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As Christmas grows near I find myself in the kitchen A LOT.  At this time of year I enjoy being there for different reasons. I enjoy feeling the warmth of my home and seeing my tree lit up. I love the smell of pine in the air, listening to Christmas music and being close to Ginger.  

The holidays can be a challenging time to make healthy food choices as many of us are attending holiday parties with decadent food and drinks.  And there always seems to be an endless supply of cookies and cakes around. (I’m not complaining and I know the Whole Life Challenge is approaching)  I try to find a little balance in what I prepare and eat, making sure to keep prepping green stuff so I can get some nutrients, but also making some sweet treats, because, that is just what they are, treats.  So far this year I’ve baked brownies, cookies and am currently whipping up some sweet and spicy nuts to share.  I get a feeling of joy from baking and cooking and sharing food I have prepared with others. It might be that some of the food offers nourishment, it might be that some food is just beautiful to look at and is pleasing to eat. Whatever it is, I know I enjoy it.  Today, I share with you a couple recipes that I’ve used and tweaked a little. I would love to hear what you guys have been baking and preparing for the holidays. 

IMG_1417

Here are a few of what I’ve made so far: 

  • Pomegranate Sea Salt Brownies from With Food + Love. I baked them mini muffin tins and topped with chopped chocolate chips, they were a hit at a recent dinner party. 
  • Paleo Peanut butter Tagalongs- from Elena’s Pantry. I used real butter and and peanut butter instead of palm oil and sun butter.  Super amazing and gluten free.

And Sweet and Spicy Nuts

What you will need:

5 cups of your favorite nuts

4 T coconut oil

3 t cumin

2 t smoked paprika

1/2 t cayenne

2 t sea salt

3-4 T sugar (or adjust as you like)

What to do:

Pre heat oven to 325

1. Melt coconut oil over stove top and stir in sugar until dissolved. 

2. Mix spices together in a small bowel- set aside.

3. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

4. In a large bowl toss nuts with coconut oil and sugar mixture until all covered. Then add in seasonings and mix until well incorporated. Spread nuts evenly onto baking sheet.

5. Bake for 10 mins then mix nuts and bake for another 10 minutes. 


Thursday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back Squat (20min)
Work up to heavy 3

 B) 3 Rounds for quality on the 5:00
200m Run
10 Thrusters (~50%)
4 Rope climbs
**4min Cap each round**

And Coming Friday
Competition

A) Deadlift (20min)
Work up to heavy 3

B) “Open 13.4”
Climbing Ladder for 7 Minutes:
3 Clean and Jerks (135/95), 3 Toes to Bar
6 Clean and Jerks (135/95), 6 Toes to Bar
9 Clean and Jerks (135/95), 9 Toes to Bar
Continue to add 3 repetitions per round until the 7 Minute Cap.
**Courtesy of CrossFit*

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I was talking to Alex Bentley yesterday about how some of the easiest looking little workouts… you know, ones that you look at on paper that look simple, are relatively short, have movements you know well, (ones that need no introduction and are bodyweight)… come on, you know what I’m talking about. They can be incredibly hard and challenging.

Anyway, I was saying when talking to Alex, that with the holidays coming up and our collective need to have something to do on our own as a way to keep moving over the extended break, it would be really useful for each person that reads the blog to take 2 minutes to come up with a workout like this and post it up in the comments. Then, if and when you’re looking for inspiration over the holiday, you can refer to this blog post, pick one, and make it happen… bing, bang, boom. Now look… this only works is if, when you read this, that you take 2 minutes to write something down and post it. Think of it as your holiday gift for everyone in our extended community!

So – that’s what this is – a request for you to spend a few minutes and post a workout of your own design in comments. Here are the only requirements: It must be simple (movements should require no explanation), short (less than 10 minutes), contain bodyweight movements only. It will probably look simple, but it will pack a punch. 

Think of this as your Holiday Gift Workout Exchange!  I’ll start with a few  of my own.

