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James C. One-Arm Push-Ups

People have a very strong reaction to challenges to what they believe about food. It is much like peoples reaction to challenges to their religious belief, and I think it is no accident that in "Gulliver's Travels" the satirical religious conflict is framed as a dispute between "Big-End" and "Little-End" Indians who cut their eggs from different ends. It makes sense, as short of air and water, there is nothing more essential to our survival than food.

I should say that as your eminently moderate moderator, I find value in myriad opinions expressed here, and while there is value in humor and some good-hearted ribbing, I don't wish to see the level of discourse even remotely approach that of the recent troubles in the broccoli-vs-bread brou-ha-ha. Keep it respectful, and don't confuse someone's opinions on food with their general value as a person, intelligence etc. Any comments of this nature will be removed.

I do agree that from a marketing standpoint, science has been done a disservice by some less-than-rigorous thinking on the part of those involved in selling services and products based on the "paleo" diet. However, I believe that despite this there is a lot of value to such a diet, or a similar one that accentuates such foods, without banning all others altogether. I will be writing more about this and presenting more arguments from both (or more) sides of the paleo coin. Here is my present thinking about diet (I don't have a fancy name, but if anyone has any ideas how I can make millions from this let me know).

Max's rules for healthy eating:

1. Focus first on food quality: eat whole foods such as meat, fish, fowl, eggs (and possibly dairy based on genetic ability to tolerate it), vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, little starch (all from whole-grain sources or favoring yams and lower-GI foods over potatoes and higher-GI foods) and no sugar (or any sweeteners at all).
2. Eat animal protein with every meal and snack.
3. Eat 4-5X a day, small meals.
4. Eat general zone proportions. Eat in a balanced way.
5. Weigh and measure your food.
Supplemental: stay hydrated, take fish oil and a multivitamin. Don't drink juice.

Below is a study, which I, and the author of the blog post, do acknowledge was done with shoddy protocols, but raises interesting questions.

Paleolithic Diet Clinical Trials Part III

From the blog: Whole Health Source

"I'm happy to say, it's time for a new installment of the "Paleolithic Diet Clinical Trials" series. The latest study was recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Anthony Sebastian's group. Dr. Sebastian has collaborated with Drs. Loren Cordain and Boyd Eaton in the past.

This new trial has some major problems, but I believe it nevertheless adds to the weight of the evidence on "paleolithic"-type diets. The first problem is the lack of a control group. Participants were compared to themselves, before eating a paleolithic diet and after having eaten it for 10 days. Ideally, the paleolithic group would be compared to another group eating their typical diet during the same time period. This would control for effects due to getting poked and prodded in the hospital, weather, etc. The second major problem is the small sample size, only 9 participants. I suspect the investigators had a hard time finding enough funding to conduct a larger study, since the paleolithic approach is still on the fringe of nutrition science.

I think this study is best viewed as something intermediate between a clinical trial and 9 individual anecdotes.

Here's the study design: they recruited 9 sedentary, non-obese people with no known health problems. They were 6 males and 3 females, and they represented people of African, European and Asian descent. Participants ate their typical diets for three days while investigators collected baseline data. Then, they were put on a seven-day "ramp-up" diet higher in potassium and fiber, to prepare their digestive systems for the final phase. In the "paleolithic" phase, participants ate a diet of:

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, canola oil, mayonnaise, and honey... We excluded dairy products, legumes, cereals, grains, potatoes and products containing potassium chloride...

Mmm yes, canola oil and mayo were universally relished by hunter-gatherers. They liked to feed their animal fat and organs to the vultures, and slather mayo onto their lean muscle meats. Anyway, the paleo diet was higher in calories, protein and polyunsaturated fat (I assume with a better n-6 : n-3 ratio) than the participants' normal diet. It contained about the same amount of carbohydrate and less saturated fat.

There are a couple of twists to this study that make it more interesting. One is that the diets were completely controlled. The only food participants ate came from the experimental kitchen, so investigators knew the exact calorie intake and nutrient composition of what everyone was eating.

The other twist is that the investigators wanted to take weight loss out of the picture. They wanted to know if a paleolithic-style diet is capable of improving health independent of weight loss. So they adjusted participants' calorie intake to make sure they didn't lose weight. This is an interesting point. Investigators had to increase the participants' calorie intake by an average of 329 calories a day just to get them to maintain their weight on the paleo diet (bolding mine). Their bodies naturally wanted to shed fat on the new diet, so they had to be overfed to maintain weight.

On to the results. Participants, on average, saw large improvements in nearly every meaningful measure of health in just 10 days on the "paleolithic" diet. Remember, these people were supposedly healthy to begin with. Total cholesterol and LDL dropped, if you care about that. Triglycerides decreased by 35%. Fasting insulin plummeted by 68%. HOMA-IR, a measure of insulin resistance, decreased by 72%. Blood pressure decreased and blood vessel distensibility (a measure of vessel elasticity) increased. It's interesting to note that measures of glucose metabolism improved dramatically despite no change in carbohydrate intake. Some of these results were statistically significant, but not all of them. However, the authors note that:

In all these measured variables, either eight or all nine participants had identical directional responses when switched to paleolithic type diet, that is, near consistently improved status of circulatory, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism/physiology.

