Hot Pants!

Calling all ladies and secure men -- it's on! We want to help you stay on trend with your fit-wear, so we have decided to be a supplier of some awesome fancy pants!  Interested in rocking a pair of these sweet tights?  Read on for pre-order info!

All styles come in

  • Shorts ($42)
  • Scrunch Hot Pant ($45)
  • Crops ($65)
  • Pants ($70)

All pants come in XL, S, M, and L.   We recommend sizing up to accommodate a generous weightlifter booty and rock hard quads.

Interested?  Make sure to
email gym@unitedbarbell.com or post to comments with your print choice, style, and size by Wednesday.  These will drop mid February.

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Izzy B. is Metal as F&*k.

If you have not met Izaak B. a.k.a. Izzy, you should. For those of you who have yet to befriend this unassuming chill dude with inked knee caps, let me tell you a little about him.

This international, multilingual creative, joined the UB community about 6 months ago and has since been making crazy strength and conditioning gains. Though new to CrossFit, Izzy is not deterred from a WOD containing advanced skills like muscle-ups and pistols, but tackles them with fierce determination. Just last week, Izzy was in my noon class, grinding through a particularly nasty workout, obviously in a very dark place, and I thought, "Is he going to make it?" Clearly, I am still getting to know Izzy. He may not be the first to finish a workout, but has unmatched heart and perseverance. Just a few months back, Izzy struggled to row 500m, now he can be found in open gym, rowing intervals totaling 5000m, training for a whiteboard-worthy 2K. 

Izzy is a delightful blend of Midwestern "salt of the earth" modesty, mixed with worldly humor and good old street smarts. Currently living in one of San Francisco's more colorful neighborhoods, Izzy has made peace with the people of the streets by buying them beer (though you won't catch him drinking). When encountered by a crazy person, Izzy has been known to take his shirt off and yell right back, shutting down the crazy and allowing him to live peacefully in his neighborhood.

With his talent in high demand, we nearly lost Izzy to job relocation. Luckily, he turned down his incredible offer and decided to take a month to teach in China. Since his return, Izzy has requested a membership upgrade to "super unlimited status," so chances are, you'll be seeing more of him. 

I'm pretty sure this jet-setter will be around for a limited time, so do yourself a favor and get to know this guy while you can. He will make your day!

Support Chris C. at the NorCal Masters Competition!

Have a free couple of hours Saturday or Sunday?  Support "Three - T" Chris C. and travel across the bridge and check out TJ's 2015 NorCal Master's Competition!  The even will run the full day on Saturday (830-5) and half day on Sunday (9-1).  

The 5th Annual TJ’s Events NorCal Masters competition will take place at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA on Saturday and Sunday, January 24 and 25, 2015.

The NorCal Masters is an annual two-day competition for Masters Athletes, with age divisions of 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60+ in both genders.

Chris may not be new to the NorCal Masters Competition scene, but he could still use some support!  Want to attend?  Click here for ticket information and comment below to coordinate rides and find out who else will be attending!

Food for Thought: 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Whole 30 (Without Even Realizing It)

I’m super thrilled to see so many people starting off with Whole 30 programs this month! I don’t go in for fad diets, detoxes or any of the other New Year Resolution-type things that happen in January, but I LOVE the Whole 30 as a nutritional reset, a grounding tool and just a way to feel my absolute best.

Sometimes, though, I see people freaking out about whether they’re doing this Whole 30 thing right, or wondering why they can’t stick to the plan. So I’ve put together a list of the mistakes I see people making most often – I hope it helps you on your way to a successful Whole 30!

You don’t know why you’re really doing the Whole 30, anyway

I’ve written a little about this before: one of the best ways to follow through on a Whole 30 is to know why you’re doing it in the first place. And as odd as it sounds, lots of people don’t actually know!

What do I mean by that? It’s easy (and perhaps common) to think of a Whole 30 like yet another fad or diet. Or to just file it under the age old resolution to “get healthy”. But I like to think of it more as a tool. For me personally, it’s the tool I use to get back in touch with my body’s needs and wants. It’s how I relearn intuitive eating and feel more connected to myself. What are you hoping to gain from YOUR Whole 30? Maybe you want to identify food intolerances or allergies. Maybe you want clearer skin. Maybe you want to get off those heartburn medications.

