Monthly Archives: September 2010
Sep 30th, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I go?


These guys will miss you when you’re sick & help you when you’re injured

When dealing with sickness and injury I sometimes see a little bit of backward thinking at CFO.  Some people think they should stay home when injured and wait until they heal before they workout again.  Others think that they should come in when they have a cold or flu and ‘push through it’.  Maybe I can help clear this up…

If you are sick, please stay home.  It is not good for you to push yourself – you need to give your body adequate rest in order to right off whatever little nasty has invaded your system.  It is also not good for others who are working very closely with you, sharing space and equipment.  Here are some helpful guidelines borrowed from the administration of my children’s school:

    ?    Please stay home when you are sick and do not return until you have been FEVER–FREE for 24 hours.
    ?    WASH your hands several times a day. Use soap and water and wash for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday!
    ?    CARRY A HAND SANITIZER in your backpack to use when you cannot use soap and water.
    ?    DO NOT SHARE food, drinks, eating utensils, (barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells an other bells) cell phones, etc.
    ?    COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE WHEN YOU COUGH OR SNEEZE. Use a tissue or cover with your elbow, arm or sleeve.

On the other hand, if you are injured it might not be the best idea to stay away from the gym until you are completely healed.  Of course, if you have incurred a serious injury or have undergone surgery, you should follow the advice of your doctor until you are recovered enough to rejoin your regular activities.  However, if you have a bum knee or shoulder, please do not stop using it altogether.  As a wise man across the bay always says – "Motion is Lotion". 

This does not mean you should ‘work through’ an injury!!  Always, ALWAYS let your coach know if you have an injury so that we can be extra careful with you and make adjustments so that you can get your WOD on in a safe and sane manner.  In almost all cases, we can find SOMETHING for you to do and who knows, it might be something super-fun that you would never have tried otherwise.

Share in comments a time when you were forced to stay away from CFO or to work around an injury.

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Sep 29th, 2010


Colin proving his mastery of bodyweight exercises.

Last weekend, I attended the Olympic Lifting seminar with Jo Ann Arnold and Max Aita at Crossfit Oakland.  First off, I liked the seminar and learned a lot. One of the things they talked about was the importance of the posterior chain in the Olympic lifts.  We all know that the muscles around the hip are the strongest in the body–the glutes, quads and hamstrings.  But did you know that if your hamstrings are tight, it will effect your ability to catch and hold the bar overhead?  Tight hamstrings will pull your hip into a non-optimal position, and this will be more pronounced when you have weight overhead. I know this seems obvious, but I thought I might mention it for those of us who have trouble with the snatch and the overhead squat.  These stretches might help you make progress with these lifts.


1. Lie in a doorway with one leg on the ground and one leg up the wall, as Steve is doing. (Most of us will not be able to sit quite so close to the wall.)  Make sure your hips are in line.  Press your leg firmly into the wall (or at straight as you can make it).  Hold 30-120 seconds on each side.

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Sep 28th, 2010

Fun Event: Athletic Playground 2-Year Anniversary


I received and email from Shira Yaziv today, owner of the Athletic Playground, which is a cool little box right up the street from us on 4770 San Pablo Ave.  For those of you who go back with us a ways, you’ll remember that Shira spent a brief time with us working as a trainer.  She and David (the other owner at Athletic Playground) have a really cool thing going on at AP, which borrows from a lot of gymnastic- and acrobatic-oriented disciplines.

Anyway, AP is celebrating their 2-year anniversary this weekend, Oct 1-3, and there will be lots of interesting demonstrations and classes going on.  I’ll definitely be by to check it out.

For more info on the weekend and what they have planned, go to their website:

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Sep 27th, 2010

5 Days Left!


The Cavewomen and the Judge

With only five days left of the Paleo Challenge, we’re getting right down to the bitter end.  With that in mind, here are a couple of key dates for those of you involved in the challenge.

Friday, October 1

We need "after" photos of all of you sent to me at by midnight on Friday, October 1.  Also, if you didn’t get me "before" photos for whatever reason, I’ll need those as well.  The "after" photos need to be done in the same format as the "before" ones:  front, back, left side, and right side.

As part of the contest, the "before" and "after" photos will be evaluated by our highly esteemed judges, Lydia (for the women) and TomC (for the men).