Translation: everyone improved. That's a very meaningful point, because even if the average improves, in many studies a certain percentage of people get worse. This study adds to the evidence that no matter what your gender or genetic background, a diet roughly consistent with our evolutionary past can bring major health benefits. Here's another way to say it: ditching certain modern foods can be immensely beneficial to health, even in people who already appear healthy. This is true regardless of whether or not one loses weight.

There's one last critical point I'll make about this study. In figure 2, the investigators graphed baseline insulin resistance vs. the change in insulin resistance during the course of the study for each participant. Participants who started with the most insulin resistance saw the largest improvements, while those with little insulin resistance to begin with changed less. There was a linear relationship between baseline IR and the change in IR, with a correlation of R=0.98, p less than 0.0001. In other words, to a highly significant degree, participants who needed the most improvement, saw the most improvement. Every participant with insulin resistance at the beginning of the study ended up with basically normal insulin sensitivity after 10 days. At the end of the study, all participants had a similar degree of insulin sensitivity. This is best illustrated by the standard deviation of the fasting insulin measurement, which decreased 9-fold over the course of the experiment.

Here's what this suggests: different people have different degrees of susceptibility to the damaging effects of the modern Western diet. This depends on genetic background, age, activity level and many other factors. When you remove damaging foods, peoples' metabolisms normalize, and most of the differences in health that were apparent under adverse conditions disappear. I believe our genetic differences apply more to how we react to adverse conditions than how we function optimally. The fundamental workings of our metabolisms are very similar, having been forged mostly in hunter-gatherer times. We're all the same species after all.

This study adds to the evidence that modern industrial food is behind our poor health, and that a return to time-honored foodways can have immense benefits for nearly anyone. A paleolithic-style diet is a very effective way to claim your genetic birthright to good health. Just remember to eat the organs and fat. And skip the canola oil and mayonnaise."

WOD 091214

Three Rounds For Time:

Run 800 Meters
15 Deadlift 275/185

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WOD 091211

Clean & Jerk 3-3-3-3-3

Compare to: 091202

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2010 CrossFit Games Site Is Live!

The Anti-Evolutionary-Diet Rant by Dr. Rebecca Hodges, Crazed Bread Addict

"Any approximation of eating like cavemen is not only impossible but extremely dangerous. Virtually none of the plant-based matter that cavemen ate is available to us today---agriculture has led to the extinction of most of the edible plants that would have been available to the caveman, and we would not be able to chew the roots that he ate, because we don't have the jaws for that anymore. (We evolved, you see.) He would not have been able to find meat regularly, and much of the meat that he ate would have been partially decomposed. Being raw, this meat was hard to chew, tho decomposition would help with that. Red meat would have been particularly hard to deal with---the caveman probably scavenged bones for the marrow as much as for the meat. Insects were more readily available, and he ate them live. The caveman's diet included intermittent starvation, gastrointestinal parasites ingested with his food, and the microbial effects of eating rotting meat. So, who wants to sign up for a diet of termites, rats (if you can catch them,) roots, rotting bones, tapeworms, and hunger? That's what the cavemen were eating when they had the babies that became our ancestors. Whether or not it would make us strong and healthy is up for debate. I would say give it a try, but that would be impossible---the food available to us now is simply of too high a quality to make such a scientific trial at all viable.


My what big jaw muscles you have, Aunt Lucy. The better for chewing on roots 10 hours a day, my dear.

Despite cancers, obesity, widespread poverty, and the best efforts of Coca-Cola and Phillip Morris, we are now the healthiest and the prettiest we have ever been in the history of the species. We are living as long or longer than we ever have, and we are dying of old age, not malnutrition, consumption, or childbirth. Evolution is driven by reproduction, and if it came to a reproduction competition between us and the cavemen, we would win hands down. A lot of the time they probably weren't eating well enough to menstruate. Us today, we don't have a kid a year anymore, but we could if we wanted, and they'd all live, and we could feed them too.

