Monthly Archives: August 2012
Aug 31st, 2012

Labor Day Schedule


Julian at a rock-solid bottom position in the squat (photo courtesy of TomC)

Just a quick heads-up on our Labor Day Monday schedule:  We’ll be running a weekend schedule on Monday, September 3, which means we’ll have classes at the following times:


We have a girl workout planned, and the top scores will go on our leaderboard, so bring your A game on Monday!

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Aug 30th, 2012

6 Week Challenge: Week 1


Cleaned up Chicken Marbella

Thanks to everyone who came out to take on the Eat Clean, Train Dirty Challenge which started on Monday.   Due to the large number of participants, our money-pot is pretty substantial.  Let the games begin!

Some of the highlights from our meeting in case you couldn’t make it:

Eat Clean:

– CFO Guidelines distributed.  These are simple and straight-forward and a great starting point.  Over time, you need to find out what works for you personally and tweak it to your particular needs.  The best way to do this is my trial and error, perhaps by applying these guidelines over a 6-week period and then slowly adding back ‘forbidden foods’ and noting the effect?

– Get a partner.  This is a great way to stay accountable, get past cravings and other moments of weakness and it really does make it more fun.  Share recipes, tips/tricks, whining and other good stuff.

– Find a challenge, take it on and don’t cheat.  It should be something that is tough for you, thus the challenge.  Some examples are to eat 100% paleo, give up sugar/alcohol/caffeine/dairy for the entire 6-week period.  This is a chance to see some serious improvements in performance and aesthetics, plus dominating your weaknesses makes you feel strong and leads to success.

Train Dirty (Tips from Mini):

– Train at least 3x/week

– Train the whole body

– Don’t neglect strength training

– Cycle intensity (1 day super high, 1 day medium, 1 day low/medium)

– Take care of recovery (roll out, get plenty of sleep, etc.)

Ok, my tips of the week:

– Make sure you are eating enough total food over the course of the day.  You should never feel like you are hungry.  Conversely, you should never feel uncomfortably full.

– Drink lots and lots of water/sparkling water/tea

– Sleep as much as you can.  You should be able to wake up without the assistance of an alarm clock (what??)

– Don’t just search for recipes on paleo sites.  Take your favorite recipes and adjust them to suit your clean eating.  For example, the recipe pictured above is from a recipe called  Chicken Marbella ( and calls for whole chicken, brown sugar and wine.  I use chicken thighs, so I can make a ton of it for less money and leave out the brown sugar. You can easily leave out the white wine as well.


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Aug 29th, 2012

Safe Travels, Simon!


Simon before his last workout at CFO this evening

Simon, our resident 25-year old German wunderkind, is heading back to Germany tomorrow.  He was here on a fellowship at UC Berkeley for the summer and was able to spend a good deal of time training with us at CFO in his downtime.

It was a pleasure having him here.  I’m pretty sure there isn’t a single CF movement that he can’t do–and do extremely well.  Anyone who saw him do muscle-ups, rope climbs, butterfly pull-ups, etc. can attest to this.

Simon became a regular with the evening crew (usually training at 6pm) and a number of his fellow CFOers are really going to miss him.  And he only just started, it seems.  I know Gabe, in particular, will be sad to see his arch-rival leaving.

Safe travels, Simon, and keep in touch!  And best of luck in the European Regional next year!

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Aug 28th, 2012

Prather Ranch Delivery This Friday Aug 31 at 5pm!



Our Prather Ranch delivery is set for this Friday August 31st.  Please note that this is a change from the original delivery date (it was originally set for Wednesday August 29th).  If this causes an issue, let us know by emailing us as soon as possible.  The delivery truck will arrive between 5pm and 6pm.

Here’s how the process works, for any first-timers out there.

  • You pay for your box (or half-box) of beef before this Friday.  Cash, check (payable to CrossFit Oakland), or credit card are all acceptable forms of payment.  The cost for a 40-lb box of beef is $300.
  • Each box will be labeled with your name(s) on it.  You take that box (don’t grab an unlabeled box).
  • If you’re splitting a box, at least one of you will need to bring a separate container for the meat (another box, a few grocery bags, etc.).  No extra boxes are provided.

That’s it.  Easy as can be.

