The Dreaded Re-do.

20091304244_af60bed847_z (2) Jacqueline finished this horrible “Sandwich” event last year in 12:55. She retested this beast today and got 11:30.

They say variety is the spice of life. While I agree with this sentiment most of the time, there are times when simple stupid is best. While a very fun part of CrossFit is it’s variety and being able to attack a different challenge you’ve never done before, however, always changing it up makes it hard for us to really know how much, if at all, we are progressing. While many CrossFitters seem to understand this concept when it comes to weightlifting (i.e. weekly squatting, snatching, etc.), the same holds true for your conditioning as each workout has an intended physiological effect. Whether it be a long grinder of muscle and cardiovascular endurance or a quick sprint focusing on your lactate threshold, your initial performance on a set workout is a benchmark of how well you did given that moment in time. Just like knowing squatting numbers, knowing your time in a workout can tell how well I am adapting metabolically to that given stimulus. Don’t get me wrong, there are some workouts I have NO desire to do again, like “Nancy”, 15.5, or most Open workouts. Remembering the suck makes it daunting. However, mustering up the courage to re-do them allows you to learn a little about yourself. For one, you know where you are at physically. You can see if you are more “in-shape” in this workout domain then last time. Secondly, you can learn strategy on how to optimally pace for that given workout or event. You can then transfer this learning to when you perform workouts similar in nature. Thirdly, you always win mentally by making yourself do it again. You get relief and a sense of accomplishment when you do better and if you bust your ass and get the same score or slightly worse, you’ll either be relieved knowing you probably strategized it to your true max, or will know what you need to work more on. While a re-test does not need to be an everyday thing, they shouldn’t be avoided. Rather than think of the consequences of what the outcome will be, focus on the useful training intel you’ll get from it.

Sweat Shop Members – Facebook Group

group_murphJust some of the crazy folks that showed up for Murph this past Memorial Day

The group that was previously dedicated to just the Sunday morning Competition Class is now a group for ALL Sweat Shop members.  While the CrossFit Sweat Shop business page will remain, Facebook greatly limits who sees posts to that page, to encourage the business owner to pay to have their posts seen by more people.  Therefore, the purpose of this group is to more effectively communicate events and general goings-on at the Sweat Shop.  We also encourage members to use it to communicate any topics they’d like with other members or the coaches.

It’s a closed group, so just friend request me or any of the other coaches and then we’ll be able to add you to the group!


Summer Solstice Throwdown Recap

Image-1 (2)
Congrats to the Sweat Shoppers who competed in the Summer Solstice Throwdown at CrossFit ATI in Danville! All teams had a presence and did awesome in all events! This competition was well-run and very organized. We would finish one event and in less than an hour, we’d be warming up ready to go for the next event. As you all can attest to, any competition being done by 1pm is always a win! Anyways, on to the performances:

Patrick teamed up with Jenna from Diablo CrossFit and had an awesome showing. Patrick carried the load on almost all the muscle ups in the first workout and in true PT fashion, crushed the strength event with a 265# thruster and manhandled the “DT” event with deadlifts, power cleans, and jerks. It was very impressive seeing PT cruising on some of the workouts which he almost did singlehandedly!

Ali and Marko teamed up got to showcase their strengths in several of the events. Ali went big time and hit a 180# thruster, which was a big PR and one of the top lifts for gals. Marko, after nursing a bad hip was able to go “game-time” mode and matched his PR of 215#. They both communicated well on the team events and maximized each of their strengths on each given workout. Marko would hit muscle ups, rope climbs, and ALL 60 box jumps, while Ali crushed the row and destroyed the “DT” event going unbroken!

Rene and I teamed up and had a blast. We hadn’t done a team comp together since back in the day but it was a fun reunion seeing that our cohesion hadn’t missed a beat. Nene and I took first place in 2 events: the Muscle Up/Row/Box Jump event and the Rope Climb/KB Snatch event. Although our overall score took a hit from the 1RM thruster, we were pumped to both make 10lb PRs 245# and 150#. A funny moment (for everyone but myself) was me resting like a sad dog on the jump rope rack while Rene carried us and destroyed the “DT” workout!

Rikus and Bri crushed the field and took 1st place overall! They were by far the most consistent pair throughout the day crushing the bodyweight events, while having top scores on the 1RM thruster 265# and 185# and DT event doing 10 alternating rounds in 6:30! The workouts given did a great job of weeding out big weaknesses and Rikus and Bri showed why they are some of the best competitors in the area and have a huge skill set!

