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SFCF: This month’s member profile is with Coach Edwin Johnson: Father, Lover, Coach, Educator and B-Boy extraordinaire. Ed You have been a part of the San Francisco Crossfit community for a while now, how did that start?

ED: Carl Paoli brought me in. Carl brought me in because he knew some of my friends that B-Boy and he invited me to a special friends class in the parking lot of dreams, that’s what he called it and we were there flipping tires. Me being who I am, and my approach to what I do in my life, it fit really well for me. I like that aspect of going hard in my workouts and then I saw a lot of improvement so I kept doing it.

SFCF: Ed, I know nothing about B-Boying except that it looks really cool. Can you break the movements down for me? How does it relate to what people do in Crossfit?

ED: Well it’s not just for gymnastics or B-Boying, but think about Crossfit in general, we break things down to the basic skeleton of basic movements. Think about those rules and mix them and bend them just a little bit to make it freestyle like in Carl’s book. I started to notice there were a few positions and movements in B-boying that were broken, that weren’t giving us enough torque or power. I noticed we can make a few small adjustments though that Gymnastics and Crossfit were teaching me and then I could get stronger and faster in those movements that were never addressed as a B-Boy.

SFCF: Do you compete in the B-boy arena? Is that the right term? What does that mean?

ED: That is the right term and it’s not overly organized and it’s not unionized. It’s an independent thing and you will typically have promoters that throw events. Some are more established and have big sponsors, others are basic promoters doing things at the local community level to work.  There are different competition levels; there is the international circuit, which would be the highest level of competing, there’s the national circuit and then there’s your local circuit. Those are the three different levels you have as a competing B-boy and we call them competitions, battles or jams. There’s a panel of judges that will decide one winner in a tournament style and you just work your way through and crown the champion at the end.

SFCF: How about you Ed, do you Jam out? Do you compete?

ED: Yes, I had a chance to compete at the international level at one point in my career and I’ve competed at that level for a really long time, for about 15years. Not so much anymore though, I’m more focused on coaching aspiring young b-boys and help these athletes breakthrough with some of the insight about body mechanics I discovered along the way. Hopefully they can skip some of those hurdles that I kind of had to deal with when I was getting started.

SFCF: Tell me about where you do all this. I know you do some of this work here at SFCF, you worked at AcroSports, you’re at a June Jordan School for Equity AND you’re a family man. To be short, you wear many different hats.

ED: Haha yeah I do, I still work at AcroSports and I’m at June Jordan. And yes I have a family.

I’ve worked at acro sports for a very long time and now I’m mostly just coaching there and I coach at levels. So, we have our basic level which would be gymnastics floor, and then moving athletes up and adding some Crossfit style movements into it. Then for the people who are aspiring to be a b-boy we add that aspect to it. Sometimes I have to work in reverse and teach a b-boy Crossfit movements and do gymnastics. At June Jordan I coach a wrestling team there. I work with athletes who are training and competing at a very high intensity and a very high pace. I wrestled in high school and that was my passion, that’s what got me into what I’m doing now. What I’m doing now is my way of going back to the basics and understanding why and how I do what I do and then sharing that.

SFCF: What about your personal life, your family life, how’s that? What’s their involvement?

ED: My family is super involved in everything that I do. I’m married and I have two kids, a boy whose 3 and a girl who is 1. I’ve been married for 3-5 years, somewhere in that neighborhood. I’m lucky that my family, from just being around, they pick up on a lot of things by watching me. I might not coach my son though, I think I might leave that for someone else I don’t want to be that one dad you know (laughs). But I do help him along the way and work to give him a solid foundation for what he decides to pursue.

SFCF: That’s so cool man, I think so much of the learning process is just watching other people and then replicating or imitating their movements. People do this everywhere and down the line this can, unfortunately, lead to injury but luckily your kids can see you move and you just have to provide little cues to keep them in a good position.

ED: Yeah the foundation thing, that goes to everything but that’s why there’s coaching. There are rules and concepts that need to be followed, they are important to making what you’re doing what it is.

