January 29, 2011

Today’s Team Workout:                                                                                                                                    

There were four stations:

Run the length of the parking lot with a Medicine Ball, do 5 Med ball Cleans and then run back.

Box Jump

Kettle Bell Swing

DB Push Press

x 5 rounds for time

It was a relay and the medicine ball was the baton. When the runner returned with the med ball, he/she would hand it off to the box jumper, the KB swinger would become the box jumper, the push presser would become the KB swinger and the runner would become the push presser.

At Crossfit Santa Fe, we have implemented the team workout on Saturdays to build community and morale and to provide an opportunity for our athletes to get to know each other better. There is a whole different energy in the room during these team workouts. When we work in a team, we access a different part of ourselves. It is not only fun to be part of a team, there is also a certain comfort in it.

Understanding the Importance of Teamwork

Karlene Sugarman explains how you can assess and develop a cohesive team

The concept of teamwork is extremely important to the success of any team. All coaches talk about working as one unit, as a unified team. Teamwork and unselfishness create the backbone of a great team, without them a team cannot realistically compete. You can have a group of superstars, but if they do not work well as one unit, chances are they are not going to be as successful as you would think. The team working as one cohesive unit is going to be the key in their success.

What to look for

Here are some things to take into consideration when you are looking at your team:

  1. Does your team have agreed-upon goals they created as a team?
  2. Do the players openly encourage and support one another?
  3. Do they have open communication with one another, as well as the coaching staff?
  4. Does each player know what their role on the team is?
  5. Is there mutual respect among the players and coaching staff?
  6. Do players use statements such as “we” when referring to the team, or is it more of an “every man for himself” mentality?
  7. Have they created a positive team image for themselves?
  8. Are the individual contributions of each player recognised (regardless of whether he/she is a starter or not a starter)?
  9. Is the team as a whole committed to improving performance?
  10. Does each member consider themselves as a “team player?”

A productive team has players that share common goals, a common vision and have some level of interdependence that requires both verbal and physical interaction. Teams come into existence through shared attitudes about a particular sport. They may come together for a number of different reasons, but their goals are the same – to achieve peak performance and experience success. The ends may differ but the means by which one gets there is the same – teamwork. Every member of the team is accountable when it comes to teamwork.

by Karlene Sugarman, a Sport Psychology Consultant in the USA and the author of the book “Winning the Mental Way”, a book on team building and mental training.

28 January 2011


3 rounds for time: 400m run, 21 KB swings 24/16kg, 12 pullupsBenchmark workouts, like “Helen” are some of the few wods that ever get repeated. It is a good time to look back on when it was last done, (see October 12, 2010), and see how you have progressed. Is your time faster or slower? Did you increase your kettlebell weight or go from jumping pull ups to unassisted? What has changed? Or if this is your first time for “Helen”, make sure you log it and begin to track your fitness progress.


10 power clean 115/85

10 push jerks 115/85

7 ring dips

AMRAP 20 minutes

Powerful movements and gymnastic strength comes from not only practice, practice, practice, but from the fundamental building block to elite fitness. That basic and utterly important piece of the pyramid is NUTRITION!

As we finish up our 8 week paleo challenge, many of our athletes have seen, felt and become the difference in their lives. It is so much more than working out, getting good sleep, thinking positively, being part of a community. It is that very simple and necessary thing we must do each and everyday, EAT. So what we eat is even more important than how many times a week we workout. I will say it again, WHAT WE EAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK WE COME TO THE GYM.

If you haven’t tried paleo eating, talk to a coach or fellow athlete about their experience. If you tried the challenge, but didn’t quite follow thru this time around, talk to your team mates, your coach, pick up that book again. Everyday is a new day to do your very best.

January 25, 2011






Today we simplified things in the form of a strength workout. We reviewed the Olympic lift the split jerk and then we  set out to see how heavy we could go. At first we tried the movement with just the bar and then we loaded the bar in increments and did one lift at a time followed by a rest until we felt that we could not go any heavier.

For heavy single lifts , the Split Jerk provides a stable and wide platform. “The idea of course is to push the weight as hard and fast as you can, and then drop under it as fast as you can. You can either split your legs to facilitate that drop, or rebend your knees. If you just rebend your knees, you have a narrower, and thus less stable “platform”. Getting your legs back in from a split is not that hard, once you get the weight up.” by Barry Cooper from the Crossfit Discussion Board.

Many athletes find the strength workout to be a refreshing way to reinforce the constantly varied aspect of Crossfit. It allows us to slow down and really concentrate on one movement. For me, I find strength workouts to be very zen. It is important to stay calm and stay focused and to organize one’s thoughts before performing the lift.

Recently our friend Andy Petranek discussed “Being Strong” on his blog for Crossfit LA

“Being Strong

What does it take to “be strong”? Is it something you’re just born with? When I first started CrossFitting, I could dead lift 175 lbs three times (I didn’t even know my one rep max). Now, 6 years later, I’m up over 400 pounds. Is that strong? For me… absolutely… And is it important? Well, without it, there is a gaping hole in your fitness, one that can’t be filled any way other than lifting heavy.

