Jul 2nd


By Mike Minium
Comments Comments Off on Strong Work, Max!

Strong Work, Max!


Every once in a while, we just like to throw up impressive feats of strength on the website.  It’s even better when it’s someone who coaches and trains at CFO.  

This past Sunday, Max Aita, who many of you know or have probably seen coaching his lifters in the back of CFO, demonstrated that besides being a great coach of the lifts, he can also perform the lifts himself (that’s putting it mildly!).  He competed in a powerlifting meet on Sunday, where he weighed in at 219 lbs.  And he managed to squat, as you can see in the video above, 705 lbs!  Nothing like squatting more than three times your bodyweight!  And to top it off, it was also an IPL world record for his weight class (the IPL is one of the international powerlifting federations out there).

Strong work, Max!

Jul 2nd


By Mike Minium
Comments 1

New Open Gym Hours at Uptown!


The Saturday Uptown crew

Last week we announced that effective July 1, there are now Mon/Wed/Fri 9am and 12pm classes, and that we’ve added a new Saturday 9am class.

In addition to the other announcements in that post, we wanted to let you know that we rolled out brand new Open Gym hours today.

Going forward, Open Gym will be happening every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4pm to 5:30pm.  We hope you all will take advantage of our Open Gym hours.  Open Gym is a great opportunity to work on skills, strength, individualized programming, and any other thing you want to do (including the group WOD, of course).  You can even start out in the Open Gym hour, warm up and work some skills, and then participate in the 5:30pm group class.

We’re really excited about being able to offer Open Gym and can’t wait to see you all taking advantage of it!

Jul 1st


By Mike Minium
Comments Comments Off on July 4 Schedule for Emeryville and Uptown

July 4 Schedule for Emeryville and Uptown


Leka getting after it on Open Workout 13.4

Just a heads-up on the July 4th schedule this week.

On Thursday, July 4th:

  • Our Emeryville location will be closed all day.
  • Our Uptown location will be running the 6am class only.

We’ll be back to our full schedule on Friday, July 5th.  Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Jun 29th


By Robyn
Category: Uncategorized
Comments Comments Off on Going Paperless and Mobile with Front Desk!

Going Paperless and Mobile with Front Desk!

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 8.45.54 PM.png

Screen shot of the Front Desk sign-in page for E’Ville

Besides striving to employ best practices in our coaching, programming and performance offerings, CrossFit Oakland is also looking for ways to stay on the cutting edge with respect to way we manage the business.

We have wanted to go paperless and mobile for awhile and have found a system that will support these wishes.  We’ve also been looking for a more efficient and reliable way to track attendance in order to make good decisions regarding group class offerings as our community grows.

We believe we have moved closer to these goals by switching from our current service to a new client service software called Front Desk.  

We’ve been able to migrate much of your client information from our previous system, but not all of it.  Please check your email for instructions on how gain access to your profile information, set up a login/password, etc.  Some of you will need to add your credit card information, as it is encrypted for your safety.  We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.  If you run into any issues with the setup or did not receive email instructions, let us know and we will walk you through the process.

Both CFO locations will be providing an ipad kiosk so that new clients can set up accounts and sign waivers digitally – no paper!  And current clients can mange account updates at the gym as well as at home.  Please let us know if you run into any issues setting up and/or managing your account and we can help you next time you are at the gym.

Be advised that Emeryville and Uptown are on different systems.  The email you receive should contain the correct link, but here they are just in case:

Emeryville (67th Street):

Uptown (41st Street):

Want to access your info from your smartphone?  Just type in the link above in your browser and login.  You can scroll down and hit that nifty ‘send/share’ icon at the bottom of your smartphone browser and choose the option ‘add to home screen’.  Cool, huh?

If you encounter any issues with any of these processes, feel free to email us or just ask Robyn or Mike at the gym.

Thanks for your cooperation and support!

Jun 28th


By Mike Minium
Comments 1

Femme Fit Registration Opens Monday July 1st at 12pm!

Femme Fit 2011 from Kaleidoscope Creative on Vimeo.

In case you haven’t heard, Femme Fit is back!  The first Femme Fit, which debuted in 2011, was a huge hit and a great competition.  So what is Femme Fit?  Let’s look to the Femme Fit blog for the answer to that question:

Femme Fit is the only competition of its kind. It is a women-only fitness competition created to give women from different athletic backgrounds a showcase to compete. Femme Fit 2013 is a one day competition, which will consist of 5 separate events. Each event offers a unique challenge for seasoned athletes, first time competitors, and all women in between.

