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Marinated Flank Steak

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

flank_steak_marinadeWith a few slight modifications to make it Paleo, this recipe is almost completely lifted from allrecipes.com. It’s unbelievably delicious and totally okay with me if you lick the plate.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup high smoke point Paleo oil (I recommend avocado oil; EVOO has too low a smoke point and coconut oil is okay but a bit heavy and strong-flavored for this)
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the oil, tamari, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and ground black pepper. Place meat in a shallow baking dish or zip lock baggie. Pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover/seal, and refrigerate for around 6 hours.

Oil and preheat grill at medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and grill 5 minutes per side, or until done as you like.

Dave’s Turkey

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

davesturkeyThis is an easy, delicious, kid and party friendly main course that I’ve been making just about once a week for ages. I think I blogged it here three or four years ago here, but it’s worth reposting; it’s that good!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 2 Tbsp chicken broth
  • 1  1/4 tsp arrowroot
  • 1 to 1.25 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 small to medium red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine tamari, chicken broth, and arrowroot. Place meat in a bowl, separate into a half dozen or so chunks, and pour in mixture over to briefly marinate, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oils, swirl to coat, then add ginger, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring often.

Next add the meat, crumble, and spread evenly along cooking surface. Cook 1 minute or until meat begins to brown. Turn to cook similarly on other side, breaking meat up further as you go.When meat is cooked through and very crumbly, add green onion and cilantro. Mix well.

Serve over shredded lettuce which can be combined with spinach chiffonade. Great with pan-seared asparagus.

Injuries are not the enemy…they are our challenge

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

another-injury-whyRecently, while coaching on the CrossFit floor, an athlete suggested creating a blog post titled “Injury Is the Enemy” with the focus teaching that it isn’t worth getting injured for that extra weight or additional repetition. Although he’s absolutely correct about it not being worth it, referring to injury as the enemy caused me to ponder the subject. The more I thought about this, I realized that injuries are NOT our enemy, rather they are our challenge. Injuries are not only our challenge to avoid, but our challenge to overcome. This post, Part 1, will focus on the challenge to avoid injury. Part 2 will focus on the challenge of overcoming our injuries.

Cave community, I throw down this challenge! I challenge you to daily remember these 5 tips, both in and out of the gym, to avoid the “enemy” known as injury:

1. Intensity (not INSANITY) in a WOD.
You’ve heard this before… now its time to take it seriously! Stop throwing insane weights around before you are ready! Think about your longevity not only as an athlete, but for your overall fitness. It is extremely important for you to learn how to recognize when to say when and seek out your coach for assistance. We love to help (its our job!), and we can assist you by substituting another movement that can achieve the same stimulus of the intense and effective workout you desire, all while keeping you safe.

We know you signed the waiver, but as your coaches, we are responsible for your safety and we need to be sure you can move weight correctly over the course of an entire workout; or have the baseline strength to do the movements to proper standards. Make no mistake, WE WILL STOP YOU! If you are in danger of hurting yourself, it is our job to make sure that you don’t strain or tear your labrum, or herniate a disk, or something even worse. I’ve seen it.
As an athlete, know when to say when. It is a challenge to do so, but imperative as well.

2. Warm Up
What you do directly before beginning your workout can have a big impact on what you are able to accomplish during your workout. I know we all run late sometimes, choosing to skip the class warm up exercises. However, it’s important to remember that warm up exercises prepare the body to move quickly and efficiently, while giving a valuable boost to your performance and help keep you injury free.

Warm up exercises should (and in our case do) include static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving at lower intensity) exercises, preparing your body for the higher intensity movements that make up the main part of our workouts. Static stretching exercises (holding a single position) are used to simply elongate a particular muscle or group of muscles. These stretches help ensure your movements go through the full range of motion for the upcoming workout. Dynamic mobility exercises and drills help stimulate your nervous system, muscles, tendons and joints in a very dynamic manner.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
I could go on for years about this, but I’ll get straight to the point. Processed food and drink contain substances that inflame our tissues, which slows the process of healing those microscopic muscle tears created during our intense workouts. Consuming food items with anti-inflammatory properties promotes faster recovery from hard workouts! Try including these 10 foods in your diet to help reduce inflammation and help your body heal faster.

