The Cave

The Cave Blog

Masters Qualifier & New Classes in May

April 18th, 2015 by Dana

the-cave-logo-crossfit-onlyCongratulations to our Masters qualifiers: Mark A, Martin H., Rich L., and Michael S. These talented athletes finished in the top 200 in the world in their divisions and now advance to the four-day online Masters Qualifier beginning on Thursday, April 23 at 5 p.m. Once the workouts are released, the athletes will have until 5 p.m. PT on Monday, April 27, to complete all the workouts and submit their scores. The top 20 athletes in each age division at the end of the Qualifier will advance to the CrossFit Games. Our Masters athletes, examples of hard work and dedication, are inspiring to watch. Congratulations!

New Classes in May

One of the extraordinary things about CrossFit Marin is that your staff listens closely to the community, weighing your suggestions and criticisms. You all spoke loud and clear on this one! Starting May 1, Sunday afternoon CrossFit classes are moving to Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Come on in, train, and get an early start to your day.

As an intern, Ron worked hard, listening and learning, ultimately earning his own CrossFit classes! He’s coaching the new 5:15 a.m. class on Tuesday, as well as the existing classes at 6:15 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., along with Thursday’s 5:15 a.m.and 6:15 a.m. classes. Ron’s patient yet encouraging style makes him the perfect addition to our coaching staff.

Sadly, we must bid farewell to a longtime CrossFitter who has been a wonderful member of our Cave community. Ian Nickels is moving and will no longer be training at The Cave. But we can’t just let him go without a final workout! Join us the morning of Saturday, May 2, as we’ll have a farewell WOD for Ian. Bo is planning some special programming just for the day.

Keep up the fantastic work everyone. As athletes, you continue to inspire each other, your coaches, and your community every day.

Questions and/or comments? I’d love to hear them.



Almond Grape Smoothie

April 16th, 2015 by Dana

grape-smoothieMy boys love this smoothie! I started making it w/ Vanilla Almond Milk but quickly switched to unsweetened and they still loved it!
2 cups Spinach
2 cups Almond milk (unsweetened)
2 cups Red grapes (seedless)
2 Bananas
1/3 cup Almond butter (or other nut butter)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

How do I get a copy of the WOD Recovery Yoga eBook? Here’s how.

April 15th, 2015 by Stephanie
wod-recovery-yoga-cover-75x925-version-7Hi Athletes,
As many of you know, we have been finishing each class with WOD Recovery Yoga programmed by our resident yogi, Stephanie Ring. The yoga programming is designed around each workout to optimize recovery, maintain and increase mobility and prevent injuries. Up until now, the only way to use this yoga programming was at the end of class. Available now to purchase and download is the WOD Recovery Yoga eBook for Functional Fitness Athletes. This eBook contains 70 yoga postures, from child’s pose to savasana, sequences for the top 20 CrossFit movements and lists of poses by muscle group to help you target the areas you need most. This is a great resource if you need an active recovery day with lots of mobility work or can’t make it into the gym but need to stretch.
Click on the link below for more details about the eBook.
Discount Code: CFMarin2015 for $10 off the $24.99 price

The Open is Over! Now what?

April 13th, 2015 by Dana

2015_openFirst of all, I would like to commend all the CrossFit Marin athletes who challenged themselves by competing in the 2015 CrossFit Open!  What a great celebration of CrossFit.  The pressure  forced us to hone our skills, believe in our abilities, and overcome many obstacles.  It was inspiring to watch our CrossFit community and its camaraderie be in full force over the past 5 weeks!   That’s right — 5 weeks. You made it and we celebrated. You spent 5 weeks pushing yourself as hard as possible and we celebrated your commitment and tenacity!

But, now what? What are we going to do for the next year?

Simple — Constantly Varied Functional Movements Performed at High Intensity. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Keep working those weaknesses. CrossFit’s speciality is in not specializing. As athletes, we aim to improve in everything, not just the parts we enjoy. Getting better at everything leads to a more well-rounded person and athlete.

