Fitness
Jul 12th, 2013

Femme Fit Prep Workout This Saturday at 11am!

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  As we posted a couple days ago, we’re going to be doing Femme Fit prep workouts for the next four Saturdays, from 11am to 1pm, leading up to the competition.  If you’re doing Femme Fit, take advantage of these sessions.  But even if you’re not doing Femme Fit, but are interested in competing at […]

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Jun 25th, 2013

What Does Golf Have to do with CrossFit?

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A typical golf scenario for me, playing deep in the rough on the other side of the cart path, scrambling for dear life

So what does golf have to do with CrossFit?  Nothing at all.  And everything.

I’m not talking about training adaptations here, or energy systems, or anything like that.  It’s more philosophical.

I’ve been reading a great book (a big thank-you to CFOer Tom L for lending it to me) on Tiger Woods, written by his former coach, Hank Haney.  It’s called The Big Miss.  It’s really more of a behind-the-scenes look at Tiger Woods, the type of sacrifices he makes to be the best, and some of the personality traits that he possesses which enable him to be the best golfer he can be.  It also gets into a lot of the technical golf swing stuff I like, but that doesn’t make for good CFO blog fodder.  It has nothing to do with the personal headline-grabbing stuff that happened to Tiger off the course.  Haney keeps it pretty much (90%) about Tiger the golfer, via his relationship with him as his coach.  But this isn’t a book review.

There was one particular passage that really jumped out at me, and it relates to anyone who’s training with us, from pages 100-101:

To me, it was an example of a great performer doing what Geoff Colvin in his book Talent is Overrated calls "deliberate practice."  It’s the most difficult and highest level of practice because it requires painstaking focus on weaknesses.  A lot of players hit a lot of balls but focus only on their strengths.  The great improvers are willing to get uncomfortable and make the mental and physical effort to correct a flaw, which often involves difficult "opposite-oriented" remedial learning.  But that was Tiger in major-championship preparation mode. (Emphasis mine.)

CrossFit training is all about bringing up your weaknesses, whether it’s getting a strict version of a bodyweight movement (pull-up, handstand push-up, etc.), getting better at the Olympic lifts, improving your running, the list goes on and on.  

You should always be devoting some time in your training session to tackling those weaknesses, whether it’s before class, during our skill work pieces, or after class.  Yes, you want to get stronger (our Part A workouts) and get better stamina and endurance (our Part B workouts), but you also want to work to eliminate weaknesses.

If you have no idea what you should focus on, or would like to get a plan for attacking your weaknesses, ask one of your trainers.  They love coming up with ways to get you to improve.  And when working on those weaknesses, remember to pay attention to the second sentence in bold in the quote above.  Tackling weaknesses is going to involve difficult "opposite-oriented" remedial learning.

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Jun 21st, 2013

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.

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Jun 12th, 2013

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.

 

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Jun 11th, 2013

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.

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Jun 7th, 2013

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!

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May 31st, 2013

REMINDER: NEW Women’s Strength Class with JoAnn starts June 6th – Only 3 Spots left!

 Squats, Squats, Squats, Squats, Squats = STRONG!!

 Jo Ann Aita has 2 new sessions of the Women’s Strength Class starting Thursday, June 6th.  Classes are held in Max’s Gym and are open to women of all strength levels.  The cost is $180 for the 6-week session, paid up-front.  There are spaces open for Session A ONLY!

BOTH SESSIONS WILL BEGIN THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH AND RUN FOR 6 WEEKS – a total of 12 classes. (Thursday July 4th will be rescheduled to another day).
 
SESSION A [ONLY 3 SPOTS REMAINING!]:  THURSDAYS 5-6:30PM AND SUNDAYS 10-11:30AM, ending Sunday July 14th.  
 
[SESSION B IS ALREADY FULL!!!]
SESSION B:  THURSDAYS 6:30-8PM AND SATURDAYS 9-10:30AM, ending Saturday July 13th
 
Classes are limited to 12 women with a minimum of 8 participants for the class to run. Interested women need to email Jo Ann Aita directly. Spots held for the 1st 12 women to commit. Jo Ann will respond to participants via email regarding payment.
 
If you are unfamiliar with Jo Ann or just want a reminder of how amazing she is, check out her World Record video here.
 
Sign up now and grab a spot before they’re gone!  
 
More about Jo Ann:
 
Jo Ann Aita, currently 42 years of age, has been training and competing in Olympic 
Weightlifting since 2003 . She is a National Medalist and currently holds both Snatch 
and Clean & Jerk Records in the Pacific Weightlifting Association.  Despite starting 
weightlifting at the age of 33, and rehabbing two shoulder surgeries in 2010, she was able 
to come back with PR lifts at the Olympic Trials last year, placing 5 lb weight class, against many competitors half her age!