OF COURSE we are not evolved (yet) to live on Coke, Skittles, Cheetos, and Krispy Kremes. OF COURSE we are healthier and stronger with fruit, vegetables, meats, and GRAINS. And some of us with milk. (Tho only roughly half the planet---makes the other half strong, tho, apparently. Crazy how evolution works like that.) If you can make a scientifically sound evolutionary argument for any type of food, it would be, hands down, grains. The whole planet of humans has gotten where it has through bread, noodles, and rice. If we measure based on diet, who is winning, the bread-eaters or the hunter-gatherers? Evolution is definitively and uncategorically going to pass on the genes built on grains. Are we going to say that evolutionary biology has determined that bread-eaters are superior and that hunter-gatherers are unfit? If you were a cowboy in the wild west, you would have used this argument to justify shooting Indians, who were savages and going extinct (not withstanding that almost all Indians were farmers, a fact that history intentionally buried because farmer Indians wouldn't have been so clearly savages, and if they weren't so clearly savages, they wouldn't have been so easy to shoot.) Evolutionary arguments make me sick, sicker than Skittles. Besides CrossFitters and cowboys, who makes evolutionary claims? Nazis. The KKK. White supremacists of all kinds, often to justify wholesale murder. (And Gita, but we like him, and he means no harm, and he's with me on this one, I'm pretty sure. :) )

Eat vegetables and meats. They are better for you than donuts. Cut grains out of your diet, if they don't make you feel healthy. But remember Daniel's realization that adding more carbs to a diet that had been nearly Paleo probably made him feel smarter, happier, and more energetic. His study didn't have a foregone conclusion, it didn't overstate its claims---and happily, it didn't rely on psuedo-science, which is not only stupid but dangerous, and has proven to be especially so in its evolutionary guise.

* * * * *

For my life partner's version of this rant see today's CFEB post, comments. Be sure to click on all the greats to see how cute he is, with those big teeth.

(No cavemen and very little caveman research was harmed in writing this note. References available upon request. I can show evidence for the rats, the termites, the microbes, the scavenging, the bone marrow, the roots, the 10 hour days of chewing, the importance of huge jaws, and the seasonal lack of food, the agricultural abilities of the American Indians, and the evolutionary arguments of Indian-killers, Nazis, and other white supremacists. I extrapolated the tapeworms, the menstruation, and the KKK.)"

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WOD 091127


5 rounds for Max Effort

Ring Push-Ups, feet elevated on box, weighted vest 20/10

rest 3 minutes between efforts.

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CrossFit is currently experiencing it's biggest controversy so far, at least on-line. Fallout from the Black Box summit, and the evident firing of Robb Wolf from teaching the nutrition cert has sparked some lively debate:

Robb Wolf on Being Fired from Nutrition Cert

Greg Everett on what happened

Russel Berger on what happened

A rather balanced analysis of what happened

A very interesting take on what happened/is happening

I meant to write a brief, concise post on Robb's blog about this. Brevity, alas, is not my strong suit, and since writing it I had a few thoughts that I wished to include. Here is my opinion for any who care, for the record.

My response to the message thread on entitled "The Black Box Summit Or How I Got Fired from the CrossFit Nutrition Certification" (edited for clarity)

I have now read all 425 plus comments that came before this, and all of the source material.

I am an affiliate owner (CrossFit East Bay in Oakland CA) and I know or have met many of the principals here. Greg Glassman changed my life, and while I don't revere him as anything more than a fitness visionary, it is, to me, frankly ridiculous how little credit some people are giving him. I will post below his best response to such misunderstandings. For once, I largely agree with Barry Cooper, above.

I am a bit older (43) and have been into fitness since the 1980s. I used to read every fitness magazine I could get my hands on for, I guess, decades. I NEVER saw anything remotely like CF. I never heard of a double-under, a muscle-up, a kipping pull-up, a dynamax ball (or wall-ball), a thruster, a kettlebell, the zone diet, paleo, IF, tabata, etc etc etc. I was vaguely aware that rings existed and that these weird guys in tights lifted huge funny looking weights in the Olympics, and that a rower existed, but it never occurred to me to use these things. I never saw anything remotely like Fight Gone Bad, and I challenge anyone to point me to something like FGB that pre-dates CrossFit. When I discovered CF in 03 or 04 it sounded interesting, and I dabbled, but not until I trained with Josh and Keith at CFNYC Black Box, the 18th affiliate, was my mind blown.

As I said I am a bit older, and have an administration background as well. I am familiar with internecine disputes, and have mediated many. I am disappointed in what I am seeing here from all sides. There is a whole lot of dick-measuring and airing of grievances, old and new, going on. While there may have been some pent-up feeling that needed to be discharged, it has been done, the issues are out there, and, as an affiliate owner and member of this community I ask that we take a deep breath and dial it back a notch on all sides.

