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Posts Tagged ‘crossfit’

This Week In The Cave

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

img_78601Welcome!
Fall always brings back familiar faces, but we get to meet new ones too!  The CAVE would like to extend a very warm welcome to all our new families.  We’re excited to have you all as part of our family and we look forward to building deeper community together while having lots of fun!
New Classes
Do you have a middle schooler?  We’ve added 2 new Youth Strength and Conditioning classes, Tuesdays or Thursdays at 3:30pm.  It’s the perfect time of day, right after school, get a workout in before settling into the business of homework!  To sign up, e-mail Dana@inthecave.com or call The CAVE at (415) 927.1630.

CrossFit Day at The Oakland A’s

Come join the fun with The CAVE family at an Oakland A’s game on Sunday, September 7th, 2014!  There’s still time to sign up! Experience the A’s first ever CrossFit Day in our special Field Level seating area. All participants will receive an exclusive A’s CrossFit Day t-shirt and admission to the pre-game WOD where a group of northern California’s top CrossFit® athletes will compete. We also may see one of our own athletes compete in the pre-game WOD!We know now that the pre-game WOD will include Neal Maddox, Wes Piatt, Gabe Subry, Margaux Alvarez, Chyna Cho, Ben Alderman, Miranda Oldroyd and Camille Leblanc. If our gym has one of the top 20 most people attending, we get to pick a person to compete in the WOD with them!

Fitness Goals

Now that the kids are back in school, it’s time to think about YOUR fitness goals and how the staff at The CAVE can help you achieve them. Are you curious about CrossFit? E-mail our CrossFit Director BO@inthecave.com with your questions. Do you want to know more about our Yoga classes? Please e-mail Stephanie at Steph@inthecave.com.  While your kids are in their classes, you can take one too!

The CAVE is Hiring
Do you love working with kids?  The CAVE is hiring new gymnastics and parkour coaches and we’re looking for exceptional people that are great with children! If interested, please see the full job description posted here: http://www.inthecave.com/about/jobs.
Let’s keep in touch!
Have you liked us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram? These two tools are great ways to stay in touch with the latest in what’s happening in the CAVE and some great pictures of what we’re up too!  Check us out!

How long does it take to improve in CrossFit?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Below is a re-post from the Beyond The White Board Blog — y’know, the app we all use to track our fitness. Over the past 6 years, the folks at BTWB analyzed fitness level data from over 65,000 athletes, in an effort to increase the data driven knowledge available in our CrossFit community. As does any sport, CrossFit has it’s own unique improvement curves and it was interesting to see how my years in the sport applied to this study.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it below. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.
How long does it take to improve in CrossFit?
Almost a year ago, we launched our “Fitness Level” and “Weaknesses” features as part of our new Analyze section. These features were designed to give athletes more information and analysis about their workouts and their physical capacity. For every athlete on our site, we calculate their “Fitness Level”, which is a single number from 1-99 that represents their overall Fitness. This is a single number that captures how an athletes performance stacks up to the rest of the community.
julie-foucher-web-4

Definition of Fitness vs How Fit You Are

Greg Glassman defined fitnessand with it started a fitness revolution. However, it was still tough to figure out how Fit an athlete was at any given time. We set out and solved this problem withFitness Level. Now, by performing a hand-full of workouts we can accurately calculate how fit an athlete is at any given time. For example, Julie Foucher, CrossFit® Games veteran who has posted over 4,000 results on beyond the whiteboard over the years, has a Fitness Level of 95. As you will see, we’ve found that games caliber athletes need to be at this level. This insight opened the door to many other questions, mainly, “”How long will it take to improve in CrossFit?”.
Fitness Level Overview
Improving Your Fitness

On average, it takes about 5-6 months to improve your Fitness Level by 10 levels.

bar_graph
New & Intermediate CrossFitters can improve quickly
When you are fairly new to CrossFit® you can improve at a pretty quick rate. If you’re currently between 1-60, stay committed and consistent because you have a chance to raise your Fitness Level by 20 levels per year. In fact, on average, it takes 19 Months to improve from a level 50 to a level 80. In short, eat well and get to your CrossFit Affiliate a few times a week.
Advanced CrossFitters
On average, it takes about 5-6 months to improve your Fitness Level by 10 levels. This rate holds true until you get to Level 80. Going from level 80 to 90 takes over 8 months, on average, which is 45% longer than it takes to go from 70 to 80. To make Regionals, you need to be near a level 90.

