Four Days Left to Register for the ULO!

Congrats to our three teams who competed at Moxie Madness this weekend!!  Check out all the great photos on the UB Athlete Facebook page!

Registration for the 2016 Ultimate Lift Off on September 10th closes this Thursday! 

Want to throw around some heavy weights in a friendly competitive environment?  Want to have a crowd cheer you on to your next PR and maybe take home some prizes in the process?  Fill out our maxes form (no worries if you don't know your maxes)  and register below to get in on the fun!!

Here's how the event works gonna work:

  • You will have 20 minutes to find your maximum snatch and clean and jerk.
  • New this year: You will have 16 minutes to find your maximum back squat, bench press, and deadlift
  • 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 all five lifts.
  • Heats will start every 20 minutes. If you are late, you cannot lift.  No exceptions.
  • 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. (New this year: All athletes will weigh in at the beginning of the day)
  • A complete list of rules (including the requirements for each lift) will be posted Tuesday the 6th in the gym along with the start list.

Feeling a little gun shy?  Are you a recovering injured athlete?  Want to support your fellow UBers taking on the Ultimate Lift Off?  Now's your chance! 

Calling All Volunteers

Calling all Volunteers!

Are you not quite ready for the competitive lifting stage?  Are you a recovering injured athlete?  Do you want to support your fellow UBers taking on the Ultimate Lift Off?  Now's your chance! 

We are looking for volunteers for the Ultimate Lift Off to help weigh in athletes, judge, and coordinate a great event! Interested?  Fill out the form on the link below.

Thanks in advance!!!


The Weekly Dose of Awesome

This week's Awesome is a 6:30am fixture and a recent second place finisher in United Barbell's Summer Slam. 

A relative newcomer to CrossFit and UB, Austin is a true coach's dream; he's consistent, always coachable, and rarely complains. Oh, and he's got a wicked sense of humor and is strong as an Ox. 

Austin's commitment is a prime example of the incredible progress you can make with a no-nonsense approach to consistent hard work. In just a few months, I've seen him grow into a regular R'x athlete, putting up times and weights that place him among the gym's fittest.

For all that and more, Austin is this week's Awesome. Congrats, Danger Spires! Can't wait to see you continue to evolve into a stronger and faster athlete.


Name: Austin Spires

Nickname / Alter Ego: My work nickname is "Danger Spires" -- it's a long story.

Hometown: Houston, TX

Occupation: Director of Customer Engineering at Fastly

When did you first start CrossFitting?: This year, around February as essentially a New Years Resolution dare.

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB?: Same as above. I picked a place close to my office and I guess I got lucky :)

Favorite WOD: Filthy Fifty

Least favorite WOD: Anything with pistols

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I first officially saw what Crossfit was many years ago while the games were on TV in a bar I was eating in. I thought it was the silliest thing in the world (how would you compete in workout out?), but it was definitely an impressive spectacle.

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? I was a pretty serious wrestler in my younger years, even doing it through college. But, as I left college and started my career, my fitness tanked and I stopped taking care of myself. What started as the freedom to never make weight for competitions again turned into a pretty miserable lifestyle. Trying to fix things, I'd tried working out in gyms and running on my own for years, but it never stuck. It was boring. Around January I read an article that loosely mentioned CrossFit, and decided I would finally give it a try; it was the start of the year when you're supposed to start silly workout goals. What would I have to lose? I was hooked on the intensity, the friendly competition, and the camaraderie instantly, and I've never looked back.

Results-wise, it's been a short but amazing span. I'm getting stronger, living healthier, and getting all of the physical benefits. The most surprising benefit was in my stress levels -- work stress was really getting me down before. Even little annoyances would throw my entire day out of whack. Once I started exercising, everything started to get a little more relaxed, and that's been a great change. 

What is the first song in your favorite playlist right now? I've been listening to a lot of Hamilton now, but Daft Punk and Amon Amarth get some solid rotation. I have some weird taste in workout music.

What is your favorite cheat meal? A tie between an extra large pepperoni pizza and a whole rotisserie chicken. 