And here’s the list of people who got in on the order:

Gabriel (1)
Vee (1)
Denise (1/2) & Adam (1/2)
Sean S (1)
Brandon H (1)
Mariko (1)
Justin (1)
Colleen (1/2) & Stowe (1/2)
Brian C (1)
Steve D (1)
Dawn (1/2) & Tamara (1/2)
Joe P (1)
Sam L (1)
Julian (1/2) & Michelle M (1/2)
Roland (1)
Ev (1)
Marc (1)
D-Sal (1)
Leigh (1)
Jack (2)
Danielle A (1)
Mark P (1)


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Aug 26th, 2012

My New Project: CFO Cookbook


My Collection of Recipes

If it were up to me none of us would have to lift a finger and we’d all have our own personal chefs to make us perfectly balanced, healthy and delicious meals. I’m sorry to say, unless I win the lottery, this is will probably never happen. Lucky for you, I have a back up plan that’s almost as luxurious as a personal chef: a cookbook.

In the next six weeks (the duration of the Clean Eating Challenge) I will be compiling all of YOUR favorite recipes into CFO’s very own handy-dandy cookbook.  Cooking and planning meals is one of the most challenging parts of any healthy eating program. It’s one of the reasons why so many people give up on the (insert name here) diet. Preparing meals can be time consuming and an intimidating process if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen.  

We’re hoping that this cookbook will help get your started or help you get out of your cooking rut and experience the joy of creating scrumptious meals that are good for you and made by YOU! 

Here are the logistics:

  • Starting now, you can submit as many recipes as you want to me via email
  • The heading of each email should read: dessert, vegetable, meat, condiments, eggs, beverage.
  • Give credit to where credit is due. If it’s not your recipe, list the source.
  • ALL recipes should be dairy-free, grain-free, legume (bean)-free and sugar-free; honey/maple syrup is okay.
  • Please include a photo of your delicious dish.

We haven’t decided whether the cookbook will be available in print or just electronically. More to come on this later.

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Aug 25th, 2012

How to Hold on to a Bar

Double Overhand Grip

The double overhand grip

When pulling a weight off of the floor, there are a few options with respect to gripping the bar. What a trainee uses will be dependent upon the size of their hand, grip strength, and tolerance for discomfort. The first and most obvious way to hold the bar is using the double overhand style. Both of the palms face the lifter’s legs and the thumbs are wrapped around the bar on top of the fingers. Holding the bar like this evenly distributes the load across both shoulders, allows the bar to move in a nice straight line off the floor, and provides plenty of grip work during the lift. If you can use this grip for all of your deadlift attempts, by all means do so.

For many trainees, however, the grip will begin to give way using the double overhand style as the weight gets heavier. Once the bar starts slipping out of the hand, the deadlift comes to a screeching halt. No amount of cursing or prayer will rectify the situation until the grip is changed to something more secure. Once the double overhand fails, the following options are available: the hook grip, the reverse grip, or straps.

The Hook Grip

The Hook Grip

The hook grip looks identical to the double overhand grip when viewed from the front.  When viewed from the rear, you can see that you grab on to the thumb with the first two fingers. This relaxes the hand somewhat and allows for a strong, secure hold on the bar. Since you are both mashing your thumb into the bar while simultaneously pulling on the thumb with the tip of your middle finger while using a hook grip, it can also be very uncomfortable. This discomfort becomes much less troublesome as the hands adapt to the stress. The hook grip shares the same benefits to the shoulders and bar path as the double overhand grip. It is the preferred grip for the Olympic lifts and is my personal favorite for the deadlift.

Hand Size Comparison

Longer fingers and bigger hands are an advantage when pulling a barbell off the floor

If a trainee has small hands, the hook grip may not be of great use during limit deadlift attempts, unfortunately. Longer fingers are required to get a good purchase on the thumb. For trainees with shorter digits, the reverse grip may provide a stronger hold than the hook.

Hook Grip Compare

Note that the trainee on the right is able to grab a lot more of her thumb
while using the hook grip. Longer fingers strike again. Sorry, Kelly.

The reverse grip involves supinating (turning) one of the hands so that one palm faces in front of the lifter, while one is left facing the legs. This grip also allows for heavier weights to be handled without fear of the bar slipping out of the hand on the way up. It is probably the most popular choice for deadlifts. The supinated grip asymmetrically loads the shoulders and the supine hand tends to slightly push the bar away from the lifter as the pull comes off the floor. It can, in rare cases, irritate or injure the biceps tendon of the supine hand, although such injuries are normally reserved for fairly advanced powerlifters who are handling large poundages.