SFCF: You have the opportunity to work with people at all sorts of Crossfit levels, and what I mean is this, when I started with Crossfit I had my “beginner phase” and then the phase where I thought I knew everything I needed to know.  Luckily, now I realize I don’t know anything and it’s really a lifelong learning experience. What are some pointers that you will give to new athletes but also hope to remind them that when they get better they don’t start making the mistake again?  

ED: People will watch something and they’ll want to apply it but not know exactly what they are doing. Everything is that way, b-boy-ing too but that’s where a coach is important because they can see what needs to be pointed out. This is true at any level, the beginner athlete and the advanced and seasoned veteran. The most common thing I see is that people don’t know what to do with their spine, especially when they are moving at high intensity or with heavy weight. That’s when coaching is super important because not only will it improve performance, which is what every athlete wants but also it’ll mitigate risk of injury. Check your spinal Position and be open to being coached.

SFCF: And here I am slouched on the couch, touche’ (haha). Open Forum Ed, What else do you want to share?

ED: I’m going to be launching a new site called ‘Athletic Wrestling’. This is going to take me back to my basics and allow me to share it on a broader scale. It will also include b-boy-ing. It’s gonna be an open forum website with information I come across and different guests. I really want to promote the sport of wrestling; it’s kind of a dying sport.

SFCF: When can we see this happen? What’s the website name? Who’s it for?

ED: We’re looking to launch at the end of November, which is the end of the wrestling season. It’s going to be This website is for anyone who cares about understanding movement, nutrition, and being healthy and fit. Wrestlers have weight classes to meet so this will be helpful to build nutrition plans. There’s going to be some b-boy stuff but you can find step by step videos on the renegade rockers starting in the spring of next year with tutorials.

SFCF: Thanks Ed.

This interview was preformed and written by Overseer Adrian of SFCF. 


Ed post SFCF WOD!

Ed post SFCF WOD!

What’s your name? Where are you from? 

Ed Torrente, Richmond District SF.

1. Let’s start with something super simple; What’s your story with Crossfit?

Ed: I heard about crossfit in 2007. I was scared to do it but in 2012 I joined SFCF. Best physical activity decision I have ever made. When I first heard about Crossfit I was scared because these guys are all huge but I took a leap of faith and said to myself “I can do this”. I played baseball, I did all the other gyms, but Crossfit has really brought the best out of me, physically. It’s too bad I started in my late 30’s, as I age I notice my competitive juices aren’t quite there as much.

2) Who or What do you look forward to most when you come to SFCF?

Ed: The community. The lv2 regulars because they push me to be a better crossfitter.

3) What’s the most personal thing you’re willing to share with me this instant?..and with the whole box really?

Ed: My wife and I are trying to have a baby. Hopefully if I’m still around at a certain age I get to get them into Crossfit.

4) Either Or’s!! Which do you prefer?

Pepsi or Coke: Neither, I don’t drink Soda.

PC or Mac: Ill go PC, it’s what I’m used to, I use it at home and at work. My wife has a Mac.

Bacon or Gluten: Bacon

Facial Hair or Clean Shaven: Facial Hair, all day.

Truth or Dare: Truth, I tired from that workout, I don’t know what you’ll have me do.

Truth: What is the first thing you notice in people? Physically strong regardless of how big or small girl or guy. You can feel their aura, like you just know it.

5)What’s your story in the grand scheme of things?

Ed: I’m a happy go lucky guy. For me, the most important thing is my family and…basically Crossfit. Besides my family, I always look forward to Crossfit, I get out of work and this is what I want to do. It’s super addicting. My nephew also does Crossfit. He did Crossfit kids with coach Tonya White back in the summer of 2013 and I’m trying to get my wife into it.

6) Thank you for letting me intrude into your personal life, Is there anything that you would like to share that you haven’t been able to?

Ed: To any new crossfiter, you’re already a badass as soon as you walked in through the doors. That’s what it is, It’s that first step. To all the people, the ladies here at SF Crossfit, you’re freaking strong!



