Monthly Archives: October 2010
Oct 31st, 2010

Mobility Challenge Kick Off Tomorrow at 11 a.m.


Steve P. demonstrating his awesome hip flexibility.

The Mobility Challenge officially starts on Monday (November 1st), but tomorrow (Sunday) we will be meeting at 11 a.m. to take photos of your pre-mobolized self. 

In case you didn’t read the post last week, the mobility challenge involves stretching for 6-10 minutes a day for 30 days (following Kelly Starrett’s MoblityWod).  The person who makes the most progress throughout the month will win a trip to see Kelly Starrett!  

In other news, our team did well at the Weekend Warrior finals coming in third place overall. Send your love to our team to comments. 

Comments: 6
Read More
Oct 30th, 2010

CFO Rolls into the Weekend Warrior Playoffs

Justin Push Press

Justin performing one of many push presses at a recent competition

I am going to interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion about the front squat to briefly talk about Team CFO and the Weekend Warrior Playoffs going on this Saturday, October 30th. For those that don’t know, Mike, Lydia, Manwell, Candace, Brandon, and Justin spent a few Saturdays over the past two months competing against other gyms in Northern California. They have quietly propelled themselves to the top slot in Northern California. Tomorrow they will face off against the other top ranked teams for two, or possibly three workouts to decide who gets to claim victory in the series. Things kick off early on Saturday at San Carlos CrossFit. Details can be found on the Weekend Warrior page. I wish the best of luck to our competitors this weekend.

Since I am nothing if not repetitive, I would urge all of CFO’s members to find some athletic endeavor in which to compete. If there is some doubt about what to choose, pick a CrossFit event. There will be more of them coming up in months ahead. If last year is any guide, Sectionals for the CrossFit Games will start in February or March. Now is the time to work on weaknesses and engage in some smart, dedicated training. Getting to compete is an enriching experience. Participate early and often.

Comments: 7
Category: Fitness
Read More
Oct 29th, 2010

Got Rips? Try Switching Up Your Grip


Joey at the bottom of a pull-up

Some of you may have noticed the pull-up bar section closest to the roll-up door has been treated with a tackier surface (it’s a simple spray-on solution that dries in about a day).  We plan on rolling out that solution in the very near future to more of the pull-ups in order to help with pull-up bar slippage (but without resorting to tape).

That being said, there was recently an outstanding and free CrossFit Journal article published on preventing rips and tears when doing pull-ups.  In short, it comes down to how you grip the bar (the less palm on the bar, the better).  The author of the article makes a very important distinction between a training grip (used most of the time) and a competition grip (used far less frequently).

I strongly encourage you to read the full article here (chock full of pictures of how to hold the pull-up bar):

Comments: 14
Read More
Oct 28th, 2010

Spotlight: CFO Coaching


Trainer Dawn Miller, newest title: CSCS, taking it all seriously 

Did you know that the trainers at CFO are truly dedicated to being the best trainers they can be? This is not just a job to us, it is a pursuit of a passion. We know that coaching you to your fitness goals is the number one priority at the gym and we are continually working to better our craft.  

For instance, regular trainer meetings are held to collaborate on best practices and to make sure we are all serving the greatest good possible. In addition, the trainers at CFO pursue continuing education at every opportunity by attending workshops and certification seminars and even pursuing degrees that feed the ever increasing vault of knowledge at CFO.

This month we are entering the scary realm of peer evaluations, where we will expose ourselves to one another in an attempt to gain some real insight into our training and hopefully learn a little something new about ourselves.  We do this with an open mind and heart because we know that any chance to get better at coaching you is a chance too valuable to miss. Below are some of the criteria with which we will be evaluating one another.

Feel free to comment on these or to add your own in comments.

