Sep 8th, 2012

Tracy Zimmer’s Incredible Squats

I felt pretty good about my squats this evening until I watched this.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize Ms. Tracy Zimmer from an article I posted about 10 months ago. In case you were wondering if she is still really damn strong, she is. Zimmer works with James Steel and is one of the Assistant Trainers at the University of Pennsylvania. Tipping the scales at just 152 pounds, Tracy squats 325 pounds for an easy set of 15. Yep. 325×15.

I would like to call the reader’s attention to a few things in the video. The first is the speed of the bar throughout the set. She is moving that heavy weight very quickly on almost every rep. Zimmer is doing a high bar squat which calls for an upright back angle. She maintains that back angle very well, even as she fatigues. Further, she buries each repetition. Every one of those squats is below parallel. Lastly, it is 325 pounds for 15 reps – well over twice Tracy’s bodyweight. That’s really impressive.

Apparently, Zimmer occasionally listens to Slayer while squatting. Not only is she frighteningly strong, she has excellent taste in music. If she likes dinosaurs, too, then I think I might need to move back to Pennsylvania. All kidding aside, enjoy the video. It’s okay if you cry a little. I did.

Good Luck to Our Competitors

Greg, Mune, and Lydia are all competing this weekend. Mune and Lydia are competing in a triathalon, which I believe is the Pacific Grove Triathlon down in Monterrey. If not, someone will correct me. Greg will be traveling to Grass Valley in the hopes of setting some more California State Records for the US Powerlifting Association. Stay tight, Harper. Good luck to all of you.

Strength Saturday

I have three openings for the Saturday lifting class this weekend (September 8). The time is from 4:00 until 6:30, or so. We sometimes go  a little longer. The cost is $25. Squats, presses, and deadlifts are on the menu. If you would like to attend, please send me an email at cfo.saturday@gmail.com. There will be no class next weekend, September 15.

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Sep 7th, 2012

Another Shoulder Mobility Exercise

 

If any of you have tried the banded bully mobility exercise (from the Mobility WOD poster series that we have hanging up in the gym) and have found it useful, give this one a try.  It’s like a double banded bully.

The easy way to set this up would be to set up an empty bar in one of the squat racks in then work through the range of motion under band tension, as Kelly demonstrates in the video.

Give it a try and incorporate it into your mobility routine.  It could be just one of several variations that you rotate through on a weekly basis.

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Sep 6th, 2012

Eat Clean/Train Dirty Challenge – Week 2

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Sweet Potato & Sausage Hash, the perfect post-WOD meal

From what I am hearing, most of you participants are doing fabulously well so far with this challenge, even with the holiday weekend.  If you have not sent in your before photos or paid your $$, it really is time.

Over the last two weeks, you might have had to explain your change in diet to your friends, family, co-workers, local grocery store clerk.  That can sometimes be challenging.  Check out this article that I shamelessly stole off Lau’s Facebook page.  It is actually the transcript of a podcast which you can download.  Here is an outline of what is covered by Mat LaLonde Ph.D in the discussion:

7:10 Invalid Inference 1: Our Paleolithic ancestors ate this way and they were free of disease
9:45 Invalid Inference 2: We haven’t evolved enough to thrive on modern agriculture
12:12 Invalid Inference 3: We should live like our ancestors because we’re still genetically the same
18:12 What is the best scientifically backed argument for Paleo?
22:21 Why typical claims about antinutrients are wrong
26:28 The misconceptions about phytic acid
35:46 What can molecules tell us about white potatoes
39:57 Are lectins really problematic?
44:30 The least problematic macronutrient in dairy
50:38 Is slow, low cooking the ultimate way to cook?
55:35 Gluten sensitivity and coffee cross-reactivity
59:41 The real story behind Pseudo grains like Quinoa

Pretty cool science stuff if you like to geek out and generally helps in combating the haters and mockers out there.

One more month. Keep up the good work!  And remember to share recipes, issues and any other experiences along the way via this blog post or FB.  

The Sweet Potato & Sausage Hash recipe shown above can be found here.  I add more spices like cinnamon and chili powder and skip the green salsa.  

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Sep 5th, 2012

Team CFO Wearing Blue for Crosstown Throwdown

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Nate (far left) and Mariko (second from left) wearing the blue CFO t-shirt

As we initially wrote a couple weeks ago, our annual Crosstown Throwdown with CrossFit Sweatshop is coming up on October 6th, which is now just a month away!

