Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blue Skies For Everyone

The mind is a very powerful tool and how we train ourselves to think plays out daily in reaching our goals, our personal relationships and whether or not we attend class, even if it is raining...again. It is this particular topic, the depressing (the author's views do not necessarily reflect those of the majority) amount of cold, blustery days we have had this winter that led me to do a little reading about the power of suggestion and hypnosis. Now, I am not a psychologist but, what I do know is that looking at pictures from my Hawaiian Honeymoon made me feel warmer, even with the rain and wind knocking outside. I hope it does the same for all of you who need to feel a little warmth to get motivated to get to class. Hope to see you there, rain or shine.

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Go Hard!

Team workouts offer an opportunity to keep yourself honest...if you're not holding up your end of the bargain, your team suffers. Next time you are performing a workout solo, imagine someone else is relying on your efforts. Sometimes that external motivation can keep you in the game longer, faster, stronger.

See you at 6,


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Do You Do With Your Fitness?

Ok, so you're fit. So what? Yeah, yeah, you have lower blood pressure, better bone density, leaner body mass, better insulin sensitivity, and maybe you even look good naked. But what does it mean when expressed in the rest of your life?

Can you ride faster? Run faster? Swim farther without pain? Fight better?

Brad Ludden is one of our satellite athletes and a long time friend of SFCF. Here he is two weeks ago in Laos, putting his body where is mouth is. What about you?

Post improvements in your sporting life to comments.

Coach K

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Donating blood is not only a wonderful act for those in need but, it also has been linked to increased health benefits, especially for men. Here are some facts from Wikipedia:


In patients prone to iron overload (e.g. due to hemochromatosis), blood donation prevents the accumulation of iron. Blood banks in the US must label the blood if it is from a therapeutic donor, so most do not accept donations from donors with any blood disease[17] . Others, such as the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, accept blood from donors with hemochromatosis. It is a genetic disorder that does not affect the safety of the blood.

Donating blood may reduce the risk of heart disease for men[18] and stimulate the generation of red blood cells. Differences between men and women in heart attack risk may be due to circulating iron levels which are reduced by menstruation. Donating blood may reduce men's risk to that of women's, but the link has not been firmly established. [19]

Other incentives are sometimes added by employers, usually time off for the purposes of donating. Blood centers will also sometimes add incentives such as assurances that donors would have priority during shortages or other programs. Other incentives may include prize drawings for donors and rewards for organizers of successful drives, especially during periods when blood is often in short supply. Some blood donors, such as for plasmapheresis in the US, are paid for donating. This again leads to concerns about donors being less than truthful about their health in order to receive money.

A donor effectively burns about 650 calories by donating one pint of blood. [20] Donors who are on aggressive diets may be at a higher risk for some complications.

The majority of blood donors, however, donate as an act of charity and do not expect to receive any direct benefit from the donation.

Find a donation center, improve your health and help save a life.

Coach Kevin

Zen and Crossfit

Train your Brain.

"Draw bamboos for ten years, become a bamboo,then forget all about bamboos when you are drawing." --Georges Duhuit

"The prayer of the monk is not perfect until he no longer recognizes himself or the fact that he is praying."-- St. Anthony

We don't talk openly about it much. But Crossfit is full of mind training. This aspect of our programming is back loaded and buried in the daily workout. Show up, train your hardest, and develop world class fitness. Oh, and also train your mind.

People often talk about the "state of no mind", or "zone" during athletic competition.
This is all well and good in the context of game or performance, but action without thought during training should also be of importance to us. Crossfit helps us to get to still mind because it is so, so very difficult physically. Great effort tends to remove much of the clutter of the day's mind. Focusing solely on survival during the workout can be a powerful mind training catalyst. So embrace the hurt! Pain is your companion!

Coach A talked about "Simplex" last week. The next step is to stop thinking during the workout at all.

Crossfit for ten years, become the workout, then forget all about Crossfit when you are training.

Coach K


Michael joins the Muscle-up club!

Working for it....

...and out of the woods.


Have a great weekend,


Friday, January 25, 2008

High and Dry

The elements have been less than forgiving lately, but that doesn't slow us down at SFCF. The enjoyment of personal improvement knows no restrictions on weather.

Don't get too comfortable,


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Most Versatile Tool

Without a doubt the most versatile workout device you own is you. You can manipulate yourself to add challenge to almost any exercise, no equipment neccissary. Even the basics can become horrible, gas-face inducing slog-fests with the right amount of creativity. See if you can add some degree of challenge to your basic warmup movements (squat, pushup, pullup, lunge etc.) the next time you see them.

