Monthly Archives: January 2011
Jan 31st, 2011

Two Upcoming Events at Local CF Gyms


Our evening group class schedule is 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm starting Monday, January 31.


We have a ton of stuff going on at CFO over the next month; just take a look at our Upcoming Events sidebar to the left!

That being said, I wanted to take a quick moment to write about another couple of cool events happening over the next couple of weeks at some nearby CF gyms.

5/3/1 Seminar at CF Pleasanton

Jim Wendler, creator of the wildly popular 5/3/1 strength training program will be on hand at CF Pleasanton on Saturday, February 5th.  The seminar starts at 9am.  Jim will be covering various topics related to strength training such as program design and philosophy.

This will be Jim’s first-ever west coast seminar.  To learn more about the seminar, and to register, go here (CF Pleasanton’s website).

TJ’s Gym NorCal 40s Competition

I know at least one CFOer has already committed to the upcoming NorCal 40s Competition at TJ’s Gym, but it would be great if we could get more of our 40-somethings out there testing their level of fitness against fellow 40-year-olds.  Just do it!

The competition takes place on Sunday, February 13, beginning at 8am.  Registration closes this Saturday, February 5, though, so be sure and get on it.  Workouts will be announced on Wednesday, February 9.

Go here to read more about the competition and to register:  NorCal 40s Competition at TJ’s Gym

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Jan 30th, 2011

Olympic Weightlifting Seminar at CFO Sun Feb 20 at 11am!


Raph has come a long way since this picture was taken about a year ago

We’re excited to announce that CFO Olympic Weightlifting Coaches Jo Ann Arnold and Max Aita are going to be holding another Olympic Lifting Seminar here at CFO on February 20.

But before we get to the particulars of the seminar, I wanted to quickly spotlight one of the lifters who’s benefited tremendously from the coaching of Jo Ann and Max:  Raph!  Today Raph competed in the 2011 Friendly City Open, an Olympic weightlifting meet at the Myles Ahead Gym in Rohnert Park.  His best snatch was 100 kg (220 lbs) and his best clean-and-jerk was 121 kg (266 lbs), for a total of 221 kg (486 lbs).  This is a 14 kg (31 lb) improvement over his last competition in November.  Strong work!

And now it’s your turn to learn how to improve your snatch and clean-and-jerk.  Jo Ann and Max will be holding their seminar on Sunday, February 20 from 11am to 4pm.  The cost of the seminar is $175.  Register for the seminar here:

About the seminar:

Learn a fast, effective way to improve your Olympic Lifting Skills. This clinic is excellent for people both interested in improving their CrossFit or for those interested in the Sport of Weightlifting.  It is intended for lifters of all levels, from novice to advanced. 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.

This clinic is limited to 12 people, so please register early.

About the coaches:

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 USAW Certified Coach. He also teaches Olympic Weightlifting at United Barbell in San Francisco.  Max 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 USA Weightlifting Certified Coach and currently teaches the Olympic Weightlifting class at CrossFit Oakland.

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Jan 29th, 2011

Power Rack


The Rogue R-4

Right around the New Year, CrossFit Oakland received a shipment of matte black steel that weighed a few hundred pounds. After a short time, said steel was assembled and bolted to the floor on the side of the Sayoc Room to serve as a proper squat rack for the gym. The squat rack was a gift from David Sally, Mike Minium, and me to CrossFit Oakland. We wanted to provide an area where people could work on strength without getting in the way of the normally scheduled CrossFit classes.

In addition to making some room on the main gym floor, the rack provides a few niceties not previously available. The assembly provides extra stability when handling heavier weights and has a built-in set of safety chains to allow for a graceful exit from a failed squat. The chains also provide the ability for trainees to work on rack pulls, or barbell shrugs, should they desire to do so. The rack has precision-cut holes along the main uprights to allow for fine height adjustments of the j-hooks that hold the bar. Those looking to work on bench presses need only grab one of the flat benches from out on the floor and bring it into the rack to have a marvelously solid station from which to work. Holes are also drilled along the bottom and top beams to allow for band pegs. Devotees of Westside Barbell training methods will appreciate that capability. Lastly, the cross members at the top of the rack can be used as pullup bars, including the larger-than-normal diameter pullup bar in the back. Of course, we have lots and lots of pullup bars at CFO thanks to Daniel Hester’s amazing fabrication skills, so this is just icing on the cake.