We’ll be detailing the workouts again very soon (the first 17 were released already, which you can read about in the initial post above, and the final 10 will be released within the next day or so), but for now, there’s one rule that everyone has to be aware of:

Each gym has to wear a uniform.  For Sweatshop, it’s grey.  For CFO, it’s blue.  Guess that makes them the Confederacy and us the Union.

This means that if you plan on being a part of the competition, you need to represent us by wearing a blue CFO t-shirt or tank top.  If you already have one (like Nate and Mariko above), you’re set.  If you don’t have one, we need to hear from you ASAP.  We’ll be placing an order at the end of the week for any shirts we don’t have in stock already.

If you need to order a shirt, email us with the following information:

Style (either tee or tank)
Size (S, M, L, XL)
Gender (W, M)

If you’re a woman but are wearing a men’s t-shirt, make it clear in your email so that we don’t order you a women’s cut of the shirt.

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Sep 4th, 2012

NorCal Firebreather Competition

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CFOers taking their crack at the CrossFit Total last December

In an effort to keep all of you with an interest in competing updated on CF competitions in the area, here’s a quick post on another CrossFit competition that’s coming up at the end of September.

The NorCal Firebreather Regional Open, an individual regional competition that leads to a national final competition, is taking place in Sacramento on September 29th and 30th, with two events each day.  First place winners take home $1000, with second- and third place taking home $400 and $300, respectively.  In addition, the top finishers get to move on to the finals, which take place in Denver, CO in January.

This competition doesn’t allow scaling, so this is more geared toward experienced CF competitors.  The workouts and movement standards will be released on September 16th, and registration closes on September 21st.

For more information, and to register, go to the NorCal page.

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Sep 1st, 2012

To Ice or Not to Ice

Handstand Walk

This picture has nothing to do with anything that follows.

Earlier this month, Kelly Starrett posted a blog entry and accompanying video entitled People, We’ve Got to Stop Icing. We Were Wrong, Sooo Wrong. suggesting that the use of ice to combat pain and inflammation after an injury would best be avoided. A brief sentence in the same entry suggested that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is contraindicated in many circumstances as well.

Jonathan Sullivan, MD, an emergency room physician who also wrote Barbell Training is Big Medicine took issue with Starrett’s entry and penned a rather extensive rebuttal that is chock full of references. It is an engaging and lengthy read that looks at the mechanisms behind injury and inflammation and the state of the literature regarding icing and NSAIDs. Here’s a little sample:

Inflammation is the body’s natural-and therefore correct-response to injury. Your body knows what it’s doing, and interfering with the inflammatory response is therefore ill-considered.

This is the easiest argument to dispense with, because it’s just silly-not to mention selectively applied. For example, in the video it is made clear that ice and NSAIDs are bad because they interfere with inflammation, but compression, which suppresses post-inflammatory edema, is not. In any event, this argument proceeds from the assumption that pristine natural processes are always optimal to the realization of human ends, which is clearly not the case; and that the human body is a "perfect machine," which is just so much bullshit.

Here’s a reality check: Mother Nature doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your program, your WOD time, your 1RM bench press, or even your survival as an individual. She designed you to make new primate gene replicators, and then croak. Let’s not even talk about the design of the low back, the exquisite suicidal sensitivity of neural and cardiac tissue to brief ischemia, or the deplorable shortcomings of cartilage. Inflammation is not an ideal adaptation just because it’s the "natural" response to insult. Pain, scarring, functional impairment, tissue loss and cancer are also natural responses to insult-and all can result from inflammation. On the logic of the AAI (Anti-anti-inflamation) crowd, analgesia, wound repair by primary intention, tissue debridement, abscess drainage and tissue salvage are also bad ideas. If that’s what you really think, it’s unlikely we’re going to have a meeting of the minds. God help you if you ever get anaphylaxis or appendicitis.

I love well-placed profanity sprinkled amidst good scientific writing. Add in suggestions for the real purpose of reproduction a la Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene and my smile grows wider, indeed. Sullivan’s article is entitled Stopping the Spread of Misinflammation and it is well worth the time you would spend reading it. Few things are ever as straightforward as they may seem and this article is an excellent reminder of that. Enjoy.

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Aug 31st, 2012

Labor Day Schedule

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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:

8am
9am
10am

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

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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 (epicurious.com) 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!

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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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