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Archive for July, 2010

Sasuke (TV series) part II:

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Ok guys, so how do we bring all this stuff closer to home?  The American Ninja Warrior tryouts are August 7th & 8th at Venice Beach, Ca.  Here are the videos that got us guaranteed spots for the run:

Here’s Jill’s, my personal favorite:

What a bad-ass.  Ok, now for Roger’s.  He’s alright.

Tomio was awesome as well:

Roger’s quick and efficient, of course:

And mine.  I’m not moving completely comfortably because I was trying to heal up from little injuries, but I had to get the video done.

Those were actually pretty fun to make. Although we didn’t put that much time or effort into it.  Here are some of the ANW preliminary videos from last year:

Our personal favorite, Shane:

And here’s Ryoga Vee’s:

DAmn, that guy cracks me up!  OMG! LOL!

Here’s Luci Steel’s:

Ok, so here ’s the fastest time at the ANW preliminary tryouts:

Mind you, that the actual Sasuke course has gotten only more gruesome.  See for yourself:

And,… umm.. it’s not just guys anymore.  There’s a Sasuke for women as well!

And lastly, we’ll throw up Ascent’s actual 2009 Sasuke Run.  Here it goes:

Ok, I hope I didn’t waste too much of your time having you watch Sasuke videos.  Any predictions for the ANW tryouts next weekend?  I’ve been trying to strengthen my knees a bit to get ready.  Wish us luck!

Sasuke (TV series) part I: Ok, so exactly what the hell is Ninja Warrior anyways?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Sasuke is a Japanese sports entertainment television special in which 100 competitors attempt to complete a four stage obstacle course. An edited version, renamed Ninja Warrior, is screened in at least 18 other countries.  -wikipedia  (Please click on “Sasuke” for the Wiki link for a more comprehensive look.)

As many of you already know, four of us from CFM sent in audition videos so that we could get tryout spots for “American Ninja Warrior”, which is the U.S. version of Sasuke which basically is a run-off to see who are the best in the States and the top, let’s say, ten or so make it to Japan to compete in the Mac-Daddy version over there.  To the best of my knowledge there have been about 23 or so Sasuke’s since 1997 in which 100 people have cSo after much arm-twisting from me, we sent in videos for Roger, Jill Sprague, Tomio Mizuroki, and myself.  Jill and Tomio were a little incredulous when they actually got an e-mail from G4 (the television station that holds the contest) informing them that they scored a guaranteed audition spot to tryout in the obstacle course despite my repeated reassurance that they had a pretty good chance.  Roger’s tryout video is almost comically short, in his classic “let’s get this done as quickly as possible because I don’t have time” manner.  Here are a few videos to illustrate what goes on and give you guys an idea of how this all works:

Here are some of the Ninja Warrior “All Stars”, who have competed year after year in Japan:

Here’s Levi Meeuwenburg, one of the State’s best free runners and the best American Ninja Warrior in recent times in Sasuke 22:

Here’s another “good” run by what looks like a professional athlete of sorts.  This kind of ending is all too comon in Sasuke:

It’s not always this serious, though.  Sasuke is a great challenge, but it’s also for fun, and the Japanese can be very light-hearted and even though they are very passionate about their Sasuke, they have no trouble laughing at themselves and having a good time.  Check these out, they’re outrageous:

Ok, this one almost made me cry laughing:

There are many more.  Sasuke is really BIG in Japan.  While there is prize money for the “Ninja” who completes all four stages, it’s not talked about much because you’re supposed to compete for the honor and glory of it.  The competitors  just love Sasuke.  What prize money?   Hmmm…

Here’s a clip of American Ninja Warrior preliminary qualifiers from last year.  Notice our former Parkour coach Shane Daniels rocking the obstacles in the first part of the video.  Yep.  That’s him.

Alright, now that you’re starting to get the picture, you’ll see why lately I’ve been so excited about Sasuke.  Not only is there strength, coordination, agility and balance involved, but it’s also FUN.  Ok, so right now I’m a little obsessed, but can you blame me?

Here’s one last clip to cap it off.  Makoto Nagano is one of the best to compete in Sasuke.  The beloved fisherman was one of only 3 people (to my knowledge) to ever achieve “Total Victory” when he completed the final stage in Sasuke #17.  (Hope you guys like Spanish comentators.  =P  )

What is CrossFit?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Sorry apparently wordpress controls on embedding a Windows Media file are broken… So you’ll have to just click the link.

Watch and comment.

The Inner Voice

Monday, July 26th, 2010

You know what I’m talking about, that little voice in your head that you hear while you’re deep in the middle of a workout.  It can be a blessing or a curse, pushing us to better performance or undermining our best efforts.  It can prevent injury or push us into hurting ourselves.  Learning to control your inner voice is of vital importance to the success of your training.

The last part of the 8th workout over two days.  He wouldn't be there without having mastered his inner voice.

The last part of the 8th workout over two days. He wouldn't be there without having mastered his inner voice.

