Blog Archives: General

Upcoming Events At SFCF

SacTown Throwdown – THIS WEEKEND!

We have three teams competing this weekend at the SacTown Throwdown so consider coming up to Sac for the day to cheer them on!   Beth Helton, Lisa Warren, Nate Hardy, and Brian Hassan are competing in the Open Division; Carlos Avina, Ben Biddle, Courtney Kimball, and Debbie Steingesser are competing in the Novice Division; and Jim Kean, TJ Murphy, Mary Alice Cardenes, and Yasmen Mehta will be competing in the Masters Division.   The event takes place at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville – about a hour and a half drive from SF – and spectator tickets are $15.   Please note the whole even is cash only.




Chop Wood; Carry Water
The Psychology of Awareness in Training, with Stevo, SFCF’s Sports Psychology Intern
January 31st at 8:00 p.m.  AND February 2nd at 9:30 a.m.

Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Wu Li, Zen Master

Ask any athlete where they want to be and you’ll get an answer. And while goals are great for reminding of you where you want to go, how do you know where you’re at now? How do you assess the quality of your front squat? Are you struggling through a workout because you’re skimping on your range of motion or is it because you ate a whole pizza last night? Could it be both? To novices, great athletes’ intuition about their bodies can appear to be a superpower, but like a squat, a press or a pull this intuition is simply a skill. They have mastered the skill of awareness.

Awareness is the skill of owning the present. And like the squat, press or pull, it can be practiced intelligently and diligently until it becomes a habit. Join Stevo, the sport psychology intern, as he walks through the basics of awareness in training. You’ll learn how to easily keep track of your progress (with or without journals) and simple tricks to speeding up your own training enlightenment.

The course is FREE for SFCF members but please sign up in advance HERE.



Crossfit Games Open Registration Begins January 30th!

The Games Season is almost upon us.  Thanks to all of you who came to our Games Informational Meeting last week.   For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here’s how the Open will work at SFCF:  We will host the Open WOD every Friday night through the Open Season from 6-8 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 Friday evening Group WODs, you will need to:

1.  Register for the Open starting on January 30th.   We will circulate the registration link once it is posted.   The cost to register for the Open through Crossfit is $20.
2.  Email Coach Tonya to sign up to participate in the Friday night WODs –

You can read more about the upcoming Open Season HERE


Crossfit Endurance Course At SFCF – April 6-7

The Endurance course is a powerful weekend of getting faster, stronger and increasing overall fitness/performance. Led by one of our head coaches for CrossFit Endurance, you will get both in depth education as well as a unique opportunity to be (run) evaluated throughout the weekend.

This is a Course that is the ideal CrossFit Level 1 compliment. A Level 1 is NOT a prerequisite to attend an Endurance Course. This introduction to CrossFit Endurance fundamentals is ideal for coaches/trainers, all endurance athletes, CrossFit athletes looking to shave WOD times or simply for those of you looking to fine tune your run mechanics.

In addition to the individual coaching we focus on biomechanics, the science of running, nutrition, injury prevention, and programming implementation. We focus on quality of training, not quantity.

The weekend is full of current content that you can apply immediately. Racing, training or getting more powerful – you’ll walk (or run!) away with a refreshing perspective of how endurance training should be done.

Register HERE



Meet Stevo, SFCF’s Sports Psychology Intern

My name is Steven M. Ledbetter, but most people know me as Stevo. I have been a strength coach in the Bay Area for 5 years and am a Master’s Candidate at John F. Kennedy University in Sports Psychology. For the next three months, I will be doing an internship with San Francisco Crossfit providing sport psychology consulting for interested members. I will be hosting free group presentations, workshops, and one-on-ones for anyone interested in improving the mental factors of their performance.

What is Sport Psychology?

Sport psychology is the science of optimizing the mental factors of human performance. It also goes by names such as “mental toughness training,” “mental skills coaching” or “training the stuff between your ears.” In practice, sport psychology consulting is working with athletes to integrate proven skills such as goal setting, visualization, positive self-talk, etc. into the habit of daily practice. If that sounds a lot like strength and conditioning training, you’re right! Just like strength and conditioning, sport psychology is all about making better habits in practice that will translate into better habits in performance.

