Building Your Support Team: the Mentor

In class on Monday I heard an athlete say "when I grow up I want to be like Hayley."  I have alternately heard Hayley refer to Molly Volmer as her role model/girl crush.  Now, these comments were all made half - but these two touch on something I want to talk about today - a question you probably haven't thought about during your adult life:  Who is your role model?  Have an answer?  You should!

Most people stop having role models the moment they figure out they won't actually become an astronaut.  And for most, their grown up lives don't resemble anything near what their childhood selves could have imagined.  Boo - reality check.  But even as adults, role models play a big part in our growth.


As you look to make a change in your life, it is important to be able to visualize what that change will look like.  Want to be a firebreather?  Or perhaps you just want to be a healthier, happier person?  Maybe there is someone in your life, or someone you know of, who has or is close to where you want to be.  Let them empower and inspire you.  Role models raise the bar for the rest of us and can motivate you to push beyond your ordinary boundaries and accomplish great things.  And as you grow and change, you develop new goals, find new role models, and the cycle continues.  In the meantime you might be surprised to find that you have become someone's role model.

So I'll ask you again - who is your role model?

How to Assemble the Ultimate Support Team

The following is from


The Justice League.

The Avengers. 

The A-team. 

What do these groups have in common?

They’re composed of unique individuals with special talents that help everybody else get better (or stronger, or faster, or more badass).

Contrast this with a homogenous collection of clones where everybody has the same strengths and weaknesses.

Imagine having an army of 1,000 Supermans; pretty awesome right?  Wrong!  If we had 1,000 Supermans, it would still only take a wee bit of kryptonite to take them ALL down.  However, when you have Superman AND Batman AND Wonder Woman AND the Green Lantern…suddenly picking apart your team’s weaknesses is far more difficult.

Long story short: Diversity rules!

Today, I want to help you assemble a group of people that you connect with on a regular basis who are going to push you to succeed in fitness and in life.

In this my humble opinion, there are four crucial people that you need to have on your team in order to level up:

The Mentor – This doesn’t need to be some all powerful Yoda that you worship; this is a guy or girl that you know that has had success in the areas in which you want to be successful.  If you want to get stronger and bigger and you’re a skinny nerd, find somebody that used to be skinny that is now bigger and stronger and find out how they did it.  If you want to lose weight or run a 5k, find somebody who has more experience and learn EVERYTHING you can.

The Brother-in-Arms (or Sister-in-Arms) – This is the guy or girl in the trenches with you, at the same level, struggling with the same things, working on the same stuff.  When you have a crappy day, this person knows exactly how you feel.  Because you’re both doing the same stuff and striving for the same goals, you have somebody to bounce any ideas, triumphs, struggles, or suggestions off of in your quest towards a better life. 

The Student – Want to know the BEST way about to get better at something?  Teach it to somebody else!  Now, you’re probably saying, “but Steve, I’m not an expert, I shouldn’t be teaching anybody anything.”  To that I say, “stop talking to your computer,” and then I would say: “think of teaching on a scale of 1-100…1 being a complete newbie and 100 being the greatest expert in the history of the world.  If you’re a 5 on a scale of 1-100, that still means you can help out the 1-4’s!  I still don’t consider myself a fitness expert (and never will), but I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on helping folks who are getting started and looking to take those first few steps.”

Find somebody that needs help, maybe a coworker or friend who wants to lose weight or begin weight training, and teach them about how to get started.  As you get stronger, and learn from your mentor, you can then compare are share this with your brother-in-arms and then help teach it to your “student!”

The Wildcard – So what the heck is a wildcard?  He or she is the person in your group that is completely unpredictable.  The wildcard constantly keeps you on your toes, pushes you outside of your comfort zone, makes you try new things, and even attempt new activities.  He/she will make you say “WAIT, we’re gonna do WHAT!?  Sigh, screw it, LET”S DO THIS!”  If you’re not in at least one situation that scares the crap out of you while hanging out with a Wildcard, then you’re not saying “okay FINE!” enough. 

So who's on your team??  Call them out in the comments!


Personal Training

When you hit a wall in your training or you're itching to dominate a skill you currently suck at, what do you do?  Come to class regularly and keep pushing yourself?  Work on it during open gym?  Yes! Those are great starts, but sometimes you need a little extra help to get to the next level. That's where personal training comes in.  Did you know that you can arrange an hour of one-on-one time with your favorite coach to work on anything your heart desires?  Pull ups. Olympic lifts.  Double unders.  Back squats.  Handstands. It's up to you.

A good personal trainer (aka - any of your coaches at UB) will help you push past your comfort zone and build habits you’ll keep for life.  Part coach, part cheerleader, part kinesiologist, part physicist, and part fan... we are here for you to be your best! 

Interested?  Ask your coach or drop us an email!

Memorial Day Murph

The Murph Challenge:

The Murph Challenge is the Official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged®.

Over the last two years, Forged® has raised nearly $400,000 for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. 

Join coach Nikki on Memoial Day, May 30, 2016 at 9AM and pledge to participate in the CrossFit Hero WOD ‘MURPH.’

Beginning on Memorial Day, each registrant will be asked to return to and submit their ‘MURPH’ time to compare their achievement with other participants throughout the US. All times submitted will be displayed on a National leaderboard found at From that board, the top 5 Men and top 5 Women will be recognized for their efforts.

The ’MURPH’ is more than just a workout, it is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had.

The Workout:


For time:

  • 1 mile Run
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 mile Run

If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

To Participate:

  • Register here to participate in The Murph Challenge
  • Click the button below to save your space!





The Weekly Dose of Awesome

He's got that mellow, chill, Southern vibe to him. You can tell everyone has a good time with this likable fella. He's got the long, flowing locks, which these days mean business when he ties them back into a samurai ponytail. We've proudly watched him defy his lanky limbs and turn into a strong, smooth-moving machine. And we've proudly watched him become a good bro to everyone here at UB. Congrats, Gideon!

Name: Gideon Rosenthal

Nickname / Alter Ego: "Gidbot" (Instagram gidbot3000, Twitter @gidbot)

Hometown: Charleston, SC

Occupation: Software developer (like everyone else in SF)

When did you first start CrossFitting? August 2014

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB? Same as above, onramped with Coach Steve

Favorite WOD: SWOD!

Least favorite WOD: Anything with the Assault Bike

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? My buddy from school, Brad, was going to SF CrossFit, and I wanted to try it out.  I started coming to UB, then Brad ended up here as well.

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? I'm in much better shape, but that was expected.  I'd say it's the daily routine and structure it's given me.

If you could have a super power, what would it be? Unlimited energy

Favorite cheat meal? Every Sunday we order Patxi's pizza and watch Game of Thrones

Mini Series: Everything You Need to Know About Recovering - Compassionate Touching!

The following is such an important topic that I am breaking it up for you in digestible bites.  Welcome back to a mini series created from the article published in Juggernaut Training Systems.  Click here to see last week's installment.  This final week we will be reading about compassionate touching.

Compassionate what? First I’m talking about smoking pot, and now I’m really off my rocker! Well, hold on a second. It turns out that compassionate touching is the standard sport science term for the recovery/adaptation modality of all forms of intimate human contact. This includes formal sport massage and runs the gamut all the way to what you were probably thinking when you first read the term, with all sorts of fun stuff like everyone’s favorite – cuddling – in between.

Why do we lump all these forms of human touch together? The most basic reason is that the literature can’t really tell their effects apart. Possibly outside of specialized forms of medical massage to treat injuries, many forms of compassionate touching seem to have an almost identical effect on fatigue. They all lower it substantially, but the source seems not to matter as much. So whether it’s a professional massage or a gentle back rub by your boyfriend, the effect in fatigue is substantial.

Man, it’s good news all around! Fighting fatigue means getting good sleep, eating lots of food, relaxing with friends, and then getting your back rubbed! Being an athlete rocks! Unfortunately, that about finishes up all of the really powerful fatigue fighters outside of the gym (and of course drugs like testosterone, but that’s for another article). Next, we delve in a bit to the fatigue reduction methods that MIGHT work, but we just can’t be sure of yet.

When's the last time you signed up for some compassionate touching?  Sign up with Anthony   Talk to your coach about your recovery routine.

Regionals Wrap Up

The short version?  Colleen killed it this weekend!!

... and here's the slightly longer version...


13 UBites went down to San Diego to this little thing called the 2016 California CrossFit Regional to watch our very own Venezolana Fotscholina compete against 39 other CrossFit heavy hitting women.

The weekend was a physically and emotionally challenging roller coaster for every athlete in the arena... Colleen was no exception.  That said, our WonderFotsch had many moments of absolute glory.  Did you see her dominate in event 3?  How about those overhead squats in event 6??   With her highs came heroic confrontations with her weaknesses, (e.g. steadily soldiering through event 2's strict muscle ups).   Despite the roller coaster, she never quit.  She showed grace on and off stage of each event.  She showed up and left it all on the event floor.  I think I can safely speak for all of us present when I say she inspired us all and showed us all what it means to be a competitor.  She was the picture of virtuosity.  Leaving the venue all I could think was how inspired I was to get back into the training room.  We are honored to have you represent us Colleen!  I can't wait to do it all again next year!

How to Watch the 2016 California CrossFit Regionals

Today's the day!   Colleen and 39 other ladies (not to mention the top men and teams) will be going head to head in Del Mar for the 2016 California CrossFit Regionals.  Not headed south and want to still watch our lady in action?  Here's what you need to know:

The entirety of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games regionals will be streamed to  Anyone, anywhere can watch regionals online for free. The coverage will be archived on the Games site so you can watch even after the events have ended.

All regional competitions start at 9 a.m. local time each day, and end around 6 p.m. 

Here are the time's for Colleen's events:


Event #1

Snatch Ladder

12:10 - 1:10PM

Event #2

Regional Nate

2:25 - 4:05PM



EVENT #3 - 4

#3 Wall Balls & Pull Ups

#4 Pistols & Power Cleans

11:55AM - 1:15PM


Running, GHDs & Deadlifts

3:00 - 4:20PM




12:00 - 1:20PM


Thrusters & Rope Climbs

3:05 - 3:45PM

I will be updating the UB Athletes facebook page with which heat she will be participating in so you can follow along.  Rep your Fotsch shirts and send our girl some e-love!





The Weekly Dose of Awesome

If you've ever had the pleasure of training with this 7:30am regular, you know Cynthia D. packs a powder-keg punch in a pint-sized package. I always look forward to (and am impressed by) her endless energy and ability to crack a good joke in the early morning hours. This Canadian native is the first to tell you exactly what her weaknesses are --- but also recognizes the benefit of her consistent commitment. In just under a year, I've seen her progress from heavily scaling WODs to clocking it at the top of the class with RX weights.

If you caught a glimpse of this badass firecracker mid-WOD, you'd probably never guess that she broke her neck in a nasty mountain biking accident and endured a full year + of physical therapy to even begin running again. Other athletes may have hung it up, shied away from pushing their limits and been content with simply surviving. But there's something special about Cynthia D, and it's been a pleasure to watch her thrive her at UB. Congrats, buddy, and keep up The Awesome!


Name: Cynthia B.Domingue

Nickname / Alter Ego: Hummingbird was giving to me... as well as Marta Stewart... BTB or by the book. Hummingbird is by far my favorite nickname.

Hometown: Ange-Gardien, Quebec, Canada ( a village meaning guardian angel)

Occupation: Retail Manager at Mission Bicycle Company Official on paper, unofficial the rest of the time (Urban Designer/ Urban planner of Training)

When did you first start CrossFitting?: 5 years ago. When I lived in Montreal, Canada I was restaurant manager and I needed to train fast and efficiently. I saw a gym called MissfFit (a CrossFit gym for women). Less daunting than the other CrossFit gyms, way too hardcore, that were open in the city. I was sold. Really loved it.

2 years later, I moved to Vancouver, Canada where the CrossFit gym were way too fashionable and overpriced, without any personal approach. I couldn't be more disappointed. Signed up in a normal gym with a personal trainer. I needed that personal support and motivator. I always liked training in smaller groups combined with having someone watching over you, so you are not doing any goofy moves that could lead to injuries.

July 1st, 2014, I broke my neck mountain biking and survived, but mentally I was crushed. 12 months of recovery, physio, acupuncture, massages, and training later.. starting entirely from zero, I started running. The only thing not too rough on the body then, compare to what I was used to do for fun. May 2nd, 2015, got married and the next day, went running the relay at the Vancouver Marathon. I Moved to San Francisco at the end of June 2016. Next to our new apartment, I found UB. At that time, its been 15 months since the accident. I still needed a really personal approach, but wanted to get back in shape. I dropped by the gym, talked to Jenny. I stalked the internet for UB reviews. The more I read about UB, the more I knew this was for me. Did the test out and I sign up on the spot. Jenny adapted everything for me. Every class the coaches were making sure I could do the movements. I was on the edge of depression (New city, no friends, no job, no human interaction before JC came back from work). Thankfully, after signing in, United Barbel allowed me to refocus on positive actions and killing it at the gym was putting a huge smile on my face. My husband couldn't be happier of the investment. LIFE CHANGING.

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB?: see end of question #5

Favorite WOD: Anything with the rower, used to HATE it, now, its my favorite all body workout.

Least favorite WOD: Still struggling on the S$%#? wall balls WOD.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? See novel on question #5

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? See novel #5 + Everytime I have to get up a 7am to go to the gym, its rough. But the results are soooooo worth it, even if I dragged my self there with my eyes half closed. Lost 2 pants size and I'm leaner than ever before. I have the energy of the Energizer bunny (always been like that, but now its non stop) and I finally love myself. This is a hard one for many ladies out there. I get to feel like a stronger and better version of myself, everyday.

What’s your secret talent? I can whip up a meal in minutes with barely anything all mostly cooked from scratch. (My man JC's opinion here) Pistachio lactose free ice cream being one of my number one secret along with my house made rustic bread. This is also what I can resist as a cheat meal. :) 

The Right Intensity

Many people like longer workouts because they feel like they "get more out of it" and feel sufficiently spent once they have completed it.  Often times, this is the same person who applies equal intensity to all of their CrossFit workouts - no matter the length or style.  What that person doesn't realize is that intensity is not a characteristic of a WOD - it is up to the individual.  The more effort you put in, the more intense it will be.  If you feel, after you finish a 6 minute workout, that you could keep going for another 6, perhaps you needed to push yourself a little harder.  Likewise, if you find yourself half way through a workout, suddenly out of breath and focus, having to stop for rest every other rep, you probably need to scale the intensity back.  The right intensity for a workout should feel hard to maintain (but doable), a little uncomfortable (but not in pain), and leave you spent (but not dead).  Finding the right intensity builds your work capacity efficiently, helping with gains as well as overall fitness.

Sometimes even the tortoise has to pick up his pace.

Sometimes even the tortoise has to pick up his pace.

It is easy to understand this concept with extreme cases, but what about the mid-range workout?  What about interval training?  Being able to read the whiteboard and correctly gauge the appropriate intensity is a skill that takes time.  While you are still learning, here are some general rules - try to aim for an even level of intensity throughout the workout ranging somewhere between 65-95%.  If the workout is less than 10 minutes, or if it is intervals involving rest - amp it up.  If it is longer than 15 minutes or if involves a technical movement you feel less confident with, step it back.  If you aren't sure - ask your coaches, they probably can give you some insight into the intentions of the workout.

Oh yea - if you are coming today... the WOD is a SPRINT!