To make Regionals, you need to be near a level 90.

Elite CrossFitters
To get to a level 95, which is near Games level, it takes about 6 additional months. As your level gets higher and higher, it becomes more and more difficult to continue increasing your level. The difference between one or two levels at the top is huge.
Nutrition, Sleep and Recovery
“I have really prioritized my goal of training for the CrossFit Games and with that comes prioritizing sleep, nutrition, and recovery,” Julie Foucher recently told us. Nutrition and sleep play a big factor in increasing your Fitness Level. Although they might not have the same diets, it seems most advanced and elite CrossFitters pay attention to how they eat and sleep. If you’re looking for more information a great place to start is Zone Meal Plans or talking to a trainer at a CrossFit Affiliate.

“I have really prioritized my goal of training for the CrossFit Games and with that comes prioritizing sleep, nutrition, and recovery,” -Julie Foucher

Case Study
Below is a Fitness Level histogram of Nick Robles. In 2012 he finished 123rd in the Open for the SoCal Region with a Fitness Level of 82. In 2013 he finished 95th with a Fitness Level of 86. This year he finished 34th with a Fitness Level of 88, earning him a qualifying spot at Regionals. It took him 16.5 months to increase his Fitness Level from a 50 to an 80, which is slightly above average. It took him another 8.5 months to go from an 80 to a 90, which is just about average.
Nick-Robles-FL-History
The Novice Effect
This phenomenon is similar to what Mark Rippetoe calls the “Novice Effect”. In the first 2 to 3 years of training, you see fast improvement. But as time moves on, improvement slows and it often takes more extra work and advanced programming to get to the higher levels. He designed this chart specifically for Strength development, but the data suggests that there is a similar effect going on in CrossFit® training as well.
Novice-Effect-Rippetoe

Source: “The Novice Effect” by Mark Rippetoe

As you can see in the above analysis, it takes quite a few years of consistent training to get to a competitive level in CrossFit®. Keep in mind though, that it is getting harder every year. If someone is just starting now, in 5 years the bar will have moved even higher. We still believe that making Regionals is an attainable goal for some of our top members, but the possibility of a brand new member getting there anytime soon is getting a lot less likely.
Theoretical Fitness Journey
Combining all the data discussed above here is a theoretical journey in CrossFit. We are confident that if you stay consistent with training and eat/sleep/rest well you will be able to increase your Fitness Level at a similar rate. Although in the beginning you will definitely see results and become a lot fitter, it will take some time to become very fit(Level 80+). That’s the reality and sadly it’s contrary to a lot of other fitness claims. In Fitness, just like life, the journey is the reward. Enjoy it.
fitness_journey

In Fitness, just like life, the journey is the reward. Enjoy it.

Notes

To answer the questions in this article, we looked at Fitness Level data from over 65,000 athletes over the past 6 years. Because of the breadth and depth of our dataset, we can pull out some pretty awesome time series trends. We will continue publishing these types of articles in an effort to increase the data-drvien knowledge available in our community. We hope this will help further the evolution and improvement of our fitness methodologies.

5 Post CrossFit Yoga Poses for GHD Sit Ups

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

In the CrossFit community the GHD Sit Up is officially called the “Glute-Ham Developer Sit Up” but unofficially you might dub this the “ab crusher.” It is a powerful movement that should be approached with caution but shouldn’t be removed from your training.

When this sit up is done correctly, lowering down and then forcefully contracting the quads, straightening the legs and essentially whipping yourself back up right, little or no pressure will put on the low back and the abdominals will get a mighty good workout. What’s amazing about the GHD Sit Up is that during the actual movement, your legs seem to be doing most if not all of the work. In reality, while your legs are working hard and your hip flexors are helping to draw the spine up, it is the abdominals that actually stabilize and bring the torso upright and get the biggest workout.