How Do I Work with You?

I will be around the gym on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays for anyone interested in grabbing me. I am also available by appointment for one-on-one discussions, which you can schedule by emailing me, calling, or texting me. I look forward to meeting many of you and helping you reach new levels of sport performance this season.

Sport Psychology Intern, San Francisco Crossfit


TONS of News & Happenings At SFCF

Warehouse of Dreams

The WOD is almost ready to go and is looking awesome.  We are so excited to share this beautiful new space with all of you.   Please note that all of our classes will be canceled this Saturday as we will be moving our equipment from the POD to the WOD.   Our normal class schedule will resume on Monday, January 14th at the WOD – 1162A Gorgas Avenue.



Farewell to the Parking Lot of Dreams, Hello to the Warehouse of Dreams Party

Please RSVP for the party by tonight if possible so we can get the final numbers to our caterer.   The evening will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the POD with an Crossfit Olympics led by Kelly and the entire SFCF Staff.   Coach Adrian will also be on hand to lead you through one final parking lot workout.   We will all enjoy a glass of sangria and then move over to the WOD at 7:00 for food, drink, and festivities.   If you cannot make the Olympics in the parking lot, please feel free to just meet at the WOD at 7:00 p.m.


New Classes!

Yoga for the Crossfit Athlete

We are delighted to have SFCFer Debbie Steingesser joining the SFCF Staff teaching Yoga for the Crossfit Athlete.  This is an all levels class specifically designed to stretch, restore, and mobilize your body for increased athletic performance in Crossfit or other sports. Each session focuses on opening areas that get stiff from a regular Crossfit routine, such as: shoulders, hips, quads, hamstrings, and more. This class is taught in the Vinyasa style of yoga, linking poses fluidly with breath and music to keep you engaged. Yoga for the Crossfit Athlete will help increase your flexibility, balance, focus, breath capacity, and strength so you can perform better, experience less soreness, and reduce your risk of injury.

This is not your grandma’s yoga practice. Each class features intelligent sequencing, stable positions, good music, humor, and maybe even the occasional mimosa. There will be no chanting (unless Debbie gets carried away). These classes are open to all experience levels.

Sunday mornings – 10:00 a.m.  - see Group Class Schedule to enroll.

About Debbie:  Debbie Steingesser is an accomplished yoga teacher, dancer, and athlete based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Common Ground Magazine recently named Debbie “An Exceptional Yoga Teacher” for her creative approach to Vinyasa Flow Yoga. She is known for her uplifting, playful, and challenging Vinyasa Flow classes supported by eclectic playlists. When she’s not teaching, you can find Debbie practicing her handstands and lifting heavy weights at San Francisco Crossfit.

Debbie is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level and a Certified Level One Crossfit Trainer. She has completed trainings with Saul David Raye, Baron Baptiste, Seane Corn, Jai Uttal, Rod Stryker, Baxter Bell, and many more. Her yoga teaching is inspired by music, popular culture, and most recently, her study of movement and mobility with Kelly Starrett.

Conditioning with 2x Olympic Gold Medalist Erin Cafaro

The art of suffering without stopping or slowing down at the end seems to be almost lost. It is most likely from a lack of experience, muscular endurance, or just a trend. The classes will be a progression and will start from the beginning with skill of a lot of the monostructural efforts that come up in Crossfit like rowing, running, cycling, swimming. We are not in the business of suffering from bad technique so good form will continue to be an emphasis every class. We are, however, totally for pushing past what you thought were your limits and religious experiences are encouraged.

Tuesday 6 p.m., Thursday 6 a.m. – classes begin on Tuesday, February 5th.

Sunday Open Gym

We are adding 2 hours of Open Gym every Sunday from 11-12 and 12-1 with Coach Sean.  This is a great opportunity to get in an extra workout, practice some skills, or get stronger.   Classes begin on Sunday, January 20th.   See our Group Class Schedule to sign up.


