Open WOD 15.1 Announced!

15.1 Monday Heat Schedule

15.1 Sunday Heat Schedule 

15.1 Saturday Heat Schedule

15.1 Friday Evening Heat Schedule


And so it begins! For the first time ever, there’s an Open workout that has two parts that will count towards your first WOD!
Get those forearms ready!



Thursday 6:30pm
Friday 5:30pm
Saturday 9:30 & 10:30am
Sunday 9:30am
Monday 12:00pm


Here is the official WOD:


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 9 minutes of:
15 toes-to-bars
10 deadlifts (115 / 75 lb.)
5 snatches (115 / 75 lb.) 


1-rep-max clean and jerk
6-minute time cap

For more details on weights for masters and scaled and full workout description, click here.


Cricket Protein Bar


I’m not a big protein/energy bar person.  Lara Bars are the only ones I care for since they don’t have a lot of ingredients, unfortunately they don’t have any significant source of protein, so I usually consume them along with something that contains protein.  A few months ago however, Bill introduced me to Exo bars, which are made from crickets, seriously.  The chocolate flavored one I tried was very tasty and reminded me of a Lara Bar, but more substantial.

While we may find the thought of consuming insects as a protein source crazy, in many parts of the world it is quite common.  Surprisingly, although very small, insects are a more sustainable protein source compared to beef or chicken.  It will be interesting to see if insects as food source gains popularity in the U.S.  Even more interesting will be to see which of the big companies jump on board to profit from insects…. eventually there will be videos surfacing from inside the insect feed lots showing the poor living conditions and the mistreatment of insects.  Activist groups will be formed to raise awareness and protect the rights of the insects and just when things reach a boiling point, someone will discover a root vegetable that has been growing in abundance on one of Saturn’s outer rings.  Meanwhile I’m really looking forward to trying the Blueberry Vanilla flavored cricket bar, as I have ordered the variety box and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival!  I’ll keep you posted.

Exo Cricket Flour Protein Bars



During the CrossFit Open we are adding an additional Saturday morning class at 7:30am.  This way, those not interested in the Open can still get their Saturday morning workout, at either 7:30am or 8:30am, and then enjoy their weekend!

CrossFit Open Workout Time Slots

Thursday 6:30pm
Friday 5:30pm
Saturday 9:30 & 10:30am
Sunday 9:30am
Monday 12:00pm

Muscle Up Progression

With the open around the corner some of you may be eager to get your first muscle up. Carl Paoli breaks down the ring muscle up in this video. While he does a great job of covering the basics of the muscle up, the video doesn’t talk about the strength requirements in order to get on top and dip out of the rings.

Here are some extra credit homework assignments to work on before or after class:
1. Strict Pull up on bar
2. Strict Pull up on rings
3. Ring dips
4. Transition through the ring dip rings
5. Hollow swing

Reach out to Nabil, James, Marko or me before or after class if you’d like to know where to start on your muscle up journey.

Schedule for CrossFit Open Workouts


The 2015 CrossFit Open starts this Thursday!  Since those participating in the Open will need to have each of their workouts judged, we will be dedicating certain times to do the Open workouts.  Keep in mind, even if you aren’t signed up for the Open, or aren’t interested in competing, you can still do the Open workouts during these dedicated times.  However, we don’t want to detract from, or neglect our regular classes and for this reason we won’t be allowing Open workouts while a regular class is going on.

Listed below are the times that we’ll be running heats for the Open workout.  Aside from doing it during the Thursday evening time slot, you’ll need to post in the comment section of Thursday’s blog post what day and time you’d like to do the workout.  This allows us to setup the heat times and judges, so things run smoother and quicker.

Open Workout Time Slots:

Thursday 6:30pm
Friday 5:30pm
Saturday 9:30 & 10:30am
Sunday 9:30am
Monday 12:00pm

Lastly, during the CrossFit Open we are adding an additional Saturday morning class at 7:30am.  This way, those not interested in the Open can still get their Saturday morning workout, at either 7:30am or 8:30am, and then enjoy their weekend!


Congrats Jason and Brianne!


Big congratulations to Sweat Shoppers, Jason and Brianne, who tied the knot yesterday at City Hall in San Francisco!

Jason and Brianne have been a huge part of the Sweat Shop community since the day they stepped in years ago. They both approached CrossFit the way it should be down to it’s core. Jason is the prime example of how to get good at CrossFit. He has always had an appreciation and patience for the mastery of the skill and never lets his ego or scores on the whiteboard sidetrack him. This has shown in his continual progress over the years and seems to never hit a ceiling! Brianne, who has also made outstanding progress since she started, quickly befriended many Sweat Shoppers and has been one of the most positive presences at the Shop. She is always there to cheer everyone on and shows her appreciation for her coaches and those in the community. She knows very well how to make you feel good about yourself in a heartbeat!

