The following is from our awesome UBite, Ashley S, who took on her first competition this past weekend at Moxie Madness. For any of you considering competing - check out her thoughts on the experience! Thanks Ashley for sharing with the rest of us!

A few months ago when Olivia was still doing her Sunday inspiration posts, she put out a couple challenges that resonated with me: take yourself just a little more seriously, and put your training to the test by competing. In May, I started putting out word (more like a quiet whisper) that I maybe, sort of, possibly *might* be interested in competing. Chris Comma happened to be putting together a team of Master's athletes for some competition in San Jose. I said yes and then looked at the website to see what I'd gotten myself into - probably better I did it in that order.

Cut to last weekend when myself and seven other UBers found ourselves baking under the hot, hot San Jose sun at Moxie Madness, a two-day, six-event competition that drew a whopping 150 teams from all over Northern California. Crossfit Games athletes Chyna Cho and Neal Maddox even threw down (and used all the weights, of course - because they *really* lift). The mere mortals from UB included Rich Stone, George Whetstone, Hayley Beauchamp, and Jo Gail who made up Team United Barbies (my name for them - sorry, peeps), and UB had its first-ever Master's team, UB168, that included myself, Yael Citro, Chris Comma, and Aaron Read.

Moxie Madness 2014

Day One put us through sandbag thrusters and kettlebell swings, front squats, shoulder-to-overhead, beaucoup deadlifts and box jumps, and a 400 meter swim relay - quite refreshing after all day in the sun! (My quads still wanted to jump off my legs and run away though.) Day Two featured a 20-minute endurance WOD with sandbags, assault bikes (Airdyne's sleeker cousin), and rowing; more heavy lifting (HPCs and bench presses) with a nasty chipper tacked on involving 200 wall balls, 150 snatches, and 100 toes-to-bar. The last WOD of the weekend for our team was a surprisingly brutal double 8-minute AMRAP ladder involving kettlebell snatches and over-your-partner burpees. One of the volunteers summed it up nicely when they told a fellow newbie that they were pretty brave if Moxie Madness was their first comp. “It's a big one.” Understatement.

I can go on at length about the weekend - how Chris Comma is the Mayor of Crossfit, how George is Drago, or how I went shoe shopping with Trent - but Jenny has asked that I keep this to under 3,000 words (tl;dr). So, here are three things I learned during my very first team competition:

  • If there is any kind of lift during which people are going for different weights, have a plan. More importantly, do the math. Know what each team member is going to lift and have the heavier lifters go first. Know how many attempts each person will need and what amount they will go up, and know what plates will be available. Also, practice your transitions. Think of your team as a NASCAR pit crew - everyone has a role and everyone moves fast. You will lose precious seconds if you don't get this down beforehand.
  • Forget the competition for a minute and appreciate all those small, subtle victories. Yael was pretty sure she didn't know what a snatch was before we were confronted with a WOD that included 150 of them, but after a crash refresher course with Trent, she stepped up and knocked out sets of five. Aaron had joined our team only two weeks before the event but he was a machine, braving sandbags that tried to suffocate him and going for the big weight plates on lifts. Our team came in 10th overall for an event that involved sandbags thrusters - a fun little activity that most of us had tried for the first time just two days before the competition.
  • Be inspired. We watched Rich, George, Jo, and Hayley kill their last WOD of the event - the endurance WOD, no less - with smiles on their faces (although, in all fairness, those may have been winces of pain). Their judge even told them they had the best score she'd seen all day on the assault bike. Hot stuff! On the less victorious side of the spectrum, when I got no-repped on my first attempt at a 3RM hang clean and then the weight slipped from my hands on my second attempt, I heard someone cheering me on and it was the single thing in that moment that made me pick the weight back up and move on. I'd never really appreciated how much showing support could mean during a competition because I'd always been a spectator, but after that you better believe I'll be cheering my ass off for anyone competing.

To summarize, competing is fun, y'all, and it doesn't have to be super hardcore. Fall happens to be competition season, too, so there are puh-lenty of opportunities to put your training to the test. If you're interested in competing, or even just curious, check out the United Barbell Competitors Group on Facebook.


4 rounds:

- 12 Chest to bar pull ups
- 9 Burpees
- 6 Dumbbell Hang Power Cleans (70# | 50#)
- 3 Dumbell Jerks

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Wednesday, August 20 2014 Posted by James Kusama


When you have been doing CrossFit for over a year and then suddenly change boxes, it can be a difficult transition. You develop habits, get stuck in your ways, and become accustomed to your original coaches style and cues. Its these factors that most often than not hinders ones ability to develop as an athlete.. But when Jake moved from Chicago and walked through the doors of United Barbell with countless WODs under his belt, he was more hungry and ready to learn than a bright eyed newbie. Jake realized right away that there was an opportunity to take his game to the next level, and decided to trust the UB staff and community to lead the way. Always highly involved with class, Jake consistently inquires about his technique and how to become more efficient. At the same time helping others push through their workouts. Within just a few months Jake qualified for the Level 2 class, and the gains he has made since have become much more apparent. The sky's the limit for this UB athlete, and getting a front row set to watch the effort he puts in is an awesome privilege. Making Jake... yep, you guessed it, pretty dang AWESOME.