2. Keep inspiring. For everyone that hit their first reps of a movement, hit PRs or even tried to finish all the workouts, RX or not, you are an inspiration. You never know who is watching. From a coach’s point of view, it is inspiring to watch students make progress.

3. Keep being consistent.  One of the keys to getting better is just showing up and being consistent in working out. If you put in the work the results will take care of themselves.

4. Keep having fun. We all knew we were not going to win the CF Games. So, why did we compete? For one, it was fun to have everyone come together and push each other to get the best scores possible. I had fun watching and judging. I hope you did too.

5. Keep competing. Find a local competition, pick a division and go for it!  Whether RX, scaled, team, beginner — it doesn’t matter what division as long as you are out there pushing yourself and of course, having fun. Here’s a good link to see upcoming competitions.

6. Keep progressing. Don’t think the only time to get a muscle up is in the Open. We haveprogressions from beginner to expert on all sorts of movements.  So, in your spare time before or after a WOD, grab a coach to help you reach a milestone!

Butternut Squash & Kale Beef Stew

April 9th, 2015 by Dana

dsc_00861Butternut Squash & Kale Beef Stew
2 tbsp bacon fat, or cooking oil of choice
2 lb stew beef, 1″ cubed
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 small butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups)
16oz frozen, chopped kale (or one bunch fresh)
4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
salt and pepper
In a large dutch oven heat 1 tbsp bacon fat over medium high.  Working in batches, brown the meat, making sure not to cook it through (it can turn tough).  Set browned meat aside.  Lower heat to medium and add the 2nd tbsp bacon fat.  Once it’s melted add the onions, garlic, smoked paprika, and sage to pot, along with a big pinch of salt and fresh pepper.  Cook about 8 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent.  Make sure to stir frequently so the mixture doesn’t burn.

Add the beef, butternut squash, and kale to the pot.  Stir to combine, then add the chicken stock and two cups of hot water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered,  for at least an hour.  I let mine go about 45 minutes longer.

Serve and enjoy.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.  This makes a HUGE batch of stew.

KT Tape, What is it? How does it work?

April 7th, 2015 by Dana

rtOn any given day in the gym, you may see countless athletes, regardless of their fitness levels, covered with crazy colored strips of tape on various parts of their bodies. You may be wondering, What is this tape and why should I care?

Kinesio tape, or KT tape, is a product developed in 1979 by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase. Dr. Kase recognized that manual therapy (i.e. massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physical therapy) was extremely effective for treatment of different ailments, but often the effects were temporary. He wanted something his clients could use between appointment sessions to increase efficacy of manual therapy for lasting results. As opposed to the traditional methods of taping which focused on restricting motion and compression, Dr. Kase developed kinesiology taping, a method that promotes circulation in an effort to ease muscles but keep blood flowing, allowing injuries to heal more quickly. The kinesio taping method was introduced to the United States in 1995, and has been growing in popularity ever since.

Kinesio Tape Tech
Let’s start by looking at the basic function of KT tape. This is not your ordinary athletic tape. Traditionally, athletes or others with muscle injuries would tape a muscle or joint to restrict motion and prevent further injury. For example, for a strained calf muscle, old-school methods would dictate wrapping tape around the entire lower leg — calf, shin, tibia, fibula, etc. — almost like a mummy. While that would prevent further strain by immobilizing the injured muscle, it would also impede circulation and slow down the body’s natural healing process.

Kinesiology taping takes the opposite approach, using the tape to open up the muscle and allow full movement. KT tape is applied on top of an injured or strained area to stabilize it, but care is always taken to ensure that a muscle or tendon is never encircled with a ring of tape. “As you move, the tape, skin and connective tissue (or fascia) over the muscle or tendon also move, pulling slightly away from the muscle and creating space for lymphatic fluid to flow around and cleanse the inflamed tissue. ” Please read this sentence twice because this is the crux of KT tape.