Good Luck Moxie Madness Teams + Weekend Schedule

Are you free this weekend?  Are you in need of some intense sun and ready to show your UB pride? Then get ready to take a road trip out to Lodi to cheer on the 12 UB athletes competing in Moxie Madness Saturday and Sunday!

United Barbell has 3 teams of four (each toting an awesome judge) representing this weekend:

The Bald and the Beautiful Ladies: Erica & Hayley, Gents: Steve L & Max

The Bald and the Beautiful

Ladies: Erica & Hayley, Gents: Steve L & Max

The Creamsicles Ladies: Andrea C & Nikki, Gents: Jason L & Jon S

The Creamsicles

Ladies: Andrea C & Nikki, Gents: Jason L & Jon S

The Gummi Bears Ladies: Gabi & Sally,     Gents: Sunli & Terry

The Gummi Bears

Ladies: Gabi & Sally,     Gents: Sunli & Terry

The competition will span the entire weekend, testing everything from oly lifts to synchronized weighted lunges to their pool prowess!

Interested in working your pom poms and shaking your bon bon?  Check out the relevant info here.


This Friday we will be closed for open gym from 1-2:30PM.  Please note.

Food for Thought: Your Season Starts NOW

Are you planning on killing it in the CrossFit Open next year?  Have some solid goals for how you want 2017 to go compared to opens past?  The following is an excerpt from OPEX to help you set your mind right.  For the rest of this read, click here.


Your Season Starts NOW

It’s early August.

There are 210 days until you compete in the OPENS. (gulp)

If you train 5 times per week that is 150 sessions.

If you need to improve a significant amount in a skill like MU’s under fatigue that is max 60 sessions, with recovery included.

Now all of those MU sessions won’t be fatigue based, so you can really only test them 30-35 times in a year under fatigue at high effort.

And let’s be realistic, you know that you might miss a few times, as well as not peak at those times effectively so it’s really only 20 times in 210 days where you can practice it.

Don’t have a MU?

Can’t perform them under fatigue?

20 sessions you said????

This is just one example where time is NOT on your side. [...]

[...Now...] A few things to understand as you now have some anxiety around those 210 days and know that time is NOT on your side right now.

Get after it, but remember these things as you start:

Own Your Essence

We all have various rhythms and loves and reactions and “ways” of doing things.

Own the fact that there are positives to knowing what your essence is.

  • How you train in volume vs. intensity
  • How you respond to power vs. endurance
  • How you recover after high breath work vs high muscle endurance work.

We all have various things about us that make us UNIQUE, that is our individual POWER.

When I say own it, I know you have to be good at a lot of things – but know what you are BEST at and “own that.”

Realize it’s in your pocket when you need it. Don’t let anything pull you away from that.

Sure you have to train discomfort and outside your zone BUT, ensure you realize how you respond to physical stimuli.

This is higher order awareness in fitness.


I am not sure how else to mange or describe this one.

It is now kind of like nutrition USED to be.

We all KNOW how to eat, when, what kind, etc…it IS pretty simple, but marketing and sales make it complex as they want to make you feel more inferior if you don’t do it their way.

Those times have changed more recently where we all agree on some things as a fitness athlete; carbs are good, sugars are required, being ripped is NOT the goal but might happen, and carbs are good.

For lifestyle, there are still some folks living off cortisol and “managing” and still making some progress for 2 years, but then after 2 years they are simply pale, lack libido, are stronger but don’t have drive for recovery or aerobic capacity.

This is due to believing that they can live like a rock star and still make it, cause others do.

Well, let me tell you a little secret: They DON’T make it.

Those that live long and prosper, sleep “well,” eat to fuel and recover and follow some good lifestyle guidelines.

So as you begin the season, get the schedule out, mark off the training sessions IN this calendar as well as recovery sessions, food sessions, down time session, THEN AND ONLY THEN, can you add in plans for family, work, video games, Facebook, Instagram thumb flipping, etc… These need to be scheduled AROUND your training schedule, not in the middle of it.

Are you serious and want to improve? PLAN the stuff out that is important and make it happen.