On the up and up.


Sumo Deadlift


Ascending Ladder for 7 minutes

up ladder by 3's of:
- Front Squat (115# | 80#)
- Box Jump (24" | 20")

Strength Workout Of The Day

Incline Bench


Incline Dumbbell Bench


3 sets

- 20 Diamond Push Ups
- 10 DB/Plate YTW
- 20s Hanging L's

The 2014 Ultimate Lift Off

Tuesday, August 19 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


It's that time! Mark Saturday, September 13th in your calendar. Why? Because you'll be competing in the ULTIMATE LIFT OFF! This is out biggest competition of the year -- complete with medals and PRs for everyone! We will be cheering our faces off, as we watch 48 of our UB members compete in a super-total (combining Oly and Power lifts together in one glorious event)... so get excited!!

Here's how its gonna work:

  • You will have 20 minutes to find your maximum per lift
  • You will have 3 attempts at your heaviest weight for each lift.
  • You will perform all the lifts in order: snatch, clean and jerk, back squat, bench press, and deadlift. To participate in the competition, you must attempt every lift.
  • Heats will start in groups of 4 every 20 minutes. If you are late, you cannot lift.
  • Your score will be calculated by Sinclair for your Oly lifts and Wilks formula (each lift by pounds lifted to body weight) for your power lifts. You will be weighed in 20 minutes before your heat.
  • A complete list of rules (including the requirements for each lift) will be posted Friday in the gym
  • To secure your spot, make sure to sign up online Select link, click events, and select Ultimate Lift Off.

This competition is for UB members only (next year we intend on inviting outsiders), so if you are new to competing this is a great opportunity to get a taste in a supportive environment surrounded by your fellow athletes.

Space is limited to 48 competitors, so make sure to sign up online. Heat times will be announced Wednesday, September 3rd.

Monkey Clean
So very angry!


AMRAP in 20 minutes:

- 5 muscle ups
- 10 handstand pushups
- 15 wall balls

Food for Thought: Chia Pudding

Monday, August 18 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


For those of you who weren't at the potluck on Friday, you missed out on a lot of great food. One dish that stuck out for many was Claire's chia pudding. They were so delicious, many had 2 or three servings! Claire was kind enough to post her recipe. Here is the recipe with some suggested additions! Thanks Claire, for sharing your delicious treats with us on Friday night!

chia pudding

Chia Pudding

Ingredients: Base

Makes about 20 ounces (or 6 of the servings from Friday night)

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)

Ingredients: Things to Add

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cocoa powder
  • fruits - banana, strawberries, blueberries... etc.
  • toasted almonds
  • pecans
  • coconut flakes
  • cinnamon


  • Whisk coconut milk together with honey (or maple syrup).
  • When the honey is completely mixed in, stir in the chia seeds.
  • If you want to add any spices, stir in 1/4 teaspoon now
  • Pour into cups and let chill in the fridge til the chia seeds puff up and the pudding is firm (4-5 hours)
  • Top with the fruit of your choice and serve


Burgener Total

3 attempts at your 1RM - Snatch
- Clean and Jerk
- Front Squat

United for Youth

Sunday, August 17 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Thank you to all of you who came on Friday night to help us celebrate UB's 4th! It was a great turnout and we hope you had a great time in our "gym bistro." I would also like to give a shout out to our two teams of athletes who rocked a solid weekend of competition (recap to come)! Lessons were learned, PRs were made, and most importantly, lots of fun was had. Great work guys!

It's that time for our awesome fall schedule of events. With that comes our announcement of this year's Fight Gone Bad! We are very excited to announce that on Saturday, November 8th we are will be hosting the fundraiser "United for Youth" benefiting the Westside Athletes Association - a new non-profit organization born from the awesome creative minds of United Barbell members. This event will be both open to UBers and non UBers as well as be hosted at other gyms across the bay area!

The workout, you may have guessed, will be Fight Gone Bad! Here is what you need to know to participate in the day:


The Cause

Westside Athletes Association is a new non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of at-risk teenagers by providing CrossFit scholarships and support in cultivating healthy lifestyle habits.


For those of you who have not yet had the joy of experiencing a Fight Gone Bad workout. Here is what you will be conquering:

Fight Gone Bad

3 rounds:
AMRepsAP in 1 minute:
- Wall-balls (20# | 14#)
- Sumo deadlift high-pulls (75# | 55#)
- Box Jumps (20")
- Push-press (75# | 55#)
- Row (Cals)
- 1 minute rest between rounds
Scored by the collective rep total from all three rounds.

