Monthly Archives: August 2010
Aug 31st, 2010

Olympic Weightlifting Workshops in September


The receiving position of the snatch, one of the two lifts contested in Olympic weightlifting

We’re excited to announce two upcoming Olympic lifting seminars that will be happening at CFO in the month of September.  Read on for more information.

What:  Olympic Weightlifting Workshop Part I*
When:  Sunday, September 19th, 9am-3pm
Where:  CrossFit Oakland
Cost:  $175

To register:
Learn a fast, effective way to improve your Oly Lifting Skills.  This workshop is excellent for people both interested in improving their CrossFit or for those interested in the Sport of Weightlifting.
Learn the technique of the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.  Get hands on instruction from Coaches Max Aita and Jo Ann Arnold.  Be prepared to workout; bring your lifting shoes if you have them.
Max Aita has been practicing Olympic Weightlifting as both an athlete and coach for over ten years.  Max has studied under many highly successful coaches, including Ivan Abadjiev (the former Bulgarian national coach), previous Olympians, and some of the most successful US Coaches, such as Steve Gough and Glenn Pendlay. He currently trains and works in San Ramon, CA and is a USA Weightlifting Certified Coach.  He has trained several national medalists, as well as national record-holders.
Jo Ann Arnold has been competing in Olympic Weightlifting since 2003. She is a national medalist and currently holds both Snatch and Clean & Jerk records in the Pacific Weightlifting Association.  She was a Track & Field and Cross Country athlete for over a decade and competed for UCLA.  Jo Ann is a USAW Certified Coach and currently teaches the Olympic Weightlifting class at CFO.
This Workshop is limited to 12 people, so please sign up early.  The deadline for registration is Monday, September 13th.
*Workshop Part I satisfies the normal pre-requisite (minimum of 2 one-on-one sessions) to learn the positions for the lifts, for the weekly CFO Oly Class.

What:  Olympic Weightlifting Workshop Part II – Learn to Teach the Lifts
When:  Sunday, September 26th, 9am-1pm
Where:  Crossfit Oakland
Cost:  $175

To register:
Part II** is a Continuation Course specifically designed for trainers and coaches who are interested in learning to teach the Olympic Lifts.  Coaches Max Aita and Jo Ann Arnold will also give instruction on incorporating the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk into training programs.
This Workshop is limited to 12 people, so please sign up early.  The deadline for registration is Monday, September 20th.
**Part I is a pre-requisite for Part II (Total Cost for both = $350)

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Aug 30th, 2010

Time to Get Creative!

Our 30-day Paleo challenge starts in just 3 days!  As of yesterday, there are a total of 29 participants signed up-the most participants in a CFO challenge yet!  As the 1st fast approaches start thinking about how you’ll be replacing your favorite non-paleo foods like your morning toast and yogurt parfiet. One of my favorite substitutes for tortillas are nori sheets.  You can use a nori sheet (you can buy nori sheets at Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods) in place of a tortilla for a fast and easy breakfast burrito or a snack roll, check out this recipe from The Veggie Woman’s Guide to Health:


Nori Snack Roll

1 Nori sheet (the kind used for sushi rolls)
1-2 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, or tahini; my favorite is cashew butter)
1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3-1/4 carrot cut thinly lengthwise


  1. Place the nori sheet on a cutting board and spread a thin layer of nut butter on the sheet but not all the way to the edges.
  2. Sprinkle the shredded coconut across the nut butter and pat gently.
  3. Layer the carrots on top of the coconut-butter layer across a 1/3 of the nori sheet. 
  4. Carefully roll the nori sheet over the stuffing. Seal the roll by wetting the edge of the sheet with a little water and pressing it to itself as you roll.
  5. With a serrated knife, cut the roll into bite-sized sections.


P.S. If you’ don’t yet have a partner for the challenge please check out the CFO forum here: (must be a CFO member to view)

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Aug 29th, 2010

Pre-Workout Mobility

Recently we have given you a lot of information to you about how to stretch and foam roll after you workout.  It is also really important to warm up properly before you work out.  Ideally, a well designed warm-up should increase your core temperature, muscle temperature and blood flow and take all of your joints through a dynamic range of motion.  After you have done this general warm-up, you would then proceed with a specific warm up that would incorporate movements similar to the movements of the workout you will be doing in that training session.

