The Cave

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Archive for May, 2013

Are You Really Willing To Do What It Takes?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

A place to make it happen

A place to make it happen

If you are reading this blog then you may not be the right audience for this post, though you just might be.

Being that I run a fitness facility it is completely normal and natural for me to be asked questions about health and fitness on a regular basis. Unfortunately most people really don’t want to hear what I have to say. Getting fit and radically improving your health takes work and hard choices. Most people don’t really want to take the steps that they need to make significant lifelong changes.

Question #1: How can I loose weight? I’ve tried everything.

The above question in some form is by far the most common question I receive. The answer is pretty simple. Stop eating bad stuff, start eating good stuff and get active. And, no, you have not tried everything. When I’ve been asked this question and have been told “I’ve tried everything” in the cases where I really get a chance to look at an individuals eating habits and lifestyle it is almost always very clear why they have struggled to loose weight. They eat poorly and are generally sedentary. Nobody wants to hear the honest response, which is stop eating the crap, eat more vegetables and start moving a lot. No, eating pasta 3 times/week is not ok. No, drinking your daily soda is not a minor problem. Are you willing to do what it takes?

Question #2: I’d like to get stronger (or faster, fitter, insert other related adjective)

Ok, so you’re going to have to work. If you want to see significant change you’re going to have to work really hard. Unfortunately the “fitness” industry has promoted the idea that there are easy ways to get fit. The latest gizmo or DVD will let you get fit in 10 minutes a day twice/week. Sure, if you are sedentary, a little exercise is much better than no exercise. If you want to really get fit it is going to get uncomfortable. You may need to adjust your schedule and get up earlier than you want to, or miss your favorite TV show. It will not be easy. Are you really willing to do what it takes?

The list of questions go on, but they generally fall into line with these first two. Unfortunately the answer to the real question “Are you really willing to do what it takes?” is “no” for most people. We want to reduce our health care costs. We want to stop the obesity “epidemic”. We want to see reductions in diabetes, heart disease, etc. And yet, these problems have the same solution. Eat whole nutritious real food and exercise. The answer is simple, but not easy. Do your part and do what it takes. Show that it can be done and invite others to join you.

Goodbye, Everybody!

Friday, May 24th, 2013

I think most of you know that Wednesday was my last day teaching at The Cave.

img_45441I’ve had some really good times coaching at The Cave, and I’m going to miss you all.  My new job starts on the 28th, and it’s going to keep me pretty busy for a while.  Have no doubts that I’ll still be around, and I plan on working out at The Cave when I’m able.

Also, have no fear about the future of the CrossFit program.  We’re currently working on extra coverage, and I’m programming through June and making sure the other coaches know how to follow my template.  However, if any of you would like to help my volunteering to write some blog articles for us, that would be very helpful.  Contact me or Roger if you’re interested.

If any of you want to see me this weekend before I disappear for a while, I’ll be at Regionals all three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  (Seriously, how come nobody is going?  It’s in Santa Rosa and costs like $15 for a day!)

And, I’ll be at the Cave for the Memorial Day Hero Workout & Barbecue.  That event will take place on Monday, May 27, from 9:00 - 11:00 AM.  If you’re coming, bring something to grill/ share (it’s morning, so I guess we’re grilling breakfast?), and be prepared for a great/horrible workout.  Child care is available for ages 3+ for a nominal fee(sign up in the member’s area), so there’s no excuse.

I’ll see you guys around!

Workout for May 24, 2013:

A) 5 Minutes upper back mobility

B) Swords Day 21: Warm up: Back Squats 2 reps @70%, 2 reps @80%

C) Back Squat: establish 1 rep max.  Spend 5 minutes reveling in the glory of your new PR. Record this number on the board.

D) 5-5-5-5-5 back extensions / plate rotations / one-leg Romanian deadlift / one-arm overhead squat

E) For time: row 1000m


A) 100 Wall ball shots for time, EMOM 3 burpees.  10-minute cut-off.

B) Overhead carry 400m (40/30kg).  10 jumping squats on every drop.  10-minute cut-off.

C) Tabata sit-ups.

Lower Back Mobility

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Another good video from MobilityWOD.

For those of you who refuse to watch videos, he’s putting his feet on a box to stretch the lower back muscles, then smashing them with a lacrosse ball by rolling laterally, just above the ilium.

Workout for May 23, 2013:

A) 5 Minutes shoulder mobility

B) For time: 20 right-arm dumbbell snatches (60/40lb) / run 400m / 30 pull-ups / run 400m / 20 left-arm dumbbell snatches (60/40lbs).  10 minute cut-off.

