The Cave

The Cave Blog

Archive for May, 2009

Do We Really Have to Work This Hard?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Gabe in a post-workout stupor

Gabe in a post-workout stupor

In short…. Yes! Now quit complaining, pick up that bar and go…

Seriously though, all emperical evidence, and countless studies have shown that the only way to see the remarkable adaptations that we see is to go hard. If you’ve been through any of our workouts you know how hard they are. They are designed to tax everyone to the limit. They challenge strength and metabolic systems concurrently. The results speak for themselves.

Take a look at the high performers in the gym. Note the state they are in at the end of the workout. Do they coast through their workouts because they are natural athletes. Nope, they push to the limit every time. These folks are not genetically gifted freaks, they are hard workers. They ignore the little voice in their head saying “just back off a little, you really don’t have to do this”. Instead listen to the really loud voice coming from their trainer, pushing them to take that next step, complete the next rep. Push on, and finish!

If you want to get to the next level of fitness it is going to require discomfort. Any program that promotes “the easy way to fitness, weightloss, six pack abs, whatever” has a very limited view of what fitness is. We are training for life. We are training to be a better you. We are training to be more useful, and to be better at everything we do. This improvement comes at a cost. You must pay in sweat and pain. You must ignore the self-doubt. You must get yourself up and into the gym when you are already sore knowing that you’re going to work hard yet again.

I really can’t express how proud of all of you I am in text. The acheivements we’re seeing are fantastic. Keep up the hard work, and push to the next level. We’ve never had anyone look back at a week and say “I wish I had taken it a bit easier last week”. The challenge is worth it, the rewards are incredible. Yes, we need to work this hard, and we will keep providing a program to get you to the next level, and the next.

Our odd little family

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Spike, Kerry, Skye and Caitlyn

Spike, Kerry, Skye and Caitlyn

What does this photo have to do with fitness and training? Not much really I just thought it was a great shot. I just wanted to thank you all for helping to make CrossFit Marin the crazy little family that it is. The gym goes so far beyond just being a place to workout. It’s a great place to just hang out and chat with people. Spike (the Cockatoo) is a fairly regular presence in our morning classes. He can sometimes be a bit noisy, but then again, I can sometimes be a bit noisy too. Ok, so I’m noisy all the time.

Let’s be sure an introduce more friends to our community. Bring them to our open house on June 20th. Starting at 11:00am we will be running all day. The itinerary is not finalized, but you can be sure there will be workouts, gymnastics, oly lifting and parkour throughout. We will be teaching and having a great time. Details will follow soon.

A little note from our friend Carlos…

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Somebody's got a solid handstand...

Somebody's got a solid handstand...

Hey Andrecito…I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for dragging me out of 24hr. and having brought me into CrossfitMarin.  I really have enjoyed my time there so far, and I’m slowly reaching my goals and feeling great about myself.  (Eventhough that muscleup still seems unreachable!).  At any rate, I think I told you once that out of my entire drab day, I only feel to come alive when I’m there with you guys.  I love Stephanie and the way she pushes us beyond our limits.  Your advice and Roger’s wisdom have truly been invaluable to me.  The parkour classes are soo on-point it’s ridiculous.  I only wish I could come more.  You guys are the best, and am really honored to have met you, (as well as Eva T., Annie, and Jolie of course…).
But anyways, this weekend I went down to Carmel by the Sea, and it was there that I hit this perfect handstand.  I must’ve held it for at least 30 seconds, and people around me where very impressed.  So I thought I share this picture with you guys and at the same time thank you for all your enthusiastic devotion.
Thanks Crossfit Marin.
-Carlos Echandy
Here’s Carlos rock’in the squat clean and jerks at the gym during heavy squat Grace:

This note was from a couple of weeks ago.  If I’m not mistaken, Carlos hasn’t been around because now he’s having fun in Las Vegas, but we should see him in the gym soon.   I’m pretty confident that before a couple of years are up, he won’t only have that muscle-up, but he’ll be busting out back-flips on the dance floor.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, Carlitos!

Fondest regards,


What is Bill Doing?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Bill with 165 overhead

Bill with 165 overhead

Ok, so many of you have seen Bill diligently get on the rower and pull a 5K after many of his workouts. He does this about 3 times/week on any day where the workout is not particularly long or metabolic. Bill has been training with us for 2 1/2 years and anyone who has seen him train knows what he is capable of. At 56 he is still one of the strongest guys in the gym. He’s gone from zero pull ups, zero dips, no stamina to speak of to being able to do virtually all of our workouts as proscribed. He has done this through diligence, hard work and cleaning up his diet. His diet prior to train with us frankly was horrible. This has changed.

There is one area where Bill has continued to struggle. It’s the last 15 lbs to get down to his goal weight. He stores virtually all of this remaining excess weight in his midsection. He took 30 years to build this, and it will take time for it to go away. His weight loss to date has been fantastic, dropping 7 inches off his waist, but he still hasn’t obtained his goal. So, after quite a bit of discussion and planning we have given him this additional task of the rowing. This is a shift in the program to continue to alter his metabolism and help shed the last 15 lbs.

I have been asked a few times, and have started to hear mumblings and rumors about what Bill is doing. Particularly from some of the women. Understand that Bill’s program is not optimal for most people. While the rowing will help him shed the additional weight, it will also induce a catabolic state. This catablolic state will have a negative impact on his strength gains. There is a chance that he could actually loose some strength over the time period in which he is doing this. I re-iterate at this time that Bill is one of the strongest guys in our gym, so strength is not a problem for him. This program is short term to shock his system a bit and get through this phase in his training. At that point it will be discontinued. For virtually everyone who walks through our doors, building healthy muscle and sticking with our normal program is the best option. If you have questions about what Bill is doing please don’t hesitate to ask me. We can address your specific training needs as always and ensure you are training the way you should be training. If you are concerned about weight loss we are first going to take a look at your diet, sleep habits and consistency in the gym. If these three things are not in order then these three things are what will be addressed first.

