Costume Contest Tomorrow and Eating Late

298626_312759378740783_1663367719_nTo this day, Jeff’s 2011 Halloween performance is one of the most storied in our history.

Halloween is tomorrow! Don’t forget that there is a costume contest that will be held throughout the day. Only rule is that you must WOD in costume. Who will be the big winner!?

While you are thinking about your costume and all the bad food you will be eating, check out this article from the NYT on the dangers of eating late. Be safe out there y’all!

From the article.

The number of people with acid reflux has grown significantly in recent decades. Reflux can lead to esophageal cancer, which has increased by about 500 percent since the 1970s. And anti-reflux medication alone does not appear to control reflux disease. A Danish study published this year concluded that there were no cancer-protective effects from using the common anti-reflux medications, called proton pump inhibitors, and that regular long-term use was actually associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

What is responsible for these disturbing developments? The answer is our poor diet, with its huge increases in the consumption of sugar, soft drinks, fat and processed foods. But there is another important variable that has been underappreciated and overlooked: our dinnertime.

Read more here.


Featured Athlete: Frink

jason_fJason, cool, calm and collected during this year’s Lalanne Throwdown

The Example,  Mr. Consitency, Sweat Shop Star Student, the list of nick names for Jason could go on and on!  In all honesty, Jason, more so than anyone I’ve ever coached, has done an amazing job of gradually, but consistently, increasing the intensity and weights of his workouts since he started several years ago.  This method may not yield the quickest returns in the form of performance gains, however, the gains are consistent, with little or no plateaus, and best of all, greatly reducing the likelihood of injury.  While Jason may seem like a pretty quiet guy at first, he definitely has a good sense of humor once you get to know him, check out Featured Athlete Profile to learn a little more about him.

Name: Jason Frink
Age: 37


Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?

A. A little over three years.


Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?

A. Mostly endurance training for triathlons.


Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?

A. Brianne and I were searching for a new gym in the area.  Neither of us really knew what CrossFit was and we just happened to find the Sweat Shop.  After our trial session we were hooked.  And that was the end of our gym search.


Q.  What has been the most significant benefit/change since you’ve been doing CrossFit?

A. Being stronger and more fit overall. I am probably in the best shape since high school/college when I was a competitive swimmer and trained 15 to 20 hours per week.


Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?

A. Cleans. And, there are too many good Sweat Shop workouts to name. So, I’ll just say I like most of them no matter how painful and crazy they can be.


Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?

A. Deadlifts. But, I am slowly getting better at these.


Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?

A. Any good IPA. That’s healthy right?


Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?

A. Ice cream, just like everyone else. And definitely fries from The Counter and Roam.


Q.  What do you enjoy most about training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?

A. The coaches, members, atmosphere, and daily challenge.  It’s definitely motivating for me to see everyone work so hard. Whether it’s 6:00am or 6:30pm class is always a good time.


Q.  Now that you’ve been doing CrossFit, what’s one thing you could never see yourself doing again? (workout, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.)

A. Hopefully Fran (including any variation of it) and CrossFit Open 14.5! And running on a treadmill. I think I’d rather do AMRAPs of burpees and wall balls than step on a treadmill again.


Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?

A. Lately just being able to compete in some of the local comps. Two years ago I didn’t think that would even be possible. And, most importantly, I am winning the Battle for the Sweat Shop NFL Fantasy League. Marko, if you need some tips let me know. Other than that, during my athletic prime, I had a 5:00 Half IronMan and was a NCAA All-American in Swimming.


Q.  What advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try CrossFit?

A.Just give it a try. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into at first. There’s a lot to learn so listen to your coaches and be patient. Stick with it and most importantly have fun.


Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?

A. Doing better at the Open every year. Finishing in the top 500 for NorCal next year would be an accomplishment. A 185# snatch by year end would be nice too. And of course being able to front squat like Kyle Garcia one day. Getting that bar to levitate in the front rack is something else.

Snatch: Arms and Pull


Skyler demonstrating a solid Snatch pull. Note how Skyler pulls the bar into the body.

As most of us know, the snatch is very complex lift. There are several moving parts at play while completing the lift. You’ve more than likely heard and array of cues from Nabil, James and I. One cue I came across in this article discusses the cue “your arms are like ropes”. I’d never heard it before and it didn’t quite make since until I read the article. In theory, the “arms are like ropes” cue is used to prevent premature arm pull or “gripping and ripping it” from the ground. What I appreciated about the article is that some can take that cue too far, causing no arm pull at all, leading the bar to swing out in front.

