Monday, December 31, 2007

Time Management

2007 is coming to an end and undoubtedly, someone will ask you about your resolutions. Some of us will try to break habits, others will try to effect new ones. Whatever you are trying to do, time management will come into play. How can we make lasting change when time is already short or seemingly non-existent?

Read the eye-opening list of statistics from Dr. Donald Wetmore regarding time management. Understand the monumental effort it will take to make lasting changes and remember to be easy on yourself as we enter the new year.

Some things to keep in mind:

1. Evaluate your life - what's missing? what's negative and needs to be addressed?

2. Re-evaluate how you go about doing things - do you complete what you set out to do? do you need to change your approach to change your results?

3. Set boundaries - learn to say 'no.' The most important word in protecting time to do what you want to.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Coach Kevin

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eating on the Road

Many of you are traveling for the holidays. This always presents an obstacle to staying on a decent eating regiment. Crossfit's 100 Words of Fitness suggests the following dietary guide-lines: Eat meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. This is easier than it sounds, even on the road, if you are conscious about your eating decisions. A few simple points to consider:

1)Try to get some quality protein at every meal. A piece of meat about the size of a deck of cards should do it. You can find this anywhere, even if it's just adding some chicken to a salad. Protein helps spare muscle tissue breakdown and helps to stoke your thermogenic fire. It also helps you feel full and satisfied with your meal. Don't miss it.

2)Substitute vegetables for rice/bread/potatoes. Most restaurants will happily substitute veggies for your starches. This helps keep your portions under control (starches are usually the largest part of a restaurant meal), while increasing the nutritional density of your meal. Veggies are also loaded with know the deal there...nobody likes to be 'off schedule' when traveling.

3)Get rid of the 'dead weight' in your meals. Need some protein? Order a burger, but that bun is just dead weight...get rid of that empty starch. Eat your side salad and your meat. By changing one element of your meal (eleminating the dead or nutritionally empty bits) you've made it a lot healthier.

4)Don't be afraid to mix and match. Need some protein to go? Get some low sugar beef jerky (check the labels) or some string cheese. Grab some almonds and an apple and you've got a pretty complete meal.

Remember: The items that pass your lips determine how you will feel for the next 4-6 hours. You are in complete control of this decision, even when on the road. It may take a little more effort on your part, but you'll feel much better for it.

Have fun,

Friday, December 28, 2007

"I need to strengthen my....don't say the "C" word."

You know what "C" word I'm talking about. Right? It rhymes with mid-line stabilization. We're talking about trunk strength and stability NOT how strong your kidneys are. In the new year approaching, keep in mind that to the extent that you develop real stability in your spine, your performance will universally improve. You will have a better transmission to go with your big engine IF you work hard to develop your capacity to keep your spine from flexing, shearing, and wobbling when you are under load or are tired, or both.

That athlete in the photo is National Rowing Team Member, and World Champion, Erin Cafaro. There is no doubt that she makes a living by transferring power from an oar blade through her spine to the boat.

I wager she doesn't use the C.O.R.E word.

Don't you either.

Good luck becoming a fence post in the new year.

coach K

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Measuring Your Success

There is a reason Crossfit workouts are timed, rounds & repetitions are recorded and scores are kept; the workouts are designed to be repeatable, measurable and quantifiable. As athletes, we need to know our work capacity has increased, our muscular endurance has improved and our overall fitness has evolved. Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program that keeps score, simple as that. Regardless of where you start in your journey to fitness, you can always go back to the standard workouts and see how you perform. Never is a scale involved. Ever. Too often clients associate their fitness with being skinnier and watching their weight go down. Don't be a victim of this. Record your workout performances instead and use this scientific data as your fitness barometer. It's okay to be weight-conscious, but be careful of being addicted to a false indicator of fitness. We are Crossfitters. We build muscle, we produce power. You will know when you are fit. You will know that regardless of what the scale says you just PR'd by 100 points on Fight Gone Bad or dropped your Fran time by 45 seconds. Then I'll ask you again if you care how much you weigh.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff wrote a great article about scale addiction. Keep these tips in mind while setting those New Year fitness goals.

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated in Commonwealth countries on the 26th of December. Originally it was a day when older possessions were 'boxed up' to make room for the new possessions that had been received over the holiday season. These old possessions were often left out for the less fortunate or donated to charity.

The days before the New Year are a perfect time to take stock and perform a mental 'Boxing Day'. Decide what things you would like to try on in the New Year. Pass your old, well fitting ideas on to someone who might not be privy to them. Often we discard our most valuable possession, experience, without much thought. Pass your successes on and see if someone else may like the fit of your experiences.

Have fun,


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Do What You Can.....

First of all, Merry Christmas!

Now to the heart of the matter. We often get traveling athletes asking us for programming help when they are on the road. The rule is simple.

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.


If you find yourself trapped in a bathroom during this vacation holiday, then you are going to be doing situps, squats, burpees, pushups, jumping lunges, etc.

