Finally, the CrossFit Movie “Every Second Counts” is playing in Santa Cruz tomorrow night. Join us if you can.
Friday, May 1st, 2009
New Film ” EVERY SECOND COUNTS “
Second Counts takes an inside look at the CrossFit culture and
community, where time on a stopwatch reigns as the supreme measure of
performance. Those who reach the elite ranks in the burgeoning sport of
CrossFit push themselves beyond limitations imposed by the mind and
flirt with the limits of physical capacity. Human perseverance has
never voluntarily gone this far.
Every Second Counts
chronicles the dramatic journey of five athletes as they prepare for
and compete in the most comprehensive test of fitness on the planet,
the CrossFit Games. The road to this grueling two-day program of
extreme challenges reveals what it takes to be the best in the world.
The climactic finish, with it’s surprising turn of events, shows beyond
any doubt that the winner of the CrossFit Games is the fittest person
Pictured: CrossFit Oakland’s winning affiliate team at the 2008 Games.
CrossFit East Bay will be having tryouts and/or competitions within our affiliate to determine the make-up of our team.
Training for the Affiliate Cup Tryouts will begin on Sunday May 10th. There will be a MANDATORY
meeting on that day, 1PM, for those interested in tryouts: if for some
reason, you truly cannot make it, schedule a separate meeting with me
While Gita and I are working out the details, it is likely that we will mirror the affiliate cup format by having two WODs per day, one at 1PM and one at 6PM (programming by Gita), with at least some of these held at off-site locations. There will be 14 WODs followed by a qualifier one week before the games (July 5th, date subject to change). You must attend 10 of 14 WODs to participate in the qualifier.
The CrossFit Games 2009 Affiliate Cup Challenge
will start early on Friday, July 10th, 2009. There will be 1-3 team
workouts (format to be announced later). The top 5 teams from these
days events will then move forward to the Affiliate Cup Finals on
Sunday morning, July 12th (prior to the Men’s and Women’s Top
CrossFitter Finals). The winning team on Sunday will then be the 2009
CrossFit Games Top Affiliate.
An Affiliate Team can consist of a minimum of four
to a maximum of six. The team needs to have a minimum of two men and
two women. You must actively train at the affiliate facility to be part
of a team.
All the workouts will be conducted as team workouts
with teams of four. Two men and two women will be competing at one time
as a team. This will allow team captains or coaches to substitute
members prior to an event based on team members’ individual strengths
Workouts and the scoring system for Friday will be announced the week of the event. The workout for Sunday’s finals will be announced Saturday night.
Athletes who qualify for the men’s and women’s
individual competition may also be included on an affiliate team. Just
understand they will have three days of multiple grueling workouts, and
will be competing against others who are only in one event.
Registration for teams will be open from June 1-12,
2009, or when all spots fill up (the number of spots for affiliate
teams is undetermined at this time). The team registration fee will be
$200 (This fee will be split between the team members).
There will be a cash prize and the winner will also get to keep the Affiliate Cup in their gym for the year.
enhancers, roll bars, microchips…the $20 billion running – shoe
industry wants us to believe that the latest technologies will cushion
every stride. Yet in this extract from his controversial new book,
Christopher McDougall claims that injury rates for runners are actually
on the rise, that everything we’ve been told about running shoes is
wrong – and that it might even be better to go barefoot…
Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of
all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much
you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same
At Stanford University, California, two sales representatives from
Nike were watching the athletics team practise. Part of their job was
to gather feedback from the company’s sponsored runners about which
shoes they preferred.
Unfortunately, it was proving difficult that day as the runners all seemed to prefer… nothing.
‘Didn’t we send you enough shoes?’ they asked head coach Vin Lananna. They had, he was just refusing to use them.
‘I can’t prove this,’ the well-respected coach told them.
‘But I believe that when my runners train barefoot they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.’
sponsored the Stanford team as they were the best of the very best.
Needless to say, the reps were a little disturbed to hear that Lananna
felt the best shoes they had to offer them were not as good as no shoes
When I was told this anecdote it came as no surprise.
I’d spent years struggling with a variety of running-related injuries,
each time trading up to more expensive shoes, which seemed to make no
difference. I’d lost count of the amount of money I’d handed over at
shops and sports-injury clinics – eventually ending with advice from my
doctor to give it up and ‘buy a bike’.
And I wasn’t on my own.
Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an
injury. No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of
getting hurt are the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female,
fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the
But why? How come Roger Bannister could charge
out of his Oxford lab every day, pound around a hard cinder track in
thin leather slippers, not only getting faster but never getting hurt,
and set a record before lunch?
Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico’s Copper Canyons
Then there’s the secretive Tarahumara tribe, the best long-distance
runners in the world. These are a people who live in basic conditions
in Mexico, often in caves without running water, and run with only
strips of old tyre or leather thongs strapped to the bottom of their
feet. They are virtually barefoot.
Come race day, the
Tarahumara don’t train. They don’t stretch or warm up. They just stroll
to the starting line, laughing and bantering, and then go for it,
ultra-running for two full days, sometimes covering over 300 miles,
non-stop. For the fun of it. One of them recently came first in a
prestigious 100-mile race wearing nothing but a toga and sandals. He
was 57 years old.
When it comes to preparation, the
Tarahumara prefer more of a Mardi Gras approach. In terms of diet,
lifestyle and training technique, they’re a track coach’s nightmare.
They drink like New Year’s Eve is a weekly event, tossing back enough
corn-based beer and homemade tequila brewed from rattlesnake corpses to
floor an army.
Unlike their Western counterparts, the
Tarahumara don’t replenish their bodies with electrolyte-rich sports
drinks. They don’t rebuild between workouts with protein bars; in fact,
they barely eat any protein at all, living on little more than ground
corn spiced up by their favourite delicacy, barbecued mouse.
How come they’re not crippled?
Modern running shoes on sale
I’ve watched them climb sheer cliffs with no visible support on
nothing more than an hour’s sleep and a stomach full of pinto beans.
It’s as if a clerical error entered the stats in the wrong columns.
Shouldn’t we, the ones with state-of-the-art running shoes and
custom-made orthotics, have the zero casualty rate, and the Tarahumara,
who run far more, on far rockier terrain, in shoes that barely qualify
as shoes, be constantly hospitalised?
The answer, I
discovered, will make for unpalatable reading for the $20 billion
trainer-manufacturing industry. It could also change runners’ lives
Dr Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological
anthropology at Harvard University, has been studying the growing
injury crisis in the developed world for some time and has come to a
startling conclusion: ‘A lot of foot and knee injuries currently
plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make
our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate (ankle rotation) and give us
‘Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe
was invented, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet and
had a much lower incidence of knee injuries.’
also believes that if modern trainers never existed more people would
be running. And if more people ran, fewer would be suffering from heart
disease, hypertension, blocked arteries, diabetes, and most other
deadly ailments of the Western world.
‘Humans need aerobic
exercise in order to stay healthy,’ says Lieberman. ‘If there’s any
magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it’s to run.’
modern running shoe was essentially invented by Nike. The company was
founded in the Seventies by Phil Knight, a University of Oregon runner,
and Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon coach.
these two men got together, the modern running shoe as we know it
didn’t exist. Runners from Jesse Owens through to Roger Bannister all
ran with backs straight, knees bent, feet scratching back under their
hips. They had no choice: their only shock absorption came from the
compression of their legs and their thick pad of midfoot fat. Thumping
down on their heels was not an option.
Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no
manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury
didn’t actually do much running. He only started to jog a little at the
age of 50, after spending time in New Zealand with Arthur Lydiard, the
father of fitness running and the most influential distance-running
coach of all time. Bowerman came home a convert, and in 1966 wrote a
best-selling book whose title introduced a new word and obsession to
the fitness-aware public: Jogging.
between writing and coaching, Bowerman came up with the idea of
sticking a hunk of rubber under the heel of his pumps. It was, he said,
to stop the feet tiring and give them an edge. With the heel raised, he
reasoned, gravity would push them forward ahead of the next man.
Bowerman called Nike’s first shoe the Cortez – after the conquistador
who plundered the New World for gold and unleashed a horrific smallpox
It is an irony not wasted on his detractors. In
essence, he had created a market for a product and then created the
‘It’s genius, the kind of stuff they study in business schools,’ one commentator said.
partner, Knight, set up a manufacturing deal in Japan and was soon
selling shoes faster than they could come off the assembly line.
‘With the Cortez’s cushioning, we were in a monopoly position probably into the Olympic year, 1972,’ Knight said.
The rest is history.