Easy to enter, hard to win, highly competitive, exciting to watch, with no scaling necessary.

We had a ton of CFO women enter this two years ago.  For many of them, it was their first competition, and it was a great way to get their feet wet.  At the same time, there were many top-tier women who competed as well.  It was a great mix of newcomers, veterans, and everyone in between.

Registration for Femme Fit opens at 12pm SHARP on Monday July 1st.  Two years ago, Femme Fit sold out in under an hour (100 slots), so if this is something you’re thinking about doing, you better be on it come Monday.

For more information, including all the workouts:  Femme Fit Blog

And for the FB crowd:  Femme Fit Facebook Page

Jun 25th


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on What Does Golf Have to do with CrossFit?

What Does Golf Have to do with CrossFit?


A typical golf scenario for me, playing deep in the rough on the other side of the cart path, scrambling for dear life

So what does golf have to do with CrossFit?  Nothing at all.  And everything.

I’m not talking about training adaptations here, or energy systems, or anything like that.  It’s more philosophical.

I’ve been reading a great book (a big thank-you to CFOer Tom L for lending it to me) on Tiger Woods, written by his former coach, Hank Haney.  It’s called The Big Miss.  It’s really more of a behind-the-scenes look at Tiger Woods, the type of sacrifices he makes to be the best, and some of the personality traits that he possesses which enable him to be the best golfer he can be.  It also gets into a lot of the technical golf swing stuff I like, but that doesn’t make for good CFO blog fodder.  It has nothing to do with the personal headline-grabbing stuff that happened to Tiger off the course.  Haney keeps it pretty much (90%) about Tiger the golfer, via his relationship with him as his coach.  But this isn’t a book review.

There was one particular passage that really jumped out at me, and it relates to anyone who’s training with us, from pages 100-101:

To me, it was an example of a great performer doing what Geoff Colvin in his book Talent is Overrated calls "deliberate practice."  It’s the most difficult and highest level of practice because it requires painstaking focus on weaknesses.  A lot of players hit a lot of balls but focus only on their strengths.  The great improvers are willing to get uncomfortable and make the mental and physical effort to correct a flaw, which often involves difficult "opposite-oriented" remedial learning.  But that was Tiger in major-championship preparation mode. (Emphasis mine.)

CrossFit training is all about bringing up your weaknesses, whether it’s getting a strict version of a bodyweight movement (pull-up, handstand push-up, etc.), getting better at the Olympic lifts, improving your running, the list goes on and on.  

You should always be devoting some time in your training session to tackling those weaknesses, whether it’s before class, during our skill work pieces, or after class.  Yes, you want to get stronger (our Part A workouts) and get better stamina and endurance (our Part B workouts), but you also want to work to eliminate weaknesses.

If you have no idea what you should focus on, or would like to get a plan for attacking your weaknesses, ask one of your trainers.  They love coming up with ways to get you to improve.  And when working on those weaknesses, remember to pay attention to the second sentence in bold in the quote above.  Tackling weaknesses is going to involve difficult "opposite-oriented" remedial learning.

Jun 21st


By Mike Minium
Category: Fitness
Comments Comments Off on Running Performance and Heart Health

Running Performance and Heart Health

Dr. O’Keefe giving a TED Talk on running and heart health

File this away in the old "some is good, more isn’t necessarily better" folder.  In this TED talk, Dr. O’Keefe, a cardiologist, discusses heart health and heart attack risk factors among runners and non-runners, and summarizes a few studies on mortality rates between runners and non-runners.

The take-home points of his talk, as it relates to running, per the studies he discusses, are as follows:

  • Not running at all (couch potato syndrome) sets you up for the greatest risk of heart attack.
  • Some running, or being an average or mediocre runner, is beneficial in terms of reducing heart attack risk factors.
  • Getting really good at running (think elite level) is better than being a couch potato, but not as beneficial as being a mediocre runner.

A couple of points to consider when taking this in:

  • He didn’t discuss other forms of exercise and their impact on heart health.  It was only focused on medium- and long-distance running.
  • He is coming from a health-oriented point of view, and all of his recommendations are based on optimizing heart health, not performance.

So what does this mean for you?  It depends on if you’re after health or performance (some would argue that you can have both, but at the highest level of athletic performance, health and performance are going to diverge, at least somewhat).