If you have access to a treadmill, add running to the above mix.

Bottom line, you always have options. To the extent that you maximize your work capacity in your current situation, you will be bridging your fitness needs until you can get back home. This will be enough.

Currently it's snowing here in Colorado. Tabata sprints up the back hill of my parents house at 8000 feet is enough to leave me begging for an easy Fran type workout. Enjoy the challenge. Fill a small duffel with canned goods and start squatting.

Keep it short and intense.
Then go have some more pie.

Merry Christmas Gang,

Coach K

Monday, December 24, 2007

Snatching Santa

This past weekend we had a visitor from NYC, Brett Tom, who works out at The Black Box, CrossFit NYC. Brett is a great athlete and very nice guy. It was a pleasure to have a fellow Crossfitter train with us.

Check out Brett's attempt at his Snatch PR...

Thank you, Brett! Keep up the strong work, you're always welcome at our home.

Happy Holidays!

Coach Kevin

Friday, December 21, 2007

I've Fallen and I Can't Turkish Get Up

Did you know that the number one reason why people end up in nursing homes is that they can no longer transfer independently? That means that people become so weak that they can't stand up out of a chair, go to the bathroom, or god forbid get up off the floor.

Did you know that in Asian cultures, the incidence of hip disease and replacement is almost zero?

Did you know that in Japan the incidence of the elderly falling in nursing homes is almost zero because they: sleep on the floor and, toilet while squatting?

The bottom line is that people end up in skilled nursing care because they become weak! Don't let this happen to your parents. The photo above is one of our regular's family working on the turkish get up while on vacation. Teach your parents well, or their children's hell (you) will not slowly go by. (thanks CSNY)

Aging is often about capacity lost. Lost being the operative word.
So, over Christmas, tell your parents and grandparents how you love them while teaching them to get up off the floor.

Coach "I spent too much time working in long term skilled nursing facilities while getting my DPT" K

Ps. Merry Christmas


One of the most important things you can do for your mental and physical fitness health is engage in some sort of active play from time to time. You all remember fun, right (looking in your direction, Chains)? That feeling of enjoyment that seems to make time disappear...that is what we're looking for. Having fun not only decreases cortisol levels (read: stress levels), it often masks how much work you are doing while having it. Usually this is accompanied by a motor pattern or two that are different (but similar) than what you are used to in your training. This helps to keep overuse injuries at bay and your nervous system 'fresh'.

Ok, so what is fun then? Analyzing fun is not so fun. Trying new things is often quite fun. In Crossfit's 'World Class Fitness in 100 Words' there is a recommendation to constantly learn and play new sports. Find a few things in and around the bay that you are interested in and don't be afraid to try them out. Use the fitness you are so busy developing and enjoy it. Sometimes we get so serious with our fitness goals we forget that enjoyment should be a major motivating factor. Don't let working out become a second job! Just because it's fun doesn't mean it's not beneficial.

Play more, stress less,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

CrossFit My Kitchen: The Meat Cookie

The focus of the next installment of Crossfit My Kitchen is The Meat Cookie; 6oz of free range, grass-fed, protein-packed goodness. Much like the hard boiled egg, I prepare a dozen at a time and have them readily available for consumption throughout the week.

I would like to make the distinction here that I endorse consumption of grass-fed, REAL beef, which unlike the grain-fed, over-processed, ground round you purchased at your local grocery store, is not only good for you, it is unrivaled in providing the highest quality protein available. How so?

The fat content of beef is the primary reason it has lost ground as a respectable entrée on America's dinner table. Not only do most beef cuts have a high fat content, ranging from 35-75%, but the majority of it is saturated.

Grain-fed beef can have an omega 6:3 ratio higher than 20:1
J. Anim. Sci. 2000. 78:2849-2855

This well exceeds the 4:1 ratio that is recommended to avoid an essential fat imbalance. Also grain-fed beef can have over 50% of the total fat as the far less healthy saturated fat.

Grass-fed beef has an omega 6:3 ratio of 0.16 to 1
This is the ratio science suggests is ideal for our diet. This is about the same ratio that fish has. Grass-fed beef usually has less than 10% of its fat as saturated. If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, the extra omega-3 from the grass-fed beef will provide incredible nutritional benefits for your child

Need more convincing? Read on.

Furthermore, look at how beef stacks up compared to other protein sources:

Table 1. Approximate Protein in Selected Foods

Ostrich 10 grams/ounce
Beef 7 grams/ounce
Poultry 7 grams/ounce
Fish 7 grams/ounce
Large Egg 7 grams/egg
Milk 8 grams/cup
Cheese 7 grams/ounce
Bread 4 grams/slice
Cereal 4 grams/1/2 cup
Vegetables 2 grams/ 1/2 cup
Soybeans (dry) 10 grams/ounce
Peanuts 7 grams/ounce
Lentils (dry) 6.5 grams/ounce
Red beans 6 grams/ounce
Baked potato 9 grams/8 ounces
Cashews 5 grams/ounce

Being in San Francisco, I buy my grass-fed beef from Prather's Ranch. Typically, I purchase the "Family Pack," 5 pounds of ground beef for $20! It doesn't get better than that for the price. They are located at the Ferry Building and local farmers' markets. Get yours today.