The Crossfit Games Open

The Crossfit Games season is upon us!  The Open begins on March 6th and there will be one workout every week for 5 weeks.  Registration begins at the beginning of February.   If you are interested in participating in the Open at SFCF, please join us on Wednesday, January 16th at 8:00 p.m. at our new space for a meeting to discuss how the Open will work.   If you think there is any chance you want to try out for Team SFCF, you should plan to attend.  Or, even if you have no interest in competing but want to try your hand at competing and the expected 40,000+ competitors worldwide, you should consider joining the fun of our group Open WODs.


SacTown Throwdown – Seeking Novice & Master’s Women

We will be fielding three teams at the SacTown Throwdown on January 26th and 27th.   We are seeking TWO women for our Novice Team and one more masters woman (40+).   It does not matter if you have no experience competing – this is a fun way to try it out.   For those of you not competing, consider making a day trip to Sacramento on Saturday the 26th to watch our teams in action.   If you are interested in competing as novice or a masters woman, please email


Beyond The Whiteboard Update

Hey SFCFers!  As most of you know Beyond the Whiteboard launched a super cool new update last week and we, like you, are still in the process of figuring out how to use and optimize it.   We have now created two new “Tracks” – Level 1 and Level 2 – so that you can differentiate which class will be doing what WOD.   In order to join all of the tracks and be able to view all of the upcoming WODs, please follow these steps:

1.   Go to Whiteboard from the drop-down in the upper right hand corner
2.   Select Add Subscription
3.  Click “Follow” on both the Level 1 and Level 2 tracks (or just one or the other if you prefer).

Also, we are now able to change the time that you all can see the WODs the night before so they are new viewable by 9:00 p.m.  instead of midnight as they were before.   That means all of you 6 a.m. athletes can check the WOD for the next day before you go to bed.

If you have not yet set up a Beyond the Whiteboard account, follow the simple and easy instructions to set up a complimentary membership at our Members page.

Holiday Cocktail Party, Holiday Schedule, and More

Holiday Cocktail Party

Thank you so much to Shirley Kan, Elise Giancola, Kyna Kellogg, Alethea Benally, and Rachel Kayce for organizing and hosting an SFCF Holiday Cocktail Party this Friday, December 14th at 9:00 p.m.   Join us at the Local Edition at 691 Market Street for some cocktails and good cheer!









Holiday Schedule Is Posted

Our Group Class Schedule has been updated to reflect our holiday schedule.   We will continue having classes the week of Christmas but our schedule will be somewhat abbreviated.   Please check the full schedule for details but here is a snapshot of the schedule that week:

Christmas Eve, December 24th – 1 class only – 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.   Coach Kelly – join us for a fun and festive holiday WOD.
Christmas Day, December 25th – Gym Closed
December 26th – 6 a.m. – Noon – and 6 p.m. classes only
December 27th – 6 a.m. – Noon – and 6 p.m. classes and 7:00 p.m. Mobility class
December 28th – regular schedule
December 29th – regular schedule except NO Olympic Lifting Club that day
December 31st – 6 and 7 p.m. classes cancelled.
January 1st – 1 class only – 9 – 10:30 a.m.


More Technology Updates!

We have added a new, convenient Members page to our website.    This is an easy path to get logged into our MindBody scheduler or to Beyond the Whiteboard and provides step-by-step instructions for setting up a complimentary Beyond the Whiteboard account and join San Francisco Crossfit’s WOD viewing and tracking system.

We have also added the SFCF Chatterbox to our website.   This is a really simple and easy to use tool to connect with your fellow gym members about upcoming events, things happening at the gym, and even things happening outside the gym.   You do not need to create an account to post, you just enter your name, email address, and your post and you are done!   Check it out:




Why Working Out In A Group Works

We often get calls from potential new SFCF athletes who are interested in Crossfit but are concerned that group-style exercise classes just aren’t for them.   These calls most often come from men who (I think) have images of 80s-style step aerobics or jumping around on a mini-tramp with Brittany Spears “Toxic” playing in the background.   I try to re-assure them that a Crossfit-style group class bears no resemblance to the typical group exercise class at a regular gym, that working out in a group helps athletes push themselves harder, etc. and then I suggest that they come try it out to see what I mean.   These same athletes almost universally report that, while they never envisioned themselves working out in a group (much less liking it), they have a complete shift on this idea when they come to a Crossfit class.   Until SFCFer Damon Waldron forwarded me this great article (below) by Beth Carter at Wired Magazine, I, too, had no clue that this phenomenon had scientific backing and is called the Kohler Effect, which is the idea that less-capable individuals perform better in a group setting.    Check out the full funny and insightful article below.

