The Cave

The Cave Blog

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!

Marinated Flank Steak

March 26th, 2015 by karen

flank_steak_marinadeWith a few slight modifications to make it Paleo, this recipe is almost completely lifted from It’s unbelievably delicious and totally okay with me if you lick the plate.


  • 1/2 cup high smoke point Paleo oil (I recommend avocado oil; EVOO has too low a smoke point and coconut oil is okay but a bit heavy and strong-flavored for this)
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak


In a medium bowl, mix the oil, tamari, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and ground black pepper. Place meat in a shallow baking dish or zip lock baggie. Pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover/seal, and refrigerate for around 6 hours.

Oil and preheat grill at medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and grill 5 minutes per side, or until done as you like.

Why I Fear the Oxidative Cycle

March 24th, 2015 by Dana

module-4-mcc-sports-nutrition-credit-course-energy-substrates-used-during-exercise-2-638I often joke that I fear the oxidative cycle. (In fact, I want a t-shirt that quotes me.) So, why might I say this? For two main reasons: I’m a terrible endurance athlete, and more importantly, I believe the most effective fitness gains occur in the anaerobic system.

Our bodies have three metabolic pathways that can be broken down into two cardiovascular systems: Aerobic (oxidative pathway) and anaerobic (phosphagen and glycolytic pathways). Each of these energy systems have their own special characteristics. Aerobic training allows athletes to work at lower intensity levels over extended periods of time, decreasing body fat while also increasing cardiovascular endurance and stamina. Many long-distance runners and ultra-endurance athletes fall into this category of training. Aerobic workouts are commonly referred to as “cardio”. Anaerobic training allows us to exert great effort over short durations. During this intense time period, our bodies improve in power, speed, strength, and muscle mass, while also burning fat.

On the surface, it might appear that the 2 cardiovascular systems are the same, but actually, they differ drastically. For example, aerobic activity has a pronounced tendency to decrease anaerobic capacity. Athletes who train this way extensively experience decreases in muscle mass, strength, speed and power. Conversely, anaerobic conditioning promotes power, speed, muscle mass, strength and fat loss. Moreover, when implemented properly, anaerobic conditioning can be used to develop a very high level of aerobic fitness without the muscle wasting effects.

The high intensity is where all the work is done and where if performed correctly, all of the “benefits” are made, while the lower intensity is there to stimulate recovery and have you catch your breath.

As CrossFitters, our ultimate fitness goal is general physical preparedness (GPP). This desired outcome combines power, strength, speed, and muscle mass along with a strong cardiovascular capacity to quickly move large loads over long distances. In order to reach this ultimate goal, we must train the two metabolic pathways that most effectively support the growth of GPP. These pathways, the phosphagen and glycolytic, support sprint and mid-distance activities lasting 10-30 seconds and 30-120 seconds, respectively. Many of us are familiar with some well-known CrossFit benchmarks (think “Murph’) that take most athletes more than 40 minutes to complete and are grueling endurance WODs. However, constantly training these long endurance WODs that target only the oxidative pathway does little to benefit our overall goal of GPP.
Targeting the phosphagen and glycolytic pathways (anaerobic) enables athletes to increase not only power and speed while burning fat, but also overall endurance. So, rather than having our athletes complete “Murph” every week, we primarily target these two pathways with shorter, more intense workouts in order to get the “most bang for our buck” in terms of training time and improved work capacity.

By constantly varying functional movements of the three main fitness activities of CrossFit (gymnastics, weightlifting, metabolic conditioning) and performing these movements at high intensity, we effectively target these pathways and build both our anaerobic AND aerobic capacities – forging better CrossFitters in the process.

If anyone wants an “I fear the oxidative cycle.” t-shirt, let me know.

Next Weekend Be a Ninja At The Cave! (Adults and Children)

March 23rd, 2015 by JB

Have fun with your friends, and attempt new obstacles you’ve rarely seen.