Things You'll Need:

1. 4 pounds grass-fed Beef
2. Cookie Sheet
3. Food Scale
4. Cookie Cutter (I use a 1 cup dry measuring utensil)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place meat in large bowl; season to your liking ( I find the beef I use requires no seasoning). Mix together thoroughly.

Step 2: Measure out ~6oz. of beef with scale, press into cookie cutter, remove beef pattie and place on cookie sheet.

Step 3: Bake for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Place meat cookies on paper towel to drain, store in Tupperware and consume when needed.

Remember: Eat your cookies, Crossfit regularly and watch your muscles grow.

Bon Appetit,

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Kelly had touched on keeping an athletic journal a few days back and a question was posed: Just how do I go about keeping it all straight anyway? With a protocol as varied as crossfit, it can be difficult to track benchmark workouts and Personal Records(PRs). If you're new to working out, a month's worth of recorded CF may be a little difficult to decipher. Here are a few tips that can help you keep yourself organized.

1)Make recording your sessions routine. Just like waking up and brushing your teeth is a habit, so is keeping an accurate journal. Find some time directly after your workout (while the effort is still fresh). If you CF and then eat breakfast, use those few minutes to jot it down. If you CF and then shower off, hop out, get dressed and take five. It doesn't really matter, just make it consistent. If you put it off until later in the day (or worse, the next day), chances are you won't remember some of the more pertinent details. Do it now!

2)Keep it simple! The best methods of recording are also the most simple. Allow one page per day. Have 3 sections for each day you record.

The first section will be for warm up. Put things you did that were skill related or a warm up drill you liked and will use again. This may be a brief section. It doesn't do a lot of good to write down every last detail know you did some squats and pushups and probably some jump rope, no need to write that down everyday. As you look back over your log, see if you can mix up your warm-up skills from day to day and week to week so that you always have several in rotation. This way you get to practice a variety of skills on a regular basis. If you would like a warm-up progression for a technical movement (like, say, the Clean and Jerk) ask your coach!

IE. -Worked on snatch tech. with stick
-Practiced Pistols with a partner

The second section is for the main workout. Put down the movements and weights used, rep. scheme and the time of completion (if applicable). Over time this will allow you to get a feel for what weights you are comfortable working at with any given movement, how fast it takes you to perform certain distances rowing or running and about how fast certain workouts will take to perform. When you look back over the months, most movements should start to be performed with more and more weight, times to complete distances will fall and you can start to strategize how long your workout will take. Fairly simple here:

Squat 5x5

Five rounds for time of:
Row 250m
Push press 60kg x 10
Time: 10:42

The third section is for finishing or cooldown movements (did I hear a hollow rock?) and final thoughts on the workout. This is important. Make sure you pick one or two elements of your technique and jot down a line about how you can improve it. Don't get too carried away. We can all find deficiencies and things we wish we could have done better. Pick one or two and leave it at that. Include something positive about the workout also.


-Losing lockout in overhead squats...keep arms straight!
-Good squat depth today...kept weight in heels really well.

3)Make a list on the back few pages of your book. Reserve this space for benchmark workouts and individual efforts (like your max squat) that you like/are important to you (the girls, your 20 rep squat best, max time holding the silly ball overhead etc.). Every time one of these workouts comes up write down your effort and the date. Keep your best effort and the last attempt (hopefully they are the same date). When one of the benchmarks/lifts comes up again you can quickly reference your back page cheat sheet to see what your previous time was, without wondering when the last time we did fran was.

Another approach that I personally find to work best is to make a mini-calendar at the back of my book. I give each month about a third of a page (so reserve 3 pages worth). Label the month in pen and the year in pencil (if you have a big book). Every time I set a new PR I write it down in the corresponding month. I then have a monthly highlight reel that takes all the guesswork out of my times/bests. It also easily allows me to see if I haven't been practicing something regularly. If I look over my monthly logs and see I don't have a score for a particular movement or workout, it's time to start putting some attention to those areas (again ask your coach if you want to work on something or do a particular benchmark...we are often open to suggestions! Open gym time on Saturdays is also an ideal time to test yourself). Once the year rolls over you can erase the yearly date and start over, or start the new year with a different coloured ink.

There you have it, journaling made easy. Remember:
Make it a habit
Keep it simple
Keep an easy reference table of repeatable workouts/maxes

Have fun!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Head Fault

With so many other aspects of technique, load, and metabolic demand, it may be tempting to say,"who cares what my head is doing, I'm trying not to throw-up here."