Figure out what you want to achieve, because without purpose, it’s easy to meander off the Whole 30 path. Stay focused!

You’re not eating enough

I think this is probably the most common mistake I see. It’s so easy to bring old “diet” baggage with us when starting out on a Whole 30 and what do most of us expect to be while on a diet? Hungry. And bored. And maybe a little resentful.

When you subconsciously expect all those things to be true, you tend not to eat enough to function well. Before you know it, you’re hangry and probably hating life just a tad. And you’re considering eating that pizza or cookie – talk about a train to temptation town. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You’re avoiding food that isn’t nutritionally optimal, not going on a 300 day juice fast. (Blargh.) Eat as much Whole 30 compliant food as you need to eat to be truly satiated. Listen to your body and it will tell you what to do. If you’re hungry, eat up!

If you need help with working out how much to eat, check out Whole 30’s meal planning template here.

You’re not eating enough fat

This, I suspect, is another little detox / diet habit we sneak in with us. We’re so used to years upon years of pushing “low fat” as synonymous with healthy. Not to mention the demonization of saturated fat.

Most people simply aren’t used to the idea of eating fat for health and nutrition, especially when it comes to grass fed or pastured animal fats. Tallow and lard can be intimidating! But if you’re constantly hungry between meals, add in a few sources of good Whole 30 friendly fats. Put some coconut milk in your curry, saute your veggies in some coconut oil, add some avocado to your meal. Go on, you’ll feel better for it, I promise.

You’re trying to do too much at once

Since you’re already cutting out all grains, added sugars, soy, dairy, beans, legumes, processed “foods” or treats, you may as well go low carb, too. Right? And start Crossfit for the first time. Oh, and maybe try that Keto thing, too.

Now maybe you ARE superhuman, but that’s an awful lot of change trying to happen at once. If this is your first ever Whole 30, it’s probably quite a shock to your system, depending on what your habits were like before. So perhaps now is not the time to overhaul everything at once or to pile more requirements onto your Whole 30 – and yourself. Stop chasing after a perfect model of “health” for a second – because that looks different for all of us. Take a deep breath and remember that focus we talked about before: take one thing at a time, starting with your Whole 30. Your body will thank you for it and you’ll get to hold onto some sanity, which makes it easier all around.

You’re just a little bit of a perfectionist

I get it. I really, really do. You want to do everything right, including your Whole 30.

You’re grilling all providers of food on what type of cooking oil they use and if it’s organic. You’re taking pictures of your food. You keep checking if x, y or z are Whole 30 compliant. In short, you’re probably driving yourself and everyone around you slowly insane.

I see plenty of people tracking macros, counting calories or writing food diaries while on the Whole 30 – even though the creators of the program explicitly say here that they “don’t think weighing, measuring or tracking your intake facilitates a healthy, sustainable relationship with food.” Take a step back and stop worrying! If you are eating nutrient-dense whole foods, your body will TELL you when it needs more food and when it’s had enough. You don’t have to rely on empty numbers or figures to make this work – YOU are all you need!

What’s Yoda got to do with your Whole 30?

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Well, we’re not quite so serious over here, but one of the key things about doing a successful Whole 30 is about being prepared – both in terms of ourselves AND our kitchens!

Why? Because being hungry leads to poor choices. Which often leads to guilt. Which leads to quitting.

From Meatified.com

All Things Grip

There is a good chance that you've heard one of us coaches discuss proper hand prep. We've probably also talked to you about the best callus maintenance out there we've found.  And if you do tear?  We've most likely talked to you about that too.  But what do you do mid-WOD when your hands are starting to feel pre-tear crunchy?

                                                                             Because your hands shouldn't be a bloody mess...

                                                                             Because your hands shouldn't be a bloody mess...

The key is how you hold the bar. When people are tired, they tend to get their full palm on the bar and grip tight and kip big. This is in fact, the opposite of what you should be doing. To get the full story, I strongly recommend this free PDF download from the CrossFit Journal. It goes into all things hands and grip. Get it, read it, and enjoy WODing with better hand health.

