Monthly Archives: October 2011
Oct 31st, 2011

Athlete Spotlight: Joey!


Joey after the 2011 Summer Edition of Femme Fit

(Courtesy of TomC)

Our spotlight athlete this week is Joey.  Just about everyone who has trained with Joey immediately catches on to the idea that this girl just doesn’t quit!  

I remember when she first came to us back on 39th Street (two buildings ago), roughly three years ago, and thought she was a great addition to the gym at the time, and totally ready for CF-style training.  But Joey had different thoughts on the matter (see her note below).  With her characteristic determination and never-say-die attitude, she took it upon herself to recommit herself to training and get even fitter.  When she came back to us the second time, I could tell it was gonna stick, and all of us are better off for it.

Wanna get good at CF?  Follow Joey’s lead.  Work hard.  Commit to the fundamentals.  Don’t jump ahead and try to take shortcuts.  This is exactly what Joey has done.  She’s a great role model for any CFOer, but especially the women out there in seek of X (a pull-up, a push-up, a better squat, or whatever X is for you).

Currently, Joey is getting rock-solid on the Olympic lifts, putting strength and technique development ahead of all other fitness metrics or goals.  This is a smart move, and I have no doubt that when Games season rolls around in 2012, she’ll have once again taken a huge leap forward in her fitness.

Height, weight, age:

5′ 2.76", 55 kilos, 37

How long have you been a member at CFO?

I first darkened the CFO doorsteps on September ’08, back when I was marathon training and the gym was on 39th St. (I remember watching Tami, Candace and Journey do a timed ladder WOD (1 power clean the first minute, 2 power cleans the second minute, etc) and being blown away by these strong-a** women. Being the shy perfectionist I am, I vowed that I would come back to CFO when I was "stronger". So, after running my marathon, I did scaled WODs until I felt ready to go back. By that time (April of 2009), CFO was on Doyle St. and Mike was running the On-Ramp sessions. I’ve been a member ever since!)

What is your day job?

Audio-Video engineer for Pixar (aka: knob-twiddler and computer geek)

What is your athletic background?

Other than gymnastics as a little girl, I didn’t play any sports growing up. I started running as a panacea after I quit smoking and that somehow led me to CrossFit.

What is your favorite strength move?

I like the push-press and the jerk….not sure if that’s a strength or power move…Mike? (if not, weighted dead-hang pullups)

What is your favorite met-con?

My favorite met-con is Murph, but someday I hope to embrace Fran.

Proudest achievement (CF)?

My proudest CF achievement is competing with Candace, Manwell and Tom at Summer Slam this year. It was like getting a high-five and peeing my pants at the same time!

Most desired goal (CF)?

My most desired goal(s) are to back squat over 200 lbs, snatch my body weight, clean and jerk 135 lb., do multiple strict HSPUs, (ditto with Muscle-Ups), and be able to have fun with cool folks the whole time!

Big round of applause for Joey in comments!

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Oct 31st, 2011

And The Winners Are…


The NorCal Margarita and Roy (of Siegfried & Roy)

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate Halloween CFO-style at our annual party! What an amazing group of people! 

This year, the costumes were especially creative and just downright hilarious!  And without further ado, tonight’s winners for best costume, winning themselves a FREE month of CFO training, were none other than our very own 6am Ann-inmal & the oh-so-lovely Dwayne! Congratulations you two, your costumes rocked!

And can I just say how impressed I was by everyone’s cooking skills?  The food was out-of-this world (and 90% Paleo!).  We had bacon wrapped shrimp, pumpkin custard, and homemade criss-cut potato chips! 

The whole thing was a blast and I’m already looking forward to our next party! Until next month! 

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Oct 30th, 2011

“Are You Ready to Join the WOD Squad?”


 community day.jpg

Community Day October, 2011

Today we had our first community day workout at our new location.  There were quite a few people who hadn’t done CrossFit before and were interested in trying it out.  It is surprising to me who ends up becoming a die hard member and who doesn’t–I certainly wouldn’t be able to pick out who will be here next year and who won’t.  

It made me think about what makes us stick to the program.  I know for me, I started CrossFit to get stronger for climbing (rock).  It worked, and it helped me stay in shape when I wasn’t able to climb outside.  I probably would not stick to CrossFit if it was the only thing I did–for me it is a means to an end.

What is great about CrossFit is that you can do whatever you want with it–you can get into the strength aspect of training or the Olympic lifts.  You can use it as a general fitness program, or to compliment your sport-specific program.  It can help you excel at your job, your home improvement projects, or even just playing with your kids.

My husband sent me a text the other day:  "CrossFit has fallen.  The Alice Radio DJs were talking about working out at CrossFit.  Once elite fitness now a fad for the masses."  In a way, I think it is great that more people are getting exposed to this sort of training. Most of them will not stick to the CrossFit programming, but it might change the way they work out.  Which takes me to my point:  Why do you keep coming to CrossFit Oakland?  Please post thoughts to comments.

