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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 21st, 2012

Training While on the Road

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Finding a place to deadlift while away is not always an easy thing.

I had the opportunity over the past year to do a bit of traveling, mostly for work. During those trips, I often attempted to train with decidedly mixed results. I figured it might be time to recount what worked and what didn’t and how to integrate travel with training. If someone is going on a big vacation through areas where gyms aren’t available then the best advice is not to worry about training at all. Enjoy the trip instead. This article is geared towards more routine and less exotic travel.

One of the first things to determine is whether there will be time to engage in structured workouts. If not, there’s no need to pack the lifting shoes. Instead, some pushups and stretching may be the best that can be managed. Provided time is available to go to a gym, it is wise to be conservative. In most cases while I am travelling, my attempts to set personal records have ended in disappointment. You may be different and, if so, I salute you. However the vagaries of a disrupted schedule combined with limited control over food and sleep will often conspire to limit peak athletic performance. So, what to do? Work to your capacity at the time and realize that a maximal effort on the road is likely below what could be accomplished at home.

The primary goal of training while away may be the avoidance of detraining. Using a trip as an opportunity to back off from normal intensity can be a valuable thing, particularly if aches and pains are beginning to make themselves felt. Developing strength is long term process where consistency is rewarded. Even if training sessions on the road resemble punching the clock more than inspiring vignettes from a Rocky movie, they beat doing nothing.

In the event that long car rides or plane trips are involved, be aware of how your back responds to being seated and largely immobile for hours at a time. Back injuries are even less fun when you are away from home and are best avoided. Being sensible about loading after stepping out of a multi-hour trip in a car is a good choice.

None of this deviates from common sense, but I need to remind myself of these ideas when I am on the road. I have had some good training sessions while traveling, but they tend to be exceptions. Provided workouts are approached intelligently, it is usually a simple matter to pick up where you left off upon your triumphant return.

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Jan 20th, 2012

More Resources for Your Rack Position

 

For many of you on Wednesday’s workout (Clean 2-2-2-2-2), the front rack position was the major limiting factor.  It’s imperative that you do the work you need to in order to make that rack position stronger.  And besides, who doesn’t want a nice rack (sorry, had to go there)?

With that in mind, the video above and the article below lay out some options for mobilizing your lats, shoulders, wrists, and even thoracic spine, which will ultimately lead to improved positioning in the front rack position.

Get to work!

From CF Invictus:  How To Get a Better Rack

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Jan 19th, 2012

FREE Running Clinic w/ Coach Aaron: Sat Feb 4th @ 11am!

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Tami keeping her sweet form, even on these nasty stairs

If you’d like to join Coach Aaron’s Track WOD’s on Wednesday nights (6:00) and Saturday mornings (9:30) or just learn to run more efficiently and improve your speed and endurance, now is your chance.

Aaron will hold his 3rd FREE Running Clinic on Saturday, February 4th at 11am at the Piedmont High School track.  There is a cap at 18 participants, so don’t wait to sign up.  Send us an email and let us know you want in.  We’ll reply to let you know if you are one of the lucky 18 and will publish a list.

This is a fabulous opportunity to get some high-quality coaching, so don’t miss out!

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Jan 18th, 2012

Marc, Lance, and CPeak Competing in the NorCal 40s

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Marc, Moses, Lance, and Christopher

On Sunday, January 29, Marc, Lance, and Christopher (CPeak) are going to be lacing up their multiple pairs of shoes and competing with fellow 40-year-olds in the NorCal 40s, the only competition of its kind in Northern California, which is for those CFers between 40 and 49 years of age exclusively.  Papa Brad and CPeak did the competition last year and had a blast (and Brad took 4th place, to boot).

I’m psyched that Lance and Marc have jumped on board this year, along with CPeak.

Even better, this year you don’t have to drive across the bridge to support these guys.  It was just announced today that the competition is going to be taking place in Richmond at the Craneway Pavilion (photo:  norcal40s.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/craneway.jpg).  The place looks awesome and worthy of a CF competition.

