The Cave

The Cave Blog

Archive for February, 2009

Two questions

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
All the machines you could ever want...

All the machines you could ever want...

Today we share two photos. The first is of a “Globo Gym”. A large chain gym with an ocean of machines and equipment. The other is of a session in one of the rooms at our gym. There is a stark contrast here. The first gym prides itself on what it has, we pride ourselves on what we know. The first focuses on memberships, we focus on results.

I’m going to talk about two questions today. These two questions are two questions that define success for an individual in these gyms. The thing is, the two questions are different depending on which gym you are in.

The questions of success at gym #1 the “Globo Gym”
How do you look?
What do you weigh?

These are the primary metrics that gym #1 is going to look at to determine if you are successful or not. (They’d prefer not to measure anything, in fact it’s better if you never show up at all anyway). But, let’s assume for the sake of this discussion they were actually interested in your “success”. They will focus on two things. What you weigh, and how you look. If you loose weight, and look a certain way, then you are successful. Unfortunately, your fitness is not even considered. Even within these parameters very few people are “successful” in these types of gyms.

The questions of success in our gym.
How do you feel?
What can you do?

These two questions meet our measures of fitness. It goes well beyond this, which is why we record so much information, but these two questions sum up success. Do you feel better than you did a month ago? Do you have more energy? Are you more motivated in other aspects of your life? Have you improved your technique on a variety of skills? Can you accomplish something that you could not accomplish a year ago? Can you move more weight in less time than you could previously? Weight loss and looking better are additional markers of improvement in fitness, but we see them as nice side effects, and not something to be focused on. What are your goals? What do you define as success? Do you need to rethink your definition of success? Tell us about it.

Few machines, real training

Few machines, real training


Friday, February 27th, 2009
Salmon, avacado, veggies... good stuff

Salmon, avacado, veggies... good stuff

We all have various relationships with food. Most of us struggle with what we eat. We all have a basic idea how to eat well, and most fail to even eat in a moderately healthy way. Our western diets have grown to be a matter of convenience and taste, rather than health and fitness. Our food is our fuel. It is what enables us to make it through our day, perform the CrossFit workouts and live to a healthy old age. The trouble is when we eat poorly it gradually diminishes our performance and health. The decline is generally slow enough that we do not make the connection that our food is at fault. Genetics, life situations and other things are often blamed for what can easily be remideed with food.

Greg Glassman summed up how we should eat in a simple, easy to remember statement “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep
intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”. Many of you have heard me repeat this. I can not overemphasize how important our food is. We have seen it time and time again, when people are struggling to make gains, carrying excess bodyfat or just feeling run down, food is the culprit. When people make the changes in their diets all markers of health improve, often quite dramatically.

Take a close look at your diet. Where can you eliminate sources of sugar? How can you improve the quality of what you are eating? Ask us questions about the food you eat. We will be happy to help.

Grommit parkour and gymnastics

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Big thanks to Kevin for coming in and shooting a video of some of our kids classes. A foundation in general movement has lifelong benefit. Gymnastics and parkour are a great way to develop this kinesthetic awareness because they both encompass a wide variety of movements. Learning to run, jump, climb, roll, etc will carry over into other sports and activities and reduce the likelyhood of injury from falls and accidents.

Developing Your “Show up Muscle”

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
Sarah doin a walk around

Sarah doin a walk around

On several occassions Sarah Farrell and I have discussed the “Show up Muscle”. This is the trait that enables you to show up, be there, do something regardless of how you feel, the current situation, or whether or not you want to do it. This is often times the biggest determining factor between success and failure. Many people chose to fail by choosing not to show up. They allow life’s excuses to get in the way of their progress and accomplishments.

When it comes to CrossFit there will be days, many days, when you may not feel like coming in. You may still be fatigued from a previous workout, you may be sore, tired, unmotivated. Show up anyway. If you have your schedule in place and have committed to a plan, stick with it. Get down to the gym and do the workout. Let your trainer know when you walk in how you feel. We’ll commend you for getting there. We might even go a little easy on you that day. If nothing else, you’ll get in and get moving. You will get in your skill work, get your blood flowing. Once the workout is done you will be glad you did it. These are days we call mental toughness days. They make the good days seem so much better when we chose to work through them, and go hard even when it’s not a good day.

We are often asked “What is the best way to get in shape?”. Of course we will recommend the CrossFit programming because we know how supremely effective it is, but the answer to this question is pretty broad, but very simple. The best way to get in shape and stay in shape is to find some sort of physical activity that you will do, day after day, year after year, and eat reasonably well. If you do this you will be in better shape than most people in the united states. Stepping it up to the elite levels of fitness that we strive for takes further dedication and motivation. At this point the specifics of the programming become important, but the bottom line is, you still have to show up.

