Monthly Archives: July 2010
Jul 31st, 2010

Overcoming Stalls

Reminder: classes will be held as normal this Saturday and Sunday at CFO.

Candace Heavy Jerk 2010 NorCal Sectionals

Candace going for a heavy jerk at the 2010 Sectionals. Getting strong overhead requires time, persistence, and smart training strategies.

During the course of any training program gains will cease and certain performance metrics will plateau. How a trainee gets through those sticking points will determine their success during their training careers. It is important to keep in mind that no program will produce gains forever and that as adaptation to training occurs, gains will come more slowly and with greater effort than before. Come to think of it, the reasons for that slowing of progress sounds like a good idea for another post. Look for that discussion next week. For now, let’s continue the discussion on maintaining progress by looking at the shoulder press.

Comments: 4
Category: Fitness
Read More
Jul 30th, 2010

Speal Tutorial on the Butterfly Kip


Many of you have recently taken on the butterfly kip as your latest project.  To that end, I’d like to offer up the above video from Chris Spealler of CrossFit Park City.  There are a lot of butterfly tutorial videos out there, but I feel this one is one of the most concise ones out there.  This video will help you no matter where you are in learning the butterfly kip, whether you’re just starting to learn the butterfly motion or whether you already have it and are just trying to refine it further.

Prather Ranch Update

I just spoke to Scott this morning, and he confirmed we’re still on for a meat delivery.  That being said, the meat’s gonna take a little longer to get here than we initially planned.  It’s looking like the delivery will happen on the second week of September.  Hang in there, it will eventually make its way to CFO!

Comments: 3
Read More
Jul 29th, 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Melissa!


 Melissa bringing it on the rings

It took a bit of encouragement to get this shy girl into the spotlight.  But it was well worth the effort.  Melissa is an amazing person who inspires the rest of us just by being herself.  Of course Melissa is very attractive, but she is also incredibly intelligent, sensitive and talented.   Currently she is juggling a day-job you have to be a super-brain to even understand, nutrition school, a successful photography career as well as being a full-time spanish-speaking-salsa-dancing honorary Moreno sister.  Yikes!! 

If you are interested in trying to keep up with Melissa, check out her stunning photography website and her newest venture — a nutrition blog called "Eat Your Colors!".  Although Melissa’s nutrition blog is new, I encourage you to check it out and become a follower.  Knowing Melissa, it will be filled with smart and practical information and advice. 

Melissa is strong and consistent as an athlete and never gives herself credit for the fine work she does in the gym. I don’t care what she says, her pull-ups are beautiful and beware of challenging her to a rowing contest….I love working out with Melissa, because she is truly supportive — her words of encouragement always leave you feeling stronger and even prettier than when you came in (thanks, Mel!).  Melissa is one of those wonderful women who is equally at ease as one of the guys or as your best girlfriend.  She has a great sense of humor, is a terrific listener and a ton of fun if you are fortunate enough to go out dancing with her.

Post reflections on Melissa to comments.

Name: Melissa A.
Height: 5’9"ish
Weight: 155lbs-ish
Age: 33-ish
Q: How long have you been a member at CFO?
A: Since early 2007.
Q: What is your day job?
A: Currently, I have a full-time job and am juggling two "sorta jobs" (photography and Nutrition school). My full-time job is as a Research Project Manager. My company makes neuroscience-based products that "re-wire" the brains of struggling students to process things better. It’s been very rewarding to hear stories over the years from students, parents, and teachers and to know we are making real differences in their lives. Despite all the good things about the job, I don’t think I am meant to sit behind a desk for the rest of my life. So over the last year, I’ve started to take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Q: What is your athletic background?
A: I was a pretty good gymnast….until I got too tall and started to repeatedly fracture my ankles during the tumbling routines. Handstand push-ups were nothing back then! Then I became a swimmer. And then I played tennis throughout college. JHU Blue Jays Tennis is where it’s at….didn’t you know?

Q: What is your favorite strength move?  

A: Trying to resist shaking my head at the Gold’s Gymmers every morning as I walk past them on my way to work. As for the other kind of strength, the stars I see after heavy deadlifts are my favorite kind.

Q: What is your favorite met-con?
A: I hold a special place in my heart for Michael. He has always been good to me and never, ever makes me do pull-ups.

Q: What is your proudest achievement?
A: Every time Brandon says "hi" to me.
Q: What is your most desired goal?
A: To get back to my fitness level about a year ago…and then take it up from there. Doing an unbroken Fran one day would be oh-so cool.