At the recent Women’s  Pro-Am meet in November 2012, Jo Ann went 9/9 setting a 
New World Record Powerlifting Total in the Raw w/wraps category. She also broke 
the American Raw Deadlift record, which has stood since 1981.  Her lifts at 114 lbs 
bodyweight:

Back Squat: 309 lbs,  Bench Press: 165 lbs, Deadlift: 375 lbs,  Total: 849 lbs

Jo Ann was also a Track & Field and Cross Country athlete for over a decade and 
competed for UCLA.  She is a USA Weightlifting Certified Coach and has been getting 
lifters strong for the past 4 years.  She is a Certified Massage Therapist, specializing 
in Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Work, with a Bay Area Practice for the past 14 
years.  Jo Ann has accomplished all of this while raising a child, managing 3 careers, and 
running a gym!

Jo Ann Aita stats at 114/117lb weight class:

Snatch:  154 lbs
Clean:  194 lbs
Jerk: 185 lb.
Back Squat: 309 lbs
Bench Press: 165 lbs

 

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May 30th, 2013

NEW: CFO Endurance Program w Coach Aaron!

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Did you know that our very own resident running coach, Coach Aaron or Coach Evil as we like to call him, is also a certified CrossFit Endurance coach?  Now that you do, what does that mean for you?  What is means is that we are lucky enough to now offer a formal CrossFit Endurance program to the CFO community! Classes are running NOW, so don’t wait.  Check out Aaron’s write up for more info:

CrossFit Oakland’s Endurance program utilizes CFE protocols with sport-specific strength training and conditioning geared towards improving performance, fitness and endurance sports potential.  Are you a triathlete?  A road racer preparing to run a marathon, ½ marathon, or a 5/10k race this year?  Is your team looking to complete the challenge of Tough Mudder?  Maybe you’re a CrossFitter wanting to improve your running technique and work on your overall endurance?  If you said yes to any of these questions, this is the program for you!

What is CrossFit Endurance?  Traditionally, endurance training has meant adding more time and volume to workouts for one’s body to compete a specific time or distance.  Instead, this program will demand greater attention at the skill and technique level, then we’ll test that technique under stress over a much shorter period of time developing increased stamina and maximum VO2 capacity to compete faster, longer and therefore see greater athletic gains. 

The CFO Endurance program consists of both track and running WODs with a separate strength and conditioning class that focuses on skill based endurance training and mobility.  Participants can buy into any of the available class options that best meets their needs and schedule. 

Three Available CFO Endurance Classes

TUESDAYS 6:00AM – 7:30AM Group Running/Track WOD – The focus is on proper running technique along with a track or running workout designed to maximize an athlete’s endurance and anaerobic threshold.  Location is Piedmont HS, unless otherwise stated.

TUESDAYS 6:30PM – 8:00PM  Group Running/Track WOD – Location is Piedmont HS, unless otherwise stated.

THURSDAYS 7:15PM – 8:30PM  Group Strength Training/Conditioning Class at Uptown – For the athlete looking for more social and supportive interaction with a team training atmosphere. 

Other CFO Endurance Program Options

Private 1:1 Session – Scheduled during open gym hours, when there are no CF classes, or on the weekend.  Ideal for an athlete wanting a more focused one-on-one session with Coach Aaron, or another member of the CFO/Uptown coaching staff.  It’s also for the athlete that may feel intimidated in a class setting environment.  An initial consultation will take place with each new client to determine their sport-specific goals.

10-Day Pass – For the non-committal athlete wanting to test out the CFO Endurance program without purchasing a month-to-month membership.

Fees 

$10 Drop-in fee for each track/running WODs only

$25 Drop-in fee for CFO Endurance strength/conditioning class at Uptown

$35 Unlimited Monthly track/running WODs only

CFO ENDURANCE GROUP CLASS – $150/month (Consists of both Tuesday Track/Running WOD and Thursday Strength/Conditioning Class

CFO ENDURANCE PRIVATE 1:1 – $199/month

CFO ENDURANCE 10-DAY PASS – $199 (Applies to both Track/Running and Strength/Conditioning Classes)

Payments accepted through the current CFO online client system

Active CFO/Uptown members are welcome to attend a Track/Running Class or a  

CFO Endurance Strength/Conditioning class by paying the respective drop-in fee 

Email for more information or to get answers to any questions.

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May 29th, 2013

Regionals Wrap-Up with Coach Arnold

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Team CFO 2013

Congrats to Team CFO for finishing 8th place in the very tough CF Games Regional division of Northern California. We are so proud of you!  Special thanks to Coach Arnold for programming, training and coaching the team over the past couple of months in preparation for Regionals weekend.  

