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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.

Nov 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thu 11/24: Closed (Piedmont Turkey Trot @ 8:30am)
Fri 11/25: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sat 11/26: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sun 11/27: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)


You guys are the best!

Besides the obvious reason (food!), Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for so many because it is a reminder to focus on the positive – to remember all for which we are grateful and put aside our complaints and grievances for at least one day.

I am incredibly blessed to work and train at CFO for many obvious reasons, but the best thing by far is all of you.  CFO is blessed to have clients who are smart and savvy, strong and brave, gracious and generous, tenacious and hard-working, funny and engaging and just enough crazy to make every day a fabulous adventure.  Thank you to all of you for everything you bring to the gym every day.

Have a wonderful day with friends, family and food!

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Nov 23rd, 2011

Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving Schedule Reminders


Some of the CFO crew running through some drills at Piedmont High

A couple of reminders for you heading into the Thanksgiving break…

CFO Holiday Schedule

We’re running a limited schedule at the end of the week. Here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:

Wed: Normal Schedule (6am, 9am, 12pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm)
Thu: Closed
Fri: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sat: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sun: Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)


Piedmont 5k Turkey Trot

After the initial post, a number of you stepped up and committed to the Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot happening in the Piedmont hills.  Awesome!

For those of you reading this for the first time, here are the details:

The race starts at 8:30 am on Thursday, November 24th at the Piedmont High School.  You must pre-register for the race ($25 for adults, $15 for kids) and you get a t-shirt.  A lot of families run this with dogs, strollers, etc.  It truly is a good time as opposed to an uber-serious race, however there are ribbons and prizes awarded for top finishers in a number of categories.

As an added bonus, Justin will be running the race in his firefighter gear.  If he can do it in full gear, you have no excuse.  Plus, it’s a great opportunity for those of you who’ve gone through Aaron C’s clinic to work on your newfound technique.  The more of you there, the merrier.  Start your Thanksgiving off on a high note!

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Nov 22nd, 2011

Get Those Muscle-Ups and Handstand Push-Ups!


Carl Paoli, of Naka Athletics, SF CrossFit, and Gymnastics WOD

We’re extremely excited to announce that we’ll be hosting Carl Paoli, gymnastics and CrossFit coach extraordinaire, for a 4-hour seminar on Saturday, January 7th, from 2pm to 6pm.  The cost of the clinic is $125.  This is open to the general public, and space is limited.

Carl is all over the CrossFit Journal with all kinds of videos on everything from basic body positioning to muscle-up and handstand development to backflips.  

The focus of this seminar will be on developing the strength and positioning needed to develop (or improve) muscle-ups and handstand push-ups, but will also be an opportunity for you to pick Carl’s brain regarding other bodyweight movements, progressions, and gymnastic elements.

This 4-hour clinic is most definitely suitable for any skill level, and is especially relevant if you’re working toward getting a muscle-up or handstand push-up (or any of their derivatives, like pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, and push-ups of all kinds).

Here’s an excerpt from Carl’s website on the seminar:

This seminar is appropriate for athletes, coaches, and fitness enthusiasts at any skill level. You’ll learn how to safely perform, coach and correct basic gymnastic movements in order to enhance your performance and reach your personal goals.

I can personally vouch for Carl’s expertise in coaching these movements and I highly recommend that if you have an opportunity to go, that you attend this clinic.  Enough said.

For a full description of the seminar, and to register for it, go here:  nakaathletics.com/cfoakland-workshop

And if you have any questions about the seminar, don’t hesitate to send us an email

CFO Holiday Schedule

We’re running a limited schedule at the end of the week.  Here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:

Tue:  Normal Schedule (6am, 7am, 12pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm)
Wed:  Normal Schedule (6am, 9am, 12pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm)
Thu:  Closed
Fri:  Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sat:  Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)
Sun:  Weekend Schedule (8am, 9am, 10am)

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Nov 21st, 2011

Thanksgiving Paleo Dinner Recipes & Blogs


Leka and JoeP at last year’s holiday party

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and half the gym committed to eating a Paleo-friendly feast this year, I thought it would be helpful to point you to some sites where you can find an array of grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free recipes.  I even found a recipe for grain-free bread stuffing!  Here’s a list of some of my favorite Paleo cooking websites and blogs:

Savory Recipes:

  • Sarah Fragoso, mother of three and author of the Everyday Paleo Cookbook’s site: www.everydaypaleo.com 
  • Robb Wolf, one of the original advocates of the Paleo Diet and author of The Paleo Solution’s Thanksgiving Day Edition. Here he lays out an entire dinner menu, including dessert.
  • Fellow South Bay CrossFiter’s website www.nomnompaleo.com. This website features instructional videos for those of you who prefer to follow along at home.   
  • www.fastpaleo.com is a website where everyday folk like you and me and freely post recipes. The website was created by James Gregory and Kristin Jekielek; both have been enjoying a Paleo lifestyle for years.

For Baked Goods & Sweets:

  • www.health-bent.com. This site belongs to CrossFit super couple, Brandon and Megan Keatley from South Carolina. Megan is a former pastry chef and it shows! I’ll be making her Paleo bread stuffing this Thanksgiving.
  • www.elanaspantry.com. Elana started her blog in 1993 after she and her son were diagnosed with Celiac disease and were forced to go on a gluten-free diet. She has a background in ayurvedic cooking and has authored The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.
  •  www.thehealthycookingcoach.com. I first met Chef Rachel in 2008 at an event to promote her book, The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes and Sauces. In addition to all of the delicious dessert recipes, her website is also a great source of valuable nutrition information. 

 What’s on the menu this Thanksgiving?

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Nov 20th, 2011

Jillian Michaels Does Crossfit

I’ll admit I saw this video posted on the Crossfit Sweatshop website.  It is interesting how much Crossfit has seeped into the fitness world (and also how ugly it looks when performed badly–did you check out the gentleman’s SDHP?).  

Non-crossfit people seem very impressed with Jillian Michaels and The Biggest Loser (I have never seen this program) and I often hear how tough she is.  I see Ms. Michaels’ performance in this mini-wod two ways: to her credit, she does well with these exercises with very little explanation or practice, yet she is supposedly a hard core trainer and she has trouble push pressing 55 lbs..   

The intensity demanded by a Crossfit workout is hard, even for highly conditioned athletes.  I still remember the weird hoarse feeling I got in my throat after my first few workouts.

Do you remember your first wod?  Please post experiences to comments.  

So if you don’t want to talk about that, what about this: how important is it to you that your coach be super strong or in great Crossfit shape? Does it inspire you to know that your coach is hitting it hard in the gym?

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Nov 19th, 2011

Shoulders in Front of the Bar

Tamara Deadlift

Tamara pulling a heavy weight from the floor two weeks ago in Sacramento. Note that her shoulders are in front of the bar and that her arms are not quite perpendicular to the ground.

If you watch lifters pull heavy barbells off the ground, you will notice certain commonalities in their movements. One of those commonalities is the placement of the shoulders with respect to the bar. Whenever the weight is appreciably heavy, the bar will move in a plane directly over the middle of the feet and the shoulders will be positioned slightly in front of the bar. This doesn’t happen most of the time. It happens every time when limit weights are lifted from the floor. No matter where the lifter starts off, this observation seems to hold true.

Mark Rippetoe was one of the first people to bring this idea more widespread awareness in his book Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. The third edition of that book has just been released and a few excerpts have been posted. Two of the excerpts involve pulling mechanics and they are fascinating reads. Rippetoe goes pretty deeply into the anatomy and physics of the lifts to describe why the shoulders arrive at the position they do when the pull occurs. Here is a quote:

The non-vertical arm angle is perhaps the most poorly explained phenomenon in weightlifting. Why does the back angle become stable for the first part of the pull when the shoulders are in front of the bar and the arms assume their characteristic angle of 7-10 degrees from vertical? Why is there an apparent equilibrium between how far the shoulders are in front of the bar and how far the hips are behind the bar? Our working theory is that the critical relationship is the interaction between the lats, and the teres major, the triceps, and the humerus. There is a back angle at which the lats can best stabilize the arms and shorten the distance between bar and hips in order to facilitate a vertical bar path, and a heavy deadlift settles into this angle because it cannot do otherwise.

