Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yea for the 5K!

Crossfitters have mixed emotions about running. Some love it, some hate it. We don't run too much at Works. The usual 400 & 800m, and you might get an occasional mile here & there. So when the 5K comes up I always get excited. This is a big milestone! Yesterday at the 9am we had two people who never ran a 5K before. The furthest Kim had ever ran was two miles, and although Karen had probably gone that far, she never did an official 5K. They did it, an they did amazing! Josh and Jamie set the pace and everyone finished within 5min of each other.
Awesome job everyone! Kim, I'm looking forward to your first 5K race!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What a great class!

Just wanted to say thanks to Mateo's 6pm Wednesday class. I had a great time filling in for him. Let me tell you all of the interesting things that were going on in that class:

1. We had 18 people. My biggest class ever!
2. We had two traveling visitors from another CrossFit- Dan and Claire. Thanks for choosing CrossFitWorks!
3. We had a first time crossfitter, Nicole, a friend of Steve and Midori. Welcome!
4. The She-devils football players and their coach joined the class. Great work guys!
5. It was the first time I subbed for Mateo at 6pm.
6. They normally do mobility work on Wednesdays but were nice enough to let me program something different for them. The workout was a farmer's carry competition, and then a 20 min AMRAP that included bear crawls, mt. climbers, crab walks, tablemakers, farmer's carry and weighted step-ups! They were amazing.
7. Since I train at 9am, I don't always get to meet everyone that comes in the evening. I met six new people!

What fun! I love CrossFit.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I first just wanted to thank Jen and Lisanne for putting on a spectacular Paleo dinner on Saturday night. What amazing food! Who says parties can't be paleo? Jen also gave an informative talk about the movie and nutrition. We had such a great turnout as well! Good food, good movie, good people. Awesome.

Now I want to take some time to tell you why we are so fortunate.

We are fortunate because we have owners who care. How many gym owners care how your day was, or know you on a first name basis, or care what food you eat? Not many!
We are fortunate to have an owner who is a "Paleo Master." That should be a real title, don't you think? After she signs her name she should write P.M. :) Not only is she a paleo master, but she knows A TON about food and nutrition. The good, the bad and the ugly! Jen didn't just start doing this a few months ago. This has been her life's work, her livelihood and her passion.
We are fortunate to have a diverse group of trainers. Jen, Carl , Bryon, Kate, Andres, Mateo and our new trainer Kevin are all very knowledgeable people that come from different fitness back rounds. Each person has something different to offer and we can all learn from them.
We are fortunate because we have a BIG gym. We have a huge space to work with. I don't know if you guys have been to many CrossFit gyms but some are even as small as a two car garage! Ours is definitely one of the bigger ones.
We are fortunate because there are AWESOME people at our gym. This encompasses everyone. Owners, trainers and clients. Everyone that comes to Works is drawn here for a reason. Although those reasons might be different, we all love it here. The people are friendly and compassionate. Competitive, yet humble. We encourage each other and we have fun. Everyone here is passionate about CrossFit.

There are many other great things about CrossFitWorks, but those are the big ones. What else can you think of? How do you feel fortunate?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You're never too young!

This is Remington (Remi for short), daughter of Angie. They train at the 9am class. If you haven't met Angie, well, she's built like a gymnast but never was one. You wouldn't know it though, by the way she busts out push-ups and LEGIT HSPU's! It was probably only my second or third time training them when Remi came in with her OWN workout journal. She showed me what she planned on doing in case she didn't like the workout we had programmed for that day. She had created her own workout with possible substitutions and tips for herself. I think they had only been doing CrossFit for about a month at this point. Adorable and impressive at the same time! When she's here she's doing the exercises, watching her Mom and having fun. Your kids are so impressionable, they want to be like you and they are never too young to start CrossFit. CrossFit is functional movements and we start doing functional movement when we can crawl. Actually kids usually have better form and flexibility than we do! I mentioned this topic in an earlier post about Larry and his daughter. It's fun for them, it's not a "workout" it's a game. Lead by example. Obviously Angie and her husband have been excellent role models for their fit, healthy, energetic young daughter. Great job guys!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Abs are made in the kitchen."

Summer’s here and everyone wants to look good in a swimsuit. The area most people want to flaunt? The “6-pack!” If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me for ab exercises I’d probably have about five to six bucks! Ok, I wouldn’t be rich but you get the point. That’s still over a hundred people! The good news is, we all have a set of 6-pack abs. The not so good news is that some of us have more fat covering them than others. No amount of exercises or machines will magically reveal your abs. The ONLY way to reveal your abs is to lose the layer of fat covering them. How do we do that? Proper food. Yes exercise is important, but if you're not eating right you'll never see that 6-pack!

"Abs are made in the kitchen." Have you heard that quote before? Well, it's true. I think for the most part people totally agree. However, emotionally it does not click. I know this because when I used to go to LA Fitness or even at the stations, I see people doing marathon abdominal work. They do four or five different exercises. They think the more they do, the more defined their abs will become. They try to target the upper, lower, inner and outer, left, right, etc. They do tons of weighted side bends trying to get rid of the love handles. Guess what? It won't work. You cannot spot reduce! What I mean by this is that you can't pick and choose the areas that you would like to lose the fat and do exercises that work those areas expecting the fat to just magically disappear. Your body does not work that way. The only way to decrease the amount of fat in certain key areas is by lowering your total body fat levels. As you lose fat, it will come off all over your body, not just in specific areas.

