Maximize Your Recovery


Bri enjoys taking every opportunity to rest and recover.

It’s always important to be reminded once in awhile of the importance of recovery. Essentially, recovering is all about the actions we take in order to maximize our body’s ability to repair itself and get us ready to crush our next workout. Here is an excerpt from breaking muscle that does a good job defining what recovery is…

Recovery, however, refers to techniques and actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. These include hydration, nutrition, posture, heat, ice, stretching, self-myofascial release, stress management, compression, and time spent standing versus sitting versus lying down. Recovery is multifaceted and encompasses more than just muscle repair. Recovery involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and more.

We have different systems that need to recover. These include hormonal, neurological, and structural. Our structural system includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Muscles recover the quickest because they receive direct blood flow. Tendons, ligaments, and bones receive indirect blood flow and therefore can take longer to recover and be more susceptible to overtraining stress.

Just as with building strength or endurance, recovery should be a significant part of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in the endless amount of fun and exciting CrossFit workouts, but take a step back once in awhile and listen to what your body needs if you’re walking into the gym and feeling sluggish.

You can read the full article here.

Rite of Passage Meet @ SPS Gym


Sweat Shop lifters listen up! Our buddies over at SPS gym in Oakland are holding a “first timers” olympic lifting meet November 19th! This meet is strictly for those who have never competed in a sanctioned olympic lifting meet which is perfect for anyone who wants to get their feet wet with competition. As of now, D.J. and myself are signed up, but it would be extra fun to get a crew down there and throw around some weight. There are limited spots for each weight class so be sure to register ASAP!

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Address: 2140 Livingston, Oakland, CA
Entry Fee: $55
First lift: 10am

To register for the meet or for information on weight classes, click here.

Also, don’t forget that SPS is holding private weightlifting classes for Sweat Shop Members on Saturday’s in October. You must sign up and reserve your spot. Click here for the post information and registration.

Meet Your Coaches: Rene

Name: Rene Garcia
Age: 31

Hey guys, since I’m writing this  post about myself, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for making Sweat Shop the best place to coach and train. You guys are awesome! I hope you enjoy the read. 

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A. 5 and a half years
Q. How long have you been Coaching CrossFit?
A. 5 years
Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A. Long endurance stuff. Marathons, Ultra Marathons, Ironman. 
Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. I was working at lululemon at the time and everyone I met that did CrossFit LOVED it. I gave it a try and was hooked from day one!  While working at lululemon, we were encouraged to check out all the CrossFit gyms in our area. Out of all the different gyms, I liked Sweat Shop the best! Nabil reached out to me and asked about making Sweat Shop my home gym and the rest is history!
Q.  How did you begin coaching at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. With my Kines background, I knew I wanted to coach something but hadn’t found it yet. Once I started CrossFit, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I wasted no time getting my Level 1 Cert. At the time it was just Nabil and JB coaching. I told Nabil he needed a girl coach and he thankfully agreed!
Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?
A. Hang Cleans! From the HANG! 
Q. Who is your favorite CrossFit athlete.. and why
A.Rich Froning hands down. He gives all the honor and glory to God. His tattoo says it all. Galatians 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?
A. Bar Muscle ups!
Q.  What do you enjoy most about coaching at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. The members! I can hardly call what I do “work”, each and every day that I get to coach, I am thankful that it is something I absolutely love doing and with people that inspire me. There is no feeling like coaching someone through something and seeing how stoked they are when it clicks! 
Q.  What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Running water! Like running water while doing the dishes or brushing your teeth. Just Don’t!
Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?
A. The birth of my daughter Camille. No epidural, 22 hours of labor. It was the most mentally and physically thing I have ever done in my life. At the end of it, instead of a metal, you get a baby. And thats pretty cool. 
Q. How has coaching at Sweat Shop impacted your life?
A. The friends I have made at the gym have become family. I couldn’t imagine a life where I didn’t have the people from Sweat Shop around me. Thank you Nabil for starting this amazing gym. My family and I are so grateful! 

BBQ & Volleyball at Heather Farms – Sunday Oct. 16th 12pm


I’ve reserved a picnic area as well as one of the volleyball courts at Heather Farms for Sunday October 16th at 12pm.  I’ll be grilling up some meat and I’ll have beers as well.  If some folks would like to bring some sides that would be great!  Also, if you’d like to bring alcohol that’s fine, just no glass.  Friends, family and kids are all welcome!

Sweat The Simple Stuff

img_6292Jon keeping it simple during his first competition. Then this happened.

There comes a time when training complexity is needed in order to continually improve and avoid a ceiling. However, just adding complexity doesn’t guarantee that training will improve, and many times when athletes can’t get over the hump, it’s because something simple or fundamental has gone awry. In CrossFit’s numerous and limitless skills to learned, simple movements and workouts can easily get thrown to the wayside. While you should always aim high and raise the bar in training, don’t forget about the basics! Here are some reasons to keep it simple.

Simple movements aid the complex movements. A good example is squatting. There is no mystery to why we program the basic squats each week. It’s the foundation of any other squat and once mastered or strength has improved, you will have an easier time moving on to the advanced squats or dynamic movements like olympic lifts. During olympic lifts, it’s essential to master the simple parts and positions of the lifts. The same holds true doing gymnastics. Another simple training tool that gets neglected is strict work. While kipping might allow us to get our first muscle up or pull-up, progress will only continue to improve by maintaining strict strength. Stay on task and focused during the simple strength days and on days that we program strict work. They are programmed to help make the other stuff easier!

Simple workouts have greater intensity. I’m sure you would all agree that they also hurt a little more! Remember that intensity drives adaptation. So when we program the more-simple things like running and burpees, it’s a great opportunity to improve your engine. If the workouts have a complex movement in them, if not scaled or adjusted appropriately, reaching our desired stimulus becomes harder. An example would be going advanced or beefy when you are not yet proficient at the set of skills in the workout or the weight is too heavy. While it’s OK to push yourself to go heavier after your strength has improved and work on the complex movements like muscle ups during the workouts, our goal is for you to still maintain intensity. This is why we either scale the movement or the reps for you. Keep that in mind when you decide to attack a workout with more complexity and ask the coach what a good rep scheme or weight should be for that given workout. This will help you progress using that movements more effectively each time you do the workouts.

Lastly, simple doesn’t just apply to beginners. Obviously, a newbie needs to start with the basics. However, there are times when experienced athletes who have kicked their training up a notch with the advanced stuff need to go back to simple to fix things. Some good examples are things like practicing the main positions during Olympic lifts, keeping up with basic squatting to maintain strength on lifts, and or continuing the simple stupid endurance stuff like running, rowing, and burpees to maintain your engine.

Hopefully this helps sheds more light on the importance of the simple things and to also remind you to not overthink the program too much. Just because the workout or movement is simple doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from it. If you have questions about what sorts of things you need to work on, don’t hesitate to ask a coach. Let’s get after it!

External Rotation + Shoulders = Push Up Machine


In tomorrow’s finisher we are taking it back to one of our foundational movements, push ups! Yup, even for you advanced and beefy folks. We have to remember that learning how to properly do a push up will translate into the more complex movements that require us to press or lockout our arms. For the purpose of this post I want to talk a little about external rotation in the shoulders. External rotation in the shoulders helps us create torque. Torque is essentially the amount of force needed to make an object rotate. In our case, we are using the ground to create force and rotate our shoulders into the proper place for us to press from. More importantly, external rotation creates a stable platform for us to push from. Now in order to create that needed torque, set your hands a little outside of your shoulders with your fingers pointed forward or slightly out. Think about screwing your hands into the ground (as if you were trying to break a stick in half), in doing so will make those elbows point backwards and those elbow pits point forwards. This will essentially keep your elbows close and put your shoulders in a safe position. For most people the descending motion is not the issue, those elbows tend to flare out when we try to push ourselves away from the floor. A cue that might help is actively try to continue to screw those hands into the ground to help continue to create torque and keep those shoulders externally rotated. Sure some of us could probably rep out push ups with those elbows flaring out, but all you’re essentially doing is putting unwanted stress in your rotator cuff. Over time, those reps will add up and could lead to some sort of injury. So for tomorrow, take some time to really dial in those push ups before the finisher. Scale it down to your knees or to a box, but strive for those text book push ups! Have fun everyone!