The rack is open to all CFO members that want to use it. It is not really intended to be a go-to choice for regular CrossFit workouts, but for those trainees that want to train their lifts, it is patiently waiting in the next room. Enjoy the rack and take good care of it. We are excited that it is here.

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Category: Fitness
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Jan 28th, 2011

Track Workout This Saturday Jan 29 at 2pm


Brandon, Candace, and Manwell getting their sprint on

We’re going to be holding our first track workout this Saturday, January 29 at 2pm.  We’ll be doing sprints of various lengths at the Piedmont High School track.

Here’s the workout:

3 – 400m Runs (3 Minutes Rest)
2 – 300m Runs (2 Minutes Rest)
1 – 200m Run (1 Minute Rest)

Google Map:  Piedmont High Track

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Jan 27th, 2011

R.I.P. Father of Modern Fitness!

jack lalanne.jpg

Thanks for everything, Jack. Happy travels to that big gym in the sky!

Jack Lalanne died Sunday of respiratory failure at his home in Morro Bay, CA at the ripe old age of 96. Among other things, Lalanne was known as ‘the Founder of Modern Physical Fitness’.

Lalanne actually grew up right here in the Bay Area.  After living his child-hood as a self-proclaimed junk-food addict and "wreck", he began to turn his life around after his mother took him to hear a nutrition guru when he was only 15.  He dropped out of school, worked out at the Berkeley YMCA and opened his first gym in an old office building in downtown Oakland when he was 21 (that part is super-cool).

Doubtless, we all owe Mr. Lalanne a debt of gratitude for not listening to his doctors who told him that lifting weights would give him a heart attack and kill his sex drive.  You can read more about his life in this nicely written piece in Sunday’s NY Times.  

Thanks to Rob H. who sent over Jack Lalanne’s Top 10 Health Habits, at least according to a blog called The Daily Beast:

1. Get used to waking up early—really early. For years, Jack LaLanne began each day not long after the previous night’s bar crowd was stumbling home, rising at 4 a.m. to start his daily workout regimen. He started sleeping in until 5 a.m. once he hit his twilight years.

2. Don’t skip the cardio. Though he was known for his weight training, after he pumped his iron, LaLanne would go for a 30-minute run, followed by a 30-minute swim either against a current or restrained in place by a belt.

3. Eat twice a day. LaLanne consumed exactly two meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was taken late in the morning after his workout and usually consisted of “several hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk, and seasonal fruit.” Dinner was more egg whites, salad, and fish. Snacks were strictly verboten.

4. No meat, either. Fish was pretty much the only animal LaLanne ate. (His New York Times obit says he occasionally enjoyed a roast turkey sandwich, though LaLanne has been quoted as saying that he never touched the stuff.)

5. Kick the sugar habit. Jack LaLanne never ate a Twinkie—in part because the last time he ate a dessert (in 1929) the iconic junk food hadn’t been invented yet.

6. Stop cooking everything. The raw-food diet isn’t just the province of earthy neo-hippie—bodybuilder LaLanne ate at least 10 raw, fresh vegetables every day.

7. Make sure it tastes bad. LaLanne passed on processed foods. "If man makes it," he liked to say, "don’t eat it." But even more draconian was his stance on flavor: “If it tastes good,” he ordered, “spit it out.”

8. Don’t believe the vitamins-are-all-hype hype. LaLanne filled his diet with vitamin supplements—40 to 50 of them, he once told Larry King—that spanned the alphabet “from A to Z,” plus various minerals and enzymes. “If you don’t take vitamins on a regular basis it’s like going to bed with a rattlesnake,” he declared, “it’s going to get you.”

9. Exercise the whole body. “There are 640 muscles in the human body,” LaLanne said, “and I take every one of them into account as I plan each exercise routine.”