Back in the old days, we ALWAYS did mobility before we did anything else.  NOW we assume you have done the mobility exercises before the class warm-up, so we don’t usually include them anymore.  The problem is, I rarely see people doing arm circles and leg swings before class, so I thought I would post this video as a reminder:

This video goes through a basic mobility routine that takes only 3 minutes.  It is really very simple–some arms, chest, shoulders, hips, legs and ankles.  Do these before class begins and inchworms, dislocates, groiners etc. should feel better and you will actually get more out of these types of exercises.

I also thought this article was interesting.  It is Greg Everett’s description of how he warms up to squat.  It is reminiscent of Tom’s post where he wrote about warming up for specific lifts, but Everett has a few twists in his personal warm-up.

I know some of you have certain movements that you must do in your warm-ups and some of you won’t do certain movements until later in the warm-up.  Post your likes and dislikes to comments.

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Aug 28th, 2010

Novices and Linear Progressions

Rita of CrossFit One World

Rita of CrossFit One World cleaning well over bodyweight at the NorCal Sectionals.

Many people have some experience lifting weights and might have even been members of gyms for many years. Not surprisingly when asked to rate themselves as novice, intermediate, or advanced strength athletes, a great number would choose intermediate or advanced as appropriate descriptors. However, these terms have more specific definitions when applied to strength training. The fact is that the vast majority of trainees are novices, including many that regularly work out in CrossFit gyms. Being a novice is not something to be upset about, however. It simply reflects how quickly a trainee can recover from a bout of training. With that in mind, let’s further discuss why being a novice is a good thing.

Comments: 6
Category: Fitness
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Aug 27th, 2010

Mobility Work

The inimitable K-Star educating us on the importance of hip mobility

Many of you are already hip to the news that Kelly Starrett (K-Star), San Francisco CrossFit, has started up a new blog on mobility, which is awesome.  I wanted to throw a couple more resources your way that are specifically related to shoulder mobility.  Make use of all of these great resources.  Remember, the more you take care of your body (proper recovery, attention to mobility, solid nutrition), the harder you can push it and the better your results will be.

K-Star Daily Mobility WOD Blog

K-Star has given us a great gift with his new blog.  He breaks mobility down into simple movements that you can rotate through on a daily basis.  Think simplicity and time efficiency.  You are not going to be able to address every mobility issue you have in one session (unless you have hours of time to burn), but you can take 10 minutes a day to work on one area.  And even better, you don’t need to know what to do initially; you can simply do the Mobility WOD that K-Star posts.  Eventually, though, my guess is you’ll want to take the information Kelly is providing and be able to craft your own Mobility WODs that you can roll through on a daily basis.

Bookmark his blog now:

Mark’s Daily Apple on Shoulder Mobility and Scapular Stability

As many of you already know, I’m a big fan of Mark’s Daily Apple.  The other day I came across this gem that Mark wrote on shoulder mobility.

A couple excerpts:

"More than perhaps any other joint in our bodies, the shoulders demand close and careful attention. We use them on a daily basis and they travel a wide-ranging path; it’s in our best interest to assure that the path is the one of least resistance."

"What I’m trying to say is this: you may be neglecting your shoulders and putting them at risk, even if you focus on only the classic multi-joint, compound exercises, like overhead presses and pull-ups, and even if you’re using good form."

Read the full article:

Diesel Crew Shoulder Mobility Complexes

In that same article from Mark’s Daily Apple, there’s a link to a Diesel Crew video that shows a boatload of shoulder-related complexes that you can do to increase mobility and stability about that joint.  Many of them will be familiar to you, since we often do some of them in our warm-ups.  The video is 10 minutes in length, so break it up into pieces.  In my opinion, you don’t necessarily need to do the routines exactly as written.  Do what you have time to do and hit a couple of these movements after any upper-body-oriented workouts we do (in addition to rolling!).  Again, think simplicity and time efficiency.