But it does matter. In any movement your head and neck position should be a natural extension of your neutral spine. During the squat for example, it should appear that there is an eye bolt running from the tip of your head through your spine and out your sacrum. So, if your body tips forward, your head and neck will also tip forward in order to preserve that natural, vital positional relationship. Check out Coach A below.

Note that Coach A's gaze is actually 6-8 feet in front of him. Note also how ram rod straight his back is. Losing that neutral head position can trigger a cascade of bad movement. While the bio-mechanics are beyond the scope of this discussion, think of your head as one end of a sheet and your hips as the other end. We want this sheet pulled as tightly as possible during movement. Tilting your head back into cervical extension functionally lets the upper end of the sheet flap loosely in the wind, effectively making both ends unstable. When this happens we loose potential stability, strength, and power.

Keep your head in neutral and avoid the sneaky head fault.

Coach K

Monday, December 17, 2007

Athlete Profile: Aneel Nath

The SFCF community is only as good as its members. One individual who stands out for his dedication to training and great sense of humor is Aneel Nath. Whether you have met him or not, here are a few things you might not know about him:

Age: 28
Sign: Taurus
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

What is your occupation?: "Full-time dental student at UCSF."

Something people don't know about you: "I'm flat footed and pigeon toed."

Any New Year's resolution or goal?: "To hike the entire John Muir Trail (211 miles) in 12 days."

What is your favorite workout? Least favorite?:"I like any Chipper. I hate anything with running."

What keeps you coming back?:"The coaches."

What is your favorite song to workout to?:"Tabata Mix, by DJ Topher G."

Thanks, Aneel! Keep up the strong work.

Coach Kevin

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It Doesn't Count Unless...

When we go for workout records, personal bests, PR's, and best efforts, we make pretty darn sure that someone saw it, witnessed it, or caught it on camera. We often kid that it doesn't count unless 1)someone saw it, or 2) you can do it again. More importantly though, we know it was a record or best effort because we've got a written log of our last effort. Which leads us to the topic of the training log.

You must keep a training log. If you don't already, start. If you do, have a pastry and a latte and enjoy your badass status.

This simple device allows for real insight, accurate boasting, and excellent meta-awareness about you as an athlete in training.

Ask Coach A about his best overhead squat and he will be able to tell you exactly what it is and, what it was the time before. He writes it down. Ask Pam Lauper what her first TABATA squat score was and she'll tell you because...she knows. She can tell you the date of this tire flip above as well.

For the new year, do yourself a favor and keep an informal log. It doesn't have to be Jedi Journal quality, just a few words about what it is you did. I promise you it will be useful. No real athlete of record doesn't keep a journal.

So, for the new year get your acts together and write it down. Your can even leave you training log at SFCF so you'll have no excuse.

Coach K

Kipping Part 1

So a few days ago the 'kipping on the floor' drill was mentioned. Before you get to that step in your kip, you must have a good swing. This step is potentially the most critical in developing a good kip! Now the swing has to be static (as much mass in front of the bar as behind, when looking profile...this creates a net-zero effect and decreases unwanted momentum and travel) in order for it to be useful. Practice this drill on the ground:

Stand and let one leg and one arm swing in front of your head, then sweep back behind. Your feet should only travel a foot or so and try to keep things fluid and relaxed. It is not a high kick drill! Notice how the chest naturally opens when you kick back and naturally closes when you kick forward. Practice this on both sides. When it's comfortable, do it with your right arm and left leg and vice-versa. Hop back on the bar and try to mimic the same feel. When you can swing back and forth several times and stop with little or no built up momentum, you've developed a decent swing! This is not only a great drill for the kipping pullup, but a decent warm up for the shoulder girdle as well (take it easy your first few swings). Try it!

See you at practice,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Crossfitting Your Big Box

A question that clients often ask is, "What do I do when I can't make it to class?"
This question is most often posed by folks new to Crossfit style workouts who are still grappling with the idea that you don't have to spend 2 hours in the gym to get the results you desire. But, a valid question nonetheless.

The answer is simple: Crossfit your gym.

Think of your fitness program like a recipe; one part gymnastics, one part weight lifting and one part mono-structural aerobic activity (running, rowing, jumping, cycling). Mix equally demanding parts of all three, pour over ice and serve. You will not be disappointed.

If you are new to Crossfit or are unable to attend class, here are some rules to live by when working out (on those 'off days') to insure your fitness improves:

1. Think Functional: movements you do in the gym should transfer to real world situations and applicability. While this canon is short, it is potent: dead lift, squat, press, push press, swing, jerk, lunge, clean, snatch. Your coaches will teach you the basics, try to replicate these movements at your gym. Remember: If it's attached to a cable, walk past it and pick something up you can throw.

2. Think Full Body: As much as I would love to curl and do calf raises for time, you will never see that workout pulled out of the hopper. Crossfit is functional (point 1), we seek to engage the entire body as much as possible. If you are not utilizing upper and lower body than you are probably not doing something useful. Bicep curls, calf raises, leg extensions, lateral raises and the such are useful for rehab and the uneducated, but not for Crossfit. They isolate muscles. They are body building exercises and do not treat the body as a whole. Avoid them. Avoid machines that train them.