Have you ever wanted to be a Ninja? Do you want to run one of the hardest obstacle courses in the world? If so…  NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!
Next weekend, The Cave is hosting the first ever Pitfall Obstacle League competition, for ages 8-Adult.
At this competition, you will get a chance to see competitors from the show “American Ninja Warrior”, such as Kevin Bull and JB Douglas.
Pit yourself against obstacles similar to the ones you have seen on TV, and you will get to run 2 different stages!
Three age groups:
8-13 years old
14-17 years old
18+ years old
Date for the kids will be Saturday March 28th starting at 1:30 pm
Teens and Adults will be Sunday March 29th Starting at 12:00 pm.
$70 registration per competitor or $35 if you have an active membership to the Pitfall Obstacle League
If you are looking for a personal challenge, then join us next weekend! These custom built obstacles will challenge your strength, endurance, agility, and mental fortitude in a safe and fun-loving environment.

CrossFit Open 15.3: Rising to Your Challenge

March 20th, 2015 by Dana

screenshot-2015-03-14-044921At CrossFit Chicago, Dave Castro addressed the CrossFit nation: “Week 1 was fun. Week 2—not so much. Week 3 is going to be fun…for some of us.” Clearly, Dave was messing with us, as he continued, “Week 3 will have no pull-up bar and no barbell.” What?!! Oh no…There have only been three occasions when neither a barbell or pull-up bar was used in an Open workout — 13.3, which was a repeat of 12.4, and 12.1. Castro continued, “15.3 is a triplet. The final movement in this tripartite workout is double-unders. The second movement is wall ball. And the first movement is muscle-ups.” There you have it — for the first time in Open history, a workout began on the rings.

15.3 was a game-changer. It eradicated some fierce competition and officially promoted the muscle-up from a luxury move to a necessity. What an exciting workout! Many athletes had great success in achieving their first muscle-ups, while others had to see their goals for the Open drastically altered.

Before the highlights, I’d like to acknowledge how impressive and fierce every single one of the athletes in our community is. Everyone rose to this challenge in an extraordinary way. Some didn’t get a muscle-up, but they didn’t give up until they had no choice. Outstanding.

An extraordinary shout out to Dana H., who achieved 1,000+ reps in the scaled division! All of her wall balls were unbroken and she didn’t stop! Amazing.

Many congratulations to those who reached the First Muscle-Up Club! (I’m pretty sure this is the longest list among Bay Area CrossFit affiliates.): Cody B., Dave W., Lori E., Mikaela V. and Jeff P.

Others who gained significant proficiency:
Daniel “If I can get one, I’m getting 7″ Tyreus - His first attempt score was 6. His final attempt score? 65!
Jason R. made it to his 2nd round of muscle-ups.
Mark R. gutted through 7 muscle-ups when previously he could only do 1.

Our Masters men continue to thrive and rise on the leaderboard! Rich L., Martin H., Michael S., and Mark A. have continued to solidify their places toward the Master’s qualifier. Sera again shined in this workout with an adorable father/daughter rivalry, culminating in each of them repeatedly accomplishing one more rep than the other. Bo’s first round of muscle-ups was practically straight armed, and his first round of 100 double unders was unbroken! Amanda destroyed 15.3, positioning her even closer to the coveted regionals spot.

More highlights included: Michael V. not needing a modification for this workout; Narendra R. got a full round; Wesley B. performed strong muscle-ups but got stuck on the double unders, and our dear Russ B. has now logged 3 Open workouts in a row!  Style points go to Steve V, I thin he’s riding a bicycle while doing a muscle ups!

While this Open workout certainly had it’s ups and downs, we once again came together as a community, celebrating our accomplishments and encouraging each other through the struggles. The cheers were enthusiastic and the camaraderie was palpable. Well done.

What will 15.4 bring? I think…pistols, burpees and box jumps up and over.

Dave’s Turkey

March 18th, 2015 by karen

davesturkeyThis is an easy, delicious, kid and party friendly main course that I’ve been making just about once a week for ages. I think I blogged it here three or four years ago here, but it’s worth reposting; it’s that good!