For those of you who have done GHD Sit Up, the days post WOD are brutal. This particular sit up is a huge contraction of the anterior chain since the body goes past horizontal and is unmatched by any regular sit up. Not only does this movement work the Rectus Abdominis or “six pack abs,” but the Transverse Abdominis as well, which is key in stabilize the core for other movements like Front Squats or Snatches.

These 5 Post CrossFit Yoga Poses for GHD Sit Ups are meant to gently stretch the abdominals to restore normal flexibility and movement back into the anterior chain. Some of these poses might not be accessible because of soreness but do the ones you can.

*Tip: Go slow. Slow might be all you can manage the day after a few rounds of GHD Sit Ups, but either way, gently make your way into these yoga poses and hold for up to 30 seconds while you breath in and out through the nose. I would also recommend performing the stretches in the order shown below, as it will gradually restore movement back into your mid-section and prevent over stretching.

1. Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)

Profile BW

Start on your belly. Come onto your forearms slowly keeping the elbow under the shoulder. Press the palms firmly into the ground and let the chest gently drive forward and up. Allow the hips to relax while keeping the tailbone reaching towards the heels. Breathe and allow the breath to invite the body to relax and receive the stretch.

2. Bitilasana (Cow Pose)

Profile BW

Start on your hands and knees with the knees under the hips and the hands underneath the shoulders. On your inhale, allow the tailbone to reach towards the ceiling, the belly to drop towards the ground and the chest to move forward and up. Think about arching your spine stretching out the front body.

3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Up Dog)

Profile BW

Starting Sphinx Pose, walk the hands towards the hips straightening the arms. The hands should be underneath the shoulders. Press down through the palms and tops of the feet to allow the hips to slowly lift of the ground. Feel the chest move forward and up through the gateway of the shoulders as you lengthen your tailbone towards your heels. Breathing here for 15 seconds and then relax and repeat.

4. Anjaneyasana with Side Stretch (Low Lunge Side Stretch)

Profile BW

Starting in a low lunge with the right foot forward, the front heel directly under the front knee and the back toes un-tucked, allow the hips to relax towards the ground as you feel the hips hug together. The frontal hip points should be parallel to the front of the mat. Place your right forearm on your right thigh for stability, lift the left arm up and over to the right feeling a side stretch along the left side. Hold and breathe here for 30 seconds. If you have the space in the side body, you can gently turn the chest up towards the ceiling to feel the stretch through the hip flexor and front of the belly.

5. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Profile BW

Start kneeling with the knees hips distance. Placing the hands on your butt (no joke) roll the shoulders back and down and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Lift out of the side body and while keeping the hips moving forward, start to send the chest up and back. You have the option to reach the hands towards the heels but make sure you continue to lift the chest up while keeping the low back long. Breath here for 10 seconds, slowly come up by placing one hand on the butt and lifting yourself back up and then repeat 3 times.

Stephanie Ring
Creator of EndureYoga
*Yoga for Improved Athletic Performance*

This week in The Cave

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Amanda_BillPlease note that The Cave will be CLOSED on FRIDAY, JULY 4TH. All classes (*EXCEPT CrossFit at 9am and 10am) are cancelled for that day. The Cave will be OPEN for all regularly scheduled classes (in all disciplines) on Thursday, 7/3,  Saturday, 7/5, and Sunday, 7/6. If you have any questions regarding holiday hours, please contact Amy at amy.d@inthecave.com.

Changes to CrossFit programming:
Bo recently announced some exciting changes to our CrossFit programming!  We now offer 2 parallel tracks during classes: Fitness and Performance.  Read all about it here!
Help send Bill and Amanda to the Games!
We’ve started  a crowdfunding campaign to help send Bill and his coach Amanda to the CrossFit Games in July. Please donate by going here: http://www.gofundme.com/aau608 Thank you so much!