P.S. Husband does not listen to Alice Radio normally, he was at the fire house.

P.P.S. Title taken from an article about CrossFit in the November issue of Men’s Health. Click here to read, though it isn’t an especially great article.

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Oct 29th, 2011

The Third Olympic Lift

Serge Reding performing a fantastically strong clean and press

There are two contested events in modern Olympic weightlifting, the snatch, and the clean and jerk. However, this was not always the case. From 1928 until 1972, a third event was part of the contest, the clean and press. The clean and press was eliminated from competition after the Olympic Games in Munich due to a variety of reasons including difficulty in judging, Cold War politics, and a desire to shorten the duration of the weightlifting contest. John D. Fair wrote an excellent article that delves deeply into the history of the press in Olympic weightlifting for those that are interested.

The press used in the Olympics changed over the years to become a dynamic movement that involved violently whipping the hips, laying far back, and often unlocking the knees. In fact, as the weights climbed and judging became more lax, the press almost incorporated enough knee kick to suggest a push press. Bent knees aside, the Olympic press deviated enough from the more traditional two hands press, or shoulder press, to require its own special technique.

The amazing Serge Reding can be seen in the video at the top of the page pressing 503 pounds in Lima, Peru in 1971. Yes you read that number correctly. This lift represents one of the best examples of an Olympic press out there and is a classic moment in sports history. Reding was a Belgian superheavyweight who tragically died at the young age of 34. In the video above, he set the world record for the clean and press. You’ll note that he cleans and stands up with those 503 pounds with almost no trouble. Reding then aggressively whips his hips twice while he powers the bar upward. He took over a quarter of a ton sitting on the ground and then pressed it overhead. His world record lasted only a few minutes. Russia’s Vasiliy Alekseyev came along and cleaned and pressed 507 pounds after Reding’s lift to take both the first place spot and the world record.

When the press was removed from Olympic competition, the movement fell out of favor. This fall from popularity was compounded by the rise of the bench press as the preferred upper body strength lift. The shoulder press has seen a resurgence in recent years, although the Olympic press variant is still not widely practiced. It occupies a niche between the shoulder press and the push press and when watching some of these very strong athletes from the past press heavy weights overhead, it is hard not to feel like an important part of the sport of weightlifting was lost along the way.

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Category: Fitness
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Oct 28th, 2011

Paleo Partners


Ross dialing in his running technique

For those of you taking part in the Paleo Challenge, good work thus far.  The first couple of weeks are the toughest, and everyone seems to be handling the break-in period just fine.

One thing that makes it a lot easier is having a partner in the challenge.  Partners can be great for keeping you accountable, and in many cases, they can be a source of recipes and advice.

If you don’t yet have a partner for the challenge, get one.  Just email us and we can connect you with a partner.

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Oct 27th, 2011

This Weekend at CFO…


Marc practicing his best Scary Face

In addition to our regular group classes we will have the following to enhance your CFO experience this weekend:

FREE Community Day on Saturday, Oct 29th @ 11am.  

Community Days are free to the public – No experience necessary. This one-hour class is designed to be fun and scalable to all ages and fitness levels. It includes a warm-up, instruction of basic movements, a great workout utilizing these movements and a cool-down.

We have a fun, fully scaleable (down or up) Team WOD, which may leak out onto the Yard at some point.  So come on out, bring your friends and family, co-workers and random people off the street.  This one is open to everyone!

CFO Halloween Costume Party on Sunday, Oct 30th @ 4pm. 

Join us for some spooky good fun on the day before Halloween! We’ll be doing it potluck style (paleo and neo-lithic dishes welcome), so bring something yummy to share. CFO will provide libations for all. Best male and female costume winners get a free month of training.

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Oct 25th, 2011

Get Your Rack Position Squared Away!

More Gems from K-Star

One of the toughest things about racking a front squat or receiving the clean is the positioning of your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in the front rack position.

Anyone who’s new to the front squat/clean rack position struggles with the positioning at least for a little bit when starting out (sometimes just a rep or two, sometimes for many months until there’s a breakthrough).

With that in mind, check out K-Star’s great triplet of exercises you can do to gain the mobility you need to have a strong front rack position.  We’ve been field-testing these three exercises over the last week or so and have seen some great improvements in the positioning of the elbows and wrists in everyone we’ve tested.

Give it a go!

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Oct 23rd, 2011

Top 3 Gluten-free, Dairy-free Products


This post is long overdue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, "people need to know about this stuff!"  It’s just too good to keep to myself.

Not all the foods on my Top 3 List are exactly Paleo in the strictest sense, but as I’ve mentioned before some people can deviate from meat, fruit/veggies, nuts & seeds and still thrive. As in any diet, there is some gray area. 

