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The Open is Over! Now what?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

2015_openFirst of all, I would like to commend all the CrossFit Marin athletes who challenged themselves by competing in the 2015 CrossFit Open!  What a great celebration of CrossFit.  The pressure  forced us to hone our skills, believe in our abilities, and overcome many obstacles.  It was inspiring to watch our CrossFit community and its camaraderie be in full force over the past 5 weeks!   That’s right — 5 weeks. You made it and we celebrated. You spent 5 weeks pushing yourself as hard as possible and we celebrated your commitment and tenacity!

But, now what? What are we going to do for the next year?

Simple — Constantly Varied Functional Movements Performed at High Intensity. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Keep working those weaknesses. CrossFit’s speciality is in not specializing. As athletes, we aim to improve in everything, not just the parts we enjoy. Getting better at everything leads to a more well-rounded person and athlete.

2. Keep inspiring. For everyone that hit their first reps of a movement, hit PRs or even tried to finish all the workouts, RX or not, you are an inspiration. You never know who is watching. From a coach’s point of view, it is inspiring to watch students make progress.

3. Keep being consistent.  One of the keys to getting better is just showing up and being consistent in working out. If you put in the work the results will take care of themselves.

4. Keep having fun. We all knew we were not going to win the CF Games. So, why did we compete? For one, it was fun to have everyone come together and push each other to get the best scores possible. I had fun watching and judging. I hope you did too.

5. Keep competing. Find a local competition, pick a division and go for it!  Whether RX, scaled, team, beginner — it doesn’t matter what division as long as you are out there pushing yourself and of course, having fun. Here’s a good link to see upcoming competitions. https://www.wodrocket.com/index.php/competitions/find-events?option=com_ohanah&view=events&Itemid=118&ohanah_category_id=2&textToSearch=&Submit=Search&limit=10&limitstart=0

6. Keep progressing. Don’t think the only time to get a muscle up is in the Open. We haveprogressions from beginner to expert on all sorts of movements.  So, in your spare time before or after a WOD, grab a coach to help you reach a milestone!


Introducing Strong Girls

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Our Youth Strength and Conditioning (YSC) program is thriving! We are excited to announce 2 brand new classes to the program — Strong Girls!
Coach Chelsea will be bringing her experience and expertise to coach these new classes starting in April.

Strong Girls - Wednesday at 3:00 pm, ages 8-11
Strong Girls - Wednesday at 4:00 pm, ages 12-15

Strong Girls is a Youth Strength and Conditioning program for girls only. We want to train both our girls’ bodies and minds to be strong. The class entails 35-45 minutes of age appropriate athletic development while allowing 15-25 minutes for some girl talk. The class provides girls with a safe and empowering place to have facilitated discussions about body image, self-esteem, healthy eating, bullying, boys, goals, friendship, sportsmanship, and integrity. The girls will mentor each other, challenge themselves, and grow stronger—together.

The program involves gymnastics elements, running, weightlifting, cardiovascular conditioning and more. This broad approach will develop a base fitness level that will enhance performance in any sport and allow for competent participation in new activities.

Due to the increasing interest in the YSC program, we are also adding another YSC class:

Youth Strength and Conditioning - Tuesdays at 4:30pm, ages 11-15

The goal of the YSC program is to combine fitness with fun and to help kids grow up healthy, strong and develop a lifelong love of working out. These classes are offered in the CrossFit area and are a great way to introduce your child to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

All YSC workouts are functional and natural and correlate directly to your child’s physical needs in daily life, recreation and sport. Our experienced coaches are incredibly skilled at conveying the importance of lifelong health and fitness in a way that is meaningful and relevant to your child.

Your child doesn’t have to be an athlete to participate. Our training provides an atmosphere that is challenging, motivating and builds confidence. If your child is already athletic, we can help her become a well rounded athlete, excelling in her current sport while staying fit during the off season.

We now offer 7 classes:
Mondays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Tuesdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana
Tuesdays 4:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 3pm, ages 8-11 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 4pm, ages 12-15 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Thursdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana

Kids will need to be enrolled in classes and registered for a corresponding monthly plan. See below for pricing:

One class per week $95. per month
Two classes per week $160. per month
Three classes per week $210. per month
Four classes per week $230. per month
Drop-in $26.

A 25% discount for families applies. Class size is limited to 8 kids, but drop-ins will still be allowed if there are open spaces. Enrollment is easy — please either call the office (415) 927.1630 or e-mail me the details at Dana@inthecave.com.

We’re excited about the growth of this program and we look forward to working with you. Remember, class size is limited to 8, so sign up quickly! Please contact me with your questions or comments.
Thanks,
Dana

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?