It's kind of interesting to watch sometimes. They have the right motivation, but they are misdirected. If they expended 1/2 the energy on their diet as they do doing rep after rep of crunches, machines and hanging leg raises, they would already have their 6-pack. In general, your body fat percentage needs to be below 10% for a man and 14% for a woman to begin to see your 6-pack. Combine this with the fact that you cannot out-train a bad diet, and it becomes clear that what you eat is going to be the primary factor in getting your core summer-ready.

The CrossFit way of eating is to follow the Paleo diet. We know this. However, there are specific foods higher in fiber that will help a little more with fat loss. Foods high in fiber normalize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. Some of the best sources for dietary fiber include:
•Collard greens
•Swiss chard

Another important thing is drinking enough water. Besides the fact that staying hydrated will help you feel full, water actually helps the body metabolize stored fat by keeping our kidney's functioning properly. Drinking water is also the best treatment for fluid retention(as is monitoring sodium intake).

One last tip is to be prepared. Ok, granted, this isn't really a "nutrition" rule, but it's extremely important. We're an on-the-go society which is why fast food chains are so popular to begin with. However, if you're looking for that 6-pack, you're going to have to find alternatives to even the "healthy", sodium laden food choices found in restaurants and fast food chains. With a little planning, this isn't all that difficult. Always keep healthy snacks on hand such as nuts & seeds, fruit, pre-cut veggies & jerky. If you're someone who spends all day Sunday preparing the week's meals, this probably isn't a problem for you. But if you're like me who typically goes day by day, spend one day just preparing snacks for the week. A little prep work goes a long way.

Even though we focused on nutrition, it is still extremely important to strengthen your core. Not for aesthetic reasons either. The core is where all movement originates. Your core muscles are actually the center of your bodies strength. Having a strong core will make you more physically powerful, improve posture, help prevent back injuries and maintain equilibrium and stability for exercising, physical activity and LIFE. Remember, it's not just "ab" exercises either. Strengthening the entire core(abs, lower back, pelvic and hip muscles)is what we need to focus on.

Here's to a strong core and a nice 6-pack(both kinds)! HAPPY SUMMER!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dr. Stephen "The Man" Haessler

Just wanted to give some well deserved props to Dr. H. Steve has impressed all of us on a regular basis, but especially this month. All of us know that Steve competed in the first ever Master's division of the CrossFit Games. It takes a lot of guts to compete as an individual, and even more so when you have know idea what to expect! Not only that, but Steve is "59 and almost 1/2" (his words :)! He was going against some guys that were almost ten years younger than him. You wouldn't have been able to tell though. He blew me away over there. In the first workout what impressed me the most was that Steve never hit a wall, like most of the competitors. He was going all out and kept pace the whole time. He came so close to finishing too! Great work. The second workout out was just amazing. Twenty pound PR on his thruster...need I say more? Day two was tougher. Steve had a fair, but strict judge that made him do, I don't know, a thousand chest to bar pull-ups? What a good show you put on Steve. What I like most about Steve is his great attitude. After each workout he would say "Boy that was fun!" or "What a blast!" I thought he was just oxygen deprived or a bit crazy, but no, that's how Steve is. Let me also mention that he probably wouldn't have been able to accomplish what he did without the support of a lovely young lady named Midori. Right by his side, cheering him on the whole way. She was actually WAY more nervous than Steve was, but I guess all of us were. Steve and Midori have been such a joy to know and train. CrossFit has really become a way of life for the two of them. Did I mention he just passed his Level 1 CrossFit certification (along with Daniel :) last weekend? Thank you guys for coming to CrossFitWorks. It's been a pleasure getting to know you. Steve, one last question. When are you going to start training me?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stretching and YOGA!!!

There's a reason we do dynamic stretching before the workout and static after. The old presumption that static stretching primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It may actually weaken them. Static stretching before a workout can decrease muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. The muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout. A well-designed warm-up starts by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more effectively. They also withstand loads better. The correct dynamic warm-up should then do two things: loosen muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body.
Although static stretching isn't recommended before the workout, it's still very important and has it's place. Static stretching after a workout helps reduce post-workout muscle fatigue, and soreness. It also increases flexibility and is useful in relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury. Incorporating dynamic AND static stretching into your workout will benefit you the most and produce the best results.
Here are the definitions of the four main types of stretching:
Dynamic stretching is a slow, controlled movement of a muscle. Consisting of arm and leg swings it also incorporates movements that mimic a specific sport or exercise in an exaggerated yet controlled manner. They are often performed during the warm-up or in preparation for a sports event.
The static technique involves passively stretching a muscle to the point of mild discomfort by holding it in a maximal stretch for an extended period.
PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) techniques involve a partner actively stretching the participant by some combination of altering contraction and relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles. Some of the different PNF techniques used include slow reversal hold, contract relax, and hold relax. PNF stretching usually involves a 10 second push phase followed by a 10 second relaxation phase, typically repeated a few times. PNF stretching is capable of producing greater improvement in flexibility compared to other techniques. Its disadvantage is that it typically requires a partner, although stretching with a partner may have some motivational advantage for some individuals.
The oldest technique is the ballistic stretch which makes use of repetitive bouncing movements. It has been virtually abandoned by almost all experts in the field due to safety concerns.

Since we're on the topic of stretching, I just wanted to give a little reminder about the free YOGA class that Briar teaches. It's every Thursday morning at 7am & it's open to the public, not just members. If I'm not working at the fire station I'm at Briar's class. She does an excellent job and works with all skill levels, especially the inflexible! You'll be amazed how much yoga can improve your workouts. There are many other benefits as well: Increases flexibility, lubricates the joints, ligaments and tendons, massages the organs of the body, detoxifies, tones the muscles, and increases strength & posture just to name a few. Stop by Thurday mornings, you'll thank yourself!
(Info from this post came from- Stretching: The Truth By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS)