Archive for September, 2010

Tired of Sweet Potatoes?

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 30 2010

If the answer is yes, than:

A) You’re not being creative enough.

B) Or, possibly, you’ve eaten them every day for the last two years and you need a break.

No problem. Super easy Paleo Root Veggie Medley to the rescue:

Basic Recipe:

2 Rutabaga, cubed
1 Onion, Sliced
6 Cloves Garlic, peeled
5 Carrots, one inch lengths
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Dried Marjoram
Salt and Pepper

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Voila! Basic Root Veggie Medley.

Why Stop There?

There’s a million ways to mess with this recipe depending on what’s available. Added bonus is that this stuff is super cheap. Root veggies are easy to find (especially in fall and winter), taste great, and are easy to prepare. Here’s some other ingredients you can throw in and mix and match however you want.

Paleo Root Veggies
(*You want to cook beets separately from other veggies as everything will taste like beets, but once they are cooked you can mix them in)

Cooking Fats
Bacon Fat
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil

Herbs (fresh is always better, but dried will do here just fine)

You’re really only limited by your imagination here, so get creative with it.

And as always, baking some winter squash with a little fat, salt and pepper and you’ve got a delicious Paleo starch:

Acorn Squash
Butternut Squash
Spaghetti Squash

More Recovery WODs – “We’re Walking!”

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 22 2010

My last post discussed some Recovery WODs, and I wanted to take it a step farther in programming terms.

These WODs are designed for anyone that needs a therapeutic dose of functional movement rather than a training session focused on building top end work capacity. This could be someone who has an injury, someone who is overtrained, or somebody in between. Maybe you’ve just gone three days on and you’ve maybe hit heavy back squats and high volume air squats in a short period of time. You know you’re going to be pretty sore the next day, so you plan something that will address the anterior chain:

AMRAP in 20 Minutes at a moderate pace:
5 Walking Lunges, each leg
Walk briskly for 1 Minute
5 Pushups
Walk briskly for 1 Minute

Finish that up with some light foam rolling of the quads and some quad/hip stretching.

Now you might think “Brian – I’m going to look ridiculous walking around my neighborhood doing this workout.”

First off, there will always be plenty of people that look more ridiculous than you, take solace in that.

Second, you are a Crossfitter. Somewhere in your closet you have a “Killer of Baby Seals with my Bloody Hands from my Torn Callouses while I Drink Milk and Squat and possibly get a Tattoo (depending on how much it costs)” T-shirt. So wear that.

Give it a try, let me know how it goes.

New Bar Game: Twilight Fan or Vegetarian?

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 22 2010

I did a guest bartending gig at Maddy’s in DC for the Acumen Fund, where one of my 6:30am clients, Miranda volunteers. They’re a great group of folks, and Maddy’s is a nice bar, so I said sure.

However, I did not receive the memo stating: “Bartenders are no longer sought out for advice nor are they allowed to be pithy, witty, or can they try to sell drinks, even if it’s for a good cause.”

So when the night started with a gal asking for “just a water” and I told her “that’s cool, we’re just feeding the starving masses when you buy an actual drink, but I’ll just get you that water”, you can guess that I was on a roll – and not a good one.

A little later, when a very small, very pale, seemingly depressed gal ordered a veggie burger, I had reached my limit.

You see, I had hoped with the Paleo Diet getting the kind of press it’s gotten lately, with Robb’s book coming out, and with a large cohort of individuals who are looking, feeling, and performing pretty damn good, that the word would have hit the street about this by now.

But when I told her “you know, that shit’ll kill you”, she did not seem swayed.

So in her honor, and in keeping with the highest traditions of Vegetarian/Vegan bashing as well as very popular bar games, I give you:

Twiligh Fan or Vegetarian

Please use it irresponsibly.

Recovery WOD

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 22 2010

We’ve found many of our athletes get pretty beat down at one point or another. This seems especially true of athletes that make it past the first 3-9 months.

At this point they’ve gotten over their basic mobility issues, have built some strength, and while they can’t perform many WODs Rx’d, they can at least perform the movements with some amount of intensity.

However, we see a double edged sword at this point, because they are close to Rxd on some days, and when in doubt, they throw more weight on the bar than they should really be doing.