I’ll be there coaching these guys on and I hope that I can get a bunch of you to join me.  Let’s bring some CFO noise!  In the meantime, let’s wish these three luck as they enter into their last couple weeks of preparation heading into the competition.

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Jan 16th, 2012

3 Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Mikey.

Coach Mike Loves Vegetables
 

We all know we’re supposed to eat more fruits and vegetables but for most of us, it’s much easier said then done. At least the vegetable part, that is.  99% of my clients typically have no trouble increasing their intake of fruit but often find it hard to get more vegetables into their diets.  Sound familiar?  There are multiple reasons for this. 

The first and the most obvious reason is that fruit, unlike most vegetables, can be eaten raw and doesn’t require all the prep that goes into cooking vegetables.  And, because you can enjoy them raw, fruits travel well making them the perfect on-the-go food.  You would never just toss a head of cauliflower into your purse (although I actually have a client who does this)!  And finally, fruit just tastes so good.  Who can resist a juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day or the sweetness of a ripe plum?  It’s perfectly normal/natural to seek out these sweeter flavors; we humans are wired this way.  But more isn’t always better when it comes to fruit. 

Don’t get me wrong, fruit definitely has earned its seat at the table–it’s packed with antioxidants and loaded with fiber but there are natural sugars in fruit that can lead to weight gain and yucky energy spikes and dips when eaten in excess.  To avoid this, try keeping your fruit consumption to just 1-2 pieces/day and pair it with some protein or healthy fats.  Non-starchy vegetables like eggplant or chard, on the other hand, pack a powerful nutritional punch but without all the sugars found in fruit. This is precisely why I’m such a HUGE fan of them! To get your daily requirements, try filling at least half of your plate with salad or veggies. For an added bonus, select a variety of colors to ensure that you get a wide array of vitamins.  

Today I am going to share some simple ways that you can boost your intake with ease.

1. Add Greens to Your Morning Smoothie. Like to start your day with a protein shake? Mild flavored vegetables like cucumber and celery can be added to a smoothie without compromising taste.  If you’re brave enough, you could even throw in a handful of frozen spinach.  One of my favorite smoothie recipes includes spinach, cucumber, mint, almond milk and banana. For an extra boost, add a scoop of green powder.

2. Hide Vegetables in Your Soups and Sauces. This sneaky trick is usually reserved for parents of veggie-hating kids.  Add carrots, onions, or mushrooms to your favorite stew or soup.  Transform a standard marinara/tomato sauce into a heartier and healthier topping by throwing in some chopped celery, garlic and roasted eggplant.  

3. Spice it Up! Even I would not enjoy eating vegetables if the only way I cooked them was by steaming or boiling the heck out of them.  Nobody likes bland veggies. Make them tasty by infusing them with flavorful herbs and spices like curry, thyme and paprika.  Aside from dressing up just about any side dish, herbs and spices are an incredibly rich source of protective antioxidants.  If they taste good, we’re more likely to eat them!  Here’s a recipe using mushrooms and curry along with a delicious winter squash soup recipe, and another one of my favorites, roasted cauliflower with tahini.  There are so many different options when it comes to spices that it’s hard to go wrong.  Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a stroll down the spice aisle and pick something up that you’ve never tried.  You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  

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Jan 14th, 2012

Good Luck, Justin!

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A quick update from SoCal…

Justin is competing in the OC Throwdown tomorrow against some of the top CFers around (Blair Morrison, Pat Burke, Tommy Hackenbruck, etc.).  Also down here are Nabil and Helen, who many of you know from CF Sweatshop.

Justin goes at 12:15pm and 4:30pm tomorrow.  Let’s send him some good vibes!

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Jan 13th, 2012

CrossFit Games Open Coming to CFO Next Month!

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Sierra competing during last year’s CF Games Open

In about a month, on February 22nd to be exact, CrossFit Games fever will be hitting CFO.  Just like last year, the first stage of the CrossFit Games will be taking place, the Open.  And just like last year, this is your opportunity to compete in the Games without having to leave the friendly confines of CFO.  The Open will be five workouts over a 5-week period, with a workout being published each Wednesday, beginning February 22nd.  Competitors have until the following Sunday to complete the workout and submit their score, and have it validated.