1. Dark, leafy greens are packed with flavonoids, which may reduce inflammation. Good sources include spinach and kale, while soybeans, berries and tea are helpful as well.
2. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which can help treat muscle injuries like sprains and strains. Add pineapple to a smoothie or salad.
3. Flaxseed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Grind up flaxseed to release the oils, then add a spoonful to your salad, oatmeal, or yogurt.
4. Carrots are rich in carotenoids, a group of phytochemicals that help protect cells from free radicals, boost immunity, and help regulate inflammation. Other carotenoid rich foods include apricots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.
5. Cinnamon not only reduces inflammation, but also fights bacteria, assists with blood sugar control, and enhances brain function.
6. Ginger contains several anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which may relieve joint pain, prevent free radical damage, and increase immunity. Steep a couple of slices of ginger in hot water for ginger tea.
7. Onions can be used as a base for soups, sauces, and stir-fries. Similar foods with anti-inflammatory benefits include garlic, leeks, and chives.
8. Tart cherries are one of the richest known sources of antioxidants, while also being anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Research suggests that tart cherries offer pain relief from gout and arthritis, reduce exercise induced joint and muscle pain, and improve inflammatory markers. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice or combine dried tart cherries with nuts for a snack.
9. Walnuts are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Top a salad with a handful of walnuts or eat raw walnuts as a snack.
10. Turmeric, a mustard yellow spice from Asia, gets its coloring from a compound called curcumin. Research shows that curcumin can improve chronic pain by suppressing inflammatory chemicals in the body. Make a homemade curry with turmeric or mix it into other recipes once or twice a week.

4. Mobilize
Do I really need to say more? Our very own Stephanie R. provides us with daily WOD recovery yoga poses that make all the difference in injury prevention. Please don’t rush out after your workout…take the time to allow your body to recover. Grab a lacrosse ball and roll around on a sore spot; grab a band or a foam roller. We provide you these programs and make available these tools in the gym to keep you safe. We’re not looking to make life more difficult for Russ by cluttering the floor.

5. Take a Rest Day, or 2
Resting allows your body time to physiologically repair itself from the pounding you give it on a daily basis. Rest days make you stronger by allowing your body to repair the microscopic tears in your muscles and by replenishing glycogen stores. This process then improves your performance when you are in the gym, helping you feel stronger and fitter. Taking a rest day is NOT defined by sitting on the couch and doing nothing. Check out my previous post about active recovery which describes what you should do on your rest day(s).

There you have it! I challenge each of you to utilize these 5 tips to help you stay injury free.
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

asian_marinade_porkProbably because I spend more time perusing Paleo food blogs than shopping for shoes, my browser entices me with primally-tailored ads. A recent one beckoned me with the line “eat like your ancestors” while showing a historic photo of a pioneer woman next to fast food products the ad claimed my great great grandmother would have shopped for. I think they’re missing the point. I do appreciate that somewhere in the commercial food world, someone wants to save me time in the kitchen with something healthier than chicken nuggets, but truth is, with a little planning, I can quickly make my own fast food that I know my great great grandmother would have loved to eat. Here’s one of my favorites:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Directions

Mix marinade ingredients together and place into a zip-lock bag along with raw meat. Let marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°. Remove meat from baggie and place on rack over a foil-lined pan.

When oven temp has reached 450, place meat in oven and reduce temperature to 350°. Cook until internal temperature of meat, when tested with a digital thermometer, reaches 135–140° – about 30 minutes for a one-and-a-half pound tenderloin.