Spend some time today thinking about your “show up muscle”. Is it well developed? Does it need some work? This applies to all aspects of our lives, not just fitness. Get out there, show up, do what you need to do to succeed, and tell us about it. The more often you choose to ignore the excuses in your head, the more developed it will become. The excuses will get smaller and smaller in magnitude.

Chelsea and Ross Flex

Chelsea and Ross Flex

Preparing for the build

Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Noah, Matt and Angela in the big room

Noah, Matt and Angela in the big room

Noah, Matt and Angela do a workout in the big room in preparation for the build out. Can’t you see the look of pure joy on their faces? Exciting stuff is happening at CrossFit Marin. We’ve got expansion going on. There’s going to be a lot of work ahead, but  as with our workouts, the benefit will be worth the struggle.


Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Here’s a nice 7 minute post-workout stretching video from our friends at CrossFit Virtuosity. Proper stretching is an essential element of fitness. It’s a discipline. We know how hard it can be sometimes to stretch after your workout, but you’ve got to do it. Make the time, take a few minutes. Find a space and do 5 minutes of stretching… right now!

Skill development and scaleability

Saturday, February 21st, 2009
Marjorie learns a snatch

Marjorie learns a snatch

These two photos show improvement within one session. Yeah this was on the same day. If we focus in, and really work on mechanics we can see remarkable improvement in a short time. We still look for small improvements over the long term to reach the big goals, but focusing on performing each movement as well as we can will lead to big results.

This workout was a pairing of Majorie Davis (Andres’ mom) and Jason Zaro. Marjorie has only done CrossFit a couple of times, and Jason is a firebreather. Yet they were able to work out side by side in the same workout, scaled differently of course, and both got in a great workout, and both worked at their capacity. This scaleability is what will ensure a steady progress from where you are today, to beyond what you thought was possible. We love this factor of CrossFit.

We have had many people say to us “I need to get in shape before I come workout with you”. We find this statement a little bit absurd. Coming to the gym during a session with anybody that has been coming in for a while can be intimidating at first. Understand that most of the people you see throwing large loads around, and blasting through workouts started off with us at nowhere near their current capacity. These workouts are litteraly scaleable to anyone. The only pre-requisite is a willingness to work hard and be consistent.

Learn new sports

Friday, February 20th, 2009
Caitlyn learning to ski

Caitlyn learning to ski

One of the tenants of CrossFit is to regularly learn and practice new sports. What sports have you tried recently? Have you noticed a difference in learning new things since starting CrossFit? We’ve been told stories about newly found skill in new and old sports from a lot of you. Share them here. Tell us of a recent activity that went better than you expected.

The photo for today is my daughter Caitlyn (yes, proud papa using the blog to brag about his daughter… deal with it) learning to ski. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there, but this brings up a great topic. We want to approach new things like young children approach them. They approach new things enthusiastically and generally without thinking about what they look like, or if they are good at it or not. Unfortunately this goes away quickly, even Caitlyn at 4 is starting to worry about whether or not she is good at things. When you do something new, odds are you are going to be terrible at it at first. Kids tend to deal with this better than adults. As adults we have had practice in a lot of things, so we expect new things to be like the stuff we are good at. This isn’t the way it works. If you are fit in the CrossFit definition of fit (10 physical traits) then you will do better on average than others, but you’ll still suck more than someone well practiced in the activity. Accept being bad at things, do them anyway, and get better.

We all know this face

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
Mario doing knees to elbows

Mario doing knees to elbows

Can anyone else feel Mario’s pain? We get to see people making all sorts of faces at CrossFit Marin. When you get going in a workout, focus in on what you’re doing and work as hard as you should be working, you are going to make faces. We all know the feeling of being in this place. It’s a good place to be. Working hard, struggling with a workout. Working through discomfort makes us all stronger, faster and better. Let’s see what faces you make in the gym soon.

New Ropes and a New First

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Bill reaches the top of the rope

Bill reaches the top of the rope

If you haven’t been by the gym in the last two days you haven’t seen our two new climbing ropes. They have already gotten quite a bit of use. Climbing ropes is a fantastic training stimulus. It’s fun, a lot of work and just getting to the top of the darned thing is worth celebrating. If you haven’t climbed the ropes yet, you will. Lift something heavy, run from one room to the other, climb the rope… 3, 2, 1… GO!

The photo today is Bill Berry climbing the rope. This was the first time he has EVER reached the top of an un-knotted climbing rope. Something to note is that he hasn’t touched a climbing rope in over 9 months. More evidence of the cross over benefit to training the way we do.