Dr. Kase lists the following as the four major functions of kinesiology taping (these functions drive the technology behind the tape):
Supporting the muscle — Proper taping improves the muscle’s ability to contract even when it’s weakened; reduces pain and fatigue; protects the muscle from cramping, over-extension and over-contraction.
Removing congestion to the flow of body fluids — Kinesio tape improves blood and lymphatic circulation and reduces inflammation and excess chemical buildup in the tissue.
Activating the endogenous analgesic system — This requirement means that the tape must facilitate the body’s own healing mechanisms, a central focus in chiropractic medicine.
Correcting joint problems — The goal is improving range of motion and adjusting misalignments that result from tightened muscles.
KT Tape Benefits: (in my opinion)
Kinesio tape can be a huge asset for athletes. KT tape is extremely strong and can be applied with different tensile strengths which allows the muscles and ligaments to have “help” when injury occurs. The tape essentially stabilizes an area, for example the shoulder, to prevent any further damage.

Kinesio tape can also significantly help with alignment. If you have a tendency to slouch or have an area of the body that is not properly aligned, kinesio tape can bring the body back into alignment and help the athlete sense how this feels in the body. Having correct alignment can decrease pain and help the joints recover from activities.

Kinesio tape can also help decrease pain in certain areas of the body. After manual manipulation, KT tape can be placed on the affected area (using a different method or style of taping depending on the area) to decrease pain and discomfort. If there is swelling, there is a specific taping method that helps drain fluids into the lymphatic ducts to decrease swelling and help the body heal.

The great thing about KT tape is that it still allows for range of motion, just not so much that you are likely to injure yourself further.

KT Tape vs. Rock Tape
What is the difference between KT tape and Rock Tape?
Rock Tape is a type of KT tape that has been enhanced to provide extra stretch without compromising compression. Rock Tape is made for CrossFitters by CrossFitters. I’ve used them both, and I do have a preference, but I suggest you see for yourself.

If you want to try kinesiology taping, or you need anything taped, let me know. When taped properly, KT tape can make a significant contribution to injury prevention, recovery, and pain.

Post-exercise nutrition (Recovery Drink)

April 3rd, 2015 by Dana

rogue-shaker-bottle-2_2Recently I’ve been asked a lot of questions about what’s the best Post-exercise nutrition.  This is a blog I wrote last year, I felt it would be helpful to repost.

It’s hard not to notice the assorted blender bottles filled with some mysterious, powdery concoctions that CrossFitters run to inhale after they finish a WOD.  Have you ever wondered exactly what it is we’re drinking and why?  What is this strange powder? These interesting concoctions are our important post-exercise recovery drinks.  Now, allow me to explain the “why.”

Post-exercise nutrition can improve the quality and the rate of recovery after a serious exercise. The right nutrition ingested immediately following a workout, and up to two hours later, can drastically improve one’s recovery time. Classic signs of poor recovery include fatigue, lackluster workouts, extended muscle soreness, lack of increased strength, and lack of increased muscle mass.  Obviously, we’ll experience certain degrees of these signs at different times, but wouldn’t it be great to minimize them?

First, a little science lesson to aid in your understanding:  From a physiological perspective, muscle fibers are made of protein and will increase in size if the protein is synthesized. Exercise increases the breakdown in muscle protein while decreasing protein synthesis. Exercise also depletes glycogen (consisting of glucose molecules), which is what the muscles use for energy.

The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to replenish the glycogen stores and encourage protein synthesis, or muscle building. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of glucose, the molecule used to build glycogen. By ingesting carbohydrates, glycogen stores are replenished rapidly, which is important because consistently low glycogen stores lead to a breakdown of muscle protein and a loss of muscle mass. Carbohydrates also increase the body’s insulin concentration, which is essential for glycogen and protein synthesis. Carbohydrates also promote the release of growth hormone, which promotes protein synthesis, and leads to increased muscle mass. Finally, carbohydrates decrease cortisol concentration. Cortisol, also known as a “stress hormone,” is released in response to both physical and psychological stress. During a workout, cortisol levels are increased, causing muscle protein to break down.

