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Archive for May, 2012

Sautéed Radishes (bet you’ve only eaten them raw)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

radishesRaw radishes, like Madonna, are usually something people either love or hate. But cooking them removes their bite, brings out a lovely unique flavor, and is worth a try even if they don’t usually get you into the grove (so dating myself with that song). Seriously, even if you keep radishes at restraining order distance, this recipe will surprise you. And if you love them, be prepared to enjoy a side of them you’ve never seen before.

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 bunches radishes, washed, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 bunch or 1 6 ounce package fresh spinach, washed and loosely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Gently melt butter or ghee at low a heat in a cast-iron pan. After butter melts, raise heat to medium-high and toss in radishes. Sprinkle with salt as desired. Sauté stirring until translucent and tender-crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a large serving bowl. Reduce head to medium low. Add a tsp or two of olive oil and toss in the minced garlic. Stir until aromatic, about one minute, but don’t allow to brown. Add in spinach a few handfuls at a time until all fits in pan.  Toss spinach with the garlic and oil adding salt and pepper as desired. Raise heat to medium, cover pan and cook spinach for 2 minutes. Afterwards, remove cover, turn heat to high and cook spinach while stirring it for another minute. Add to cooked radishes, toss all together and serve hot. Yum!

Events in June

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

We’ve got some exciting events coming up in June.

pose-runFirst, for those of you interested in improving your running speed and comfort, make sure to attend the Pose Running Seminar with Tim Hill on Saturday, June 2.  The class will be 3 hours and focus on improving running technique for speed and injury reduction.

Next, on June 9th, we’ve got another Gymnastics Preparation Seminar, taught by our own Roger Harrell.  There will be two portions of this, one for athletes and one tailored toward coaching.  If you’re interested in improving your gymnastics abilities, or you’re close to getting muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, or some of the more involved CrossFit gymnastics skills, this is a must-go even.  It’ll also be a good way to meet some other folks from the CrossFit community.

Finally, we’ve got our first Self Defense Seminar at the end of the month, June 30th.  The class will deal extensively with the psychology of violent encounters, and will give you a chance to practice simple, practical self defense techniques under expert instruction.

Exciting stuff coming up!  See you in the gym!

Memorial Day Schedule 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012
Ahhh... and I felt patriotic already!

Ahhh... and I felt patriotic already!

Ok, I know that this is late notice, but this how The Cave’s Memorial Day scheduled looks like:

We have classes as normal Friday & Saturday.

Sunday is closed.  (Go have a BBQ or something.  Or maybe go to the beach.  I know it’s hard to live without us.  =P  )

Monday 5:15, 6:15, 7:15 CrossFit canceled.  Monday afternoon & evening classes as normal.

I hope that clears it up.  Also… go ahead and post (if you care to) what you’re doing for Memorial Day Weekend.  You may bump into your fellow Cavers at the beach or at a picnic!

On another note, this past Monday NBC aired the Southwest Regionals for American Ninja Warrior.  One of the competitors from last year, Kole Stevens, who fell on the quad steps in 2011 and sported a “Forged” t-shirt  while he did actually not only made it to the semis this year but smoked it, coming in 3rd overall for the Southwest, blazing his way into the finals in Las Vegas.  When I saw him fall on the quad steps last year my first impression was “that guy has to be a CrossFitter”.  He looked like one, was very robust and obviously in shape and probably inflexible.  Honestly I almost laughed to myself thinking that he may not be terribly coordinated as I wondered if he did just CrossFit.  (I’m not even sure he’s a CrossFitter, but he looked exactly like one!)  I found his submission video on YouTube which didn’t have as much as one Olympic Lift but just parkour and Ninja Warrior-type training.  Kole obviously proved that big bulky guys can move and incorporate parkour into their arsenal of tools.  Here it is if you care to check it out:

If he’s not a CrossFitter, he sure has an engine like one by the way he blew through the 8 obstacles in the Semi-Finals and didn’t even look tired at the top of the cargo net.

Remember to tune in to the June 10th and 11th episodes (9pm on G4 on Sunday & NBC on Monday) to watch our own Cavers take on the Northwest qualifiers!

CrossFit Games 2012:

Across the world in Copenhagen Annie Thorisdottir is not surprising anybody by sitting in 1st place with a sub- 2 minute Diane time.  (She actually tied Kristen Clever with 1:54.)  This is the last weekend of Regionals with the North East, North West, and Europe rounding out the last three regions to determine the last few competitors and teams that will compete in the CrossFit Games Finals in Southern California on July 13th-15th.