The Day

This will be United Barbell's first event open to the public! That said, this day will run a little different than it has in the past. There will be no regular classes. Athletes will check in at 8am, be briefed at 8:30am, and the first heat beginning at 9am and the last heat at 1pm. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 male and female competitors at the end of the day.

We are requesting all participants raise at least $50 dollars (and will receive a shirt as a thank you). Another prize (TBA) will be given to individuals raising at least $500. There will also be a prize for the top fundraising individual, as well as the top fundraising gym, so let's show UB's pride and get after it! To start your fundraising efforts, check out the fundly page, select "join this team", and then click "become a fundraiser."

Westside Athletes and UB are looking for volunteers to help judge the event and keep our first public event as smooth as possible - please give me a shout out or post to the comments if you are interested.

Monday's WOD

3 rounds:

1 Minute Max Burpees
1 minute rest
1 Minute Max Toes to Bar
1 minute rest
1 Minute Max Row for Calories

Strength Workout Of The Day

Deficit Deadlift

2x8 75%

Block Pulls

2x3 85%


10 Leg Raises
20 DB Shrugs x

Sunday WOD

Saturday, August 16 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Good luck to both Moxy Madness teams today!


AMRAP in 14 minutes

- 10 wall balls (20# | 14#)
- 12 ball slams
200m run every after every 3rd round

Saturday WOD

Friday, August 15 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Good luck today to everyone competing at Moxy Madness in San Jose today and tomorrow!!

Noon class and some wall ball goodness.


For reps:

1 minute max double unders
1 minute max dumbbell snatches (50 | 35)
2 minutes max double unders
2 minutes max dumbbell snatches
3 minutes max double unders
3 minutes max dumbbell snatches

Strength Workout Of The Day

Floor Press


Bench Press


3 Sets

- 12 DB Shrugs
- 12 Seated Press
- 20 Evil Wheels

Fitness at 40: How to Train Hard and Play Smart

Thursday, August 14 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! Today 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

In honor of this weekend's masters team competing in the Moxy Madness, I thought I would post a I saw about masters training

Still Go Hard (Just Not Every Day)

For some reason we seem to think athleticism must stop at forty. That’s no great surprise given that back in the 1950s and ‘60s the medical profession was telling us that after age forty you shouldn’t exercise anymore. They said it was too much strain on the heart. In other words, you were expected to just slide gently into the grave from then on.

While there aren’t many stand-out professional athletes in their forties, the fact that there are a few shows us it is possible to still have some good days. I’m well aware there are a growing number of active mature athletes who pursue their passion thanks to HRT, but I want to look at what is possible for those of us who don’t want to go down that path.

For me, the most important thing to realize was that I may feel like a young me still, but my body doesn’t. I wake up stiff sometimes and often have to hobble around the room for a minute until things start to loosen up. And while I can still go hard, I can’t go hard every day like I used to. In a given week, I will likely have two hard workouts with the remainder being far more moderate, as I simply can’t withstand so many hard sessions. In other words, I just don’t recover like I used to.

Athletes at 40

Rebalancing the Body

After every hard session, regardless of age, the body needs to rebalance itself. It does this through two primary mechanisms - food and sleep. Training for most people generally falls either early in the day before work or later after work. In both cases it is important to get a decent meal in post training. It won’t kill you if you don’t do it, but by the end of the week the benefits from quickly refuelling your body can be felt.

I won’t bore you with quoting studies as by now you should have seen the thousands of articles written about the importance of post-workout nutrition, so try to get a meal in within thirty minutes if you can. Don’t be scared of carbohydrates either as they will need replenishing after you’ve used them up during training.

As you get older one of two things happens. Either you realize you can’t get away with poor choices anymore and that a fast-food meal makes you feel horrible for days. Or, you realize having a six-pack isn’t as important to you as having a glass of wine with dinner each night and enjoying some of the less health conscious and tastier options out there. Neither is right or wrong and only you can decide which is the right path for you. But if you want to keep pushing hard past forty, then you’re going to need to make good food choices more often than not.

Time, Food, and Sleep Management

Food is like the petrol our body needs to keep running. The better the quality of fuel we put in, the faster and longer we can rev the engine. But sleep is like preventative maintenance. Forgoing sleep to watch TV or stay out late will halt your progress faster than anything else I can think of. One of the problems about passing forty is that often by this stage we have serious jobs that may require working outside normal hours, or there might be kids. Or there might be kids and work.

Most people’s time management skills are awful. They waste time on unimportant things, watch too much TV, and don’t prioritize looking after themselves by getting to bed early. While life is never perfect and there will be situations (particularly for those with kids) that require changing your schedule on the fly, getting people used to your routine is essential. Everyone knows not to expect an answer from me after 8.30pm at night as I am already starting to get ready for the next day. Clothes are laid out. The alarm is set. It’s rare that I am in bed after 9:00pm.

