Register for the 2019 House Cup

Let the Games begin!  .... Ok, just because CrossFit HQ won’t open registration for the first of two 2019 CrossFit Opens until January 10th, but that doesn't mean we can't get ready.  How you ask?  By preparing for United Barbell's 4th Annual House Cup!


For our newer members, the House Cup is a gym wide team competition interlaced with the CrossFit Open.  Participants are divided into 3 teams.  Teams win points by participating in the 5 CrossFit Open workouts, showing team spirit, and by being all-around awesome.  The events start February 22rd and take place over 5 weeks:

  • 19.1- Feb. 21-25

  • 19.2- Feb. 28 - March 4

  • 19.3- March 7-11

  • 19.4- March 14-18

  • 19.5- March 21-25

The team draft will be happening in just a couple weeks, so make sure to register ASAP! 

Want to join in for 5 weeks of a gym-wide extravaganza of fun and competition? Sign up below ASAP!  

House Cup Standings: Week One

What a week. Friday night's energy and spirit was incredible. Thank you to all who came and participated, the athletes, the judges, the hype men & women, the costumes, the snack table, the sloth, the dogs, the list goes on. I can't wait to see what you come up with this week.



The Mambas are in the lead! Every Mamba completed the judges course, they had an amazing participation percentage, and they earned Spirit Points for Kim & Adrian, and Chris C.



Too Fit To Quit aren't far behind! They also earned Spirit Points for Rajesh D. and Whittney T. They had strong placers in the RX and Scaled divisions, and great attendance for 18.1!



The Ultimates bring up the rear this week. Despite strong RX and Scaled placers, they weren't able to compete on Spirit Points or attendance. Better luck next week!


This week, Rajesh D, Chris C, Kim C, Adrian A, and Whittney T stood out and all shared the available points.

18.1 Placers

Women: Rx

  1. Hayley Beauchamp
  2. Gillian Pressman
  3. Whittney Tom
  4. Amy Raimundo
  5. Sally Chou

Women: Scaled

  1. Becca Ling
  2. Kim Cook
  3. Michelle Lovejoy
  4. Nathalie Cassidy
  5. Christine Casebolt

Men: Rx

  1. Jon Hanna
  2. Todd MacKinnon
  3. Steve Love
  4. Quinn O'Connell
  5. Royal Addis

Men: Scaled

  1. Michael Ramirez
  2. Mike Stevens
  3. John Yong
  4. Paul Carleton
  5. Nick Pataki

Olivia Graff

Olivia's athletic origins lie in gymnastics and circus arts. After finding CrossFit in 2007, she became obsessed, and three years later left her IT career and opened United Barbell. Olivia is particularly passionate about helping people new to fitness to find joy in their growing athletic abilities. Since the birth of her daughter, Isis, in 2013, Olivia can add helping little ones find their athletic path to her list of passions.

Doing the Open the Open Way

I have heard a lot of hesitation around the CrossFit Open Scaled Division.  After hearing the questions and concerns of many of our athletes, I think it's time we have a heart to heart. 

The scaled division was created to make the Open inclusive.  No, it was not just for you who are almost at that RX weight, or almost have that muscle up.  It was made to be inclusive of the CrossFitters out there who are still working to get a double under and those who still need assistance on pull ups.  There is one scaled division (made to make comparing yourself to a world of other CrossFitters simpler).  This left those in the middle dissatisfied.  Sound familiar?  Let's chat.

If you are one of the people who feel RX is "pushing it" but scaled feels "too easy" here is my advice based on your particular questions/concerns:

"But I almost have a ___"

If you can do all the workout but 1 movement, and are close to being able to achieve that movement, please consult a coach.

"But the scaled version is TOO EASY"

I would like to answer this one with a story.  Lisa S. is one of our level 2 athletes who completed the open 100% in the scaled division last year while being 8 months pregnant.  She ended up taking 6th in the region in the scaled division.  I asked her if she thought the scaled version was easy.  Here was her response.  "Yes, the movements are more simple than the RX division.  But that means more reps and a harder workout.  You have to push yourself.  It's a different kind of workout than the RX division." 

"I would rather do a hybrid of the Scaled and RX"

We are not allowing this for the open.  Why?  IF you decided to do a hybrid, it invalidates your score completely.  That's right.  Your score won't count for the open NOR will it count towards the House Cup.  Check your ego.  Do the scaled version.

"But I'm not participating in the Open"

See above.  No matter which workout you do, it will be a good workout!

