Jun 21st


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on Running Performance and Heart Health

Running Performance and Heart Health

Dr. O’Keefe giving a TED Talk on running and heart health

File this away in the old "some is good, more isn’t necessarily better" folder.  In this TED talk, Dr. O’Keefe, a cardiologist, discusses heart health and heart attack risk factors among runners and non-runners, and summarizes a few studies on mortality rates between runners and non-runners.

The take-home points of his talk, as it relates to running, per the studies he discusses, are as follows:

  • Not running at all (couch potato syndrome) sets you up for the greatest risk of heart attack.
  • Some running, or being an average or mediocre runner, is beneficial in terms of reducing heart attack risk factors.
  • Getting really good at running (think elite level) is better than being a couch potato, but not as beneficial as being a mediocre runner.

A couple of points to consider when taking this in:

  • He didn’t discuss other forms of exercise and their impact on heart health.  It was only focused on medium- and long-distance running.
  • He is coming from a health-oriented point of view, and all of his recommendations are based on optimizing heart health, not performance.

So what does this mean for you?  It depends on if you’re after health or performance (some would argue that you can have both, but at the highest level of athletic performance, health and performance are going to diverge, at least somewhat).

If you’re after health, you’re training at the right place.  Due to the nature of our program, we try and balance not only metabolic pathways (time duration of workouts and their related adaptations), but also disciplines/modalities.  We’re not just a barbell program, or a bodyweight program, or a running program.  Due to the balancing act of all our modalities, you’ll never be over-exposed to one discipline and will have well-rounded health.

And if you’re after performance, you’re also in the right place.  We’ll do everything we can to optimize health while chasing performance.  To that end, we have a number of specialty coaches (Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, etc.).  And more related to the subject at hand, we even have Coach Aaron, our CFO Endurance and Running coach.  Did you know he runs track workouts every Saturday morning at 8am at PIedmont High School, or that he runs an entire strength-and-conditioning program for track and endurance athletes?  Check out his Facebook page for more information.

Jun 19th


By Mike Minium
Category: Nutrition
Comments Comments Off on Meta-Analysis Finding: Processed Carbohydrates, not Fats, Pose Bigger Health Risk

Meta-Analysis Finding: Processed Carbohydrates, not Fats, Pose Bigger Health Risk


Leka and Ellie don’t look concerned about their saturated fat intake

A recent meta-analysis done by Ronald Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and his team or researchers found that there was no association between saturated fat and heart disease risk.  For those of you who’ve read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, the findings of this meta-analysis will have a familiar ring.  But the fact that this meta-analysis, and a significant one at that, comes from the scientific community, will hopefully bolster the message that Taubes has been trying to get across for the better part of the past decade.

The article’s final paragraph does a great job of summing up the findings of the research:

“If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits—you might actually produce harm,” Ludwig argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

Read the whole article here, which appeared in Scientific American:

Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart

Jun 18th


By Mike Minium
Category: Community
Comments 1

Calling All Training Partners!


Steve P after CF Games Open Workout 13.4

It’s been a while since we last posted about Steve P and his road to the CrossFit Games.  Since qualifying this past April for the Games after finishing the Open in 11th place worldwide in his age group, Steve has been putting in some serious work.  Anyone who’s been around our Emeryville location during the evening classes has at some point likely seen Steve training.

We’ve now entered the stretch run for Steve, with just a little over a month to go until the Games.  I’m now putting out the call for anyone to join Steve in his workouts leading up to the Games as a training partner.  We employed this strategy last year as Candace trained for the Games, to great success.  It can be a huge boost to be training alongside someone else, and to know that you’re not suffering alone.  It can often lead to another rep, a faster time, a little more weight, etc.

Any of the workouts Steve is doing can be modified to your own ability.  It’s really more important that Steve has someone who can push him and help him make this last climb, than it is to do his workouts exactly as written.  We’re entering into the final, tough stretch of workouts for him; let’s show him how much we’re behind him by getting volunteers to train with him.

If you can be a training partner for Steve, even if just for a single workout over the next couple of weeks, please let us know by either emailing us or by saying so on our CFO Facebook Page.  We’ll compile a list of training partners and set up a rotation so that Steve will have a training partner at least a couple times a week (if not more, hopefully).

Let’s do this for Steve!

Jun 17th


By Mike Minium
Comments Comments Off on Congratulations to Our Springtime Paleo Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to Our Springtime Paleo Challenge Winners!


Jill and Mark, the two Paleo Challenge winners

A big congratulations to Jill and Mark, who took our Springtime Paleo Challenge!  We do two challenges a year, one in the spring, which is based on performance, and one in the fall, which is based on aesthetics.

We evaluated performance by having all participants do the following workout twice, once at the start of the challenge and once at the end of the challenge:

4 Rounds for Time:
Run 400m
30 Squats

The formula we used took into account how participants did on the workout the first time and the second time, and also rewarded time improvement.  The formula was as follows:  

[Time Difference Between First Workout and Second Workout] / [Rank in 1st Workout] + [Rank in 2nd Workout]

For our calculation, we only included participants who did both workouts.