Reverse Grip

The mighty reverse grip

Because of the uneven loading of the hands and shoulders using the reverse grip, it is a good idea to switch the supine hand regularly to evenly stress both sides. This can be done from workout to workout, or if the trainee prefers, can be switched between repetitions. The reverse grip and the hook grip can be combined, although this is not used as commonly, probably because it is somewhat difficult to supinate the hand and hold on to the thumb at the same time.

Lastly, if none of the options above work, the trainee can use purpose-built straps to aid with grip. How and when to use straps is beyond the scope of this article, but they are useful tools on many occasions. Most competitions do not allow the use of straps, so this should be kept in mind when employing them.

Big hands and longer fingers are a distinct advantage on pulls. My apologies to those with shorter fingers. Life isn’t always fair and this is one of those times. Here are my recommendations for deadlifts:

  1. Use chalk. It helps to dry the hands and keeps the bar from slipping.
  2. Use the double overhand whenever possible. Use it on warmup sets until you cannot do so any longer.
  3. When the double overhand fails, move to the hook grip.
  4. If you cannot hold on using the hook grip, go to the reverse grip.
  5. If none of that worked, use straps.

There is more to say on this topic, but that will suffice for now. If you haven’t tried the hook grip on the deadlift, consider it. You may prefer it, despite the discomfort.

Special thanks to the CrossFit Oakland Hand Modeling Corps for their assistance with this article. Your checks are in the mail.

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Aug 24th, 2012

Say It Ain’t So!


John after his final workout with us on Wednesday

These are the posts that I wish I didn’t have to write sometimes because it means we have to say goodbye to one of our CFO community members.

John (along with Jen) first started training at CFO at our old 39th St location (two buildings ago).  If memory serves, it was Jen who had to kind of twist his arm to come.  Immediately after those intro sessions, though, John quickly became a regular and has hardly missed a workout since.  That was around three years ago (again, if memory serves).  In fact, John and Jen started training with us before they had their daughter, Fiona, who many of you have seen around the gym at various times.

Long story short, John’s taking a promotion and as a result has to move up to Sacramento.  I have no doubt he’ll find a great CF gym up there (there are a lot of them up that way), but at least we can say that we were his first gym.

We’re gonna miss John, Jen, and Fiona!  Keep in touch!

Let’s post well wishes and congratulations to them in comments and/or on Facebook.

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Aug 23rd, 2012

Eat Clean, Train Dirty Challenge Kick Off Meeting THIS Sunday 8/26 @ 11am


Wine is paleo (and fabulous), but is it keeping you from your goals?

Our 6-Week Eat Clean, Train Dirty Challenge begins on Monday, August 27th.  Join us for a fun and informative kick-off meeting on Sunday after classes at 11am.  We will keep it short – about 30 minutes.  Check out last week’s post for more info regarding the challenge.

Hope you can make it!

  • Bring you questions, comments, tips, favorite recipes, blogs, etc. 
  • We will have a camera ready for some awesome before photos.  Shorts for guys and shorts/sports bra for gals.  We will take a front and back shot of you OR you can email us your before photos by Sunday night (8/26). Photos are for judges eyes only.
  • Training, eating guidelines will be distributed and discussed

Remember, you will be judged on changes in body composition demonstrated by your before/after photos.  However, I strongly urge you to take on whatever habit has been a particular challenge to you.  Whether it be eating 100% paleo, giving up sugar or alcohol or simply training more consistently.  Take something on that you think will be difficult.  You can do it and you will feel so much better when you kill that bad habit or embrace a good one!

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Aug 22nd, 2012

Why Do It Right When I Can Do It Wrong?


Tamara doing it right

What can I say?  Every once in a while Freddy C actually writes a good blog post (kidding, Freddy and I like to give each other a hard time).

In Freddy’s post from last week, Why Do It Right When I Can Do It Wrong?, he shoots down the commonly held notion that if you just go faster in your workout, you’re doing a better job.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to read the post in its entirety.  Yes, it’s a long post, but it’s definitely worth your time.

