasta, or vegetables, record how much you ate (1/4 cup). If you don’t want to hassle with weighing and measuring, and I don’t blame you if you don’t, just eyeball it.  One cup is about the size of a tennis ball.  A 3-ounce cooked portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.  

4. Don’t forget about the non-food items.  Document any supplements that you take (e.g., fish oil, vitamins).  Liquid calories count, too, so write down what you drink, including amounts.

5. Keep your journal on you.  It can be hard to write everything down by memory so it’s best to fill out your journal as you go.  This is especially important when you are reflecting on your mood & energy before and after a meal.  

Now you’re ready to get started.  Here’s what you’ll record each day:

Food, Beverages & Supplements:
Be as specific as you can. Remember to include all the extras, such as salad dressing, and condiments. Estimate the size/amount of each food item and drink.

Time & Length of Meal:
Write the time of day you ate each meal.  This will make you aware of how long you go between meals and may explain energy slumps throughout your day.  Keep track of how long it took you to eat.  Eating too fast can lead to overeating and impede healthy digestion.

Where and with Whom:
Note your location when you ate. If you ate in your car as you sped to work, at a restaurant, or work desk, write it down.  List all friends and family members who broke bread with you.  Pay attention to what you were doing while you were eating.  Do you munch while you fold laundry or clean the bathroom (eww)? 

How were you feeling before and after each meal?   Often our emotions are what dictate when and what we eat.  List whether you are happy, sad, or depressed, not just if you’re hungry.  For me, this is THE most important information you’ll get.  It will reveal emotional eating, blood sugar imbalances, as well healthy eating habits.   

Download your own copy of this food journal here.

Share your personal experiences with food journals in comments. 

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Feb 21st, 2010

CFO Throwdown


Taking off for a Beaudry Loop run

Thanks to all who came out and participated in the throwdown today, and to all who came out and cheered and supported.

It was a brutal workout, one where getting an rx’d performance was a true achievement.  Congrats to Brandon and Candace for taking top honors (46 burpees and 30 burpees, respectively).  And for everyone else who did the workout, well done.

TomC’s CFO Throwdown Photo Album:

The next throwdown takes place at CF East Bay on Saturday, March 6, beginning at 11am!

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Feb 20th, 2010

Open Studio at CFO Sunday, Feb 28 at 5:30pm


Annie (or at least part of her), one of the three artists working in the studio at the back of CFO

Some of you may have seen some women walking back and forth through the gym, to the mysterious room in the back with closed doors.  And some of you may not know what the heck I’m talking about, never having seen such a thing.  In either case, fear not.  There’s an explanation.

Besides being a gym, we also rent out our back room to three female artists, Annie, Gina, and Meagan.  These three women are extremely talented artists, and on top of that, they’re holding an open studio at CFO at 5:30pm on Sunday afternoon, February 28, which will be a great chance to check out their work up close.

In the meantime, it would be great if we could parlay this into a potluck-style gathering, bringing food to share with others.  We have plenty of gym space to set up tables and chairs, after all.

Mark your calendar…don’t miss this!

Day & Date:  Sunday, Feb 28
Time:  5:30pm

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Feb 19th, 2010

CFO WOD Archive


Lance performing a dumbbell snatch

Did you know that all of the CFO WODs are now archived?

You can access them by typing the following URL into your browser:

This is extremely handy if you want to look up the workouts from a previous cycle.  And coming in the near future, we’re looking at setting up some search functionality, so that you can search for when a particular workout came up last (e.g., Back Squat 5-5-5-5-5 Reps).  Stay tuned!

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