Great work to everyone! Let’s do it next year!

You can check out the results of the event here. 

Assistance Exercises For Jerks

24442610035_d32f499e3c_zJin loves Jerks more than the Aria nightclub

At Sweat Shop we do Jerks almost every week, whether it’s from the clean or the rack. While just practicing the full jerk should take precedence of all, many folks, including myself, would benefit from assistive exercises that target a specific area of weakness. While we fit the jerk prerequisite movements like push press and strict press in the programming, there are many others. Check out this post from Catalyst Athletics on 5 Assistance Exercises for Jerks. If you are one that needs extra work on the jerk, try these out in your warm ups, or utilize Open Gym for a couple weeks and hammer these down.

From the post:

It’s been mentioned here before, but the amount of attention the jerk is given by the internet weightlifting world with regard to technique is almost non-existent compared to the snatch and clean (Apparently it’s tougher to make up names for things that everyone’s already doing and pass them off as new ideas in the jerk). I didn’t learn how to jerk correctly until I had already spent so long developing bad habits that I’d basically become a lost cause. That doesn’t stop me, however. I rely on the puncher’s chance paradigm of jerking—any time I try a jerk, there’s some chance I’ll actually make it, just like a knockout punch to turn around a losing fight.

There are quite a few assistance exercises for the jerk, ranging from common to obscure to stupid. Following are my favorite five exercises for the jerk in no particular order (It should go without saying that the jerk itself is Number 0). Of course, I’m going to cheat a bit and discuss variations of some that can be considered distinct exercises. But it’s the internet, so I can say whatever I want.
Read full post here.

Cool Down

nick_bharris_tiredHey guys, want to cool down?

I wanted to use this post to build off of Rene’s post from earlier this week on mobility.

As some of you have noticed, I have been ending class by bringing everyone together and implementing five or six minutes of cool down stretches. My goal is to stress the importance of helping your body return to it’s normal resting state.

Here is an excerpt from an article I found that explains some of the benefits of stretching post-workout…

Increases Flexibility – One of the best times to work on your flexibility is after you work out, as part of your cool-down. This is when your muscles are warmest and most pliable, making them easier to stretch and reach new levels of flexibility. It’s also a good opportunity to work on your myofascial release and stay on top of the fascia that if left unattended can cause knots to form and hamper your posture and mobility. Stretching also relaxes your muscles, contributes to improved circulation and hastens the removal of waste products from your workout.

You can check out the full article here for more tips on the importance of cooling down after you crush a workout.

Featured Athlete: Matt M.


Matt is crazy.  Aside from wearing some pretty crazy costumes for the annual Sweat Shop costume contest, he’s also been known to run to the gym, workout, and run home, more than 10 miles round trip.  Before the workouts he’s pretty quiet and chill, but at the sound of 3..2..1.. GO he’s going all out.  I’ve always been impressed that even when he is in the middle of high volume run training (for the various distance races he does) he’s still able to maintain a good strength base… not an easy task when you are talking about marathon distances and beyond!  Check out his full profile below.

Name: Matt Miceli
Age: 49

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A.  3 Years

Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A.  Old school style strength training – Leg day, back day, chest day, shoulders/arms – for 35+ years and bored sick of it!!  I have also been an active trail runner for many years.

Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A. My cousin went to high school with Jin Yun so when I mentioned to him I was thinking about checking out crossfit he said, ‘hey my friend Jin does crossfit, you should get in touch with him’ I messaged Jin on fb and he invited me to a Saturday class.  Later that day I remember feeling like I was hit by a truck – I was hooked!

Q.  What has been the most significant benefit or change since you’ve been a member of the Sweat Shop?
A.    Mobility Mobility Mobility

Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?
A.    Anything with snatches or cleans

Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?
A.   Burpees, and I would categorize that as most hated – I even hate the word

Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?
A.     Ha ha ha… too funny, I like sushi!?

Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?
A.    Chocolate Iced Custard Filled donut from Krispy Kreme, sometimes my car drives me there against my will.

Q.  What do you enjoy most about training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A.  The coaches – Nabil, James, Rene, Marco & Daniel James – You guys are the best!  I have never looked forward to working out like I do now, it’s definitely prolonged my gym-rat lifestyle a few more years!