1. 10 rounds of :30 on/:30 off – push ups (or squats, sit ups, bicycles, hollow rocks, arch rocks, lunges, etc)

2. 5 rounds :30 run/:90 off

3. 5 rounds :30 hollow rocks, :30 arch rocks, :30 bicycles, :30 rest


Wednesday’s Workout
Practice

A) Press (15min)
Work up to heavy 3

B) Task vs Time vs Task Priority
1) Task Priority
500m Row, for time
-3min Rest
2) Time Priority
Row as many meters as possible in the time it took to complete Part 1
-3min Rest
3) Task Priority
Row the result of Part 2, for time
**See 10/16/14**

And Coming Thursday
Practice

A) Back Squat (20min)
Work up to heavy 3

B) 3 Rounds for quality on the 5:00
200m Run
10 Thrusters (~50%)
4 Rope climbs
**4min Cap each round**

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Back in 2006, when Andy first had a full-time staff at CFLA, he decided to incorporate a Holiday Open Gym. During Open Gym, there would be no regular classes between and around Christmas and New Years. The gym would be open during limited hours where members could work on whatever was needed or they could loosely follow a suggested workout of the day alone or with a group of gym friends. And the core staff would gain some recovery time. From this Open Gym tradition sprouted a more organized Coaches Development Program at CFLA. All the up-and-coming coaches who had already gone through a lot of hands-on instruction would be in charge of Open Gym.

The original idea of shutting down the office and regular classes was this: Andy believed we could serve our clients best if the core staff started off the New Year rested and refreshed.

We still follow this end-of-the-year schedule today with the same reasoning. The core staff hits it hard all year and Open Gym is a perfect time to recharge our batteries so we can hit the ground running come January especially with Cycle 7 starting on the 12th and the Whole Life Challenge starting the 17th. January will be exciting and action-filled — and we want to be fully ready. 

The cool part of Open Gym for members is that no matter your membership package, you can come as many times as you like during Open Gym. A coach — often two coaches — will be available to facilitate groups for the suggested workout or to answer questions about mobility, strength, or endurance. Make sure you take advantage of this time to come as many times as you like. Or you can of course use it as a rejuvenation period, too. 

Holiday Open Gym Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
12/22/2014 12/23/2014 12/24/2014 12/25/2014 12/26/2014 12/27/2014 12/28/2014
6:00am – 9:00AM 5:00PM – 8:00PM 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM CLOSED CLOSED 8:00AM – 11:00AM 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
12/29/2014 12/30/2014 12/31/2014 1/1/2015 1/2/2015
7:00AM – 10:00AM 5:00PM – 8:00PM 9:00AM – 12:00PM CLOSED 9:00AM – 12:00PM

 


 

Tuesday’s Workout
Practice

A) Rope climb skill practice (10-15min)

B) 2 Rounds for total quality reps (1:1)
     Toes-to-bar
     Tire flips with jump through
     Hand-release pushups
     Med ball sit-to-stands

And Coming Wednesday
Mental Toughness

A) Press (15min)
Work up to heavy 3

B) Task vs Time vs Task Priority
1) Task Priority
500m Row, for time
-3min Rest
2) Time Priority
Row as many meters as possible in the time it took to complete Part 1
-3min Rest
3) Task Priority
Row the result of Part 2, for time
**See 10/16/14**

 

 

 

 

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WOW! The 10 year anniversary party was off the chain! If you missed it, you really missed it. I have a suspicion that we will see the lip sync contest again…

As far as training goes we have more tire flips, rope climbs, back squats, dead lifts, presses, and DB workouts coming your way before the break.  The Mental Toughness workout this week is a great one to test your grit.  

As always, train smart and be good to yourself.


