Car Wash This Saturday!

2015_regional_teamJames, Bri, Taneya, Rikus, Helen, & Mike – 2015 CrossFit Sweat Shop Regional Team

The “re-shuffle” is done, team invites were sent out, and last week it became official, Team Sweat Shop will be competing at Regionals May 22nd-24th!  This is an awesome accomplishment because not only does the level of competition improve each year, but this year they cut the number of qualifying teams in Northern California from last year’s 30, to only 15 this year!  Out of the nearly 200 teams in Northern California participating in the Open, Team Sweat Shop finished 9th after the individual’s re-shuffle.

Another change this year is that they are combining the NorCal and SoCal Regionals into one California Super Regional.  This is cool because we’ll be able to compete against teams in SoCal that we don’t normally get to go against.  However, instead of being able to drive to San Jose or Santa Rosa to compete each day, as we’ve done in the past, this year it is being held in San Diego.

Therefore in order to help the team members with some of the costs of travel and lodging we’ll be having a car wash at the Sweat Shop this coming Saturday from 9am-11am.  100% of the proceeds will go directly to the team members.  Whether you’re planning on working out this Saturday or not, bring your car by and get is washed by members of our Regionals Team!

Check out more info on the Regionals here.

*Reminder*— No Yoga Class this Tuesday 4/28 while Ali is out of town.


16040778865_ce38517bec_k (1)Jacqueline with some “lightweight”.

A while back, I posted about some benefits of “pausing” during our power lifts. It highlighted how pausing at the bottom of the squat enables you to improve range of motion and comfort under the bar while also increasing power getting out of the hole by eliminating momentum. Some of you may have noticed us sneaking them into our weekly programming from time to time or have incorporated it your own routine. GOOD! Another similar concept involves pausing or “halting” during the pulling movements like deadlifts, snatches, cleans. For whatever reason, the lifting community likes calling these HALTS but it is the same idea, to remove help or assistance from momentum, specifically on the way up. When the weight gets heavy during cleans and snatches, the inability to keep the torso level or the chest up during either pulls is usually the culprit to a missed lift. When this happens, even if ever so slightly, our weight shifts forward making our second and third pulls a lot harder to recover. A common miss is one in front or not being able to get the bar to position 1. The “drop” under the bar usually takes the blame, but it’s more likely from the forward shift. One way to fix this is halting or pausing in positions of weakness. Wether it’s position 1, 2, or 3, halting forces yourself to be stable and in the right posture for that pulling position before any more upward movement. After just a couple sets of these, moving back to regular “non-halt” lifts feels much better.

Look for some halts being introduced in the near future. It is not an ADVANCED movement to make snatches or cleans harder, it’s another tool to reinforce good positioning…which is everything in the lifts.

Masters Qualifier Begins!

For our masters athletes Chief Banks, Melia, and Jacqueline, the next stage of competition in route to getting to the CrossFt Games started today! We can’t say enough about the hard work our Masters athletes have put in thus far and we are excited for these next wave of events. Our masters athlete have until Monday to submit scores for 4 workouts. You can check out the workouts on the Games site here.

If you see any of them, be sure to show your support!

Check out the video above on last year’s masters competition and how these athletes are doing things that, at one time, never thought possible. Our very own Lones is highlighted as well!

Featured Athlete: Allan M.


Long time member and super dedicated individual, Al has been coming to the Sweat Shop almost as long as it’s been open.  Aside from working out in the classes, and often times doing extra stuff during open gym or after class, Al also finds time to squeeze in extra work at his garage home gym!  Impressive for anyone, let alone someone with three kids!  He and his wife, Elisa, can usually be seen doing the “kid switch off” as one finishes a class just as the other one shows up to do the next class.  While at first he may seem like a quiet guy, once you get to know Al he is pretty hilarious and best of all, not afraid to laugh at himself from time to time (ask him about the fresh stitches on his head).


Name: Allan (Alfredo M.)
Age: 36

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I think around 5 years. I started going around the time Sweat Shop opened,
but only a few times a month.

Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
Pickup Basketball, some Kickboxing, and typical bodybuilding stuff. Always
wanted to learn olympic lifts and how athletes trained but didn’t have the

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

Aaron mentioned that his buddy Nabil was going to open up Sweat Shop and I
should check it out since I use to bug him about weightlifting stuff.

