Category Archives: Competition

NorCal CrossFit Masters Competition 2014 for CrossFit Athletes 40 and up.

Strong Woman Shirt with All-Seeing Kettlebell. Awesome Power and exceptional femininity for a crossfit shirt
Strong Woman Shirt with All-Seeing Kettlebell. Awesome Power and exceptional femininity

NorCal CrossFit is gearing up for the 2014 NorCal CrossFit Masters Competition and Expo. Registration will open between November 15 and December 1, 2013.  This news comes from Alison Belger of TJs Gym CrossFit in California.   Alison is author of the book CrossFit and the Power of Community.  You can get that one on Amazon.  Alison reports that registration will open some time between November 15 and December 1, 2013.   They will be offering priority registration for CrossFit Masters athletes who competed in the 2013 NorCal Masters Competition.  The competition will be held at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, CA.   Richmond, CA is in the San Francisco area.  The Craneway Pavillion itself is an awesome venue.  Here it is, in most of its own words:

The Craneway Pavilion is a re-purposed 45,000 sq ft sustainably designed event, concert and production facility centrally located in one of the planet’s most iconic destinations.  The Craneway Pavillion is as state-of-the-art as it is historic.  The facility is an award-winning, architecturally significant Ford Assembly Plant building dating back to 1931, with an adjoining 20,000 square-foot open-air patio, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces. Additional conference space with break out rooms are available.  It is set on 25 waterfront acres, Craneway Pavilion delivers an awe-inspiring panorama of the Bay, the San Francisco skyline and the surrounding environs.

CrossFit Masters await a CrossFit Masters Competition
CrossFit Masters await a CrossFit Masters Competition

Suffer and sweat with other Crossfit Masters

Last year’s competition had separate division for athletes 40-44, 45 to 49, 50 – 54, 55-59 and a special class for 60 and over.  Hopefully this year will see some more classes for those over 60.  You really can’t celebrate older athletes enough.  Bring your families and friends.  There is plenty to do in the San Francisco area.  Its well worth the trip.  If you have college bound teens consider checking out some of California’s excellent Universities.  Stanford University is just a short hop from San Francisco.  I hear there are some other colleges around there too . . .

More details for the CrossFit Masters NorCal Competition to follow:

Last year’s event had three paleo-friendly food trucks parked outside. The Craneway also has healthy food for sale.  I think bringing your own food is frowned upon.  Parking is free and plentiful.  Doors opened last year at 7:00 am and closed between 5:00pm and 6:00 pm.  Keep an eye out for future announcements.

Amazon Summer Birth of Spring Crossfit Shirt
Birth of Spring Shirt for Crossfit Women



CrossFit Games: Ice Baths and Deep Massage. Do they help?

CrossFit Games Competitions are almost here.  Athletes should arrive well rested and hopefully injury free.  CrossFit Games competitions are very intense.  Athletes will have to complete several WODs a day, possible for three days in a row.  There will not be time for complete recovery between WODs.  The athletes at the CrossFit Competitions will have access to ice water baths and massage therapists.  There have been a number of articles on the effectiveness of ice baths and massage.  Some have said they work.  Other have said they don’t help.  What should an athlete do between WODs?  A new study (January 2013) looked at massage and cold-water baths on performance and perceptions of fatigue.  The research subjects were basketball players: 8 men and 8 women.  There is not much research on CrossFit athletes yet.  The study athletes got either massage, cold water immersion or nothing after competition.  24 hours later they were tested for counter movement jumping and sprinting and were asked about sensations of fatigue.

CrossFit Regionals Competitor Ices an Elbow
CrossFit Regionals Competitor Aplies Ice post WOD. Would an ice bath help.

Study Results: 24 Hours Later.

  • Athletes felt better if they had a massage or ice water bath than if they had nothing done.
  • Women especially felt less tired after ice water baths than after massages
  • Men and women felt less tired if they had an ice bath or a massage than if they didn’t
  • Jumping performance was better after ice baths
  • No differences in sprinting ability were seen
  • Final conclusion: Ice baths were more effective than massage.  Getting a massage still helps athletes feel less tired.

For CrossFit Geeks:  Here is a link to the Study

Delextrat A, Calleja-González J, Hippocrate A, & Clarke ND (2013). Effects of sports massage and intermittent cold-water immersion on recovery from matches by basketball players. Journal of sports sciences, 31 (1), 11-9 PMID: 22935028

Caffeine Coffee and Timing for performance and competition

Caffeine Coffee Tea (Coke?).  First we’ll start off talking about the importance of time of day in athletic performance.

Compete, if possible, in the afternoon over the morning.