Qualities of a good trainer (according to one of the best in the business):

  1. Emotional engagement and flexibility in approach to dealing with people
  2. Organization/Time Management
  3. Technical Knowledge
  4. Attention to all people in class
  5. Taking care of the gym

Qualities of a good trainer according to the CFHQ (Level 2 certification test):

  1. Visual Perspicuity
  2. Knowledge of Movements
  3. Presence
  4. Attitude
  5. Management of a Group
  6. Demonstration 
Comments: 16
Read More
Oct 27th, 2010

The Ultimate Recovery Protocol: Sleep!


Get some sleep!

TomC has written several times on the importance of sleep in order to spur progress and make strength gains on his Friday night strength posts.  Yet a good night’s sleep is important for any type of training you do.  Simply put, if you don’t sleep, you’ll cease making progress.  Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but sooner or later, your progress will stall if you’re not getting enough sleep.

And even if you don’t care about your performance in the gym, lack of sleep has recently been implicated in loss of lean body mass (muscle), which you should definitely care about, especially as you age. 

Here’s an example of one such study:

Now, there are some definite issues with the study, namely that the diet protocol was a caloric restricted one, but it was the same for both groups, with the only difference being that one group slept 5.5 hours a night and the other group slept 8.5 hours a night.  The result:  the low-sleep group was unable to lose as much fat as the high-sleep group, and in addition, the low-sleep group lost more muscle mass than the high-sleep group.

(As a side note, I have issues with caloric restriction as a means for fat loss; see Good Calories, Bad Calories for a far more elaborate explanation than anything I could offer up.  I have a copy of the book if anyone would like to borrow it, in fact.)

So the answer is simple, get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and even more during winter months when it’s darker longer.

Don’t Forget About Naps

And if you have problems getting a full night’s sleep, try napping during the day to catch up on some quality sleep.  Below is an interesting article on napping (methods, benefits, etc.).  It’s chock full of interesting facts and has the added bonus of having a drawing of a really scary-looking man passed out on a couch (thanks to Nicole for passing it along).

Comments: 7
Read More
Oct 26th, 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Brian Wilson

 San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson being interviewed by Jim Rome

OK, so Brian Wilson isn’t actually a member of CFO, but he’s damn funny.  He’s a closer for the Giants (the pitcher who comes in at the end of a game to seal the deal, so to speak).  The clip above was shot a couple of months ago with sports talk show host Jim Rome.  I thought I’d throw it up in honor of the Giants recent victory over the Phillies, and also in honor of TomC.  Many of you may not be sports fans, but even if that’s the case, I’m hoping you’ll appreciate some of the humor in the interview.

Most sports interviews are an utter bore, with athletes taking themselves way too seriously and usually resorting to the tiredest cliches in the book.  It’s refreshing to see Wilson demonstrating a sense of humor (he seems like a different kind of guy, to put it mildly) and not taking himself too seriously.

What about you guys?  What public figures do you think make for great interviews?  Have any clips (keep them PG, please)?

And go Giants!

Comments: 11
Read More
Oct 24th, 2010

Mobility Wod Challenge–Updated Guidelines!

Cole performing a squat (no, I never taught him how to squat!)

I am posting this picture to show you that we all start with the ability to squat perfectly.  We lose this ability because we spend too much time sitting in chairs, get injured, simply don’t take our joints through full range of motion, and numerous other reasons mainly due to the non-physical lifestyle that we lead.  

This is why you should take on the mobility challenge.  The goal of this challenge is to take 4-10 minutes a day learning about your body and start taking care of it.  We all should be able to sit down in a squat ("ass to ankles" as K-Star puts it) for 5 minutes comfortably, be able to straighten our arms overhead without overarching the back, or lower into a dip without the shoulders rotating forward.  Whatever your issue is, you will discover it during the challenge and then be able to work on it so that you can become stronger, ache free, and a better athlete.

As you may or may not know, Kelly Starrett posts a "mobility wod" every day.  Each wod has a different focus and takes 4-10 minutes to complete.  On his blog, there is a video demonstration of each wod.

