Monthly Archives: May 2012
May 10th, 2012

We know how to be healthy, now what?

femmefit.

Healthy, happy and looking for more!

Loved the Gary Taubes article Mike posted today.  It’s all well and good to identify a crisis like obesity in America and a huge thank you to you ‘anti-obesity groups’ for your misguided attempts to correct the problem with the same tired, ineffective information and methodology as we’ve seen for years (now an HBO special!!).  And thank goodness there are people like Taubes to shine the light of truth (and science) on said misinformation. 

But even with truth and science and nutrition, gurus and books, blogs and the masterful CFO Clean Eating Guidelines, a lot of us are still struggling with our weight, eating habits, body composition, performance and self-confidence.  We have the information, so why are we still unhappy with our health, performance and appearance?

Here is one of my favorite writers, columnist for SFGate, Mark Morford, urging us to "End it once and for all".  Mark refers to a report on rising rates of obesity in his column, but he also refers to toxic relationships and other unhealthy situations in which we all tend to find ourselves at times.  Mark’s thoughts are worth a read, just because he is darn good at putting them to pen, but perhaps they might inspire you as well.

Mark suggests that we hesitate when we know we should pursue healthy change, simply because changing is difficult.

"Do we stay addicted to our patterns and our former selves, or do we harness the difficult opportunities when we see them, when the chance for change swims into view, knowing they won’t wait around for long, knowing, deep down, that if we ignore them the energy will stagnate and congeal…?"

I submit that you all are not the type to stagnate and congeal – you are the type to figure out how to find your way out of whatever it is that is holding you back, so that you can become your best self.  Mark Morford offers yet another suggestion – when pursuing change, jump start your agenda with a ritual:

"There is one thing we know. There is one thing shared across all traditions and religions, spiritualities and yoga paths, status quos and opportunities for change.

It is ritual. The marker. The sign of movement. You get baptized. You get the bat mitzvah. You perform the hardcore tribal thing with the face paint and the fire and the lions. You drop the hallucinogens and wander for 30 days in the jungle, communing with the specters of the gods. Hey, whatever works."

Perhaps this need to ritualize our change is why we like our Paleo Challenges so much?

Anyway, enjoy the column and maybe prepare your own baptism or trip to the ocean to meditate or swear off of dairy and legumes… 

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May 8th, 2012

Calling All CFO Volunteers!

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Katie putting a couple of ACORN’s kids through the CF paces at last year’s Sports Fair

Last week I posted on the upcoming Sports Fair at ACORN Elementary School, and how we are looking for as many volunteers to help out as possible.  I wasn’t super clear in the post about how to go about volunteering, though, so I’ll lay it out a little bit more clearly this time.

Ellie, who is a teacher at ACORN Elementary, is also a CFO member.  On top of that, she’s the one who’s organizing the Sports Fair, which is a 3-hour fair where kids gets exposed to all kinds of things health- and fitness-related.  To do our part, we’ll be running them through some CF-related activities.  This is all going down on Thursday, May 24th, from 9am to 12pm

We still need LOTS of volunteers!  If you can volunteer your time (and it’s totally worth it!), contact Ellie at silveryblue27@yahoo.com.  The more of you we can get out there, the better.

School Info:

ACORN Woodland is a small, public school located in East Oakland , just walking distance from the Oakland Coliseum. We serve 250 students, Kinder-5th grade. Physical fitness and nutrition are essential elements of our school’s mission. We firmly believe that a successful educational experience preparing all students for college must include a balance between rigorous academic preparation and an education of the whole child. We consistently encourage and nurture social, emotional, cooperative and team-building skills through competitive and non-competitive sports and games. Before leaving our school, each of our students has a chance to find their niche in the world of physical fitness and feels successful in a variety of core sports and recess games. We’d love to diversify the skills with some Crossfit elements again!

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May 7th, 2012

Leptin: The Hunger Hormone

Robert H. Lustig, MD on UCTV Prime: The Skinny on Obesity

Another month has come and gone and it feels like just overnight we’ve entered my favorite time of the year:  summer! We’re already 1/3 of the way through the year!