BTW it is now the last day to vote for CrossFit Marin. If you haven’t yet, DO IT NOW:

Mad Scientist creates parkour monster…

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

“Do you want to fly???”-  That’s one of Ryan Fulmer’s favorite questions, and if you’ve dropped in to take one of our parkour classes recently you might just have to ask yourself.  One of our devoted students who likes to fly is Roman Macias.  Roman is a cop in Alameda county and is also S.W.A.T.   He has decided to learn parkour not only for his own self-enrichment but also so that he can apply it in his everyday duties in law enforcement.   He is frighteningly athletic and is one of the fastest learners that I have ever had the pleasure to coach.   It’s almost intimidating to coach him at times because he progresses so rapidly that it’s hard to stay ahead of his skills and knowledge base.  Recently we’ve had Ryan Fulmer, an accomplished traceur and parkour instructor, come in to teach a few classes.  Here are some of the results of what happens when you get a mad parkour scientist to take over my pet project:

Look how high Roman’s hips are at the peak of his vault.  This is an elite move that even professional traceurs that we know have not been able to execute and Ryan managed to teach this to Roman as part of his session on Tuesday night.  Way to go, guys!

Gloria’s First Pullup and a Big PR for Bill

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Gloria Justin made her first pullup Monday night. Just getting warmed up she jumped up on the bar and made her first. Then I made her do another for the second and she banged out two in a row. This is another first pullup ever acheivement. Anyone else going to make their pullup in the next few days? We’ll have to do video motages for PRs and firsts if this keeps up.

On another note Bill Berry Clean and Jerked 80kg this morning. Big PR for him. He made a point that he failed cleaning 80kg yesterday. In the same session Jeff Nichols added about 25% to his C&J PR and Rich LeFurgy set his baseline for the C&J at just under 60kg. Bring on the PRs! This is fun.

Another reminder to vote for the SFGate best of thing. Only a couple days left. We can win!

Reflections on Memorial Day

Monday, May 25th, 2009
Soldiers in Iraq

Soldiers in Iraq

I hope everyone took some time yesterday to reflect on the point of the holiday. It is to remember those who have sacrificed greatly so that we can live the life that we do. We live in a society that provides massive opportunity to anyone who has the motive to make something of themselves. We truly live in a land of plenty where our concept of poor would be considered weathly in most of the world. The history that has led to this is riddled with conflict, we owe a tremendous debt to the men and women who have made life as we know it possible.

Do not take for granted the sacrifices of those who don’t know you, but fight for an ideal. Whether you agree with the politics behind current conflicts or not, honor the people who must put themselves at risk to fulfill the mission given to them. CrossFit has named many workouts after fallen soldiers. Here is a complete list:

Take a look and remember.

Parkour in the Bay Area this weekend.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

It was a big Parkour weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area with BAparkour hosting the Massive West Coast Jam on Saturday May 23rd as well as San Francisco Parkour having their monthly session in San Jose on Sunday the 24th.  We hosted a little gym jam and sleep-over on Friday May 22nd for some of the out of town folks who came up from Southern California  and other parts so the west coast.  Here is a group picture after the Massive West Cost Jam bar-b-que at  Lindley Field:

The Bay Area Parkour crew and friends at Lindley field after the Massive West Coast Parkour Jam.

The Bay Area Parkour crew and friends at Lindley field after the Massive West Coast Parkour Jam.

Brutal Scaling and The Truth About “Healthy” Grains

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
Tom After Workout B at the Games

Tom After Workout B at the Games

Sometimes scaling down loads can make a workout harder. Tom’s effort on workout B at the Nor Cal qualifier was a clear example of this. The rx’d version was 185 lb clean, muscle up. As many rounds of each exercise as you could do in 10 minutes. Well Tom’s muscle up wasn’t consistent enough to compete it so he used the scaled version. For the comp there was a fixed scale at 115 lbs on the clean and jumping muscle ups. Well a 115 lb clean is quite light for Tom, so he did a TON of them during the workout. This turned what as rxd is a heavy workout into a metabolic nightmare. The impact of the workout from a fatigue perspective was far worse at the lighter weight. So, just keep in mind, heavier isn’t always harder.

A reference from our friends over at Diablo CrossFit brings more information on why you should be eliminating grains from your diet. “The Real Truth About Healthy Grains

The SFGate best gym contest ends on May 29th. Let’s win that top spot. Vote. I’m going to pester you about it daily so we can win this thing.

CrossFit Marin fielding a team at the CrossFit Games

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
CF Oaklands winning team from the 2008 games

CF Oaklands winning team from the 2008 games

CrossFit Marin is fielding an affiliate team at the CrossFit games. We will be taking some time over the next month to strategize our selections for the team. If you are interested in competing let us know. Considerations for the team competition will be made on a broad criteria. We’re looking for good overall athletes, but the format of the games allows for some specialized skills to weigh in.

The competition will be a great time, and the main point is just being there. The environment is great, and everyone will be supported and cheered on regardless of performance.

Additionally we will be hosting a gymnastics area during the games. We’ll have some apparatus out and be doing some teaching throughout the weekend. We need volunteers for this event to just help with people management and logistics. You’ll get entry to the games, and get to hang out with us all weekend.

BTW we need your votes for the SFGate Best Gym in the Bay Area

We are currently in the top 5. We need more votes. We can be pushed to #1 if you all vote. Jump in, do it now, don’t wait, you’ll forget. Sign in and vote.