Keep Austin Weirdfest 5K CrossFit Seven Athlete prepares for the event.
CrossFit Seven Athlete waits for his event. He’d look better in a WODMASTERS shirt

Athletes perform better in the afternoon and early evening than in the morning.This is the case for weightlifting as well as for endurance exercise like running, swimming and cycling.  Even penmanship is less precise in the morning.  Possibly it’s a warm up issue.  But it looks like a circadian rhythm issue too.  The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates what you do during a day.  It regulates sleeping patterns.   Also body temperature, hormones and fluid regulation. Muscle response to stimulation is stronger in late afternoon.  A 2012 study (Mora-Rodriguez et al.) looked at electrically-induced response in weight lifters.  And they looked at voluntary contraction too, comparing morning and afternoon response.  All weightlifters were men.  All were described as highly trained elite weightlifters. The weightlifters lived in a research facility and were denied caffeine for 4 days before testing.  (That must have been tough.) The study also compared voluntary and electrically induced response in the morning with and without caffeine.  If you are wondering “what is caffeine” get some coffee.  Lifters were given caffeine on a body weight basis.  Caffeine was taken 60 minutes before performance testing.

Study Details: Caffeine, Weightlifting and Performance.

  • Test times were at 10:00 am and 6:00 PM.  Caffeine intake was 3mg per kg.  (if you weigh 80kg.  that’s about 240 mg or  about one 12 ounce cup of extremely strong starbucks style coffee.)  Caffeine was taken 45 minutes before lifting.
  • Morning performance vs. evening performance
  • Morning performance with Caffeine supplement vs. Placebo.


Mother and daughter at Crossfit Seven in Fort Worth, TX.  Caffeine Coffee?  You bet.
Mother and daughter at Crossfit Seven in Fort Worth, TX. Caffeine Coffee? You bet.

Strength and power output with placebo was better in the evening by 3% to 7.5% over morning strength and power output.   Caffeine in the morning increased strength and power output by 4.6% to 5.7% for squats when compared to no morning caffeine.  Electrically invoked response increased by 14.6% and nerve activation jumped 96.8%.  Squats seemed to be more caffeine dependent than bench press.  Maybe mornings are just meant to be spent drinking coffee.

If you are doing Crossfit Open competitions:

This site started as a site for Crossfit Masters Athletes, so here is the info for Crossfit readers:  For people trying to qualify for regionals or the CrossFit Games 2013 this could be important.  Do your Open CrossFit WOD’s in the afternoon.   If you can.  Caffeine in the morning will get your muscles up to the level they’d be if you did your workout in the afternoon.  So when you are competing during a morning WOD, have some coffee 45 minutes before the event.  And don’t forget the four days of abstinence before hand.Last note: caffeine peaks in your blood stream 30-60 minutes after its taken.

  • Abstain from coffee for 4 days before your event
  • Drink Coffee 30-45 minutes before you start
  • Do your event in the afternoon if possible

Note: Tablet or pure caffeine Coffee may not give the same results:

You can read more about the effects of coffee vs caffeine here.

Mora-Rodríguez R, García Pallarés J, López-Samanes Á, Ortega JF, & Fernández-Elías VE (2012). Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PloS one, 7 (4) PMID: 22496767

Training for the CrossFit Games: Team CrossFit Training

How to Train for Team Competition
How do CrossFit teams prepare for competition?  While trainers and team members have been devoting a lot of thought and effort to training, CrossFit team training is still in its infancy.   We talked with six trainers and teams at the South Central Regional Competition and compared their strategies with their ultimate positions on the leaderboard.
First Place.

Dallas Central  sent two teams to the Regionals this year, with one new to competition and other highly experienced.  Coach Dean Xu  says team selections for their two teams ”Team 1” and “The B Dream” were based on individual performances in the open.  Team 1’s men include Matt Anderson, James Hugo, Don Walker and Trey Kubacak.  The Dallas Central men finished 271(Walker), 209th (Hugo), 63rd(Anderson) and 8th (Kubacak) in the Open, and finished first in the teams competition. The B Dream is new to competition.  Coach Dean Xu says it has been great to watch them fail, and learn from their mistakes.  “You learn a lot from competing.” says Xu “There is so much strategy within competitions.  Learning to do transitions is extremely important.  It’s very different from individual competition where you need to pace yourself.  In team competition, you need to pace the team, not the individual.  Team members need to go “all out.” Both teams trained as a group and focused on individual weaknesses.  “There wasn’t much time to get people faster or stronger, so skills and efficiency were our major focus” said Xu.