Roger made me eat it

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

One of waterthe many things Roger did for me during regionals was control my eating.   I wanted to give you some insight as to what this all entailed.

First off, on my own account, I really cleaned my diet about a week prior.  I have been focused on diet throughout my training, but I did have some cheats here and there.  I stuck to mostly chicken or turkey, eliminating any red meet, added nuts and avocados every day, scrapped the bits of cheese I may have been finding here and there, and started drinking water like no ones business.  I was not going into this thing dehydrated!

Thursday I added some additional fat to the diet.  Roger wanted me to have some fat stores for the weekend: extra avocados, bacon, red meet.  I had no problem doing this!


Breakfast was done at the hotel.  I had hard boiled eggs, sausage, and fruit (melons and berries).  I grabbed an extra egg for a snack for later.  My first event was at 11, so I wanted to make sure I would have something between 7 am and 11 am.  I ate the egg at around 930 (yoke included).  This was a bad idea.  I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.  In the future, I know that I need more time to eat hard boiled eggs before an event, otherwise, that is what I will taste.  Not pleasant! Immediately following event one, I ate berries and a few nuts.

Lunch was done out of  a food truck.  We hadnt hit the grocery store yet, so this was the best we could do.  I ordered some shrimp and sausage something.  It was not what I wanted.  As I was eating, I realized I only had an hour before event 2.  I almost gagged.  No more of that!  Immediately following event 2, was more berries, and more nuts.  The athlete tent also had some grilled chicken and jerky.  I hit up all the snacks!

Dinner, which was an adventure to find, was a half chicken, salad, and green beans (subsituted for potatoes).  Sleep.  Water.

Throughout day one, I drank as much water as possible in between events, and slowed the intake approximately one half hour prior to each.  I didn’t want to feel full at all, but I also needed to make sure dry mouth wouldn’t set in on any of the workouts.


Similar breakfast.  I took a quiche and scooped out the good stuff, getting rid of the crust.  Lunch was swiss chard lettuce wraps (with lunch meet and avocado), and an orange.  Tons of water, and some coconut water as well.

Interesting fact: when my back tightened up and I went to the med tent, one of the first questions they asked was how much salt I had been taking in.  Not much.  One problem they were seeing, was many athletes downing the free coconut waters, while not balancing properly with salt.  The high potassium intake with no salt to balance can create muscle cramping.   I ate some deli meet right after.

Dinner: we had to search again to find a place with the right food.  We came to a place in the middle of a mall, “Fresh and Healthy.”  I had a salad with bacon, avo, and chicken for salt and fat, veggie chips and a smoothie.  Water.  Water.  Water.

Day three, Sunday:  Lettuce wraps for breakfast.  Snacks for recovery.  I only had one event, so I was able to eat anything after.

Recovery meal: In n’ Out!  With the buns!

Massaged Kale (aka that green between your teeth means good stuff went past them)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

sthg2_smile_aboutRather than being embarrassed by big patches of green between my teeth after a meal, I’ve come to appreciate that it means I probably just had something healthy. While globs of wonder bread camouflage well among your pearly whites, and sugar clings invisibly, spinach, kale and collard greens are guaranteed to telegraph to the world that you eat right. So toss this earth yummy salad together and then grab a toothbrush. Or, if you’re the sort prone to making sure the neighbors have taken in the view of the ski week mud on the car before hosing it down, then go ahead and leave the evidence right between those chompers for all to see your diet rocks!

  • Ingredients
  • 1 bunch bright, fresh kale
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or one ripe avocado
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon or lime juice
  • salt
  • blueberries and blackberries
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cashews (alternately, pepitas, walnuts, or almonds are good, too)

Wash kale, discard the stems and slice or tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with either the avocado or the olive oil drizzled on top. Next add the vinegar or citrus juice and sprinkle liberally with salt. Now to massage the kale. Spend about 5 minutes rolling the kale leaves vigorously between your palms as though warming your hands. The kale will become soft and the color turn a lovely deep green. You can go ahead and eat it as is at this point, store it in an airtight container in the fridge to snack on throughout the week or toss it on a plate for a quick salad. Top it with chopped cashews and a couple handfuls of blueberries and blackberries and you’ll really have something to smile about!