3. Break-up your "Kardio": DO NOT THINK OF WORKING OUT AS CARDIO AND WEIGHTS. BAD IDEA. Crossfit blends the two in workouts, as does every REAL WORLD situation demand. Moving into a new house? Carrying the dresser on your back up 4 flights of stairs isn't classic cardio but I bet your lungs are feeling it. Take your 45 minutes of cardio and ramp up the intensity by making your runs shorter and adding the "weights" in-between runs.

Something the Big Box gyms of the world have that is of value is space. Grab a jump rope, grab a medicine ball or set of dumbbells and set-up camp. Be within striking distance of the pull-up bar and the rower. Pick 2-3 exercises you feel comfortable performing on your own, add a 500m row or 400m run to your plan and get moving. You will be in and out of the gym in under 45.

There you have it, some guidelines to Crossfit on your own. Although you might workout in a Big Box, you don't have to act like an ignorant fool. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it intense.

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Most of you have had some exposure to this drill, but it really can make a difference in the efficiency of your kipping pullup. A kip is really just a redirection of the hips used to elevate the body. You can practice your kip on the floor.

First bridge your butt up from a situp position (like the 3rd frame in the photo). This will be your landing position. Don't forget that! Now start lying down and curl your legs toward your head. Notice how the hips and butt rise off the mat a little (frame 2 in the photo). In one smooth movement, kick your legs up and over to land in your landing position. Remember to squeeze your butt! This is a kip!

Practice this a few times smoothly and take care not to be too violent about the execution...if practicing on a hard surface this can take it's tole! If you need a pick me up, go to your bedroom and practice on your mattress, seeing how high you can elevate your whole body with just the kipping motion.

Get back on a bar and do perform the same motion will a sharp tug at the top and voila! A nice kipping pullup.

Have Fun,

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's All in Your Head, Really

In our training, we all regularly reach a point of fatigue where we are pretty sure that we couldn't possibly perform another rep, go another round, or survive without some rest. This may be true, but most likely it is not. Fatigue as it turns out is largely a construct of the mind. Our brains are hard wired to protect us from pain, heavy loads, and enormous metabolic efforts as these things may be likely perceived to impact our survival potential in those immediate moments. But as we all know and have experienced, we are often capable of one more rep, one more round, or performing with less rest than we'd desire. We must train ourselves to become comfortable with being both physically and psychologically uncomfortable. This is why, for example, that during a workout, your coaches will encourage you to start on the next exercise right away for at least a few reps, instead of resting in the transition interval. Your brain will encourage you to take full advantage of that natural rest place, but you may not actually need to rest there (this is known as weight gazing).

Training ourselves to exceed that which we believe we are capable a daily training phenomenon in Crossfit.

So, the next time you perceive yourself to be on the edge of your performance capacities, ask yourself: " Am I really tired, or is my brain just fooling me into a slower time?"

Coach K

Order of Operations

"Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally." Remember that one? It is the common acronym math teachers use to describe the order of operations when trying to solve an equation; in the United States, the acronym PEMDAS (for Parentheses, Exponentiation, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction) is used. An order of operations allows for us to arrive at the correct answer. If we ignore the order, than we will certainly go astray.

The same order of operations can be applied to your own fitness equation. There are fundamental aspects to anyone's fitness that must be present in order to progress forward. Without a foundation of solid nutrtion, progressive strength training, metabolic conditioning, active recovery and rest, your house of cards might come falling down. So, here is a new take on "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally." See where your cracks are and set out to correct them.

Protein - Protein is necessary for the building, maintenance and repair of muscle. Ample protein consumption is paramount to any nutritional plan, without which muscle cannot be built. Furthermore, protein is thermogenic (your body has to work harder to process it thus increasing your metabolism) and it helps control insulin response. Be sure you are eating enough quality protein.

Exercise - As in Resistance Exercise. Make sure you are lifting weights, moving loads, putting stress on the entire musculoskeletal system. Resistance exercise stimulates bone and muscle growth, reduces bodyfat and revs up the metabolism.

Metabolic Conditioning - make sure your fitness routine contains a base of high-intensity, high-volume, lung-burning workouts. We all need to push our anaerobic thresholds. Don't be satisfied with 45 minutes of kardio. Break that 2 mile workout into 4 quarter mile intervals with some pull-ups/push-ups/ sit-ups in between runs.

Dead Lift - There is a reason this exercise was originally called The Health Lift. It will stress your body more comprehensively than any other movement say than the squat. Make sure your program includes both. Practice regularly and go heavy. Your absolute strength will increase and work capacity will skyrocket. Don't get trapped in the routine of doing super high reps with very light weights. You can only get stronger by lifting more weight and practiced regulary, the dead lift is a guaranteed way to get there.

