News & Events

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.

Aim for a B+ on Nutrition. A Jesse Thomas Re-Post, By Nate Helming

I first came across this insightful and funny article by pro triathlete Jesse Thomas about a month ago. I was finishing up my recent article comparing solid versus liquid fueling for triathlon, and I wanted to get some personal input from professional triathletes that I could add to my article.

While Jesse briefly touches upon fueling, I immediately gravitated toward his daily nutritional philosophy. Simply put, it’s refreshing to hear a competitive athlete who does not obsess about their day-day nutrition for their racing performance. And while we always strive for, encourage, and admire perfection, it’s nice to hear from a top athlete who proudly enjoys not being the first student in class in all subjects.

Below is a link to the full article, but here are a few nuggets I gleaned from his post:

–He’s funny and clearly enjoys competing and writing about his tinkerings.

–Calorie counting doesn’t necessarily work in the long run. The body’s a complex system, with constantly shifting caloric needs. It costs significant mental and physical energy to nail it each day. Additionally, counting doesn’t teach you to listen to the body’s internal messages about its needs.

–Racing weight: Jesse realized he races best when he trains consistently, eats “mostly healthy” and mostly ignores the scale. Forcing your body one weight or another can work, but it’s a dangerous game with significant downsides. And for mos athletes that mental and physical energy could be better applied to other aspects of one’s training, racing, and recovery.

–Aim for a B+! I think this is somewhat facetiously stated but true. A perfect diet is just too hard sometimes. It’s best to nutritionally aim for a “mostly healthy” nutritional approach that includes the occasional beer, dessert, or sibling inspired burger throw down.

While this advice is catered more towards endurance athletes, it equally applies to the paleo-enthused CrossFit population. Paleo challenges are transformative and powerful, but those who’ve done them know how hard it is to stay strict paleo once the 30 day challenge ends!

So there you go. Straight from the gut…er…mouth of a 2x WildFlower Long Course Champion!

Read Jesse’s Full Article Here

Train (and Eat) Well,


Devan Green Wins Gold at the US Open!

Two weekends ago, Devan Green won Gold at the U.S. Open XVII Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in San Jose.   He beat out almost 40 other competitors and went undefeated to take first place!!!   Here is a quote from Devan about the experience:  “My body and mind felt incredible during the whole tournament! Although my opponents were incredibly strong, well trained, well seasoned, and considerably outweighed me, I never felt overpowered or outgunned and was able to play smart, play strong, and keep pace throughout the entire day!  San Francisco Crossfit WORKS”   Major Congratulations Devan!!!! Keep it up.



Check out this video of Devan’s final match!


Schedule Changes THIS Saturday

SFCF Members!

Apologies for the inconvenience but the Sports Basement has requested that we cancel our 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. group classes this Saturday - October 6th – because they have a race starting at 8:00 a.m. and also because the Presidio is going to be mass chaos on Saturday because of Fleet Week, America’s Cup, etc.

In lieu of the two Level 1 classes, we have scheduled an additional hour of Open Gym from 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and added 2 hours of Open Gym on Sunday morning from 9-11 a.m. The 7:30 a.m. Level 2 Class, the 9:30 a.m. Basics Class, and Oly Club will all continue as scheduled.    Please leave yourself plenty of time to park

Check out our Group Class Schedule for details and to register for Open Gym.

Should You Eat Or Drink Your Calories? By Nate Helming

Bonk or cramp? There’s a thin line between the two and that’s the line triathletes walk in long-distance training and racing. If you don’t take in the right amount of food and fluid, you’ll bonk. Take in the wrong stuff, or at the wrong rate, and you face a wide array of GI issues, cramping among the least of them.

So how do you get the calories and fluid you need without taxing your GI system? This article compares the two primary fueling methods triathletes use while training and racing—chewing calories versus drinking them.

There is general consensus among coaches, exercise physiologists and nutritionists that for training sessions and races beyond two hours, athletes should supplement with something in order to maintain their performance output. When an athlete’s glycogen stores drop too low, they experience significant fatigue and a sharp decrease in performance. In its most extreme form, athletes hit the wall or bonk.


That’s where energy drinks and bars come in—to provide a ready-made energy supply that helps athletes continue to train and race at their best.

But, eat too much or at the wrong times and you can experience all types of complications in the form of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, stomach aches and nausea, which can slow you down. Alternatively, if you don’t consume enough fuel, you can experience early fatigue and a decrease in performance. Finding the right balance is imperative.


In addition to fueling, athletes need to hydrate to perform well. Let’s highlight two of the ways dehydration negatively affects the body.

First, as blood plasma depletes due to dehydration, the heart’s stroke volume—the volume of blood pumped per heartbeat—diminishes. Due to this reduced cardiac output the heart has to pump faster just to deliver the same number of oxygenated blood cells to working muscles. This phenomenon is known as cardiac drift and reflects the additional stress heat places on the body. If you’ve ever experienced an elevated heart rate that stays way above your effort level, you’ve probably experienced this phenomenon.

Second, dehydration compromises the body’s thermoregulatory response and its ability to stay in homeostasis. As part of the body’s cooling mechanism, it pulls heat away from the body through sweat evaporation. The body also cools through the principals of convection (dispersal of heat through blood circulation) and conduction (body heat radiating away). The blood vessels expand to allow additional blood to circulate into the superficial capillaries in the skin to pull heat away from the body.

Without taking in additional fluids, your body can only perform for so long without purposely slowing down to protect the vital organs from overheating. You can usually tolerate up to a 2 to 3 percent loss in body water and still perform, but beyond that you may start to develop minor symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, disorientation and sluggishness.