C) 12-12-12 standing barbell twists / good mornings / bent arm dumbbell flyes

D) Tabata sit-ups

E) 5-minutes hip mobility


A) 15 minute clock: run 800m, then AMRAP with remaining time: 5 deadlifts (50/35kg) / 15 sit-ups.

B) 6-min EMOM: run 50m / 3 burpees

GHD Extensions

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

No, it’s not an extra feature for the GHD.  I’m talking about the exercises you can do on it: the hip extension, back extension and hip & back extension.  There’s a little bit of confusion about those three movements, so here’s a couple of videos to give you a good idea of the difference.  The first one is classic, old-school CrossFit video (I apologize for the music, the video would be great without it) that shows the difference between all three movements.

The second video is Josh Everett explaining the movements and their purpose at a Level 1 seminar.

Recap: Hip extension = hip free of the pad, back stays flat.  Back extension = hip on the pad, back does the snakey thing.  Hip & back extension = hip free of the pad, back does the snakey thing.

Workout for May 22, 2013:

A) 5 Minutes hip mobility

B) Swords Day 20: Warm up: Front Squats 5 reps @60%, 5 reps @65%

C) Front Squat 2-2-2-2-2-2 @70%

D) 4 rounds for time: row 500m / 15 burpees.  12-minute cut-off.

E) 10-10-10 GHD sit-ups / seated good mornings


For time: row 1000m / 25 push press (20/15kg) / row 500m / 50 push-press (20/15kg) / row 250m / 75 push press (20/15kg).  20 minute cut-off

I’m addicted to Avocado Soup!

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013


I failed rather miserably on my first two big attempts to be Paleo. On the first one, I had not planned ahead and I was tempted to the dark side by cakes and birthdays and there was no turning back. The second time, I went in with more of a plan and challenged myself (along with the challenge at The Cave) to 30 days. The timing was great, but by day 20 I was feeling rather weak and by day 27 (just 3 days short of the challenge) I could hardly work out. Roger thought I was probably deprived of fats. That day I went home and devoured some cheddar cheese and felt much better and stronger. But I failed.

So try three comes along and this time I planned to eat an avocado a day for the entire month to help my fat intake. I was also at this stage eating two tablespoons of chia (Mila brand… the shiny purple bags on your way to the bathroom) a day in my water and not having hunger cravings as it really does fill me up. The combination of the daily chia and the daily avocado made the 30 days a breeze. I was 100% Paleo for the 30 days and felt great! I have continues with the Paleo lifestyle, the daily chia, and never turn down an avocado. So I was super thrilled to try out the Avocado Soup recipe from “Cooking in The Cave” page 18.

Avocado Soup
Kitchen time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, loosely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium avocados, ripe and peeled
2 cups chicken (or veggie) stock (broth can also be substituted, but then do not add the salt)
1 cup coconut milk (I have substituted coconut cream as well and that was yummy)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, loosely chopped (I freeze cilantro and use that too)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne

optional garnish: diced tomato and or diced mango!

With heat set to medium, place oil, onions and garlic in frying pan and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes)

Place sautéed mix in large capacity blender or food processor along with avocado, stock, coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice and seasonings. Blend until smooth.

Adjust seasonings and serve immediately or chilled with optional garnish.

I make this dish two or three times a week and need only make sure I have ripe avocados and fresh limes as everything else I generally have stocked in the house. The kitchen time says 30 minutes, but I think with my high speed Vitamix that I can get everything made in 20 minutes as I rush off to my meeting with my green soupy lunch. I made this for all of our teachers for teachers appreciation week (served in big jars) and have served it at a number of dinner and lunch gatherings. As I mentioned, I am rather addicted and it helps me maintain my fat intake and strength as well!

Workout for May 21, 2013:

A) Review bench press and spotting

B) Bench press: 5-5-3-3-1-1-1 (record it on the PR spreadsheet).

C) “3-Minute Grace”  Scale weight to allow each person to complete 30 clean and jerks in approximately 3-minutes.

D) 10-minute AMRAP: run 200m, max handstand hold.  Score is rounds and total number of seconds in handstand.


“Dirty Thirty” For time: 30 box jump / 30 jumping pull-ups / 30 kettlebell swings (1/0.75p) / 30 walking lunges / 30 knees-to-elbows / 30 push-press (20/15kg) / 30 good mornings (20/15kg) / 30 wall ball / 30 burpees / 30 double-unders.

25-minute cut-off.

CrossFit is a Sport…

Monday, May 20th, 2013

…and sports are dangerous.

This looks worse than it is.  But it looks pretty bad!