Q.  Now that you’ve been doing CrossFit, what’s one thing you could never see yourself doing again?  (workout, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.)
A. I’ve never been much of a machine guy at the gym, but I used to like the hack squat machine – probably will never do another hack squat in my life… but I’ve been around long enough to know better than to never say never!

Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?
A. I ran the Trans-Rockies staged trail run in 2011, it’s a 125 mile run over 5 days – basically a marathon a day for 5 days at around 12K feet and 20k feet of climbing.  I honestly went into it thinking I would drop out after a few days but I ended up finishing.  Last year I ran the Tahoe Rim Trail 55k (34 miles) which I was able to finish under 8 hours so that was pretty cool too.  I’m looking forward to a ‘most proud’ moment at a cf comp someday – check back later.

Q.  What advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try CrossFit?
A.        Just do it!

Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?
A.  I have to do a fucking muscle-up!  James has been coaching me on it and I sense he’s getting frustrated at my lack of progress so I need to kick it into high gear and get it done.

Q.  What is something you have recently purchased for less than $100 (or acquired for free) that you thoroughly enjoy and would recommend to others?
A.  I got some wrist wraps 2 for 1 for only $19 on Amazon Prime with free shipping.  It has helped a lot in anything overhead.  Now I just need something to wrap the rest of my body.

Q. What advice would you give your 25 year old self?
A.   Cherish the moment you stupid shit

Mobility Tips Repost

IMG_3696Josie leading an ankle mobility session

This post from CrossFit South Bay summarizes a few of KStarr’s important rules to go by when planning your mobility days.

From the post:

Here are his general rules to go by….with my explanation in blue:

1. Position is power even with mobility – whenever possible, maintain good posture and midline stability when mobilizing. Most of the time you are mobilizing a specific movement, so you want to make sure the whole body is in a good position.

2. Never take a day off – this is tough at first, but it really is important to get into a routine of doing something everyday. I used to only work on mobility around my workouts, but now I’ve made a habit of doing something in the morning as well right when I get out of bed…..after I get the coffee started of course:)

3. Minimum effective dose is 2 minutes – this is always a popular question with may different responses. K-Starr highly recommends 2 minutes. Longer is always better if you really want to get into the connective tissue and fascia to create a deeper, more effective stretch.

4. If it feels sketchy, it’s sketchy – it’s not always a no pain no gain thing. If it feels nervy or your body part being mobilized starts to go numb you may be on a nerve. So back off.

5. Stay hydrated – unhealthy tissues do not mobilize well. They need to be hydrated and happy to be effectively mobilized. Just like dry skin…..if you try to stretch it it will usually just crack right?

6. Sort out your imbalances – get to know your body. You guys are already a step ahead of a large majority of the population because of the sport you have chosen to partake in. It’s hard to do CrossFit without really getting to know how your body works, but make sure you spend time getting to know areas of tightness, weakness, etc. Review your functional movement screen results too!!! They can help you create an individualized mobility program.

7. Mobilize your stiff areas – don’t waste time on areas that aren’t tight. Unless you have a lot of free time on your hands and it feels good. Some people just grab a foam roller and roll up and down a few times, thinking that this is effective mobility. But it’s not! K-Starr says “quality, not quantity. Don’t rush through mobility.”

8. Explore your business (informed freestyle) – again, get to know your body. My sore/stiff areas are not going to be the same as yours. Play around. As you can see in K-Starr’s videos, you can really get creative with some of this stuff!

9. If possible, always use a band – the band helps to stretch out the actual joint capsule in order to put the join in a good position to mobilize. The band can get confusing based on the joint you are working on, but a general rule of thumb is if you’re mobilizing a flexion movement (i.e. calf stretch) put the band in front of the joint. If you’re mobilizing an extension movement (psoas stretch) put the band in back of the joint. In general, you just want to have some sort of traction on the joint.

Read more tips here.

Prescription Thugs


I just watched a really interesting documentary on Netflix called Prescription Thugs.  It’s made by the same guy that made Bigger, Stronger, Faster a documentary from a few years ago about steroid abuse.  Aside from demonstrating how dangerous prescription medications can be, what I found most interesting was the role doctors, drug companies, and our government play in the massively scary problem.  I don’t often make movie recommendations, but since most Sweat Shoppers are people that go to great lengths to take care of themselves and to educate themselves, rather than just take things for face value, I felt like this would be an appropriate recommendation!

Mental Preperation


“I believe I can fly.”

Thanks JB for posting those upcoming competitions! For those of you who are competing for the first time or are competition veterans, I found an article written by CrossFit Invictus on mental preparation that I wanted to share with all of ya’ll. Here is a little excerpt of the article…

2. Review Your “Why” For A Motivation Boost

Are you losing a bit of your competitive drive? Take some time to revisit your purpose for competing and training. What’s the deeper reason behind why you chose to pursue this sport in the first place? Is your motivation intrinsically or extrinsically driven? Did you jump into competing without taking the time to clarify your purpose for doing so in the first place? Step back from training for a moment and remember (or reevaluate) your “why”. In general, a strong sense of purpose tends to foster a high degree of motivation. 

3. Assess Your Self-Talk and Eliminate Self-Defeating Attitudes

Take inventory of your internal dialogue throughout the day. Are you saying negative, self-defeating things to yourself? Self-talk, whether positive or negative, can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Avoid being overly critical of yourself and underestimating your abilities. If you catch yourself saying negative things to yourself, consciously make an effort to replace those thoughts with positive self-talk. 

Out of the five ways to help with mental preparation listed in the article, these two really resonated with me.

Why do you choose to compete when you know you have to push yourself to the bring? Why do you choose to come into the Sweat Shop before or after a long day of work or when you are unbelievably sore from the workout the day before? There have been plenty of times where I have to ask myself these questions, and having a solid “why” makes answering them much easier. It could be as simple as enjoying the company of your friends you’ve made at the Sweat Shop, building a healthier/sustainable version of yourself, or the fact that you may enjoy having the opportunity to challenge yourself with movements you never thought you could achieve! Whatever the case may be, take the time to really think about “why” you are making those decisions.

We all have that voice inside of our heads that fill our minds with positive and negative thoughts. Do your best to recognize the negative thoughts the creep into your mind and replace them with something positive. Positivty goes a long way when competing or when learning something new at the Sweat Shop!

You can read the full article here.

Hope this helps those of you who are competing in the next couple of months, have fun!

Upcoming Competitions

15335881597_d4123d9620_cManwell beastin’ it while his excited fans look on!

Here is a list of upcoming competitions in the next couple months. Check out WODROCKET for the links to the events.

June 9-July 4th: Granite Games Qualifier. Online.
June 11: Bringing Color Back (Partner), CrossFit Anywhere. Folsom, CA
June 18: Summer Solstice Throwdown (Partner), CrossFit ATI. Danville, CA
June 26: Throwdown at the Plex (Individual, including masters and scaled), Silver Creek Sportsplex. San Jose, CA
July 10: Brutes and Babes (Scaled Individual), Hercules CrossFit. Hercules, CA
July 16: Battle on the Bay (Teams of 3), Alameda CrossFit. Alameda, CA
July 16: Dog Days of Summer (Partner, including scaled), CrossFit Danville. Danville, CA
Aug 27: Battle on Sunset 3 (Individual, scaled and masters), CrossFit Antioch. Antioch, CA

Featured Athlete: Allison P.


Allison is another one of our quiet ninjas.  You’ll probably never catch her screaming out or jumping for joy after hitting a PR, but make no mistake about it, she is consistently putting in hard work and making gains!  Watch her next time handstand pushups come up, hella strict, hella straight! While often times people think of kipping movements as more advanced, being able to do movements strict (pullups, handstand pushups, etc.) requires FAR more strength.  In addition to being strong, when Allison shows up to the gym with enough time, she’ll often hit a 1 mile run as a warmup… no big deal!  Check out more about Allison below.

Name: Allison Payawal
Age: 39

Q.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?
A.  I have been coming to the Sweatshop since January 2013.

Q.  What were you doing for exercise before CrossFit?
A.  I did a lot of running! I ran 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and several mud runs.

Q.  How did you begin training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A.  C.J. (my younger brother) would always go to the gym. I became more curious about it and more interested in Crossfit after Aria was born. C.J. gave me On-ramp classes as my Christmas gift and I’ve been going ever since.

