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Feel free to drop in during scheduled class times and observe a CFO class in action.

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Upcoming On-Ramps

Get the basics so you can join in the fun of our group classes! Morning and Evening On-Ramp classes are offered at both of our locations and sell out fast.

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Our Philosophy

We believe in putting our focus and resources into our coaching quality and our community.

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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.

Sep 5th, 2012

Team CFO Wearing Blue for Crosstown Throwdown


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


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


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:


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


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!


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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Aug 28th, 2012

Prather Ranch Delivery This Friday Aug 31 at 5pm!



Our Prather Ranch delivery is set for this Friday August 31st.  Please note that this is a change from the original delivery date (it was originally set for Wednesday August 29th).  If this causes an issue, let us know by emailing us as soon as possible.  The delivery truck will arrive between 5pm and 6pm.

Here’s how the process works, for any first-timers out there.

  • You pay for your box (or half-box) of beef before this Friday.  Cash, check (payable to CrossFit Oakland), or credit card are all acceptable forms of payment.  The cost for a 40-lb box of beef is $300.
  • Each box will be labeled with your name(s) on it.  You take that box (don’t grab an unlabeled box).
  • If you’re splitting a box, at least one of you will need to bring a separate container for the meat (another box, a few grocery bags, etc.).  No extra boxes are provided.

That’s it.  Easy as can be.

And here’s the list of people who got in on the order:

Gabriel (1)
Vee (1)
Denise (1/2) & Adam (1/2)
Sean S (1)
Brandon H (1)
Mariko (1)
Justin (1)
Colleen (1/2) & Stowe (1/2)
Brian C (1)
Steve D (1)
Dawn (1/2) & Tamara (1/2)
Joe P (1)
Sam L (1)
Julian (1/2) & Michelle M (1/2)
Roland (1)
Ev (1)
Marc (1)
D-Sal (1)
Leigh (1)
Jack (2)
Danielle A (1)
Mark P (1)


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Aug 26th, 2012

My New Project: CFO Cookbook


My Collection of Recipes

If it were up to me none of us would have to lift a finger and we’d all have our own personal chefs to make us perfectly balanced, healthy and delicious meals. I’m sorry to say, unless I win the lottery, this is will probably never happen. Lucky for you, I have a back up plan that’s almost as luxurious as a personal chef: a cookbook.

In the next six weeks (the duration of the Clean Eating Challenge) I will be compiling all of YOUR favorite recipes into CFO’s very own handy-dandy cookbook.  Cooking and planning meals is one of the most challenging parts of any healthy eating program. It’s one of the reasons why so many people give up on the (insert name here) diet. Preparing meals can be time consuming and an intimidating process if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen.  

We’re hoping that this cookbook will help get your started or help you get out of your cooking rut and experience the joy of creating scrumptious meals that are good for you and made by YOU! 

Here are the logistics:

  • Starting now, you can submit as many recipes as you want to me via email
  • The heading of each email should read: dessert, vegetable, meat, condiments, eggs, beverage.
  • Give credit to where credit is due. If it’s not your recipe, list the source.
  • ALL recipes should be dairy-free, grain-free, legume (bean)-free and sugar-free; honey/maple syrup is okay.
  • Please include a photo of your delicious dish.

We haven’t decided whether the cookbook will be available in print or just electronically. More to come on this later.

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Aug 25th, 2012

How to Hold on to a Bar

Double Overhand Grip

The double overhand grip

When pulling a weight off of the floor, there are a few options with respect to gripping the bar. What a trainee uses will be dependent upon the size of their hand, grip strength, and tolerance for discomfort. The first and most obvious way to hold the bar is using the double overhand style. Both of the palms face the lifter’s legs and the thumbs are wrapped around the bar on top of the fingers. Holding the bar like this evenly distributes the load across both shoulders, allows the bar to move in a nice straight line off the floor, and provides plenty of grip work during the lift. If you can use this grip for all of your deadlift attempts, by all means do so.

For many trainees, however, the grip will begin to give way using the double overhand style as the weight gets heavier. Once the bar starts slipping out of the hand, the deadlift comes to a screeching halt. No amount of cursing or prayer will rectify the situation until the grip is changed to something more secure. Once the double overhand fails, the following options are available: the hook grip, the reverse grip, or straps.

The Hook Grip

The Hook Grip

The hook grip looks identical to the double overhand grip when viewed from the front.  When viewed from the rear, you can see that you grab on to the thumb with the first two fingers. This relaxes the hand somewhat and allows for a strong, secure hold on the bar. Since you are both mashing your thumb into the bar while simultaneously pulling on the thumb with the tip of your middle finger while using a hook grip, it can also be very uncomfortable. This discomfort becomes much less troublesome as the hands adapt to the stress. The hook grip shares the same benefits to the shoulders and bar path as the double overhand grip. It is the preferred grip for the Olympic lifts and is my personal favorite for the deadlift.

Hand Size Comparison

Longer fingers and bigger hands are an advantage when pulling a barbell off the floor

If a trainee has small hands, the hook grip may not be of great use during limit deadlift attempts, unfortunately. Longer fingers are required to get a good purchase on the thumb. For trainees with shorter digits, the reverse grip may provide a stronger hold than the hook.

Hook Grip Compare

Note that the trainee on the right is able to grab a lot more of her thumb
while using the hook grip. Longer fingers strike again. Sorry, Kelly.

The reverse grip involves supinating (turning) one of the hands so that one palm faces in front of the lifter, while one is left facing the legs. This grip also allows for heavier weights to be handled without fear of the bar slipping out of the hand on the way up. It is probably the most popular choice for deadlifts. The supinated grip asymmetrically loads the shoulders and the supine hand tends to slightly push the bar away from the lifter as the pull comes off the floor. It can, in rare cases, irritate or injure the biceps tendon of the supine hand, although such injuries are normally reserved for fairly advanced powerlifters who are handling large poundages.

Reverse Grip

The mighty reverse grip

Because of the uneven loading of the hands and shoulders using the reverse grip, it is a good idea to switch the supine hand regularly to evenly stress both sides. This can be done from workout to workout, or if the trainee prefers, can be switched between repetitions. The reverse grip and the hook grip can be combined, although this is not used as commonly, probably because it is somewhat difficult to supinate the hand and hold on to the thumb at the same time.

Lastly, if none of the options above work, the trainee can use purpose-built straps to aid with grip. How and when to use straps is beyond the scope of this article, but they are useful tools on many occasions. Most competitions do not allow the use of straps, so this should be kept in mind when employing them.

Big hands and longer fingers are a distinct advantage on pulls. My apologies to those with shorter fingers. Life isn’t always fair and this is one of those times. Here are my recommendations for deadlifts:

  1. Use chalk. It helps to dry the hands and keeps the bar from slipping.
  2. Use the double overhand whenever possible. Use it on warmup sets until you cannot do so any longer.
  3. When the double overhand fails, move to the hook grip.
  4. If you cannot hold on using the hook grip, go to the reverse grip.
  5. If none of that worked, use straps.

There is more to say on this topic, but that will suffice for now. If you haven’t tried the hook grip on the deadlift, consider it. You may prefer it, despite the discomfort.

Special thanks to the CrossFit Oakland Hand Modeling Corps for their assistance with this article. Your checks are in the mail.

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