  • 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 2 Tbsp chicken broth
  • 1  1/4 tsp arrowroot
  • 1 to 1.25 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 Tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 small to medium red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine tamari, chicken broth, and arrowroot. Place meat in a bowl, separate into a half dozen or so chunks, and pour in mixture over to briefly marinate, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oils, swirl to coat, then add ginger, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook about 1 minute, stirring often.

Next add the meat, crumble, and spread evenly along cooking surface. Cook 1 minute or until meat begins to brown. Turn to cook similarly on other side, breaking meat up further as you go.When meat is cooked through and very crumbly, add green onion and cilantro. Mix well.

Serve over shredded lettuce which can be combined with spinach chiffonade. Great with pan-seared asparagus.

Injuries are not the enemy…they are our challenge

March 17th, 2015 by Dana

another-injury-whyRecently, while coaching on the CrossFit floor, an athlete suggested creating a blog post titled “Injury Is the Enemy” with the focus teaching that it isn’t worth getting injured for that extra weight or additional repetition. Although he’s absolutely correct about it not being worth it, referring to injury as the enemy caused me to ponder the subject. The more I thought about this, I realized that injuries are NOT our enemy, rather they are our challenge. Injuries are not only our challenge to avoid, but our challenge to overcome. This post, Part 1, will focus on the challenge to avoid injury. Part 2 will focus on the challenge of overcoming our injuries.

Cave community, I throw down this challenge! I challenge you to daily remember these 5 tips, both in and out of the gym, to avoid the “enemy” known as injury:

1. Intensity (not INSANITY) in a WOD.
You’ve heard this before… now its time to take it seriously! Stop throwing insane weights around before you are ready! Think about your longevity not only as an athlete, but for your overall fitness. It is extremely important for you to learn how to recognize when to say when and seek out your coach for assistance. We love to help (its our job!), and we can assist you by substituting another movement that can achieve the same stimulus of the intense and effective workout you desire, all while keeping you safe.

We know you signed the waiver, but as your coaches, we are responsible for your safety and we need to be sure you can move weight correctly over the course of an entire workout; or have the baseline strength to do the movements to proper standards. Make no mistake, WE WILL STOP YOU! If you are in danger of hurting yourself, it is our job to make sure that you don’t strain or tear your labrum, or herniate a disk, or something even worse. I’ve seen it.
As an athlete, know when to say when. It is a challenge to do so, but imperative as well.

2. Warm Up
What you do directly before beginning your workout can have a big impact on what you are able to accomplish during your workout. I know we all run late sometimes, choosing to skip the class warm up exercises. However, it’s important to remember that warm up exercises prepare the body to move quickly and efficiently, while giving a valuable boost to your performance and help keep you injury free.

Warm up exercises should (and in our case do) include static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving at lower intensity) exercises, preparing your body for the higher intensity movements that make up the main part of our workouts. Static stretching exercises (holding a single position) are used to simply elongate a particular muscle or group of muscles. These stretches help ensure your movements go through the full range of motion for the upcoming workout. Dynamic mobility exercises and drills help stimulate your nervous system, muscles, tendons and joints in a very dynamic manner.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
I could go on for years about this, but I’ll get straight to the point. Processed food and drink contain substances that inflame our tissues, which slows the process of healing those microscopic muscle tears created during our intense workouts. Consuming food items with anti-inflammatory properties promotes faster recovery from hard workouts! Try including these 10 foods in your diet to help reduce inflammation and help your body heal faster.