Agua - Water. Drink lots of it. Drink clear liquids in general, do not consume processed drinks, sports drinks, diet sodas or anything that comes out of a can. Water will keep you regular, clean out the toxins and help aid in recovery. Stay hydrated, drink before you get thirsty.

Sleep - Recovery is absolutely critical to staying healthy, reaping the benefits of all your hardwork and most importantly, allowing your body to repair itself. Sleep 8-9 hours a night if you can. Sleep in a dark, quiet room. Get in a routine, try to go to bed and rise at the same time.

There you have it, the updated PEMDAS. Evaluate your current fitness endeavors and be sure to have all of the above incorporated. Make your fitness endeavors part of your lifestyle. Remember your order of well, Crossfit, recover.

Coach Kevin

Reminder: This is the last week to donate clothing to The Raphael House. Please bring your donations in a bag. Thank you!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Stay Warm!

It's clear that the temperature has been dropping lately. Make sure you take the time to be good to your body when it's cold out. A few more minutes getting warm and a layer or two when you first step out of the car can go a long way in helping to stave off the winter bite. Remember how Coach Kelly is always telling you your connective tissue is like a sponge? Remember how you don't want to be a dry sponge? That applies a little more when the air is cool. Warm up!

Katherine and Andrew greet each other with a winter's jig to stay warm.

See you at 6,


Friday, December 07, 2007

No, it's Kardio, With a K

"Kardio"--defined as any non-quality, junk volume, cardio-respiratory training that involves machines including but not limited to: Stairmasters, Spin-Bikes, Ellipticals, and Recumbent Bikes. Kardio is usually an unconscious drive to burn more Kalories.

Ok Gang, here goes:

From time to time we hear athletes ask us if they should "do" some more "cardio".
After a little probing on our parts, we consistently discover that what they mean is "I'm worried that this Crossfit stuff doesn't burn enough calories". (Calories being the second part of the Trifecta of bad training jargon that makes our skin crawl. The third being "core". As in, "can I burn more Calories doing Cardio while working my Core?") What what is our answer? An analogy will serve us well here.

If we were building a fire that would "burn calories", traditional mono-structural, steady state, typical elliptical machine exercise is equivalent to the first piece of kindling on the fire. That is, it will not burn bright, or hot. Crossfit on the other hand is like big dry pieces of wood that will melt your coat and singe your eyebrows.

The key piece of information here is that there is not better way than Crossfit to:
1)Actually improve your "Cardio"-respiratory endurance. (no one has ever, ever thrown up on an elliptical machine)

2)Develop metabolically expensive muscle tissues (read, tissues that consume more calories by nature).

One of the most brilliant aspects of Crossfit programming and one that is not often discussed is the fact that you can Crossfit, and NOT have to consume a ton more calories. This phenomenon means that there is ultimately less oxidative load on the body AND the body will consume more calories at rest.

The Crux of the discussion is this:
Diet is the best Calorie control mechanism. NOT EXERCISE. When we hear, "Do I need more Cardio?" What we really think is, you don't, you just need to better monitor what you eat.

But what if I like Stairmastering, and Ellipticaling? Well, you should by all means do them and treat them like your sport. Crossfit will definitely get you in shape to be able to stairmaster like a world champion stairmasterer. But be very clear. If you intent is to burn more calories, I mean do some more cardio, you are ruining your fitness by destroying your hard earned, speed, power, strength, flexibility, VO2max, and god forbid...your work capacity. If you want to have a slower Fran time, you should do some more cardio. If you hate going so fast at Jackie, you should do more Kardio.

But, if your sport IS actually running, AND you use Crossfit to get in shape for it. You should run. And run hard.

Just don't kid yourselves.

The upshot is this: Watch what you eat and Crossfit 4-6 times a week. You will look sexy naked. You will become an athletic monster. Never again will you consider needing to do more junk Kardio.

Coach K

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Home Brew

With the end of every calendar year comes the very human and very ambitious desire to make a change. It is only natural that we look at the New Year as a blank slate, a chance to redo the prior year and undo the bad habits we have formed. Change can be defined in a myriad of ways: some want to lose weight, some want to make more time for their families and some want to be better people.

A habit that my wife and I decided to tackle before the New Year was our unbridled consumption of coffee and tea. Everyday and twice on Sunday I was buying a coffee from Starbuck's or Peet's and while not as guilty, my wife was a regular at least five days week. So, let's do the math:

Family Totals:

12 large coffee/teas weekly @1.80 = $21.60
Monthly expenditure = 21.60*4.33 = $93.52
Annual Expense = 93.52*12 = $1122.34

Something had to be done. We went out and bought two thermoses, decided to commit to making our coffee/tea at home and try to make it through the month of December without our designer delicacies. Here are those numbers:

One time expense of $30 for 2 thermoses.
One pound of coffee = $10.00 (usually 2 pounds a month)= $20.00
Two boxes of tea (20 bags each) @ $4.00 = $8.00

Assuming the thermoses will last the year, here are our annual savings:

Thermoses = $30.00
Coffee = $20.00 * 12 = $240.00
Tea = $8.00 * 12 = $96.00
Total = $366.00

ANNUAL NET SAVINGS ($1122.34 - $366.00) = $756.34!!