Rant or Rave:
RAVES:  Blinking one eye and no longer being able to keep up with Lydia at the gym. Blinking the other eye and seeing Tom on my computer screen take photos for HQ during the Games. You two both impress me for all sorts of reasons. I love how we don’t need fancy bathrooms or equipment. Michael G and his studliness. The Prowler! CFO being a place where everyone knows your name (right, JP?). I could go on…  

RANTS:  Seriously, it’s about time….It’s been way too long since I’ve been mentioned on the blog. I really miss the option of an afternoon weekend class. P-hole and MJJ each owe me a salsa dance. Tom, I thought the Shake Weight would help with my grip strength, but it hasn’t!

Important Stats:
I PR’d in Fran last week and it was all thanks to Mike’s training, which made the thrusters feel like nothing (never mind about the pull-ups!).

Comments: 21
Read More
Jul 28th, 2010

CrossFit HQ Videos Galore



CrossFit HQ has been pumping out a ton of great videos as of late.  And now they’ve created their own YouTube channel.  If you’ve ever tried to describe what CF is, you’ll know it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do.  Words somehow fall short.  The best thing to do is to actually have someone experience a CF workout; there’s no better description than actually doing a WOD.  Short of that, however, you can show someone what CF is.

The two videos above do a great job of showing what CF is about and seem to reinforce the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words.

Careful viewers will also notice that the friendly confines of CFO make an appearance in both videos (the parking lot mostly, but the gym makes an ever-so-quick appearance as well).

CFO Olympic Lifting Seminar

Per Jo Ann, there’s just one spot left in the CFO Olympic Lifting Workshop that Jo Ann and Max are doing this Sunday, August 1 from 9am to 1pm.  This will be a great opportunity to refine and improve your snatch and clean-and-jerk technique.  To claim that final spot, go here:

Scheduling Note for Saturday, August 7

Due to the Robb Wolf seminar here on Saturday, August 7, we’re going to be taking it to the track.  We’ll be holding workouts at the Piedmont High Track at 8am, 9am, and 10am (same as normal).  This will be a great mixture of speed training and conditioning work!

Comments: 3
Read More
Jul 27th, 2010

Potpourri of Random Blog Topics


Polly at the top of a push-up at the Games (in CFO shorts no less)

A slow news day here at CFO, so without further ado, a few items of note….

Stephen Conn Link of the Week

For careful readers of the CFO blog, and in particular, the comments, you’ll know that Stephen posts some really interesting links on a regular basis, often times video links.  Here’s one of his recent contributions, this time having to do with TURF dancing in Oakland:

Olympic Lifting Seminar with Jo Ann & Max

Just a quick reminder, there are two spots left in the Olympic Lifting seminar at CFO this Saturday from 9am to 1pm.  This seminar will cover the snatch and clean-and-jerk and will be coached by Jo Ann Arnold and Max Aita.  The cost is $150.

For more information, and to enroll, go here:

Charles Staley Seminar at Diablo CrossFit

Jeremy Jones, one of the owners and head coaches at Diablo CrossFit, asked me to let everyone know that they’re holding a two-day seminar on Sat July 31 and Sun Aug 1 with strength and conditioning coach Charles Staley (of Escalating Density Training fame, among other things).

Full information on the seminar can be found here:

Comments: 10
Read More
Jul 26th, 2010

2 New Farmers Markets in Our Hood!


I’m happy to announce that there are 2 brand new farmers markets that just sprouted up near CFO!  Both of these markets are tiny but offer a lot in the way of organic, local, and affordable produce and are conveniently located right in your gym’s backyard.  In case you haven’t noticed the florescent pink fliers in the waiting room, one is a Thursday market from 12 noon – 7 pm on Haven St adjacent to Emeryville City Hall.  You can check out the vendors by logging onto their webpage. The other is called Phat Beet Farmers Market.  It’s a Saturday market located at 5715 Market St (where Market meets Adeline st) and it runs from 9am-2pm. Learn more about Phat Beets market at their website. Next time you drop in for a class, think about stopping by one of these nearby markets and support your local farmers! 