Ultimately, athletes need to manage the twin perils of glycogen depletion and dehydration in order to perform at peak levels in events lasting longer than 2 to 3 hours, and especially in hot and humid conditions. For hot Ironman events such as Kona, it’s imperative to nail down a solid nutrition and hydration strategy.

Let’s compare two different fueling strategies to see what’s best for you.

Drinking: The High-Calorie Bottle

This fueling method tackles both fueling and hydration needs at the same time. These super-calorie bottles contain mostly carbohydrate (some with additional fat and protein) and are specifically targeted for the 2- to 3-plus hour events with greater fueling requirements.

The Pros: Chewing solid food can slow the digestive system down. Drinking calories is an alternative way to get them in, especially for athletes who deal with stomach cramps. Athletes can conveniently fuel and hydrate at the same time with these sports drinks and powders. This makes it easy to grab and go when constantly on the move. If done correctly, athletes can meet their fueling requirements while also tackling some of their hydration requirements.

The Cons: Some people believe that these high-calorie bottles are responsible for the majority of GI issues experienced by racers, and they offer compelling evidence in support. As it turns out, the rate at which we should hydrate is different from of the rate of fueling, making it unrealistic for one product to optimally address both.

High-calorie bottles actually slow fluid absorption through the gut, hampering hydration efforts. When the body encounters a fluid that is thicker than blood, it has to pull fluid from the body into the small intestine to dilute it to an acceptable level. This process can only help so much before it contributes to both dehydration and backing up the GI system.

It’s way too easy to slurp down large amounts of calories in liquid form that far surpass the gut’s ability to handle them. Think of the gut as a tollbooth and the fuel, in this case carbohydrates (CHO), as the cars passing through. On any given day, cars (CHO) must stop to go through the tollbooth (gut). During regular traffic hours, the gut can more than handle the amount of carbohydrates coming its way with minimal backup.

Now picture this tollbooth during rush hour traffic. The rate at which carbohydrates show up far surpasses the rate at which the gut can process them, contributing to a nasty build up in traffic. Since the gut cannot double its rate of absorption, athletes experience stomach cramps, bloating and nausea when ingesting too much carbohydrate too quickly. So while super-calorie bottles work to get fuel in, they can be too effective, creating serious backup and GI issues that slow athletes down in a different way.

Regardless of this innovative solution, athletes still risk failing to meet their hydration requirements as the processing of carbohydrates slows down the ability to take in fluids. Simply put, with the high-calorie bottle athletes are either well fueled but under hydrated or properly hydrated but over fueled.

Chewing: The Separation of Nutrition and Hydration

While the super-calorie bottle does have its merits, some coaches and athletes would rather simplify their approach to fueling and hydration to minimize potential GI issues. People in this camp believe you should chew your food and focus on hydration in your bottles.

The Pros: When athletes chew solid foods, the entire digestion process slows down the rate at which fuel goes from the stomach to the small intestine and from the small intestine into the bloodstream. Digestion in the stomach is the key regulator here. Chewing your food slows down the rush of calories to the gut. This gives the body time to process what you’re putting into it, significantly reducing the possibility of GI issues.

Also, without significant calories in the bottle, athletes can focus on optimal hydration. While temperature does not significantly affect fueling demands for an event, it most certainly affects hydration demands. By keeping nutrition and hydration separate, you can more effectively address both needs.

The Cons: The biggest downside of this approach is the need to carry solid foods while training and racing. It’s impractical to carry enough food for an entire Ironman so athletes often have to refuel with what’s available on the course. Sports gels, drinks and powders are popular for a reason: they are convenient and they can be found on most racecourses. While they may not be perfect, some fueling is better than no fueling and these products are easy. Coaches recommend their athletes actually train with these on-course products so they can get used to them before the event.

Another downside is potential stomach cramps that creep up while chewing food on the run. While it’s relatively easy to fuel on solids on the bike, it’s difficult to ingest the same amount while running without feeling any repercussions. As most of you can attest, trying to run too soon after a big meal and you’ll experience cramps and even nausea. The energy requirements of running combined with the constant jostling stress the stomach and its digestion too much. A high-calorie bottle provides the energy needed while minimizing stomach cramping and digestion.

What’s Better?

Significant variability exists between athletes. Some do quite well on snickers bars and coke (one of my personal favorites), while other guts are quite sensitive to even the slightest changes.

A high-calorie, high-concentrated bottle is convenient, making it easy to deliver the much-needed calories while racing and training. It’s also relieves the digestive system when chewing becomes difficult. Plus, gels, drinks and powders dominate most aid stations at long triathlon events, making it a virtual prerequisite for athletes to fuel on them just so they can get used to what’s being offered on race day.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to surpass the gut’s absorption ability with this strategy. This can cause serious backup, resulting in tough GI issues and even dehydration. This can have more serious consequences in hot and humid environments when the hydration demands are especially high.

On the other hand, athletes can more optimally address both their hydration and fueling demands by keeping them separate. While some sloshing may occur, this digestive process helps ensure that you don’t flood the small intestine with more calories than it can handle. By drinking lower concentration fluids, the body can more easily absorb the fluids with minimal backup and less dehydration.

Regardless of the strategy you employ, it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of both. If you fuel and hydrate with high-calorie bottles, be careful not to take in too much at any one time. If you fuel and hydrate separately, be sure to pick foods that you can chew and digest easily.

Practice, refine, and revisit your approach constantly. Nutrition should be part of your training regimen. If you do experience GI issues while racing, it’s safe to say your approach could use some tweaking. You’ll also want to modify your strategy depending on the duration and type of event or training session.

Your approach will continue to evolve and change as you mature as an athlete, especially as you start pushing harder for longer periods of time.

And while every athlete is different, it’s still worth finding out what works for others and experimenting with those methods yourself. Just don’t tweak anything too close to your next race.