Monthly Archives: February 2011
Feb 28th, 2011

The Big Poker Winners


Max and Jo Ann, the top two finishers in the CFO Poker Tourney

Thanks to all who came out and made our Poker & Game Night a blast.  CFO Olympic Weightlifting coaches Jo Ann & Max took first and second, respectively, with Stephen C taking third.

We had two tables going, the poker table and the Mexican Train table.  Some of us (in particular, those of us who went out early in poker) managed to play on both tables.

Let’s do it again soon!

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Feb 27th, 2011

Taking Care of Your Body


Just the other day, I heard a member say "How do I undo 20 years of bad posture, working at a desk, and not stretching after I work out?"  Clearly, taking the time to stretch after working out or perform small exercises to strengthen your weak spots does seem like a monumental task after you have already gone to work, completed your crossfit wod, fixed dinner, cleaned the house, put the kids to bed and whatever other else you do each day.  It may not matter now, but at some point, that shoulder that hurts occasionally will begin to throb while you are sleeping, or your knee the bothered you irregularly will start to hurt when you are walking up your stairs to bed.  

We all know what part of our body causes trouble, and many of us know what we need to do to avoid the pains we feel.  But most of us don’t do it.  Why is that?  I think it is amazing that most of us will push through an incredibly hard wod (sometimes without even warming up) and then not take 10 minutes to stretch to ensure that 10 years from now we will still be able to do that very same wod.
For those of you still reading, and are interested in working on your tight neck, here is a great post from United Barbell about taking care of your NECK.  It does have a MobilityWod video, but it isn’t very long and has some good exercises.  Here is also a post I did last year with some easy neck stretches to do after you have worked out.  Lastly, this is a lengthy post from EliteFTS with several videos on what to do for your TIGHT SHOULDERS.  Taking the time to watch the videos and write down the routine (and then actually do it) would be great for any of you with shoulder pain.  

Please post any successes you have had from stretching or rehab exercises to comments–it may inspire the rest of us to try it out!

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Feb 26th, 2011

Eating to Grow – Part Four


Meet Terry Dickman, of CrossFit Excel. He weighs 207 pounds, is in his fifties, and deadlifts 490 pounds.

Welcome to another post encouraging people to eat. If you have not yet read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, now would be a good time to do so. In today’s entry, we are going to address a population that is frequently absent from discussions of weight gain – older trainees. The message is ultimately the same as for other populations. Strength is of primary importance and being skinny is often at odds with being strong.

Let’s review the claim that strength is of primary importance. Being able to generate force against an external resistance is something that people must do every day, whether that is getting up out of a chair, lifting a bag of groceries, moving a couch, or hefting an injured person into an ambulance. Our abilities to perform each of these activities safely are directly related to how strong we are. As individuals crest middle age, a process called sarcopenia, the gradual loss of muscle mass, sets in. Losing muscle predisposes individuals to numerous health problems and a severely decreased quality of life. An important way to fight against this insidious process is resistance training. Couple resistance training with a diet that supports recovery and muscle can be gained instead of lost. The weight on the scale will climb, as will the weight on the bar, and increased capability will follow.

To those who would suggest that staying as thin as possible is the key to health and longevity, there is some evidence that this is not the case. Strength has been correlated to decreased mortality from all causes, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Even when controlling for body mass index, cardiovascular fitness, and several other variables, the correlation of strength to longevity remained. Some participants in this study were overweight, but the stronger they were, the less likely they were to die. Correlation does not imply causation, although it provides an interesting starting place to identify causes. Being skinny is unlikely to save you. Being strong could be of use, however.

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Category: Fitness
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Feb 25th, 2011

Two Amazing Pull-Up Clinics in March – Sign Up NOW!

Connie has come a long way with a ton of hard work & dedication!

Are you are craving your first traditional kipping pull-up or just want to perfect them?  Do you want to master that ever-elusive butterfly kipping pull-up?  Well, here’s your chance!

Coach Moses and Coach Tamara have generously offered the members of CFO their time and combined coaching prowess to help you get to the next level with your pull-ups.

CORRECTION: On Saturday, March 12th and on Sunday March 27th TWO 1-hour sessions will be offered.  The  Traditional Kipping pull-up will be taught from 12pm – 1pm and the Butterfly will be taught from 1pm – 2pm.

Here is the deal: The Traditional pull-up session clinic is geared toward technique and not strength, so participants should be able to get their chin over the bar. The Butterfly session is for those who have good Traditional kipping pull-ups and want to learn the Butterfly.

Attending both days as a package is recommended — you will be given progressions and skills to practice after March 12th and can come back on the 27th for additional coaching. 

If you are interested in these fabulous opportunities to work this foundational movement, then sign up using this link or in person at the gym or just send an email to  Each clinic will cost you a mere $20.00 and will be capped at 10 participants. Or you can sign up for both clinics as a package and pay just $30.00 for both.

Don’t miss this chance to be coached in a small group setting by some very fine trainers! Viva la pull-up!

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Feb 24th, 2011

CFO Poker and Game Night This Sunday Feb 27 at 5pm!