When meat is done, remove from oven and let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

15.2 The Recap.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Since its second year in 2012, the CrossFit Open has included a repeat workout. These reappearances give us a chance to see how much progress we’ve made throughout the year. This year’s repeat was last year’s 14.2, an unforgiving couplet of overhead squats and chest-to-bar pull-ups. A few people were discouraged when the workout was announced. Common questions we heard on the floor included: “I can’t get into a full-depth overhead squat.” “The scaled option is still a regular pull-up?!” Despite the uncertainty, our members showed up and gave their all and many were pleasantly surprised with the results.

There are about 20 (give or take) athletes, who competed last year and had the opportunity to see if they had made any improvements over last year. In an overwhelming number, most of you absolutely killed your previous year’s rep count. This is a great testament to the strength, development, hard work, and dedication to the programing. You do not get stronger without doing the work. We had a large number of you, who did the workout for the first time, both RX and scaled, all of whom had great results. I was very proud of all of you once again, for coming together as the CrossFit Marin community rooting each other on and putting up some impressive numbers. We even had great numbers posted by our Teen division!
HUGE SHOUT OUTS:
To Rich Lefurgy, who came in first in his age group in our region, 21st in the world!
Another highlight of the week was watching Sera crush another workout again, she is putting up huge numbers. Michael V’s reverse grip overhead squat were the perfect adaptation for him, and Mark R. even doing an overhead squat at all is exciting. Daniel T nearly TRIPLED his score from last year, Stephanie R performed her first chest to bar pull up and Heather R did her first pull up! More highlights included Narendra’s excitement for scoring higher than Roger, Margo T’s incredible performance and, Joe W tackling chest to bar pull ups. And how about Russ logging 2 open workouts in Row?? Well done everyone.

A true example of not only mental strength, but also fantastic athletic performance, came from our Athletic Director Amanda. She injured her neck a few days prior, and after several days of mobility, chiropractic and soft tissue care and a little luck, she was able to perform this workout and even eked out 3 reps more than last year. Well Done Amanda.

15.3 is just around the corner, I feel wall balls and double unders coming! Don’t forget our Mid-Open Recovery Party on Friday, March 13, starting at 7 PM. Check out our leaderboard!

Enroll in Summer Camp Today and get 20% off

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

c305eacf-6c8d-49ff-ad6a-da8f886f1f14Keep kids active with camps at The Cave.
The Cave  offers ninja, parkour and gymnastics camps for kids ages 3 to 12. Experienced coaches use games and obstacle courses to teach determination and physical skills. Check out the schedule and descriptions below. Then, link to our website to sign up. Please forward this to your friends!
2015 SCHOOL BREAK CAMPS
April 13 – 17     Spring Ninja Camp
2015 SUMMER CAMPS
June 15 – 19    Gymnastics
June 22 - 26     Ninja Camp
July 13 – 17      Gymnastics
July 20 – 24      Ninja Camp
July 27 - 31       Gymnastics
August 3 - 7      Ninja Camp
August 10-14    Gymnastics

Ninja campers learn how to run literally anywhere. Walls and fences become aids to movement. Experienced coaches teach ninja campers to safely and efficiently navigate any environment while developing strength and agility. The discipline also allows freedom and creativity as campers work out how to use their abilities to overcome obstacles. Gymnastics campers enjoy training and games designed to teach body control and strength. Regardless of whether or not your child wants to pursue gymnastics as a competitive sport or just tumble for fun, gymnastics campers will enjoy their day with The Cave’s experienced coaches. Enroll today!

Another Gymnastics Seminar In The Books

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Wellness Revolution Crew Day 1

Wellness Revolution Crew Day 1

I want to thank my hosts Wellness Revolution CrossFit for the opportunity to come out to Little Rock AR and work with their staff and students for two days of CrossFit Gymnastics immersion. I had a great time, and the groups both days were adventurous and eager to try new things.

