Category Archives: CrossFit

Mobility WOD Loves WellnessFX

Thanks to Kelly Starrett, author of the incredible Mobility WOD and co-founder of San Francisco CrossFit, for publishing an in-depth look at the power of the WellnessFX platform and measuring your lifestyle and nutrition. Check out Kelly’s thoughts here and enjoy the videos of the experience below.

If you’re interested in WellnessFX in your neighborhood, sign-up here to be the first in line.

In health,

-The WellnessFX Team

INTERVIEW WITH KELLY STARRETT

BLOOD TEST CASE STUDY & WELLNESSFX WALKTHROUGH

JULIET STARRETT INTERVIEW

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Guest Post: What is Wellness FX, and Why Should I Care?

Andy Petranek is the founder of CrossFit Los Angeles. He has been inspiring people to lives of health and fitness for over 20 years. His passion for life and sport has led him in many directions – from classical music as a teenager, to the Marine Corps, whitewater kayaking, and professional adventure racing. His skills as a coach come from years spent as a student, his “beginners mindset”, and his desire to grow and learn continuously through life. He trains/coaches individuals and groups of all ages and fitness levels in nutrition, fitness, and athletic conditioning.

Do you remember your last physical?  If it was anything like mine, you spent about 30 minutes waiting for the doctor, had a PA check your vitals, had the doc with you for about 10 minutes during which he poked and prodded, looking at very general things, and asking you an entire smorgasbord of questions, most of which have NOTHING to do with your particular situation, and after drawing blood at the end of the appointment he gave you an “everything’s fine”.  MAYBE you got a call with the results of your blood test, and if you did, it lasted no longer than about 3 minutes, with either a “looks good”, or “let’s get you on Lipitor to lower your cholesterol.”  Sound familiar?

Andy Petranek not falling short at the CrossFit Games

Although your physical will possibly point out MAJOR discrepancies in your health, how does it help you take a proactive role in optimizing your health and fitness over the course of your life?  Answer… it doesn’t.  It falls short, WAY short.

Enter functional medicine.  This branch of medicine distinguishes itself from others in it’s emphasis on prevention and treating underlying causes instead of symptoms. “Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for serious chronic disease. It is a science-based field of health care.”  Personally, this is WAY more interesting to me… problem is, it’s time consuming and very expensive.

Enter WellnessFX.  As a company their mission is to empower you to take charge of your health by providing you with personalized data, giving it meaning, and then connecting you with integrative health experts who can help you interpret it.  This is all done through blood testing, laboratory analysis, and an interactive web site displaying your results.  All of this is followed by a 15-45 minute phone consultation with a doctor of your choice who specializes in reading and interpreting your results.  That last piece is KEY.  Seeing results from a lab test is one thing, but trying to figure out what to do with it / about it is quite another.  I have a hard time keeping even just a few test results and numbers straight – imagine having to interpret a battery of 30 – 125 tests!  That is EXACTLY what these doctors do… they will help you make decisions about diet, lifestyle and supplementation you might want to consider to optimize your health based specifically on your numbers.  By the way, this goes beyond “oh, just eat Paleo and take fish oil.”

WellnessFX offers several packages to suit your desired health goals and commitment. It’s truly personalized medicine designed to make you get the most of your time and effort. We’re kicking off a series of draws at CrossFit LA for anyone interested in a better way to manage your health. Join me today.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Competing in 2012 CrossFit Games – Workout 2

The second CrossFit Open workout, or 12.2, posted Wednesday February 29th at 5 pm. The amount of participation in the Open this year has led to so many people hitting the Games website at that time that the site crashes. No different this time around!

If you recall, the first Games workout was to do 7 minutes of jump-up burpees. This workout was really targeting an all around full body movement that emphasized efficiency of movement as well as metabolic conditioning. Brutally effective.

12.2 went the other direction and prescribed an Olympic weight-lifting movement – the power snatch to be done in a laddered approach. The workout looked like this for men and women up to 55 years of age:

The format was really smart and kept within the vein of trying to keep it approachable for all levels of CrossFitters in the Games but as the workout progressed make it increasingly demanding so that only the elite Games athletes would be able to continue. They accomplished their goal – the workout was technical, emphasized skills, and ultimately strength and endurance.

When a workout posts, the first thing I do is read the description of requirements and then I watch the demonstration video. This year the people organizing the workouts (Dave Castro) and judging (Adrian Bosworth) are flying around the world and utilizing famous CrossFit Athletes to demonstrate the workouts. Last week the went to Valley CrossFit in Los Angeles and had Kristin Clever (Women’s World Games Champion 2010 and 2nd Place Games 2011) and Rebecca Voight ( 3rd Place 2011) demonstrate the workout. This week they flew to Cookville, TN and had Dan Bailey (2011 Open Champion) and Rich Frohning (Men’s World Games Champion 2011) demo the workout.