Compete-a-phobic?

Did you register for the CF Open?  No?  You're hesitating you say?  Here is something to think about...

Competition. It's good for performance, it's good for character, it's good for the soul. In games season, competition is everywhere, but why limit yourself to competing in an official arena? Every day can be a competition with yourself. It might be as simple as beating your time or score, but maybe it's to not walk one step of the runs in a WOD, or maybe it's to do all your pullups unbroken.

Why frame it as a competition? It keeps you in check with your goals - What are you doing every day to get there? Does every choice you make get you closer? Winning involves the entire journey - from committing to your goals and working your face off to achieve them. You are up against you and every excuse you give yourself. To win is to choose to push yourself a little harder everyday and overcome the obstacles you have set up for yourself.

Of course, all of this requires that you are not just setting goals, but tracking your progress - you can even set up mini goals and give yourself small prize rewards for hitting your marks, both integral pieces to climbing the mountain of athletic success.

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

It is time to visit the land of mighty mites again. This week's awesome has been pretty busy building up his resume over the past year. You could say David Huynh has pretty much gone all in. His lifts have been steadily increasing, skill levels sharpening, and he is a regular participant in UB events and the Barbell WOD. David also dove head first into individual and team competitions last year in the Golden State Games, Lifework Challenge, Vacaville Halloween Throwdown, and Santa Smackdown. 

Other than a slight momentary weakness for doughnuts, he is as competitive and determined to "grind through" any tough challenge. His dedication has led to the coaches literally pushing him out the doors of UB to enjoy a rare day off. Need motivation to improve? This guy will always be in your corner cheering you on because he's awesome!

Register Today!

Remember: This Sunday is UB's first Community Day of the year! 

We all have that friend.... the one that asks a lot of questions about CrossFit and is o-so-curious, but when it comes down to actually giving it a shot, they have a sudden list of excuses.  Tell that friend - Sunday is game on.  Community Day is for those who want to give CrossFit a shot, try it on for a class without worrying about olympic lifting form or what a handstand pushup is.  Register here for Sunday, January 18th's class.


Can't join them on that day?  No worries!  Just send them along and we'll take care of them for you.  Friends/family/coworkers/bosses/employees... anyone you think would enjoy a little more CrossFit in their life.  11:30 or bust!


Food for Thought: How to Handle Sleep Challenges as a New Parent

You may or may not have noticed this, but there are a lot of new families at UB.  With that in mind, here is a Whole9 guest post from a mother-daughter duo who are passionate about prenatal nutrition. Emily Rydbom CN, LE and Dr. Leslie Stone are founders of  GrowBaby®. Read their other Whole9 guest posts here.

It’s an all-too-familiar picture, a tip-toeing parent, holding their breath, willing their child to sleep. The pattern never stops, the child doesn’t sleep, so the parents don’t either. I have to admit, my mother was the one who cheerfully mentioned, “Oh, yes, well as a new mother I didn’t feel normal until you were all 4 years old.” Four! No thanks. I vowed then that I would work toward creating a healthy sleep environment for myself and my son. We both had to survive this and my heart was set on it. I imagine many mothers and fathers have the same grandiose idea of training their child to sleep, but then life happens and they have to adjust. So, in the spirit of adjustment, and sanity, here is GrowBaby’s approach to helping parents work through their sleep challenges.

The recommendations below are for babies over 18 lbs who do not have autism spectrum disorder. In the case of any spectrum disorder, there are more than likely multiple specialists included in their care. Please address the individual needs of the child with all who are involved.

Scenario #1: A child who doesn’t have sleep hygiene mastered

You’ve tried it all; sleep routines, playtime outside, diet changes, and nothing helps. This is where questions arise for us regarding specifics surrounding poor sleep and diet change. In order to make the inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin and the co-factor to make melatonin (which helps you sleep) you need B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, L-tryptophan, and balanced gut health. Why? The largest site of serotonin production happens in your gut, not your brain.