If you’re looking to compete in the Open, registration for the Games will be a two-part process; 1) you’ll have to register at the CrossFit Games website, and 2) you’ll have to register here at CFO (go here to register).  The cost to register on the CrossFit Games website was $10 last year (don’t know if that’s what it will be this year), and just like last year, it will be $50 to compete at CFO (which comes out to $10 per workout).

By registering to compete at CFO, you’ll be guaranteed the following:

  • You’ll be placed in a Saturday heat and will know exactly when you’ll be competing.
  • You’ll have a judge.
  • You’ll have all the required equipment to perform the workout.
  • CFO will be able to validate your score.

If you want to do the workout but you don’t want to be a part of this Games scene, we’ll also be running the workout as our Saturday group class workout.  But there will be no guarantee of equipment, no judges, no validation, etc.

A lot of people competed for the first time in the Open last year; I hope many of you will throw your hat into the ring this year!

We’ll post more info on the Open in the coming weeks.  For now, here are a couple of relevant links:

2012 CrossFit Games Registration
Games 2012

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Jan 12th, 2012

Track Workouts with Coach Aaron!

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Coach Aaron showing off his bling

As many of you know, our own Track Champion/Coach, Aaron C. has been offering free running clinics in order to infuse our scary CrossFit running with some form and technique.  

What you might not know is that Aaron has also been showing up at Piedmont High School track on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings in order to coach a few of us in running drills and workouts to reinforce our technique and increase our speed, stamina and conditioning.

This has been a very informal gathering with Aaron volunteering his time out of the goodness of his heart and to practice his own coaching.  We have mutually agreed that it is now time to formalize this group while offering it to all members.  So here are the details:

1.  Meeting place is Piedmont High School Track on Wednesday nights at 6pm sharp and Saturday mornings  at 9:30am sharp.

2.  The only prerequisite is that you need to have taken Aaron’s running clinic in order to learn the basic technique and running form.  If you missed the last two clinics, there will be at least one more clinic coming up in the coming month, most likely on a Saturday morning. Date/time TBD and will be posted on the blog. 

3.  Drop-in charge for each track workout will be $10/each.  Remember to bring your $$ to the WOD and pay Aaron when you show up.

4.  If you have completed a running clinic and would like to join the workouts, email us and we will pass on your info to Aaron.  He will then add you to the group email he sends out before each workout.

I highly recommend Aaron’s track workouts.  Not only is he a wonderful person, he is a fabulous coach.  If he can get me out there running, he must be pretty amazing.  Many thanks, Coach Aaron!!

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Jan 11th, 2012

Stuart McGill: The Back Guy

I first became aware of Dr. Stuart McGill a few years ago, primarily because he was one of the first researchers out there to rail against "core" training.  The video above is really just a drive-by of some of the conclusions of his research and clinical experience and just scratches the surface, but the take-home point is clear:  the role of the body’s core (if I must use that word, which I really don’t like) is to stabilize the spine.  Doing countless sit-ups and crunches is counterproductive to that goal and trains spinal flexion (not something you want your body to do as a default, which can occur when training a movement pattern repeatedly).  

I don’t agree with all of the movement prescriptions, but where I disagree it’s usually just a nitpick (e.g., I think the box is too far away from the lady when she goes to pick it up.  It would be a lot better to have that box in closer to her body).  On all of the big points, though, he’s dead-on, and has a lot of research and clinical experience to back up his claims.

We don’t really do a lot of direct ab work in our training, but when we do, it’s usually something static like holds of various types (handstand holds, L-holds, plank holds, etc).  The best possible core training you can do is to lift heavy weights with proper technique (as well as do challenging bodyweight exercises).  The stabilization of the upper torso that has to occur for your hips and shoulders to move through a proper range of motion under load is where it’s at when it comes to training not just your back, but your whole body.

And if you want that six pack, take care of what you eat.

More on Dr. McGill:

Website
T-Nation Interview

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