Monthly Archives: November 2010
Nov 30th, 2010

Running, Jumping, and Throwing Your Way to Super Health in Your 90s and Beyond


A photo of Olga Kotelko long-jumping, from the NY Times

(Thanks to Papa Brad and Leka for turning me on to this article.)

It seems that more and more evidence is accumulating regarding the benefits of high-intensity (or at least higher-intensity) exercise well into the golden years of life.  It appears that a fairly strong case can be made for exercise improving one’s quality of life, and there may even be a case mounting for high-intensity exercise extending your life (although certainly not as strong a case at this point, since studies on the interaction of exercise and life extension are still a fairly new area for examination).

In the recent NY Times article "The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian" (see link at end of post), Olga Kotelko is profiled.  Olga, a masters track athlete who currently holds 23 world records, 17 of them in her current age category (90-94 years old), doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

The article is a fascinating portrait of Olga, but is also a nice discussion of high-intensity exercise and its benefits, as well as some discussion of what’s going on at a cellular level when it comes to aging.  The author of the article even points out that some scientists now view aging as a mitochondrial disease.

My favorite tangential excerpt had to do with a researcher’s findings on NASA and its astronauts, their loss of muscle while in space (a well-documented occurrence in space travel), and their suboptimal exercise program.  They were using a program centered around treadmills, a stationary bike, and a resistance machine. 

The researcher’s recommendation:  "Trappe concluded the regime wasn’t nearly hard-core enough. His prescription for NASA: heavier loads and explosive movements. ‘It’s pretty clear that intensity wins up there,’ he says."

The article is a great read, albeit a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and read up:

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Nov 29th, 2010

Why Plants Are (Usually) Better Than Drugs


The coca plant

I came across this article on the CF Sweatshop blog and thought I’d repost it here.

It’s written by Dr. Andrew Weil, who can be hit-and-miss with some of his recommendations (in my opinion) but pretty much hits the nail on the head in this piece.  The gist of his article is that plants and the interactions of the compounds found within are far too complex and synergistic to be boiled down to a single piece (or compound).  He thinks we should simply be sticking to eating the whole plant source.

The one exception to the rule may be if you’re highly deficient or out of whack in an extreme way (he uses anaphylactic shock as an example), then you’re probably better off with some drugs to mend you (epinephrine in the case of anaphylactic shock).

Although Dr. Weil is talking about plants (or botanicals), I think the same case could reasonably be made for vegetables.  You’re most likely better off eating a wide variety of vegetables to get your vitamins and minerals than relying on pharmaceutical versions of those same vitamins and minerals (there are exceptions, of course).

Here’s the full article:

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Nov 28th, 2010

What’s on your wish list?

Lydia and Tamara.jpg 

The gift giving season has arrived.  Now is the chance to let us all know what you want for the holidays.  Post your wishes to comments.

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Nov 27th, 2010

Eating to Grow – Part Deux

MJJ Shoulder Press

MJJ in the midst of a 5-repetition set of 200 pound shoulder presses

In the previous article I advanced the argument that putting on bodyweight, particularly muscular bodyweight, can provide for athletic performance improvement. We laid some groundwork and discussed basic physiology in that article. Today we’ll expand on those ideas and discuss some other points of interest.

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Category: Fitness
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Nov 26th, 2010

The Official Fran-Off Video

Reminder:  We’re running a weekend schedule tomorrow (Friday 11/26) with classes at 8am, 9am, and 10am only.  At 11am, we’ll be holding a free Community Day workout for all comers.  Bring friends and family!


Thanks to MJ for passing along the video above, which is the official Fran-Off video.  You’ll see a lot of familiar faces from CFO, as well as many, many other competitors.

And kudos to Stacy M, who filmed and edited the video, along with MJ (he provides the voice-over, in case you were wondering).

And big props to all who competed.  Multiple Frans in one day, even when tackled as a team, is no joke.

And Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Nov 25th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

CFO will be CLOSED TOMORROW 11/25 for the Thanksgiving holiday

CFO will be on WEEKEND SCHEDULE FRIDAY 11/26:  8am, 9am & 10am group classes 

A FREE COMMUNITY DAY WORKOUT will be held FRIDAY 11/26 @ 11am.  Feel free to bring friends and family to check out an fun, beginner-friendly group workout.

CFO will resume its regular schedule on Saturday 11/27 and Sunday 11/28.



‘Thankful’ doesn’t begin to cover it…

Thanksgiving is a day to ponder all of the wonderful things we have in this life.  This year, instead of simply listing that for which we are thankful, how about a little Holiday Haiku (a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons)?

Post your gratitude Haiku in comments.  C’mon, give it your best shot.  Once you start it’s kind of hard to stop.   

Here are some of the things at CFO for which I am grateful: 

Discomfort, suffering, pain
Stomachs rise and fall
Mental test – pass or failing?
Grunting, swearing, screaming, groans
Doubting inner strength
Finally getting through -TIME!

Straining on the pull-up bar
Clock ticks slowly on
Will the suff’ring ever end?

Group warm-up in a circle
PSR on cue
Three rounds, not twenty-seven
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Nov 24th, 2010

Fish Oil Order: Final Count


A couple Sundays ago, Connie put out feelers for another order of fish oil from the good folks at Green Pasture.  Before we can place the order, we need to collect payment for the fish oil.  The price is $39 for 5 or more bottles, and $34 if we order 12 or more bottles.  It looks like we had just enough orders placed to qualify for the lower price…hooray!

Brian C:  1 Bottle
Vee:  1 Bottle
Ann G:  1 Bottle
Maria:  1 Bottle
Galo:  1 Bottle
Colleen:  1 Bottle
Hannah:  1 Bottle
Sam:  1 Bottle
Candace:  1 Bottle
Al:  1 Bottle
Mini:  2 Bottles

If there’s anyone else who’d like to get in on the order, please say so in comments.

You can pay for your order with cash, check, or credit card.  If paying by check, make it out to CrossFit Oakland.

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Nov 23rd, 2010

Men’s Journal Article on Starting Strength


TAD is a fan of linear progression

Mark Rippetoe, and the training program he has crafted in Starting Strength to take advantage of the novice effect, recently got the mainstream treatment from Men’s Journal.

It’s great to see Rip’s program potentially reaching a broader audience, especially for those who are outside of the CF community, who could benefit from his program immensely.

The article has three key points:

  • Strength is at the heart of fitness, even if strength isn’t your primary pursuit.
  • The novice program, which exploits the novice effect (see link above), is simple and highly effective.
  • After spending an initial investment of time in dedicating yourself solely to the novice program, it’s easy to integrate other non-strength-related athletic pursuits back into your program.

Read the full article here:

And don’t forget, every Saturday at 4pm we have TomC, one of Mark Rippetoe’s master disciples, coaching everyone on the very same program discussed in the Men’s Journal article.  Look for the Strength Saturday class on our schedule here.

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Nov 22nd, 2010

Holiday Schedule


Mark at the top of a burpee

Here’s the lowdown on the holiday schedule at CFO in the final two months of 2010.

Thursday, November 25:  CFO is closed.  Connie will be at Lake Merritt (meet at the pull-up bars across from Gold’s Gym) at 9am and you’re all invited to join her.  It will be a 5k or 10k run, depending on how many trips around the lake you want to make.

Friday, November 26:  Weekend schedule, with 8am, 9am, and 10am classes.  We’ll also be holding at Community Day workout at 11am.

Thursday, December 9:  We’re holding our annual holiday party this evening, beginning at 6pm.  As such, there will be no evening classes.  We’ll still hold open gym from 3:30pm to 5pm.

Friday, December 24:  Weekend schedule, with 8am, 9am, and 10am classes.

Saturday, December 25:  CFO is closed.

Friday, December 31:  We’ll be running Murph this day and will be holding four 1.5-hour classes:  6am-7:30am, 8am-9:30am, 9:30am-11am, and 11am-12:30pm.  No other classes during the day.

Saturday, January 1:  10am group class; 11am Community Day workout.

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