Summer Camps

Have you made summer plans for your kids yet?  The Cave’s summer camps are perfect for any age and any level!  Our coaches will challenge your child at her level while making sure they are safe and having fun.

summer-parkour-campsfinal-1

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!
Gymnastics:  July 28- August 1
Youth Camp:  August 4-8
Gymnastics:  August 11-15
Parkour:  August 18-22

REGISTER ON-LINE OR CALL (415)927-1630.

CrossFit Trainer’s Gymnastics Seminar

amanda_muSpend 3 hours with Roger Harrell, founder of the CrossFit Gymnastics Certification program, learning how to properly teach gymnastics fundamentals in a CrossFit program. Detailed progressions will be covered. Key safety concerns will be addressed specifically geared toward teaching gymnastics movements to adults.

August 9, 2014 01:00PM to 4:00PM

Member cost: $70.00
Non-member cost: $75.00

To register, use the “Register” link to sign up for just this seminar.  This seminar is limited to 20 participants, so sign up early to ensure a spot. The price listed above will hold up until 10 days prior to the event (July 31) at which time the event cost will increase to $90.

This seminar is coupled with the Athlete’s Gymnastics Seminar. Member’s cost for both Trainer’s and Athlete’s seminars is $90, non-member cost is $100.  Call (415) 250-9710 to sign up for BOTH seminars and receive the special pricing.

CrossFit Athlete’s Gymnastics Seminar
Spend 3 hours with Roger Harrell, founder of the CrossFit Gymnastics Certification program, learning gymnastics movements. This seminar is focused on proper and efficient execution of key gymnastics elements.  Get started or improve your technique on a variety of movements. Learn how these skills truly break down to work toward mastery. Floor, rings and parallettes will be covered in detail with an introduction to other gymnastics apparatus.  Learn some key techniques to dramatically improve your efficiency and enable performance of skills you thought unattainable.

August 9, 2014 04:30PM - 7:30 PM

Member cost: $70.00

Non-member cost: $75.00

To register, use the “Register” link to sign up for just this seminar.  This seminar is limited to 20 participants so sign up early to ensure a spot. The price listed above will hold up until 10 days prior to the event (July 31) at which time the event cost will increase to $90.

This seminar is coupled with the Trainer’s Gymnastics Seminar. Member’s cost for both Athlete’s and Trainer’s seminars is $90, non-member cost is $100.  Call (415) 250-9710 to sign up for BOTH seminars and receive the special pricing.

Exciting New programming changes at CrossFit Marin from Bo

Friday, June 13th, 2014

amand_hspuThe CrossFit Games Northern California Regionals were an exciting three days.  After seven grueling workouts, Amanda N. came out in 17th place.  This is a huge achievement and we are all very proud of her.  Thanks to all who came down to San Jose to support Amanda. For a full recap check out our blog. http://www.inthecave.com/blog/
If you have not congratulated Amanda N. yet, come down to the Silver Peso in Larkspur this Friday evening, June 13th, for the first Monthly Social Hour.

New Programming Tracks

We are starting a new programming structure here at CrossFit Marin. There will be two parallel tracks.  One will be called “Fitness” and will be the same type of programming as our CrossFit Conditioning classes were. The other will be called “Performance” and will be the same as our regular CrossFit classes were.
Fitness will vary in that it will include less heavy weights and less technically difficult movements.  Performance will continue to have heavy weights for developing power and complex olympic and gymnastic movements to keep people challenged.
A CrossFit Marin athlete will now be able to come to any class and choose which track they wish to do. You will not be forced into staying with one track, you will be welcome to switch back and forth as you please.
We are hoping this improves your experience here at The Cave and allows you to receive the type of workout you are looking for.

