Monthly Archives: December 2012
Dec 30th, 2012

Reminder: Community Day WOD on New Years Day @ 11am


Thanks to Coach Dawn for taking this photo of yesterday’s class warming up

There will be no regular classes offered on Tuesday, Jan 1st so you can all recover from "Murph". 

We will be running a Community Day on Tuesday January 1, 2013 at 11am for anybody interested in trying out CrossFit.  Bring your friends, family, co-workers, etc.  As always our Community Day workout will last about an hour and will be accessible to all fitness levels.  No prior experience is necessary.  

Also remember that tomorrow, Dec 31st we will be running a modified schedule (8am, 9:30am & 11am), so that each class will have plenty of time to complete "Murph".

Regular class schedule resumes Wednesday, January 2nd.


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Dec 29th, 2012

Things to Read Before 2013

Michael Squat

Michael performing the exercise of the year to the proper depth.

As January approaches, journalists often pen "Best of the Year" articles involving the number 10. While I know that you would truly appreciate reading my "Ten Best Firming and Toning Exercises" post, I have instead decided to recycle previous articles I have written because I am very lazy. I will, however, share with you the best exercise of 2012.

It is… wait for it… The Squat.

Yes, the squat is the single best exercise of 2012, just as it has been, since, well, hominids became bipedal. Depending upon who you listen to, that started somewhere around four to six million years ago. If we really wanted to be safe, we could say that we were full time bipeds by a little less than two million years ago when Homo erectus took their first steps in the world.

Air squats are fine, but squatting with a weight on your back is what truly develops strength. Barbells came into usage somewhere around the mid 19th century. Plate loaded barbells followed sometime in the late 19th to early 20th century. For over 100 years we, as a species, have had access to these wonderful tools and it is my pleasure to report that the barbell squat is still the king of exercises. You can now sleep easier. I sure will.

Now for the promised recycling of previous postings. Since some will have traveled or been unable to get to a gym for a period, I would direct you to an almost two-year old article entitled Coming Back from a Layoff in Training.

On the first workout back, go very easy. Scale weights and repetitions to the point that your pride is insulted. That will be the correct starting point. Some soreness will still result and that is fine. The object is to avoid crippling soreness that serves to discourage another return to the gym.

Next up is an article from earlier this year.  After returning to the gym, it is time to build momentum and make gains. Showing Up is a worthwhile read in this regard.

I mentioned in various postings on this site that strength is built slowly. It also tends to erode more slowly when a layoff occurs than something like cardiovascular fitness. However, when you stop training, you start to get weaker. Getting weaker is the opposite of progress and we want to avoid it whenever possible.  Thus we return to the point. If you want to improve, you must first show up. Again and again. Whether you feel like it, or not.

Lastly, I will close my last article of 2012 with a reposting of Dr. Jonathan Sullivan’s excellent article on the importance of weight training. Read Barbell Training is Big Medicine. If you already read it, read it again. Then send it to a friend. Here is a sample from the article.

This is an increasingly prevalent phenotype of aging in America and other industrialized nations: a living hell of progressive weakness, obesity, inactivity, shrinking horizons, sexual impotence, decreased expectations, mounting despair, a growing list of expensive drugs, learned helplessness, sickness, and pain. It’s being "All Done At Sixty"…or Fifty. It’s a life of waiting to die from a skin infection or a broken hip or a blot clot, of needing a stupid little fucking go-cart to get from here to there, of not being able to reach your own ass to wipe it, of narcotizing yourself with alcohol, cigarettes, American Idol and Doritos so you don’t have to face your own grim existence as a slowly rotting Jabba The Hut. I see it every day. We call it "old-itis." A joke, I guess, but an obscene one. This gruesome avatar of aging offends the eye, the mind, and the spirit, and it cries out for both compassion and correction. Strength training is a macroscopic growth factor, countersignalling all of this evil shit.

This is not my wishful extrapolation of cellular phenomena to the human sphere. It’s a medical observation, supported by study after study. Research with elderly subjects indicates that resistance training improves overall function and strength, enhances bone density and balance adaptations, and improves the metabolic profiles and glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes. A landmark 2008 study of nearly 9000 men followed for an average of nearly nearly 20 years showed that muscular strength is inversely associated with death from all causes, even when adjusting for fitness and cardiovascular health.

I wish you a safe and productive New Year that is rich in strength, happiness, and quality of life.