Reminder:  Our Poker & Game Potluck is going down this Sunday, February 27 at CFO, beginning at 5pm

Poker will be the primary game going on, but we’ll also have some other games going on for those not into poker (e.g., Mexican Train, Aggravation, Sands of Catan).  Also, feel free to bring any game you want to play.

If you do not know how to play poker, we’ll teach you.

Please bring some sort of food to share with others (paleo or not).  CFO will provide beverages.

Important Notes About the Poker Game

  1. We’ll be playing Texas Hold ‘Em.
  2. The buy-in is $20.
  3. The purse will be split as follows:  60% for 1st place, 30% for 2nd place, 10% for 3rd place.
  4. The game will go until there’s a winner or until 8:30pm, whichever comes first.
    1. If there’s an overall winner (all other players go out), the 2nd place finisher is the last person to go out and the 3rd place finisher is the second-to-last player to go out.
    2. If we hit 8:30pm, the game stops and the player with the most money wins first place, second most wins second place, and third most wins third place.
  5. Please show up at 4:30pm if you plan on playing poker so that we can start the game promptly at 5pm.  If you RSVP and are not there by 5pm, your spot will be forfeited.

All other rules (round length, small blind and big blind values, starting value of chips, etc.) will be determined after we know how many people will be playing.

You need to RSVP by Saturday at 10pm in order to secure a spot.

RSVP by sending us an email at

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Feb 23rd, 2011

Berry Pie Plus an Explanation for Your Sugar Cravings

Berry Yummy Strawberry Pie

Have those sugar cravings finally subsided? I didn’t think so. And no, it’s not because you’re weak and lack will power. There’s a very good reason for it. In The Jungle Effect, Daphne Miller, MD, explains that all humans are universally drawn to 4 basic foods: sweet, salty, fatty, and meaty, whereas spicy, bitter and acidic foods are foods that we have to acquire a taste for.  In a interview earlier last year, Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, points out that humans have a built-in survival mechanism that can make us seek out sweets.  In nature, however, sweet foods such as fruits and vegetables, actually contain very little sugar (relatively speaking) and instead are packed with loads of nutrients and fiber which prevent us from 1) overeating them and 2) spiking blood sugar.  Sisson explains that if "Grok," an imaginary caveman, were to come face-to-face with a king-sized Hershey’s bar, he would have, without a doubt, quickly and happily devoured it.  The problem lies in the sheer quantity we’re eating this stuff.  Every day we’re bombarded with sugar-laden foods in its most concentrated form and because we’re hard-wired to be attracted to these foods, it’s hard to stay away.      

The good news is that often what happens once you remove sugar from the diet is that your taste buds change and become more sensitive.  When you do finally sit down to eat that apple fritter you’ve been eying for weeks, you’ll probably notice that it’s much sweeter than you remember and you may not need to eat the entire thing.  For more on this topic, I recommend you check out Julia Ross’ book, The Diet Cure, or William Dufty’s Sugar Blues.

Today I’d like to share one of my all-time favorite dessert recipes that will satisfy that sweet tooth without causing too much trouble.  It’s a raw (no cooking necessary) berry pie that you can whip up pretty quickly and easily and wow all your friends with.  And, as always, it’s gluten and dairy free! I made this for a family member’s birthday party recently with only a few hours to spare (and 1 left hand) and it was a big hit.***Note: You will need a food processor for this recipe.  

Berry Pie
Adapted from Trim Tab Nutrition

Ingredients for the crust:
1.5 cups dried, shredded and unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup macadamia nuts
3/4 cup walnuts (or use 1.5 cup macadamia nuts for a richer crust)
1/2 cup dates, unpitted
pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:
4 cups blueberries or strawberries (strawberries are still in-season in CA)
3/4 cup dates, soaked in water for 30 min
1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to Make the Crust:

  1. Put nuts, coconut and salt in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
  2. Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Don’t over process.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a 9" pie dish and firmly press crust into the bottom of the pan, the outer rim and against sides of the pie dish. Distribute evenly.
  4. If time permits, place crust in freezer for 15 min to let it set.

How to Make Filling:

  1. Blend 1.5 cups of berries with the soaked dates and lemon juice.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining berries. Mix well. (If using strawberries, you will need to chop the remaining berries into bite size pieces before mixing). 

To Finish: Fill the crust with berry filling. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

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Feb 22nd, 2011

Photos and Deadlifts

A few pictures of some of the CFO FemmeFit competitors

As readers of the blog are well aware, a number of CrossFit Oakland members participated in the recent FemmeFit competition held at CrossFit Sweat Shop in Walnut Creek and did very well. In fact, they won the team division, among other accomplishments. Nabil Langkilde, a former CFO member, and Mike Jenkins, a current CFO member, hosted and organized the event and it was a great success. I was on hand to take pictures and those are now available for your perusal. You can view all of the photos at:

March Strength Camp

I will be holding another Starting Strength Training Camp here at CrossFit Oakland on Sunday, March 13th from 1 to 5 PM. This time, the focus will be on the shoulder press and the deadlift. We will spend a few hours discussing the mechanics, form, and anatomy of both movements as well as putting the theory into practice under the bar. Participants will come away with an understanding of the fundamentals of these lifts and how they feel when done correctly. We will also discuss programming, sticking points, and other useful tidbits before wrapping up with a question and answer session.