Congratulations Luca & Siobhan

togetherCongratulations to Luca and his wife Siobhan, who just gave birth to twins on Sunday!  Florence 6lbs. 5oz., and Julien 6lbs. 6oz both measuring 19 inches!  With a 2 year old daughter at home, and now twins, I imagine Luca will definitely have his hands full for a while.  Hopefully in a few months will see him again in the evening class.


img_9633_14194799065_o Jason with a solid set-up for the clean.

While weightlifting cues are a endless, one may not work for everyone. However, I like to think of cues as tools that are used to help try to fix a problem and rather than use the same one to fix everyone’s problem, have a bunch at arm’s reach to see which works. I recently came across this article on a general way the foot should move in the olympic lifts, or more specifically, where the weight is distributed during the ascent of the bar. What I learned from the snatch clinic 3 weeks ago with Cara Heads Slaughter was that while many folks benefit from staying on heels for the majority of the lift, overcompensating can lead to too much (front/back) sway during the lift. I really felt a difference keeping the weight in the ball or middle of my foot. A very slight change yes, but for me, as caught on video, my reinforcement of ALWAYS staying on the heels showed that I miss a little in the vertical extension of the bar. Check out this post from Catalyst Athletics and think about this concept the next time you go heavy.

You’re all trying to figure out the right way to move your bodies when you perform the Olympic lifts, which very often feels like you’re trying to chip through the pyramids of Egypt with a plastic fork, so let me toss you a little technical cue that might help.
People talk a lot about how your feet are supposed to move when you do the snatch and clean and jerk. I’ve already written articles about the issue of lifting your feet off the ground when you’re jumping down into the bottom position during the turnover (also see this article), so that’s not what I want to focus on here. Instead, let me give you a little input about where you should feel your bodyweight in relation to your feet while you’re doing the OLifts.
One of the cues I’ve used successfully with athletes in the past is “MIDDLE-TOP-MIDDLE.” So let’s explain what that means. I’ll take you through it step by step.
MIDDLE: When you pull the bar from the floor, you should feel your bodyweight in the MIDDLE of your foot.
TOP: When you drive up into the finish of the second pull, you should extend up to the TOP of your foot (your toes).
MIDDLE: When you jump down and land in the bottom position, you should once again feel your bodyweight in the MIDDLE of your foot.

Read full post here. 


Team Series Week 1, Done!


Great work to our teams that finished up the first week of the 2016 Team Series events! All of the teams crushed it and put up some great performances and PR’s! Like last year, the workouts required a mix of individual skill and team cohesiveness. One of the masters teams, Sweat Shop Swolemates with Helen, Jacqueline, Seth, and Adam are currently 3rd overall with their best event being the hang power clean! Our other masters team with Joel, Jen M, Mark, and Lisa are currently 39th in the masters division with their best event in the short AMREP of row calories and push press. Our Open squad with Bri, Rene, Marko, and myself are currently 32nd in the elite open division placing the best in the synchronized pullup/overhead squat/burpee workout. You can check out the full results including the team efforts on the leaderboard here.

Great work, everyone! In October, the second wave of events will be announced and all the teams will go after it again! Until then, cheers!


Meet Your Coaches: Marko

Name: Marko Cantero
Age: 27

Marko Cantero, the King of Unsustainable Gains, has been with the Sweat Shop for about 3 years now. You can find Marko pretty much any time of the day at Sweat Shop either training, coaching or napping in the kids room. Truth be told, Marko has slept through many a barbell dropping workout. Thank  you Marko, for the passion and energy you bring to the gym.