Adding protein to a carbohydrate mix will significantly enhance the release of insulin compared to carbohydrate alone.  Whey protein is quickly absorbed, while additional amino acids increase their availability to be used as building blocks. An important essential amino acid in a recovery drink is leucine because it works synergistically with insulin to maximize protein synthesis.

What does the the optimal post-recovery drink nutrition look like after a high intensity WOD?  The drink would consist of a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, with no more than a 2:1 ratio. If the recovery drink is consumed immediately following exercise, the rate of glycogen synthesis is three times higher than if it is consumed two hours after exercise completion. Therefore, it is important and more beneficial to consume the drink as soon after exercising as possible.

So, the next time you witness a box full of sweaty, exhausted CrossFitters reaching for their blender bottles filled with mysterious powder, you’ll know they are just making sure to get the most out of all the hard work they just did.

Introducing Strong Girls

April 2nd, 2015 by Dana

Our Youth Strength and Conditioning (YSC) program is thriving! We are excited to announce 2 brand new classes to the program — Strong Girls!
Coach Chelsea will be bringing her experience and expertise to coach these new classes starting in April.

Strong Girls - Wednesday at 3:00 pm, ages 8-11
Strong Girls - Wednesday at 4:00 pm, ages 12-15

Strong Girls is a Youth Strength and Conditioning program for girls only. We want to train both our girls’ bodies and minds to be strong. The class entails 35-45 minutes of age appropriate athletic development while allowing 15-25 minutes for some girl talk. The class provides girls with a safe and empowering place to have facilitated discussions about body image, self-esteem, healthy eating, bullying, boys, goals, friendship, sportsmanship, and integrity. The girls will mentor each other, challenge themselves, and grow stronger—together.

The program involves gymnastics elements, running, weightlifting, cardiovascular conditioning and more. This broad approach will develop a base fitness level that will enhance performance in any sport and allow for competent participation in new activities.

Due to the increasing interest in the YSC program, we are also adding another YSC class:

Youth Strength and Conditioning - Tuesdays at 4:30pm, ages 11-15

The goal of the YSC program is to combine fitness with fun and to help kids grow up healthy, strong and develop a lifelong love of working out. These classes are offered in the CrossFit area and are a great way to introduce your child to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

All YSC workouts are functional and natural and correlate directly to your child’s physical needs in daily life, recreation and sport. Our experienced coaches are incredibly skilled at conveying the importance of lifelong health and fitness in a way that is meaningful and relevant to your child.

Your child doesn’t have to be an athlete to participate. Our training provides an atmosphere that is challenging, motivating and builds confidence. If your child is already athletic, we can help her become a well rounded athlete, excelling in her current sport while staying fit during the off season.

We now offer 7 classes:
Mondays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Tuesdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana
Tuesdays 4:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 3pm, ages 8-11 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 4pm, ages 12-15 Strong Girls with Coach Chelsea
Wednesdays 5pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Patrick
Thursdays 3:30pm, ages 11-15 with Coach Dana

Kids will need to be enrolled in classes and registered for a corresponding monthly plan. See below for pricing:

One class per week $95. per month
Two classes per week $160. per month
Three classes per week $210. per month
Four classes per week $230. per month
Drop-in $26.

A 25% discount for families applies. Class size is limited to 8 kids, but drop-ins will still be allowed if there are open spaces. Enrollment is easy — please either call the office (415) 927.1630 or e-mail me the details at

We’re excited about the growth of this program and we look forward to working with you. Remember, class size is limited to 8, so sign up quickly! Please contact me with your questions or comments.