It’s a good cue. As I said, I’ve used it. But you wanna know something? I think I mentally held on to this cue a little too long, and it hurt my technique for a while.
Let me explain. If you use the “arms like ropes” principle and you emphasize the hell out of it, it’s very likely that the bar might swing out in front of your body after you’ve driven your hips into it. Raise your hand if “the swing” is one of your main technique errors. Your coach tries to get you to keep the bar closer to your body, but the damn thing still loops forward as it’s passing your abdomen and chest. This probably makes you jump forward, which isn’t good. Jumping forward is something you should avoid as much as possible.
There’s a very good chance that these problems might be caused because you’re letting your arms stay like ropes a little too long. Listen, the point I’m making is that you have to use your arms when you pull snatches and cleans. But you have to know HOW and WHEN to use them.

Check out the full article from Catalyst Athletics here 

Great Job Competitors


Lots of competition action this past weekend!  On Saturday Marko and Brandon, as well as Helen and Taneya, teamed up and competed at Iron October at CrossFit Iron Mile in Sacramento.  And on Sunday, Mike and Lones teamed up and competed at Master’s Madness at Diablo CrossFit in Pleasant Hill.  While these days there are competitions for all levels, both of these groups went head to head with NorCal Regional and CrossFit Games athletes!  While our sole focus at the Sweat Shop isn’t training just to compete at local competitions, Regionals, or the Games, for many, it’s a fun way to stay motivated during training, and to use it as a gauge to identify their strong suits, as well as their weakness, so they may adjust their training accordingly.  While I wasn’t able to make it out to Master’s Madness on Sunday, here are some pics from Saturday.

Understanding Mobile and Stable Joints

Last month, Dr. Rob and I attended the Selective Functional Movement Assessment Seminar. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s  a seminar put on by the governing body on all things “functional movement” and is run by the big names in the pre-hab, diagnostic, and rehabilitative realm of corrective exercise. They have created a pretty awesome diagnostic flowchart and system of assessing all sources of pain throughout the body. Out of the many seminars I’ve attended on exercise physiology, performance enhancement, and as a matter of fact, all of my undergraduate and graduate studies in Kinesiology, this one really took my understanding of the human body, through exercise and sport, to another level. While there were a ton of concepts I have taken home with me and have started applying to training and programming, I thought I’d share a really cool one that ALL of you who have had some sort of nagging pain or injury can relate to: The Stable/Mobile joint Approach.

This approach was put together by Functional Movement coaches and therapists Gray Cook and Mike Boyle.

If you look at the big joint structures of the body (see above), there is a recurring pattern….Whether you start from the top-down or vice versa, the body follows an alternating pattern of:

Stable Joints and Mobile Joints

For instance, the ankle, which requires a lot of movement in all planes of motion at the foot is considered a MOBILE joint. Right above it, we have the knee, a joint that provides stability for the leg, which is considered a STABLE joint. You are probably familiar with the hip as a MOBILE joint, and right above it, the lumbar spine, which is our spine’s source of support, is considered a STABLE joint. The same goes for shoulder girdle (STABLE joint) while the shoulder joint is a MOBILE joint and so on and so forth.

In a perfect body, this pattern stays consistent and is a blueprint of how we were meant to use our joints functionally. However, in life, especially in the lives of those who love to move, we run the risk of messing with this beautiful pattern. We start to run into problems when our daily activities, or lack there of, can alter the anatomically pre-determined job of the joints. Think about sitting for long periods. Our hip, which is supposed to be a mobile joint, is glued to a seat. What happens over time? Tight hips. When the hip, which is supposed to be a mobile joint, turns into a stable body, the next joint up has to compensate and start moving….hello Mr. Low Back Pain. Now the low back has gone from what is supposed to be a stable joint to now having to do excess motion to make up for the tight hips. Here is the start of the vicious cycle. If we just did a hardcore shoulder workout and the shoulder joint gets tight or “immobile”, the shoulder girdle, where our shoulder stabilizers reside, take on more movement. Hello shoulder issues.

So, why do I want you all to know this? To be honest, I think it’s really cool stuff to know. When you extrapolate this to the entire body, you can start to see the importance of moving correctly! You can back track and maybe find where most pain comes from and in my realization at this seminar, how one tight joint can effect all the others. As coaches, we always want you guys to better understand the “why’s” and “how’s” of treating yourself. Most of us just grab a foam roller or lax ball and start going to town on where we feel pain. This is obviously better than nothing, however, finding the source of the pain or tightness will help you get to the problem quicker. I know a majority of you are not EXPERTS in anatomy, but as with things like exercise and diet, I’m sure the lack of clinical expertise has not stopped you from going about day to day behavior changes. Also, this is where we come in! One of the biggest values of a clinician, therapist, or coach, is to assess and diagnose movement correctly. We’ve been around movement a lot, and take pride in our knowledge of the body so don’t be afraid to communicate any nagging issues with us. If it is beyond something movement-based, then of course, go see a doc. A good diagnosis cuts to the chase. If you can get a better diagnosis, you know where to start treatment and be able to cut down the treatment time. When you cut treatment time down, you get back to doing what you love: MOVING!