This community has experienced explosive growth, and I think it is silly to pretend there are no issues associated with that growth. As a community we have added, are adding, quality on the individual affiliate and regional level daily. It is questionable as to whether HQ is keeping up with or taking advantage of all of the great stuff that is coming out of our open-source fitness model. Simply put, there are some potential, or actual, quality issues. A med ball clean might not be the best progression to the clean. Teaching someone with zero experience how to snatch with a PVC pipe does not prepare them optimally to teach the snatch. The explanation that it is impractical to use barbells with so many people does not hold water. Inconvenient, yes, expensive, yes. Impractical, no. It is possible that the current programming template of .com could be improved. I'm not suggesting I know how, but this is fitness, not religion, and blind allegiance to the .coms is against the spirit of CrossFit. To quote Greg Glassman speaking to me personally: "the next big innovation in CrossFit will come from outside of my intuition". It is clear that a whole foods diet is healthier than Zoning Pringles, Coors Lite and Skirt steak (personally I think zone/paleo + milk is the way to go). The level 1 Cert is not as valuable a product as it was when Coach taught them himself (I have been to both versions). The .com only to prepare for the games is not optimal unless one already has perfect balance in all 10 areas of fitness. Even then training once a day to prepare for a multi-day multi-event competition would be insanity.

Recently one of my athletes started training the O-lifts with Greg Everett. This forced me to recognize that what I had learned so far in CF regarding the O-lifts was demonstrably inferior (but still an order of magnitude better than what I knew before CF, i.e. zilch). I admitted my sub-optimal teaching to my athletes and we are now working on improving our O-lifts, but not at the expense of GPP or not following a .com-like template.

Greg Glassman and CrossFit have given us all an incredible gift, for which I am truly thankful, but they have started a wildfire which cannot be easily managed or neatly compartmentalized. That does not have to be a bad thing. Another local product, eBay, was also started on a wing and a prayer - basically not even a beta product thrown out there. Subsequently, the owners started reacting to every piece of feedback they received and built a killer app. Their community base is the basis of their success and they jealously build, guard and protect it. CrossFit should do the same. Listen. Grow. Evolve.

I know Greg Glassman and I believe in him as a businessman, fitness visionary and really just a good down-to-earth guy. I have had issues with someone from HQ myself, and I know this is not the kindest, gentlest organization on earth, but given what we do doesn't that make a certain amount of sense?

Now goddammit! Let's chalk to the elbows and get back to working out!

See you in the garage.

Maximus Bernard Lewin
Owner, Lead Trainer
CrossFit East Bay

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WOD 090809

For time:

Thirty-One Push-Ups
Thirty-One Pull-Ups
Thirty-One Burpees
Thirty-One GI Janes
Thirty-One Jump Squats
Thirty-One Box Jumps 30"/26"
Thirty-One Double-Squat Wall-Ball 14"/10"
Thirty-One Deadlift 185#/135#
Thirty-One Goblet Squat 2.0P/1.5P
Thirty-One KB Swings 2.0P/1.5P

Your may perform the movements in any order, however once you have begun a movement, you cannot move on until that movement is finished.

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Inside Gym Jones

By Russell Berger

In Rest Day/Theory

August 08, 2009

PDF Article

Russell Berger, one of CrossFit's top athletes, attends a Gym Jones seminar and
tries to keep an open mind--but he's left wondering about the substance
of the program.

This is the story of my experience at Gym Jones, but the real story is a lot bigger than me.

The story of my love affair with increased work capacity is pretty typical. I started following the CrossFit main-site WODs and saw astounding results within a few weeks. But it wasn't long before I again ran into that other website:

Gym Jones is owned by Mark Twight, a 47-year-old veteran mountain climber of considerable accomplishment. Maybe something about my leaving the Army and enrolling in a public college made me appreciate Twight's unapologetic elitism. Or maybe I just dug the stark black-and-white photography. Whatever it was, Twight's intentional concealment of his methods added to the attraction. I quit following the CrossFit main-site WODs in the summer of 2007 and began my own regimen based on the few clues Twight disclosed on his website.

Soon after, I started having doubts about my new methods. I began sticking to the CrossFit main site, and a year later, I still couldn't answer a basic question: "What is Gym Jones?" By that time I was the owner of a CrossFit affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama. But I was still curious about Gym Jones. When the CrossFit Journal offered to pay my $1,800 registration fee for a Gym Jones Athletic Development Seminar, I jumped at the opportunity.

Twight's pitch was simple: CrossFit has problems. We found them, and we can show you how to get around them.

Unfortunately, I'd never noticed these problems. If Twight's system really does produce higher levels of general physical preparedness and more successful athletes, he only has one thing to do: show the world. So far, he hasn't.

Does this mean that Gym Jones doesn't improve the performance of their athletes? Not at all. But until Twight or someone else can produce athletes with greater GPP than their CrossFitting peers, I'll be sticking to the CrossFit main-site WODs.

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Nicole Carroll does "Helen" Men's RX, Maximus & Shira look on.

