Monthly Archives: July 2012
Jul 31st, 2012

Congratulations, Tom!


Tom (right) after his graduation ceremony today

A big congratulations to fellow CFOer Tom S for finishing up his academy today!  He’s now an official Alameda County Sheriff.  This has been a long process for Tom (28 weeks in total); it’s great to see all of the hard work and long hours he’s put in pay off.  And the good news is that we’ll now get to see more of him at the gym (hopefully he still has those awesome butterfly pull-ups).

I guess we now get to call him Officer Sterling.

Congratulations, Tom!

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Jul 30th, 2012

Recap of CF Hercules Throwdown


The CFO crew showing some guns and grins after it was all said and done

The Hercules CrossFit Battle of the Sexes Throwdown went down yesterday and five of us from CFO decided to throw our hats into the ring and compete.

It was a total blast and everyone agreed it was so much fun to compete and test our level of fitness against others in our age group.  There was a 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s age bracket.  The unique thing about the Battle of the Sexes Throwdown is that men and women compete against one another in a winner-takes-all format (there isn’t a separate male/female division).

Here’s the rundown for each CFOer who competed.

Steve D

Steve, the man with the plan (or many plans), came home with all the spoils after winning First Place in the 50s age bracket.  He was super consistent across the board and cruised to an easy victory in the final workout, which pitted the top 3 finishers against one another in a 3-round workout involving squat snatches and prowler pushes and pulls.  He lapped everyone in the final round…very impressive!


This was Leka’s first ever CF competition, outside of the CF Games Open, and she did awesome!  She’d put in a lot of hard work leading up to the competition and it really paid off.  Even before the competition, she’d had major PRs in the squat and deadlift, so it really came as no surprise that she PR’d in the competition in her clean-and-jerk (the clean-and-jerk was the second event of the throwdown).  In fact, she got a double PR:  her first PR was at 125#, and then she followed that up one minute later with her second PR at 135#.  When it was all said and done, Leka finished in 24th place in the 40s age bracket.  Not too shabby for a first-ever competition!


Much like Leka, Joey had been putting in a ton of work leading up to the competition.  Joey’s always a game competitor, ready for anything that’s thrown her way.  A couple of her highlights:  1) PR’ing her clean-and-jerk at 135#; 2) gritting her way through the third workout and finishing it with 2 seconds left on the clock (she knocked off 50 double-unders in less than a minute); and 3) ripping off 20 straight deadlifts after thinking she’d only be able to get 10 of them done during warm-ups.  At the end of the day, Joey finished in 15th place in the highly competitive 30s age bracket.  Strong work!


Lance stepped up and represented CFO in the 40s age bracket.  There’s never any question about whether Lance is gonna be putting forth 100% effort when he’s out there competing.  He leaves it all out there (and I think the wall he had to jump over might have a little bit of him on it).  A couple of standout moments for Lance:  1) he hit a major PR in the clean-and-jerk by nailing 215#; and 2) he started the third workout by ripping off 50 double-unders and following it up with 40 unbroken deadlifts @ 135#.  He was through with the deadlifts while many were still on double-unders.  When all the dust settled, Lance ended up in 15th place, climbing up the leaderboard as the day went on.


I finished in 4th place in the 40s age bracket, which wasn’t too shabby considering this was my first competition (outside of the CF Games Open) since 2010.  It feels good to be back; I can’t believe it took this long to get back on the saddle.  Can’t wait for the next one (which will be Occupy Strength on August 11, which many other CFOers are doing as well).  No PRs or big moments for me, though; just a lot of butterflies and fun.  Lessons learned:  1) don’t forget your lifting shoes; 2) don’t do the floater WOD immediately following a long metcon at the end of the day.