Sunday, October 3

We’ll be holding our Paleo Challenge wrap-up and potluck party at 5pm on Sunday, October 3.  Just as before, it will be taking place at CFO.  And as always, friends and family are most welcome.  Besides being an opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry, we’ll be handing out cash money to the top male and top female (as voted by our judges).

The food you bring can be paleo or non-paleo (neo?), so have at it.

And finally, I thought I’d share a recipe that Robyn turned me on to that has been a great addition to my paleo breakfast repertoire.  I’ve particularly enjoyed the combination of pancakes and bacon.  Robyn sourced the recipe from Everyday Paleo.

Almond Meal Griddle Cakes

2 cups of almond meal
3 eggs
1/2 can of coconut milk
a big drizzle of either walnut oil or coconut oil
2 apples grated

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and cook on a super hot griddle or frying pan in more walnut or coconut oil.  These cakes are great warm or cold and are delicious served with bacon, of course!

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Sep 26th, 2010

Another Great FGB Experience


Joey contemplating her existence following Fight Gone Bad

Thanks to everyone who came out today and laid it all out there on the gym floor for our annual Fight Gone Bad experience.  For the first-timers, I’m sure you’ll never forget your first Fight Gone Bad experience.  And for those of you who keep coming back for more, even when you know how much it will hurt, you have my utmost respect.

Until next year!

Track Workout at Piedmont High Canceled for Sunday, September 26

We had initially batted around the idea of holding a track workout tomorrow, but since Saturday was the third day in our workout cycle, and since many of you dug deep into the well during FGB, we’re going to stick with the traditional rest day after three days in a row of workouts.  Feel free to come into the gym and make up any missed workouts or work those skills and weaknesses.

We’ll hold a track workout in the very near future up at Piedmont High.  And if you really had your heart set on doing a track workout on Sunday, do the following: 

3 — All-Out 300m sprints w/ 5 minutes of rest in between
3 — 200m sprints with a walking recovery of 200m (sprint 200m, walk 200m, sprint 200m, walk 200m, etc.)
6 — 50m sprints with a very slow walking recovery

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Sep 25th, 2010

The Squat and Depth

Daniel Squat

Daniel performing a squat to the proper depth

There is one exercise that, much like Tyrannosaurus Rex during the Late Cretaceous, occupies the niche of the apex predator. That exercise is the barbell squat. This movement is so fundamental and so much a part of almost any athletic endeavor that if you do not have it as part of your fitness program, it probably should not be called a fitness program. Over the next couple of weeks, we will investigate several aspects of the squat and the major squat types. Today, however, we are going to discuss the features that every properly done squat shares.

Comments: 15
Category: Fitness
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Sep 24th, 2010

Fight Gone Bad This Saturday, September 25


Lydia recovering for her next pull on the rower

This Saturday, beginning at 8am, we’ll be running everyone through Fight Gone Bad.  Besides being a great workout, it’s an opportunity to raise funds for some worthy causes, namely LiveStrong and the Wounded Warrior Project.

To that end, we’re asking that everyone who comes to participate in the workout to pay a $20 drop-in fee.  All of the money paid will go directly to FGB5 on behalf of CrossFit Oakland.  If you’re already raising funds on your own, then don’t worry about the drop-in fee; we just thought this would be an easier option for many of you.

And in case you’ve never done Fight Gone Bad, this is the workout:

3 Rounds for Max Reps or Calories:

1 Minute Wall Ball @ 20#/14#, 10 ft target (Reps)
1 Minute Sumo deadlift high-pull @ 75#/55# (Reps)
1 Minute Box jump @ 20" (Reps)
1 Minute Push-press @ 75#/55# (Reps)
1 Minute Row (Calories)

There is a 1-minute break in between rounds.  Scored by sum of reps and calories.

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Sep 23rd, 2010

Athlete Spotlight — Leka!


Leka looking adorable in class today before crushing the Snatch 

This week’s Athlete Spotlight shines on a truly amazing woman.  Leka is a veritable icon of fitness, beauty, style and strength.  One only has to glimpse her arriving or departing the gym in her street clothes to notice that she is not like the rest of us — this girl has serious style!  In fact, she is a professional stylist with a degree in photography and a background in high fashion.  Leka lives in a world of the uber-skinny, ‘beautiful’ people, so that when she raves that ‘strong is beautiful’ — she really means it.  In addition to being an amazing artist and world traveler, Leka is raising two very lovely daughters.  If you have had the good fortune to meet them, you will know right away that she is doing everything right.  