Jason and Brianne, these awesome qualities you show us everyday are what make you an AWESOME husband and wife! We appreciate all you are to our community. Congrats again from us at Sweat Shop and best wishes on your future together!

Everyday Breakfasts


“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I’m sure you’ve heard that a lot. While I think to only care about one meal out of your day is beyond silly, to me, breakfast is most difficult to prepare for. I know this may be different for other people given schedules or access to food, but I think it holds true for the majority of those who have to wake up early and get a meal in before they head to work, school, or the gym. When people ask me what I eat for breakfast, it’s usually an underwhelming egg scramble with spinach, rice, milk and/or a piece of fruit. I am ok with it on most days because it’s quick but I know for some, a meal like this could get stale really quick. More recently, having Hiroshi’s pre-made “Ninja bowls” has been super convenient in that I can wake up and heat up the meal right before leaving home. In addition to it’s convenience of already being made, it forces me to eat new and different foods.

Rather than sending someone links to the tons of gourmet paleo recipes that can be a bit much to prepare with so little time in AM, I wanted to see what you Sweat Shoppers typically do for breakfast each day. I know many of the members at the Shop already know what should be in a healthy breakfast, but sometimes folks find it hard to change it up! Please post your common daily breakfasts in the comments section. Again, if possible, the more simple the better, or some that can be prepared for the night before. Although a “Baked-Egged in Prosciutto-Filled Portobello Mushroom Cap” might sound tasty, it might not be doable right before heading on BART to work. 

The Curse of Achilles

frink_calvesdem calves thou – courtesy of J. Frink

With the CrossFit Open right around the corner, and with it the high likelihood of high rep box jumps, now is a good time to remind everyone of some precautions to keep in mind before doing such a workout.  While rebounding box jumps are often quicker, they do carry the increased risk of an Achilles tendon injury.  It’s important to keep in mind if you naturally have tight calves, or if your calves or Achilles are sore or just aren’t feeling 100% possibly from a previous workout, you should take extra care during the workout, as well as spending some time beforehand mobilizing the soft tissue.  “Smashing” the area with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or the handle of a kettlebell are great ways to start out your mobilizing session.  Followed by some light static stretching like we do on the wall or posts, and then it’s always a good idea to do some light active dynamic stretching for the calves such as heel-toe walk, ankle skips, ankle flips, and then some jump rope.

Here’s a post on Breaking Muscle that talks more about the Achilles tendon.


Kombucha 2.0

Back when I was a raw vegan, my stove didn’t get much use other than housing my kombucha. 

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions around kombucha and how to home brew. Back in Dec 2012, I did a post on Kombucha and how to make it yourself. Below is the post from 2012. Post to comments if you are interested in making your own and I can get you set up with a mother in the next week or two.

I get a lot of questions as to what I’m drinking in my unmarked glass bottles with questionable liquid contents. KOMBUCHA of course! I fell in love with kombucha because of its carbonated goodness and fruity flavor. And come to find out, they say its pretty good for you. Win win in my book. So I started buying them bulk style at Whole Foods, but at $3 or more a bottle, it was adding up. I decided to have a go at making my own and I haven’t looked back. Check out some of the benefits below. Also, if you’re interested in making your own I can get you a mother to start. LMK and happy drinking.

P.S. Synergy Kombuca is my favorite.

From food

First, there’s all the benefits of detoxification, such as healthy livers and cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer. I know 2 people in my immediate circle of friends who have had cancer (pancreatic and breast) and fought it into remission without any chemo or radiation therapy. Instead, they warded it off by detoxing their lives (going 100% organic, removing chemical cleaners and agents in their home, changing their diet to be at least 80% raw or fermented, etc.) Central to the detoxification process was drinking Kombucha regularly. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)

Next, there’s all the benefits of the glucosamines it contains, such as preventing or treating all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

Then, there’s all the benefits of the fact that it’s a probiotic beverage, such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, and the general health and well-being associated with this. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

Plus, it’s extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.

Read more 

How to Row

I think this is a pretty cool video for a couple of reasons.  First they’ve clearly done some pretty cool computer animation when they developed the character that gets on the rower.  His ridiculously long limbs and how disproportionately larger he is than the guy talking is a clear indicator that he is computer generated.  However, his size makes it easy to see the different parts of the row stroke, and how sequence is key.  Since the row clinic we had at the Sweat Shop a few months back I’ve been paying a bit more attention to my technique and I can say the most important thing for me, and from what I’ve seen other members at the Sweat Shop, is to finishing driving with the legs before bringing the body and then arms into it.  As for the damper setting, once again the row coaches insist on keeping it at 5 or lower.  The guy in the video says to more closely mimic how it feels when you row on the water.  However, since we aren’t using it as a training tool to rowing on the water, and most of our distances are significantly shorter than what olympic rowers do, it may be beneficial for you to have the damper on a higher setting.  The best thing to do would be to experiment at rowing the same distance several times at different damper settings and compare your times and how you feel afterwards.  Then once you have the best damper for that distance, do the same experiment at a longer distance.