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Jul 28th, 2012

An Ode to Pressing


Julie at the top of a press

Mark Rippetoe recently wrote an article for T-Nation entitled Get Your Press Up. It is an amusing and profane piece encouraging trainees to focus on an oft-neglected lift. His audience is specifically young men who are focused on the bench press as an upper body strength building exercise, but the points made are relevant well beyond that demographic. Here’s an excerpt:

I made the error of training the bench press for 15 years without heavy pressing, and it got me two shoulder surgeries (the press keeps your anterior and posterior shoulder strength in balance, the bench doesn’t) and the realization one day that I couldn’t correctly press 35% of my bench. Which is bullshit.

The press is a difficult movement for many people, myself included. The muscles involved in pressing are smaller and more susceptible to fatigue than those used in the squat and deadlift. Progress often comes slowly in the lift and with smaller weight increments than we might want. Microplates (plates less than 2.5 pounds a piece) come in very handy when seeking to maintain incremental increases in weight.  Despite these difficulties, a strong press is of great benefit to CrossFit and overall strength training. Enjoy the article and good luck setting new PRs on the press.

Also, best of luck to Joey, Leka, Steve D, Lance, and our fearless leader, Mike Minium as they compete in Hercules tomorrow. I happen to think Hercules might be the best town to host a strength-related competition I have ever heard of.

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Category: Fitness
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Jul 27th, 2012

CFOers Competing This Saturday!



The Hercules CrossFit Battle of the Sexes Throwdown is going down this weekend and five CFOers have thrown their hats into the ring.  The Battle of the Sexes is a competition where the women compete directly against the men in each age category (20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s).

All the action gets started at 8:30am, and there are heats running throughout the day.

Here’s the heat schedule:  Workout List and Heat Schedule

The following CFOers are competing:

Steve D

It would be great if we could get some crowd support there to cheer our competitors on!  Hercules CrossFit is only about 20 minutes from CFO, so it’s close by.

Hercules CrossFit Location Page & Map:

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Jul 26th, 2012

Olympics Fever!


The Olympic Rings projected onto the famous White Cliffs of Dover

In honor of the Olympics starting this week (Opening Ceremonies are in 2 days!), I am sharing this article from the SF Chronicle "Staying Fit while Aging an Olympic Feat", which discusses the struggle of former Olympic athletes to come to terms with their aging bodies.  I am sure some of us at least can relate – even if we never trained for the Olympics.

Enjoy the article and enjoy the (other) Games!

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Jul 24th, 2012

Tier Testing This Week


Candace climbing the rope at the CF Games

This week we’re doing tier testing, which will give you a chance to see what kind of progress you’re making and will give you a better idea about selecting the appropriate tier for your workouts.

There are 9 tests and they’ll all be done over the coming week.  The attached PDF gives you the metrics we use to assign tiers.  Not everyone will be in the same tier across the board on all tests; that’s okay.  This is simply one way of looking at and evaluating your own level of fitness.  If you have deficiencies in one area that lag way behind other areas, then it’s time to focus on those deficiencies.  Likewise, it’s good to know where your strengths are.

Take a look at the PDF so that you can know how the tiers are measured.

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Jul 23rd, 2012

K-Star Mobility Seminar Recap

Kelly ! 025.jpg

Kelly Starrett mashing Candace’s thigh.

Last Friday, I visited Norcal Crossfit to check out the Crossfit Movement and Mobility Course with Kelly Starrett.  Kelly wants to educate all crossfit athletes so that they are better able to have healthy, high-performing bodies.  Most of us have issues in the way that we move, and not dealing with them will eventually lead to pain, diminished range of motion, injury, and most important, DECREASED FORCE PRODUCTION.  

A few things I learned that you may or may not find interesting (not in any particular order):

Kelly Likes:

  1.  Midline stability
  2. Proper position
  3. Candace’s Muscles
  4. Proper Hydration
  5. Movement integrity

Kelly Dislikes:

  1. Wide stance burpees
  2. Sleep deprivation
  3. Poor posture
  4. Waiting for pain to start before addressing movement issues
  5. Ice

Fixing all the issues in your body may seem overwhelming and impossible.  The take home is this: spend 10-15 minutes every day on your mobility.  Pick 2-3 things to do, each for at least two minutes (per side).  An example of this would be to roll around on a lacrosse ball on your glutes for two minutes on each side, then do a glute stretch and the couch stretch for two minutes on each side.  That is all.  Try it for a month and see if your squat gets better.