Lucas knows how much more fun L pullups are.

Aneel, 'Relaxing' in a handstand.

Dial, midway to the finish.

See you at 6,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Turn and Burn

Often during our workouts, our athletes find themselves running a course that involves a stop and turn, or reversal of direction. These natural changes in velocity are excellent opportunities to work on changes in running tempo. Peak speeds in a running piece are often very close to being equivalent between athletes. But, the athlete that is able to decelerate quickly and re-accelerate quickly often is able to open up a significant gap on their competitors. (In addition to increasing their own total work capacity and power output of course...)

So, the moral of the story is, don't loaf in the turns. Get in and get out.

coach K

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Every 3rd Monday of January the United States honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his contributions and legacy to the civil rights movement. The day was established not only to commemorate this champion of human rights, but to call those who have benefited from his sacrifices to social action and continue the work he started. Unfortunately, more of than not, the holiday is treated as the first day off after the end-of-year madness and nothing else. Few take the time to understand the impact of Dr. King and the courage he portrayed in advancing civil rights in this country.

Today's Workout: read about Dr. King and what he stood for; his message was one of love, acceptance and brotherhood. Given the current state of affairs, his words are more appropriate than ever. Maybe we just need some reminding of how we should treat one another.

Coach Kevin

Thursday, January 17, 2008


We are in the practice of performing complex movements, to be sure. However, don't let yourself get too 'lost in the sauce'. Ask yourself from time to time "what is the goal of this movement?". For example, a clean, in simplest terms, is getting a weight from the ground to the rack quickly. A pullup is getting you from a hang to head above the bar. When learning a new movement, take the time to define what it is you are learning before diving too deeply into technical minutia.

Once you know where you are headed, start cleaning things up. Focus on one or two things at a time. It does nothing to go into a complicated movement with 6 things on your brain...chances are, your attempt is over before you can think about all 6. Practice one element (heels down this time) until you can get it cold, then add in another element (chest up/better spine position)etc. Continue until you are solid. This takes time, but it is only when we are presented with a test of strength that we have only one chance to get it right. This is the art of practice. There is always another rep/set/training day, until they cart you away in a pine box.

Aneel practicing his up and down:

Think first, shut that thing off and do!

Remember: No 8:30am class and no open gym this Saturday!

Recovery: Contrast Baths

Everyone needs some form of recovery; whether it be rolling on your foam roller, getting a massage or taking a weekly yoga class, your body needs balancing. One of the most physically and mentally beneficial ways that I have found to recharge is contrast bathing, aka Hydrotherapy. Long employed by physical therapists to aid in recovery and embraced by every culture since the time of the Ancient Greeks, water is not just for drinking.

The theory is this: manipulate the contraction and dilation of the blood vessels of the body by alternating steam baths with cold water baths. Some of the benefits include:

Relaxation of Muscles - Hydrotherapy creates a cleaning effect in the tissue, drawing out contaminates like lactic acids, allowing more blood to flow into the muscle. This reduces pain.

Improves Circulation - Hydrotherapy reduces swelling in the tissue and joints allowing more blood to flow. The blood vessels expand, bringing in more blood and reducing pain.

Anti-Aging - As the body ages, the natural cleansing ability of muscles deteriorates, causing pain and stiffness. Hydrotherapy helps to reverse this effect.

Natural Pain Reliever - Reducing swellling, relaxing and cleansing muscles, improving circulation, stimulating the body, reducing tension and fatigue; all these factors combine to reduce pain.

Body Maintenance - We maintain our houses and cars better than our bodies. Hydrotherapy will help.

Relieve Tension and Stress - Stress is related to every disease known.

Medically Therapeutic - Doctors, therapists and clinics prescribe hydrotherapy to thousands of their patients nationally every day.

Relieve Joint Stiffness - Hydrotherapy causes an osmosis effect that draws contaminants out of the joints and tissue leaving it cleansed the way it was meant to be, relieving the pain of arthritis.

Induces Sound, Restful Sleep - Reducing pain, improving circulation, reducing stress and tension, relaxing muscles, reducing swelling, and cleansing tissue will all lead to a far more restful sleep.

Improve Immune System - Hydrotherapy improves blood flow and the lymphatic system. The blood and lymph contains white blood cells, "T" cells and the whole immune system. Increasing this circulation improves the immune system.

While there are many options in the Bay Area, Kabuki Springs is a favorite of mine. For the $20 price of using their communal baths, there is simply no more economical way to pamper yourself and recharge for the week.