Beyond The Whiteboard Now Available

We are happy to announce that we are now offering Beyond the Whiteboard to all of our CrossFit athletes as a way to track their workouts. Beyond the Whiteboard is the best workout tracking tool available. There are thousands of people that use BTWB and this will allow you to compare your workout score with not only your gym mates but people around the world.  If this idea terrifies you, you will have the option of keeping all your information private.
This will be a free service to all CrossFit Marin athletes.
To gain access, sign up at the gym with your name (and the email address you wish to be associated with your BTWB account) on the sign up sheet at the gym. You will be emailed an invitation by the end of the day.
As a disclaimer, BTWB is not perfect. There will be aspects that are not ideal.  BTWB is independent, and CrossFit Marin has no control of the service BTWB provides. Please understand that we cannot address complaints.

This Week in The Cave

Monday, June 9th, 2014

campfire-night3_webKids Night Out

Forget about the babysitter and bring the kids to The Cave!  They’ll get exercise, have lots of fun and enjoy a healthy dinner.  This week’s theme is Campfire Night.   Register on-line or call (415) 927-1630.  $35 in advance or $45 at the door.

Summer Camps

Have you made summer plans for your kids yet?  The Cave’s summer camps are perfect for any age and any level!  Our coaches will challenge your child at her level while making sure they are safe and having fun.

summer-parkour-campsfinal-1

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!
Gymnastics:  June 16-20
Ninja:  June 23-27
Team Gymnastics:  June 30-July 3 (This training camp is for Level 3+.)
Gymnastics:  July 28- August 1
Youth Camp:  August 4-8
Gymnastics:  August 11-15
Parkour:  August 18-22

REGISTER ON-LINE OR CALL (415)927-1630.

Challenge WOD

Challenge WOD #4 was announced last night, read about it here, so get it done by this Sunday! The third challenge WOD is complete, great job to all those who participated. Want to know more about Challenge WOD? Check this out!

CrossFit Trainer’s Gymnastics Seminar

amanda_muSpend 3 hours with Roger Harrell, founder of the CrossFit Gymnastics Certification program, learning how to properly teach gymnastics fundamentals in a CrossFit program. Detailed progressions will be covered. Key safety concerns will be addressed specifically geared toward teaching gymnastics movements to adults.

SAugust 9, 2014 01:00PM to 4:00PM

Member cost: $70.00
Non-member cost: $75.00

To register, use the “Register” link to sign up for just this seminar.  This seminar is limited to 20 participants, so sign up early to ensure a spot. The price listed above will hold up until 10 days prior to the event (July 31) at which time the event cost will increase to $90.

This seminar is coupled with the Athlete’s Gymnastics Seminar. Member’s cost for both Trainer’s and Athlete’s seminars is $90, non-member cost is $100.  Call (415) 250-9710 to sign up for BOTH seminars and receive the special pricing.

CrossFit Athlete’s Gymnastics Seminar

Spend 3 hours with Roger Harrell, founder of the CrossFit Gymnastics Certification program, learning gymnastics movements. This seminar is focused on proper and efficient execution of key gymnastics elements.  Get started or improve your technique on a variety of movements. Learn how these skills truly break down to work toward mastery. Floor, rings and parallettes will be covered in detail with an introduction to other gymnastics apparatus.  Learn some key techniques to dramatically improve your efficiency and enable performance of skills you thought unattainable.

August 9, 2014 04:30PM - 7:30 PM

Member cost: $70.00

Non-member cost: $75.00

To register, use the “Register” link to sign up for just this seminar.  This seminar is limited to 20 participants so sign up early to ensure a spot. The price listed above will hold up until 10 days prior to the event (July 31) at which time the event cost will increase to $90.

This seminar is coupled with the Trainer’s Gymnastics Seminar. Member’s cost for both Athlete’s and Trainer’s seminars is $90, non-member cost is $100.  Call (415) 250-9710 to sign up for BOTH seminars and receive the special pricing.

What’s Happening This Week in The Cave?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

ATTENTION!! Please note that The Cave will be CLOSED on MONDAY, MAY 26TH, in observance of Memorial Day.  All classes are cancelled for that day, EXCEPT CrossFit 9 and 10 am classes.