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Aug 21st, 2012

Mark Your Calendars and be at CFO on October 6th!


It’s that time of year again, everyone:  The Crosstown Throwdown with CrossFit Sweat Shop!

We did this last year at CrossFit Sweat Shop and wrested the Tiki away from them.  From what I understand, they’re out for revenge this year and have been training hard to take it back.  This year the competition will take place on our home floor on Saturday, October 6th.

There will be 27 workouts in total; 17 of which are listed below.  We will know all the workouts come game day, but we won’t know the order.  We’ll be posting a full rundown of the rules later on the blog.  For now, though, know that everyone from CFO needs to be there and everyone has a chance of competing.  There are so many workouts that we need to be able to spread out the workload over multiple bodies throughout the day, so the more, the merrier.  For example, last year Hannah and Leka stopped by CF Sweat Shop to cheer on some fellow CFOers, and lo and behold, we were running low on female competitors, so we threw them into a workout that they ended up winning.

*** If you’d like to take part in the Crosstown Throwdown and represent CFO, send us an email so that we can get a preliminary roster going and get an idea of how many people we’ll have. ***

More to come in the coming weeks, but for now, here are the 17 workouts we know about so far (don’t let your kids read at least one of the workout names):

Good Old Helen: (3 any) 400m run/21 kb swings/12 chin over pull ups. Combined age has to be 135 minimum. One round each.

Fran Off [tm]: (6 men) 21/15/9 thrusters chin over pull ups. Best out of 3 head to head matches. Heat 1 weight 95#, heat 2 weight 135#, heat 3 weight 155#.

Soul Crusher: (5 men) Head-to-head. One set of 21 buprees then, 15/9/3 deadlift then thrusters at 135#.

Running Coach Special: (4 women then 4 men) 8×400 meter relay

Perfect or Push: (6 men) 7 total rounds relay. 15 reps straight of 135# ohsq, then Prowler push. Missed ohsq, means round does not count. Goal is 6 completed rounds.

Cluster Fuck: (10 any) Round 1- Start with tabata :20 on :10 off of these movements… Burpess/empty bar thrusters/push ups/plate jumps*. Add up scores of all 20 participants, bottom 2 scores out of all participants are out. Round 2- Next go 1:00 on, :30 off for each individual movement. After each individual movement, bottom 2 scoring participants are out. Keep cycling through all 4 movements until all of one team is eliminated. *Plate jumps, set a 45 lbs bumper on its edge jump over it. Jump over then back counts as 1 rep.

Staff Infection: (2 women) Max rope climbs in 4 minutes.

Grace: (5 men) Head-to-head. 135#

Row Harder: (2 women) Most meters rowed in 3 minutes. Combine meters rowed of both teammates for score.

How Fat are You: (1 women, ? men) 1000lbs max team weight limit. In 6 minutes each person must do a 1 rep max of their deadlift then strict press. Best lift of each team member is added for score. Entire team must work on one lift at a time. Once team has switch from deadlift to press, they can not go back. If any team member does not lift it’s a DNF for the entire team.

Pull This: (1 man) best of 3, one-on-one tug of war.

T Hammer: (1 man 1 woman) Run one at a time, coin flip who goes first. 21 65/95# ohsq/hammer sled*./15 hspu/hammer sled/9 burpee box jumps/hammer sled. *Hammer sled is the thing fire fighters use in their competitions. We will be borrowing one.

Save Me Buddy Lee: (6 women) 7 round relay. 20 straight double unders, shuttle run. Missed double under means round does not count.

So Fresh, So Clean: (3 women 3 men) 7 minutes to clean as much weight as possible. Every time the bar is lifted, that weight is counted toward the total. 1 bar per team, and 1 person working at a time. Everyone must do 1 clean. Power or full.

Steiner: (1 man 1 woman) 6 minutes to find 1 rep max of snatch and clean and jerk. Only pounds lifted over body weight will be counted.

BASEketball: (4 any) Relay. Team of 4 do 3 wall balls, then run 50 feet down and back*. Goal is 50 total wall balls. If the ball drops to the ground that team loses. Use a 14# ball for men and women to a 10′ target. *The run distance is between CFO and the building next door in the parking lot.

Fran Off 2: (6 women) 21/15/9 65# thrusters chin over pull ups. Best out of 3 head to head matches.

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