That may make me seem like an old man, but if you want to have enough energy to train well the next day, then you must get enough sleep. For me, I find that eight hours is critical if I plan to have the energy not just to train well, but also to have a clear head for the work that comes after it.

The other part of the sleep equation is taking a nap during the day. I know this makes me seem like even more of an old man, but currently I train twice each day and without that nap in the middle the quality of the second session is low. My total sleep for every 24-hour period is eight hours overnight and another hour during the day.

Balancing the Training

After food and sleep comes balancing the hard work in your training versus the easy work. I shouldn’t really call it easy, because it’s not, but when looked at in relation to the hard sessions you’ll see why they’re called easy. A hard day may look like this:

  • AM - 70min hill run as 20’ warm up easy, then 1’ at 8% followed by 5’ easy, 2’ at 6% followed by 5’ easy, 3’ at 4% followed by 5’ easy. Repeat for another round followed by 10-15’ cool down.
  • PM - Front squat and power cleans for strength followed by approximately 60 min of some type of interval weight training (IWT). IWTs are usually a compound resistance exercise followed by a 2-min cardio exercise, with a rest to work ratio of 1:1.

After a day like that you’ll find you wake up the next day stiff and tired. That’s actually my current Friday workout, which means that Saturday has to be “easy.” In this context easy doesn’t refer to actually taking it easy, but in deliberately choosing activities that won’t put as much stress on the body as the day before. A typical Saturday looks like this:

  • AM 1 - Easy run of 40 min. Eat immediately after and take a short break.
  • AM 2 - Strength session, predominantly upper body, followed by a bodyweight circuit.
  • PM - Easy swim.

If you pull the thread on this second day and compare it to the first, you’ll see a big difference. A flat, easy run is refreshing after the pain of the hill run the day before. A strength workout that is mostly smaller muscle groups and confined to the upper body is far easier than squats and cleans. The use of bodyweight circuits is also far easier than an IWT (which if you’ve done one before, you’ll know can be an absolute killer). And the swim combines more easy aerobic work with cool water, which has an anti-inflammatory effect.

The Take-Away

There’s no reason to stop working hard as you get older, you just need to be smart about it. You need to be diligent with your food and sleep in order to recover properly between sessions. And don’t try to train hard each day, but follow hard days with easy ones to allow your body to recover while still gaining fitness and strength. Fit at forty is possible - if you are smart about it.


Handstand Push UPs

3 x Max

EMOM in 10 minutes

- 30s L-sit
- Max Consecutive Ring Push Ups

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Wednesday, August 13 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

This week's awesome is brought to you by coach Wong.

Ah yes, this week's Awesome has you saying "What's 'Cook'-ing Good Looking?" This early morning riser is always roaring to go. He has been a fixture at the 6:30am, SWOD and Saturday classes for a while now. He always arrives early to mobilize and secure his premium shower spot.

Steven Cook has been putting in quite the work for some time now - both in the UB community and on the bar. Don't have a partner in class? Steve's the first person to make your solo into a duo. Feeling a little lag in your WOD step? Let Steve's 110% help inspire you to drive past your midWOD slump. And since coming to SWODs, Steven's numbers have been climbing in every lift and getting deeper squat depth that gets thumbs up from me.

But what really sets Mr. Cook apart is his ability to enter the shower room after every class and transform into a quite dapper fellow. No one would ever know that this sharp dressed man was just, moments before, in an all out grinder at UB. Steven, next time you adjust that tie, do it with the air of awesome you deserve!

Steve Awesome
The man can inspire your workout or your wardrobe. You decide.


Gymnastics Skill Time

Athlete's Choice

Ascending Ladder for 7 minutes

- 20 Double Unders + 1 Deadlift (275# | 185#)
- 20 Double Unders + 2 Deadlifts
- 20 Double Unders + 3 Deadlifts...

Strength Workout Of The Day

Deficit Deadlifts

2x8 @ 70%
4" Block Pulls 2x3@80%


2 Rounds
- 100m Farmers Carry
- 15 Weighted Sit Ups
- 10 DB Shrugs (per side)

T-Shirt Contest Voting!

Tuesday, August 12 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

.....Speaking of UB team spirit, the submissions are in! Let the voting begin!

One week later and the entry page has been filled with potential UB slogans for our 2014 T-shirt. We will be giving all of you 1 week to put in your vote beginning tomorrow (Thursday) for our special order run! May the best UB slogan win! Three votes per person.



Front Squat

Work to a 3RM

Nicole in Rounds

4 rounds:
- 400m run
- max pull ups
compare to 10.31.12 ; 4.20.12