This looks worse than it is. But it looks pretty bad!

There’s an injury risk for any sport that you play.  And while it’s been said that sitting on the couch is way more dangerous than doing CrossFit, the fact remains that people get hurt doing CrossFit.  This is one of the biggest points that CrossFit’s detractors make on a regular basis.  ”Exercise isn’t supposed to hurt people, but CrossFit does.”

It’s a valid point that exercise shouldn’t cause injury, but the problem is that CrossFit isn’t just exercise.  Sure, we do movements that you see in other exercise routines, such as push-ups and running.  But we also do movements that are entire sports, such as weight lifting, and we do them in a competitive setting, constantly trying to beat our last time, or to win against other people in the class.

Just like many people play other sports, like softball, to get exercise and stay in shape, us CrossFitters “play” the sport of CrossFit to stay in shape.  It has the advantage of including a combination of functional movements from many other sports, so it gets us in good shape to play many other sports, but, like all other sports, it has a risk of injury.

So, my answer to people when they ask about whether or not CrossFit is dangerous is, yes, it’s a dangerous sport.  But so is soccer, cycling, track, and wrestling.  The key here is to remember that when you’re doing CrossFit, you’re participating in a sport, you’re not just working out.  This is one of the reasons that we’re including so much ancillary and mobility work: those things help keep you mobile and strengthen the parts that are most likely to get injured during the WOD.

Pay attention to your mobility and other work.  Avoid injury by training and playing smart.

It’s the Sugar

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Here’s a New York Times opinion piece about sugar and diabetes.

The international symbol for diabetes.

The international symbol for diabetes.

In it, the author discusses a study from PLoS One study that found a link between increased sugar availability and incidence of diabetes.  Duh, you’re saying.

What makes the study interesting is that it shows increased rates of diabetes irrespective of obesity.  Simply put, obesity doesn’t cause diabetes, sugar does.

From the article: “for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up 1 percent.”

The author goes on to suggest that we need additional studies of the toxicity of sugar and he mentions a recent petition for the FDA to determine “safe” limits on sugar.

We’ve said for quite a while that sugar is toxic, so it’s nice to see this backed up with some pretty sold studies.  But what do you think about regulating sugar like we regulate other dangerous substances?

Memorial Day WOD & BBQ

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

All normal classes will be cancelled on May 27, Memorial Day.  In place of classes, we will be having a Memorial Day workout and BBQ.

flagpatchWe’ll offer child care for parents who would like to work out for $5.00.  You can register for child care in the Member’s Area.

We’ll have the grill going, too, so please bring some food to grill and/or share.

This even starts at 9:00 AM, and we’re hoping to wrap up by 11:00 or so.

Workout for May 18th, 2013:

A) Partner spotted handstands: accumulate 2 minutes in handstand.  Scale to inverted hang or plank as needed.

B) 5 minutes shoulder mobility

C) 10 minutes rage ball.

D) Review WOD movements

E) 3 Rounds for time: Run 400m / 21 kettlebell swings (1.5/1 p) / 12 single kettlebell shoulder to overhead (1.5/1 p) switch arms as needed.  12 minute cut-off.

Parkour Roll with Andrey P.

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Here’s a good and very technical parkour roll tutorial by our very own Andrey P.  If you have any questions about rolls, this is a good video to watch.  Love the detail, Andrey!

Workout for May 17, 2013:

A) 5 Minutes upper back mobility

B) Swords Day 18: Warm up: Front Squats 5 reps @75%, 3 reps @85%

C) Front Squats: 1 @95%, 1+ @105%

D) 15 min EMOM: 1 handstand push up / 2 pistols / 3 pull-ups

E) 3 Rounds for time: 10 snatches (35/25kg) / 30 double unders.  7 minute cut-off.


Tabata: Squat / kettlebell swing / push-up / row for calories.  Rest 1-minute, 10-seconds between exercises. (Takes 19-minutes)

Shoulder Mobility Trick from Amanda

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Here’s a really good shoulder warm up that Amanda learned a few weeks ago at the Olympic lifting seminar with Dianne Fu.  Check it out:

Workout for 5/16/13:

A) 5-5-5 Burgener Warm-up with a bar.

B) 5 minutes shoulder mobility

C) 12-12-12 bent arm dumbbell flyes / hip extensions

D) 10-minutes of ring work: supports, L-sits, inverted hangs, levers, ice cream makers, etc.  Tailor to athelete’s needs.

E) Tabata push-ups


3 Rounds of max reps in 1-min of the following: Jump rope / Ab mat sit-ups / 60′ shuttle sprints / burpees / rest. (Takes 15 minutes)