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Dec 26th, 2012

A Note About This Week’s Programming

 Dance Party Babes.jpg

Just a quick note about this week’s programming…

Due to the gym closure yesterday (Merry Christmas, everyone!), we’ll be running a modified programming schedule this week.  Our normal Thursday recovery day will be a workout day, which means the first rest day will be Sunday.

So the programming schedule will run follows:





Sun:  Rest Day

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Dec 24th, 2012

CFO Holiday Schedule

Aisha and Sherrill at the holiday party

Just a quick reminder about our holiday schedule, as follows.

Mon 12/24: 8am, 9am, and 10am only
Tue 12/25: Closed
Wed 12/26: 8am, 9am, and 10am only
Thu 12/27 through Sun 12/30: Normal Schedule
Mon 12/31: 8am, 9:30am, and 11am only (Murph Day)
Tue 1/1: Community Day Workout at 11am
Wed 1/2: Back to Normal Schedule

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Dec 22nd, 2012

Socks Make Better Deadlifters


Kelly modeling proper deadlifting attire.

We are going to explore how a single article of clothing can aid the deadlift and in the process make us better people. Since Polonius suggested, "Brevity is the soul of wit," I, too, will get to the point. You should wear long socks that come up to right below the knee every time you deadlift. This will allow you to use better form, lift more weight, avoid abrasion, and protect your fellow trainees in the gym.

As always, performance is of greatest interest. When a trainee pulls a heavy bar off the floor, it needs to be as close to the point of balance of the lifter-barbell system as it can. This allows for an efficient pull and for the most weight to be lifted. In this case, that point of balance is the middle of the foot. The middle of the foot is actually right around where the navicular meets the cuneiform bones, which is to say, quite close to the lower leg. Upon approaching a barbell, a trainee will have the bar over the midfoot when it is approximately one inch from the shin. This is from where the deadlift should start and the bar should not be moved forward from this point.

Now that the stance is established, the trainee grips the bar and drops the hips until the shins come in contact with the bar. Since the trainee knows that the midfoot is the balance point of the lift, they wisely avoid pushing the bar forward with the shins during this process.

Here is where the socks come in handy. An efficient pull is one that moves in a straight line and uses the musculature in such a way that every muscle that can contribute to the lift is called into contraction. When the bar comes off the floor, it needs to be in contact with the legs the whole way up. When this occurs, the quadriceps can be fully utilized to help with the lift while maintaining the highly coveted vertical bar path over the balance point. If the shins are not protected during the lift, a trainee is highly likely to break the skin covering the bony ridge of the tibia and, if they are particularly lucky, they will begin to bleed. This will often happen even if they narrow their stance to avoid the abrasive knurling on the bar.

A nice, long pair of socks prevents this unfortunate situation. Abrading the shins and bleeding on the bar does not make anyone feel any better during what is already a very uncomfortable lift. Continuing to drag the bar up unprotected legs over the course of multiple training sessions can repeatedly reopen the wound, courting infection and scarring. Further, bleeding on the bar makes a mess and subjects other trainees to the risk of infection from whatever blood-borne illnesses the lifter may be carrying around. Wearing long socks during deadlifts, or really any pull, is an act of kindness and respect towards your fellow trainees.

Keeping the bar in contact with the legs on the deadlift allows for proper positioning during the lift and the optimal usage of the musculature. Wearing long socks makes this easier to achieve through the prevention of abrasion and bleeding. The socks protect the lifter from the bar and other trainees from the lifter. If you don’t own long socks, buy a few pairs and keep them with you when you come to the gym. You will lift better and do everyone else a favor by just wearing one article of clothing. Merry Christmas and Happy Deadlifting.

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Dec 20th, 2012

Lowering The Bar Safely In The Snatch, Clean And Jerk by Greg Everett

+++ CFO will be observing a moment of silence at 9:30am on Friday 12/21 to honor the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary +++



Mike demonstrating control of an overhead lift

Check out this article by the great Greg Everett, Olympic lifting coach extraordinaire about lowering the bar safely during the Olympic lifts. Scroll down for a video demonstrating the different methods described in the article.  These methods can be applied to other CrossFit-ish movements as well.

While we value our equipment and do whatever we can to protect it, remember that your safety and the safety of those around you are most important of all.

Rule #1: Choose a weight you can perform with good form and control, especially for met-cons. Your coach can and will help you with this.

Rule #2: Have a plan for bailing if you get in trouble.  Greg’s article will help with some best practices or ask your coach for suggestions if you are unsure about how to lower weight safely in a particular exercise.

Rule #3: Maintain a safe ‘space bubble’ when lifting or completing a WOD.  Make sure you do not encroach on your neighbor’s bubble at any time.