In the gym, Leka is a great athlete with a terrific attitude and immaculate form.  She chips away at her goals until she conquers them  — and her strength numbers are pretty incredible! But seriously, when I saw her tackle "The Bear", I was truly in awe.  Every time I was sure she would not make it through a round, she just gritted her way through it.  Mental toughness to spare!

Leka has set high standards for herself in the gym and in life and it is a pleasure to witness her continually surpassing them, only to set new, higher ones.  She is a lot of fun, easy on the eyes, a kick-ass athlete and an all around lovely person.  While my adoration comes close to idol-worship, I know we are all big fans of this fabulous lady!

Post Leka-love to comments.

Name: Alexia Tanya Dobbs
Height: 5’7"
Weight: 130#-ish
Age: 10 years older than Maria!
Q: How long have you been a member at CFO?  
A:  Since july of ’08 
Q: What is your day job?  
A: Exeuctive Creative Director at KineMed, Inc., and Freelance Wardrobe Stylist  
Q: What is your athletic background?   
A: Chopping wood, carrying water, milking goats, riding horses, surfing, yoga 
Q: What is your favorite strength move?  
A: Back Squat  
Q: What is your favorite met-con?
A:  Any crazy team WOD
Q: What is your proudest achievement?  
A: Where do I begin? Being able to run around Lake Merrit,  Kipping pull-ups, Rope climbs, Doing WODs rx’d…But best of all: having my daughters tell me that when they grow up, they want to be strong like me!
Q: What is your most desired goal?  
A: Getting double-unders and muscle-ups, and being able to snatch more than 60#!

Rant or Rave:  

I can always find SOMETHING to complain about: the less-than-sanitary conditions of the shower and floors, and the lack of paper towels in the bathroom at CFO, Mike’s way of purposely destroying certain muscle groups… but all in all I have to say that my positive feelings towards CFO,  FAR outweigh the few negatives.   CrossFit was introduced to me (thanks to my little bro Moses) at a time when I really needed a place to let out a lot of aggression and make a whole new group of friends–both of which happened right away, and for that I am very grateful!  

In addition to the amazing community I’ve gladly become a part of, thanks to all of the awesome coaches here, and the inspiration of working out alongside everyone here, I have been able to do things that I never thought were physically possible. Making physical gains means breaking through mental barriers which carries over into every aspect of life. When I started x-fit, I could not run 400 meters, couldn’t do a real push-up, could not jump rope at all, had never touched a barbell, let alone dream of doing a non-band assisted pull-up.  Like a lot of women, I was terrified of ‘getting big’. The whole idea that we aren’t supposed to lift heavy weights and that we are supposed to be a certain small size is such a crock. I am here to let you know that you won’t get ‘big’, and if you do, so what? Strong is beautiful, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise!

Important Stats:  DL- 1RM: 215#, BS- 3RM: 155#, Bench Press- 5RM: 105# 

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Sep 22nd, 2010

More Newbies!


The latest and greatest On-Ramp class graduates

CFO is a popular place these days; lots of new faces in the crowd.  We just finished an On-Ramp class two weeks ago, and we currently have two other ones running.  Look out for a post within the next couple of days on a potential 7am class that we may offer in the near future (the 6am class has ballooned in size due to an influx of newcomers, which is great and it provides a ton of energy, but we wanna make sure that everyone is taken care of).

Congrats, On-Rampers!

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Sep 21st, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup or Corn Sugar: It’s All the Same


Many of you have probably already heard that the Corn Refiners Association is pushing to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.  They’ve even created a marketing campaign for it.  Whether or not the name changes, it doesn’t really matter.  The simple fact of the matter is that the American public is eating more sugar now than ever before, whether high fructose corn syrup or not.

From the NY Times Well Blog article, "In Worries About Sweeteners, Think About all Sugars," Tara Parker-Pope writes the following:  "Today, sugar calories now account for 16 percent of the calories Americans consume, a 50 percent increase from the 1970s. High sugar consumption has been linked to obesity and other health concerns."

Read the full blog entry here:

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