 

Monday’s Workout
Practice

 A) Tire flip skill practice (10-15min)

B) “Sky Jack”
10 Rounds for quality, 30sec rest between rounds:
     1 DB Turkish getup (Right)
     3 DB split snatches (Right)
     1 DB Turkish getup (Left)
     3 DB split snatches (Left)
**Courtesy of DBWOD**

And Coming Tuesday
Practice

A) Rope climb skill practice (10-15min)

B) 2 Rounds for total quality reps (1:1)
     Toes-to-bar
     Tire flips with jump through
     Hand-release pushups
     Med ball sit-to-stands

 

 

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Hometown:  San Jose, California
Age: “One should never trust a woman who tells her real age.” -Oscar Wilde
Occupation: Attorney
When did you first start CrossFitting?: December 2007
When did you first start training at CFLA?: December 2007
Favorite WOD: “Two Girls For The Price Of One” and Murph
Least Favorite WOD: Anything that involves a 1RM

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I grew up as a swimmer and waterpolo player. In middle school, I fell in love with long-distance and cross-country running and I continued that through high school, along with water sports. I ran my first marathon in high school and was hooked after that. After a few years of long-distance running and triathlons I began to get “bored” and it was during this time that I found the perfect antidote, CrossFit. 

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? My brother actually got me hooked on CrossFit. He called me up one day in 2007, when CrossFit was fairly new, and told me about this new “type of workout” I should try, he knew I would love it. I immediately Googled “Los Angeles CrossFit” and came upon the CFLA website. I signed up for an intro class and a few days later I was huffing and puffing with Michael at the beach. I don’t really remember much about that first day, I think I may have blacked out a bit. What I do recall, is that whatever we did was HARD. When I tried to get up out of bed the next day my legs felt like a baby giraffe. That was all I needed. After that, I was hooked.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)?  While I still struggle with some movements, (ahem….box jumps…..yes, even after all these years), I think the biggest change is my attitude and outlook on life. I am more open to new things and to challenging myself, both mentally and physically.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? As I mentioned above, I think what most surprised me was my changed attitude and outlook on life. After starting CrossFit, I am more open to trying new things and being more confident when it comes to tackling physical challenges. The best example of this is our trip last year to Africa to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro (the hardest physical thing I have ever done by far, high-altitude is no joke!) I definitely would not have done something like that a few years ago!

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments:  So many! I can’t even choose….. Some of my most memorable moments would be working out with the old “Beach Crew.” I loved working out outdoors in the fresh air. (Seriously, when is CFLA bringing back the Beach Program!??) It was so much fun being able to use all of the outdoor equipment, although I never liked doing Spiderman crawls in the sand. I do recall one fun “workout” where we pushed Jonesy’s truck up and down the street.  I also love partner workouts with my husband Ryan, we always have a good time and it’s nice to be able to share something you love with your partner. I also always have a great time with CFLA folks outside the gym, some of my most fun memories are from the Spartan Run in Malibu we did a few years back and, most recently, the Napa Valley Ragnar Relay.

Any advice for people just getting started? I think the best advice is just continue to show up!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? When I’m not at work or CFLA you can find me reading (biographies and memoirs are my favorite) or planning our next vacation. I love having a big trip to look forward to every year!


 

Friday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back squat (20min)
Work up to heavy 5

B) Press (15min)
Work up to heavy 5

C) 2 rounds for quality, alternating with a partner
1min Tire flips, Alternate after 1 rep
1min Burpee pullups, Alternate after 2 reps
1min Box jumps, Alternate after 3 reps
1min RKBS, Alternate after 4 reps

And Coming Monday
Practice

A) Tire flip skill practice (10-15min)
B) “Sky Jack”

10 Rounds for quality, 30sec rest between rounds

1 DB Turkish getup (Right)
3 DB split snatches (Right)
1 DB Turkish getup (Left)
3 DB split snatches (Left)
**Courtesy of DBWOD**

 

Comments

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Earlier this week, some students asked me what this Playtime Mini Cycle is all about. I’m sure they’re not the only ones who have this question.