1. Where are you from?
         Highlands Ranch Colorado
2.  What is your athletic history?
 Swimming since age 4
3.  What inspired you to become (a coach/a member/an intern)?
Finishing up school.  I always wanted to be a coach and Crossfit is a passion.  Kelly reached out and asked me if I was interested and I took the opportunity.
4.  What is your best advice for first time Crossfitters?
Give it a month…embrace the gym, learn form.
5.  What workout do you hate the most?
I hated 14.5!  It is the first workout I have ever hated.
6.  What weakness are you working on now?
7.  What is the best advice you have personally been given?
From Sage my swim coach – It was more of a question….“Are you making an excuse right now?”  Getting in your own head is your worst enemy…
8. What is the quality you most admire in others & Why?
Upfront Honesty.  Why?  Easier to trust and I enjoy being around people who will tell you like it is.
9. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?
Malcom Gladwell to explode knowledge on me or Hugh Laurie –(House) – I would have him play the piano for me.
10.  Is there anything you want other members to know about you that I am forgetting to ask?
I am always down for a conversation.  Extremely approachable.


MEMBER PROFILE: Ryan Gallagher

  1. Where are you from?
    1. Swampscott Ma. 
  2. When did you move to SF
    1. Year and a half ago                                                                              
  3. What was your first job?
    1. Life Guard at the Beach Club in Swampscott
  4. How did you get started doing Crossfit?
    1. I was in Boston and a new Crossfit Gym opened up.  They had a special and I tried it out.  That was 2 ½ years ago.
  5. How do you find your way here to SFCF?
    1. After I moved, I found SFCF online, as well as Mobility Wod.  This is the gym for me!
  6. What inspired you to become a coach/a member/an intern?
    1. I want to coach people and really like what crossfit has done for me.  I want to share that with people.
  7. What is your best advice for first time Crossfitters?
    1. Don’t be intimidated or discouraged. Just have fun!
  8. What workout do you hate the most?
    1. Anything with thrusters.  Just because.
  9. What weakness are you working on now?
    1. Pistols
  10. What is the quality you most admire in others & Why?
    1. I like when people don’t care what other people think about them. 
    2. Why – I think, myself included, you let others affect your thinking and decisions even though you know what’s best for yourself.
  11. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?
  1. I have learned the most from my Mom.  She taught me that no obstacle is too big to overcome and things have a way of working out just as they are supposed to.


A brief interview with Yasmen…YASMEN_MEHTA
  1. Where are you from originally?
    • Bombay India
  2. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
    • Teach Pilates for over 20 years as well as mobility and Yoga Tune up.
  3. What is something most people don’t know about you?
    • I had a crush on Donny Osmond
  4. How did you get started doing Crossfit
    • Cycling on Chrissy Field and saw someone doing wall balls in the open air of a full squat to press.  It was so juicy I had to try it.
  5. What inspired you to become (a coach/a member/an intern)?
    • I absolutely did not want to teach CF even after talking Level 1 Cert.  What changed was when Roop was teaching in India, they asked me to fill in for him after he left.  I had such a great time doing it I knew I had to pursue it.  It put a fire underneath me.
  6. What is your best advice for first time Crossfitters?
    • Don’t let it overpower you (intimidate you).  Keep at it and you will absolutely love it. Don’t worry about what other people are doing.. Just focus on you and your workout.
  7. What workout do you hate the most?
    • The Olympic lifts are the most challenging.
  8. What weakness are you working on now?
    • Chest to bar pull-ups
  9. What types of connections would you like to make through Crossfit?
    • As a teacher – on a very human level to inspire others to be their best.  Bringing to life the beauty of human movement.  To want people to enjoy being strong and flexible
    • Personally – A ton of friends that I hold dear to my heart.
  10. Is there anything you want other members to know about you that I am forgetting to ask?
    • I compete as a Masters Woman’s Division Speed Skater.
    • I volunteer for Maitri – an aids hospice once a week for the last 8 years
Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013


Make sure to introduce yourself to Yasmen around the gym!

A Thank You Letter to SFCF: Crossfit from a Unique Perspective

Conserva_SFCFMax Conserva has been a member with San Francisco CrossFit since 2011. In the new year of 2014, he sent us a beautiful letter of gratitude. Here Max tells us about how he started CrossFit and how SFCF has changed his perspective on what is physically possible for him. In return, San Francisco CrossFit would like to extend much gratitude to Max, not only for being an awesome member of our community, but for sharing his story with us. You can read more about Max’s story and all the projects he is working at If you know anyone who may be interested in Max’s case please pass this information along.