Now I’m no strongman, or world record holder, nor do I have any “secrets” that got me where I am, however, when I look my steady improvements, there are a few things I’ve done that have contributed to my steady progress that I’d like to share with you. As you’re reading, start thinking about your strength work and how you got where you are, or plan to improve going forward. Then share with us in comments.

1. Show up. Strength days are NOT days to skip (even though they might not really feel like a workout)!
2. Be consistent. Although I haven’t made it the focus of my training, I don’t think 2 weeks has ever gone by without a strength workout.
3. Don’t be in a hurry. The progression from an immature to mature squat is 3-5 years… Strength does not usually come quickly.
4. Lots of variety. Strength days, CrossFit days, gymnastic days, metcon days. With variety like this, my improvements in strength have been slower than they could have been had I specifically focused on it (in one 13-month period, I did no heavy dead lifting and my PR went from 395 to 405… an increase at least, but not much.) However, variety for me means that it stays fun… and Fun = Variety = Showing Up = Consistency.

That’s my formula… what about you?”

24 January 2011

2012…End of Days, or is it Daze?

30 min AMRAP:

20 air squats, 12 KB swings 2pood/20kg, 20 air squats,    12 presses 115/65#, 20 air squats, 12 burpees, 20 air squats, 12 DL 115/65, 20 air squats, 12 power snatch 115/65

I have been thinking a lot lately about the phrase or term “dumb jock.” It’s been on my mind because I have actually been feeling dumber, the stronger I get….but maybe I just need more sleep, or fish oil.  Just like weeks past, the moment I start on a new topic/idea, up pops the perfect article or blog or facebook thread. This time is no different. Thank you to a former student, who is missed, Lora W. for posting a link to the following article about just such a thing! Enjoy and tell me what you think….

Monday Musings: The “Dumb Jocks” Myth

thethinker 1The idea that brain and brawn are mutually exclusive is fairly well embedded in our culture; the popularity of phrases used to describe weightlifting enthusiasts, like “dumb jock” or “meathead,” make its pervasiveness pretty clear. But is it true? In a word, no. Anyone who’s ever heard Mark Rippetoe assess a novice squatter like a master mechanical engineer, Keith Norris wax poetic about the savage grace of physical culture, or Robb Wolf employ a Battlestar Galactica reference to explain the biochemistry of a glutenous assault on your intestinal tract knows it to be false, but the rest of society tends to lag a bit. Luckily, a few recent studies suggest that resistance training actually promotes neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons in the brain – while another links overtraining to impeded cognitive ability later in life. It may be high time to start disseminating the image of the dumb jogger instead.

The first group of researchers, a team of scientists from Brazil, got rats to “lift weights” by tying weighted objects to their tails and having them climb ladders, five sessions a week (sounds a bit like Crossfit, eh?). They measured levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is thought to increase neurogenesis, and found that the weight lifting rats’ BDNF levels compared favorably with those of rats who just ran on a wheel. Another group was sedentary and showed very low levels of BDNF. In the researchers’ words, both endurance and resistance training increased BDNF levels (although I’m not sure I’d call sprinting on a running wheel “endurance training”).

Another rat study used weighted and unweighted running wheels; one group of rats ran on an unweighted, normal running wheel and one group ran on a heavier wheel (the extra weight amounted to about 30% of a rat’s bodyweight by the end of the study). The rats on the weighted wheel, who packed on a good amount of lean mass, could only run about half as long as the rats on the unweighted wheel, who gained no muscle. The weighted wheel rats also showed higher BDNF levels and greater gene activity in the brain. Sounds like weighted hill sprints and car pushing are worth working into your routine, huh?

It seems to work in humans, too. Preliminary research from the University of British Columbia’s Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Function Lab is showing that elderly women who strength train do better in cognitive tests than women who do “toning” work, according to the lab’s principal investigator. Preliminary brain scans of the weight-lifting women with greater cognition seem to show neurogenesis occurring, which would also jibe with the rat studies and the fact that there is a significant neural component to lifting – on the conscious side of things, you’re using your brain to activate your muscles and to guide their trajectory; subconsciously, you’re activating the various energy systems and engaging varying amounts of various types of muscle fibers, depending on the job required. In the end, then, you’re not “just” training your muscles as most people imagine (physical restructuring of the muscle). You’re training the muscle, the energy pathways, the brain, the CNS, and anything else that’s involved in moving your body against a resisting force. And as we know, training something improves it, or, rather, it motivates something to improve itself. This is true for both brain and brawn.

But the law of diminishing returns rears its head, as it almost always does. Another recent study received far less fanfare: women’s (excessive) exercise linked to lower cognitive function. Researchers polled ninety healthy, postmenopausal women about their lifelong exercise habits and tested their cognitive skills. Those who reported exercising “strenuously” showed a statistically significant reduction in cognitive skill when compared to women who exercised “moderately.” Questionnaire studies are notoriously unreliable, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this study reflected reality. After all, overtraining is a potent stimulator of the stress hormone cortisol; excessive, unbalanced levels of which have been linked to depression and lower levels of neurogenesis. I’ve certainly been there as an endurance athlete, and giving up the miles in favor of shorter, faster workouts with weights definitely improved my mental well-being. I don’t know if I would have failed a memory test or anything, but it absolutely felt like a fog had lifted. Brings me back to my personal quest: what’s the least amount of “training” I can do to stay lean, fit, happy, healthy and productive…and allow me more time for “play” and “fun”?

So we come full circle (again): lift heavy things, run really fast, and get plenty of rest in between.

Mark’s Daily Apple:

I’d like to hear your thoughts, as always. Has anyone noticed a clearer mind since moving away from chronic cardio toward proper strength training?

Attention Athletes!

Two great things begin on Friday February 4

On Friday February 4th, 6am CrossFit classes will begin and we are having Bring a Friend Day all day long!

So we will have regularly scheduled classes and you all can bring a friend, relative or total stranger with you, lets share with others the great things we are doing here and help the gym to grow!!

January 22,2011

Saturday Partner Workout!!!

With a partner, accumulate as many points as possible in 20 minutes.

Squats – 1 point

Push Ups – 2 points

Burpees – 3 points

You may only alternate with your partner at each 1 minute point.

In this workout, we partnered up to see how many points we could accumulate as a team. One partner works for one minute while the other partner rests. The movements point value correspond well to their difficulty level, however, we may find that when we get tired we may be able to do 36 squats in a minute or 12 burpees in a minute which add up to the same value. We learn the value of being accountable to our team mate, learning how hard we are willing to push ourselves when some one else is relying on us. We also learn how encouraging words can help push us through when the voice in our heads is telling us that we can not do anymore. Partner and team workouts have a different dynamic than our usual Crossfit workouts. They teach us about ourselves and our fellow Crossfitters. They also help us to have less of an “I am an island” mentality. I loved coaching this workout, even though keeping up with the math was challenging.

I would also like to welcome 4 new athletes to our tribe- Patrick, Gary, Abby and Alexis!!!!! Everyone did great today!

January 21,2011

Today we bid Adieu to an awesome addition to our Crossfit family, Matt Flack!

Matt is headed back to Virginia after working out with us for two months! He is an excellent athlete and we appreciated his contribution to our team ! We will miss you Matt and we hope that you come visit us again soon! Matt wanted to do Fran before he left so that he could see what his time would be at high altitude! HE SMASHED IT! His time= 4mins 54secs. Needles to say- that is something to be proud of!!!!!!!

21 January 2011


21-15-9 thrusters 95/65 pull ups

We started out the day with a gymnastic warm up, which was really fun! The gym was turned into circus training camp, people going up and down the rope, balancing on parallette bars, standing on their heads, testing their strength on the rings, cartwheels and more!

Gymnastics is any number of activities involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, balance, and grace. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks, that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills. It is great chance for us to enlist so many aspects of fitness and develop a real trust with ourselves. It can be scary going up side down, supporting ourselves off the ground in various ways.

20 January 2011


Skill set Turkish Get UP and or Figure 8 to hold with the strength set mimicking the skill with a 1,1,1

Kettle Bell Complex: figure 8 to hold into squat in to shoulder press, push press if you need to. AMRAP 12 minutes

Can I be the first to say what a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNG 12 minutes this was? And then I want to jump into a few more things about breathing….


1. It makes cardiovascular training more efficient;
2. It assists with power and stability during strength and endurance training;
3. It encourages relaxation during mind/body and flexibility training; and
4. It prevents dizziness and uncharacteristic shortness of breath during all forms of exercise.

Breathing properly is also important because of the unique relationship between oxygen, water and fat. You see, increased water and oxygen intake can actually help you to burn more fat. Excess water can be excreted from your body, along with unwanted toxins. It’s similar to the way in which people try to lose weight by sweating in a sauna, but better. In a sauna, you can actually get dehydrated. If you drink plenty of water and get plenty of exercise, on the other hand, you can burn fat, lose excess water weight, stay hydrated and reach your goals.

Hmmm, Goals….time to start thinking about your goals, we are coming to the end of Undisputed’s Paleo Challenge

Are there any goals that have been divined from this experience? Anybody who didn’t do the challenge but see the benefit in their fellow athletes and want to try eating paleo? As we finish up our challenge, and hopefully many if not all of us will continue to nourish our bodies in the way of the caveman diet, it is a good time to start mapping out new goals old goals that have been unmet. Don’t be afraid to get with your coach, your fellow athlete and ask them to help you be held accountable. Just like we have standards that we want to hold ourselves to in our workouts, we should have standards we hold to ourselves and each other outside of the gym.


Mobility WOD