Well, since our main training cycles are 14 weeks long, and we want you to participate in all 14 weeks of the cycle, we intentionally schedule the cycles so as not to have any overlap with the holiday break. The Playtime Mini Cycle fills the gap created at the end of year. While there’s no Test and Retest, there is a specific focus for the cycle (see below). Our unique context is also present in the appropriate percentages: 60% Practice Days, 30% Competition Days, and 10% Mental Toughness Days.

Now that it’s clear why this is a “Mini” cycle, what makes it “Playtime”? Well, we like to use this as an opportunity for you to play with and try some fun skills and movements that we don’t often see during our main cycles. Also, we like to use this as an opportunity for us to experiment with some elements in the programming that you may see in the upcoming year.

Here’s the main focus and theme of our current Playtime Mini Cycle:
1) Rope Climbs
2) Tire Flips
3) Heavy Back squats, Deadlifts, and Presses
4) Workouts from our friends over at DBWOD.com

Are you having fun with the rope climbs and tire flips so far? Let me know in the comments!


Thursday’s Workout
Competition

A) Deadlift (20min)
Work up to heavy 5

B) 4RFT
500m Row
10 DB burpees (55/40)
10 CTB pullups
**20min Cap**

 Friday’s Workout
Practice

A) Back squat (20min)
Work up to heavy 5

B) Press (15min)
Work up to heavy 5

C) 2 rounds for quality, alternating with a partner
1min Tire flips, Alternate after 1 rep
1min Burpee pullups, Alternate after 2 reps
1min Box jumps, Alternate after 3 reps
1min RKBS, Alternate after 4 reps

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I’ve made a habit over the years of collecting quotes that resonate with me at the moment I hear, see or read them. I’m posting 6 of my most recent below… and I have a request. If you have a similar habit, or have a quote you’ve recently captured, please share it in comments.

“Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.”
~ WINSTON CHURCHILL 

“Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first.”
~ Brian Tracy
 
“Take risks and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.”
~ Bobby Flay 
 
“Perception is edited observation.”
 ~ David Hawkins
 
“All men by nature desire to know.”
 – Aristotle
 
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
 – Socrates

Wednesday’s Workout
Practice
 
A) Tire flip skill practice (10-15min)

B) 5 Rounds on the 4:00
1min Rope climbs
200m Run
10 Push presses

And Coming Thursday
Competition

A) Deadlift (20min)
Work up to heavy 5

B) 4RFT
500m Row
10 DB burpees (55/40)
10 CTB pullups
**20min Cap**

Comments

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I’m not one to look outside of the present — I’m really a Stay-In-the-Now kind of girl — but I would like to dream for a second. Let’s peek into possibility if only to help us make up your minds about something. 

Consider who you want to be on March 14.

If you were at the very top of your health and well-being, how would that be? What would your family members and friends say about you? How could you inspire them? How much energy would you have?

Fast-forward and paint yourself a picture: What do you look like on March 14? How do you feel? How do you perform?

That’s what the Whole Life Challenge is about — making a commitment to this future self for eight weeks by replacing a few not-so-great lifestyle habits with better lifestyle habits. Many of you already know this. Soon it will be time to dial in the habits just a little more, make them even more sustainable. 

Starting on January 17 and ending on March 14, we’ll work on better our health together.

I love the context that Andy & Michael have put on the WLC now; it’s simply an opportunity to “try on” a better version of your health and fitness. As a team, we can earn points and lose points (hopefully we’ll earn more than we lose). And the prize is … Well, it’s who you are on March 14.

Stay posted for all the prelim details and all the fun events we have planned around this WLC2015, but for now just  imagine the possibilities. Get fired up about them because this vision is precisely was will get you mentally ready to commit wholeheartedly when Jan 17 rolls around. 

I want you on the CrossFit Los Angeles team. At CFLA is where the Whole Life Challenge began, and I want to bring our power in numbers. Together, I want to make all our possibilities real. Register early for the CFLA team HERE to take advantage of the special rates and to lock in your commitment to your future healthier, stronger self.

If you’ve never participated in the WLC, check out this VIDEO. 