Food for Thought: How To Succeed In Your First CrossFit Open

Is this your first CrossFit Open?  Maybe it's even your first time competing in a CrossFit context?  Here are some sage words of wisdom from Breaking Muscle.

Participating in your first CrossFit Games Open is the ultimate learning experience.

Beginners to CrossFit should relish in the fact that they can’t check the leaderboard for their scores from past years. For this one year, ignorance is bliss. Work hard, have fun, and learn what the Open is all about because you only have one first time.

Here are five ways to make the most of your experience:

1. Ignore the Clock

The fastest way to get discouraged during a workout is to focus on the clock. We’ve all been there: four minutes into a fifteen-minute AMRAP and suddenly we’re questioning how we’re ever going to survive the rest of the WOD. 

Wasting your time looking at the clock isn’t doing you any favors. The time melts away at the same speed regardless of how often you check. So stop dilly-dallying and just do the work.

"By shifting your focus away from the clock, you can dedicate 100% of your effort to achieving your goal. If there’s time left once you’re at your target, the rest is gravy."

Since 2011, every Open workout has been an AMRAP except for last year’s dreaded thruster-burpee descending ladder (which I predict we’ll see as this year’s repeat workout). So, if history repeats itself, it’s safe to say the Open will be a mix of short and long AMRAPs.

With that in mind, the best approach for a beginner to avoid getting overwhelmed is to pick a realistic number of rounds to complete and forget about the time constraint. Just focus on the task at hand and fight to hit your number.

By shifting your focus away from the clock, you can dedicate 100% of your effort to achieving your goal. If there’s time left once you’re at your target, the rest is gravy.


2. Avoid Playing Games

If this is your first CrossFit Open, you might hear conversations among fellow CrossFitters that go something like this: “Dude, step ups are faster than box jumps. I totally timed it.”

But you know what? Who cares? Go ahead and watch the dozens of strategy videos that inevitably pop up after each workout is announced, but don’t let the hype get to your head. As a first-timer, your main concern should be working hard without regrets, not whether or not you maximized your time by doing three reps per set instead of four. Remember, as a novice, you aren’t going to Regionals.

"Beginners to CrossFit should relish in the fact that they can’t check the leaderboard for their scores from past years. For this one year, ignorance is bliss."

Worrying about strategy, like focusing on the clock, will just sabotage your confidence - and for a beginner, it’s all about the big picture. At the end of each workout, ask yourself these questions:

Are you proud of your effort?
Did you work as hard as possible on that given day?
Did you have fun?

If you answer yes to these, consider the workout a success.


3. Don’t Hold Yourself Back

Something magical happens during the Open. Fear and doubt go out the window and countless people find themselves transitioning over the rings for their first muscle up or finally whipping a jump rope fast enough for their first double under.

Athletes all over the world achieve feats of strength and athleticism that once seemed impossible. Watching a friend conquer something that he or she has struggling with since that first nervous day at the box is incredibly rewarding.

Many beginners get stuck in a cycle of always choosing to fall short of what they’re truly capable of doing. But because Open workouts are judged, you’re forced to maintain movement standards and try things you think are out of your reach. Henry Ford said it best: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”


4. Embrace Embarrassment

Chances are one of your goats will pop up during the five-week competition. Maybe it’s the elusive muscle up that you’re still a bit away from achieving. Or maybe the prescribed deadlift is a weight you only dream about.

It sucks to stand next to a barbell you can’t lift, but unfortunately, when you can’t perform the movement, the only course of action during an official Open workout is to ride out the clock. Your coach will likely give you a high-five for hanging in there, but let’s face it, entering a sub-par score into the leaderboard is going to sting.

Give the workout your best shot, but know when to bow out. Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t hurt yourself trying to get just one rep. Grinding out a heavy snatch or turning into the Hunchback of Notre Dame for a deadlift isn’t worth the risk of injury. Crazy things can happen in the heat of the moment (see tip number three), but sometimes it’s best to call it a day. Remember, you’re a beginner and your goals are to learn and have fun.

"Give the workout your best shot, but know when to bow out. Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t hurt yourself trying to get just one rep."

The silver lining in this situation is that the Open will expose your weaknesses and provide a training roadmap for the next year. You might be surprised at how motivated you feel to train harder after failing in an Open workout. Once competition is over, there are 47 weeks until the next Open. That’s a lot of time to improve strength and skills.