December 31, 2013

Kelly & Juliet,

Happy New Years to you both. I have been remiss up to this point for not taking the time to tell you how large of an impact you have had on my life. With a new year upon us I thought that it would be a great opportunity to do so. I am sure you get these types of emails frequently, so at the risk of boring you, I’ll focus on the special facets of my particular case in the hopes of paying you an original complement.

To put it as simply as I can, I came to San Francisco Crossfit as an individual with a tactically managed disability and came out the other side as, for the first time in my life, an athlete. It contributed to a complete change in perspective on how I viewed my disability as it relates to my life and most unexpectedly my interaction with others. Over the months and years that I’ve participated, crossfit routinely exposed my physical and mental compensations. At SFCF there was no place or time to hide from them. Never in my life had my vulnerabilities been on display to so many.

Up to this point in my life I had become an adept controller of my environment. The activity I was willing to take part in was solitary and narrow. Nothing outside of my comfort zone. I took every measure to conceal my disability. I didn’t wear shorts. I didn’t swim. I didn’t run. I didn’t hike. I didn’t engage in any activity that would expose my limitations to others and on a subconscious level to myself. SFCF was the catalyst to becoming aware of how confining, self defeating and exhausting this parade had been. Kelly, I credit your skill as a PT and coach for convincing my rational mind that your perspective on fitness would be beneficial for even my compromised state. Combined with the culture you both developed, for the first time I let my guard down. The results became apparent immediately.

Crossfit begin to slowly chip away at what I thought I knew to be possible. Almost every movement on the programming I had never attempted in my life. Somethings came easier, pressing, gymnastic bar work, etc. Slowly things I though to be impossible begin to come as well. I went from hardly being able to air squat to box squatting close to 300 pounds. I went from not running, ever, I mean not at all, to running to the dock and back. Then twice, then 4 times in a workout. Then a mile. I begin to run on my own. After 6 months, I ran a 10k. I went from avoiding long distance walks to hiking a 16,000ft mountain.

Up to this point I haven’t even mentioned the specific physical knowledge which has been imparted on me. While this is obvious for anyone that is involved in crossfit, I want to make sure that you fully appreciate what it means to someone living with a life long condition. Dealing with a disability for 20 years is physical compensation writ large. I had no normal movement patterns and I had no idea. The knowledge I have acquired has influenced not only my physical activity, but how I move on a daily basis and has guided the design of my latest orthotic gear. It will be a tool that I use for the rest of my life.

I could go on about how all of the technical knowledge is utilized for my specific dilemma but I don’t want to dilute the main point. I didn’t realize at the time and it has taken a while to come to terms with it but the sobering truth is, I came into San Francisco Crossfit ashamed of my disability and I came out proud.

Your friend always,


Mental Toughness and the Crossfit Games Open 2014

stevoMental Toughness and the Crossfit Games Open with Coach Stevo

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.” -Robert Jordan
Every year, thousands of Crossfit athletes test themselves with five weeks of workouts designed to separate the wheat from the chaff. This year the threshing season starts on March 6th, and San Francisco Crossfit has a secret weapon: Coach Stevo! Now with an actual Masters Degree in Sport Psychology!
Starting on February 27th, Stevo will be hosting a weekly workshop to help athletes who would like to prepare for the mental challenge of the Crossfit Games Open. Topics will include, goal setting, reflection, focus, and resiliency. There will be activities, challenges, and an open environment for discussing how to get the most out of the Games, even if you’re just doing it for fun. Athletes of all skill levels are welcome and may join for any of the classes they wish during the Open for $19, or all 6 workshops for $99.
Thursdays 2/27-4/3
$19 per class, $99 for all 6.
All Members welcome. Please Sign Up HERE.