Tuesday’s Workout
Competition

“Maya”
     AMRAP 25
     300m Run
     100 Double unders
     18 Overhead squats (95/65)
**See 6/13/14**

And Coming Wednesday
Practice

A) Tire flip skill practice (10-15min)

B) 5 Rounds on the 4:00
1min Rope climbs
200m Run
10 Push presses

Comments

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First, be proud that you are part of a Crossfit gym that has flourished and set standards for ten years! We will celebrate together Friday night by dressing up and doing what with extraordinary gusto – have a great time together.  

Second, know that we don’t start cycle 7 until the second full week back in January.  Between now and then you have, “The Playtime Mini Cycle.” We will lift, rope climb, tire flip, try a few DB workouts and keep you fit going into and coming out of the holidays.  Check the vid for tips. As always have fun, train smart. 

 


 

 

Monday’s Workout
Practice

A) Rope climb skill practice (10-15min)

B) “Jack Bauer”
     EMOM 24
     Odd: 10 Hang clean thrusters
     Even: 10 Close-grip pushups
**Courtesy of DBWOD.com**

Tuesday’s Workout
Competition

“Maya”
     AMRAP 25
     300m Run
     100 Double unders
     18 Overhead squats (95/65)
**See 6/13/14**

 

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Hometown:  St. Louis, Missouri
Age: 42
Occupation:  CIO & Head of Information Technology at Red Bull North America
When did you first start CrossFitting?:  February 2013
When did you first start training at CFLA?: February 2013
Favorite WOD: Cindy – given that my wife’s name is Cindy ;)
Least Favorite WOD: Anything with dumbbell thrusters

Tell us about you sports & fitness background:  I was a small skinny kid most of my life and wasn’t very good at sports. In grade school I played soccer, mostly sitting on the bench. In high school I tried out for soccer, baseball and track & field.  I sucked at soccer and baseball, but I made the track & field team – though everyone that signed up made the team.  I was supposed to be a pole vaulter, but had no upper body strength, so I wasn’t very good. My coach made me run the 400m thinking it would make me faster and better at pole vaulting. During my first track meet running the 400m, I sprinted the first 200m and about died…so I walked the rest of the way around the track, my coached yelled the entire time at me. In my 20’s I started traditional weightlifting.  I eventually had a max bench press of 315 and a max squat of 405. I weighed 205 at my peak, but was around 22% BF. After getting married and having kids, I stopped lifting as often due to Life getting in the way.  I ended up getting a little complacent .  I stayed somewhat strong, but I was definitely not fit. 

At the ripe young age of 36 I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Team Vaghi in St. Louis (run by Rodrigo Vaghi – a 5th degree black belt under the legendary Rickson Gracie).  This was a changing point in my life.  The first time I did it, I fell in love with the sport…and also realized how out of shape I was.  I got better and better at BJJ, and started competing.  My highlight was in August of 2012 at the age of 40 when I competed at the IBJJF Open in Atlanta and won Gold in in the white belt division and my weight (170) and age group (31-40). I had to fight 5 guys in 5 minute competitions.  It was awesome. 

I eventually tested and received my Blue Belt on January 5th 2012, and it was basically an in-school hazing event.  We had to be physically tested for 3 hours. By the time we were done, I was almost in tears. I was in such pain and physically depleted.  They then brought in all of the higher belts, and I had to defend yourself the entire time. Their objective was to make me miserable, but they were also doing it in a way that was very respectful – it’s hard to describe.  They wanted to make you hurt, but they also were excited that you were going to the next level.  After all of this torture, we received our blue belts.  The ceremony was kind of a blur and I remember barely being able to drive home that day. It was kind of a euphoria that I never experienced before.  I’m sure elite athletes experience this too.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?Upon arriving to LA in January 2013, I started researching gyms for both CrossFit and BJJ.  I found CrossFit LA in February after first trying SandBox in Santa Monica.  Not to rip on another school – as it was only 1 class, but the coaching at SandBox was non-existent.  However, when I arrived at CrossFit LA to try my first class, Shirley was my coach. I remember thinking “Wow, this coach knows her shit!” I was immediately hooked!  It was challenging, physically enduring, and one of the best workouts I had ever received. I don’t even recall my first couple of CF workouts.  They were all a blur.