If you’re after health, you’re training at the right place.  Due to the nature of our program, we try and balance not only metabolic pathways (time duration of workouts and their related adaptations), but also disciplines/modalities.  We’re not just a barbell program, or a bodyweight program, or a running program.  Due to the balancing act of all our modalities, you’ll never be over-exposed to one discipline and will have well-rounded health.

And if you’re after performance, you’re also in the right place.  We’ll do everything we can to optimize health while chasing performance.  To that end, we have a number of specialty coaches (Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, etc.).  And more related to the subject at hand, we even have Coach Aaron, our CFO Endurance and Running coach.  Did you know he runs track workouts every Saturday morning at 8am at PIedmont High School, or that he runs an entire strength-and-conditioning program for track and endurance athletes?  Check out his Facebook page for more information.

Jun 19th


By Mike Minium
Category: Nutrition
Comments Comments Off on Meta-Analysis Finding: Processed Carbohydrates, not Fats, Pose Bigger Health Risk

Meta-Analysis Finding: Processed Carbohydrates, not Fats, Pose Bigger Health Risk


Leka and Ellie don’t look concerned about their saturated fat intake

A recent meta-analysis done by Ronald Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and his team or researchers found that there was no association between saturated fat and heart disease risk.  For those of you who’ve read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, the findings of this meta-analysis will have a familiar ring.  But the fact that this meta-analysis, and a significant one at that, comes from the scientific community, will hopefully bolster the message that Taubes has been trying to get across for the better part of the past decade.

The article’s final paragraph does a great job of summing up the findings of the research:

“If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits—you might actually produce harm,” Ludwig argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

Read the whole article here, which appeared in Scientific American:

Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart

Jun 18th


By Mike Minium
Category: Community
Comments 1

Calling All Training Partners!


Steve P after CF Games Open Workout 13.4

It’s been a while since we last posted about Steve P and his road to the CrossFit Games.  Since qualifying this past April for the Games after finishing the Open in 11th place worldwide in his age group, Steve has been putting in some serious work.  Anyone who’s been around our Emeryville location during the evening classes has at some point likely seen Steve training.

We’ve now entered the stretch run for Steve, with just a little over a month to go until the Games.  I’m now putting out the call for anyone to join Steve in his workouts leading up to the Games as a training partner.  We employed this strategy last year as Candace trained for the Games, to great success.  It can be a huge boost to be training alongside someone else, and to know that you’re not suffering alone.  It can often lead to another rep, a faster time, a little more weight, etc.

Any of the workouts Steve is doing can be modified to your own ability.  It’s really more important that Steve has someone who can push him and help him make this last climb, than it is to do his workouts exactly as written.  We’re entering into the final, tough stretch of workouts for him; let’s show him how much we’re behind him by getting volunteers to train with him.

If you can be a training partner for Steve, even if just for a single workout over the next couple of weeks, please let us know by either emailing us or by saying so on our CFO Facebook Page.  We’ll compile a list of training partners and set up a rotation so that Steve will have a training partner at least a couple times a week (if not more, hopefully).

Let’s do this for Steve!

Jun 17th


By Mike Minium
Comments Comments Off on Congratulations to Our Springtime Paleo Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to Our Springtime Paleo Challenge Winners!


Jill and Mark, the two Paleo Challenge winners

A big congratulations to Jill and Mark, who took our Springtime Paleo Challenge!  We do two challenges a year, one in the spring, which is based on performance, and one in the fall, which is based on aesthetics.

We evaluated performance by having all participants do the following workout twice, once at the start of the challenge and once at the end of the challenge:

4 Rounds for Time:
Run 400m
30 Squats

The formula we used took into account how participants did on the workout the first time and the second time, and also rewarded time improvement.  The formula was as follows:  

[Time Difference Between First Workout and Second Workout] / [Rank in 1st Workout] + [Rank in 2nd Workout]

For our calculation, we only included participants who did both workouts.

Jill took first place in the workout at the start and at the end of the challenge, and she still managed to shave over a minute off her time.  By virtue of her performance in the before-and-after workouts, as well as her time improvement, she took the Paleo Challenge for the women.

Mark came out on top in a close race between the men.  Karl was the other major contender.  Karl took first the workout both times, but Mark had a huge time improvement (he took 2:43 off his first time).  Due to the magnitude of his time improvement, he edged out Karl.

Congratulations to Mark and Jill, who will receive their take of the cash this week!  And strong work by all who participated!