Here’s the video:

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Aug 26th, 2010

You are now entering… The Discomfort Zone



Todd working through his discomfort

Next week we will get back to our beloved Athlete Profiles, but tonight I’d like to share a article in The Onion that caught my eye:

Report: 10 Million Killed Annually By Stepping Out Of Comfort Zones
August 24, 2010 | ISSUE 46•34
WASHINGTON—A new report published this week by the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that more than 10 million Americans are violently killed each year while attempting to break away from their regular everyday routines and try something new. "We found that getting out of your comfort zone and facing your fears resulted in premature death nearly 78 percent of the time," HHS researcher Madeline Hersh said. "People always ask themselves, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Well, according to our research, anything from being bitten by a poisonous snake to dying in a hot-air balloon crash can happen." The report found that the safest individuals were those who surrendered to the soul-crushing monotony of habit and then convinced themselves that they had things pretty good

Of course it is The Onion and is therefore meant to be funny and is – mostly because it is based in truth.  Maybe I am getting old, or maybe it is living among the privileged and entitled, but I have found a disturbing trend of folks getting way too comfortable being comfortable.  Taking the path of least resistance is the way to go – if it hurts, take a pill.  If you feel bad, blame someone else.  If you behave badly, you must have a disorder (take a pill!). If you want to look better, find a top-notch plastic surgeon (no offense, Dr Ben!). If you want to be fit, go on a run or a yoga class – after which you will feel great!

We at CFO are bucking this trend and I truly believe that this is one of the many appealing aspects about our crazy workouts and lifestyle.  Take those nasty rope-burn scars we are all sporting or the hands that can only describe as ‘trashed’ or how about simply realizing that pretty much every day brings some brand of muscle soreness?  And if that isn’t enough, we must further punish ourselves by abstaining from all sorts of yummy treats with No-Sugar and Paleo challenges.  Being truly fit and healthy and reaching your genetic potential takes hard work, discipline and some sacrifice and yes, some discomfort.  And I have to admit, all of this pain and deprivation makes me feel proud, maybe even a wee bit superior (you should have seen the bragging that went on at the playground the first time I tore open my hands – yuck!).  Sounds pretty crazy to most…

There are many who think what we do at CFO is dangerous and that we could get hurt doing it, etc. and that is absolutely true.  I sustained my most serious injuring to date doing this stuff (improperly) and just about everyone in the gym has had an boo-boo or two that has required some time-off and/or rehab.  Yes, we need to be safe and do everything to prevent injury – your trainers are absolutely dedicated to this end, but I have found that nothing scares me as much as the slow death of a sedentary life-style and bad nutrition. Stepping outside your comfort zone may very well ‘kill’ you, but I’d rather die pursing discomfort than slowly disintegrate in comfort.

Share your thoughts on your own Discomfort Zone in comments.

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Aug 25th, 2010

Upcoming September CFO Seminars


Steve P pulling a few strokes on the C2 rower at the Masters competition in Irvine, CA

I wanted to give you all a heads-up on some seminars we have going on at CFO in September.  One of them is a rowing seminar and one is an Olympic Lifting seminar (technically, it’s two seminars on Olympic Lifting).

Rowing Seminar with Kelly Powers

We’re psyched to have fellow CFOer Kelly Powers on hand to be able to instruct us on the finer points of rowing on that dreaded Concept2 Model D rower (or instrument of torture, if you prefer).  Besides being a great instructor, she’s a master-level rower in her own right.  Even better, this seminar is free to CFO members ($10 for those who are not a part of CFO).  The seminar is going down on Saturday, September 18, from 2pm to 4pm. 

I can’t encourage you enough to come and participate in this seminar.  And it’s timely as well, since the following Saturday we’ll be doing Fight Gone Bad (nothing like getting a few extra calories on the rower to bump up your FGB score)!

And for the Facebook crowd out there, you can go here to let us know that you’re coming to the seminar:

Olympic Lifting Seminar with Jo Ann Arnold and Max Aita

After the success of the first Olympic Lifting Seminar that Jo Ann and Max put on in August, we’re pleased to announce that Jo Ann and Max will be holding another two seminars in September, each priced at $175.  The seminars are limited to 12 people.