Don’t have the time to do this? Then you simply don’t want it bad enough.

Sorry, I know it hurts, but its the truth.

The season begins today.




2016 UB Shirt T-Shirt Slogan Contest

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It's that time of year -- time for the great yearly UB shirt contest!  Here's how it works:

1) Between now and Friday the 26th (you get 1 week!) rack your brain and submit your favorite slogans.  As many as you want.  You can submit slogans by commenting here,  OR dropping them in the manila envelope taped to the white board at the front room coach station in the gym.

2) Shirt slogans will be voted on from September 1st through 9th

3) A design will be created around the winning slogan and sold in our next shirt order (early October)

Past winners have been

United We Stand, In Barbells We Trust (Slogan submitted by: Matt Elkins Werba)

Make It Spicy, Keep It Spicy (Slogan sSlogan submitted by: Andrea Seebaum)

The Ubicorn (Submitted by: Andrew Myrick)

The Octopress (Design submitted by: Anita Hseih

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

This week I would like to honor a gent who has just hit his 1 year UBiversary.  Mike C. joined UB soon after he moved south of the border.  As an experienced CrossFitter, it didn't take long for Mike to make himself at home and become a solid member of the UB community.   He is the kind of person who sees a challenging WOD and is motivated to come in instead of letting it intimidate him. He is the guy you will see diligently working through his weaknesses before and during the workout. He is also the guy who will cheer you on after he's killed it in the workout.  Best part of all, Mike does all of this with a smile on his face.  Thanks Mike, for sharing just some of your awesome with us!

Name: Mike C.

Nickname / Alter Ego: he's open for input... who wants to give him one??

Hometown: Born in Taipei, moved to Vancouver around age 11 or 12.  He moved stateside 2015

Occupation: Accountant

When did you first start CrossFitting?: October 2014 (Random fact - he was a member of the same Canadian box as Robb P.)

When did you first start CrossFitting at UB?: August 2015

Favorite WOD: Cindy

Least favorite WOD: Anything with more than 400m running

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?:  Mike hurt himself when he was younger playing sports and ended up with a chronic injury in his back.  After a lot of time and dedicated effort into recovery, he had friends who did CrossFit and wanted to be active in an environment where he would have eyes on him while still working to get stronger.

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life?:  Mike finds that CrossFit helped bring back the structure of training that he got in organized sports of his school days.  He loves how much he can get a lot done in an hour. And he absolutely loves meeting people who weren't active before CrossFit and got to find their inner athlete a little later.  He loves to see that twinkle in their eye.

What’s your secret talent?:  Mike can cook (he hopes to keep it a secret by only cooking for himself =P) and loves to make anything seafood based.

Where IS Waldo?  "Waldo got stuck somewhere when I was 5..."

What is your favorite shower song? He is a little shower shy, but he will happily rock anything by The Bee Gees at karaoke!

What is your biggest phobia? Not being able to eat -- not knowing when he will eat next.

Happy Birthday UB!

Are you ready for the cheese....? Well, ready or not, here it comes!

Yesterday marked UB's 6th anniversary. It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone!

It is safe to say United Barbell has surpassed Olivia's and my vision. Over the years it has become more than an inviting place to improve upon your lifestyle and chase your goals with like minded people. It's more than a place where the advanced and novice both feel welcome while reaching their next level. It has become a family.... a weird and wonderful family! 

I am lucky. Olivia and I don't just get to work at a place we love - we got to create it.  It took a village, but UB is here and stronger than ever!  We want to thank you. UB wouldn't be the same with out YOU! The list of memories (from UB's first House Cup to some epic athlete PRs, to the Summer Slam to name a few) are inspiring, entertaining, are endless! 

We also want to extend a special thanks to our staff. It's clear to us how much they love what they do because no matter what is happening, be it a class, event, competition, or just a play day, our coaches give it their all.  Our coaches (both today's and yesterday's) eat, sleep, breath motivation, inspiration, compassion, awareness, creativity, nuance and authenticity. Thank you coaches!  We are honored and proud to have you be a part of our team.