Fourth Place.
Jason Graves and Jonathan Shelton of Crossfit Waco, Waco, TX. wanted to keep team placements clear, objective and as fair as possible.   Slots went to their box’s top three men and the top three women, according to performance in the Open.  Shelton stated that this was also the best way to keep a well-balanced team.  This is the second year they have sent a team to the regionals.  Four of this year’s team members also competed last year.   Aspiring Waco team members worked out together beginning in January 2012.  “We look for the weaknesses of each individual and base our programming on that” says Graves.  “Our members all have different strengths as well.”  “We focused on that as much as we could with the time we had.  We did a lot of Olympic Lifting, high skill movements, heavy metcons, and a variation of all other aspects of CrossFit training in our workouts,” said Shelton.  When asked what they would do differently next year, they replied “WIN!”
Seventh Place
The Crossfit Lake Charles Team

Crossfit Lake Charles from Lake Charles, Louisiana had a strong team this year.  Their top three women all qualified for individual competition at the regionals this year, but chose to go the team route.  The three, Danielle Sawyer age 30, Megan Noris also age 30, and Ashley Navarro age 28, along with three men Ben Vines age 24, Dettef Gharst age 28, and Mitchell Sawyer age 31, have been working with an eye to the Regionals since last November when a dozen of their box members started training together for the express purpose of forming a competitive team.   “We had a team at the Regionals last year” says Danielle Sawyer “but we weren’t anywhere near as strong as we are this year.”   Mitchell Sawyer got his first muscle up at last year’s Regionals, and is now able to string them together in sets of 5-7.  “We’ve worked together every Sunday.  Our training has been essentially coachless.  We’ve been coaching each other.”  When asked to describe how their team training differs from the regular Lake Charles programming Mitchell Sawyer says “We train a lot heavier.  A lotheavier.  We do heavy Frans, pistols, muscle-ups, gymnastics and lots of stretching for mobility.  It’s made a huge difference.“  “We’re together and on the same page.  And we are all very disciplined about both training and nutrition.”  The entire team follows a Paleo-type diet. They were also able to draw from a 100-150 member pool since most of the box members competed in the Open.  Crossfit Lake Charles is very excited about the team’s success and has been very supportive.  They pulled together to raise over $3,000 for the trip to San Antonio.  They were also supported by their local Police Department, held a car wash and a raffle and received assistance from neighboring Crossfit Boxes Old Glory, Bridge City and Baton Rouge.  That kind of help can go a long way towards support team travel, lodging and meals.

Twelfth Place

Coach Brad Rains has been a Crossfitter for three years and a trainer for six months.  His team was selected from Crossfit Nola’s top men (Aaron Hyatt age 24,  260th in the open), Brandon Ecker age 32 64th in the open), Demion Reed age 24, 178th in the open) and women (Andrea Germond age 29, 194th in the open, Kelsey Moran age 21, 135th in the open, Rae Shih age 23, 280th in the open and Taryn Heyman age 23, 356th in the open).  Rains team is made of primarily experienced Crossfitters and most them are trainers as well.  The team did their best to prepare together, which was not always easy because of their varied work schedules and outside demands.  Their strategy was to strengthen weaknesses for all members with their heavy lifters focusing on cardio and their “high tempo” people building strength.  Rains says its best for all team members to be balanced so that any weaknesses in the team will be minimized.  Rains likes the change in the program.  “Last year the team workouts were individually based.  This year you needed lots of communication.  You have to talk to your partners.  We spent a week practicing strategy before heading to Texas.  Doing deadlifts together is not easy.”

Fifteenth place
CrossFit Seven Regional Team Members after competition WOD

Crossfit Seven of Fort Worth was coached by Ryan Shupe and Ryan “Squared” Simmons.  Their team was unique in that all the athletes were well into their 30s with the exception of 17-year old Karli Kirk.  Five of the team members competed in the 2011 Regionals, and all have been working out together as fellow box-members for years.  “We’re a tight bunch” said Shupe.   The team practiced as a group every Saturday and most Sunday’s following the open and were selected from the top finishers in the Open competition.  Two of the original members, Dusty Sides (36) and Mitzi Hiley (32) were lost to injuries.  “We spent a lot of time working on transitions, refining technique and increasing weight” said Simmons.  “And we made sure we had a great hotel with a Paleo-friendly restaurant, pool and a hot tub in San Antonio.”  The team received support from the Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, enjoyed time in the hot tub, and received sponsorship from local businesses to defray costs.

Twenty-fourth place
Rodrigo Dealba and Scott Briscoe of 210 Crossfit.

Coach Steve Galvan of Crossfit 210 in San Antonio took a strategy that differed from all of the other teams at the Regionals this year.  He recruited talented, experience athletes from outside his box.  “I knew exactly what I was looking for: experienced athletes with lots of fast twitch.”  He started building his team early; long before the Open. Three of the men and two of the women on the team have been doing CrossFit for less than a year.   One of the men has been at Cross Fit for only a few months.  The team includes a female ironman-athlete, and a 400 meter sprinter from A&M.  Galvan focused on these six specific athletes, building their skills, correcting their weaknesses and getting them as strong as possible.  Galvan, who was a Texas State Track and Field Champion who ran for Texas A&M, and was coached in Olympic Lifting by Ursula Garza and Mark Rippetoe, brought a high level of expertise to his team.  It will be interesting to see how they place next year.