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Workout Of The Day

The Workout of the Day or WOD is custom-programmed for the CrossFit Oakland community and is taught in our regular group classes under the close supervision of our highly trained coaching staff.

Jan 9th, 2013

2012 CF Total Album


Julian pulling a big deadlift during last month’s CrossFit Total

A bunch of you have been asking about the pictures from last month’s CrossFit Total, so without further ado, here you go.

We’ve posted it on our CFO Facebook page, or you can go there directly by clicking on the following link:  2012 CF Total at CFO

Can’t wait to do it again in December 2013!

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Jan 8th, 2013

CFOers Competing at NorCal Masters January 19th & 20th


Carrie pulling heavy at the CF Total

The NorCal Masters, the largest CF Masters competition (for the 40-and-over crowd) outside of the CrossFit Games, is just a couple weeks away.  It’s all going down on Saturday Jan 19th and Sunday Jan 20th.  This competition is so big, and popular, that registration sold out in just a couple of hours in many of the age categories.

The great thing about this competition for CFOers is that it’s so close by.  It takes place at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, just a short drive up 580 from here.

The following CFOers will be competing:

Patrick T
Lance V
Steve P

It’s gonna be a great time and a good chance for all of us to gauge where we are heading into the 2013 Open.

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Jan 7th, 2013

20 Simple Paleo Meals, Plus Last Call for Recipes


Peter and Gabriel posing for the camera at the CF Total

If eating clean is part of your new year’s resolution, then I have just the thing to help kick start your effort! The good folks at Real Food Freaks have put together this FREE collection of 20 easy-to-follow paleo meals. I hope you enjoy them (the pictures look amazing)! 

As for our own little recipe collection, I’m done sorting through emails and have moved onto organizing the meals into a what I think will be an awesome (mini) cookbook! However, I’m still more than happy to accept your contributions if you have any. I especially need breakfast meals; breakfast is always the most challenging since most breakfast foods contain grains and sugar. Send your recipes here. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

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Jan 4th, 2013

Team CFO/Sweat Shop Competition Wrap-Up


Rikus, Michelle, Tamara, and Arnold after the 2012 Holiday Invitational

This past Sunday, three CFOers (Michelle, Tamara, and Arnold) and one CF Sweat Shop athlete (Rikus) competed in a 2-man/2-woman team competition hosted by CrossFit One World called the 2012 Holiday Invitational.

This was a team competition that was filled with a lot of heavy hitters from the CF world.  There were a number of CF Games and Regional-level competitors who competed, and most of the NorCal teams who finished in the top 10 at this year’s Regional competition were there.  In short, there were some stacked teams.  

It was a great opportunity for Team CFO to step up and compete with the best, get a sense of what we need to work on, and to get some prep work in heading into the CF Games season (the Open starts in March, just a couple months away).

Each member of the team put in strong work.  Tamara PR’d her clean-and-jerk (213 lbs) and got her first ever bar muscle-up (and then followed up with several more); Michelle knocked off so many bar muscle-ups I lost count; Arnold redlined in the final workout, barely coming out alive, but showed us what grit is all about; and Rikus blasted through just about everything he did (bar muscle-ups, heavy deadlifts, overhead squats, etc.).  

In the end, against some of the best CF competitors out there, Team CFO/Sweat Shop finished 10th out of 12 teams.  It was a great way to finish off the year, and makes me really excited for 2013.  Can’t wait ’til the Open!

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Jan 2nd, 2013

Tier Testing Coming in January


Tom C and Leka all dressed up

Tier Testing

We’re going to be doing tier testing throughout the month of January.  In previous versions of tier testing, we’ve done all the tests in a single week.  This time, we’re going to spread out the nine tests (three strength tests, three bodyweight tests, and three CF benchmark workouts) over the month.

We do tier testing about three times a year (or so).  Tier testing is your opportunity to see what kind of progress you’ve made, and to also give you a better sense of which tier you should be doing for a given workout.  As you go through the testing process, you’ll discover that you (and many others in the gym) aren’t one tier across the board.  This is fine.  The tiers, besides being a practical gauge for picking workouts, can also shed some light on areas you need to improve.

We won’t be doing tier testing this week, mostly so that all of you can recover from Murph.  We’ll start in earnest the week beginning Monday January 7th.

Take a look at the PDF document we’ve attached so that you can get a better idea about the tiers and the tests that will be coming.

Programming Schedule for Rest of Week

Just like last week, due to the Tuesday gym closure, we’ll be programming workouts Wednesday through Saturday of this week.  The next programmed rest day won’t be until Sunday.

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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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