10. No matter who you are, you’ve got to work out. LaLanne revolutionized fitness by advocating weight training for women, but he didn’t stop there. He insisted that exercise was for everyone, from the disabled to the elderly. “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” he liked to say. “Inactivity is the killer, and remember, it’s never too late.”

Post thoughts on Jack Lalanne (and/or his Health Habits) to comments. 

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Jan 26th, 2011

CFO Board Shorts


The Official CFO Board Short

In talking with Tami, our very own WOD Killa, she’s mentioned that a number of you have expressed interest in putting together an order for the CFO board shorts that everyone on Team CFO wore in last year’s CrossFit Games.  I can vouch for the quality of the shorts.  They’re super comfortable and can easily stand up to the battery of movements you’ll do in a typical CF WOD.

And what better way to represent CFO in the upcoming Femme Fit and CF Games Sectional competitions!

The shorts cost $40.  If you’d like to get in on the order, either say so in comments or email us at

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Jan 24th, 2011

Paleo Challenge WOD

10 Tips When Eating Paleo (Ignore tip #4 for the duration of the Paleo Challenge)

The Paleo Challenge starts in just one week!  We will be holding a kick-off workout that will be re-tested at the completion of the Challenge.  The female and male with the biggest improvement on their time will win the cash prize. 

The workout will be held at 11am on Saturday, January 29 at CFO.  Stick around for a post-workout Q-and-A and a survival packet (recipes, shopping guide, and resource list).  Please be sure to bring your $10 buy-in if you’re interested in participating in the Paleo Challenge. If you’re unable to make it to the kick-off WOD but still want to participate in the Challenge, feel free to do the workout anytime before February 1st and record your time.  

The Paleo Challenge WOD:

3 Rounds for Time:
500M Row
12 Shoulder-to-Overhead @ 50% bodyweight
21 Box Jumps (22"/20")

This workout is inspired by the workout "Christine".  We wanted to chose a workout with a barbell movement, a bodyweight exercise, and a metabolic component that everyone could do without scaling.  Enjoy!

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Jan 23rd, 2011

History of Weightlifting Video

This is a really interesting video about the history of weightlifting from Bodytribe Fitness (a gym in Sacramento; I have included a link to their site because there is a lot of good information on it.)  This video is a little long, but it does feature Jim Schmitz, a cat, and some really good lifting technique and is totally worth your time.  Thanks to Crossfit One World for pointing it out!

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Jan 22nd, 2011


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Sectionals are coming. Persistence yields results.

Last week we discussed coming back after a training layoff and this week we’ll provide some inspiration to avoid layoffs. As has often been mentioned, progress comes quickly in the beginning of any effective exercise program.  Once those gains have been realized, it becomes more difficult to improve. When this occurs, frustration and stagnation are often the result.

There are two big variables to manipulate when training. They are stress and recovery. Effective training involves stressing the body sufficiently to disrupt homeostasis. The body then repairs itself and becomes slightly stronger than before. This was discussed in greater detail back in June. If progress ceases to occur, it is important to look into recovery. Are food and rest sufficient to build back up after training? If so, are training stresses being properly applied? Is the trainee beating themselves into submission day after day? Is the trainee not working out enough?

Of great importance is simply showing up. Training variables can be manipulated, but sweat equity is incredibly important. Not every workout will result in a new PR. Sometimes regressions will occur. I have more workouts than I would like to admit where I do not meet my goals for the day. Each workout, however, is not particularly important on its own. Instead, it is the sum of weeks and months of hard work that yields progress. If the dedication needed to stick to a plan are lacking, then worrying about the details of programming is time that is wasted.

Take any physical parameter that is desired (strength, endurance, power, etc…) and it becomes apparent that these qualities are the result of slow, patient, difficult exertion. The highly quotable Jim Wendler had this to say about the accomplishments of the powerlifters as Westside Barbell, a well-known gym in Ohio of which he was also a part, "If you want to look at the success of Westside, don’t look at the program. Look at the attitude and the expectations of the lifters."  Not every workout will feel good and not every workout will be satisfying. Despite that, consistently chipping away at weakness will yield results. Once consistency is established, then the other variables can be considered again.

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Category: Fitness
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