Bring on 2017 and all the awesome surprises it will provide!!  Cheers!

Please enjoy a compilation of just some of our great moments of the last 6 years!!!

Food for Thought: The Recovery Cycle -- Master the Invisible Side of Training

A worthwhile read from Breaking Muscle...

There are two common problems when it comes to recovery and regeneration in training. The first is that it’s often overlooked in the overall training process, and the second is that the majority will try the sexy quick fixes over thinking about the long-term training picture. It would appear we’ve learnt very little since Mel Siff’s Supertraining hit the bookshelves thirty years ago and definitively addressed the recovery process.

Restoration is an integral part of overall training and must be applied with the short-term and long-term goals constantly in mind.   - Mel Siff.1

Why do I think we continue to overlook recovery and make such a mess of what is one of the simplest training principles? Ignorance. Ignorance is why there are so many gym goers, fitness enthusiasts, and athletes are burying themselves on a daily basis in the gym and not simply reaping the performance benefits they are chasing. They are ignorant of the invisible side of training: the adaptations that take place the other 23 hours of the day they are not in the gym. You can't take a good selfie of yourself sleeping or walking the dog, so no one appears to be doing it.

If you really want to get #Gainz from your programme, you need to forget about all the fancy stuff that's in the media. It’s time to look at the fundamentals of recovery and regeneration that are based on scientific principles.

The Recovery Cycle

In the early 2000s, images of athletes like Paula Radcliffe in ice baths were everywhere, and anecdotal reports of sports teams using complicated heart and brain pattern technology and cryotherapy chambers emerged daily. Recovery and regeneration was catapulted into the forefront of coaches' and athletes' minds. But with the initial wave of interest came a huge amount of confusion. In 2005, I sat down with a colleague at the English Institute of Sport and attempted to create a simple, logical framework for the application of recovery and regeneration strategies. The Recovery Pyramid was our answer to what had become the wild west of training.

The Recovery Cycle is the first level of recovery strategies from that pyramid.


1. Body Management with Passive and Active Rest: Make sure you’re implementing both passive and active rest into your training programme. Forms of passive rest include reading, listening to music, and watching a film. Active rest includes walking, cross training, and flexibility training and is also beneficial to overall recovery. Massage has many physiological and psychological benefits, and a proper post training cooldown incorporating flexibility and mobility is a great way to recover physically and mentally from training and competition.

2. Refuel and Rehydrate with Decent Nutrition: Nutrition is one of the cornerstones of a comprehensive recovery strategy and can be strategically used to optimise training and performance. A solid approach to refueling and rehydrating will have a positive impact on your response to exercise in terms of hormone control and muscle function.

Stop worrying about pre, during, and post workout nutrition. Get the basics right first: eat regularly, go easy on sugars and processed food, incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water.

3. Sleep: Sleep is a basic requirement for human health. Studies have shown that as little as 30-36 hours of sleep deprivation can result in a loss of performance2 - and those hours don’t all have to occur at the same time. Hours of lost sleep can gather over a period of time and negatively impact training performance.

Sleep is one of the most important forms of rest by providing time for the body to adapt to the physical and mental demands of training, and simply increasing your total hours of sleep each night can positively affect your performance.3

Forget Trends and Focus On The Basics

All the nonsense around recovery needs to stop. We need something simple. We need the Recovery Cycle. In more recent months I’ve seen a second coming of overcomplicated recovery strategies, thanks to the success of a team in the English Premier League called Leicester City. Numerous column inches have been given over to the secrets of their success, and every recovery intervention from cryotherapy to beetroot juice has been touted as Leicester's secret weapon. Now every man and his dog wants to drink purple shakes whilst being slowly frozen.

No. It's time to get back to basics. Recovery and regeneration are the key components of an integrated performance conditioning programme, but we need to focus on fundamentals and not the latest trend. I'll leave you with a simple insight from Professor Damien Hughes to consider in your own training.

“Formula 1, the fastest sport on earth, is won by those who learn how to take pit stops most effectively. The same principles apply to humans.”4