Improve Serotonin Production

You can help to improve serotonin production in your child by addressing their gut health using the 5R approach.¹

  1. Remove the most commonly problematic foods like wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, shellfish, corn, and refined sugar.
  2. Replace with naturally occurring digestive enzymes found in fruits like papaya and pineapple, as well as mangoes, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, and grapefruit, or vegetables like parsley, kale, broccoli, celery, cabbage, beets, and beet greens.²
  3. Reinoculate with healthy bacteria by choosing fermented foods daily, like yogurt and kefir (if tolerated), bone broth, natto (avoid if Paleo), sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso (avoid if Paleo).
  4. Repair by choosing nutrients that support gut health like L-glutamine (a non-essential amino acid). You’ll find this in cabbage, beets, beef, chicken, and fish. Butyric Acid (made from fermented fiber in your large intestine) also supports gut health and comes from vegetables, fruit, and butter. Omega-3 fatty acids (essential fats) are found in seafood, flaxseeds, chia seeds, algal oil, walnuts, and almonds.
  5. Rebalance stress by making sleep learning as much about your child as it is about you. Involve your child, and ask them to choose what relaxes and calms them. It is about observation, but also inquiry. You may be older and wiser, but asking their opinion about what is working will continue to encourage healthy communication. Most babies calm with the quiet humming or soothing tones of their parent’s voice, feeling the beat of the parent’s heartbeat with contact of the chest. When you feel appreciation and gratitude for someone (like your baby) and are close (within 2-4 feet) your heartbeat and their heartbeat will begin to synchronize. So quiet appreciation and gratitude with closeness can calm your child.
baby-sleep-challenges-360x360.jpg

 

Address Protein, Vitamin & Mineral Intake

Protein, vitamin, and mineral intake impact your child’s sleep and by addressing this, you may improve sleep for your child.

L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is a key component of melatonin, which is critical for restorative sleep. Vitamin B6, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, and the mineral magnesium work to convert L-tryptophan into melatonin. However, overemphasizing specific nutrients can lead you to overlook other important complementary nutrients.

In this case, L-tryptophan needs help from specific nutrients. Choose foods that are high in B vitamins like dark leafy greens, brewer’s yeast, squashes, cruciferous vegetables, bell peppers, and protein. Choose foods that are high in vitamin C like citrus, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, pineapple, melon, strawberries, and kiwi. And finally, choose foods that are high in magnesium. This not only improves cellular energy, but encourages relaxation. Some magnesium-rich foods include: spinach, squashes, sesame/flax/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, cruciferous veggies, and green beans.

sleep-challenges-food2.jpg

 

Scenario #2: Parental fear of sleep learning/sleep hygiene

The first thing that we need to address with all parents is this: stress is a crucial part of life. Focus should be on allowing your children to experience positive stress response (brief and intermittent and mild-moderate in magnitude) vs. toxic stress response, (strong, frequent, or prolonged activation of the body’s stress response systems in the absence of the buffering protection of a supportive, adult relationship).³ Helping your child learn how to sleep is a positive stress response and one that has a lifelong impact for their sleep hygiene. It also allows their natural stress response to occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says this: “when buffered by an environment of stable and supportive relationships, positive stress responses are a growth-promoting element of normal development. As such, they provide important opportunities to observe, learn, and practice healthy, adaptive responses to adverse experiences.”

Some parents choose to co-sleep with their child or cry-it-out method with their child. It is not our job to judge which methods of sleep training are the right ones for you and your child, and we want to move past the quick judgments that all parents can make, and put the stress of sleep learning in context. What can you do to support and respect your child as they learn to sleep through a positive-not a toxic – experience?

Instead of listing out ways to teach your child to sleep, our encouragement is this: you will not ruin your child. Stress and crying is not always accompanied by increased cortisol⁴, especially when paired with the comfort that you bring as a parent. That means that the transition that you make with your child from co-sleeping or crying it out to independent sleeping will bring challenges; however, it will not bring lifelong damage. Remember that you are providing a safe opportunity to let your child experience stress in a healthy way – tears and all.

Scenario #3: A child who sleeps, but a parent who doesn’t

Despite your best effort to trust that all is well with your sleeping child, there may still be some worry in the back of your mind. This is such a common problem for parents. The adrenal (stress) response that results from worrying and stress can sabotage good sleep. “I slept fine until my baby was born and now I have insomnia. I can get to sleep, but I can’t stay asleep.”