Part 1 and Part 2 of the Pulling Mechanics excerpts can be found at the Starting Strength site. These excerpts sketch out some of the reasoning for pulling a bar in a straight line off the ground, which is a surprisingly controversial assertion. However, that is a discussion for another day.

For those who want a good understanding of the primary lifts, Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training is an essential resource. It has been extensively revised and now happens to include quite a few pictures I took, so I am hardly an impartial observer here. Even if that weren’t the case, the new version provides a thorough and satisfying look at the hows and whys of strength training. Until next week, keep your shoulders slightly in front of the bar.

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Nov 18th, 2011

Mobility Drills for the Olympic Lifts


Here are four relatively quick mobility drills you can add to your bag of tricks the next time you’re doing one of the Olympic lifts (either the snatch or the clean-and-jerk), courtesy of K-Star and Diane Fu of San Francisco CrossFit.

(Don’t neglect ankle mobility, folks.)

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Nov 17th, 2011

Happy Birthday to Dawn!


Dawn surrounded by handsome admirers

Coach Dawn likes to keep a low profile and we like to respect that — usually.  But it was her birthday last week and we would like to make sure that everyone knows it. Plus, I don’t want to give too much away about Dawn’s age, but let’s just say  Dawn is in the club now (welcome)!  

We are so glad our beautiful Dawn was born and is part of the CFO family.  It is also a pleasure to see her back on the training floor after taking some time off to have her second child.  Her knowledge, encouragement, and kindness have been sorely missed.

Give Dawn some love on the blog (she is not on FB).  

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Nov 16th, 2011

The Brain: It’s All About Movement

Daniel Wolpert, The Real Reason for Brains

Thanks to Joey for passing along the link to this really interesting TED talk.


The premise:

Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.


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Nov 15th, 2011

Athlete Spotlight: Zeke!


Zeke getting a foot massage 

Zeke first joined us earlier this year, back when we were at Doyle Street.  Right from the get-go, Zeke’s sense of humor, friendly demeanor, and the good-natured ribbing that he liked to dole out was in evidence (Kristofer and Stowe were early recipients of said ribbings in the On-Ramp).  I knew he’d be a perfect addition to CFO.

He’s become a fixture in the early mornings (6am and 7am), but also occasionally ventures into the noon class.

Welcome to CFO, Zeke!

Height, weight, age:

202, 6′, 37

How long have you been a member at CFO?

Since April. I wanted to start CFO in January when I went Paleo but needed patience to heal a low back injury spurred by an unlimited Bikram yoga pass and an ill advised boogie board kicking across Captain Cook bay.

What is your day job?

Independent massage therapist and business coach for holistic practitioners (aka marketing help for hippies.)

What is your athletic background?

Cross-country and jv nose tackle in High School. Also, I was the kid who was always sneaking in to the student gym at the University of Oregon to lift weights. Now I do kundalini yoga, Gabrielle Roth’s 5-rhythms dance, and maintain a season pass to Squaw/Alpine.

What is your favorite strength move?

Back squat. Or anything Lance+2, Stowe+2, Arnold+2 or, in this case, Tamara +1.

What is your favorite met-con?

One that doesn’t require me to utilize multiple big rubber bands to complete. Zekey doesn’t kip.

Proudest achievement (CF)?

A double under. I had an adolescent illness which radically reset my abilities, for example, I did not grow 1 mm. after the trauma and the doctors told me not to expect to have the coordination to ride a bike which, after several crashes, I did within 6 months of their dreary proclamation. So my life story and energy is going toward reclaiming function while learning the grace to take the knowledge inherent in the lessons of a near-death experience at an age when most feel invincible. Because of the speed and coordination, I thought double unders were going to be a block that I was just going to have to accept and I was beginning to go to a dark place with my frustration. Connie and Mike did not see it that way and one day,when I gave up trying, I did one in Robyn’s class. I was ecstatic and Robyn was like, "I know, I heard the rope."

Most desired goal (CF)?

Stay injury free by improving my form on lifts which are a challenge. And continue to enhance my YouTube search capabilities while looking up examples of Coach Moses’s obscure programming.

Rant or Rave:

The container which the coaches at CFO create for community is astounding and touching as are the diverse crew who fill the warehouse to workout. In a life where I consciously trend to things that make my time pleasurable CFO is tantamount. I really working love working out here. Thanks everybody.

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