Monthly Archives: July 2011
Jul 10th, 2011

Reciprocal Inhibition


Muscles generally act in pairs–when one muscle contracts (agonist), the opposing muscle (antagonist) relaxes–this is the law of reciprocal inhibition.  Running is a good example of this–as you push off the ground (quads contracting), your hamstrings relax; as your leg follows through and kicks behind you, your hamstring is contracting as your quad recovers (yes, there is much more to it, but this is enough for now).  Reciprocal inhibition is the reason that PNF stretching works so well.  

Stretching can help relax a muscle temporarily, but strengthening the opposing muscle can help relax the muscle for the long haul.  If you have tight hip flexors, strengthening your gluteus maximus would help relax the tightness and balance the body.  Strengthen your rhomboids and lats, and you might find your shoulder problems gone.  

If an an agonist muscle is stronger than it’s antagonist, an imbalance is set up in the body. This is something often seen when the shoulders are rounded forward–the pectoral muscles are stronger than the rhomboids and traps. (This is one I see a lot at CFO.)

Often people with low back problems are told to strengthen their abdominal muscles–this is one case where reciprocal inhibition does not work.  It is nearly impossible to engage just the back muscles or the abdominal muscles–they work together to move the trunk.  For this case, training the "trunk" as a unified group is the best way to alleviate the imbalance.

Stretching alone will not fix your muscle imbalances and get you out of pain.  A program that examines your muscle imbalances and then strengthens what is weak will make you a better and pain-free athlete.

Next week I will give you exercises to strengthen common weak places in the bodies at CFO.  Please put your requests in to comments! 

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Jul 9th, 2011


Attention:  All morning CrossFit classes will be held at CrossFit East Bay tomorrow.  Max has generously offered his facility (with pull-up bars!!) to CFO so that we can get our Helen on.

Strength Saturday will take place at CrossFit Oakland out in the parking lot. Bring sunscreen.

CFEB is located at 520 20th Street in good old Oaktown.   

Please Note:  To get into the gym, use the gate located at the rear of the building.  You’ll also find free parking on the street behind the building.


3 Rounds
Run 400 meters
21 Kettlebell Swings 1.5/1.0P
12 C2B Pull-Ups

Hope to see you all there!!

Hurricane Helen.jpg

Did you know it is rumored that some of the CF Girl WODs are named after hurricanes, such as Helen (pictured above)…?

Comments: Comments Off on CLASSES at CROSSFIT EAST BAY TOMORROW (Saturday)
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Jul 8th, 2011

Building Status Update


Some of the CFO women catching some shade in between jerks

We met with the City today, and it went well.  We’re not back in the building yet, but are very optimistic about a fairly quick return to working out inside.  I can’t give a definitive timeline right now, and I can’t go into too much detail, but know that a return to inside the building will happen.  The City gave us a very workable plan, and we’re now working to make it happen.  We have to take care of some projects inside the building, and they have to give their approval of the work.  Once those two things happen, we’ll be back.

Hang in there; the summer workouts will not be in the parking lot too much longer!

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Jul 7th, 2011

Outdoor Workouts: Benefits & Healthy Tips


Zeke rejoicing in the benefits of an outdoor WOD

Did you know that exercising outdoors has proven benefits such as exposure to fresh air and Vitamin D, mental stimulation and mood improvement?  Of course you did!  You’ve all been experienceing these benefits over the last couple of weeks in the CFO Prison Yard.

Some tips from the Mayo Clinic on exercising outdoors:

  • Watch the temperature. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity.
  • Get acclimated. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level. If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you plan to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid  alcoholic drinks because they can actually promote fluid loss.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loosefitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas — or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.

Speaking of backup plans, a meeting with the City of E’ville is planned for tomorrow afternoon.  We hope to gain a better understanding of what it will take to get us back indoors and will let you all know how it goes.  Thanks again for all of your kind words, support and positive vibes.

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Jul 6th, 2011

Femme Fit Practice Workouts This Sunday


One of the implements used in Workout 5 of Femme Fit

Rumor has it that around 15 women from CFO are competing in Femme Fit, which is great news!

This Sunday, July 10, a number of women from CFO are going to be doing a 5k run followed by Workout 5 of Femme Fit, in an effort to prepare for the competition. Workout 5 is as follows:

400 meter run
15 burpees
Alpha Strong sandbag carry
15 burpees
400 meter run

The 5k run and Workout 5 will both take place at CFO. The time is still being determined for the start of the run. If you’d like to take part in this training session, check in via Facebook with either Holley, Leigh, or Connie (they’re the ones spearheading this effort).

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Jul 5th, 2011

Powerlifting Meet at CF Pleasanton on Sunday July 24


Tamara with a big pull from the floor at the last powerlifting meet at CF Pleasanton

A big reminder for any and all of you who would like to put your strength to the test, or who are even curious about competing in a powerlifting meet:  CF Pleasanton is holding a powerlifting meet on Sunday, July 24!

A group of us went down in January to CF Pleasanton’s last powerlifting meet and put our training to the test, and it was a blast!  I highly recommend it.  Everyone who did the meet got at least one PR, and several people PR’d in all three lifts (a powerlifting meet tests your 1-rep max in back squat, bench press, and deadlift, in that order, with three attempts for each lift).