I would like to share with all of you Coach Glassman's open letter to CrossFit Trainers, reprinted in it's entirety, below. It is a great thing that some of you are now driven to, even passionate about being able to, do the workouts RX. but we (meaning me as well) should all keep in mind that it is no virtue to pound through a workout as fast as possible at any cost. That way lies injury, a lack of coordinational improvement, poor form, decreased efficiency, and, generally, less than full ROM (range of motion). This last point is important. A lack of full ROM automatically equals less work volume and makes no sense, if full ROM is possible. This is so often simply ego, or a desire to move as quickly as possible. If you deadlift 300# but can only stand up to 90% of full extension, you might as well have lifted 270# with perfect form and full extension. The amount of work is exactly the same, it is safer and those who understand will be much more impressed with a beautiful maximal lift than a heavy ugly one. My favorite quote of all time from Coach Glassman on full ROM is "I ran a three-minute mile, but it was only half a mile" .

Form should start out at an A and not go below an A- if at all possible. What we are practicing, as Coach has stated is "not weightlifting, but commitment". Commitment to being the best, most fully rounded athletes we are capable of personally being. The target is not the person next to you, but you, yourself. Always striving to go a little faster, a little heavier, to make your movements a little more poetic. This does not mean an OCD approach where each rep must be absolutely perfect and you don't break a sweat. "Perfect is the enemy of good" as Coach Rip says. There is an interplay between increased intensity and the breakdown of form. The goal is to achieve higher intensity (more work volume) without falling apart. The last rep of 300 burpees for time is not going to look as good as the first but it should still have all of it's fundamentals intact.

Doing the workouts as RX is a noble goal, however doing the movements with the best form you can muster, regardless of speed or weight, keeping in mind the caveat about perfectionism, is a superior goal. Nobler still is to do the workout RX with beautiful form. For some of us, this may not come fast: I think of CrossFit as a years-long, decades-long journey towards mastery and virtuosity, and my form on some things, even after years is, frankly, lousy. I still need to keep the fundamentals in mind and so do we all. Embrace what you are weak in, accentuate your strengths, work with an eye towards becoming an excellent generalist. We are training for the demands of life, not to be the fastest or best in some specialized field.

Finally, I am proud of, and pleased with, what so many of you have achieved over the last year, and I feel I would not be serving you if I did not try to take many of you to the next level. For some of you that is increased intensity, for some of you it is better form and for a few it is both.

Post your strengths, weaknesses and plan for better GPP to comments.

Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery

An Open Letter to CrossFit Trainers

CrossFit Journal August 2005

Greg Glassman

In gymnastics, completing a routine without error will not get you a perfect score,
the 10.0--only a 9.7. To get the last three tenths of a point, you must
demonstrate "risk, originality, and virtuosity" as well as make no mistakes in
execution of the routine.

Risk is simply executing a movement that is likely to be missed or botched;
originality is a movement or combination of movements unique to the athlete--a
move or sequence not seen before. Understandably, novice gymnasts love to
demonstrate risk and originality, for both are dramatic, fun, and awe inspiring--
especially among the athletes themselves, although audiences are less likely to
be aware when either is demonstrated.

Virtuosity, though, is a different beast altogether. Virtuosity is defined in
gymnastics as "performing the common uncommonly well." Unlike risk and
originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily
recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. But more importantly,
more to my point, virtuosity is more than the requirement for that last tenth of a
point; it is always the mark of true mastery (and of genius and beauty).
There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art,
whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to
quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more
sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques. This compulsion is the novice's
curse--the rush to originality and risk.

The novice's curse is manifested as excessive adornment, silly creativity, weak
fundamentals and, ultimately, a marked lack of virtuosity and delayed mastery. If
you've ever had the opportunity to be taught by the very best in any field you've
likely been surprised at how simple, how fundamental, how basic the instruction
was. The novice's curse afflicts learner and teacher alike. Physical training is no

What will inevitably doom a physical training program and dilute a coach's
efficacy is a lack of commitment to fundamentals. We see this increasingly in
both programming and supervising execution. Rarely now do we see prescribed
the short, intense couplets or triplets that epitomize CrossFit programming.
Rarely do trainers really nitpick the mechanics of fundamental movements.

I understand how this occurs. It is natural to want to teach people advanced and
fancy movements. The urge to quickly move away from the basics and toward
advanced movements arises out of the natural desire to entertain your client and
impress him with your skills and knowledge. But make no mistake: it is a
sucker's move. Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat,
teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal
mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays
advancement and progress, and blunts the client's rate of return on his efforts. In
short, it retards his fitness.

If you insist on basics, really insist on them, your clients will immediately
recognize that you are a master trainer. They will not be bored; they will be awed.
I promise this. They will quickly come to recognize the potency of fundamentals.
They will also advance in every measurable way past those not blessed to have
a teacher so grounded and committed to basics.
Training will improve, clients will advance faster, and you will appear more
experienced and professional and garner more respect, if you simply recommit to
the basics.

There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic
movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the
athletes' efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these
skills or just play. Play is important. Tire flipping, basketball, relay races, tag,
Hooverball, and the like are essential to good programming, but they are
seasoning--like salt, pepper, and oregano. They are not main courses.
CrossFit trainers have the tools to be the best trainers on earth. I really believe
that. But good enough never is, and we want that last tenth of a point, the whole
10.0. We want virtuosity!!

CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.

A word to the wise. If you plan on coming to all, or most, of next week's classes, I strongly suggest you take the next two days as rest days.

In the meantime here are some things I think are worth looking at:

Obama 2004 Convention Speech. CrossFit East Bay officially endorses Obama for President.

Good, skeptical look at various topics:

Post thoughts to comments

Peer Workout Hosted By EV at GWPC
"Linda" AKA "3 Bars of Death"
BW Bench Press
¾ BW Clean
1 ½ BW Deadlift
Set up three bars and storm through for time.
This is not a CFEB sanctioned event. You are responsible for knowing how to do the movements.
Sub dumbbell bench if spotting is not practical!

Why All Women Should Lift Weights

I often hear female clients say that they are worried about lifting weights because they:

  • don't want big muscles
  • only want to "tone" or "lengthen" their muscles
  • don't want to "look like a man"

These concerns are baseless and can lead to women neglecting one of the most
effective tools for preventing osteoporosis, and maintaining optimum
health. To begin with, unless a woman is off the charts in terms of
ability to develop muscle, she will not be able to gain significant
muscle mass, even should she want to, without truly Herculean (or
Amazonian) effort. Women generally do not have enough Testosterone to
support large muscles. There are, of course, exceptions such as Olympic
Sprinter Marion Jones (above, far left), but even an athlete so gifted
as she in ability to gain muscle mass felt the need to chemically
enhance her testosterone levels. So we see that getting big muscles is
not a concern, nor should it stop women from lifting weights.

The idea that muscles can be "toned" or "lengthened" by special or unique
exercises is false. Despite the claims of some Yoga and Pilates
, this is not possible. The shape of one's muscles, and,
hence, limbs and torso, is the product of three things:

  • Genetic shape of the muscles
  • amount of muscle mass
  • amount of "inert metabolic material" (fat)

You were born with muscles which have the same basic shape they do now, and
they will continue to have that shape your whole life. This can easily
be seen by looking at a few people's calves. Some have an insertion
point high on the leg, and therefore look round and more muscular.
Others have a lower insertion point, and look longer and leaner. There
is no way to change this. However, you can add some muscle mass which
will make your limbs look fuller and more shapely, which brings us to
our last point. No matter how shapely or toned your muscles are, if
they are covered in a thick layer of fat, they won't have much
definition. Women generally should maintain 14-22% bodyfat for a
combination of optimum health, athleticism and aesthetics. Just as too
much fat is unhealthy and aesthetically undesirable too little will
detract from health, athletic ability and a pleasing shape.

Thinking that lifting weights will make you "look like a man" is misguided.
Perhaps, if you try really, really hard, you might after some years of
effort develop a look like Linda Hamilton in "Terminator 2", Demi Moore
in "GI Jane" or Angela Basset  in just about anything. Would that be so

Lifting weights is a wonderful health-giving activity for
all people, and that includes all women. It builds bone density,
prevents osteoporosis, burns calories up to 24 hours after you have
finished doing it and contributes to overall health and prevents
decrepitude. You would like to be able to walk when you get older right?

From the CrossFit message board 6-22-08:

Great response from Coach to a message board comment. Original comment is first:

Lee #128- youre (sic) right on- except that alot (sic) of this success is due to great marketing as well as efficacy - and those strategies could be replicated if anyone cared to- and someone will. You downplay the importance of marketing - but remember the biggest criticism of crossfit (sic) by people who are presumably jealous of its success is that none of this is particularly new- a few elements- but its basically sourcing the extant knowledge with a few twists and the rest is in presentation.
Im (sic) just saying that marketing has a bigger role in this than youll (sic) allow. Ever heard of Ross training? Well- he isnt (sic) great at marketing-maybe thats why.
The acid test will be when a major competitor comes to the table with a new twist on the presentation- they can easily adopt the principles without acknowledging much.
Basically, aside from the name- none of this technique is propritary (sic) - and eventually youll (sic) see more, rather than less of the people like the guy in SA - who only said that he used techniques based on Crossfit (sic) - he was riding on name recognition- but someone at some point will come out with something very similar under a different name and with a new angle-then the competition with Crossfit (sic) will begin. And that isnt necesarily a bad thing- for Crossfit (sic) or the consumer- its just the way of the market. The way I see it; Crossfit (sic) hasnt (sic) reached its tipping point- but it will and trademarked names or not- there will be meaningful competition within five years.
Globo gyms capture market share by being amentiy (sic) rich- their appeal is with day care and spa services and laundry valets- the smaller globo models will figure out that to compete they will either have to ramp up facilities or jump on the old skool bandwagon. Thats (sic) when youll (sic) see new names come out and see this model imitated more widely. They may be starting a grassroots fitness revolution- but market share is the principle behind thousands of affiliates under one name- thats (sic) the best way to keep your version of a great idea on top-its working for you isnt (sic) it?
Remember how AOL won the case against the phone companies- the ubiquity of the dial tone.
The best thing for Crossfit (sic) is to have the word turned into a verb- and surprise surprise- at my certs I dont (sic) hear the word exercise - I heard the word- "crossfitting"
Smart move.
Notice the reaction to the guy in SA- all he said was that he imitated Crossfit- he stated that he wasnt affiliated.
one day Crossfit (sic) will be so big and the competition will be sophisticated enough to the point that that very assertion would be more helpful rather than a threat.
All businesses mature- Crossfit (sic) is not only borrowing from many fitness traditions- they are utilising (sic) marketing principles well known in the entertainment industry for years now- and youll (sic) note that they offer media seminars and affiliate seminars as well now- so Im sure they are aware that growth phases only last for so long. . For my money- it works and like you and most others- thats (sic) all I need to know- I dont (sic) have a dog in this fight.