The Cave will be OPEN for all regularly scheduled classes (in all disciplines) on Saturday 5/24Sunday 5/25, and Tuesday 5/27. If you have any questions regarding Memorial Day hours or any other hours at The Cave, please contact Amy at amy.d@inthecave.com.

cf-games-2014Reebok CrossFit Regionals

Did you know Amanda Norton qualified and is competing at the Reebok CrossFit Regionals?  She’ll be competing from May 30 - June 1.  Regionals is a great way to meet others in the CrossFit community, witness some spectacular performances, and even pick up the latest in WOD wear.  Grab your CAVE shirt and purchase your ticket to come and cheer on Amanda!   Click here for the schedule of events.

Challenge WOD

There are a lot of empty spaces on WOD #2 for Challenge WOD.   This is your last week to get it done, so what are you waiting for??  The second WOD was announced last week, which you can read about right here. Want to know more about Challenge WOD? Check this out!

Kids Night Out:

waterfight531web

Forget the baby sitter and bring the kids to The Cave for Kids Night Out!  They will have a great time playing water games, doing skill work with coaches, and having a healthy bbq dinner — everything a parent would want for their kids night out!  The next KNO is May 31, click here to register. Don’t forget to pack a towel!
summer-parkour-campsfinal-1

Summer Camps
If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!

Summer Camps:


This Week’s Happenings in The Cave!

Monday, April 28th, 2014

cave_client-bbq6_webCave Community BBQ
The Cave is hosting a Client Appreciation BBQ event on May 3rd from 1:00-7:00PM.  All are welcome to attend, though we will be paying extra special attention to our CrossFit community! They have worked very hard this year and deserve some home cookin’ and some fun!
If you’re looking to show off your awesome paleo (or non-paleo) cooking skills, you’re in luck for this is a pot-luck event.  The Cave will provide the bulk of the food and drink, but feel free to bring a dish to share! Come prepared to participate in some fun games and contests for prizes.  Who doesn’t love an old fashioned water balloon toss or three legged race? It is important to note that The Cave will NOT be providing child care at this event, however, children are welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Challenge WOD

Thanks to Coach Bo, the Challenge WOD is back and better than ever! This time around the in-house competition will consist of 6 workouts, each running for 2 weeks. At the conclusion of the 6 workouts, a winner will be chosen for Top Male and Top Female athletes. Read more about it here!

Whole Life Challenge

The Whole Life Challenge is a game/contest started by CrossFit LA. designed to help people make positive lifestyle changes by using accountability.  If you would like to participate in this challenge, sign up by going to our team page at:   http://www.whole.lc/wlcsummer14/pt/thecave. We’ve had Cavers do the WLC before with great success.  Be sure to share this with your friends — they do not have to be Cavers to participate, nor do they have to be fitness nuts.  There are varying levels of participation.  Inviting friends to participate in the WLC with you may be a good way to get them thinking about their health and fitness without the full level of commitment of joining The Cave.

Fantastic Acrobatic AcroYoga Workshop

May 18th 1:00 - 3:30PM

Combining partner yoga, partner acrobatics, and healing arts, AcroYoga helps build strength, confidence and trust.  Who wants to be fantastic when you could be Acrotastic?!  This workshop is guaranteed to make you work hard and gain skills while having a blast!  Come learn the ways and leave happy!  Space is limited so please register early!   AcroYoga beginner and intermediate levels welcome.

AcroYoga is an incredibly fun way to bust through fears, build trust in one’s abilities, form powerful friendships and large amounts of confidence. Crystal Hatzimichael is both an experienced AcroYoga teacher and a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist. Reserve your space now by e-mailing crystal@inthecave.com or calling (415)927-1630. $35

summer-parkour-campsfinal-1

Summer Camps

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!

Summer Camps:


How Does Exercise Make Us Happier?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

ropesFor many years, physical exercise has been touted to be a cure for nearly any ailment, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease to Parkinson’s and more.  What would you think if I told you it may even be possible to exercise to happiness?!  Physically active people recover from mild depression more quickly, and physical activity is strongly correlated with good mental health as people age ¹. You have probably heard this before, but in order to truly understand, I felt it was time to get specific and even a little scientific about how exercise affects our brains.