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Teacher Molly

As many of you know, Molly can teach you a thing or two...take a second to learn from her beautiful overhead squat. Look for a few things:

1) Bar Overhead
2) Heels Planted
3) Beautiful Lumbar Curve
4) Knees out over feet

What does yours look like? How can you improve? Ask yourself these questions daily and make it perfect!

See you at 6,


Also: Spread the word...there will be no level 1 Saturday class this weekend (Jan. 19th). Tell your friends!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Get Rid of the Self and Act from the Self!

In the course of over two years, we are proud that we have never fielded a workout where a Coach wasn't able to make it. Monday, we broke new ground when Team 6 found themselves temporarily without a leader. What did the inmates do? They ran the asylum of course! (Guided by Crossfit certified coach Pam Lauper and SFCF Co-owner Juliet Starrett)

Great work gang!

Coach K

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book of the Month: Natural Hormonal Enhancement

There are many hormonally intelligent books out there...The Zone, The Paleo Diet, Protein Power and even the South Beach Diet. All aim to control hormone levels and access stored body fat for energy. In my past decade of experimenting with all of the aforementioned, Natural Hormonal Enhancement is the most easily applicable as well as effective of all the plans out there. Crossfit is about performance and the NHE delivers a nutritional plan to improve body composition as well as performance. Want to build muscle, lose bodyfat and improve your athletic performance? Check out the will not be disappointed.

Coach Kevin

Friday, January 11, 2008

Athlete Profile: Josh Cunningham

If you've hung out at SFCF for more than a day, chances are that you've run across JC as he's know on the scoreboard. Sure he was an elite level cyclist, sure he can do more pull ups than you, but did you know he's one of the best all round guys out there? He's the kind of guy you want to invite on your surfing Man-cation (manly vacation). And he's the kind of guys that you want in the car when an RPG bounces off your hood. Ladies and Gents....JC

Name: Josh Cunningham
Age: 30 (really)
Favorite Beer: Sierra Nevada
Best CF Moment: Puking 25min after a workout in the middle of the Marina on Lombard/Polk
CF Love: Snatching

Present Occupation: Rep for OraPharma
Future: In the middle of interviewing for Business School.
First Choice: Cornell
Will Work is Butt off so: He can sail around the world one day.
Little Known Fact: Has been shot at on every continent except Antarctica.
Been CFing for: 23 months with SFCF for 21 months.


We've a new mascot down at SF Crossfit. Edgar the Egret has been hanging around for the last few days despite (or perhaps because of) the rain. Here he is, interspecial cheerleader, in all his glory:

Alas, Edgar was not up early enough to help these fine athletes through their last 500...

See you Saturday,


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Community Commiseration

The wonderful thing about Crossfit workouts is that everyone suffers. No one is beyond "gassing out," or hitting the wall. There is something magically cohesive about group suffering; it forges bonds between athletes, it earns respect from your peers. If you finish the workout and there are athletes still on the course, go encourage them and push them along. Just hearing an encouraging word can make all the difference. It might be you who needs it next time.

Check out the pics of the 7pm class pulling each other along. Great work!

Coach Kevin

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Sometimes you've just gotta give 'er. You know, go for it without compromise or forethought. Really that's what we're all about...the best mechanics possible, no exceptions, all the while diving right in...

...Just like Corby "freight-train-outta-hell" does...

See at 6 with your game face,

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


We often witness an athlete kiling themselves within a workout piece to stay ahead of a another athlete, only to give that hard earned time gain away at the next movement or exercise transition. This wasted opportunity essentially negates that athlete's hard won, incremental time/effort gains within the workout.

Crossfit teaches us that we have hidden and untapped potential. It is a common human condition that to naturally want to slow down or rest a little after a huge effort. But, we're not interested. Practicing launching yourself into the next effort is a little like jumping knowing that the net will eventually show up. And, it will.

The world is full of bright talented people, and often the only thing that differentiates us from these people are the small, accumulated, gains in efficiency and effort. Don't give these away by blowing your hard earned efforts, resting when you need not rest.

Get up from your pushups and sprint away. It will pay off in the end.

Coach K

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Green Resolution

Hydration is a key factor in an athlete's performance and recovery. Most athletes bring a plastic bottle of water with them to the workout. Unfortunately, more often than not due to time constraints and pressing responsibilities, most speed away from the workout and leave their 16oz plastic hydration behind. Three days later one of the coaches empties the bottle and contributes the empty receptacle to the dumpster. How about we make a conscience effort in 2008 to help 1.)Keep our facility clean 2.) Conserve some resources by employing a reusable water bottle?