Turbocharge Your Workout — Choose a Gym Buddy Stronger Than You, By Beth Carter – WIRED MAGAZINE

During a workout at a CrossFit-type gym awhile ago, I realized that group fitness classes work because people challenge each other, consciously or subconsciously. This came to me when a woman in my group, who also happened to be nine months pregnant, was seriously out-lifting me. As my muscles began to give out, I thought, if she can do it, I certainly can’t quit now.

Turns out my competitive epiphany is backed by science.

A study out of Kansas State University says we work harder when working out with a partner we perceive — rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter — to be just a bit better than we are. The study builds on what’s known as the Kohler motivation gain effect — the idea that less-capable individuals perform better in a group setting — and found hitting the gym with someone thought to be better than ourselves boosts endurance and intensity by as much as 200 percent.

“What this study suggests is that the opportunity to compare yourself to someone else can be motivating, and on top of that is the idea of being interdependent on someone else,” said Brandon Irwin, an assistant professor of kinesiology who led the study.

The findings, published in the journal of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, could provide new insights into how to help sedentary people get active.

“People in our field try to address the issue of physical inactivity,” Irwin said. “Strategies to motivate people rarely use group dynamics to help them achieve that, which is interesting because people like to exercise with other people.”

Irwin and co. tested whether we exercise harder when alone, with a virtual partner, or in competition. They had college-aged women exercise alone on stationary bikes, telling them to pedal as long as they could.

Then they all came back and biked with a virtual partner — a looped video recording of another person on a stationary bike — and told their buddy had ridden 40 percent longer than they did. That prompted the women to ride an average of nine minutes longer than they did alone. Later, the women returned for sessions in which they believed they were part of a team with the virtual partner. Having already been told their virtual partners had out-performed them, the women worked out as much as 160 percent longer.

There are many potential reasons for these results. It could be camaraderie or a desire not to let your partner down. Still, what didn’t happen was discouragement and giving up.

“We were pleasantly surprised by how big the motivation gains were,” said Irwin, “but I think the most interesting thing was that for the partners who were the weak link in the group, the fact that their motivation wasn’t only greater than in the other two groups but it actually increased over time.”

There is a threshold, however. Previous research has shown that working out with someone who is at your level or much, much better doesn’t really motivate us. The key is to find someone you consider just a little better, so meeting or beating their performance is an achievable goal.

The next step is determining how best to apply the findings. Deb Feltz, a kinesiology professor at Michigan State University, is toying with the idea of computer-generated fitness buddies that would nullify all the excuses that come with coordinating schedules with humans. Irwin’s next step is figuring out how to match people up with the best possible workout partner, kind of like a dating website for getting fit. With the marvels of modern technology, the person wouldn’t have to be in the same country, let alone the same room.

“In our study, they were just projected onto the wall,” he said. “You don’t have to be in the same place as your partner; they could be in Denmark. The idea is that person is good for you.”

Being part of a group — a team — can be a real motivator. We see this all the time in games like pick-up basketball. Would I have pushed myself so hard had that pregnant woman not shown me up? Probably not, according to this study.

So thanks, pregnant lady.

By Beth Carter, WIRED Magazine

Reminder: Thanksgiving Schedule & The Best Massaged Kale Salad

Thanksgiving Schedule

Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd – Please join us for our 8th annual Turkey Chipper at 9:00-10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day led by Coach Kelly.  As always, this workout is scientifically designed to allow you to eat more pie.