I also want to share with you a FREE produce giveaway that happens every Monday in West Berkeley.  As many of you already know, I work as a health educator at a local community health clinic that serves a predominantly uninsured, low-income, underserved population in West Berkeley.  Just a few weeks into my job I realized that if I was ever going to get anyone to eat better, I had to find a way to make fresh food accessible to them.  For free!  With the help of some amazing volunteers, last summer we kicked off a free produce giveaway at the clinic.  Every Sunday, we go to the Temescal Farmer’s Market and pick up donations from the vendors.  Happy Boy and Pinnacle Farms are some of our biggest donors.  Then on Mondays, from 9-11am we give it away to our patients and anyone else who happens to be in the neighborhood.  The patients love it and the community does, too!  The clinic is located at 2031 6th Street in Berkeley.  Please pass this information along to any friends/families in need.

If you’d like to get involved with the produce giveaway either by volunteering your time or donating from your own home garden, talk to me at the gym or send me an email.  

Go to Local to enter your zip code and find a market near you.

Comments: 3
Read More
Jul 25th, 2010

BBQ and Pool Party Tomorrow!


Will Mr. Pin show up in his bathing suit tomorrow?

The pool party and barbecue starts tomorrow at 12 p.m.!  Bring yourself, your family, your bathing suit and some kind of food or drink to share to the Hiller Highlands Country Club. 

Directions:  Google Map of Hiller Highlands Country Club



Matt putting his active shoulder position to work.

I also want to point out another great video by Kelly Starrett about the "active shoulder" position from  It is worth watching–I think we will be using this position in our next cycle.

Comments: 5
Read More
Jul 24th, 2010

The Importance of Technique

Reminder: Tomorrow, Sunday, July 24th, will be the CFO Swim and Barbecue Party. If you are a CFO member, come. It will be fun. Bring friends and family. It is taking place, thanks to Brad’s generosity, at the Hiller Highlands Country Club.

Chris Riley Deadlift 500 lbs

Chris Riley of the Wichita Falls Athletic Club deadlifting 500 pounds with a double overhand grip for a set of five. Note that his back is essentially in a neutral position, even at this weight.

Moving correctly in the gym can result in improved performance and can help prevent injury. While it is true that strength will often overcome lack of technique, that is not a recipe for success. Likewise, a myopic focus only on technique will not continue to yield gains either. We’ve already discussed strength in two previous articles, so now it is time to consider form.

Comments: 3
Category: Fitness
Read More
Jul 23rd, 2010

Don’t Get Too Comfy on That Couch


Photo from NY Times Article

Thanks to Papa Brad for passing along the following article from the NY Times, titled "The Men Who Stare at Screens."  The article sheds light on a growing body of research that suggests that sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to some serious health issues (such as increasing the risk for heart disease).  What’s interesting is that according to the article, even healthy amounts of exercise cannot undo the harm caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time, day after day, week after week.

The take-home point:  get up and move during the day!  It doesn’t have to be anything like a CF WOD; it can be as simple as walking around the block to clear your head.  Think low intensity here.

Read the full article here:

Comments: 7
Read More
Jul 22nd, 2010

Is CrossFit a Sport?

team cfo.jpg

Team CFO in the heat of competition

The 2010 CrossFit Games were just held at a major sports center in LA.  There were athletes, sponsors, a scoring system, even commentators and media coverage, not to mention a serious competitive spirit which permeated the entire 3-day event.

Given these facts, I would tend to argue that yes, it is a sport.  But is it a sport for you?  Do you come to CFO to compete or do you come for some other reason?  Maybe to stay fit, lose weight, get strong, rehab an injury, breathe chalk and listen to bad ’80s metal? 

I am guessing that the majority of us regular folk do not perceive CrossFit as a sport.  But maybe it would be fun to go there? You might not be ready to quit your job and train full time to go to the 2011 CrossFit Games and let’s face it, not all of us are going to be able to join Team CFO, but there are certainly other options for competing at the ‘sport of fitness"  We really do it every day if you think about it.  We compete against ourselves – checking our books for that last back squat number or Helen time and we compete against one another – we all see those names and number on the board next to ours.

But what else?  How about some smaller competitions?  More local and accessible to all levels of fitness?  We’ve done it before in the form of Bay Area "Throwdowns" and other gyms in the area have held some pretty fun events too, such as a "Fran-Off" and "Bad Girls Don’t Cry".  Have you competed in any of these?  What did you think?  Any ideas for a competition hosted by CFO?

Post to comments your thoughts on CrossFit as a competitive sport and what that should look like for you.

Comments: 10
Read More
Page 1 of 41234