1. Dark, leafy greens are packed with flavonoids, which may reduce inflammation. Good sources include spinach and kale, while soybeans, berries and tea are helpful as well.
2. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which can help treat muscle injuries like sprains and strains. Add pineapple to a smoothie or salad.
3. Flaxseed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. Grind up flaxseed to release the oils, then add a spoonful to your salad, oatmeal, or yogurt.
4. Carrots are rich in carotenoids, a group of phytochemicals that help protect cells from free radicals, boost immunity, and help regulate inflammation. Other carotenoid rich foods include apricots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.
5. Cinnamon not only reduces inflammation, but also fights bacteria, assists with blood sugar control, and enhances brain function.
6. Ginger contains several anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which may relieve joint pain, prevent free radical damage, and increase immunity. Steep a couple of slices of ginger in hot water for ginger tea.
7. Onions can be used as a base for soups, sauces, and stir-fries. Similar foods with anti-inflammatory benefits include garlic, leeks, and chives.
8. Tart cherries are one of the richest known sources of antioxidants, while also being anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Research suggests that tart cherries offer pain relief from gout and arthritis, reduce exercise induced joint and muscle pain, and improve inflammatory markers. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice or combine dried tart cherries with nuts for a snack.
9. Walnuts are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Top a salad with a handful of walnuts or eat raw walnuts as a snack.
10. Turmeric, a mustard yellow spice from Asia, gets its coloring from a compound called curcumin. Research shows that curcumin can improve chronic pain by suppressing inflammatory chemicals in the body. Make a homemade curry with turmeric or mix it into other recipes once or twice a week.

4. Mobilize
Do I really need to say more? Our very own Stephanie R. provides us with daily WOD recovery yoga poses that make all the difference in injury prevention. Please don’t rush out after your workout…take the time to allow your body to recover. Grab a lacrosse ball and roll around on a sore spot; grab a band or a foam roller. We provide you these programs and make available these tools in the gym to keep you safe. We’re not looking to make life more difficult for Russ by cluttering the floor.

5. Take a Rest Day, or 2
Resting allows your body time to physiologically repair itself from the pounding you give it on a daily basis. Rest days make you stronger by allowing your body to repair the microscopic tears in your muscles and by replenishing glycogen stores. This process then improves your performance when you are in the gym, helping you feel stronger and fitter. Taking a rest day is NOT defined by sitting on the couch and doing nothing. Check out my previous post about active recovery which describes what you should do on your rest day(s).

There you have it! I challenge each of you to utilize these 5 tips to help you stay injury free.
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Do You Want to be a Ninja?

March 15th, 2015 by Dana

jb_poster1 Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a ninja? Do you want to run one of the hardest obstacle courses in the world? If so… The Cave is hosting the first ever Pitfall Obstacle League competition. Ages 8-Adult

At this competition you will get a chance to see competitors from the show American Ninja Warrior such as Kevin Bull and JB Douglas. Pit yourself against obstacles similar to the ones you have seen on TV. You will get to run 2 different stages.

You must sign up at
Three ages groups:
8-13 years old
14-17 years old
18+ years young

Date for the kids will be Saturday March 28th starting at 1:30 pm running into the evening.
Teens and Adults will be Sunday March 29th Starting at 12:00 pm.

$70 registration per competitor or $35 if you have an active membership to the Pitfall Obstacle League

Asian Pork Tenderloin

March 12th, 2015 by karen

asian_marinade_porkProbably because I spend more time perusing Paleo food blogs than shopping for shoes, my browser entices me with primally-tailored ads. A recent one beckoned me with the line “eat like your ancestors” while showing a historic photo of a pioneer woman next to fast food products the ad claimed my great great grandmother would have shopped for. I think they’re missing the point. I do appreciate that somewhere in the commercial food world, someone wants to save me time in the kitchen with something healthier than chicken nuggets, but truth is, with a little planning, I can quickly make my own fast food that I know my great great grandmother would have loved to eat. Here’s one of my favorites:


  • 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger


Mix marinade ingredients together and place into a zip-lock bag along with raw meat. Let marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°. Remove meat from baggie and place on rack over a foil-lined pan.

When oven temp has reached 450, place meat in oven and reduce temperature to 350°. Cook until internal temperature of meat, when tested with a digital thermometer, reaches 135–140° – about 30 minutes for a one-and-a-half pound tenderloin.

When meat is done, remove from oven and let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.