Halloween Costume Contest

535589_741578009192249_1500472557_nLast year’s crew! 

It’s that time of year! As we’ve done the past couple years, we continue our tradition of the Halloween Costume contest this year. With Halloween conveniently on a Friday this year, we hope to have a big showing from you all! Ok, so how does it work? Very simple. On Friday, October 31st, show up to the 4:30 or 5:30pm class ready to WOD….in costume! To be entered in the contest, you MUST complete the WOD in costume. The person with the best costume will win a PRIZE! The winner of the contest will be chosen by vote of the Sweat Shop coaches based upon creativity, originality, WODing difficulty, and humor!

Check out some old winners here:

See you all on Halloween!

Row-a-Thon at Walnut Creek CrossFit


Our friends at Walnut Creek CrossFit are hosting a Row-A-Thon with proceeds going to the family of the man that started the event back in Fresno a few years back.  The format of this event is actually pretty cool.  Teams of 4 (2 men, 2 women) have 1 rower to accumulate as many meters in 90 minutes as possible.  Here’s the cool part, while you are rotating your 4 team members through your 1 rower, there are 8 skills to be performed at any point during the event that will earn your team extra points.  Each team member will be designated to do 2 of the skills.  Here are the list of skills:

Max Ring Muscle Ups (unbroken)
Max Bar Muscle Ups (unbroken)
Max Calories on Airdyne (2 minutes)
Max Tire Flips (2 minutes)
Max KB Snatch (53/35) 2 minutes
Max Double Unders (2 minutes)
Max Distance Farmers Carry (2 minutes)
Max Unbroken Wallballs 30/18 (2 minutes)

The event will be held on Saturday November 15th 8am, in downtown Walnut Creek at Walnut Creek CrossFit.  Cost is $100 per team.  To register for this event email Andrew at Walnut Creek CrossFit.

Iron October this Saturday


We have two teams competing in the Iron October Comp in Sacramento this Saturday! Partners Taneya & Helen and Brandon & Marko are ready to represent for Team Sweat Shop. Events start at 9:00am. Address posted below if you want to come cheer on your fellow Sweat Shoppers.


Click on for more info



CrossFit Around the World

IMG_5251Stephen getting a workout while in Tokyo for a business trip

Stephen me sent this picture last week of a CrossFit gym he visited in Tokyo and it reminded me how cool the community is.  Whether traveling within California, the United States, or just about anywhere on the globe, you can always find a CrossFit gym that welcomes traveling fellow CrossFitters.  While all CrossFit gyms do some form of CrossFit, the Sweat Shop members I’ve spoke to that have visited other gyms also enjoy seeing how other gyms differ from the Sweat Shop.  I too enjoy visiting CrossFit gyms when I’m out of town (CrossFit Avalanche and CrossFit Blizzard in North Tahoe are my favorites).  For me it’s nice to workout in an environment different from where I work and play everyday, but when I visit a gym with great coaches, it’s also really useful to pick up new cues, mobility stretches, and different fixes to common movement problems.  Lastly, while every gym has different drop in policies, it’s always a good idea to call or email the day before you plan on visiting a gym.

CrossFit Team Series Complete!


Congrats to Nick, Skyler, Taneya, and Bri as they wrapped up the first ever CrossFit Team Series competition last week! They fought long and hard for a total of 3 weekends of competition (even through some nagging injuries) and took an awesome 6th place in Nor Cal out of 54 teams! For those who are not familiar with the Team Series, it’s similar to the CrossFit Open, but with a 4-person team. CrossFit announces 3 sets of 3-4 workouts, each set separated by a couple weeks, and the team has 4 days to complete each set and submit the scores online. Nick, Skyler, Taneya, and Bri set the bar really high and we can’t wait to get more groups of Sweat Shoppers involved next year! Great work everyone, and thanks for testing the waters for us!

For more info on the CrossFit Team Series, check out their website here.