Jill took first place in the workout at the start and at the end of the challenge, and she still managed to shave over a minute off her time.  By virtue of her performance in the before-and-after workouts, as well as her time improvement, she took the Paleo Challenge for the women.

Mark came out on top in a close race between the men.  Karl was the other major contender.  Karl took first the workout both times, but Mark had a huge time improvement (he took 2:43 off his first time).  Due to the magnitude of his time improvement, he edged out Karl.

Congratulations to Mark and Jill, who will receive their take of the cash this week!  And strong work by all who participated!

Jun 13th


By Robyn
Category: Community
Comments Comments Off on Good-Bye to Booth & Kirsten

Good-Bye to Booth & Kirsten


Kirsten & Booth looking fabulous!

Kirsten and Booth have been a part of the CFO clan for the past few years. This weekend they are moving back East where Booth is in medical school to begin a new adventure.  We are sad to let them go, but excited for their bright future.

We will miss you both with your beautiful smiles, positive attitudes and kick-ass athleticism.

Best of luck!

If you’d like to see these two lovely people before they leave, they will be at Prizefighter tomorrow night from 6pm until whenever, accepting raised glasses from friends and well-wishers.

Jun 12th


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on A Simple Positional Change for a Better Front Rack

A Simple Positional Change for a Better Front Rack

K-Star covering the front rack position

You may have noticed that we’ve been doing a lot of clean-and-jerks lately, and for good reason:  It’s a great exercise for developing power, coordination, and stability through the shoulder girdle.

That being said, if you don’t get a handle on your front rack position (how you hold the bar on the clean, jerk, and front squat), the clean-and-jerk is going to be a nightmare for you and your wrists (even though it’s not wrist flexibility that’s the issue, believe it or not) and you’ll never lift what your legs and hips are capable of doing.

So get on board with positioning your hands wider on the clean and front squat.  And if you’re lacking the mobility to get into the proper position at present, talk to one of the trainers at CFO and get some mobility drills from them.  It’s worth the investment in time.  Your body will thank you.


Jun 11th


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on Blocking Movement for Quality Pull-Ups

Blocking Movement for Quality Pull-Ups

Another drill from Carl, this time for pull-ups

Next time you’re working on your pull-ups (especially when we’re doing skill work), grab a pair of knee wraps or wrist wraps and trap them between your feet, just like in Carl’s video.  Then see if you can do pull-ups without letting go of the object between your feet.

This drill will tighten up your swing and will allow you to access your hips in the swing a lot better.  It will also force you to stay in a good, strong position without giving away any tension.

Jun 7th


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on Pistol Progressions

Pistol Progressions

Carl going covering Part 1 of his pistol progression series

The pistol can be a confounding movement for many.  Is it a balance thing?  A strength thing?  A mobility thing?  What’s the deal?  Carl does his level best to explain how to know where you’re lacking in your development of the pistol, and what to do about it.  

In Part 1 above, he sets the stage and lays out some basic progressions which help you assess where you are.

In Parts 2, 3, and 4, he builds on Part 1 and details some progressions to get you to the next step, with the goal of eventually doing full pistols.  Check them out and get to work!

Jun 6th


By Mike Minium
Category: Community
Comments Comments Off on Joe P Competing in Track Meet this Saturday June 8th!

Joe P Competing in Track Meet this Saturday June 8th!


Joe P going shoulder to overhead during CF Games Workout 13.4

CFO OG Joe P is competing in the Pacific Association Masters Championships this Saturday at Chabot College in Hayward.  All the action starts at 9am.

Joe is scheduled to compete in the 200m and 400m sprints, and might even sneak into the 100m sprint.  He’s been training hard with Aaron C, our resident track-and-field coach here at CFO, and is all ready to go.

Let’s wish Joe luck on our FB page.  I’ll be heading down there to cheer Joe on this Saturday; hopefully we can get a few more familiar CFO faces down there to cheer hi on as well.

Get some, Joe!

Jun 5th


By Robyn
Category: Community
Comments Comments Off on Marc Toh moving to Guam!

Marc Toh moving to Guam!


This is hard to believe and sad to report, but our long-time client and resident pilot Marc T is leaving CrossFit Oakland after almost 5 years of training with us.  Marc has taken a new position with his current employer that is based in Guam.  

Tomorrow will be Marc’s last day training with us before his big move.  Hopefully his flight path will take him through the area now and again and we can see him from time to time.

While I hear there is no CrossFit in Guam (shocking!), I am sure Marc will figure out how to continue to train hard and make those PRs for which he is so famous.

Take a moment to wish Marc well, either in comments, on Facebook or in person.

We will miss you dearly Marc!  It has been a pleasure to coach you and train with you.  Best of luck to you and your family.