Rule #4: Be aware as you move around the gym floor that you are not in the way of another lifter. Never walk in front of someone who is performing a heavy lift. As much as we welcome them, your beautiful children and adorable dogs should never be on the gym floor during class time.

Rule #5: If you have never bailed out of a heavy lift before, please do so!  Load your bar with a relatively light weight and practice dumping it from overhead or off your back at the bottom of a back squat.  This can be intimidating at first, but once you do it once, you might just learn to like it.

And as a reminder about proper care of our equipment, please do not drop the following:

1. Empty bars

2. Bars loaded with only 5# or 10# training plates exclusively

3. Kettlebells

4. Dumbbells

5. Bars loaded with iron plates exclusively

Happy heavy lifting!!

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Dec 19th, 2012

CFO Holiday Schedule


Michelle and Ann all dressed up at the CFO Holiday Party

Here’s our schedule over the holiday break.

Mon 12/24: 8am, 9am, and 10am only
Tue 12/25: Closed
Wed 12/26: 8am, 9am, and 10am only
Thu 12/27 through Sun 12/30: Normal Schedule
Mon 12/31: 8am, 9:30am, and 11am only (Murph Day)
Tue 1/1: Community Day Workout at 11am
Wed 1/2:  Back to Normal Schedule

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Dec 17th, 2012

Reminder: Let’s Give Back During the Holidays


Arnold, Aaron C, and J-Woo at the CFO Holiday Party

Just a quick follow-up on our initial post

From now until December 20th, we’re going to be collecting donations for a program called Alternative Family Services. The donations can be cash or non-cash items. As you can see from the list below, there are many needs.  

We only have a few days left before we have to turn in all of the donated items, so let’s end on a high note and finish strong with lots of donations!

About Alternative Family Services

Alternative Family Services (AFS) is a foster, adoptions and mental health agency that has been creating safe, permanent connections for foster children and youth in the Bay Area since 1978. AFS is committed to:

  • Supporting families at risk
  • Creating permanency options for all foster children
  • Providing mental health and other supports to children, youth and their families
  • Preparing foster youth for adult independent living
  • Responding to needs in the community as they arise

How You Can Help

AFS has published a Needs List, as follows (you can also view the list online here):

  • Funding for extra curricular activities: HIGH NEED, monetary donations can be given by going to the AFS Needs List website.
  • Gift Cards: HIGH NEED, including any and all of the following: gas cards, clothing retailers, school supplies, sporting goods, movie passes, art/crafts stores, restaurants, etc. (Please write the amount on the card.)
  • Diapers and Bath Supplies: HIGH NEED
  • Backpacks and School Supplies for ALL ages: paper, pens, pencils, rulers, calculators, colored pencils, binders, etc.
  • Packs of Socks and Underwear and T-Shirts: ALL sizes, colors. Onesies for babies, underwear in youth sizes, socks in ALL sizes.
  • Hygiene Supplies: toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, lotions, etc.

There’s also an opportunity to help hand out gifts to the kids and foster families during AFS’s Open House on December 21 and December 22. If this is something you’re interested in doing, email Lydia directly and she can add you to the list of volunteers.

You can drop off any donated items at CFO. We’ll have a giant box to make things easy. As you can see from the list above, there are lots of options for giving. Let’s do our part to make this holiday season special for those in need.

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Dec 13th, 2012

Thanks for a good time!


The pumpkin cheesecake was amazing.  Can’t say the same for CFO singing…

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the big fiesta last night.  You all looked stunning!  There are plenty of photos on Facebook for those of you who did not make it this time. It was a great night and as you know, we are so grateful for all of you.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Heidi and Andrew Berger for hosting us at the Terrace Room.  It was beautiful and the food, drinks and service were fabulous.

Thank you to Joey for helping Mike with the photo slideshow.

Now, any tips for ‘recovery’…?

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Dec 12th, 2012

Reminder: CFO Holiday Party Happening Wed Dec 12 at 6pm!


Daniel and Candace at last year’s CFO Holiday Party

Reminder:  Our holiday party is going down tomorrow night, Wednesday 12/12/12, beginning at 6pm.  We’ll do our best to keep the party going as long as you all want it to go on.  Also please note that the gym will be closed in the evening.

All of you, plus your significant others, are invited.  And if you haven’t yet done so, please RSVP via Facebook or by emailing us.

Drinks and appetizers will be on the house, but if you’d like to bring a dessert to share with others, that’d be great!  And remember, the dress code is festive (in other words, no gym clothes).

See you all tomorrow night!

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