It was impressive watching the two men do the workout. Both made it through the first 3 weight categories and got to 210 lbs with about 90 seconds left. Dan’s technique started to fall apart slightly at 210 lbs (95 reps) but Rich’s was flawless (98 reps). Rich’s score ended up being the top men’s score.

Whenever a workout posts, I view the materials but then overlay my own potential and characteristics onto the workout. I also do this against the backdrop of being a 50-55 year old Masters competitor.

I just started learning all the Olympic lifts in August so this area is not my strongest. In particular, the Snatch and Power Snatch are difficult lifts for me because of tightness in my shoulders, hips, and ankles. I have been really working to concurrently improve my technique as well as my mobility (mostly viewing videos in mobilityWOD.com by Kelly Starrett) in all of these body systems. However, my one rep max (1RM) for power snatch going into the competition was 155 lbs and I really had to work to get 135 lbs even a few times. One thing going for me is that I do have quite a bit of raw strength and thought I would be able to achieve a good result regardless.

The other thing that was potentially an advantage is that a vast majority of my fellow Masters would have the same issues. I definitely thought that a fair number of people would be able to do all 30 of both 75 and 135 lbs. However, most of the ones who did well in 12.1 would not have the strength to do well in 12.2. The stronger, larger people who didn’t do well in a 12.1 metabolically oriented WOD would have a great shot at getting some really good scores in 12.2.

I am more of a generalist. I can survive and do fairly well in just about anything but not the best either. Being a generalist is an advantage as no one workout can cause too much damage in the standings.

However, I also thought that getting 60 reps would be crucial as the drop-off below the 60th rep would be too big of a point hit to overcome if I wanted to finish in the top 20 at the end of the Open and go to the Games.

I set two goals. My first goal was to get all 30 reps of 75 lbs and 135 lbs or 60 reps in total. My second goal was to have enough time at the end to take a whack at a few reps in the next weight category of 165 lbs. This would be the ultimate as I thought very few Masters would be able to do this.

My heat for Friday night March 2nd was slated at 7:30. My judge was Chris Medieros. I also was listed as a judge for the 6:25 pm heat. My athlete was La Mar Shepard. I showed up early and did a one-mile run to get warm. I then worked my shoulder mobility and warmed up with the movement at a variety of weights.

I judged La Mar. He did really well and scored a 78.

When my turn came, I started out doing the 30 reps of 75 lbs in 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8. I had a good transition putting on the 135 lbs weights. I got into a really good rhythm of doing one rep every 7 seconds. I could tell my technique wasn’t that great but I was getting the weight up and most importantly I did not miss a rep. With 90 seconds left, I had ten reps to go and really kicked it in. I finished with about 15 seconds to go but didn’t have a enough time to try 165 lbs. However, I was happy with the result, I had never done that many consecutive reps of 135 lbs before.

My score posted and once the dust had settled I had placed 39th out of a little less than 850 people for workout 12.2. The prior week I had place 100th with 12.1 so this score was significant and allowed me to move up to 32nd in the World.

With three more workouts over the next three weeks, I have the opportunity to continue to improve and move up in the standings.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

How CrossFit Can Benefit Triathletes

Our guest post today comes from Nate Helming, a CrossFit and USA Triathlon coach based in San Francisco. This post is reproduced from active.com.

These days CrossFit has gained national attention with its explosive growth of affiliate gyms, their members, and the recent exposure of the CrossFit games on ESPN. But, with this attention come both the enthusiasts and the skeptics.

When done correctly, CrossFit can be a fun, invigorating, and intelligent program that can help  athletes get over a frustrating plateau of persistent injury and stale performance, and onto a new upward athletic trajectory.

Here are five things a good CrossFit program can add to your triathlon training to help make you a stronger, faster and healthier athlete.

1. CrossFit teaches proper body mechanics.

Most endurance athletes look for either a decrease in injury or an increase in performance when heading to the gym.

CrossFit programs start with an intensive series of sessions that teach you how to do basic movements like the squat, deadlift, press, jump/land, and Olympic lift effectively. These movements are all very technical and, while there is a learning curve, they challenge the athlete’s coordination and motor control.

With feedback from the coach, these technical movements teach athletes how to move better and improve shoulder, hip, and knee mechanics.

2. Crossfit identifies athletic weakness and imbalance, and provides tools to address them.

If you struggle with basic swim, bike, and run mechanics chances are you also struggle to maintain good posture in CrossFit’s basic movements: the squat, the deadlift, and the pushup. A knowledgeable coach can watch the movements you perform and use them as screening tools to assess your strength, muscle flexibility and joint mobility.

For example, if your knees collapse forward and inward during a squat you probably lack good mobility in the hips and ankles, along with the motor control to protect your knees. This can lead to poor knee tracking and potentially to knee injury. It also demonstrates inflexibility in the calves, the groin, and the hamstrings, which can limit performance.

Potential injury aside, racing down the road with your wheels out of alignment, is not the most efficient way to move. By identifying and addressing these weaknesses at the root, you have the opportunity to turn yourself into a better athlete from the ground up and reach higher levels of performance.

3. CrossFit builds greater strength, power, agility and speed.

Mobility and flexibility are not the only limiters. Endurance athletes often lack top-end speed, strength and power output. Marathoners and Ironman-distance athletes come to mind here. Too much time spent going long and slow at sub-maximal intensities leads to an athlete that can only go one speed: long and slow. At the professional and elite amateur level though, the most successful Ironman and marathon athletes spend years developing strength and speed.

At CrossFit, athletes learn to incorporate strength and gymnastic skills into their workouts. They jump, sprint and develop power they previously thought impossible. Time and  again, we have seen these new abilities translate to increased athletic performance.

Concerned with potential injury? Start slowly and learn the proper mechanics first under a coach, then work to maintain these mechanics when fatigue hits and you are on your own

Think of this crucial step as developing technique endurance. Only then can you safely add intensity.

4. CrossFit develops and builds true functional strength.

Many strength programs promote sport-specific and functional strength movements for endurance athletes. While these movements sound great, many of them involve overly complicated exercises that ironically lack in true substance.

To be functional, an exercise should be natural, develop full range of motion, and promote core-to-extremity movement and mid-line stability.

Functional strength does not need to be sport specific. It should focus on building your general physical capacity with multi-joint movements that you already do. With an improved ability to pull, push, squat, dead lift, jump and  throw, you will approach your sport with greater levels of strength, power, body awareness and confidence.

5. CrossFit develops skills that transfer to specific sports.

Too often endurance athletes are disconnected between the brain and the body. You do sit-ups and crunches but stand hunched over or over-extended in the low back. You probably even run and swim with poor posture.

At CrossFit, functional exercises contribute to better swimming, biking and running. With a good CrossFit coach and program, your understanding of hip and knee mechanics will translate to better run and pedaling mechanics.

Find a qualified gym, with a good coach, and discover firsthand how CrossFit can elevate your game as an endurance athlete.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Competing in 2012 CrossFit Games with Jim Kean

Our founder Jim Kean is competing in the 2012 CrossFit Games – stay tuned on our blog as Jim recounts his personal experience going for gold.

In mid 2010, I joined San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF), as an avid multi-sports training fan since 2007. With steady improvement and the encouragement of the awesome coaching staff and upbeat CrossFitters of SFCF, I decided to enter the Games as a Masters 45-50 Year Old Competitor in March 2011. I ended up with a fairly respectable placing of 270th in the world out of around 1,000 people.

One of the most encouraging things for me was that most of the movements I performed during the competition were in many cases completely novel for me, i.e. I had poor technique.

In 2012, I moved into the Masters 50-55 category, competing with a new group. My amazingly supportive wife, Claire, encouraged me to train and improve. Without Claire’s support, I doubt I could have been ready for the Open this year.

Working with the coaches immediately after the Open, I created a list of basic movements, rated where I was and what I needed to work on. The above list reflects where I feel I am going into the games. I could be wrong on some of them (anyone who knows me please feel free to give me your opinion). I definitely would say that the list started in May of 2011 with most of the items in the left handed column.

Friday Night Lights at San Francisco CrossFit

Last Wednesday the 22nd the first workout of the Open (12.1) was posted. Good old multiple muscle group killer – the burpee. However it was a burpee with strict rules around it:

  • Ground Work: When you jumped down to the ground you had to touch your chest and hips.
  • The Jump: When you came up you had to jump up to a pre-measured target at least 6” inches above your hand.
  • An AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) in 7 minutes.

Let it be said, I actually like burpees. In a 2-minute sprint in October 2011, I did 47, so I was feeling that I had a decent chance of getting a good score.

I am a big Friday Night Lights fan. During the show, Coach Eric Taylor always rallies the players at key points by reminding them:

“Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose”

Our CrossFit affiliate does team workouts on Friday nights, our first one on February 24th. You were assigned a heat with a partner and took turns judging each other. I lucked out to partner with Summer Sahar, a very positive, upbeat person who really cares about Crossfit and doing well.

On the days running up to the event, I ensured I had plenty of sleep, fed myself with good, energy producing foods and watched Carl Paoli’s excellent instructional video on how to do an efficient burpee.

Going into the event, I set a goal of hitting between 100-110 reps. I showed up around 5:45 pm. I was a little anxious about being late for the preworkout briefing (I hate being late). When my heat was up, the Heat Coordinator Roop went around and measured out targets on the bar for us. I was a little envious that I didn’t get a mat and was going to have to do this on concrete. However, that is the way it goes and I immediately moved ahead and focused on my heat.

My heat started. At first, I was so pumped up that I didn’t realize that I was holding my breath during the first ten reps. Thereafter, I forced myself to breath regularly and easily. After the first 30 reps, I was feeling pretty good but around the 50-60 mark (about 3 minutes) I started to labor for the reps and I noticed my motor skills deteriorating. I also missed a rep or two when I didn’t touch correctly and Summer (correctly) yelled at me to focus on it.

At the 80-90 mark I was hurting and starting to stagger. When you hit this point of an intense workout like this there is a battle between you and your body. Your body wants to quit and your efficiency starts to go down the drain. I could vaguely hear a lot of people around me encouraging me onward but I also had lost count and had no idea where I was rep-wise.

The last 45 seconds I badly wanted to just stop and lie down but I forced myself to think of each step of the burpee and make my muscles move. Bend over, squat slightly, kick the legs out, touch down, arch the back up, snap the hips up to your feet, raise your torso, jump to the bar. Rinse and repeat.

Time was called and I fell over. Fortunately Claire was behind me so I didn’t whack my head on the concrete. Summer told me I had gotten 99. I was sort of close to my goal but I immediately wondered: “geez, if I had just put out a bit more or did things more efficiently I could have done in the 100-104 range.”

However, all in all I was happy with my result. The top finisher Mike Lyons did 122. My score ended up being 99th out of a group of just under 900 people in my category. There were a whole bunch of us grouped in the 97 to 108 rep level on the Leaderboard.

After about 10 minutes, my recovery kicked in and I started to down lots of liquids and eat everything paleo in sight. My thanks to Juliet and Kelly Starrett for providing the food.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Background on CrossFit Games

Jim Kean

Jim Kean | COO

In 2007, a number of the early CrossFit pioneers decided to hold an event to see who was the “fittest” and thus was born the CrossFit World Games. Since 2010, the Games have been held at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles to allow the many fans and spectators to follow.

The 2011 Games represented a watershed event for CrossFit in a variety of aspects:

  • Sponsorship: For the first time, the 2011 Games were sponsored by a large corporation, Reebok. More significantly, Reebok anted up a large cash pool of $1 million for the top finishing athletes.
  • Athletes: CrossFit allows anyone to compete, but with the large cash prize, the highest level CrossFit athletes can make a living.
  • Coverage: ESPN3 covered the 2011 Games, rebroadcast the games in 2012, and is providing more coverage for the 2012 Games.

The structure of the Games follows the grassroots democratization ethos that runs strongly through CrossFit’s culture. The Games run through three levels culminating in the World Games.

First level – the Open:

  • Beginning in late February, CrossFit Headquarters posts a workout every Wednesday at 5pm PST with specific instructions on what constitutes an acceptable workout. An athlete then has five days to submit their results.
  • Your workout can be judged either by a registered CrossFit Affiliate or via a videotaped and posted workout.
  • The structure of the Open workouts is based on totaling up total repetitions and then assigning you a score of based on how you ended up placing vs. the rest of your group. For example, the first Open Workout of 2012 was an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of Burpees (a hellish combination of a pushup, squat, jump) in 7 minutes.
  • Workouts are posted to the Leaderboards and ranked according to completion. For example, as a Masters 50-54 Male, I did 99 reps in 7 minutes. This ranked me worldwide at 98th meaning 98 people either did more than me or the same. This result gave me 98 points.
  • There will be 4 more workouts in the next 4 weeks. They will attempt to hit all manner of movement related to strength, speed, skill, endurance, etc. as well as attack any weak areas an athlete might have.
  • After the five weeks of workouts, the 60 athletes with the lowest total scores in the Open Men’s and Women’s Categories in each of the 17 Worldwide Crossfit Regionals will be sent to a regional competition.
  • As well, each affiliate will send 3 men and 3 women to compete as a team.
  • Lastly, the top 20 Masters athletes worldwide in eight categories will bypass Regionals and go directly to the World Games in July.

Second level – the Regionals:

  • In April and May the Worldwide Regional Games will be held in 17 Regions.
  • These will generally represent 7-10 different workouts over 3 days.
  • The top three individual men and women athletes as well as the top three teams from each region will go onwards to the World Games in July.

Third level – the 2012 World Games:

  • The Games follows the same format of 3-4 days of competition in a variety of skills and events.
  • On the last day, the top 10 competitors in each category will be selected for the final workouts.
  • The top three finishers in all categories will ascend the podium.

This year’s Games should be huge for Crossfit worldwide. Last year saw 20,000 participants. This year it is estimated the 55,000 will be registered. Last year’s Open Leaderboard and televised segments were some of the most popular sites on the world wide web and it should only be larger this year. We’re excited to see what’s in store, are you?

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.