Crossfit Games Open Registration Begins January 15th!

f3584134e7f293d2290d285ef6a32a1f-605x312The Games Season is almost upon us.  We will be hosting an Informational Meeting Thursday, February 6th at 8pm. The meeting is geared towards those who have never participated before. If you were in the Open last year, the event will function the same.  The way the Open will work at SFCF:  We will host the Open WOD every Saturday evening through the Open Season from 4-6 p.m.   This is a really fun, competitive, and supportive event and we have a potluck during/after.  We will have the SFCF staff on hand to judge and cost to participate is $10/WOD or $50 for the whole Open Season.  If you want to try out the Open Workouts but don’t care to do it in a formal judged environment, we will be programming the Open WODs as the Saturday Morning Level 1 classes.   If you want to participate in the Saturday evening Group WODs, you will need to:

 1.  Register for the Open starting on January 15th.   We will circulate the registration link once it is posted.   The cost to register for the Open through Crossfit last year was $20. Expect a similar charge this year.

2.  Email Lara to sign up to participate in the Saturday night WODs –

You can read more about the upcoming Open Season HERE.

Crossfit for Hope WOD – THIS Saturday, July 6th – 9:30 a.m.

This weekend, on Saturday, July 6th, 2013 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.,  San Francisco CrossFit will be participating in the CrossFit for Hope WOD. CrossFit for Hope is a non-profit organization that funds research for terminal children’s illnesses.

This year, San Francisco CrossFit’s goal is to raise $1000 for the organization.  Please help us reach our gym goal!  There is a $10 minimum donation to participate.


To participate:

1.   Register on the Crossfit for Hope website – you can use the same login information you used for the Crossfit Games Open.
2.   Sign in for the class on MindBody
3.  Bring a minimum of $10 donation to participate – cash or checks are fine.   100% of your donations will go directly to Crossfit for Hope.

The Workout:

“Hope for Cures” WOD


“Hope” has the same format as Fight Gone Bad. In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of “rotate,” the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for a good score. One point is given for each rep.

Regular Class Schedule:
SFCF will be having our regular level 1 class at 830am.  The 930 and 1030am classes will be designated for Hope WODing fun.

The Crossfit Games Open and Mental Toughness, A Guest Post by Lisa Warren

The Crossfit Open and Mental Toughness Since childhood, athletics have been a strong presence in my life. I did gymnastics till age twelve, experimented with water polo, swimming, cross country and track and field in high school and spent my college years as a pole vaulter and thrower on my Division III track and field team. I’ve always enjoyed sports, but excelled at strength and conditioning. So after college, when I stumbled upon Crossfit, the “sport of fitness,” I knew it’d be right up my alley.

In the most concise terms Crossfit is “constantly varied, high-­‐intensity, functional movement.” In a typical Crossfit workout, or WOD, you will see any combination of Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, bodyweight exercises, kettlebell work, basic gymnastic skills, running, rowing or jump roping. When you walk into a Crossfit gym, or box, as we like to call them, you won’t see any machines. Barbells, dumbbells, ropes, kettlebells, chalk buckets and pull-­‐up rigs dominate the scenery. Intimidating to the newcomers eye, it’s a seasoned crossfitter’s playground.

This year was my second time competing in the worldwide Crossfit Open. The Crossfit Open lasts for five weeks. At 5pm every Wednesday one workout is released. Registered athletes must attempt the workout, and have it judged, scored and validated by a Crossfit coach before Sunday at 5pm. Come Sunday evening, you can go online and check your rank in your respective region or in the entire world, if you dare. This year over 120,000 athletes living in 118 countries took on the challenge. The newbies compete with the veterans, the beginners compete with the elite, all in the same five events; it is a truly unique opportunity.

The Open for most is a humbling experience. When you are competing against thousands and thousands of other participants, you are bound to be better than some, but you may get a shake to your ego when you realize that hundreds or even thousands are better than you! The Open is an opportunity to challenge yourself and push your limits, to compete amongst a supportive community, and to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. The majority competes in the Open for fun, but for those competitors wishing to make it to the individual competition at Regionals in May, it’s a fight for the top 48 in each region.