Missing Lifts

10058647355_a20e8100bf_kVintage Bill..before he used to squat in his Olympian Titans

For some time, we’ve been very fond of the “Every Minute On The Minute” or “EMOM” format when programming olympics lifting days. One main reason is that it keeps you more on task during the session. Although it is a bit more fatiguing, having the added stress to go right back to the bar allows you to get more work done and can help minimize the mental block that creeps up when you reach that semi-uncomfortable weight. We also like it because it is a great format to self-teach yourself the movement. It allows you to make adjustments or give yourself cues in a short period of time. With all this being said, all of the amazing benefits from the EMOM can be quickly lost when you allow too many misses. Going for max or near max loads, especially during olympic lifting training, will never translate to actual learning if you fail the majority of them. If you are missing 6+ reps in a 2-rep, 12 minute EMOM, you’re basically wasting the session. Here’s an article from Catalyst Athletics on the effect of missing lifts when training.

From the post:

What percentage of your lifts in training are misses? If you know an actual number, you’re spending too much time on the math and not enough on the lifting, but if it’s a big chunk, you’re probably aware of it. I’ve talked a lot about practice and how important it is to practice lifting the way you want to lift even on the seemingly inconsequential sets or accessory lifts because that will be the majority of your training volume, and therefore the majority of your training time. 

Your misses count as practice just as much as your makes do. Not only is it practice in the physical, technical sense, i.e. you’re practicing the movement that produces a miss, but, more importantly, you’re practicing mentally to miss. If missing is a regular occurrence in your training, it’s a serious problem you need to address both through adjustments in your programming and in your approach to your training.

Read more here. 

Yoga Tuesday Evening’s @ 8:00pm

Despite what this video suggests, you don’t have to just choose one or the other.  In fact most CrossFitters would benefit greatly from the mobility gained by doing yoga in conjunction with CrossFit.  This leads me to reminding you all that we currently offer a yoga class each Tuesday evening at 8pm taught by Ali… and the class is free to Sweat Shop members.

TIME to end the war on Fat

This was a recent article in Time Magazine. It’s great to see Fats getting a good rap in the public eye. While most of us already know this good stuff, a reminder and a bit of science is always helpful, especially when asked why you eat the way you eat.


CrossTown Throwdown – Tiki Comes Home!

brandon_danaBrandon B. (long time CFO member, now Sweat Shop member) and Dana during “Awkward Touching” which was a team event of double unders and buddy carry

The 2014 CrossTown Throwdown is in the books with the win going to CrossFit Sweat Shop!  After losing a heartbreaker last year, it was nice to win this year in commanding fashion.  As always though, I must thank Mike and Arnold of CrossFit Oakland for all the work that goes in each year to put this event together, and of course MJ, for all the work on his end coordinating the whole event.

With so many great highlights throughout the day I’ll share a few of my favorites, and then James and Rene can share theirs in posts later this week if they’d like.

One of my favorite highlights happened before the event even started.  One of the first to arrive at CrossFit Oakland was Doug, and I soon learned that he had been fasting since the day before, and had even gone to the sauna at 5am to try and sweat off the final few pounds to make the 165lb. weight class for the tug of war.  While this was the first year we added a “lightweight” division to the tug of war, we certainly didn’t expect anyone to cut weight, let alone, visit a sauna the morning of the event, in order to make weight… but if anyone knows Doug, you certainly know he will do just about anything to help out.  He’s also the nicest competitor out there as after he beat his opponent in the first matchup, he quickly went over to shake his hand.  Another great moment came in the second event when Ali came out on top of the Tabata Thruster workout against some of Oakland’s toughest competitors.  Her focus, determination, and absolute grit were like none other when she performed close to 200 thrusters in a matter of minutes.  Just as impressive is that she was still able to function as her, Kristen, and Becca blasted through 4 minutes of deadlifts at 185lbs., for the win in that workout…. as well as the kettlebell swing/box jump workout that came up a little later.  Speaking of tug of war, this was the first year that Sweat Shop was able to take the victory in that event which is ALWAYS super fun to watch (big thanks to Mark Marten for getting us our very own tug of war rope for Christmas last year!).  Slipping, sliding feet, bodies falling down and getting back up, people being dragged but not giving up, heavyweights, lightweights and everyone in between poured their ALL into each and every battle!

Most of all I am proud of our gym community as a whole.  More than half of our entire gym was in attendance on Saturday, whether it be to participate or just cheer and support, most of which stayed until the very end!  Midway through the competition, seeing the army of black shirts lined up to get their muscle up, I was reminded how fortunate I am to be a part of such an awesome group of people.  Thanks everyone!

Check out pictures from the event here.  Big thanks to Jen A. and Mel for taking lots of really great pictures!!

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