Welcome Baby Emma


Congratulations to Seth and Krista on their brand new baby girl. Emma Rose Ingram was born Sunday morning, weighing in at 9lbs 7oz and 21 inches long! Wow!! Great job Krista! We can’t wait to meet baby Emma! We hope you and the family are all adjusting well and hope to see you in the gym soon! Sending lots of love your way!

Holiday Thanks!


Big thanks to everyone that came to our annual holiday party this weekend!  I had a great time chatting with as many people as possible, but before I knew it, it was 1 a.m., and Erika and Lydia were trying to incite a wrestling match between Adam and Manwell and all I could kept wondering was whether or not Aaron was going to whip up some late night ramen.  He did and fortunately Adam and Manwell decided not to wrestle.

See more pics here.

Going 6 for 6. The New 1RM

30458420403_fbc2ab9f23_kDanielle crushing it at SPS Gym’s Rite of Passage Meet.

I’ve heard from numerous coaches and peers from other boxes at competitions on how well our gym members move on our olympic lifts compared to others. I really believe it and have witnessed it! I think a big reason for this is that we don’t push 1 rep maxing and focus on quality reps and getting a lot of them in. You’ve probably noticed that we rarely if at all, program a “FIND your 1RM” for the snatch and clean and jerk. For a bulk of our training, we like using every minute on the minute, and more recently, every 90 seconds/2 minutes formats. We find that it is the a great format for a class setting; you get lots of reps, a short timetable to do them in, you get feedback, and it forces you to do a little self coaching.

However, while I like the EMOM format, it gets tougher to get a ton of reps at higher percentages ranges like 85-90%, do to fatigue and in such short time to rest and put on plates. What we like to do is encourage those who are pretty familiar with the movement and are ready to work heavier, to cut down the amount of reps per minute or extend the rest to 1:30 or 2 minutes. This is a nice transition from the regular EMOM. As far as a maxing goes, rather than just getting as many 1 rep max attempts as possible, I play a little 6 for 6 game around my 85-95%. I’ll try to hit or work with a weight that I can hit 6 successful lifts out of 6 attempts with about 2-5 minutes of rest. This is really no different than counting your misses and makes in an EMOM, you just don’t have a short clock on you. An example of this would be say building to 90 percent of my max, and then trying to go 6/6 at 91%. If I nail all 6, the next training day I’ll try to go 6/6 at 92% and slowly move along that linear progression. If I don’t go 6/6, I’ll stay at that weight in training until I can or start back again lower. While this is not the only way to go about it, I’ve noticed more confidence at the heavier weights mentally and adapt to physically feeling the load. Also, I treat it like a controlled competition or game. I limit my attempts to 6 so that I’m not just sitting there missing a bunch but enough to get a fair and reasonable crack at it. Counting my misses and makes also gives me feedback on where I need to work. If I go 0/6, even if I’ve hit that weight in the past, it’s clear I’m not confident in it now and need to get more comfy below. Taken all this together, I think that this method is a more useful and helpful standard to hold for your olympic lifting maxes than a 1-rep weight we got once on a lucky day!


Warming Up for the Winter


Seth always comes in early excited to warm up!

It’s starting to get cold at the Sweat Shop, so I wanted to take the time to encourage all of you to really take some time and dial in your warm up! In addition to the group warm ups before class, personally, I really enjoy hopping on the rower or bike for a good 3-5 minutes before I do any sort of rolling, stretching, or dynamic movements. Be careful though, try to avoid treating a warm up on the rower or bike like a casual stroll in the park. I admit, I’ve done that before and I always hop off asking myself why I even got on in the first place because I’m still just as cold as when I started! So try this, 2 minutes of a moderate pace on either the rower or bike, followed by 4 sets of 20 seconds hard and 10 seconds easy. For a total of 4 minutes, I’ve found that this really warms up my body so that I can maximize any rolling, stretching, or dynamic movements I do next. Afterward, feel free to do what you need to do before our group warm ups now that your mind and body are prepared for exercise. If you’re worried about being too “tired” or “redlining” before class starts or before 3. 2. 1. Go!…Stop, you’ll be just fine. Give your fitness a little more credit! Taking the time to warm up correctly not only prepares our body for activity, but helps prevent injuries as well. You might skip a warm up here or there, or have to cut a warm up short for whatever reason, but even if everything turns out fine try to not make that a habit! Just by doing that once or twice, you start building habits and that’s not a good one to develop. We understand that all of you have obligations outside of the Sweat Shop, but if you are one that is consistently fighting injuries (shoulders, knees, hips, etc…) AND consistently showing up late or getting an insufficient warm up in, I encourage you to really try and adjust so that you give your body a chance/the time it needs to warm up so that you will be able to maximize your time at the Sweat Shop. If you need some personalized warm up routines before class, go ahead and ask one of the coaches. We’ll be happy to assist!

Hot Chocolate 5K

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-7-55-14-pmSome of the nicest race swag I’ve seen

If you don’t train at 6am, you may not have seen Scott C. and his super sweet Hot Chocolate 5K hoodie.  I’ve been in envy of his hoodie for far too long, 2017 will be the year I get my own!  The Hot Chocolate 5K comes to San Francisco on January 8th 2017.  For more info and to register, go here.  Who’s with me?

Accessory Strength Work

Welp, one thing led to another and I found myself watching this on YouTube.

Accessory work is key to getting better at those movements or skills you wish to achieve. Take pull ups for example, I can speak from experience here, it took me a good 4 years of practice to finally understand the butterfly pull kip. In that time however, I constantly worked on strict pull ups. Once the rhythm of the butterfly pull up clicked, I already had the strength requirements to move through the movement efficiently. So often, I see athletes trying to get a kipping pull up before first building their strict. First and foremost, we need the strength requirements to complete the movement. Also, in the video, you see the athletes using the GHD for glue ham raises. While it is difficult for us to program GHD movement in workouts, the coaches would be more than happy to show you how to properly use the GHD.

Holiday Party & Weekend Schedule

img_0231_low_resJoel, Cassie, Jen and Mark during last year’s holiday party

Just a reminder that the holiday party is this Saturday evening, 6:30pm at the Sweat Shop.  There will be dinner, drinks, dessert and plenty of fun.  Spouses or significant others are absolutely welcome!

Weekend Class Schedule
Saturday Dec. 3rd – 8:00am Class Only (We’ll need all the time we can get to transform the gym)

Sunday Dec. 4th – 11:00am Class Only (No comp class.  Recover, sleep in, train at 11:00am)

Sweet Potato Casserole


Thanksgiving is upon us, and I I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish this year. Forgoing the processed sugar and flower, I found a recipe on Pinterest that looks pretty amazing. I’m looking forward to making it tomorrow. Check out the recipe below:

Sweet Potato Casserole
Makes a ton (i.e., 12 servings-ish)

4 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
juice of half an orange
Pecan topping
3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp melted coconut oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While water comes to a boil, peel and dice sweet potatoes into large chunks.
2. Add sweet potato chunks to water. Boil until fork tender–about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes, then dump them back in the large pot with all the other ingredients. Using a hand mixer, blend until potatoes reach desired consistency and flavor. (You may like to add a little more coconut milk, spices, or syrup based on your taste.)
4. In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients until pecans are well coated.
5. Dump sweet potatoes into an oven safe dish and top with pecans.
6. Bake in preheated oven until topping is browned–about 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Rite of Passage Recap

SPS Rite of Passage from James Barber on Vimeo.

This past Saturday we had several Sweat Shoppers compete in their first sanctioned olympic weightlifting meet at SPS Gym. Sweat Shop did amazing! Several made personal bests, took home some cash, and broke a masters record! The event was super fun and although it was everyone’s first time doing a lifting meet, MJ and his crew made all the athletes feel welcome and got us pumped and confident when it came time to lift. The energy was great, competitors were rooting each other on, and the spectators were encouraging and positive. While I had a blast competing and was happy about my lifts, I was really inspired by our squad, especially those new to competitions. Danielle started it off for Sweat Shop and nailed her lifts including a PR on her snatch. I was super happy to see Brenda and Meghan, two who have put in so much work before the competition, impress out on the stage with solid technique and confidence! Braydan wowed the crowed with technique and lifted more weights than half the adults in the weight division. Lones was able to break two masters olympic lifting records for her age division in her first meet! DJ did his usual self and impressed with huge numbers on both the snatch, clean and jerk, as well as having the best singlet of the day! At the end of the day, Bri took 2nd overall in the women’s division with a total of 173kg and a Sinclair score of 222 and I was able to take 3rd in the mens (234 total/296 Sinclair)$$$.