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

I liked how Crossfit has totally changed the fitness industry and made
olympic lifts, gymnastic movements, and strength routines popular to a
bigger audience. I have always geeked out on learning about fitness but the
only thing I was exposed to growing up was Flex magazine and bodybuilding
routines from roided out guys at Gold’s gym. Now, I’m able to squat and
deadlift weights that I would have never imagined doing along with
muscle-ups and handstand pushups.

Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?

Light thrusters

Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?

Heavy Thrusters or box jumps

Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?

Grass fed Steak with salad

Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?

It’s It Ice Cream

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

Everyone at Sweat Shop! All of the coaches are super smart and everyone is
friendly and fun to talk to. Also, I love seeing everyone progress on their
lifts throughout the years.

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

Elliptical machine and drinking raw eggs.

Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement

Probably my first Muscle-Up. I still get super excited when I see others
get their first one.

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

I have talked to so many people about trying crossfit and their main
concern is time and price. I usually tell them that each class take only
about an hour and there are various affordable price ranges for the
membership. It’s pretty much equivalent to joining your typical gym like 24
hour fitness and buying a package of Personal Training along with your gym

Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?

Although I have several numbers that I would like to hit on some of my
lifts, my main focus is to continue learning as much as I can in strength,
conditioning, & nutrition along with making lots of training mistakes and
learning from it. My goal is to hopefully pass as much good knowledge as I
can to all my kids so that they have a good foundation on fitness.

Circadian Rhythms


If you’ve every been jet lagged or had to wake up earlier than normal, chances are your circadian rhythm was thrown off and which had you feeling less than rejuvenated. Nabil turned me on to a book “Lights Out” about a year ago, I now minimize the use of light at night and also installed f.lux on my computer for my late night blog posts. Check out this post from the National Sleep Foundation on Circadian Rhythms and how and get the most out of your sleep!

Most people notice that they naturally experience different levels of sleepiness and alertness throughout the day, but what causes these patterns? Sleep is regulated by two body systems: sleep/wake homeostasis and the  circadian biological clock .

When we have been awake for a long period of time, sleep/wake homeostasis tells us that a need for sleep is accumulating and that it is time to sleep. It also helps us maintain enough sleep throughout the night to make up for the hours of being awake. If this restorative process existed alone, it would mean that we would be most alert as our day was starting out, and that the longer we were awake, the more we would feel like sleeping. In this way, sleep/wake homeostasis creates a drive that balances sleep and wakefulness.

Our internal circadian biological clocks, on the other hand, regulate the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day, so adults’ strongest sleep drive generally occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and in the afternoon between 1:00-3:00 pm, although there is some variation depending on whether you are a “morning person” or “evening person.” The sleepiness we experience during these circadian dips will be less intense if we have had sufficient sleep, and more intense when we are sleep deprived. The circadian rhythm also causes us to feel more alert at certain points of the day, even if we have been awake for hours and our sleep/wake restorative process would otherwise make us feel more sleepy.

Read the full article here

From the Archives: Beware of the Sexy Metcon


Originally posted back in 2010, then again in 2011, there have been a lot of new members to the Sweat Shop since then, and since us coaches feel strongly about this, I’m posting this again.

Although everyone loves a good met-con workout (metabolic conditioning) for it’s fast pace, variety, mental challenge, and great post-workout feeling, the foundation of any fitness program should be strength, followed by skills.

Everyone’s body is different, and how someone recovers from high intensity exercise depends on many factors including sleep, nutrition and stress, just to name a few.  While there are a few people that get into CrossFit solely for the competitions, most people are doing it, or at least started to doing it, to improve their health.  Therefore it’s important to understand that long metcons that turn into a death-march, or even relatively shorter ones, if done too often, can have negative consequences on your health.  It’s important to listen to your body.  There’s no shame in doing overhead squats for strength, and then skipping part B. if you’re feeling a little run down.

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent post from the Whole 9.

People often make misguided assumptions about CrossFit workouts based on what grabs their attention on paper. “Tough workouts”, “elite athletic training” and “high intensity” translates as high repetitions, endless rounds, a grab bag of exercises (often seemingly chosen at random), or some combination of the above. And there’s a trend, especially among those new to CrossFit and inexperienced with programming, to ride that met-con train all the way to Cortisol Crazytown.