It’s fairly simple to recognize how exercise affects our bodies.  As we exercise, we build more muscle and/or stamina, two elements that are measurable and obvious.  Better fitting pants and heavier weights are clear indicators to understand how effective exercise is for a body.  But, recognizing the benefits of exercise to our brains is not as clear to identify.

What triggers happiness in our brains when we exercise? The short answer is based on the release of endorphins.  But what exactly does that mean?  First, a shallow dive into the science pool…

When we begin exercising, our brains recognize it as stress.  As the heart pressure increases, our brains think we are either fighting an enemy or fleeing from it, commonly identified as the fight-or-flight response.  To protect ourselves and our brains from stress, a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) is released.  BDNF is both protective and reparative to our memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. This is why after exercising, we often think more clearly and feel so at ease, even yes, happy.  This experience is by far my favorite part about working out.  That moment when the weight of the world has lifted off my shoulders and I know I can get through anything — even whatever crazy WOD Bo had programmed that day.  Endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is also released in our brains at this time.  The endorphins’ job is to minimize the discomfort of exercise, blocking any sensations of pain that are even associated with a feeling of euphoria. Overall, during physical activity, our brains are considerably more active than when we are just sitting down or even concentrating mentally.

The important piece to understand is  how we can trigger these processes in an optimal and longer lasting way. Now this is where it all gets very interesting. A recent study from Penn State University found that the level of productivity and happiness on a given work day is based more on if you exercise regularly, and not just on that particular day.

“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”

To get the highest level of happiness and benefits for health, the key is not to become a professional athlete. On the contrary, a much smaller amount of daily exercise is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity for every day life can peak. New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Reynolds has written a whole book about this subject matter, titled The First 20 Minutes. In the book she states, “The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20-40 minutes of being active.”  So really, you can relax and don’t have to be on the look-out for the next killer work-out.  (Although I do love them.)  All you have to do is get focused and get moving to gain the full happiness boost every day!

“On exercise days, people’s moods significantly improved after exercising.  Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” (University of Bristol)

As a quick last fact, exercise and the subsequent increase of the BDNF proteins in our brains act as a mood enhancer.  So, at the beginning of exercise, the feeling of euphoria is the highest. This means that if you have never exercised before, or not for a long time, your happiness gains will be the highest if you start now.

Exercise and happiness are 2 immensely important things to me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions too.

This Week’s Happenings in The Cave!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

cave_client-bbq6_webCave Community BBQ!

The Cave is hosting a Client Appreciation BBQ event on May 3rd from 1:00-7:00PM.  All are welcome to attend, though we will be paying extra special attention to our CrossFit community! They have worked very hard this year and deserve some home cookin’ and some fun!
If you’re looking to show off your awesome paleo (or non-paleo) cooking skills, you’re in luck for this is a pot-luck event.  The Cave will provide the bulk of the food and drink, but feel free to bring a dish to share! Come prepared to participate in some fun games and contests for prizes.  Who doesn’t love an old fashioned water balloon toss or three legged race? It is important to note that The Cave will NOT be providing child care at this event, however, children are welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Kid’s Night Out

Next Kid’s Night Out is April 26.  It’s Sports Night, with hot dogs for dinner!  Reserve your space now by e-mailing crystal@inthecave.com or calling (415)927-1630. $45 at the door or $35 in advance.

CrossFit Open Masters Qualifier

Masters competitors who finished in the top 200 worldwide in their age division in the Open are invited to compete in the Masters Qualifier. The Masters Qualifier runs from April 17-21. At 5 p.m. PT on April 17, four workouts will be released. Competitors will have four days to complete the workouts and submit scores. The Cave has 5 athletes competing this weekend!   Stay tuned to the blog and our Facebook page for more information.

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Summer Camps

If you like the idea of keeping the kids healthily active during the summer (while giving parents a few hours break),  check out our Summer Camp schedule below!  Then be sure to register NOW as these classes fill up FAST!

Summer Camps: