Tag Archives: training

WellnessFX Practitioner Ben Greenfield on Training and Winning

Depending on your health hurdles, your triumphs and any lofty fitness goals you may have, your health guru may be your family physician, your acupuncturist or your personal trainer. At WellnessFX, we offer a network of practitioners that range from medical doctors to dieticians and nutritionists, all with a variety of backgrounds and specialties.

One of our wellness gurus is Ben Greenfield, a WFX practitioner, sports nutritionist and personal trainer. Ben helps his clients with weight control, sports performance, holistic medicine and lifestyle management. A triathlete himself for the last nine years, Ben demonstrates a devotion to health, quantified living and the victory that comes with working toward your goals.

Continue reading

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.