I’m here to caution you… beware the lure of the Sexy Met-Con.

For some (especially those new to CrossFit), the lure of something like the Filthy Fifty or the “300” workout is undeniable. Hundreds of reps of various bad-ass exercises all in one workout? That MUST be good fitness. New trainees doing their own programming fall quickly into the Sexy Met-Con trap, piling on the reps, adding more and more exotic movements, needing an excessive amount of time to complete the workout. They get beyond creative, making up workouts so complicated that you need a map and a flashlight just to follow along.

Trainees aren’t the only victims of the Sexy Met-Con pull. New coaches and affiliate owners fall into this trap as well. What looks like you put more effort into your programming – seven rounds of five different exercises with a complicated rep scheme, or “Back Squat 5×5”? What’s an easier group class workout – a 20 minute light-weight met-con, or a structured PMenu-style Olympic lifting session? This isn’t a dig on those coaches or affiliate owners – I get it. The pressure to get creative and put out fresh “unknowable” workouts every day is enormous. There is also a need (real or perceived) to drastically distinguish themselves from their Globo-Gym competition. Add in the pressure from clients to make them SWEAT so they feel like they’re getting what they pay for and the Sexy Met-Con becomes an easy go-to on all counts.

Read full post here.


Best In The Work Shed?

picstitch (1)

Friday’s WOD was one of those fun workouts that had a variety of movements which included some of the gritty and grippy ones like heavy KB Swings, heavy sled pushes, and odd-object farmer carries. Although it seems CrossFit has strayed away from these movements in competition, I think they are a true test of “real-world” strength and should be done often! In true JB and Nabil fashion, we had some classes take ridiculous photos before the WOD…mostly for our entertainment, but also to in the spirit and build up of the Work Shed WOD! Although silly, today reminded me of the good ol’ days when we would literally name every workout for no purpose at all, no expectations on past workout times, no one worried about who gets first, just making light fun about the torture we were about go through!

Which class/member came through the best!? My vote….YOKO the green thumb!

Next On-Ramp Date!


Our next On-Ramp kicks off on Monday, June 1st 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.

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.

Featured Athlete: Jon G.


It’s been really fun for me to watch the progress that Jon has made in the relatively short time he’s been at the Sweat Shop.  Coming in as someone who was mostly just a runner, I’m always impressed watching him smash through workouts with lost of Clean & Jerks, such as Grace.  Aside from being an all around great athlete, and having extremely resilient shins, Jon is one of the most genuine people I know!  This is also the first time that I’ve learned something about one of our members in the featured athlete profile that I not only had no idea about, but I would have never guessed about Jon.

Name: Jon Gilmore
Age: 28
Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A. 1 1/2 years

Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A. Lots of longer distance running, and doing sit ups, pushups, and burpees at home.

Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. My wife Jenny started going and I would sometimes peak my head into the gym after a run on the bike trail. Eventually over a years time I got to know some of the peeps and started fooling around on the rings after her workouts. I finally said yes to a trial workout because I saw results with Jenny’s overall fitness. That first workout is a blur… and have been coming ever since.

Q.  What has been the most significant benefit/change since you’ve been doing CrossFit?
A. I feel A LOT stronger. Whether its picking up the kids, playing other rec sports, or even jumping fences while running from the popo, I feel at more of an advantage physically and mentally than when I was running a lot.

Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?
A. Anything with muscle ups, handstand pushups, running, and moderate weight cleans. A chipper of those four movements would be fun!

Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?
A. Anything with heavy deadlifts:/
Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?
A. Well since I’m a VEGAN crossfitter…:) A roasted veggie quionio salad with tons of avocado… and tapatio

Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?
A. Rice cakes with a heavy spread of almond butter and jam. I have at least 1 of these a day as a snack. But probably more like 2 or 3:)

Q.  What do you enjoy most about training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. The challenge each day to get better, faster, stronger, and more efficient at each movement. But the community is really what keeps me coming back. If it was the same programing, but the community was lacking, I would probably still be running and weighing in at a buck fifty:)

Q.  Now that you’ve been doing CrossFit, what’s one thing you could never see yourself doing again?  (workout, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.)
A. Puffing on my tobacco pipe. Before I started coming, I would regularly as a night cap, light up some fresh tobacco leaves while sipping on a good brew (All while doing long runs that next day or morning and it never affecting me). But now, hell no. I have really grown to love and appreciate my lungs!

Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement
A. Back when I was running a lot I completed a Half Iron Man up at Lake Berryessa. I would love to someday do a full and see how my body reacts.

Q.  What advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try CrossFit?
A. Try the Sweatshop before any other crossfit gym.
Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?
A. I can’t say I have an exercise goal, but to just maintain being healthy and physically fit for life. And to inspire my wife and kids and those around me, by taking care of the body I have been so blessed with.

Epsom Salt


My stash of Epsom Salt and Essential Oils

I’ve always been a fan of epsom salt baths for muscle relief, especially as of late. Not only is a warm bath a great way to relax after a long day, but magnesium sulfate can actually reduce inflammation. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water while using epsom salt. You can find epsom salt in almost any pharmacy, I get mine at Costco, two 6lb bags and you’re set! Check out some of the benefits of epsom salt below:

Most of us know about the importance of iron and calcium for our bodies, but what about magnesium? It is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body. It helps the body regulate over 325 enzymes and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions, like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium, so I’m going to put on my wise-granny hat on here and tell you this: soaking in a bath with Epsom salt, which is high in magnesium, is one of the easiest ways to get a boost.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, American’s magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments. Who knew?!

Our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical American diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. And in fact, the modern American diet with its fat, sugar, salt and protein actually works to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies.

Another factor in decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. It’s a delicate dance–calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. Researchers have found that many Americans have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.

With such widespread magnesium deficiency one might think that magnesium supplements would be called upon, but studies show that magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. The presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person’s stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective.

This brings us to Epsom salt. Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

All this from a bath? Hurray! While there are many different brands of Epsom salt, they are all the same product chemically, and can be found at most drug stores. Add two cups of Epsom salt and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times weekly.

If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.

Read more:

Prather Ranch CSA


If you normally get your beef from our bulk buys from Prather Ranch, there’s a good chance that you’ve run out since our last order was several months ago.  Instead of 40lb. boxes that are delivered to the Sweat Shop twice a year, Prather Ranch now sells their beef more like a traditional CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Once you sign up, they deliver a 10lb. box to your doorstep on the second Thursday of each  month.  You can also add other Prather Ranch items like jerky, hotdogs, sausages, and bacon!  Prather Ranch beef is humanely raised and handled and is in my opinion the tastiest beef I’ve ever purchased.  If you’re interested, you can check out more info here.

Upcoming Competitions

ImageC.J. and Alfredo are teaming up for the upcoming Contra Costa Partner Throwdown! 

With the Open over and the Regionals right around the corner, several Sweat Shoppers have been hungry for some competition! A couple of you have expressed interest in some local events so here is a list I found on WODROCKET that include Rx’d, Scaled, and Rookie competitions:

April 18: PTown Beatdown, Schubox CrossFit, Pleasanton 

April 25: O’town Partner Showdown, Oroville CrossFit

May 2: Battle of Jerks and Snatches, CrossFit Diligence, San Jose

May 3: Contra Costa Throwdown Partners Edition, Contra Costa CrossFit Concord, Ca

June 14: Rookie Rumble 8, Hercules CrossFit

Nooner Gainz and Body Fat Testing

16233412104_65339ffddb_zSome of the lovely faces of the nooner crew!

For those looking for or prefer the “lunch” workout time frame, reminder that we now offer a 12:00pm “nooner WOD” everyday Monday through Friday!

Speaking of lunch ;) I am going to have some time slots for Body Fat Testing at the Saint Mary’s Lab during April and May. The days I have available are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some weekends. If you’d like to get tested, please e-mail me with 3 time slots that work for you on those days and I can get you scheduled in. Testing is 25 dollars. For more info on Body Composition and how I measure it for members, shoot me an e-mail!

DJ Gets Certified

dj_back_squatDJ just warming up on back squats

Congratulations to our intern DJ, who recently completed and passed the CrossFit Level 1 certification.  Aside from being a extremely bright student, studying Kinesiology at St. Mary’s College, DJ is also a super strong and talented athlete!  Expect to see DJ helping out even more with the classes in the near future.  In the meantime be sure and congratulate him when you see him next.

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