Something to think about when you're making your resolutions. Now, if only I could give up coffee.

Brew it at home,
Coach Kevin

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Do you know how to catch crabs? Put one live crab in a trap and dunk him in the brink. Upon discovering this trapped crab, other crabs will crawl into the crab-cage. This process will continue until the cage is full of crabs. Any one of them could escape at any time if it were not for the other crabs. Often, when one does try to fly the coop, it is held back or ripped apart by it neighbours.

Working out in a place like SFCF is a mildly subversive act. You are bettering yourself; working to surpress the status quo of what 'fit' is. More than likely you will encounter your share of crabs trying to contain you within old lifestyle habits, especially during the holiday season. As humans we are less likely to be ripped apart by our neighbour for such an act, but the crabs can still get their hooks in pretty deep. Don't settle for staying in the trap.

Here's Diane denying the convention that girls can't do 30lb weighted pullups.

Stay Strong

Like Every Other Training Center....

...Ours began in our back yard with Olli and Mac Daddy.
Here are a couple of pre-monsters (two years of Crossfitting ahead of them) helping out with the SFCF set up.

Reminder: Bring in your clothing donations to Coach Kevin!

Coach K

Monday, December 03, 2007

Clean Out Your Closet

The end of the year is a perfect time to clean out your clutter and create some space in your home. If you have been Crossfitting diligently for the past year, odds are some of your clothes no longer fit or have become a bit snug (big muscles of course). So, in this season of giving, gather the clothing you never wear, the clothing that no longer fits and all the clothes you should have never bought and donate them to a great charity, The Raphael House. They'll know what to do with the clothing and it will go to families who are really deserving.

If you would like to contribute, please bring your donation (in a bag please) to one of the following classes:

Thursday 12/6 @ 7pm
Saturday 12/8
Tuesday 12/11 @ 6am
Thursday 12/13 @ 7pm
Saturday 12/15

All donations will be delivered by me to The Raphael House. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Coach Kevin

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Terrible Two's--Happy B-Day SFCF!

Two years ago today, SFCF had our first workout ever. It was a scaled and chopped version of Fight Gone Bad that many of our regulars would now consider a solid warm up for the real workout. Some of our athletes like Aneel Nath, joined us in our first week of training (and should be considered a founder). But, there are only five regulars that were there opening day.
Do you know who they are?

Hellboy was there: AKA Hellinor. Below is her first day.

This is Ell deep into a couple of years.


Congrats to all of our athletes that make up our incredible community.

Coach K

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Quite often, the prescribed weight in a workout appears to be both too heavy and with too many repetitions to even be possible. These working weight/volumes will continue to feel out of reach unless you begin to regularly expose yourself to them in workouts. For example, many of our prescribed workouts that include deadlifting are written and appropriate at 225lbs. Clearly, if an athlete is never exposed to that weight, then a workout involving 45+ efforts is simply unreasonable. Much in keeping with Coach Bozman's practice theme, we're talking about simple exposure here. Being exposed to large weight/volumes has to start somewhere. Get started with your own exposure.

Check out the kids getting their 225's on. This hundred kilo effort was buried somewhere in between rowing and wall balls, and prescribed in safe, small doses. If you pick up that 225 often, pretty soon it feels like 135lbs. Almost like 225 is the new 135.

Friday, November 30, 2007


We all have some...some we know about, some we have yet to find out about. One of the key aspects of our programming is confronting your less than perfect areas on a semi-regular basis. Next time you're asked to raise that dreaded wall-ball or squirm out a few more pullups (or insert 'favourite' movement here) remember that it is an opportunity to round out your skill set. He who has the weakest weaknesses is worst off.

Stay Strong,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Super Squat

For the uninitiated, there is a very old and storied training regimen called the "The Super Squat Program." In the traditional interpretation, the athlete would perform a 20 rep squat 3 times per week for 6 weeks, increasing the load each week by 10 pounds. This routine in conjunction with a copious consumption of calories (milk was a very popular choice) would produce incredible muscle and strength gains. It is an unbelievable physical and mental strain to squat a load 20 times without rest and requires a tremendous amount of intestinal fortitude and an iron will. While the program is by no means Crossfit, the stimulus of a 20 rep squat has its merits in building a bigger engine. And since we are Crossfitters and not bodybuilders, we do 21...

Check out Coach Boz going after 235# X 21 repetitions!

Strong work!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nice Rack!

The Front Squat is a fantastic movement for leg and hip development, no doubt, but a nice rack also delivers excellent postural awareness. Often when front squatting a hearty 'elbows up!' will be tossed your way. This is not just an aesthetic cue! Driving the elbows up forces the muscles surrounding your thoracic cavity into action, helping to tighten your posture and give your hips something to drive into. Work for a nice rack!