Q.  What has been the most significant benefit or change since you’ve been a member of the Sweat Shop?
A. I am a lot stronger and I have a bit more confidence to try new things. Since I started CF, I have been able to complete 2 triathlons (and I’m in training for another one in June).

Q.  What is your favorite exercise or workout?
A.  I love anything with weights, except snatches.

Q.  What is your least favorite exercise or workout?
A.  I don’t like wall balls or rowing, since I’m vertically challenged. It seems like no matter what I do or try, they are still difficult. I tried the assault bike too, and my feet don’t really reach the pedals.

Q. What is your favorite healthy meal?
A.  My favorite healthy meal is spaghetti squash with ground turkey and baked sweet potato on the side.

Q.  What is your favorite cheat meal/snack?
A.  anything with Oreos or chocolate! It’s my weakness =)

Q.  What do you enjoy most about training at CrossFit Sweat Shop?
A.  I love the community! I love being able to come to the gym and talk to anyone. Everyone is very friendly and encouraging.

Q.  What is your proudest exercise related achievement?
A.  Making podium at the Rookie-Masters Assassination Competition in Citrus Heights

Q.  What advice would you give someone who is hesitant to try CrossFit?
A.  I would say, just try it!

Q.  What is your most sought after exercise goal?
A.  Kipping, I still can’t get it, as well as double unders.

Q.  What is something you have recently purchased for less than $100 (or acquired for free) that you thoroughly enjoy and would recommend to others?
A.  I have 2 little girls, I don’t buy anything for myself anymore.

Q. What advice would you give your 25 year old self?
A.  Worry less, party more! Have fun.

Games Prep!


Today we had a great CrossFit Games prep session for Jacqueline to get her ready for competition in Carson! A big thanks to Sweat Shop masters Seth, Adam, and Helen, Endgame Athletics crew Nate and Leka, Marilyn from CF Endzone, Arnell from Danville, Raz, and Games athlete Diane Urban for coming out to compete at Sweat Shop today! They all did some nasty Games-style WODs to help Jacqueline and Diane get an extra push before they compete in July. All hit some milestones and some PR’s today, but the most important part was learning how to handle the flow and stress of competition. Great work everyone! Thanks also to Patrick, JB from Concord CF, DJ, Bri, Ali, and Marcus for helping out with judging and other stuff! Game-day preparation is very tough to practice other than simulating it in practice itself. This will be a big help for Jacqueline!

Beat the HEAT!



As the temperature rises in the Sweat Shop, it’s about that time when we must make sure our bodies are prepared to exercise in the heat in order to maximize our workout. First off, water is a key nutrient which we sometimes takes for granted but it is crucial to every function in the body. Water helps regulate body temperature, nerve-impulse conduction, metabolism, immune system, eliminative process, and that’s just a few things! Essentially, water is important to the rest of the workings of the body. Not only does water play an important role in preventing any heat-related injuries, mineral and vitamins are equally vital as well. As we drink water, unofrtunately it flushes away the much needed vitamins and minerals from our body. As a result, we have to replace the minerals lost. Vitamin B and C, potassium, and magnesuium are but a few important minerals to replace in order to maximize your workout.

Here are two misconceptions from an article the CrossFit Journal that takes about training in the heat…

1. It takes a large amount of dehydration to bring on negative reactions.

2. You can depend on thirst to inform you when you’re at risk. It takes a surprisingly small amount of fluid loss, just one percent, for your body to become dehydrated, and you can’t depend on your thirst to tell you what’s happening.

The article goes on to talk about the consequences of dehydration and goes into depth on how to prevent it! I highly recommend the read if you are going to be smashing workouts at the Sweat Shop. We can’t control the heat, but we can control our body’s preparedness!

You can read the full article here.

SPS Gym – Coming Soon to Oakland, CA!

SPSlogo cropped

Many Sweat Shoppers have asked me why we didn’t do the CrossTown Throwdown with Oakland last fall, and here’s the reason!  Mike Jenkins, evil genius and master planner of events such as Femme Fit, Fran Off, and the CrossTown Throwdown has been working on something big!  His new training facility Speed Power Strength, will be opening later this month in Oakland.  This will definitely be a one of a kind facility focusing on Olympic Weightlifting, but also featuring CrossFit, Powerlifting, and even Cryotherapy.  I’m looking forward to some surely amazing events that Big Mike will be hosting at his new gym.  Oh, did I mention it’s an Eleiko certified training facility.

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