For all the information on the meet, as well as the link to register for the meet, go here:

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Jul 4th, 2011

CFO July 4th Barbecue


The CFO July 4 barbecue at Lydia and Manwell’s

A big thank-you to Lydia and Manwell for hosting such a great barbecue this afternoon!

Although I couldn’t stay for too long, it was great to see so many of you there enjoying the Mexican potluck.  There was plenty of food and drink to be had!

Happy 4th of July to all of you, and thanks for making CFO such a great thing, in the gym and away from the gym!

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Jul 3rd, 2011

Another Video

Hope you all like this one.  Next week, I will get back to giving you more information about how to take care of your bodies.  I took an awesome seminar last weekend about Sport Specific Rehabilitation and have tons of new information to share.


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Jul 2nd, 2011

Eating to Grow – Part Seis

Femme Fit Deadlifts

A picture from the previous Femme Fit. Strength helps with deadlifts.

Last week we began our discussion of female trainees who wish to get stronger and we’ll continue that today. The scenarios we discuss today will be particularly applicable to those whose strength gains have stalled. I mentioned last week that setting some goals is a valuable part of the process. It is important to send an unambiguous signal to the body to become stronger and having target weights for a handful of lifts will provide a useful yardstick by which to gauge progress.

The question becomes, "How does someone become stronger?" Not surprisingly, for men and women the answer is the same. Lift progressively heavier weights and make sure that recovery is adequate to support strength increases. If done correctly, muscular bodyweight gains often accompany this process. This is not to be feared, but embraced. Men and women will differ in how fast and to what extent gains in strength and bodyweight will occur for several reasons. The largest variable here is testosterone. Men have more of it and, if they train properly, can make larger gains in both strength and bodyweight than women. That being said, there are several women walking around CFO that are stronger than some of the men in the room. Body chemistry, therefore, is not the sole determinant of strength and performance.

This series is called eating to grow, so it makes sense to talk about food. If strength is to be pursued, eating a lot of good food is required. What is a lot? More than you are eating now. Protein is very important to support muscle growth. Protein and calories need to be increased. Dietary fat is not to be feared. If gains are not made, calories and protein need to be increased more. For very underweight women, this may represent a wholesale shift in eating habits. Find a skinny guy and eat more than he does. Eventually, you will lift more than he does. I have seen this happen a few times with the women who dedicate themselves to becoming stronger. When you squat more than the skinny dude next to you, then the high fives really begin. Keep food quality high and set PRs in the gym.

Let’s discuss body fat as this is the next question that will arise. Training and eating for strength will cause muscle to grow. Muscle is heavy and will cause an increase in the weight on the scale. If you are eating a lot and training heavy, it is also likely that some fat will come along for the ride. I would love to tell you that this is not the case, but for most people a little extra body fat is a likely outcome. This, however, is controllable and since most women are not seeking to put on 50 pounds of bodyweight, it is also not something with which to be greatly concerned.

Let’s take a hypothetical underweight female trainee and put 10 pounds of bodyweight on them over the course of several months of dedicated training and appropriate (read: big) eating. Of those 10 pounds, three may be fat. The remaining seven pounds are lean tissue gains. This bodyweight gain is accompanied by significant improvements on all of the lifts and their dead hang pull ups have also increased. Neat trick. Put on bodyweight and do more pullups. Yes, this can happen. Are those three pounds of fat problematic? Definitely not. The likely result is that the trainee will not only feel better, but look better.  Most importantly, they are significantly stronger.

I have more to say on the matter so it looks like there will be a part seven at some point, but I will close with the following observation. For those women who wish to gain strength yet are not making gains, I encourage you to chat with some of the women in the gym who move big weights. Find out what they eat. It’s probably a lot. If you are really interested and the woman you are talking to does not mind telling you, find out what they weigh. It’s probably more than you would guess. Muscle is heavy. Muscle is useful. Muscle is the goal. Enjoy your Fourth of July. Eat a steak for me.

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Category: Fitness
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Jul 1st, 2011

Sunday Barbecue at Manwell and Lydia’s Place!


It’s time for some Mexican food!

You guys and gals have all been so supportive as we’ve been dealing with the building issues this month.  With that in mind, it’s time to relax a little and enjoy the great summer weather.

Lydia wrote me today about the possibility of Manwell and her hosting a Mexican Food Potluck this Sunday, July 3, and I think it’s a great idea.  In her own words:

"Manwell and I would like to host a party at our house on Sunday afternoon for all CFO members. It’ll be a good opportunity to get everyone from the gym together and remind everyone why CFO is so cool and how much fun we all have when we get together."

You read it correctly, every single one of you is invited, whether you’re a long-time CFOer or brand new to the gym.

It’s going to be a Mexican food potluck, so all you need to do is bring a Mexican dish to share, as well as your beverage of choice, and Manwell and Lydia will take care of providing the meat, barbecue, and venue.

Here are the details:

What:  CFO Mexican Food Potluck
When:  Sunday, July 3 at 2pm or so
Where:  2803 Atwell Avenue, Oakland (Map)
Details:  Bring your favorite Mexican Dish to Share, bring your beverage of choice, Manwell and Lydia will provide meat for barbecue.  Kids are welcome, but please, no dogs.

And once again:  everyone is invited!  I hope to see you all there!

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