Spring break camp and Kids Night Out

March 30th, 2015 by Dana

KNO is like everyone’s birthday party on Saturday night. KNO runs from 5:30pm-10:00pm on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Come by, drop off your kids and spend a night out. Your kids will have far more fun in our facility than with a babysitter, and they will have talented staff to teach them some movement, or if it is one of our many themed KNOs, they may learn something about our world. The next one is Saturday Apr 11, 2015 and drop off starts at 5:30PM. Children must be picked up by 10 PM. Register on our website at Cost: $40.00
We do have a few spaces left in our spring break Ninja Camp! Come to ninja camp and learn how to run literally anywhere. Walls and fences become aids to movement. Learn how to safely and efficiently navigate any environment. Learn this discipline from deeply experienced coaches. Ninja camps will develop strength and agility. The discipline also allows freedom and creativity as children work out how to best use their abilities to overcome obstacles. Register on our website at
Camps run 10am to 2pm daily. Kids should bring a lunch each day.
Camps run from 10am-2pm Monday through Friday
Full week $468 3 Days $298

15.4…The Recap

March 28th, 2015 by Dana

crossfit-154-open-workout“15.4 is…going to follow this rep scheme.” David Castro takes out a marker and writes on the whiteboard. “(3, 3) (6, 3) (9, 3) (12, 6) (15, 6) (18, 6) (21, 9) (24, 9) (27, 9) etc.”

Well, that’s certainly new. But what are the movements that will be accompanying this rep scheme?

“The first movement is…push-ups.”

What?! Looking out across the CrossFit floor, I saw many confused faces. But, knowing Castro and his flair for drama, something was coming…

“The second movement is…cleans at 85lbs. 15.4 is…wait, wait, wait. We do have a scaled option this year, let’s take advantage of that.”

Oh boy. Here it comes.

“The first movement in 15.4 is really handstand push-ups. The second movement is cleans at 185lbs for the men, 125lbs for the women. As many reps as possible in 8 minutes.”

For the RX division, there weren’t that many cleans, but they were certainly heavy. Many athletes achieved singles while others were looking for a PR on their cleans. The real work was the handstand push-ups. HQ’s new movement standard for handstand push-ups required your feet to pass a line. This was challenging and caused the phrase “no rep” to be used more often than not.

The athletes that did the best broke up their sets and tried to keep moving without reaching failure until the end. If anything, people were more limited by the skill challenge and the weight of the cleans rather than their cardio.

The scaled division was accessible to everybody that was unable to do handstand push-ups. The 10 push press/10 cleans at a medium weight let athletes storm through as fast as possible. Even though the workout was only 8 minutes long, it definitely challenged our cardio as we worked hard to alternate between the two movements.

HUGE SHOUT OUT goes to Jayson N., who achieved his first handstand push-up!!

Shout outs:
Sera got the highest female score in the gym with 107! Can’t forget about Daniel T’s amazing 1 clean. Stephanie R’s first attempt score was 5, but she improved it to 14! Same thing for our teen girl Caitie B. whose 2nd attempt score was significantly higher than her first. Karen L. deserves honorable mention because handstand push-ups are a HUGE mental challenge for her. She worked hard this year and posted a competitive score. Don’t lose faith Karen! Your muscle ups are coming! AND Jeff P. PR’ed his clean!

Other highlights include Mike T. and Margo T. showing GRIT! Chris B. really worked hard on this one. How about Patrick C. was amazing for doing this workout while his 8 year old son screamed at him from the kitchen. Steve V. also posted a HUGE score. AND ROGER USED THE WALL!
The best story belongs to Joe W. When he recorded his score on the games site, he accidentally chose the wrong affiliate therefore, his score was invalid. We learned of the mistake at 4:40 PM on Monday, which led to a mad dash to make the 5 PM deadline. In a shocking turn of events, after reaching out to CrossFit HQ Monday night, they decided to allow Joe’s score anyway.
All in all, once again this community showed how united, strong, supportive and FIERCE we are.

15.5 prediction: Thrusters, box jump up and over, and pistols. Yes, I’m sticking with the pistols. Well done everyone!