Here is Arnold’s wrap-up:

Team CFO put in a solid performance at the Norcal Regionals. We were ranked 23rd going in and finished the weekend in 8thoverall.

Candace and Brandon set the tone on the first workout, “Pair Jackie.” Each of them had to complete a 1000m Row, 50 Thrusters at 45 pounds and 30 Pullups. Only half the field was able to complete this workout under the time cap. Candace came out blazing and pr’d by 45 seconds, then Brandon took over and finished the workout in 5th place overall. The entire team followed up with a strong 6th place finish in the 3RM Overhead Squat workout. After surviving the Burpee Muscle Up workout with a 17th place finish, Team CFO sat in 6th place after Day 1.

Day 2 of competition started with all six members of Team CFO having to complete 30 wall balls, chest to bar pullups, pistols and dumbell snatches each, in relay style. Everybody held their own and we took 10th overall on that workout. Justin and Tamara ended day 2 with a 9th place finish on the 21-15-9 deadlift and box jump couplet. Team CFO was in 9th overall after two days of competition.

Michelle and Manwell started day 3 with a brutal workout. They had to hold a handstand while the other did handstand pushups, do toes to bar while the other hung from the bar, do shoulder to overheads while the other held the rack position and then lunge down the field with the bar in the front rack. It was a grueling workout to watch, let alone do. Only half the field completed the workout in the 15 minutes allowed. We were one of them, finishing in 14:38 and a 13th place finish.

Team CFO put in a gritty performance on the final event of the weekend. It was a relay style workout that included rope climbs and squat cleans that pushed everyone to their limits. With the clock counting down and the crowd on their feet, we finished the workout as the buzzer sounded. We were 1 of 7 teams to complete the final workout.

It was a great weekend. Everybody left it all out there on every workout and we finished in 8th overall. Thanks to all those who came out to support us.

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May 20th, 2013

NEW Women’s Strength Class w/ Jo Ann starting June 6th!

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Jo Ann Aita has 2 new sessions of the Women’s Strength Class starting Thursday, June 6th.  Classes are held in Max’s Gym and are open to women of all strength levels.  The cost is $180 for the 6-week session, paid up-front.  There are spaces open for Session A ONLY!

BOTH SESSIONS WILL BEGIN THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH AND RUN FOR 6 WEEKS – a total of 12 classes. (Thursday July 4th will be rescheduled to another day).

SESSION A:  THURSDAYS 5-6:30PM AND SUNDAYS 10-11:30AM, ending Sunday July 14th.  
 
[SESSION B IS ALREADY FULL!!!]
SESSION B:  THURSDAYS 6:30-8PM AND SATURDAYS 9-10:30AM, ending Saturday July 13th
 
Classes are limited to 12 women with a minimum of 8 participants for the class to run. Interested women need to email Jo Ann Aita directly. Spots held for the 1st 12 women to commit. Jo Ann will respond to participants via email regarding payment.
 
If you are unfamiliar with Jo Ann or just want a reminder of how amazing she is, check out her World Record video here.
 
Sign up now and grab a spot before they’re gone!  
 
More about Jo Ann:
 
Jo Ann Aita, currently 42 years of age, has been training and competing in Olympic 
Weightlifting since 2003 . She is a National Medalist and currently holds both Snatch 
and Clean & Jerk Records in the Pacific Weightlifting Association.  Despite starting 
weightlifting at the age of 33, and rehabbing two shoulder surgeries in 2010, she was able 
to come back with PR lifts at the Olympic Trials last year, placing 5 lb weight class, against many competitors half her age!

At the recent Women’s  Pro-Am meet in November 2012, Jo Ann went 9/9 setting a 
New World Record Powerlifting Total in the Raw w/wraps category. She also broke 
the American Raw Deadlift record, which has stood since 1981.  Her lifts at 114 lbs 
bodyweight:

Back Squat: 309 lbs,  Bench Press: 165 lbs, Deadlift: 375 lbs,  Total: 849 lbs

Jo Ann was also a Track & Field and Cross Country athlete for over a decade and 
competed for UCLA.  She is a USA Weightlifting Certified Coach and has been getting 
lifters strong for the past 4 years.  She is a Certified Massage Therapist, specializing 
in Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Work, with a Bay Area Practice for the past 14 
years.  Jo Ann has accomplished all of this while raising a child, managing 3 careers, and 
running a gym!

Jo Ann Aita stats at 114/117lb weight class:

Snatch:  154 lbs
Clean:  194 lbs
Jerk: 185 lb.
Back Squat: 309 lbs
Bench Press: 165 lbs
Dead Lift: 375 lbs
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