For our challenge, I thought we would start at the beginning of the Mobility Wod— August 22nd–and go for 30 days.

Each day in November, you will do the mobility wod for the day.  We will have it listed on the white board, or you can simply go to his blog to check it out.

CFO will be sponsoring the prize for the challenge–a trip to Kelly Starrett!  We will be performing several flexibility tests at the beginning of the month which we will then retest at the end of the month.  The person who has made the most progress on the flexibility tests will win the prize.   (I see your point, Brad; possibly the winner of the prize should be the person who has made the least progress.)

We will be having a  kick-off meeting next Sunday, October 31, at 11am, right after the last group class, to test everyone.  This is a great opportunity to go through some basic flexibility tests and find what you need to work on.  You can also wear your costume!  (If you cannot make the meeting, you can still enter the challenge.  Contact me for testing details.)

Comments: 18
Read More
Oct 23rd, 2010

High Bar Back Squat

Audra High Bar Back Squat

Audra from Catalyst Athletics performing a high bar back squat

We previously discussed the importance of the barbell squat in most serious training programs as well as the necessity to perform the squat to the proper depth. We are going to expand on those ideas and examine a few of the major squat variants and their characteristics.

When you put a bar across your back for the purpose of doing a squat, the most common location to set the bar is right on top of the trapezius muscles. This position is known as high bar placement and the decision to keep the bar there will directly influence how the squat will be performed. A high bar back squat is often referred to as an Olympic squat and, in keeping with its name, is the preferred squatting style for many who practice Olympic weightlifting.

Comments: Comments Off on High Bar Back Squat
Category: Fitness
Read More
Oct 22nd, 2010

Upcoming Events Galore!


JP, CFOer and Self-Defense Maestro

We have three upcoming events to highlight.

Sayoc NorCal Self & Family Protection Seminar

Reminder:  JP (Associate Instructor, Sayoc Kali), along with his instructor, Ricardo Kayanan (Master Rank instructor, Sayoc Kali), will be holding a self & family protection seminar this Saturday, October 23, from 11am to 1pm.

This seminar is tailored to those who have no previous martial arts experience! The goal is to provide each individual and/or couple with a better understanding of the reality… of protecting themselves, and a framework they can use to get on the SAME PAGE regarding safety.

For more info on the seminar, and to register for it, go here:

CFO Makes it to Weekend Warrior Series Playoffs!

For those of you who’ve been following Team CFO’s progress in the Weekend Warrior Series, you’ll be pleased to know that our team qualified for the playoffs, which will take place on Saturday, October 30.  The playoffs will take place at CrossFit San Carlos, and there will be three workouts done in a single-elimination format (meaning that if you lose, you’re out; if you win, you continue on to the next workout). 

The first workout starts around 7:30am (yep, an early wake-up call, for sure).  The event will run until around 4:30pm.

It would be awesome if we could get some home-town fans over there to support the team!

Second Annual Fran-Off

It’s that time again, Fran-Off time!  For those of you who were a part of the first Fran-Off last year (either as participants or as fans), you’ll remember what a blast it was.  Just like last year, Nabil will be hosting the competition at CrossFit Sweat Shop, right down the road from us in Walnut Creek.  Fran-Off will go down on Saturday, November 13, beginning at 10am.

Fran-Off is a 2-person team competition where teams will go head-to-head in Fran (21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups).  The winning team gets to split the $2,000 cash prize.

For more information, go to the blog:

Or visit the Fran-Off Facebook Page.

Comments: 7
Read More
Oct 21st, 2010

Holiday Spotlight – Halloween!


Mr & Mrs Hester lookin’ goooooood

Halloween is a week from this Sunday and while we won’t be hosting a party per se, we will be posting an extra spoooooky WOD and giving out prizes to the best male and best female costume.

Costumes will be judged by an esteemed panel based on creativity and must be worn during the workout to be considered.

Post your favorite Halloween treat to comments.

Comments: 5
Read More
Page 1 of 3123