Friday, November 23rd - We will have a somewhat abbreviated schedule on Friday with classes at 6 a.m., Noon, and 5:00 p.m. These workouts will be scientifically designed to burn off as much pie as possible.

Saturday, November 23rd – All classes are on as regularly scheduled.

You can check out the full schedule and register for classes HERE




Massaged Kale Salad, Debra Zambetti-Style

If you are seeking out Paleo-friendly, super healthy, and super tasty things to add to your Thanksgiving menu, look no further.    I have seen many kale salad recipe posted in the Paleo blogosphere but none is as good as my friend Debbie’s Massaged Kale Salad.   This recipe is a simple combination of kale, onions, avocado, almonds and a fruit of your choice.   It is not only super simple to make, it is always a crowd pleaser every time I serve it or bring it to a party.  What is more, this salad – unlike your typical green salad – actually keeps for several days in the fridge, and almost gets better with age.   This salad will be on our Thanksgiving table, courtesy of Gretchen Weber, and it will be the hit of the party.   The recipe is below and check out Debbie’s full post and other great recipes and fresh food ideas at her website Debra Zambetti Health & Nutrition Counseling




1 bunch kale

1 t salt

1/4 medium-small red onion, thinly sliced or diced

1/3 chopped toasted almonds or nuts of choice

1/3 C raisins, currants or dried fruit of choice

1/2 large avocado, diced

1/4 C olive oil

2 T apple cider vinegar

Soak kale in water to loosen any dirt. Wash individual leaves as you de-stem them (pull leaf away from thickest parts of stem). Shake dry. Chiffonade leaves (stack, roll and slice into thin ribbons) and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over kale and, using hands, massage kale for 3-4 minutes. After about a minute you’ll notice a big difference in the leaves – they’ll start to soften and turn a dark green almost as though you were steaming them. When done, drain off any liquid that collects on bottom of bowl (may or may not happen) and set kale aside.

Heat a small sauce pan, toss in whole nuts and toast until nuts start to brown slightly. Shake pan on occasion to brown nuts evenly and to keep from burning them – which is SO easy to do. I used almonds because that’s what I had on hand. However, walnuts, pecans or even sunflower seeds would be great in this salad too. Remove nuts from pan and give them a rough chop on your cutting board. Add nuts to bowl of kale.

Add diced avocado, onions and raisins to bowl (again, raisins, currants, or your fave dried fruit cut into raisin-sized pieces will all be fine – just use whatever you have on hand). Pour olive oil and apple cider vinegar evenly over bowl of goodies, then toss the whole thing with tongs until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. (If you don’t have a set of tongs, for heaven’s sake, go get one. They are so handy in general and great for tossing salads – much easier than using salad serving utensils or a wooden spoon, in my experience).

Thank you Debbie and Enjoy!


Thanksgiving Schedule, Staff Updates, & New SFCF Technology

Welcome to John Post!

We are delighted to welcome our newest San Francisco Crossfit coach, John Leo Post, to the SFCF staff.   John is a recent graduate of the involved SFCF internship program and will make an excellent addition to our team.  For those of you who don’t already know John, he is best known in the CrossFit community as a competitor and member of the winning team, the Modern Gypsies, on ABC television’s adventure series Expedition Impossible.

Before coming to San Francisco CrossFit, John trained with CJ Martin of CrossFit Invictus and two time games competitor Shana Alverson of CrossFit East Decatur. John has worked with Dr. Craig N. Piso, PhD and Dr. Mark A. Lowry, Ph.D., learning the keys to understanding and practicing mental toughness and teamwork and has trained with professional adventure racers and mountaineers.

John grew up surfing on Pensacola Beach FL and fell in love with adventure sports at an early age. In 2006 while attending Florida State University he discovered CrossFit in the back room of the local climbing gym. After graduating with a degree in International Business, John spent four years living, traveling, volunteering and adventuring through over 30 countries. He was probably the first, and possibly the only, person to ever CrossFit in Cambodia. John returned to the United States to train with his team for Expedition Impossible and pursue his career as a strength and conditioning coach and athlete.