5. You’ll Get Better at CrossFit Without Actually Working Out

Yes, you read that right. Each Open workout must be performed in front of a judge (aka, fellow CrossFitter at your box). Judges are responsible for ensuring each athlete adheres to proper movement standards. If your athlete doesn’t meet these standards, it’s up to the judge to call out a “no rep.”

Judging will make you a better athlete because watching people move is a great way to develop an eye for quality movement. You’ll begin to notice common mistakes that run rampant in CrossFit boxes and you may start to wonder if you’re guilty of the same mistakes. “I hope I don’t look like that when I work out.”

No one wants to “no rep” during a WOD, so do yourself a favor and use this new awareness as motivation to fight for better positions - like maintaining high elbows on front squats or keeping your feet glued together for kipping pull ups. A little extra effort will go a long way for building your confidence.


The Sorting Hat: 2018 House Cup

Last week, United Barbell team captains & co-captains got together to do our second annual House Cup team draft!  Your six fearless and feisty leaders scrambled to collect you as their tenacious and spirited teammates. Old teams were split and lovers divided, the night was full of surprises.  The last two House Cups proved to be highlights of their years: 5 weeks filled with cheering, PRs, and healthy competition... and so far this year is stacking up to be even better!

Before you scroll down and read the draft results, please remember if you are not on the team that you were last year (or the year before), consider you may have been snatched up by another team before your captain was able to secure your spot.  That said, welcome to your 2018 House Cup team!!!

First item on the agenda?  Team shirts!  

We continue to work to make the House Cup the best experience for all involved. Stay tuned for all new info on team scoring and ways to secure this year's spot on the House Cup trophy! 

TJ’s NorCal Masters Competition This Weekend

Come out and support two of your coaches and fellow athlete this weekend up in Richmond at the Craneway Pavillion as they battle it out in the biggest weekend long competition geared specifically for Masters (ages 35+). Some thoughts from our competitors...


Coach Jason: I have always believed that CrossFit would be a lifelong sport for me and the first time I spectated this competition years ago I was inspired to see “Masters” competing and proving that age is just a number.  I thrive on live in-person competitions and consider this to be the biggest competition of my CrossFit lifetime since competing at the 2008 CrossFit Games and way bigger for me than the Open.  My intention is to continue my practice as a conscious athlete focusing on my attitude, effort and focus to have a fantastic time and see what’s possible. #mindWOD


Coach Jon S: I enjoy the NorCal Masters because it's a place for us elderly folk to compete against people our own age ;-).  Unlike the Open where you can repeat workouts and never see the people you're up against, this is live competition over two days of well-programmed tests in a well-run environment. It's a great test of fitness with a group of friendly peers.



Todd M: NorCal masters was my first ever comp two years ago (besides the open).  It was exhilarating to test my skills and fitness. We work so hard in the gym it was awesome to test it out real-time over an entire weekend with all the great athletes.

The Saturday Heat Assignments (Sunday will be re-shuffled based on Saturday’s results):

Todd: 9:41am / 11:45am / 2:06pm
Coach Jon S: 10:45am / 12:25pm / 3:10pm
Coach Jason: 11:33am / 12:55pm / 3:58pm

Where: Craneway Pavillion, 1414 Harbour Way S, Richmond CA 94804

Cost: $20/day, $30/weekend in cash only, a portion of the proceeds will go to St. Jude’s

Parking: Plenty of street parking and a free lot as well.

Food: Available for purchase with a Paleo food truck onsite and there’s a coffee tent that makes Paleo waffles inside as well.

Water: Bottles will be for sale onsite however there are no water fountains so if you want to bring your own bring plenty.

Shelter: Coach Jon H will be bringing a tent for setup outside of the Pavillion, if you have camping chairs bring them!

Pets: Are not permitted on the inside of the Pavillion.

The Workouts:
WOD #1
4 Rep Max Thruster

WOD #2
Ascending AMRAP 8 Min Ladder
-3, 6, 9, 12... Thrusters and Burpees Over Barbell

Weights by Age Group
35-39 105/155
40-49 95/135
50-54 75/115
55-59 65/95
60+ 55/75

WOD #3
Part A:
AMRAP 10 Mins
-Run 150m Shuttle
-10 Kettlebell Swings 53/70
-5 Pull-ups

Part B:
Immediately into three rounds of the above AMRAP for time

WOD #4
Eight Minute Time Cap
-Row 1000m, rest one minute, row 500m

WOD #5
11 Minute Time Cap: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 of
-Power Clean
-Toes to Bar
-Alternating Single Arm Kettlebell Snatch 35/53
*60 Double Unders + 125m Row btw each round

WOD #6
Eight Minute Time Cap:
-800m Run w/Medicine Ball 14/20
-AMRAP 2 Minutes Max Back Squats

More Info:

The Open is Coming!