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A.  Almost 3 years
Q. How long have you been Coaching CrossFit?
A. 2 years
Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A. Monday – Back and Biceps. Tuesday – Legs and Shoulders. Wednesday – Chest and Triceps. Thursday – Back and Biceps. Friday – Legs and Shoulders. Saturday – Chest and Triceps. Sunday – Spin Class. Basketball whenever I got the chance also!
Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. I began training at the Sweat Shop after meeting JB at St. Mary’s. After probably saying a total of 11 words in one of his classes he still offered me an internship at the Sweat Shop haha! I was his trial run for his new internship program, and the rest is downhill from there! I’m sure most of you can remember me sitting in the corner, taking notes, or trying to learn how to do all of these darn CrossFit movements.
Q.  How did you begin coaching at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. After 6 or so months of interning at the Sweat Shop, I transitioned into coaching after shadowing Nabil, JB, and Rene for about 3-4 hours a day, everyday!
Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?
A. Anything that has snatches! I still remember frequently getting owned by 75lbs. JB still has some videos of those good ol’ days!
Q. Who is your favorite CrossFit athlete.. and why
A. Hard to pick one! They are all inspiring to watch, and my favorite CrossFit Athlete pretty much changes on a weekly basis!
Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?
A. Farmer Carries, I genuinely dislike farmer carries with a passion.
Q.  What do you enjoy most about coaching at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. All of you members! I enjoy getting to know all of you, not only from a coaching standpoint, but on a personal level also! In addition, watching you all improve day by day (no matter how small or large) is probably one of the most rewarding things ever! Ya’ll are pretty cool!
Q.  What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Outside of the gym: Traffic. Traffic is just plain awful. Awful. Inside the gym: When the fridge is left open with my bowls in it…my bowls!!
Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?
A. Snatches! After starting 3 years ago, and getting crushed by 75lb snatches….who would have that I’d be chasing that 225# snatch!!!! Come on!!!
Q. How has coaching at Sweat Shop impacted your life?
A. I can truly say that I am happy doing what I do, day in and day out. And that’s thanks to all of you who make my job so enjoyable! Having the chance to coach, teach, or make some sort of positive impact in your day makes waking up every morning a little easier!

Private Saturday Weightlifting Class for Sweat Shop Members – Saturdays in October!


I’m super stoked about what we have coming up in October!  Sweat Shop members are going to have the unique opportunity to have their own Olympic Weightlifting class at SPS Gym in Oakland.  The classes will be:

  • lead by one of SPS’ many Olympic Weightlifting coaches
  • 90 minutes in length
  • open to Sweat Shop members only
  • addressing the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, as well as drill and accessory work
  • not an on-going class.  only taking place on these Saturday’s in October (8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th)
  • 9:00am – 10:30am
  • limited to 6 people per class
  • only $30 for each 90 minute session

This is a class, not a seminar that is simply repeated each weekend, therefore you can get the most benefit by attending each Saturday class, however, you can also just sign up for one or two of the Saturday classes, if you’d prefer.

Sign ups will be through CrossFit Sweat Shop, and will open up at the end of this week.

Anatomical Adaptation

img_7713_21668144869_oJosh aka J.S.E. chillin’ overhead.

In the strength training world, we often here the word “adaptation” used a lot in regards to training specific to the imposed demands of a given sport or fitness goal. For example, lifting heavy weights yields muscular strength adaptations through increased fiber size, motor unit activation etc, whereas long endurance improves cardiorespiratory adaptations such as better oxygen delivery, increased mitochondria and capillary density, etc. One concept I really like using in my class is the concept of anatomical adaptation in relation to a phase of strength training programming.