Comment #240 - Posted by: james at June 21, 2008 3:28 PM


The problem with Ross Training (which is great training) is that Ross hung out on our msg board for a couple of years before launching his program and was at first every bit as much a newbie as anyone has ever been. This is the same problem Mark Twight has compounded with his illegal copyright theft and unethical plagiarism.

Ross is guilty of nothing. He's reinvented the wheel while this community watched. He's reaching people we might not have, and it doesn't take much exposure to find your way back to the source. (Derivative is praiseworthy ONLY when accompanied by improvement. Improvement will be recognized by data. Those are the world's rules.)

The line of reasoning that "the elements of CrossFit were well known and that therefor the program is not original" is factually and logically untenable. Beethoven invented nothing - the notes were each known to all. Shakespeare did nothing original in Hamlet - the words were common place. Andrew Wyeth bought his tempera from readily available sources - colors we've all seen before, so no original works there. Wofgang Puck is no chef - he's using ingredients I can find in my local grocery store. Absurd utterances each, stupid to repeat, and dangerous if believed.

CrossFit is as original as any novel, poem, musical score, recipe OR software (always ones and zeros, therefor never original). The argument you describe is, Sir, stupid, indefensible, and shocking. I don't fault you for it, however. You didn't think it through.

This argument/observation, used sadly by our dear friend Phil Mancini last week, is so weak that when it was offered by one of the Queen's JAG's in Canada during meetings to formally decide whether Canadian Forces needed to attribute/compensate CrossFit for their use of our program, immediately on hearing this week line of argument, the majority quickly decided that this, CrossFit, was IP and that attribution, compensation, and licensing was morally, ethically, and legally required. Good, good, people Canadians. Neither stupid nor dishonest. Great combination of attributes.

And, as for your comment about this, CrossFit, being "extant knowledge", on this point you're 100% wrong.

We've weathered attacks against every single facet of this concept from academia, commercial fitness, athletic training, and Internet turds with no athletic training or experience beyond Internet posting (DD, IronGarm, T-Nation). Truth is CrossFit is "Bizarro World" different from what is going on at every university sports program (except the ones we've infected), commercial gyms (except for the ones we've infected), and among exercise physiologists (except for the ones we've infected).

Our problem, your problem, James, is that you came in during the third stage of Arthur Schopenhauer's dictum that "every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed; in the second it is opposed; in the third it is regarded as self-evident." I actually enjoyed the first and second phases best!

Your comments about marketing are spot on. I mentioned unreplicatable methods only to describe the failure in using ineffective programming with the same marketing efforts, or slightly altered or indistinguishable programming to identical marketing efforts.

Let me be clear. Anyone that does for plumbing, architecture, or lawyering what we've done for fitness - create something uniquely effective, and then couple that with our open source, community developing, methods-results-criticisms held to light methodology, will find themselves significantly more successful than businesses as usual.

We "get" blogging, open-source, the Internet, and the new "peer review", like few people anywhere in business. The blogging community doesn't even recognize us as a blog - we're an experiential blog not a self-indulgent teenager's diary so they don't see us. True for folks at MoveableType, amazingly!
Comment #309 - Posted by: Coach at June 22, 2008 7:32 AM

And another great reply from Coach:

SheepDawg007 #106,

You make some good points but miss more than you make.

CrossFit never took off in Santa Cruz. It took off on the Net. From arriving in 95 to launching the website in '01 we had near zero growth. From launching the website in '01 to leaving Santa Cruz in '06 we saw several thousand percent growth!!

Work capacity across broad time and modal domains, CrossFit, is hugely more correlative of athletic potential than anything except athletic fame mentioned in the WSJ article. (This is part of the absurdity of the article.) This is why we've been able to improve the level of athletic performance substantially where substantial improvements are exceedingly rare - where the margins of improved performance are tight. You want to move quickly from Bronze Medal to Gold then CrossFit holds a potential that we can find by no other means.