As one of those crazy crossfitters trying to qualify for Regionals, my feelings surrounding the Open covered the broad emotional spectrum. The grand revealing of each workout every Wednesday evening brought with it a plethora of mixed emotions: the relief of knowing, excitement, at times disappointment, and undoubtedly the fear of the pain and suffering I knew was to come. I was physically prepared for the workouts of the Open, but the mental game was a whole different beast.

Every Friday evening during the Open, my San Francisco Crossfit community would gather for a night of friendly competition to take on that week’s daunting workout, followed by plenty of food and drinks. Whenever you have a group of people so dedicated and excited about something, a strong community is bound to blossom from it, and that is definitely the case with Crossfit. On these Friday evenings, my stomach twisted in knots, I always felt some relief in the fact that we would all suffer together. When you cheered your fellow teammates on, you knew how they were feeling… there was empathy… and I think that’s why the camaraderie and support always felt so strong and genuine. And if my teammates weren’t enough motivation, I always looked forward to my “post-­‐workout recovery drink” of beer or wine, and later I’d top it off with some delicious burgers and milkshakes with my boyfriend.

I can’t tell you how many times in my relatively short Crossfit career I have questioned why I enjoy doing Crossfit. It is a love-­‐hate relationship at its finest. No matter how much I mentally prepare myself beforehand, there comes a point in every difficult workout when a flood of negative thoughts and emotions infiltrate my mind: ” I hate this,” “I can’t do this,” “Why did I ever think this was a good idea?,” “I can just stop now and all the pain will go away.” It feels like it takes the will of every molecule in my body to disregard those negative thoughts and keep pushing until the bitter end. But one Open workout in particular reminded me of why I continue to push myself. The workout was a repeat from the previous years Open. It had a 12-­‐minute time cap, with the goal to get through as many reps as possible of the following: 150 wallballs, 90 double unders and 30 muscle ups. A wallball consists of squatting to full depth with a medicine ball (14lbs for women), throwing it up to a 9ft target, and catching and repeating (only 150 times!) Double unders are a jump rope skill in which the rope must pass under the feet twice before the feet touch the ground. And lastly, to perform a muscle up in Crossfit, a person hangs on a pair of rings and uses a kip to get their upper body over the rings and then extends the elbows straight.

There are exercises I dislike in Crossfit, but few I hate more than the simple wallball. Double unders can be my friend or foe, depending on the day, and muscle ups, in fact, are one of my favorite Crossfit skills. But in order to get to the glorious muscle up, I’d have to endure a mountain of suffering beforehand. About midway through the wallballs, already feeling quite exhausted, that devil on my shoulder began its negative rant. There were so many reasons I wanted to quit and in the moment they seemed awfully convincing. But somehow I kept going. I didn’t want to let down all the people cheering me on. I especially didn’t want to let down myself, and frankly, I didn’t want to do this workout ever again, so I better suck it up and give it my best shot now. Fast forward through the rest of the wallballs and double unders, I finally reached the muscle ups with two and a half minutes to spare. Three by three, two by two, and one by one, I eked them out until time was up. The time cap freed me and relief set in as I collapsed on the ground. My final rep count was 256…150 wallballs, 90 double unders and 16 muscle ups. It was 10 more muscle ups than I had gotten the previous year. My score ranked me 13th in the NorCal region out of 2000 plus girls.

It was in that moment that I remembered why I continue to compete in Crossfit. I couldn’t wipe a smile off my face. I literally blew myself away with what I had just accomplished in a mere twelve minutes. I pushed through the suck and emerged on the other side victorious. I’m sure marathoners, triathloners, swimmers, rowers, and other athletes have felt the same way. You endure a lot of suffering for those few moments when you sit there afterwards, truly in awe of what your body can do.

Now the Open is over. I qualified for Regionals by the skin of my teeth and a new and exciting challenge waits. The better I get at Crossfit, the more I have to suffer, and that’s an intimidating thought. And many times I push myself to the finish and the end result is just mediocre. But that’s the beauty of any real challenge in life. You work tirelessly; persevere through uncomfortable situations, sometimes to no avail. But when you finally see the results, or maybe even just a glimpse of progress, like I did after that 12-­‐minute workout, it makes every second of the difficult journey worthwhile.