The company’s annual turnover is now in excess of $17 billion and it has a major market share in over 160 countries.
then, running-shoe companies have had more than 30 years to perfect
their designs so, logically, the injury rate must be in freefall by
After all, Adidas has come up with a $250 shoe with a
microprocessor in the sole that instantly adjusts cushioning for every
stride. Asics spent $3 million and eight years (three more years than
it took to create the first atomic bomb) to invent the Kinsei, a shoe
that boasts ‘multi-angled forefoot gel pods’, and a ‘midfoot thrust
enhancer’. Each season brings an expensive new purchase for the average
But at least you know you’ll never limp again. Or
so the leading companies would have you believe. Despite all their
marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever
invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention.
anything, the injury rates have actually ebbed up since the Seventies -
Achilles tendon blowouts have seen a ten per cent increase. (It’s not
only shoes that can create the problem: research in Hawaii found
runners who stretched before exercise were 33 per cent more likely to
OXFORD, 1954: Roger Bannister crosses the finish line, running a mile in 3:59.4, in thin leather slippers
In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine
last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of
Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies
that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.
was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years.
Dr Richards was so stunned that a $20 billion industry seemed to be
based on nothing but empty promises and wishful thinking that he issued
the following challenge: ‘Is any running-shoe company prepared to claim
that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk of
suffering musculoskeletal running injuries? Is any shoe manufacturer
prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your
distance running performance? If you are prepared to make these claims,
where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?’
Dr Richards waited and even tried contacting the major shoe companies for their data. In response, he got silence.
if running shoes don’t make you go faster and don’t stop you from
getting hurt, then what, exactly, are you paying for? What are the
benefits of all those microchips, thrust enhancers, air cushions,
torsion devices and roll bars?
The answer is still a mystery. And for Bowerman’s old mentor, Arthur Lydiard, it all makes sense.
‘We used to run in canvas shoes,’ he said.
didn’t get plantar fasciitis (pain under the heel); we didn’t pronate
or supinate (land on the edge of the foot); we might have lost a bit of
skin from the rough canvas when we were running marathons, but
generally we didn’t have foot problems.
hundred dollars for the latest in hi-tech running shoes is no guarantee
you’ll avoid any of these injuries and can even guarantee that you will
suffer from them in one form or another. Shoes that let your foot
function like you’re barefoot – they’re the shoes for me.’
after those two Nike sales reps reported back from Stanford, the
marketing team set to work to see if it could make money from the
lessons it had learned. Jeff Pisciotta, the senior researcher at Nike
Sports Research Lab, assembled 20 runners on a grassy field and filmed
them running barefoot.
When he zoomed in, he was startled
by what he found. Instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a
shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own – stretching,
grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a
landing like a lake-bound swan.
‘It’s beautiful to watch,’
Pisciotta later told me. ‘That made us start thinking that when you put
a shoe on, it starts to take over some of the control.’
Pisciotta immediately deployed his team to gather film of every existing barefoot culture they could find.
found pockets of people all over the globe who are still running
barefoot, and what you find is that, during propulsion and landing,
they have far more range of motion in the foot and engage more of the
toe. Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you
have less pronation and more distribution of pressure.’
response was to find a way to make money off a naked foot. It took two
years of work before Pisciotta was ready to unveil his masterpiece. It
was presented in TV ads that showed Kenyan runners padding along a
dirt trail, swimmers curling their toes around a starting block,
gymnasts, Brazilian capoeira dancers, rock climbers, wrestlers, karate
masters and beach soccer players.
And then comes the grand
finale: we cut back to the Kenyans, whose bare feet are now sporting
some kind of thin shoe. It’s the new Nike Free, a shoe thinner than the
old Cortez dreamt up by Bowerman in the Seventies. And its slogan?
The price of this return to nature?
A conservative £65. But, unlike the real thing, experts may still advise you to change them every three months.
Edited extract from ‘Born To Run’ by Christopher McDougall, £16.99, on sale from April 23
PAINFUL TRUTH No 1
THE BEST SHOES AND THE WORST
wearing top-of-the-line trainers are 123 per cent more likely to get
injured than runners in cheap ones. This was discovered as far back as
1989, according to a study led by Dr Bernard Marti, the leading
preventative-medicine specialist at Switzerland’s University of Bern.
3RM Squat clean and Push-Jerk, best of 5 attempts. One minute limit. CrossFit competition rules: the crease of the hip must pass below the top of the patella to count. The most efficient way to do this is to drop under the bar, however a power clean followed by a front squat is acceptable.