This is the classic “tired but wired” phenomenon. How do you solve it? After all your hard work to get your child to sleep, it’s time for you to relearn to sleep. You come by insomnia honestly. After only 10 minutes of stress, your gut barrier can be compromised, leaving you susceptible to immune suppression and low serotonin production. (The more severe the stress the more stress hormones affect your intestinal environment, and the harder it is to maintain healthy bacterial balance and gut integrity).

Colicky babies have altered bacteria in their gut – an imbalanced system. Just like we addressed foods to improve gut health for your child, we encourage you to do the same for yourself. Addressing your B vitamin intake, vitamin C, magnesium, and L-tryptophan intake will improve your sleep as well, helping you to stay in a deep slumber.

There are certain foods that help you make inhibitory neurotransmitters. Choose foods that help you make serotonin and GABA (made from glutamic acid), whose primary roles are to reduce excitatory neurotransmitters (like dopamine) from over-stimulating your body. We’ve covered tryptophan-rich foods, but foods that supply precursors for GABA are abundant in a healthy diet as well. Some foods rich in glutamic acid include tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, and animal protein sources.

Why is it not important to emphasize GABA precursors for children? Because in the mature brain, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, but in the developing brain it is an excitatory neurotransmitter.5  This does not mean avoid all rich foods for your child, but it does mean, pay close attention to dinner and pre-sleep snack choices.

Herbal therapies have known associations with the promotion of sleep. We suggest implementing herbs into your sleep hygiene, as long as you are not breastfeeding. If you are interested in using herbs while breastfeeding, check with your healthcare provider. The following are the herbs most commonly known to promote sleep and decrease anxiety: hops, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, motherwort, passion flower, kava kava, skullcap, and valerian root.6  You can find individual or combinations of these herbs in teas that are praised for sleep promotion.

We don’t want parents to expect utter sleep deprivation with each new family member. With consistency and balance, you will be able to find the right answer for you and your family.

Remember that sleep is a nutrient. We have to choose and nourish it, just like we choose and gain nourishment from whole, real, and healthy food. Be willing to adjust and then be consistent. You will find what is right for your child.

The 2015 CrossFit Open

It's a new year.  That means ready or not, it's time to talk CrossFit Open.  There are a lot of changes to this year's games, so it will be fun to participate and see how it all plays out.  But first, we'll cover the basics:


What:

The Crossfit Open will be the start of the road to the 2015 CrossFit Games. The Open consists of a five-week competition with one new workout per week. The week’s workout will be released each Thursday at 5 p.m. PT, and competitors will have four days to complete the workout and log their score on the Games site. Score submissions will be due before 5 p.m. PT on the Monday following the workout’s release.  Each WOD will have both a scaled and RX division, and all participants will be able to track their RX or Scaled score over the course of the competition by gym, region, and world wide.

Where:

Here!  Participating in the open can be as simple as showing up on Fridays or as complicated as scheduling multiple trials for each WOD and everything in between.  All WODs will be able to be completed here at UB; just make sure you have a coach or

When: 

Registration begins Jan 15th! 

The first Open workout will be released on Thursday, Feb. 26.  Just like last year, we here at UB will be hosting the Open WODs as our Friday WOD each week.  The full Open will run from Feb. 26-March 30 with the individual WODs happening:

15.1: Feb. 26 -March 2
15.2: March 5-9
15.3: March 12-16
15.4: March 19-23
15.5: March 26-30

Who:

EVERYONE!  CrossFit is touted as being appropriate for athletes of all levels.  For the first time ever since the creation of the CrossFit Open, there will now be scaled Open WODs.  So whether or not you have a coveted muscle up or can do a strict knees to elbows, you will (and should) be able to participate in one of UB's and the greater CrossFit community's biggest event of the year.

Why:

Whether you're in here to be the next Rich Froning, to get better at your sport, or to just look better naked, competition is good for mind/body/soul.  Push yourself to do movements you might otherwise avoid, build mental fortitude and learn any of the many lessons available if you let yourself take yourself seriously as an athlete -- TRY IT!