In addition to being a San Francisco CrossFit Coach, John will continue his work with the Modern Gypsies to complete philanthropic projects in developing countries.  Please officially welcome John next time you see him at class.



Thanksgiving Schedule

Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd – Please join us for our 8th annual Turkey Chipper at 9:00-10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day led by Coach Kelly.    As always, this workout is scientifically designed to allow you to eat more pie.

Friday, November 23rd - We will have a somewhat abbreviated schedule on Friday with classes at 6 a.m., Noon, and 5:00 p.m.   These workouts will be scientifically designed to burn off as much pie as possible.

Saturday, November 23rd - All classes are on as regularly scheduled.

You can check out the full schedule and register for classes HERE 

 Check Out The New SFCF APP – You Can Now Register For Classes Easily On Your Mobile Phone!

We are pleased to announce that we now have an SFCF app for your smartphone.   You can now securely book and pay for services, appointments, workshops, and classes on your phone quickly and easily.    Most importantly, you can register and waitlist for classes and synch your SFCF schedule to your personal calendar.   Our complete MINDBODY schedule for classes and workshops, including time and staff information, is automatically displayed on your mobile device.  Our new app uses HTML5 technology and will work on any smart phone.   There is nothing for you to set up or install – you just simply type in into the browser on your mobile phone and click on the link at the top that says “View Schedule and Book on your Mobile Device.”  Check it out!

Halloween Schedule Update

SFCFers!  We have cancelled our 7 p.m. Level 1 class and Olympic Lifting Club tomorrow on Halloween.   All of our regular classes will continue as scheduled.   Come on down to enjoy a fun Halloween WOD and see Coach Diane in her Panda costume.

Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups?????? By TJ Murphy

The NYT: “Why Women Can’t Do Pull-ups”

Yes, that’s the story, appearing in the Well and set to be published October 28.

I have a few comments to make.

For one, my girlfriend, Gretchen Weber, who was more of an academic than an athlete growing up, can most certainly do pull-ups.

I know. Once at at a San Francisco CrossFit class I was set up next to her for the classic benchmark WOD, “Cindy,” a workout that includes as many rounds as possible of pull-ups, push-ups and air squats.

There’s a funny thing about these WODS and the competitive nature of a CrossFit class. Despite all the focus and fuzziness generated by the anaerobic, high-intensity heart-pounding work at hand, I notice I can still keep tabs on a person right next to me through some miracle of peripheral vision. I know if I’m ahead of them or if they’re beating me. It must be some sort of power developed over a billion years of evolution.

In other words, I could watch out of the corner of my eye as Gretchen ripped through round after round, at least 12, five pull-ups per round, looking like the pull-ups were as taxing as reaching for a box of sugar.

As she steadily pulled away from me in the WOD, I was reminded of one of the first videos in the archive of Annie Sakamoto, her baby watching from the sidelines, as she performed the WOD called, “Josh,” where in the first round alone she peels off 42 consecutive pull-ups. At the time I saw it I hadn’t started CrossFit and might have been lucky to do three strict pull-ups and was surely incapable of kipping pull-ups.

And while there always seems to be an uproar over kipping pull-ups when a discussion like this happens, I say, Whatever. I know in doing workouts with kipping pull-ups I feel like my heart is about to explode, and it took me a long time to be able to do even three of them, so I say, Whatever.

And this isn’t to say I don’t see women at CrossFit classes doing plenty of strict pull-ups. Not to mention the muscle-up–a pull-up followed by a ring dip on gymnastics rings.

At any rate, the journalists at the Well should take a break from reading the research and visit CrossFit NYC, aka, the Black Box, on West 26th street off of Broadway. Particularly if Cindy is on the schedule.

You can enjoy this and all of TJ’s great posts on his blog, Inside the Box.

About TJ:  T.J. Murphy is a veteran endurance athlete, CrossFitter, and former editorial director of Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, and Competitor magazines. He is author of Triathlete Magazine’s Guide to Finishing Your First Triathlon and contributor to Start to Finish: 24 Weeks to an Endurance Triathlon.