Tudor Bompa, author of a really cool text I use at SMC, “Periodization”, elaborates on the differences in focus on each of the main phases of strength training: ANATOMICAL ADAPTATION-HYPERTROPHY-MAX STRENGTH-SPORTS SPECIFIC POWER-MAINTENANCE-CESSATION. Most of what you see in strength and conditioning settings and A LOT in CrossFit, is a heavy emphasis on maximum strength. While maximum strength and power get a lot of the attention when it comes to programming and design, many forget and overlook the anatomical adaptation phase, leaving many folks either injured from too much stress too early or overuse injuries down the road through developing poor early movement patterns. Accounting for anatomical adaptation is a big part of why we do what we do and why things like coaching the fundamentals and programs like the On-Ramp are super important before hitting it hard. It isn’t just important for newbies, but even for experienced lifters or athletes coming back from the offseason or a short hiatus. Bompa has a great explanation of what this phase is and I think all of you who lift should read! Here’s a snit-bit below, but you can check out the full article here.

This phase represents the foundation on which the other phases of training are based. The name of this phase has been specifically selected to illustrate the fact that the main objective of strength training is not an immediate overload, but rather a progressive adaptation of an athlete’s anatomy. The objectives of the AA phase are focused around “prehabilitation” with the hope of preventing the need for “rehabilitation.” In other words, focusing on a higher volume of training with low to medium loads will aid in the adaptation level of an athlete’s muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons, and prepare the body for the more challenging program inherent in the following phases of training. Furthermore, a methodologically structured AA phase will aid in the improvement of inter-muscular coordination (i.e. balance, coordination and neural firing patterns), and increase the bone mineral content and proliferation of connective tissue that surrounds the individual muscle fibers.


2016 CrossFit Team Series


It’s that time of the year again, and the Sweat Shop will be well represented in this year’s CrossFit Team Series! For those of you who don’t know, the Team Series consists of teams of 2 girls and 2 guys. Over the course of 2 weeks (Sept 6-12 and Oct 4-10) each team will complete 4 workouts each week. The first week of the Team Series is well underway, so wish them luck of you run into them! You can check out the first set of workouts here…

2016 CrossFit Team Series Week 1 Workouts

As far as this first set of workouts go, they will definitely test each team’s ability to communicate, adjust, and help one another out! If you can, try and catch one of these teams crush some of the workouts! You can follow each team on the leaderboard here…

2016 CrossFit Team Series Leaderboard

For now, check out who is representing the Sweat Shop!

The D Team

Lisa Price

Jen Marten

Mark Marten

Joel Faber

Sweat Shop Swolemates

Helen Langkilde

Jacqueline Jane’t

Adam Richardson

Seth Ingram

A Mom, 2 Brown Guys, and the Queen of Unsustainable Gains

Briana Gaipa

Rene Garcia



All of these teams are stacked! And I speak for all the coaches when I say I’m excited to see what all of you guys can do! Good Luck everyone!


Creating Torque

You’ve all heard us use the “knees out” cue quite a bit. In my experience using this, it has worked well for beginners or people who have major issues in activating the right muscles to keep their knees in line with their foot while squatting or when landing from a jump. Over the past couple years, many in the weightlifting community have debated over whether this cue is useful or if it can cause issues. Now, as with all cues, not everyone responds to every verbal cue the same and therefore there may be discrepancies in it’s effectiveness. It’s the coach’s job to be aware of a cue’s purpose and to adjust if necessary. For the knees out cue, the proponents of its use is for keeping the knee in a safe position over the foot through having the hip active and externally rotated. I’ve also used “thighs out” to really take the focus on the entire leg. Those against saying “knees out” cite that overcompensation will lead to the foot moving out causing a poor position of torque and putting the knee and ankle in a dangerous spot. To be honest, I don’t see a right or wrong, nor do I see it as an “argument” as both give useful insight on how to properly and safely create torque. This video from CrossFit Invictus does a great job of explaining how to create torque while touching on some of the arguments stated before. I liked how they didn’t spend time with the “he said, she said, right or wrong” mumbo jumbo and simply explain what torque is and the multiple ways to create it, especially through something we don’t always think about, which is through internal rotation. Enjoy and feel free to try it out at home. You don’t need a gym for this stuff!

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