The question as to whether a CrossFitter is a better basketball player than Larry Bird is fruitless - even misdirected. Would Larry Bird have been a better basketball player with CrossFit? Would two players of Bird's potential remain equal in basketball capacity if one CF'd and the other did not? The first answer is, "hell yes". The second, "hell no". No one who has worked with world class sport athletes in conjunction with CrossFit have any doubt whatsoever. BJ Penn: "CrossFit is like cheating". There are 100's of his caliber who feel the same.

Sport oprtimally develops sport prowess. CrossFit is unrivaled at developing fitness. Fitness is an essential/critical component of sport and athletics. Fitness is the most important component of athleticism. NOT ONE WORLD CLASS ATHLETE OF THOUSANDS WE'VE TRAINED HAS APPROACHED THE FITNESS LEVEL OF A GOOD CROSSFITTER. Not one. (That will change - probably next year.)

No non-CrossFitting sport athlete has demonstrated work capacity like a CrossFitter for the same reason that no non football playing CrossFitter has ever demonstrated the football capacity of football player. It's not their game. We're fitter than non CrossFitting athletes because CrossFit has refined, defined, and focused on fitness far beyond what is being done for sport. The S&C training for most professional sports is....well...frankly...demonstrably ineffective, and fundamentally stupid. We prove that for a living.

We are unique in having defined fitness, first, and and in mathematical terms, second. We've given fitness a scientific footing where none existed before. That is the reason for our successes and popularity (entirely different measures).

Your claims about the mental toughness CrossFit develops are diametrically opposed to the testimony of soldiers engaged in combat, cops in gunfights, and Olympic and professional ball-sport athletes. They'd disagree with you 100%. You use the fighting example, BJ and Chuck Lidell and others, it's quite typical, will tell you they fear nothing like CF. I use those two as examples because they fight for fun and both absolutely positively DREAD CrossFit. Chuck told John Hackelman he'd rather fight Rampage everyday than do the WOD. (On a humorous but instructive note: Chuck told John Hackleman that he wanted to beat my ass more than anyone else's in the world. I actually puckered up a bit. I sent Greg Amundson to go train with him, and Greg came back and said, "great guy, so nice; he wants a piece of you!")

There are legions of NFL, NBA, NHL, Olympic, MMA mega-champions CrossFitting. None has a CrossFit WOD record. I was made privy to Fran and Helen times for starters on a decade long dominant NFL franchise. The times look much more like Brad Pitt's (yep, I just outed him and his trainer) than OPT's or Amundson's. Much closer.

The winner of the CrossFit Games will be the world champion of the "Sport of Fitness" and will have reasonable, supportable, accurate, and precise claim to being a) one of the best athletes on earth, and b) the fittest man/woman/beast alive.

I'd hate to have to argue against that. I'd lose.

Sir, with deep respect, you're very, very wrong.
Comment #114 - Posted by: Coach at June 22, 2008 1:07 PM

WOD 6-12-08:

Deadlift 5-5-5-5-5

From, 6-11-08

Darryl Faught has applied to trademark the term "CrossFit" in South Africa. He has a gym he calls CrossFit and is running what he calls CrossFit training. He is not an affiliate, and neither he nor any of his trainers have any CrossFit® certifications.

From the comments:

That is exactly my concern. It's also at the core of my moral, ethical, and legal obligation to all of the affiliates.

My friend Phil Mancini would more quickly understand were it expressed in terms of someone stealing my name, DOB, and SS#. There is no moral, ethical, or legal difference. Had I a choice of having my name/DOB/SS# taken or "CrossFit" the choice would be very, very easy. Take my personal identity not my business identity. One theft creates contestable debt the other takes food out of affiliates' mouths.

I want to share with you all that the pressure you've brought to bear and the resultant search engine "awareness" of this man's larceny saves this small mom and pop a fortune in legal fees, and in the final analysis you're more effective and efficient than high priced lawyers who are fundamentally paralyzed when a miscreant like "The Man" thumbs his nose at them and hides behind a legal system awash in corruption and at risk of collapse.

Not pursuing this matter has been interpreted by courts as evidence for a de facto quit claim on the trademark. Inadequate defense of license has been grounds for loss of licensing rights. We fight for this thing or we're giving it away. There are 600 good men and women and thousands of trainers who have committed their resources, time, and lives to this movement. I'll not look the other way while someone takes it from them. Not anywhere. Not ever.

Thank You, everyone. I'll spend my entire life trying to earn and keep your friendship and support.
Comment #142 - Posted by: Coach at June 11, 2008 11:18 PM

Please do your part to increase "search engine awareness" and let Mr. Faught AKA "The Man" AKA "The Douche" know of your displeasure with his theft of our trademark and his pathetic attempts at copying our system. His email is

New Club Records

"Grace" 1:57, 2nd
"Fran" 2:57, 2nd


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