One of my 2012 resolutions was to return to school. So, I enrolled in a science class to better understand the inner workings of the incredible human body. It’s true what Einstein said, "The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know."  I’ve spent the past few months studying and the more I think I know what I need to know, my eyes are opened to so much more that I didn’t even know was there.  One of the areas about which I particularly feel this way is energy expenditure and appetite.

While most of us don’t give it much thought, our hunger and energy output are tightly regulated by hormones, or chemical messengers. Not those kind of hormones! There are other hormones that are communicating with the brain about when to eat, how much to eat, and how much to burn. In the 8-minute video above, Dr. Robert Lustig explains just how our appetite-regulating hormones can be hugely influenced by the foods we eat.

One of the hormones he mentions in this video is Leptin.  Unlike other hormones, which are made in endocrine organs like the pancreas or thyroid, Leptin is made in the fat cells.  Yep, that ungodly fat on your belly or butt is secreting one very important hormone. Its job is to monitor how much fat is stored in the adipose tissue.  When we have plenty of fat on hand, it lets the brain know by releasing Leptin hormone. The brain responds by suppressing appetite and increasing energy expenditure.  But, when the fat reserve is low, there is less Leptin reaching the brain and this triggers an increase in appetite and decrease in energy.

This is where it gets fun. So, if fat cells release Leptin, which signals an increase in energy output and suppresses appetite, then people carrying around extra bodyfat should have a plethora of Leptin flooding the brain & telling it to ramp up the metabolism and stop eating, right? Well, not exactly. They have plenty of Leptin to go around.  Too much, in fact, that the brain becomes resistant. It doesn’t hear the signal anymore and thinks there is a famine. So, what happens? Yup, you guessed it; appetite goes up even though the fat stores are filled to the brim. The whole vicious cycle starts all over again.

In the video, Lustig blames the "industrial global diet," namely, sugary foods & refined grains. Leptin-resistance has been linked to excess triglycerides, elevated stress hormones, and inadequate sleep. To read more about Leptin and it’s role in regulating weight, check out Jack Kruse, MD’s website. Jack Kruse is a neurosurgeon who was has done a lot of research on Leptin and who has himself lost somewhere around 140 lbs.

*Just watch the video If you don’t want to read this long post.

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May 6th, 2012

“Profiles in Speed” in The Washington Post

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 Coach Arnold performing a clapping push up
 

The Washington Post is doing a monthly series profiling potential Olympic Athletes and their pursuit of being the best.  The first in the series is Carmelita Jeter, a sprinter.  Here is where you can read about how she is using a computer to help modify her stride to make her run faster.  So far, it is actually working.  Her feet touch the ground five times per second when she is sprinting.

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May 4th, 2012

What Is That Thing?

Some of you may have noticed that white contraption sitting next to the jerk blocks toward the back of the gym, and wondered what the heck that thing is.

It’s known as a reverse hyper and it’s one of the best tools around for developing the support musculature of the low back, glutes, and hamstrings (or the posterior chain, if you prefer).

Here’s what Rogue has to say about the reverse hyper:

This simple device allows for dynamic strength development in the concentric phase, while serving as a rehabilitation mechanism in the eccentric phase by gently stretching and depressurizing the spine and creating, in essence, an internal pumping mechanism, filling the spinal column with spinal fluid and the low back muscles with blood. Anyone who has injured their back knows that the pressure needs to be relieved and circulation restored to the injured area in order to rehabilitate. This can be used 3 to 4 times a week for therapeutic work but may also be used by some clients every day with light weight to get tightness out of the lower back area.

I was first exposed to training with the reverse hyper in 2010, and spent a good deal of time using it for about 6 months with great results.

A general prescription when you’re first starting out is for 3 sets of 15 or so reps (as you get more experienced and used to the way the reverse hyper works, you can bump up the reps, and then eventually the sets as well).  How much weight to use is highly variable and depends on where you are in terms of posterior chain health and function.  

This is a great post-workout cool-down.  I highly recommend trying it out–just ask one of the trainers to walk you through it.