Hey!  Hey you! Have you registered for the house cup yet?  Why not? 

The Mambas stole the trophy in 2017.  Who will take the lead in 2018?

The Mambas stole the trophy in 2017.  Who will take the lead in 2018?

Head to head and team challenges, team spirit and CrossFit!  What more do you want?

Head to head and team challenges, team spirit and CrossFit!  What more do you want?

While we aren't ready to announce all the changes for this years 5 week House Cup smorgasbord, here are some things to help you get on board:

It's Free

Register for the 2018 CrossFit Open Here!

Register for the 2018 CrossFit Open Here!

In 2016, registration for the CrossFit Open was required in order to participate in the United Barbell House Cup. But in 2017, we decided to only require members to register with us to participate in the House Cup.  The same is true for 2018.

We know many of you love participating in the CrossFit Open.  There is a great sense of competition and community created by comparing yourself to athletes participating globally.  You can absolutely still participate in the 2018 CrossFit Open... In fact, registration opened yesterday!  However, you don't have to to participate in the House Cup.  

If You Miss a Week

If you are out of town and need to miss a week or two, it will not penalize your team.  No excuses!

Scaled Division

For those of you who are new to the House Cup or the CrossFit Open, there are both scaled and RX versions of each workout, so all can participate.... see?  NO EXCUSES!!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  The teams draft is happening in less than 2 weeks, so stop thinking about it and register!  (Captains - get to recruiting!)

Food for Thought: Optimism: A Competitive Choice

The following is from the folks over at Comptrain.  Like the concept?  Get in on Coach Jason's Mindset Seminar February 11th!


Look around the room and count how red things you see. 

Done? Great. How many green things did you see?

If you’re like most people, probably not many. If you’re looking for one thing, it can be difficult to see anything else. That’s how positivity works too, and it’s an important characteristic of successful people. 

Positivity is what sets talented people apart from exceptional people.

Great performers share a way of thinking—a set of attitudes and attributes that cause them to work harder and smarter than other people as they prepare for competition. It starts with optimism. Individuals who achieve durable, frequent success are optimists. Optimism is an attitude people they choose to have—instead of looking for or dwelling on the negative, successful people focus on the positive. 

No one is arguing that a positive attitude is going to win championships. Champions win because they have talent and they worked very hard over many years to hone it. Optimism works like fertilizer—enabling and enhancing all the efforts you make to improve your game. And while the correlation between optimism and success is imperfect, there is an almost perfect correlation between negative thinking and failure. So why wouldn’t you be optimistic if it were a choice you could make?

And it is a choice. The first thing you have to do is decide being optimistic is important to you, because you understand optimism is essential to fulfilling your dreams and attaining your goals. Once you make that decision, you have to start looking at things from a different perspective. 

Misfortune happens to everyone. Champions just refuse to let it push them into doubtful, fearful thinking.

Will you focus on the things that go wrong? Or are you going to focus on what you have going for you? Will you see yourself succeeding where others don’t? 

Will you own your mind or let others own it? 

Register Here for the 2018 House Cup!


Let the Games begin!  .... Ok, just because CrossFit HQ hasn't opened registration for the CrossFit Open yet doesn't mean we can't get ready.  How you ask?  By preparing for United Barbell's 3rd Annual House Cup!

For our newer members, the House Cup is a gym wide team competition interlaced with the CrossFit Open.  Participants are divided into 3 teams.  Teams win points by participating in the 5 CrossFit Open workouts, showing team spirit, and by being all-around awesome.  The events start February 22rd and take place over 5 weeks:

  • 18.1- Feb. 22-26
  • 18.2- March 1-5
  • 18.3- March 8-12
  • 18.4- March 15-19
  • 18.5- March 22-26

The team draft will be happening in just a couple weeks, so make sure to register ASAP! 

Captains: Want to be a team captain and lead your team to the ultimate glory?  Email me!

Participants: Want to join in for 5 weeks of a gym-wide extravaganza of fun and competition? Sign up below ASAP!  