Great work to everyone, thanks to all the Sweat Shoppers who came out and supported, Nabil for the coaching and footage, Aaron, for the amazing grub, and MJ and SPS for a great event!

Rite Of Passage Meet Tomorrow!

15095603_1346955085323969_8021151071882411627_nGood luck to our Sweat Shoppers competing in the Rite of Passage Olympic Lifting Meet this Saturday at SPS Gym in Oakland! This is a USAW sanctioned meet and features athletes in their first every Olympic Weightlifting meet. We have a bunch of Sweat Shoppers going throughout the day so if you can make it down, come cheer on your buddies ! 3-time USA Olympian Kendrick Farris is a special guest and will there helping newbies out! Aaron will be cooking some delicious grub as well!  Here are the details:

Where: Speed.Power.Strength. 2140 Livingston, Oakland 94606.

Sweat Shopper Lifting Times:
Session A (10:00am)

Session B: (12:00pm)
Braydan and JB

Session C: (2:00pm)
Brenda, Lones, and Bri

Session D: (4:00pm)

Check Out Your Posterior


Let’s talk a little bit about our posterior chain. An article that I came across did a fantastic job at listing and defining why our posterior chain is important both inside and outside of the gym. Check it out…

The reality is the muscles that make up the chain are directly responsible for producing hip extension.

  • Multifidus (spine support)
  • Erector Spinae (back and spinal extension)
  • Gluteal Muscles (hip extensors, femoral rotation)
  • Hamstring Muscles (hip extension, knee flexion)
  • Gastrocnemius or Calf (plantar flexes ankle, knee flexion)
  • External Obliques (back and spine support, in tandem with anterior core)

Now think about the multitude of exercises and movements, in and out of the box, that rely upon these muscles (not to mention hip extension in general). It’s safe to say that the health of your posterior chain not only affects your athletic prowess—but your ability to move. They contribute to jumping, pushing, pulling running and even something as simple as sitting down and standing upIt’s literally the prime mover of forward propulsion 

You can check out the full article here. The article goes a good job at describing the importance of keeping our posterior chain in check and what happens when there are imbalances between our anterior and posterior sides. It’s a quick and easy read so check it out when you have some free time today!

Cleaning up your Clean

I remembered how much I love cleans durning out squat clean EMOM last week. I was telling Seth that I feel like I flip flop between having a good clean, and having a good snatch. Right now, my snatches feel like crap, while my cleans feel great. There have been a few things I have switched up in my clean which I believe has contributed to it feeling much better. One of which is starting with my hips up slightly higher then I had done previously. This is certainly not a fix that will benefit everyone since we all have different biomechanical needs. I came across this article in breaking muscle that does a great job breaking down the clean. If you’re more of a visual person, there are some great clips that break down each part of the clean. Check out the full article here.

Diablo Bodyworks


CrossFit Sweat Shop is super fortunate to now have a Certified Massage Therapist as a member of the gym.  If you don’t normally workout in the noon class, you may not have met Catherine Cortez.  However, I setup a tissue work session with her last week and was not disappointed!  Not only does Catherine have a great understanding of the body, but she also has first hand experience of the demands that are put on the body as CrossFitter.  And whether your the type that enjoys some serious pressure when getting tissue work, or prefer a lighter touch, Catherine can certainly deliver… and she’s available for appointments at the Sweat Shop or house calls!  Check out her website for more info.

Row-a-thon Wrap Up


CrossFit Sweat Shop showed up big time this weekend at the 3rd annual Ericlee Memorial Row-a-thon at CrossFit Walnut Creek!  Out of the 19 teams competing, Sweat Shop’s 3 teams took 1st, 3rd, and 4th, with Team Rowaholics Annoymous (Scott, Jack, Steph, and Dana) taking the 1st overall spot.  In addition to 2 hours of rowing as a team, each team had to complete 12 individual events.  Sweat Shop men and women also claimed the large majority of first place finishes in these individual events!  Big thanks also to the many Sweat Shop supporters that came out to cheer us on!  Rowing is certainly not the most exciting spectator event, but it’s always fun to have many of our members there to cheer us on.  I for one could distinctly hear Marcus yelling words of encouragement at me every time it was my turn to get on the rower!  Lastly, of course, big thanks to the volunteers of the event, as well as, Andrew and Eric Williams of CrossFit Walnut Creek for putting on a great event.  Hopefully we can get together with these guys again and do something like the Battle in the Creek that we did a couple of years back!

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