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Jul 22nd, 2012

Article on Coach Aaron in East Bay Express!

Coach Evil.jpg

Coach ‘Evil’ scouting locations that will challenge his runners

Check out this article in the East Bay Express on Coach Aaron and the training program he has put together to prepare CFO’ers for the Tough Mudder race in September.  We are so grateful to have Aaron as our official running coach for not only the Tough Mudder training, but also various other events, running technique clinics, weekly track workouts, etc.  It sure is good to see him getting such good press.  Yeah, Coach!

Remember, if you’d like to join Coach A and the team for endurance work, all are welcome to join Team CFO in weekly Tough Mudder training sessions.  We currently meet Sundays at 1pm. Tomorrow’s session will be a timed run around Lake Merritt.  Workouts are posted on Saturday.  By the way – there is still time to register for the Tough Mudder in Patterson on September 29th!  Prices go up July 31st. When registering, ask to join a team and scroll down to CrossFit Oakland.  Email us for the password or for any questions!

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Jul 21st, 2012

Today is a Good Day to Train

Greg Squat

Greg’s first attempt on the squat.

I’ve been meaning to write an article about Greg for some time. He’s a worthy subject and his story helps illustrate a larger point. Greg began to train with barbells over two years ago and as his strength gains accumulated, he decided the time had come to enter a competition. In April, Greg, along with Zeke, entered in a powerlifting meet in the South Bay at Wild Iron Gym. Yes, I know it is now July, but I studied geology. What are months in the face of eons? You’ll never see such a short delay in the rock record.

Back to Greg. In the meet, he competed in the 90 kg (198 lb) weight class and made the following lifts:

Squat – 110 kg (242.5 lb)
Bench – 70 kg (154 lb)
Deadlift – 152.5 kg (336 lb)
Total – 332.5 kg (733 lb)

With those results, Greg set the California State Records for masters athletes in the US Powerlifting Association for all three lifts and for his powerlifting total (the sum of the lifts). In his early 60s, he falls outside the usual strength training demographic , let alone the normal group that competes in powerlifting. While the records are certainly cool, it has been more rewarding to watch Greg refine his technique and gain the strength to move some very impressive weights. Not surprisingly, his increased strength has led to an increased quality of life. How many men in their early 60s walk up to well over 300 pounds and decide to pick it up off the ground? Greg does so almost every Saturday afternoon.

Excuses abound, but inspiration is readily available. What is the secret to getting stronger? You show up. You lift hard. You sweat. You then come back and lift a little heavier. It never gets easier. As we age, the siren call of the couch grows louder. It is the rare individual that rejects that call and takes their wellbeing seriously enough to preserve it. As Dr. Jonathan Sullivan noted, Barbells are Big Medicine. Tired of feeling badly? Tired of getting weaker? We are capable of great things, provided we are willing to work for them. Just ask Greg.

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Category: Fitness
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Jul 19th, 2012

Sundays in August: CF in the Park hosted by Lululemon!


 CFO’ers having a blast during a visit to Lululemon Berkeley

CrossFit Oakland’s partnership with Lululemon Berkeley continues to grow as the rockstars at Lulu host the CFO training staff in Willard Park, Berkeley all four Sundays in August for "CrossFit in the Park".  CFO coaches will be running participants through a Community Day workout from 8:15am – 9:15am on Sunday August 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th.  All fitness levels welcome!

Come on out and support this fun event – bring friends, family and co-workers!  Don’t forget to stay for Yoga immediately following the workout at 9:30am.  What a fabulous way to spend a lovely summer morning!

‘Like’ Lululemon Berkeley on Facebook for more event details!

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