Being Coachable

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The coaches at our gym have two primary responsibilities.  One is cheer leading,  the other is coaching.  Anybody can be a cheer leader.  You can get your family to cheer you on, bring a friend from outside, or even just listen to music that inspires you.  You don’t even need to come to the gym to do this.  Most of you know the movements and have the resources to get in really good shape in your garage.  But you go out of your way to come to our gym because we have something else: the ability to coach you.

Roger Coaching Kerry

Roger Coaching Kerry

I yell a lot.  It’s not because I’m mad, or because I don’t like you.  It’s because I care and I don’t want you to hurt yourself.  I’m definitely not yelling at you because I want to hear myself make noise, or because it makes me look cool.  I’m yelling because there’s a problem with your technique and if you don’t fix it, you will suffer the consequences.

We want you to be fit.  That’s our goal as coaches.  We want to increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains– we want you to be able to do all kinds of stuff for all kinds of times.  And the way a person achieves fitness is through high power output– moving large loads long distances, quickly.  If your power output is always low, you might see some changes, but you’re not going to see results as good or as fast as people with a high power output.  What does this have to do with being coachable?

We spend a lot of time in the gym learning movements, playing with skills, and repeating a movement over and over.  For some of these movements, dialing in your technique means making the movement as efficient as possible.  And if you’re efficient you’ll be able to do more work in a shorter amount of time, which leads to better and faster results.  Other movements we do have very fine components to them, such that if you’re off by an inch or two, you simply cannot do the movement, and your only option is to scale down– which means lower power output.  And finally, many of the movements we do can compromise your joints and injure you if you do them improperly.  If you’re injured, you will not function as well and have lower power output and not see the results you want.

So, remember why you’re here.  You come to our gym and work out with us because we’re experts.  We can teach you a movement and make sure you’re doing it efficiently and safely, thus maximizing your power output, and your results.  So when we yell at you to keep your knees out, to stay off your toes, to keep your head down, or get your chest to the floor, it’s not because we don’t like you, it’s because we want you to succeed.

Do yourself a favor when you’re working out and a coach is yelling at you: listen to what the coach is saying and do it.  If you can’t do it, stop until you can.  We sometimes get in such a hurry racing the clock that we forget why we’re working out.  Full range of motion, prescribed weight, and proper form are just as important as a fast time.  The coaches are there to remind you of that.

Be humble.  Train safely.

2012 Nor Cal Regionals. Final

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

The CrossFit Games Northern California regionals is complete. Amanda and I are on our way home. It was an epic weekend. Not without stress or disappointment, but a fantastic weekend nonetheless. Amanda is beaten, bruised, burnt, torn and sore. Jill is sore and frustrated. These two women represented us well. Give them props when you see them!

Event 5 had the effect of shifting the pack around quite a bit. Many competitors that appeared to be out of the running brought themselves in striking distance by crushing the snatch ladder. This was a fun workout to watch. The excitement ebbed and flowed as athletes moved up the ladder and failed out. Surges of athletes would push at the previous records. We got to witness nor cal athletes hit loads unmatched in other regions.

Overall for the men it was predominantly the Neil Maddox and Jason Kalipa show. Each of them walking in lock step trading off the first and second place positions until the very last workout where Jason won the event to take first place overall. Top three men representing Nor Cal in the games is Jason Kalipa, Neil Maddox and Gabe Subry.

The women were far more balanced and going into the snatch ladder many of the top 10 athletes had a chance of making the top three. The snatch ladder really shifted the field around a bit to set up the last workout as quite a race. Jenny Lebaw was the only woman going into the final event with a pretty solid games spot. Annie Sakamoto took first place on the last event to place her in second overall for the event. The third games spot went to Candice Hamilton Hester who has been a CrossFit Games veteran out of CrossFit Oakland.

With that, the competition is complete. We can look toward next year for those that are thinking about giving it a go. Get back to training with a general focus again and have some fun. I’m off, going to get some rest and see my family. See you in The Cave.

2012 Nor Cal Regionals Event 4

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Event 4 was brutal. 50 Back squats, 40 pull ups, 30 shoulder to overhead. Then do it again, but with a lighter weight and replace the back squats with front squats. Then do it yet again, but with a lighter weight and replace the front squats with overhead squats. The majority of competitors did not complete the workout. Only the top 6 women got through before the 22 minute cap. In the team variant of the workout only two teams completed. In one region this weekend no teams finished.