If you are interested in purchasing a durable, high-quality water bottle, check out the Nalgene website. Great products, very earth friendly.

For those of us who are hurrying to workout and have to purchase a water bottle, educate yourself on the recycleability of the container you are purchasing. Not all plastic is created equal and it is graded according to its quality. Check the number and be sure to dispose of it properly.

We workout within view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Crissy Field. I dare say there is not another CF location with such a glorious setting. Let's do our part to be hydrated AND be thoughtful.

Coach Kevin

Saturday, January 05, 2008

We fail at the margins of our experience.

We do you know. People are shocked when they fail to perform well in environments that differ more than a little bit from their 72 degree, air conditioned, windless, rainless, gyms.

For example, if you only train at night, chances are that you won't perform well in a race, or ski your best, etc., if you are doing an activity that doesn't take place at about the same time as your normal training.

Some would describe the state of mastery as being able to perform at the same level independent of weather, stress, time of day, temperature, or audience.

And sometimes, to improve the range and depth of our experiences, we just need to do thrusters in the worst storm to hit San Francisco in a decade.

Coach K

Friday, January 04, 2008


This time of year there is much talk about goal setting. In terms of physical fitness goals it is important to be specific. Often we can get away with simply 'wanting to get in better shape' when explaining our goals to the uninitiated, but this isn't good enough when it comes time to act. What does being fit look like to you?

Take the time to think about what it is specifically you want to achieve. Maybe it's as simple as touching your toes...maybe it's Clean and Jerking more than your bodyweight...maybe it's a sub. 1:40 500m row...maybe it's all of the above. It doesn't really matter what your goals are, but make sure they are specific, otherwise you'll never know if you've acheived them!

If you're not sure what a good goal is for a specific lift or workout, ask your coach. Sometimes you don't know what 'good' is until you've heard of or seen a stellar performance.

Now get after it!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

King of Convenience

Earl Tupper. He sold his company for 16 million in 1958. Tupperware has been around since 1942, invented by its namesake and popularized by Tupperware parties; it is truly an American institution. I like it because it allows me the portable convenience of high-quality, hormonally intelligent food at my fingertips. Busy days usually involve a lot of running around and there is nothing more important in the effort to staying fueled than Tupperware. It comes in all sizes and accomodates everything from liquids to meat cookies. If you have an unusual vittle that doesn't fit the standard shapes and sizes, check out the main site, they should have it in stock.

I start my day by poaching the necessary pre-cooked foods from the fridge (I prepare all my food for the week on Sunday) and loading up the Tupperware with what is necessary until I can return home. Don't be afraid to comingle: greens and meats, fruits and nuts, etc.

The bottom line is I always try to have something good to eat, regardless of how crazy my schedule gets. I feel good, I perform better and most importantly I know what I am putting into my body.

Coach Kevin

PS All "Tupperware" is fair game; bought soup from Whole Foods and have a great quart container? Reuse it. It's just a name.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


To snit or not to snit? It's really not a question. Snitting is an intentional shortcut, you know, not quite hitting full depth even though you can...deciding not to finish that last set of 15, because hey, what's the difference? Snitting will get you nowhere fast.

See you at 6,


Here's Aaron, not snitting:

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Fear is the Mind Killer.

Practice. Practice being uncomfortable. Practice being out of your comfort range. Find the greatest level of intolerability that you can tolerate, and stay there.
Your Crossfit practice sets you up for this kind of "suffering" training every day. Believe it or not, being uncomfortable can be made to be more comfortable. If you are afraid of speaking (or singing--Georgia is not afraid) in public for example, it turns out that if you habituate yourself to the physical discomfort that makes this kind of task so unpalatable, it will become far easier the next time you do it. Ask Georgia when she's the new Fergie. She'll say she was singing naked in front of strangers for years.

When people have horrific vertigo, or become horribly motion sick, the standard treatment is to have that person experience those ugly feelings to the point where they can no longer tolerate it. Then, we have them do it again until finally there is change.

Having a tough discussion with a boss, taking a big exam, giving a huge report is NOT harder than a Crossfit workout. The practice of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is built in as a Crossfit "freebee". We'll turn you into mental monsters as a simple side effect to our training.

So, in the new year, get ready to tackle the items in your life that make you feel a little afraid. It turns out that with the right training (Crossfit), you will face your fears, they will pass through you and over you, and only you will remain.

Be Great this next year. Become a titan of a human being. Practice exceeding your own expectations.

Coach K