Competence in the core strength lifts is an important part of CrossFit, Olypmic lifting, powerlifting, and almost any athletic endeavor. This is a great opportunity to learn the lifts in an unhurried atmosphere. Attendance will be capped at eight people to allow for plenty of indivdualized coaching for all involved. You need not be an experienced strength athlete to attend; all that is required is a desire to learn the lifts. The cost for the camp is $100 and you can sign up over at the Aasgaard Store.

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Category: Fitness
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Feb 21st, 2011

Celebrating Black History and CFO’s Diversity with a WOD in Honor of Jackie Robinson

[Note:  CFO is running a regular schedule on Monday, not a holiday schedule.]



Jackie Robinson stealing home

[Editorial Note:  Tonight’s post was written by Candace, one of CFO’s top trainers and athletes.  I merely copied and pasted.]

One of the qualities of Crossfit Oakland that often goes unmentioned is our immensely diverse community along lines of race, sexual orientation, age, and otherwise. If you’ve ever participated in a CrossFit event outside Oakland, with a few exceptions, you know exactly what I mean. Although each year’s games competitions do reveal additional athletes of color, Oakland can always be counted on to set the standard; often with fewer white than non-white competitors. It is in this vein that Mike, Tamara and I decided to dedicate a WOD to Black History Month!

The idea was spawned from Crossfit Harlem’s owner Syn Martinez, who has been celebrating the month with a black history WOD series. Syn’s WOD for Monday is designed to celebrate the life of Jackie Robinson.  Due to the incredible athletic acumen that Robinson demonstrated in the face of hatred, a post to commemorate the talent and courage of the man who desegregated America’s favorite pastime seems a fitting way for CFO to celebrate Black History Month (I’d be remiss not to mention that I feel particularly moved by Robinson’s feat as a descendent of a man who may have played in the major leagues were it not due to racism).

As residents of Oakland, we know well that despite the incredible progress our country has achieved since Robinson’s time, we are far from living in a racially equal society. Although the progress of black people has never been so discernibly apparent as after the 2008 Presidential election, well-cited statistics remind us of the continued plight of black Americans. A quick internet search confirmed this reality: as of 2001, estimates suggest that as many as 90% of black men aged 45-54 without a high school diploma have served time in prison as compared with 17% and 4% of similarly categorized white and Hispanic men. “These figures suggest that for black [male] high school dropouts, serving time in prison is practically a certainty.” (p330 Raphael 2006)

As a former Oakland high school teacher, these statistics challenge me to act. Moreover, I feel grateful to be a part of a community that I know is similarly charged by this reality; CFO is home to teachers, healers, emergency responders and advocates who assist those who are in constant struggle to beat the staggering statistics listed above; it is in that light that we will do a WOD in honor of Robinson and Black History Month on this President’s Day. It is the strength of Robinson and so many other outstanding civil rights activists that assures me that racial equality can be achieved in America. What’s more, it is the quality of the character of many people like those at CrossFit Oakland that assures me that this equality will be achieved with increasing speed. I look forward to celebrating with you all!

Post love for the diversity of CFO, Jackie Robinson, and Black History Month to comments.

(Note: to understand which aspects of the WOD are associated with Robinson’s life, you will need to research important Jackie Robinson dates and statistics.)

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Feb 20th, 2011

More Hip Stretches

Here are a few more stretches for your hips.  You may find that certain stretches feel quite good (or at least feel like you are stretching something), while others don’t feel like anything at all.  Just do the ones that feel good when you are doing them, or feel good after you have done them (sometimes performing the stretch is not comfortable, but after you are done, you feel better).


Start seated on the ground with your knees bent and feet to the left side.  Make sure your knees are bent at right angles and your chest is pointed towards your right knee (it may feel like you have to twist to your right to do this).  Keeping your back slightly arched and your chest up, lean forward towards your right knee.  Hold for 30-60 seconds.  Repeat with your knees bent toward the right side.

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Feb 19th, 2011

Saturday Happenings


Holley and Hannah doing some overhead squats

Two things to tell you about that are going down on Saturday…

Community Day Workout

The Community Day Workout gets started Saturday at 11am.

These workouts are great fun and are free to the public.  Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of current fitness level.  The class will be roughly an hour, and will consist of a warm-up, instruction of some basic movements, a workout using those movements (and possibly others as well), and a cool-down.

If you’ve never done a CF workout before and have been curious about giving it a try, this will be a great introduction to CF training.  Just give it a go!

Track Workout at Piedmont High

If the weather permits, we’ll be holding a track workout at the Piedmont High Track, beginning at 9:45am.  Everyone is welcome.  We’ll be running a series of 300m, 200, and 100m sprints.

Normal group classes will still be going down at CFO at 8am, 9am, and 10am, so it’s your choice where you want to train.

Google Map of Piedmont High

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