For this weekend I ran each day as an independent seminar.  The base curriculum was the same on Sunday as what was covered on Saturday.

The first day was attended primarily by Wellness Revolution staff. We worked on key progressions and concepts to help the trainers in the teaching of these skills as well as digging into the mechanics of their movements as well.

The second day was attended by more of the Wellness Revolution students. A few of the attendees from the first day also came on day two and were put to work practicing the coaching cues and techniques they had learned on day 1. It was great to have a wide range of athletes to work with to demonstrate the range of stages of movement and ability. Everyone was receptive and up for trying new things.

Wellness Revolution Crew Day 2

Wellness Revolution Crew Day 2

Running these seminars is a great opportunity to teach the methods that I have developed over the past decade to communities outside of our facility. I really enjoy the seminars and hope that the service I provide brings value to the global CrossFit community.

NorCal Masters 2015: The Recap

Friday, February 6th, 2015

10952301_10152724648917615_5282697853700622200_oCrossFit Marin athletes shined at Craneway Pavilion during the NorCal Masters competition!  Congratulations to all the athletes! They really put it out there! If you missed my original post about our competitors, please read it here first.

So much love goes into this competition. In its 5th year, NorCal Masters has taken on a life of its own! The venue is beautiful, the athletes are fierce, and the WODs are creative. It’s hard not to be biased since I am part of the event team.
If you’re over forty and are interested in competing in this event next year, let us know! It’s a great goal to have, and your coaches can help see you through it.
I’m going to repost Martin’s incredible story as told to our Google group to recap moments. Thanks984267_10152966435506508_4301640055978255212_nMartin!
Karen L. almost breaks her nose warming up her clean and jerk with a PVC pipe. There wasn’t too much blood, but it did require a fair amount of makeup to conceal the true extent of the damage to the bridge of her nose. Minutes later, she almost breaks her skull while doing chest-to-bar pull-ups on the wrong side of the rig. There was too much blood for makeup this time, so she sported a ragged Band-Aid for most of the first day. The good news was that she took 1st in that event, taking down several Games athletes in style. Don’t hurt Karen L., or she will hurt you back!

Mark A. makes the top five and gets himself into the final. As the finalists take the field, we see four extremely intimidating large men (as tall as Ehren H., as muscular as Bo W. … and then out comes Mark A.! Of course, as unfussed as ever, he gets right in there and mixes it up with the big guys, hang power cleaning 155lb/70kg for reps.

10921625_10152724644597615_7566551993592315354_oRich L. is a model of consistency, takes 2nd in two events and places no lower than 7th in any event to cement his place in the final. He placed 4th overall, coming in behind three other Games-level athletes and improving on his 6th place finish last year.

Susie B. changes outfits six times in two days and places 11th overall in her very first CrossFit competition. She destroyed the one mile run in 7:12, placing 3rd in that event. Perhaps more significantly, though, after failing to do any weighted pistols during practice, she proceeds to rep out over ten of them during the pistol/KB snatch event to snag 9th.10917190_10152724653627615_4479763452160706366_o

Narendra R. battles his way defiantly through chest-to-bar/kettlebell swing/double-under metcon-hell and follows it up with an impressive 7:18 mile run (good enough for 8th), despite a recent calf injury that required copious amounts of tape, massage, and old-fashioned grit. Of course, Narendra has grit in spades, as he is an experienced ultra-runner, so perhaps we should not be that surprised.

Thanks again for the recap Martin!

Another highlight was Martin coming in 5th overall in the runback squat and winning his heat.  I didn’t see him put the barbell down at all during his 2 min backsquats, and was the only one in his heat not to hear NO REP on his back squats!  Well done!

Final results can be seen here on the leadership board link.
Men 40-44: Martin H. (13
Men 45-49: Narendra R. (22; however, didn’t compete on Day 2)
Women 45-49: Karen L. (6 and Susie B. (11
Men 50-54: Mark A. (5
Men 55-59: Rich L. (4
Until next year!  Who’s in?