There are two keys to controlling your inner voice: awareness and honesty.  You need to be aware of your inner voice and aware of your physical state– fatigue,  technique, injuries, etc.– and you need to figure out how to be honest with yourself.  It’s the honesty part that is really tricky for people, as most of us either underestimate the workout and push too hard too fast, or underestimate our own abilities and don’t push hard enough.

Both of those cases tend to drive our inner voice into telling us that we suck.  I’m not as fast or strong as so-and-so; this workout really hurts; I don’t know if my shoulder/back/knee can take this; I can’t do another four rounds of this; or I’m still sore from yesterday so I shouldn’t push hard today.  These statements might have an element of truth, but they don’t do anything increase our performance.

What we need to do is change that inner voice into a force to protect us from injury, develop our skill and motivate us to greater heights.  Here are a couple of things to focus that voice on.

  • Strategy:  ”Stick to the plan: 10 push-ups, 5-count rest, 10 push-ups, 5-count rest.”
  • Technique: “Full hip extension, fast elbows, control the feet.”
  • Task focus: “One muscle-up at a time.”
  • Confidence: “6-months ago, I couldn’t even deadlift this.”
  • Motivational phrases: “Work now, rest later.”
  • Damage report: “Knee, good.  Back, good.  Shoulder, aches– switch to mixed grip on pull-ups and mitigate the forward swing.”

Most people underestimate the psychological strength required to complete a workout.  We’ve said it time and again, it’s 90% mental.  If you can control your inner voice enough to get you into the gym, then you can definitely train it to push you harder and protect you from injury.  Master it and it will improve your performance both inside and outside of the gym.

The Gauntlet Was Thrown

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Ok, so this all started with an innocent little question from Carlos E. “What is your favorite Crossfit WOD and why?”. Folks commented, but one comment stuck out… Martin H. with “@Carlos, in all seriousness, I’d like to go head to head with you on your favorite WOD. Let’s set it up! Loser pays the winner one beer for every 5 seconds they finish behind.”. The challenge was accepted, and a date was set. Today Sunday July 25th at 3:30pm was the showdown. The workout? 2009 CrossFit Games Nor Cal Qualifier Event A. 500m Row, 30 burpess, 10 reps 165 lbs shoulder to overhead. Looking at the competitors it was pretty clear that Martin would be to the bar first, but would he have enough of a lead to keep ahead of Carlos’ massive shoulder strength. 3..2..1… GO! The row began. Martin was clearly conserving on the row to ensure he wouldn’t hit a wall on the push jerks. Carlos finished the row about 5 seconds ahead of Martin and got to work on the burpees. After about 10 it was clear he was going to have to slow his pace a bit. Martin got to the burpees and set to work. Martin finished the burpees at about the 3:30 mark and set to work on the bar. Failing his 3rd rep it was clear this was going to be a tough 10 reps. Carlos finished the burpees around 4:30 at which point the game was over. Once he picked up the bar he was able to power through the 10 reps unbroken. Carlos finished in 5:37 a full minute faster than his previous PR. Martin came in at 7:02. Fantastic efforts from both, and a fun challenge. Who do you want to challenge doing what? Throw out a challenge even if you know you will be beat. This is a great way to increase motivation and have some fun. We’ll support and host any such behavior.

Fund raiser for 138 Junior Cycling Team at CFM Yesterday July 24th

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The fund raiser for the 138 Junior Cycling Team took place at CrossFit Marin yesterday July 24th from 1-4pm.  Dozens of people showed up from both the cycling community and from the CF Marin network.  There were a lot of prizes and a few of our crew made out like bandits.  Kerry Chun not only scored a bunch of equipment, but also won a professional bicycle fitting from Ray’s coach, Dario, reputably a world-class master of his craft.  Jimmy and Timmy Miranda also won a few prizes and CFM gave away a bunch of gift certificates.  Here is a picture from the raffle:

Ray giving away the goodies provided by local businesses to raise $$ for the Junior Cycling Team.  We have some very young nationally ranked cyclists home grown right here in Marin County.

Ray giving away the goodies provided by local businesses to raise $$ for the Junior Cycling Team. We have some very young nationally ranked cyclists home grown right here in Marin County.


The kids sitting on the table in the upper right-hand corner of the picture are a few members of the team.  Serveral of the kids have qualified for the USA Cycling National Championships in Granby, Co.  and the UCI world cup race in Windham, New York.  A few of the prizes given away were a few privates with Ray Storm himself!

Liner wins Wipeout.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Not too many of you know Caroline Lee.  She used to come to the parkour classes a while back.  She’s a very good friend of Jill Sprague who still attends the parkour classes while her kids Will & Matthew take gymnastics or grommit parkour.  (The two girls are x-teammates from the UCLA women’s gymnastics team.)  Jill invited Caroline (aka Liner) over for the parkour classes, but  Liner lives way out in Los Gatos, so she’s only been able to make a handful of them. 

Jailbreak with her college team mate Jill Sprague

Caroline (Jailbreak on Wipeout Season 3 Episode 9) with her college team mate Jill Sprague.