SPS Rite of Passage Recap

If you were on Facebook this weekend, you would have seen a flux of photos and videos from our 6 athletes representing United Barbell at the 2nd Annual Rite of Passage at SPS.  This is my favorite meet of the year to coach.  Watching UBers go out and face their fears of competing out in the world and conquering their first meet is always exciting.. and this year did not disappoint!  This year I had coach Sam (aka "Unlce Sam") and card master Dave H. helping me keep the team organized and focused.  To give you an idea of the experience, I asked the 6 lifters to share their thoughts...


Chris Comma:

  • Snatch: 55kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 67kg

"1) Lifting in a meet is very different than in the Box. For one, it’s you and the barbell and that's it. A crowd is watching, so for me, it was difficult finding a focal points with so many people. Focusing on the judge in front of me was the only place on which to place my gaze.

2) Having coaches and friends allowed me to stay loose. The coaching team of Jenny and Sam and having my lifting partner Dave counting cards took the guess work out of being ready. Having Brigette and others help load plates for warm ups allowed me to get settled and focus on the task at hand. The support was needed and helpful as making lifts in the warm up area allowed me to have fun. Listen to your coaches and do what they tell you as they are there to help you.

3) Lifting with team mates (Sunli and Joven) in the same heat created familiarity in that it felt like a regular sesh at UB. Also, it was fun lifting with a co-worker and my good friend Marilyn K. and Leka from CrossFit Endzone.

4) It was helpful having friends and supporters in the audience. Thank you to Jason, Manu, Gil, Sean, Max, Ruo (Original UB member circa 2012) and meeting new ones alleviated worries."


  • Snatch: 48kg (lifetime PR!)
  • Clean&Jerk: 58kg

"Don't celebrate before you're done.  Lost my focus between snatches and clean and jerks.  Someone named Jenny Werba actually warned me about that but I still let it happen.

Lift for yourself!  Don't lift to impress, don't lift for the gram, stick to what you've set out to do for yourself and do it. 

Get a team!  In alphabetical order: 

  • Max Cantor: Personal Photographer and Biggest biceps I’ve gotten close to
  • Dave Huynh: Assistant Coach and 69kg Role Model
  • Jay Itagaki: Body Work and I Want To Punch You When You Do That
  • Jason Luk: Mental Coach and Human Extraordinaire
  • Robin Guerzoni: Wife and Thanks for leaving me the entire bed for my recovery
  • Nikki Staley: Mobility Goddess and All Around Badass
  • Jenny Werba: Head Coach and Wonder Woman"
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  • Snatch: 41kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 58k

"It was really fun and also terrifying. Science says its good for your brain to try new things, so that's what I've been trying to do.

Shoutout to Jenny, Dave and Dave's assistant, Sam, for dedicating your weekends to holding our hands through our first meet. We couldn't have done it without you."




  • Snatch: 61kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg

"I had a lot fun! Thanks for all the coaches and volunteers that help me with the warm up and set the 2nd and 3rd attempts weight. You guys made my life so much easier!

"Lesson": Always listen to the pregnant lady, haha ... nah, cause Jenny is just so great at coaching the lifts!

Special thanks to Sam: I definitely feel my nervous and stressed is eased with Sam's encouraging style of coaching, Sam is pretty awesome!"

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Austin I.:

  • Snatch: 92kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 127kg

"I didn't realize how important is would be to have coaches at the event helping decide numbers and helping jokey for a better position to increase time between takes. I had a goal to make 100kg snatch which didn't happen at the event. So when you guys said that you would take the reigns on the clean and jerk numbers, it was so relieving that all I had to do was go out and lift and leave the numbers game up to the coaches. Potentially if I didn't even know what numbers they were telling me to do I wouldn't have even psyched myself out with what was even on the bar. Very appreciative for my coaches guidance during the experience.


  • Snatch: 68kg
  • Clean & Jerk: 91kg (Lifetime PR)

"I would say a big lesson is that you're not alone, you have a whole team of coaches and volunteers to support you and help you think through what to do. So if you're overwhelmed by the work, know others will help bear your burdens!

Additionally, I was surprised at how huge the crowd was and at first pretty nervous and intimidated. As the afternoon wore on, it became clear that it was a very supportive group, and everyone there is scared too because all the athletes are competing for the first time. It's a safe place to try a new experience, and to fail."

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Last but not least, a note from Dave H. who was our assistant coach extraordinaire:

"Overall, coaching was a great learning experience and kind of stressful, but also very rewarding.  So happy everyone did well at their first meet with all competition PRs and a few lifetime PRs. I came into the gym Monday and Today ready to put in more work because of how motivating the experience was and the fact that I now have more teammates to train with."