For example, some folks can tolerate dairy products, think about all those guys at CFO walking around with a gallon of milk dangling from their hand.  Similarly, some do just fine with a little grain such as rice or corn and some do not. It’s up to you to figure out whether or not these Neolithic foods have a place at your dinner table.

This brings me to my next point. If you’re unsure about how well your body tolerates the gray foods then experiment.  Take them out of your diet for a few weeks and then reintroduce them one at a time and see how you feel.  This concept is also known as the The Elimination-Provocation Diet and is one way to test for food allergies and/or food sensitivities. When we regularly consume problematic foods, the most common ones being dairy, wheat, and soy, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which one(s) you may be reacting to.  Likewise the symptoms can vary tremendously–from headaches to weight gain to insomnia. This is one of the reasons that Robb Wolf (and many others) recommend a strict 30-day Paleo challenge. It gives you a clean start: an opportunity to cut out all the problem foods and see how you perform, look, and most importantly, feel!

Now back to the list. 

Rarely do I shop in the middle aisles of the grocery store; we’ve all heard the saying,  always shop the perimeter! But for the following foods, I will make an exception.

The following list is comprised of what I consider to be the healthier versions of some of those yummy "forbidden" comfort foods. Cereal and pizza are some of the most commonly eaten foods in the Standard American Diet aka the SAD diet. How dare we ask people to give these up, right?  Well, now you don’t have to.  Here are some healthy alternatives.

The foods that made my Top 3 List had to meet the these simple criteria: 1) no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavorings 2) it has to come from REAL FOOD 3) has to taste good

In no particular order:    

  1. Lydia’s Organics Grainless Apple Cereal
    Sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl
    ALL organic Ingredients: Apples, Sprouted Sunflower Seeds, Sprouted Almonds, Raisins, Soaked Walnuts, Figs, Cinnamon & . Delicious with coconut milk, over yogurt or plain as a snack.
  2. Nature’s Highlights Brown Rice Pizza Crust.
    Sold in the frozen food section at Whole Foods
    Ingredients: whole brown rice
  3. Larabars
    Sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl and Trader Joe’s
    They come in lots of flavors.
    Ingredients for Apple Pie: walnuts, unsweetened apples, almonds, dates, raisins & cinnamon
    Enjoy as a snack or in a pinch.

What are your favorite Paleo-ish go-to foods? Share in comments.

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Oct 23rd, 2011

Paleo Challenge Workout Sunday 10/23 at 3pm!

 CFO_Running _Clinic.jpg

Running drills at Aaron C’s running clinic

Paleo Challenge Workout Details

We’ll be running the Paleo Challenge workout Sunday October 23 at 3pm.  We’ll run 8-person heats, with the first heat happening at 320pm.

Here’s the workout:

3 Rounds for Time:
Row 500m
12 Burpees
21 KB Swings @ 53#/35#

Scoring will take into account overall placing in the both workouts (before and after the Paleo Challenge), as well as any improvement on the workout before and after.

If you can’t make it at 3pm, get in touch with us and we’ll come up with a time for you to get it done.

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Oct 22nd, 2011

Starting Strength Training Camp – Nov 20

Connie Squat.jpg

Connie at a camp in January of this year. Thanks to Kelly Powers for the photo.

I will be holding a Starting Strength Camp dedicated to that most fundamental of movements, the low bar back squat. The camp will take place on Sunday, November 20th from 1 PM until about 5 PM. We will begin with a discussion of the anatomy and technique behind the squat before moving on to the always-popular practical session where everyone gets to spend some quality time under the bar. All participants gets coached through their warm up sets and then we go around the room for three work sets from each trainee. After the squatting is done, we return for an additional discussion regarding programming for strength, injury prevention, and why things really would be better if you put on muscular bodyweight. We wrap up the camp with a question and answer session and don’t go home until people run out of questions to ask. Attendance is capped at eight to allow for individualized instruction. The cost for the camp is $125 and sign ups are handled through the Aasgaard Company Store.

The Starting Strength Camps are abbreviated excerpts of the longer and more comprehensive Starting Strength Seminars which are put on by Mark Rippetoe. The camps are run by one of Rippetoe’s staff (in this case, me) and focus on a single lift, or two. They are designed to provide a focused and unhurried atmosphere in which to learn about and perform the movements correctly. All experience levels are welcome, but it doesn’t hurt to have picked up a barbell before attending.

For those that want a deeper understanding of the strength lifts, the Starting Strength Seminars provide an intensive two-and-a-half day immersion in the theory and practice of barbell training. They are intended for lifters with some experience and have an emphasis not only on understanding and performing the lifts properly, but also learning to coach them. They are unique and rewarding events that are well worth seeking out. I would say the same even if I were not involved with them. Lastly, since I like pictures, I have some photos from the most recent Starting Strength Seminar out in Brooklyn, NY. Enjoy.

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Category: Fitness
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