Other athletes simply injure themselves outside of Crossfit programming and need something as rehab. Those athletes that refuse to give up “Jogging” (I believe it’s a soft “J”), understandably are prone to lower body injury and we commonly work around those subbing out Double Unders, Box Jumps, etc.

I am frequently astounded by the number of injuries I see from golf. I have personally seen more athletes that come in on a Monday injured from playing nine holes than from an all weekend rugby tournament.

In all of these cases, a “Recovery WOD” may be the right prescription.


As you remember from my last post, there is a continuum of intensity in functional movement. If we stay on the low side of the intensity curve, we maximize the rehabilitative processes of the body.

The first case we’ll look at is Beth and Stu.

Both of these athletes came to me in the past week complaining of “low back pain” just above the pelvis. Beth’s from an 11 hour flight, Stu’s from the PCF WOD this past Sunday as well as his extremely tight hamstrings..

Stu's hamstrings are literally (not figuratively) trying to kill him.

What I prescribed for them was the same thing, a Recovery WOD:

Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes perform:
3 Deadlift, 65 lbs
3 Air Squat

After this couplet, I had them do six rounds of PNF on their hamstrings as well. Here’s the reports from Beth and Stu:

Beth – “Dude! I get back pain all the time when I’m flying or driving for long periods, and I’ve never recovered that fast!”

Stu – “The dead-lift was brutal. Literally, the muscle right above my waste line on the left side was throbbing during rounds 10-15. I had to pause for over 1 minute because it hurt so bad for the last few rounds. Once I stretched my hamstrings via the AbMat and belt it alleviated all of the pain – it felt amazing! Lastly, my back did not hurt at all during the WOD. Today I am sore, but no more than normal a day after a WOD.”

Both of them were back in the next day to train, and without any back pain.


Key Takeaway: “The magic is in the movements.”

  • Keep it functional
  • Low volume, low intensity
  • Target the area that’s causing the pain, don’t avoid it
  • Ensure that you’re doing mobility after the Recovery WOD

Play around with it, let me know how it goes.

The Delta

Uncategorized | Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 19 2010

Delta, noun – an incremental change in a variable, as Δ or δ.

The needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. – Greg Glassman, What is Fitness?

Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client’s rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness.

There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletes’ efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play. CrossFit trainers have the tools to be the best trainers on earth. We want virtuosity!! – Greg Glassman, Virtuosity

Let’s start off with a proposition: there are movements the body is designed to do and movements the body is not designed to do.

At a sufficient volume, speed, and load (and potentially in combination with other movements) we can conceivably gain a degree of therapeutic development.

The statement that “if you aren’t deadlifting, and your back doesn’t hurt, you are simply asymptomatic” is consistent with what we’ve found training athletes. Moreover, this applies to all the basic functional movements of Crossfit.

The picture above should speak volumes to experienced Crossfit athletes and coaches. We see this phenomenon day after day in our clients, and know it implicitly applies to our training as well.

The key is to know which day you want to go all out and attempt a new PR lift or benchmark, and which day you should work on some skill development, and then just roll out and stretch.

The first thing you should do is talk to a coach. Bias about your training state and/or the desire to compete override many athletes’ common sense.

If you are training solo, then the best indicator that we’ve found is recurring low-grade injury and pain. If you are continually experiencing shoulder, hip, back, or any type of consistent joint or muscle pain, then your training for that part of the body needs to be focused on a therapeutic dose of exercise.

This will strengthen the supporting muscle groups as well as move the problem area through a healthy range of motion, loosening any tissue that may be restricting blood flow to the area, and hence limiting the bodies ability to heal itself.

This approach has to be coupled with what we call “Train like an athlete, recover like an athlete.” Walking out the door, jumping in the car, showering, grabbing dinner and watching TV is not an option for a Crossfit athlete who is looking to make continual gains or compete. Simple and effective recovery tools like ice (duh!), myofascial release, and PNF stretching should be ingrained in every athlete.

Additionally, we’ve found that proper dosing of fish oil can assist greatly, especially in the case of minor nerve inflammation.

In short, Coaches should know their athletes and how to steer them towards increased fitness, but not at the expense of mobility. This isn’t to say they should not risk injury, just try to predict the risk versus reward with as much accuracy as your experience can offer. Athletes should steadily learn in order to predict a workouts outcome, and base their scaling and recovery efforts around that outcome.