Liner practicing her Kongs at the old-school CFM Big Studio.  This must have been around April of 2009 when Shane & I were running the parkour program

Liner practicing her Kongs at the old-school CFM Big Studio. This must have been around April of 2009 when Shane & I were running the parkour program

Liner practicing her pop-vaults with while Shane coaches.

Liner practicing her pop-vaults with while Shane coaches.

 One day we were surprised to find out that she had made it over with the specific goal of training for “Wipeout”.  This knarly little game show has the contestants put themselves through a very evil and abusive obstacle course with the ultimate goal of beating everyone else through the course and taking home $50K.  What actually happens to most of them is that they “wipeout” over and over again much to the entertainment of the audience.  It’s a very funny show and I highly recommend it.  

(Our heroine wipes out at about 1:21 in this video)

Jill was rather perplexed because she knew that the show had already been filmed but due to the contract, Liner was obligated to not tell anyone if she had won or not until after the episode aired.  

Liner's Wipeout viewing party AND Birthday Party!

Liner's Wipeout viewing party AND Birthday Party!

Wipeout happens to be one of Russell’s favorite shows, and when Jill invited him to come tag along to Liner’s Wipeout viewing party in Los Altos on July 15th, he was really jazzed to come.   Russell was a bit mezmorized while watching the show.  Liner showed up in her “Jailbreak” outfit with which she scored the audition.  Here’s a picture of Caroline with Russ looking a little star-struck:



Russell and his new Heroine

Russell and his new Heroine

Here is the complete episode.  Enjoy- It’s hilarious!

Susan’s Backsquat PR

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

If you haven’t met Susan yet, come in for one of our early morning sessions. She is there diligently. She sometimes appears in the evenings with her traceur husband Bill. As a potential masters category CrossFitter she has had tremendous gains in the few months she has been with us. Today she broke 100lbs for the first time on her back squat. With her consistency you will see a lot more PRs from Susan. Both her and Bill have terrific attitudes and outlooks toward life and fitness. Ask them about their history. They have a great story of transformation.

The Food Pyramid

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The USDA food pyramid suggests 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice & pasta, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 of fruit, 2-3 of dairy and 2-3 of meat, fish, eggs, & nuts.

Viewed from another perspective, that works out to 11-20 servings of carbohydrate  and 4-6 of protein, with very little to no fat.  You could also look at it as 8-14 servings of things you aren’t designed to metabolize and 7-12 servings of good stuff.  (You could also look at it in terms of miles the food had to travel and/or gallons of fossil fuel burnt to deliver it to your table, but more on that in a later post.)

This is a little more balanced....

This is a little more balanced....

Anyway, here is a more appropriate food pyramid, one that is based on considerably more research, and isn’t influenced by large agribusiness interests.  A couple of things to note.  First, yes, there is sugar on this pyramid, despite the typical prescription excluding sugar.  Just go easy on the sugars, and keep away from anything overly processed.  Also notice that the serving sizes are left out.  People are different and require different intakes in different proportions to function right.

Zone, Paleo or 100-Mile, try to eat foods that are not highly processed.  ”Meat and vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar” will make a huge difference.

The Fuzz (No not the cops)

Sunday, July 18th, 2010
The Fuzz between muscle tissue and fascia

The Fuzz between muscle tissue and fascia

Ok, so what is “the fuzz”? The fuzz is a build up of cottony tissue that forms between sliding surfaces in your body. This stuff forms while you sleep. When you move, it goes away. That impulse to stretch every time you get up from being stagnant helps it pull apart. We are designed to move. When we don’t move it causes problems.

The fuzz is a part of the creeping onset of stiffness over time. If you don’t move and get this stuff broken up it will build up day after day, eventually leading to the tissue being frozen in place and severely limiting mobility. At this point it will take pretty dedicated work, massage, rolfing, etc to get it to free up.

Sarah F. brought in a video from Gil Hedley that discusses the fuzz and goes into detail on what it is. He also has cadaver tissue to show exactly what it is. If you’re squeemish about body tissue then you may opt out on viewing.

Gill hadley video.

So make sure you get moving in the morning. Try to get in the habit of doing a lot of range of motion movements. The more you can break down the fuzz first thing, the better you will move overall.

Oh, and a games update. The final affiliate team competition involved an obstacle course with rope climbs. Bummer, we would have done well at this. I guess we’ll just have to qualify next year.

Here are the final individual workouts:

Event 5
7 rounds for time of:
3 cleans (205/135 lb.)
4 ring handstand push-ups (men)/4 handstand push-ups (women)
12-minute cap

Event 6a
3 rounds for time of:
30 push-ups with hand release
Over the wall
21 overhead squats (95/65 lb.)
7-minute cap

Event 6b
Three rounds for time of:
30 toes-to-bar
21 ground to overhead (95/65)
7-minute cap

Event 6c
3 rounds of:
5 burpee wall jumps
3 20-foot rope climbs (men)/2 20-foot rope climbs (women)
12-minute cap

BTW no one completed all 3 event 6 workouts within the cap times.