The first seminar, Olympic Lifting Seminar A, is designed for those who want to learn how to perform and refine your technique in the Olympic lifts, the Snatch and Clean-and-Jerk.  This is a hands-on seminar.  Come ready to lift and bring lifting shoes if you have them.  This seminar runs from 9am to 3pm on Sunday, September 19.

The second seminar, Olympic Lifting Seminar B, is designed for those who want to learn how to teach the Olympic Lifts.  You need to have completed Olympic Lifting Seminar A prior to being able to take Olympic Lifting Seminar B.  This seminar runs from 9am to 1pm on Sunday, September 26.

Get some!

Good Picture of Foot Positioning in Rope Climb

There’s a great picture of Rob Orlando from climbing the rope in the CF games.  It’s a nice example of how to clamp the feet.  You’ll do well to learn and employ this technique when climbing.  Rope burn will be a thing of the past.

Check out the picture:

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Aug 24th, 2010

Tough Mudder Headcount by Friday Aug 27!


After my initial post on the Tough Mudder last Saturday, a number of you expressed interest.  Now it’s time to sign your name on the dotted line, so to speak.

We need a firm commitment by this Friday, August 27.  We have to do this because registration slots are running out (less than 200 spots left).  Once you’re in, you’re in.  Final deal.

So either reply in comments or send us an email at with your commitment.  I need to hear from Title 9 team members as well.  The goal is to get at least two teams, so that we can group according to fitness level and organize a training plan.

Let’s get it on!

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Aug 23rd, 2010

Paleolicious Kick-Off Party

Connie at Whiteboard

Thanks to everyone who came out to the kick-off party and Q & A tonight.  It was a great turnout and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.  We’ll be keeping track of everyone’s progress, as well as sharing recipes and any other pertinent information here on the blog, particularly on our members-only message board.

And let me know if you’re not yet teamed up with a partner.  We can take care of that.  And don’t forget to take your four "before" pictures!

Salmon Pate
1 can of salmon
2 garlic cloves
juice from 1 lemon 
1/3 of an onion
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbs sesame tahini
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Directions: Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You can use it as a dip or spread it on lettuce leaves, red pepper slices or celery. It’s also great on on top of a salad. This is an easy 5 min meal that actually tastes really good.

Please share your favorite Paleo recipe in comments (especially Melissa, with her delicious chia pudding!).

Ready for Paleo

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Aug 22nd, 2010

3 Upcoming Events for You to Participate In


I wanted to highlight three opportunities to put your training to the test that are coming up in the next few months.  Training in the gym is valuable and rewarding for a number of reasons, but let’s face it, every once in a while it’s fun to put that training to the test in something other than a CFO workout.  With that in mind, here are some options.

Weekend Warrior Series

The Weekend Warrior Series (WWS) is a series of CrossFit team competitions between affiliate gyms that will be going down in September and October.  Think co-ed softball meets CF.  We posted once before on this, but I’d like to seal the deal and get commitments from those of you who expressed interest.  I can guarantee the workouts will be a load of fun and you won’t regret participating.

For more information on the WWS, go here:

Fight Gone Bad

Every year, CFers from around the world participate in a workout known as Fight Gone Bad (FGB), which consists of three rounds of rowing, wall balls, box jumps, push presses, and sumo deadlift high-pulls.  Once you’ve done FGB, you’ll never forget it.

This year, the workout is going down on Saturday, September 25.  Besides just being a great workout, though, FGB is about raising funds for some very worthy causes, most notably the Livestrong Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

For more info on FGB (the workout and the cause), go here:

Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder is exactly what its name implies; it’s billed as the world’s toughest mud run, chock full of challenging obstacle courses along the 7-mile trail run.  It would be awesome to get a bunch of teams together (I’m willing to particpate).  The website claims that the Tough Mudder is the toughest one-day event on the planet (pretty bold words), so let’s show ’em what CFOers are made of.

Due to huge demand, the Tough Mudder is being held on consecutive days (you can register to compete on either day), Saturday October 9 and Sunday October 10.  Teams can be comprised of either 6-10 individuals or 11+ individuals.

Let’s do this!

More info:

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