Let’s talk Tabata

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

tabata-2-300x174“So what exactly is Tabata and why is it called that?”

Well, the story starts with the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating Team. In 1996 team trainer and scientist Izumi Tabata conducted a study analyzing the effectiveness of a specific High Intensity Training program that the head coach had developed specifically for his athletes. The team was divided into different groups. The first group trained on ergonomic cycles at moderate intensity for one hour, five days per week, for a total of six weeks. The second group completed four-minute, high-intensity workouts on ergonomic cycles four days per week for a total of six weeks. The program that group two followed is what has come to be known as Tabata training:

Eight rounds

One round: 20 seconds of ‘all-out’ work, followed by 10 seconds of rest

Tabata describes the desired intensity of work at around 170% of an athlete’s VO2 max—their maximum rate of oxygen consumption. At the conclusion of the six weeks of training, Tabata found that group two had experienced a 28% increase in their anaerobic capacity, as well as a 14% increase in their VO2 max. When summarizing the effect of the study and the HIIT program, Tabata writes that

“moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems”.

This was a significant finding, as most authorities had regarded the two pathways—and training for them—as compartmentalized. Aerobic training was largely long slow distance (LSD) work, and anaerobic training was typically regarded as some hard-to-measure dark component left to the explosion sports.

Dr. Tabata examined several different protocols but settled on eight sets of twenty-second work intervals alternating with ten-second rest intervals as the most effective interval times for improving VO2 max. In the original study the intervals were performed at a quantifiable 170 percent of VO2 max. (Just think max effort.) In the field, where measurements are more subjective, the effort should be such that on the eighth set the trainee is nearing exhaustion. In the original study, the test subjects doing 4-minute “Tabata” intervals saw greater VO2 max improvement than the control group that did 60-minute sessions of moderate-intensity exercise.

Dr. Tabata’s research tested subjects on stationary bikes, but in the CrossFit world his protocol is applied to all variety of functional movements. The Tabata protocol is applied to exercises including squats, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, rowing, and, in my practice, dumbbell moves. We generally score Tabata intervals based on the lowest number of reps completed in any one of the eight twenty -second work intervals.

Benefits

Tabata training increases the metabolism and heart rate immediately, the ability to produce work will lower as you go through the sessions.  The body will burn fat for up to 24 hours, because the metabolism will stay at the high levels after the workout.  Tabata training will increase cardiovascular fitness as well as core and strength gains depending on the workout.  It is a fast paced exercise routine that is very time efficient, all you need is 4 minutes.

Also, these high-intensity efforts produce this dramatic aerobic benefit without the muscle wasting brought about by endurance training.

Risks

  • The Tabata routine is not for beginners, it is easy for the intensity to become overwhelming for beginners.
  • There is a greater risk of injuries since it is high impact exercise.
  • Muscles fatigue quickly, that could lead to mental fatigue and depleted motivation.

Typical Tabata workouts (try a new one):

  • Push up (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Body Weight Squats (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Medicine Ball throw downs (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Jumping rope (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Mountain Climbers (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Sit ups (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Sprints (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Stairs (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Bench press (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)
  • Calf raisers (20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes)

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

These treats were amazing! They are so delicious and moist, and they aren’t horrible for you.  (But please don’t misinterpret them for a substitution for vegetables!) They are definitely a better option than some holiday cookies bought in the bread section of your local grocery store.

These in particular are among my favorite of the treats I’ve tried from her blog! Here’s how to make them:

Recipe: Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Serves: 16

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree

  • ½ cup butter or ghee or coconut oil, melted

  • 1 egg, whisked

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • ¼ cup tapioca flour

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (I used enjoy life mini chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or butter.

  3. Mix all ingredient together in a large bowl until well combined.

  4. Pour mixture into baking dish.

  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.