And here are a couple of videos with some explanations on its benefits and usage.  The first is from Kelly Starrett, and the second from Louie Simmons, the guy who designed the thing and rehabbed his broken back on it.
 

K-Star breaking down reverse hyper mechanics

 

Louie Simmons talking about his experience with the reverse hyper

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May 3rd, 2012

Two New Boot Camps start next week! Limited Space Available!

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Sierra working some mad skills on her Recovery Day

Two new CFO Strength and Conditioning Boot Camp sessions start next week.  You can enroll online or in person.  Email us with any question or to reserve a spot. Choose from the following options:

3x/week: MWF at 10 am for 4 weeks: May 7th – June 1st

2x/week: TTH at 9 am for 6 weeks: May 8th – June 14th

Here’s what you can expect:  Each session will include strength work utilizing the deadlift, squat or press. There will also be a focus on pullups, pushups and other body-weight movements. Every class will end with a conditioning workout that will put your body to the test.

You will be coached on form and technique for all lifts and movements and pushed to your limits during the workouts. As always, Crossfit workouts are scalable to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, this program will get you stronger, faster and more fit.

Boot Camp participants have seen some tremendous gains in their strength numbers and overall fitness while having an absolute blast – all while they support and encourage one another.  Come on in and see what it is all about. 

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May 2nd, 2012

How to Tackle Muscle-Up Progressions

 

We’ve been throwing muscle-up progressions at many of you as skill work about once a week, and will continue to do so.

So what to do for the progression?  You can do exactly what Carl lays out above:  one ring pull-up to chin, one to chest, and one to hip.  If you can’t get the rings to your hip, get as close as you can.  Once you can get to the hip, you have the necessary strength to get a muscle-up, for sure (then we just need to work on timing the transition).

And congratulations to the following people who’ve gotten their first muscle-ups in the past week:

Joey
Conor
Eric
Dave W
Broderick

Check out our FB page for videos of these first muscle-ups for a little inspiration!

(And make sure you "like" our FB page, if you haven’t already done so.)

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May 1st, 2012

CFO Volunteers Needed for a Great Cause!

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Jacques coaching one of ACORN Woodland’s students on the front squat

Last year, a number of us from CFO had the opportunity to volunteer our time to and coach at the ACORN Elementary School Sports and Fitness Fair.  The Fair was a a 3-hour time slot dedicated to teaching kids about various aspects of physical fitness.  We put together all kinds of CrossFit-inspired drills and games for them.  

This all happened because of Ellie, fellow CFOer and teacher at ACORN Elementary School.  She’s the one who organizes the whole thing.  The Fair is right around the corner, and I’m hoping we can get a ton of volunteers to help out again this year.  

It’s totally worth your time and you’ll be helping out a lot of kids in the process!

Here’s a message from Ellie, including date, time, and how to contact her.

I’m organizing the Sports and Fitness Fair at my school again this year and I’d love to have some CFO volunteers come again! It was such a success last year! Would you be willing to post it on the CFO page to see if anyone is interested?

It is on Thursday, May 24th from 9am-12pm. I do need volunteers to stay for that whole time block in order to make things equitable for the students.

The volunteers can plan their own station or have me plan one for them. I have lots of equipment volunteers can use or they can bring their own. They will teach to a group of 12-14 students at a time for around 10 min. and then a new group will rotate through.

CFO’ers can comment on the blog if they’re interested, leaving their name and e-mail, and I can follow up individually with them.

School Info:

ACORN Woodland is a small, public school located in East Oakland , just walking distance from the Oakland Coliseum. We serve 250 students, Kinder-5th grade. Physical fitness and nutrition are essential elements of our school’s mission. We firmly believe that a successful educational experience preparing all students for college must include a balance between rigorous academic preparation and an education of the whole child. We consistently encourage and nurture social, emotional, cooperative and team-building skills through competitive and non-competitive sports and games. Before leaving our school, each of our students has a chance to find their niche in the world of physical fitness and feels successful in a variety of core sports and recess games. We’d love to diversify the skills with some Crossfit elements again!

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