Ok, so who cares about all of these general statistics. How did Amanda do? She started out strong, but around rep 15 of the back squats she felt her back tighten up. She has a long history of some lower back spasmodic behavior so given the amount of effort she’s putting in this weekend, this is not a surprising turn of events. She reduced her plan and started doing shorter sets and really keeping mindful of her back and fatigue.  Pull ups were not a problem, so she got through those as expected. The shoulder to overhead, an area where normally she would have made up a lot of ground, was pretty hindered by her back so she was reduced to two or three reps at a time. Moving on to the front squats did not help things. Having the weight shifted forward only made things worse. She considered bowing out, but decided to just take it very slow and get done all she could. She finished the front squats and got into the pull ups. 22 minutes came, and it was over. This is the first event this weekend that she did not set a personal best. We got her iced really well, and some TLC in the medics tent where our own Sara La March was staffed for the day. She’s sore, but ready to go for the snatch ladder tomorrow. A top 18 finish would require her to be a top 3 finisher on workout 5, so unless Amanda is suddenly able to snatch 165lbs moving on to event 6 is quite a stretch. She’s been apprised of your support on the blog and facebook so keep the comments coming.

Overall this weekend has been up and down. The team competition has been exciting with RCF and Diablo being dominant. The men’s individual competition has been the battle of the titans Jason Kalipa and Neil Maddox each sharing two first place finishes and two second place finishes. The real battle is for who is going to get the third slot. The women’s competition has been far more balanced. No one has been completely dominant. Not a single competitor has remained in the top 5 on all workouts. Tomorrow will determine who is going to the games, and who begins their training for next year.

2012 Nor Cal Regionals Event 3

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Event 3 is complete. This was a workout where just completion was the primary focus of most of the athletes. Settling in and hitting one rep at a time was the key. There were a few athletes that were able to power through this workout and just rep the snatches out. This put top finishers completing in under 5 minutes. Quite an effort to watch.

Amanda started out our competitors again. Going into it having only completed 1/2 the workout in the time cap on previous efforts. She set a solid pace and worked her way through. She did fail a few reps but performed well. She got 21 reps done for a score of 10:23. Another personal best.

Jill headed out onto the field. We knew that this was going to be a difficult workout for her having to heft more than 1/2 her bodyweight overhead with one arm. During warm up she was able to make some snatches and we worked on mechanics to try and improve efficiency. As she headed out to the field and had to demonstrate reps to the judge she struggled. 30 seconds before the workout was to start she was still unable to demonstrate the required movement. As a result she thought that she could not continue and walked off the field. This event had a 10 rep minimum to continue on so Jill is now out of the competition. Everyone send her some love. She’s very disappointed. We’re all behind her.

2012 Nor Cal Regionals Event 2

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Event two is complete. The first event was fast and furious. This one started with a 2K row which just sets the tone. Athletes had to complete the 2K with enough leg strength and gas for quite a bit more work. After the row comes 50 pistols. These were performed on a squishy mat which complicated the balance. Many athletes were seen bobbling around and hopping to prevent falling over. Then on to the 30 heavy hang cleans.

Amanda started with a solid row. Her goal was to maintain a sub 2:1o pace for the 2K. She was able to do this and walked onto the pistols a bit back in her pack but in good standing. The pistols gained her some ground. With a nice steady pace and not a hitch she showed that solid balance and strong raised leg control is a huge benefit on this movement. Moving to the cleans she powered out a strong first set, then dropped down to 2 and 3 per set from then on. On the return from the rack to hang on one of the later reps the heat of the day and bar knurling got the best of her thumb. A large rip is now going to be with her for the rest of the weekend. She finished the cleans, and ran to the finish (after a short pause due to misunderstanding the finish procedure) for a time of 16:25. Another personal best.

Jill started the row solid. Using brute force to keep pace with the other athletes we knew that she would be behind after the row. Her height limiting her rowing speed placed her near the end of the pack leaving the rowers (but not last). Walking to the pistols she, like Amanda, showed her gymnastics background and just kept moving through the 50 reps. On to the cleans, which exceed her bodyweight. We knew this was going to be another hard piece for her. One rep at a time she worked her way through 15 of the 30 needed reps to finish with a time of 17:15.  Also a personal best.

Your athletes start tomorrow morning with the DB Snatch, run workout, followed by the Squat, pull up, shoulder to overhead monstrosity. Keep tuned for more updates.