Johnny Utah err, Elmo "Daddy" Taddeo

A new definition of "Fitness"

SFCF is very proud to welcome the newest Taddeo into the family.
Gang, meet Daniel Thomas Taddeo.

Big love to you guys!

Little Coach "G"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pillar of Strength

Overhead lifting requires a tremendous amount of midline strength and stability, without which we either fail in the attempt and/or expose ourselves to possible injury. Athletically, when we shoulder press, push press, push jerk and overhead squat it is requisite that we remain "tight" under the load in order to effectively move the load as well as protect ourselves. You cannot effectively transfer power from the ground to overhead if you are soft in the middle. It is obvious to the athlete in exercises such as hollow rocks, L sits and knees-to-elbows what we are after, but less apparent and even more critical to the execution of the aforementioned overhead exercises. One cannot have distal mobility without proximal stability. Thus, when your coach is cueing you to "tighten up," draw your abdominals into your spine and squeeze your shoulders down and back. The overhead lifts serve to teach us complete integration of the upper and lower extremities, thus making us more efficient in our everyday lives.

Want to see how stable you are overhead? Try the Silly Ball overhead for time. (a swiss ball filled with water) Coach K holds the house record @ 1:01.

Nice work JD and Coach K!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Unilateral Overhead Diesel Kitty

Dumbells are a ruthlessly effective way to correct postural and functional imbalances.
Many sports require the athlete to load one side of the body more often than the other. Seeing strength, mobility, and coordination differences between different sides of the athlete is more intuitively clear in sports like soccer and rowing, but still show up in nearly everyone. Using unilateral loading like dumbells, forces the body to generate an independent, unilateral motor program and movement solution and thus prevents one side of the body from piggy-backing on the other. Making these unilateral movements overhead and under metabolic load compounds their value.

In the photo above, Kitty is demonstrating excellent overhead positioning and good lower extremity mechanics, even in the middle of a hard workout. Thus, she is "diesel". Or she is said to be "dieseling" the workout. (Thanks Coach Kevin for the language lesson.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Movin' Fast

The new year is almost upon us. Think back to the beginning of this year. Where were you then? Where are you now? Where would you like to be at the end of the year? Don't wait until New Year's to re-evaluate your goals...that's for the chrome gym and bran muffin types.

Also, start spreading the word: December 1st we start our new class schedule. Monday-Friday 6am, Monday-Thursday 7pm and Saturday as usual. Tell your friends!

See you at 6,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

A BIG thanks to everyone for coming out and making the annual Turkey Day Chipper the biggest SFCF workout ever! Be safe today, enjoy your loved ones and have that extra piece of pie, you've earned it!

From all of us at SFCF, Happy Thanksgiving!

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A for Effort

What we do is hard. There are times when one arrives for a workout with less than a perfect mindset. This is fine, but remember that the benefit of your action is directly proportionate to the effort you put forth. Approach every set and movement as if you will do it better than you did last time, even if your max of the day is not your personal best. Nobody becomes a monster by simply going through the motions. Want it enough to do it well!

This canvas is an opportunity. What do you see?

On a lighter note, have a great Thanksgiving and remember to keep your M-Quotient high! (M-Quotient= Lbs edible/Persons in attendance)


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


You are the first generation. You are virtually Crossfit Athlete Zero. You are part of a great experiment, and many of the implications of your training will be hidden from you. But not the impact that your training will have on the generation of athletes behind you.

You are the new baseline by which they will measure progress and performance.
Even the Little Coach.

Coach K

Monday, November 19, 2007

An Act of Discipline

"First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you." -Rob Gilbert

This week marks the start of the holiday season and for more than a few of us, the holiday consumption. Work places become veritable bakeries with sugar cookies and sweets; office parties are frequent, alcohol consumption is commonplace and late-nights are the norm. Throw on top of that the stress of shopping and traveling to visit family and it no wonder most of us spend the first week of the New Year recovering from a sleep-deprived, sugar-induced coma. Time to brace yourself.

My piece of advice is this: develop an act of discipline to learn moderation. Don't undo the past year(s) of Crossfitting in the next six weeks, only to have to regain the traction you have built. Don't be the New Year's resolution cliche. Develop good habits now.

On a personal note, my weakness is chocolate. I can think of very few things that are as satisfying on a visceral level. But, what I've learned is a taste holds me over without the regret the whole bar brings. I created a daily act of discipline. Every couple of weeks, I purchase a really good quality dark chocolate bar and every night, I eat one square. That's it. I eat with hormonal intelligence everyday and Crossfit religiously and that one square satiates any desire I have to consume recklessly. I don't have to have a piece everyday, but knowing it's there is enough.

So, as we enter this season of temptation, think of an area of your personal habits that need tightening-up and approach it with a sense of purpose and intention. Make a plan, set a schedule, sort it out.

Coach Kevin