Open Countdown Begins!

Open Season. Are you ready? from CrossFit Sweat Shop on Vimeo.

Signed up for the Open yet? What are you waiting for?

Register here, and sign up for Team CrossFit Sweat Shop.

12 Days To Go……….. Let’s do this!

Next On-Ramp Date!


For those interested in our On-Ramp program, our next one will kick off on Monday March 9th at 6:45pm. As always, it will run each Monday and Wednesday night at 6:45pm for 4 weeks. If you have been hesitant to give CrossFit a try, or think you might not yet be ready for regular classes, the On-Ramp is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with what we do at the Sweat Shop. The On-Ramp starts out slow and covers the fundamentals of the movements you will be doing most often with us. It is also a good opportunity for those in the class to “Ramp-Up” their conditioning before starting the regular classes.

If this sounds like something for you, hop on board!

To reserve your spot, or for more information on the program, please e-mail me at The class is capped at 8 people. Don’t wait too long!

Click here to access our On-Ramp info page.

Big Sugar


Not to sound like a conspiracy therorist, but this is pretty interesting stuff.

Taking candy from a baby is easy. Taking sugar from a senator? Not so much. For decades, economists, free market think tanks, good-government advocates, newspaper columnists, and even the occasional elected official have decried the special treatment enjoyed by the American sugar industry.

Under current policies, U.S. sugarcane and sugar beet farmers receive minimum price guarantees regardless of market conditions. In addition, the federal government allots 85 percent of the U.S. sugar market to domestic producers, and it imposes quotas and tariffs on the 40 countries that are allowed to export sugar to America.

Read full post here.

CrossFit Convos


I was recently in a conversation with someone I met outside the gym, we got on the topic of exercise. Here was our conversation:

Woman: I hike Mt. Diablo at least twice a week. There are so many great hikes.
Me: That’s awesome! We live so close, I wouldn’t mind getting out there on the trail. I used to trail run a lot and there’s something really beautiful about being out on a trail.
Woman: Oh great, so you’re a runner.
Me: I used to run, now I mainly do CrossFit for exercise.
Woman: OH NO!!!!… Be careful with that CrossFit stuff, it’s really dangerous!
Me: You’ve tried it?
Woman: No…but I’ve heard stories…
Me: I’m a CrossFit coach
Woman:  Awkward silence.
Me: With improper form anything can be dangerous. I’ve heard the stories too and easy to see how CrossFit gets a bad wrap. If the coaching is solid so will the athlete.
Woman: Yeah, that’s true.

This was not the first time someone who has never tried CrossFit warned me of it dangers. I had to chuckle to myself afterwards. But it got me thinking…

There are plenty of people out there thinking of trying CrossFit, but are held back fear. Fear stemming from a skewed view of what CrossFit is. You’ll never know until you try. I really enjoyed what Seth had to say about fear in his Athlete Profile:

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

“The first session is free! Who doesn’t like free stuff?”  Seriously though, if people ask me about CF, I usually tell them, “it has the potential to change your life if you’re willing to get past your initial fears”. My educational background is in Public Health so I’m more interested in having conversations about how we can make CF part of our school’s physical education curriculum. I think it should be mandatory. Let’s get kids hooked on CF and clean food early in their lives and end the obesity epidemic in this country!

Have you been met with less than enthusiastic responses to what you do for exercise? If so, what was your rebuttal? Post to comments below:


Athlete Profile: Seth I.

seth_profileIt’s always funny to watch Seth quietly come into the Sweat Shop after work, he takes a short look at the class that is currently working out, then changes from his work clothes into his workout clothes.  Still pretty chill during the warmup, it’s usually not until about midway through the workout that you’ll hear a “whaaaoooo!!” or a “i LOVE this sh*t!”.  After the workout you can find Seth doing some additional abdominal work, or practicing his handstand walks.  His focus and dedication is nothing short of amazing.  For someone to recently have shoulder surgery, and then come back and continue to progress the way he has is pretty awesome to watch!  If it were someone’s first time at the gym, they may think that Seth is a pretty obnoxious guy, but as soon as you get to know him you realize he is a super nice guy, great husband to his lovely wife Krista, and all around good person.  Here’s more on Seth.

Name: Seth Ingram

Age: 39

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?

2 ½ years.


Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?

Sports and exercise have always been a big part of my life. I grew up playing soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball, and golf. Before CrossFit, I had been working out religiously 3-4 times a week at various gyms for about 18 years – mostly strength training and very little cardio.  I thought I was in really good shape … until I started CrossFit.


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

My wife, Krista, was doing some personal training with Helen. She said her husband runs a CrossFit gym in Walnut Creek and we could come in any time to check it out. Krista would come home and show me CF workout routines Helen had taught her and I’d shake my head and tell her “I don’t think you’re doing it right.” Eventually, Krista convinced me to go to a class together.  By the third class, and the third time collapsing from utter exhaustion, I knew this was going to be long term. My first thought was, “I can’t breathe, but I didn’t die. Let’s do it again!”


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

The changes have been dramatic, both mentally and physically. Physically, I’m stronger and more mobile than I’ve ever been. This is important because I need to make sure I look good so my wife finds me attractive. More importantly, CF has helped me psychologically.  I’ve gained a new confidence in myself and my abilities, which I never knew I was lacking. One of the fantastic things about CF is how much it mimics life outside the gym, such that you need to be tough, patient, and willing to push yourself to limits you did not think you were capable of in order to be successful. I am so grateful to all the coaches at the Sweat Shop as well as the great people I’ve been privileged to meet.


Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout??

I smile every time I see muscle-ups on the whiteboard or any WOD that has a lot of different movements. Olympic lifts like snatches and clean and jerks were frustrating in the beginning and always put me in a bad mood, but now I feel like it’s a special treat when they are on the whiteboard.


Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?

Easy: Double-unders. I believe I’ve had some Mazzei-worthy outbursts a time or three. There’s nothing more satisfying than throwing your rope the length of the gym when you’re at home practicing. However, I recently strung together 85 in post-wod practice so I know there’s potential for greatness!


Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?

A beautifully cooked filet mignon and some vegetables. I’m also addicted to Aaron’s “Ninja Bowls.”


Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?

Cookies. I love them. It’s my kryptonite. Chocolate chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut butter, Snicker doodles…


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

Everything. I enjoy the people, the competition, and throwing around heavy weight. I’m extremely competitive and now that I’m not as active in sports, the Sweat Shop gives me an outlet for that. That’s why sometimes you hear me yelling or screaming during or after the workout. It’s me competing with myself or secretly with others.

I am always excited to see whoever shows up and I enjoy Saturdays because I get to see people I don’t usually workout with. You can’t beat the atmosphere the coaches have created, this is truly a unique gym. For me, every day at the Sweat Shop is fun. I love this sh*t!


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

The Elliptical machine. It pains me to even admit to having been a regular user of that machine.

Nutrition-wise, my wife and I decided together to start eating a more paleo-style diet 1 ½ years ago. We cut out pizza, pastas, bread, sugar and processed foods. Except for the occasional diversion, I don’t see us ever going back to how we used to eat.  There’s no comparison to how we feel now vs. then.

Also, I recently celebrated one year without alcohol. This is something I should have done a long time ago. I am more productive, feel great every day, and my wife and friends say I’m somewhat more likable.


Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?

When I was in high school, even though I considered myself an athlete, I was extremely skinny with very little muscle mass. I was teased a lot. I graduated from high school at 6′ 2″ and weighed 150 lbs. Now my weight is 195 and I am stronger than I have ever been. My proudest achievement is simple: how far I have come in 2 ½ years of CrossFit.  My body composition has completely changed, I continue to see major gains in the weight I lift, and my endurance level has increased significantly.  It is hard to pick just one, because CrossFit is all encompassing and that’s how I feel about my achievements.

If I had to pick one, I recently started doing handstand walks. I made it a personal goal to learn this movement after watching the 2014 Regionals. It’s a proud moment because I did this for myself. I received a lot of help and encouragement from everyone at the gym, and worked really hard to achieve this on my own time. If you want something bad enough, you must be willing to put yourself out there and possibly fail (hence my hitting the ground hard a couple of times … totally worth it).


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

“The first session is free! Who doesn’t like free stuff?”  Seriously though, if people ask me about CF, I usually tell them, “it has the potential to change your life if you’re willing to get past your initial fears”. My educational background is in Public Health so I’m more interested in having conversations about how we can make CF part of our school’s physical education curriculum. I think it should be mandatory. Let’s get kids hooked on CF and clean food early in their lives and end the obesity epidemic in this country!


Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?

My first goal was to figure out how the heck to get the “Beast Mode” trophy. Done! My other goal was to be the Feature Athlete some day. Done! The Open is coming up, my next goal is to be Top 7 in the gym. The competition will be fierce, and I cant’ wait.


Next On-Ramp Begins March 9th

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