 However, as luck would have it, I let my ego get in the way and after doing some overhead squats (with non-existent flexibility needed for the movement) I tore my meniscus in my right knee – again.  This time, I decided to avoid surgery and just take time off.  I took March – June 2013 off, and rehabbed my knee.  I even did a PRP injection.  These 2 things (rest and PRP) allowed me to return in July 2013 at about 90%.  After a couple of months, I was excelling at CrossFit and achieving many PR’s.  I was hooked for life.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I have had some BF reduction, and my cardio endurance has skyrocketed.  My physical capabilities have all improved.  I couldn’t do more than a few pull-ups when I joined, nor could I do double-unders.  Both of which have improved, and I can now do 100+ unbroken DU’s, and 10-20 kipping pull-ups in a row.  I’m now working on butterfly pull-ups…and slowly figuring it out.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?  I think the biggest change is meeting such great people.  I don’t think I realized that I would meet so many great people.  I was doing this for the physical component, but the social component is what keeps me coming back.  The 7am class is one of the best groups of people I have ever met.  I have made so many new friends because of CF.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments:   My favorite moment was getting my first Muscle-Up.  I also enjoyed doing the CrossFit Open this year.  It was so much fun, and the workouts were insane!  I now have a new sense of respect for those that make it to the Games…they are truly unbelievable!

Any advice for people just getting started?  Leave your ego at the door, listen to your coach, and start slow.  Form over speed and/or weight.  This reminds me of something Andy Petranek said.  After I recently hurt my back, I started to feel depressed because I couldn’t go as hard as I like. In telling him what was going on in my head, he made a great comment to me that has since stuck with me.  He said, “We are in this for the long-haul.  It’s not about what you can do today, it’s about being able to do this stuff next year, and the year after.”  It really gave me a new perspective and has put me back on track to full potential.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?   I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with my wife and kids.  My wife Cindy and I have been married for 16 years – and have been together since 1994 (20 years)!  We have 3 kids – Riley (13), Brady (11) and Gracie (10).  Having 2 boys and a little girl help keep me well-rounded as a father.  My wife and kids are the reason I exist.  My boys and I also did our first mission trip with our church and went down to Ensenada Mexico and helped a very poor family by rebuilding their roof on their house.  It really made us feel truly blessed about everything we have, and was one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life.

We also love to do outdoor things like hiking (which we don’t do as much as I would like) and going to the beach.  There are so many things to do in CA and we love to find new things to do.  We still have so many things to visit and do.  

My kids are all in sports too, so I love watching them play too.  My son Riley plays flag football (where he plays center and is a beast) and basketball too.  My son Brady is on a club soccer team and is a defender (with some phenomenal foot skills).  My daughter Gracie is into gymnastics and is already doing back handsprings and things like that – which just blows my mind – and she is really good.  She might be a future CrossFitter ;).

When we aren’t running the kids around everywhere, my wife and I also enjoy just hanging out by our pool and just chilling with a few Mai Tai’s (purely natural and 100% organic of course). 


Friday’s Workout
BRING-A-FRIEND Days

“Retro Turbo Booty Blaster – Wear Your Leg Warmers & Headbands”

AMRAP 16
10 Lateral shuffles over box
10 Alternating knee to chest plank holds (hands on floor, feet on box)
10 Box jumps (step down)
1 Trip around the box on your hands (inverted)
10 Right leg power jumps
10 Left leg power jumps
200m Run

 And Coming Monday
Playtime Mini Cycle – Practice

A) Rope climb skill practice (10-15min)
B) “Jack Bauer”
EMOM 24
Odd: 10 Hang clean thrusters  
Even: 10 Close-grip pushups
**Courtesy of DBWOD**

 

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